The latest gear and bikes for bikepackers

The REI Co-Op ADV 4.2 is a standout model for bikepackers.
The REI Co-Op ADV 4.2 is a standout model for bikepackers.

Going the distance means having reliable gear customized for bike packing, that hybrid undertaking that melds cycling and backpacking. Here are three specialty bikes and four cargo carriers that will make the going easier.

Epitome of the breed

REI Co-Op Cycle ADV 4.2. Aluminum framed mountain bike with swept-back, upright-position flat handlebars, 27.5-inch wheels with 2.8-inch tires, disc brakes, shock-absorbing seat post -- and lots of mounts for cargo bags.

Why we like it: Burly machine that'll survive anything and carry everything.


Comfiest handlebar ever

The Canyon Grail CF SLX is fast and comfy. Canyon

Canyon Grail CF. Carbon-fiber gravel racer/bike packer road bike with 700C wheels, spacing for 42-mm tires and two innovations: a two-level flexing road-style handlebar that absorbs shock to the hand from the front wheel, and a flexing seat post.

Why we like it: Unmatched comfort for your hands because the “floating” top section of the two-part carbon handlebar acts like a shock absorber. Most gravel bikes destroy your hands; this one doesn't.

Info: Grail CF models (with the floating handlebar) run $2,499 to $5,000,


No-limits distance machine

The Specialized AWOL Expert is built for long distances. Specialized
The Road Runner Body Bag is a handy fork-mounted waterproof dry-sack pannier. Roadrunner Bags

Specialized AWOL Expert. A long-distance specialist with a durable chromoly steel frame, numerous rack, fender and water bottle mounts, a kickstand plate, 700-by-45 tires, tall, upright-position stem, a battery-free, Dynamo generator front hub for lights, and a one-of-a-kind suspension seaport.

Why we like it: It's tough, basically the road-bike version of the REI 4.2, with lights. The 45-mm tires are best for gravel, not rough trails.


Use your fork

Road Runner Body Bag. It’s a fork-mounted, waterproof pannier.

Why we like it: Very handy and smart design lets no space (such as the typically unused fork) go to waste. Roll-top dry-sack will keep gear dry in a river crossing.


Lug everything but the kitchen sink

Burley Coho XC trailer has an easy connection to fit different wheel setups. Burley

Burley Coho XC trailer. One-wheel trailer for road or trail that includes a shock to level bumps, a kickstand to hold the bike upright, and easy connection and fit to different wheel setups.

Magura Vyron suspension seat post. Magura

Why we like it: Simplest way to lug lots of gear, including large jugs of water for the deep backcountry, without the hassle of airtight packing gymnastics.


Electronic seat dropper

Magura Vyron Dropper Seatpost. First-ever wireless dropper post.

(Dropper seat posts lower the saddle height at the touch of a handlebar button, which enhances balance during downhill riding during bike packing and mountain biking because it allows you to push your body weight back.)

Why we like it: With no wires in the way, this clean design is a standout among dropper posts.

Info: $499,


The Topeak Backloader is like a trunk for your bike. Topeak

Instant trunk

Topeak Backloader. Oversized under-the-seat bag that allows you to carry lots of gear without a rear rack.

Why we like it: Racks can break under the stress of mountain biking and can’t be used with dual-suspension bikes. This giant streamlined bag mounts easily, cinches tight so it won’t sway and has a waterproof inner liner.

Info: $74.95 for 6L size and $84.95 for 10L,