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Best Gravel Bike for Touring – The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Adventure Bike

Are you planning a long off-road touring adventure or looking to get into bikepacking? If so, you’ll need a reliable bicycle that can handle the demands of cross-country rides and gravel roads. A gravel bike is the perfect choice for this type of adventure, combining the ruggedness and durability of a mountain bike with the speed and efficiency of a road bike.

When it comes to finding the best gravel bike for touring, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you’ll want a bike that is capable of handling rough terrain and gravel roads, with wide and grippy tires to provide stability and comfort. A sturdy frame and strong brakes are also essential for long-distance rides and off-road adventures.

Another crucial aspect to consider is the bike’s weight. You’ll want a lightweight bike that is easy to maneuver and carry when necessary, especially if you plan on doing any bikepacking or taking your bike on public transportation during your adventure.

Lastly, comfort is key when it comes to long rides. Look for a bike with a comfortable saddle, ergonomic handlebars, and a suspension fork if you’ll be riding on particularly rough terrain. Remember, you’ll be spending hours in the saddle, so it’s important to find a bike that fits you well and provides a smooth and enjoyable riding experience.

Best Gravel Bike for Touring Options

When it comes to touring, having the right bike can make all the difference. Gravel bikes are specifically designed for off-road adventures, making them the perfect choice for long-distance rides, bikepacking, and cross-country adventures. With their sturdy construction and all-terrain capabilities, these bikes are built to handle whatever the road throws at them.

If you’re looking for the best gravel bike for touring, here are some options to consider:

Brand Model Description
Giant Revolt Advanced Pro The Revolt Advanced Pro offers a lightweight carbon frame, hydraulic disc brakes, and ample clearance for wider tires, making it an ideal choice for adventurous rides.
Specialized Diverge The Diverge is known for its versatility, with options for both on and off-road riding. With features like Future Shock technology and wide tire clearance, it’s perfect for bikepacking trips.
Trek Checkpoint The Checkpoint features a durable aluminum frame, disc brakes, and plenty of mounts for carrying accessories. It’s designed to handle rough terrains and provide a comfortable ride.
Cannondale Topstone The Topstone is built for performance and comfort, with a lightweight carbon frame and Kingpin suspension system. It’s perfect for long rides and tackling challenging trails.
Salsa Warbird The Warbird is designed for speed and endurance, with features like a versatile drivetrain and stable geometry. It’s a reliable choice for long-distance touring and gravel racing.

No matter which brand or model you choose, investing in a gravel bike for touring will open up a world of adventure. So get out there and explore the off-road trails on your new bike!

All-terrain bicycle for long rides

When it comes to embarking on off-road adventures, having a reliable and versatile bicycle is paramount. Whether you plan on tackling gravel roads, going bikepacking, or going on a long-distance touring adventure, an all-terrain bike is the perfect companion. With its sturdy construction, wide tires, and durable components, this type of bike can handle any terrain you throw at it.

One of the key features to look for in an all-terrain bike is its versatility. It should be able to seamlessly transition from gravel roads to off-road trails without skipping a beat. A durable frame, such as one made from aluminum or steel, will provide the necessary strength and stability to handle rough terrain and heavy loads.

Wide tires for added stability

Another important factor to consider is tire width. Wide tires not only provide added stability but also offer more traction, making them ideal for a variety of surfaces. Opt for tires with a tread pattern designed for off-road use, as they will excel in providing grip and control on loose gravel or dirt paths.

Durable components for reliability

Long rides put wear and tear on a bike, so having durable components is essential. Look for high-quality brakes, gears, and drivetrain that will resist corrosion and withstand the demands of long-distance touring. Additionally, having a wide gear range will allow you to tackle steep inclines and descents with ease.

Comfort for those long adventures

Since you’ll be spending long hours in the saddle, comfort is another important consideration. Look for a bike with a comfortable saddle that provides ample support for your sit bones. Suspension forks or seat posts can also help absorb shocks from rough terrain, reducing fatigue and increasing comfort.

In conclusion, when it comes to long rides and off-road adventures, an all-terrain bike is your best companion. With its ability to handle various terrains, durable components, and comfortable features, it will make your touring or bikepacking experience a memorable one.

Adventure Bike for Bikepacking

When it comes to cross-country bikepacking and touring rides, having a reliable and versatile adventure bike is essential. An adventure bike is designed to handle off-road and all-terrain conditions while providing comfort and durability for long-distance journeys.

Features of an Adventure Bike

An adventure bike for bikepacking combines the best elements of a gravel bike and a touring bike. It typically features:

  • Sturdy frame and fork to withstand rough terrains
  • Wide tires with aggressive tread for improved grip
  • Mounting points for racks, panniers, and bikepacking bags
  • Relaxed and comfortable riding position for long rides
  • Disc brakes for reliable stopping power in various conditions

Choosing the Right Adventure Bike

When selecting an adventure bike for bikepacking, consider the following factors:

  1. Type of Terrain: Evaluate the type of off-road terrain you plan to ride on, including gravel, dirt, and rocky paths. Choose a bike with suitable tire clearance and tread pattern.
  2. Load Capacity: Determine the amount of gear you’ll be carrying on your bikepacking trips. Look for a bike with sufficient mounting points and a sturdy frame to support the weight.
  3. Comfort: Opt for a bike with a relaxed riding position and a suspension system, if desired, for enhanced comfort during long-distance rides.
  4. Components: Consider the quality and reliability of the bike’s components, such as the drivetrain, brakes, and shifters.

Recommended Adventure Bikes for Bikepacking

Here are some highly regarded adventure bikes for bikepacking:

Brand Model Features Price
Specialized Diverge Carbon frame, Future Shock suspension, mounting points $2,500
Trek Checkpoint Aluminum frame, IsoSpeed decoupler, vast tire clearance $2,000
Surly Bridge Club Steel frame, ample mounting options, wide tire clearance $1,200
Salsa Cutthroat Carbon frame, Class 5 Vibration Reduction System, bikepacking-specific geometry $3,000

Remember, the best adventure bike for bikepacking ultimately depends on your riding style, preferences, and budget. Take the time to test ride different models and consult with experts to find the perfect bike for your off-road explorations.

Off-road bike for cross-country touring

When it comes to cross-country touring, having the right bike is essential. An off-road bike designed for all-terrain adventures, such as bikepacking and long-distance touring, is the perfect choice. These bikes are built to handle rough and challenging terrains, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride throughout your journey.

Features to look for:

When selecting an off-road bike for cross-country touring, there are several key features to consider:

Feature Description
Gravel-specific design Look for a bike that is specifically designed for gravel riding. These bikes feature wider tires, relaxed geometry, and enhanced stability for tackling rough terrain.
Durable construction An off-road touring bike should be able to withstand the rigors of long-distance travel. Look for a bike with a sturdy frame, reliable components, and strong wheels.
Mounting points Having ample mounting points is crucial for carrying all your gear during a cross-country tour. Look for a bike with mounts for racks, fenders, and water bottle cages.
Comfortable riding position Long rides require a comfortable riding position to minimize fatigue. Look for a bike with a relaxed geometry and options for adjusting the handlebar height and saddle position.
Wide gear range A wide gear range is essential for tackling steep climbs and challenging descents. Look for a bike with a drivetrain that offers a wide range of gears to handle various terrains.
Braking system Choose a bike with reliable disc brakes for consistent stopping power, especially when riding off-road. Disc brakes provide better control and performance in all weather conditions.

With an off-road bike for cross-country touring, you can embark on exciting adventures, explore remote landscapes, and experience the freedom of the open road. Remember to choose a bike that fits your riding style and preferences, and always prioritize safety and comfort on your long-distance journeys.

Criteria for choosing a gravel bike

When it comes to choosing a gravel bike for bikepacking, long adventure rides, or off-road cross-country rides, there are several key criteria to consider. These criteria will help ensure that you select a bike that is well-suited to the demands of gravel riding and will provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience during your all-terrain adventures.

Frame Material Look for a gravel bike with a frame made of durable and lightweight material, such as carbon fiber, aluminum, or steel. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so consider your budget and preferences when selecting a frame material.
Tire Clearance Gravel bikes should have ample tire clearance to accommodate wider tires, which provide better traction and stability on rough surfaces. Look for a bike that can fit at least 40mm tires.
Brakes Choose a gravel bike with disc brakes, as they offer superior stopping power and perform well in all weather conditions. Hydraulic disc brakes provide even better braking performance and are worth considering if your budget allows.
Gearing For long and challenging rides, a wide range of gears is essential. Look for a gravel bike with a compact crankset and a wide-range cassette. This will ensure that you have the necessary gear ratios to tackle steep climbs and maintain speed on flat terrain.
Frame Geometry Consider the frame geometry of the gravel bike. A longer wheelbase and slacker head tube angle will provide stability and control on technical descents, while a shorter chainstay length will enhance maneuverability and responsiveness in tight corners.
Mounting Points If you’re planning to go bikepacking or carry a lot of gear, look for a gravel bike with plenty of mounting points for racks, panniers, and water bottle cages. This will allow you to carry all the necessary equipment for long adventures.

By considering these criteria when choosing a gravel bike, you can ensure that you select a high-quality and well-suited bicycle for your off-road adventures. Whether you’re tackling rough terrain or embarking on a multi-day bikepacking trip, a carefully chosen gravel bike will provide the durability, comfort, and performance you need to enjoy the ride to its fullest extent.

Frame material: steel, aluminum, or carbon?

When it comes to choosing a gravel bike for touring, one of the most important factors to consider is the frame material. The frame material determines the overall weight, durability, and ride quality of the bike.


Steel frames have long been a popular choice for off-road and all-terrain biking. They offer a solid and sturdy feel, making them suitable for bikepacking and long rides. Steel frames tend to absorb vibrations well, providing a smoother and more comfortable ride on rough gravel roads. However, they can be relatively heavy compared to other materials.


Aluminum frames are lightweight and stiff, making them ideal for riders who prioritize speed and performance. They provide a responsive and efficient ride, perfect for adventurous bike touring. Aluminum is also known for its durability, making it a great choice for off-road riding. However, aluminum frames may transmit more road vibrations, leading to a slightly harsher ride on rough terrain.


Carbon frames are the lightest and often the most expensive option. They offer a high level of stiffness, which translates to excellent power transfer and acceleration. Carbon frames are favored by riders who are looking for a fast and agile gravel bike for touring. Additionally, carbon frames can provide a more compliant ride, thanks to their ability to absorb road vibrations. However, carbon frames are more susceptible to damage from impacts, so they may not be the best choice for rough off-road adventures.

Ultimately, the choice of frame material for your gravel touring bike depends on your priorities and riding style. Steel frames are durable and provide a comfortable ride, making them suitable for longer bikepacking trips. Aluminum frames offer a balance of weight, stiffness, and affordability, making them a great choice for all-terrain adventures. Carbon frames are lightweight and stiff, providing excellent performance for those pursuing speed and agility. Consider your preferences and the terrain you’ll be riding on to make the best choice for your gravel bike touring adventure.

Wheel size: 700c or 650b?

When it comes to adventure rides, bikepacking, and off-road touring, choosing the right wheel size can greatly influence your experience. The two most common options for gravel bikes are 700c and 650b, each with its own pros and cons.


The 700c wheel size is the standard for road bikes and has been widely adopted in the gravel bike world. With its larger diameter, 700c wheels roll smoothly and effortlessly on paved roads and hard-packed gravel trails. This makes them ideal for long-distance touring on all-terrain surfaces.

One notable advantage of 700c wheels is their compatibility with a wide range of tires. You can easily find slick or semi-slick tires for fast road riding or switch to wider knobby tires for better traction off-road. This versatility makes 700c gravel bikes suitable for various terrains and riding styles.


650b wheels have gained popularity in recent years, especially among bikepackers and off-road enthusiasts. These smaller wheels offer better maneuverability and improved traction on loose or technical trails. The reduced diameter also lowers the bike’s center of gravity, enhancing stability on rough terrain.

One of the advantages of choosing 650b wheels is the ability to run wider tires without compromising frame clearance. The additional volume in the tires provides better shock absorption, making them suitable for long-distance off-road touring.

So, which wheel size is right for you?

The choice between 700c and 650b ultimately depends on your riding preferences and the terrain you’ll be tackling. If you’re planning long, all-terrain tours that include both paved and gravel roads, a bike with 700c wheels might be the better option. However, if you prioritize off-road adventures, technical trails, and bikepacking, 650b wheels could be the more suitable choice.

Consider your riding style, the types of trails you’ll be tackling, and whether you value speed or stability more. Ultimately, test ride bikes with both wheel sizes to see which one feels more comfortable and suits your needs best.

Tire width: the wider, the better?

When it comes to choosing the best gravel bike for touring, tire width is an important consideration. The width of your tires can greatly impact the performance and comfort of your adventure, bikepacking, or cross-country rides. But is wider always better?

Wider tires offer several advantages for off-road riding. They provide more traction, especially on loose and uneven surfaces, allowing you to confidently navigate gravel paths and trails. The increased surface area also helps absorb shocks and bumps, providing a smoother and more comfortable ride.

Additionally, wider tires offer better stability, especially when cornering or descending at high speeds. With a larger contact patch, your bike will feel more planted, reducing the chances of skidding or losing control.

However, there are some trade-offs to consider. Wide tires have higher rolling resistance on smooth surfaces, such as pavement or hard-packed dirt. This means you’ll have to put in more effort to maintain your speed, making long-distance rides less efficient.

Another factor to keep in mind is clearance. Not all gravel bikes can accommodate wider tires, so you’ll need to check the maximum tire width that your bike can handle. If you’re planning to do a lot of off-road riding, look for a bike that can fit at least 40mm tires for optimal comfort and performance.

So, what’s the ideal tire width for touring?

Ultimately, the best tire width for touring depends on your specific needs and riding style. For primarily pavement or packed dirt riding, narrower tires around 35-38mm might be more suitable. They offer lower rolling resistance and better efficiency, making them ideal for long-distance bikepacking or cross-country tours.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to tackle rougher terrains and want the extra stability and comfort, wider tires around 40-45mm are a good choice. They are versatile enough to handle a variety of off-road conditions while still providing a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Remember, tire width is just one aspect to consider when choosing a gravel bike for touring. Other factors like frame material, components, and geometry also play a significant role in determining the bike’s performance and suitability for your needs. So, take your time to research and test different options before making a decision.

Brakes: disc or rim?

When choosing the best gravel bike for touring, one of the important decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go with disc brakes or rim brakes. Both options have their pros and cons, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the type of riding you plan to do.

Disc brakes, which are common on mountain bikes, offer powerful and consistent braking performance in all weather conditions. They excel at stopping power, making them ideal for long, all-terrain rides or cross-country adventures. If you’re planning on bikepacking or riding in wet or muddy conditions, disc brakes are a great choice.

Rim brakes, on the other hand, are lightweight and provide a more traditional look. They are typically found on road bikes and offer sufficient stopping power for most gravel riding situations. However, they may not perform as well in wet or muddy conditions and can wear down the rim over time.

Ultimately, the decision between disc brakes and rim brakes will depend on your riding style and preferences. If you prioritize stopping power and versatility in all conditions, disc brakes are the way to go. If you prefer a more lightweight and traditional setup, rim brakes may be the better choice.

Regardless of which type of brakes you choose, it’s important to ensure they are properly maintained and in good working order before embarking on any long gravel touring adventures. Regular inspections and brake pad replacements are necessary to ensure optimal performance and safety on the bike.

Gearing: 1x or 2x?

When it comes to choosing the right gearing for your gravel bike, you have two main options: 1x or 2x. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your specific needs and riding style before making a decision.

1x, or a single-chainring setup, is becoming increasingly popular for gravel bikes. With a 1x drivetrain, you’ll have a simpler and lighter system that eliminates the need for a front derailleur and shifter. This can result in a cleaner and more aerodynamic setup, as well as fewer maintenance issues. Additionally, having only one chainring can make shifting simpler and more intuitive, particularly in challenging off-road conditions.

On the other hand, a 2x, or a double-chainring setup, offers a wider gear range. This can be beneficial for riders who plan on doing a lot of cross-country or bikepacking rides, where a wide range of gears is necessary for tackling steep climbs and fast descents. The extra gear options can also be useful for riders who regularly encounter variable terrain, such as adventure or off-road touring.

Ultimately, the choice between 1x or 2x gearing will depend on your personal preferences and the type of riding you plan to do. If you prioritize simplicity, weight savings, and ease of use, a 1x setup may be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you need a wider gear range for all-terrain or touring adventures, a 2x setup might be more suitable.

It’s worth noting that some gravel bikes come with the option to switch between 1x and 2x gearing, allowing you to experiment and find the setup that works best for you. Additionally, advancements in cassette and chainring technology have made 1x systems more versatile than ever before, with wider range cassettes and narrower-wide chainrings available to suit different riding styles.

In summary, the choice between 1x and 2x gearing for your gravel bike is a matter of personal preference and the type of riding you plan to do. Consider your specific needs and priorities, and don’t be afraid to test out different setups to find the gearing that provides the best performance and enjoyment on your off-road adventures.

Saddle choice for long rides

When it comes to touring, gravel, all-terrain, adventure, cross-country, bikepacking, or any kind of off-road biking for long distances, having the right saddle can make all the difference. Choosing the right saddle is crucial for comfort and to prevent saddle sores or numbness during those long hours in the saddle.

When selecting a saddle for long rides, it’s important to consider a few key factors. First, the width of the saddle should match the width of your sit bones to provide optimal support. A saddle that is too narrow can cause discomfort and pressure points, while a saddle that is too wide may cause chafing and friction.

Next, consider the shape and design of the saddle. Many modern saddle designs feature anatomical cutouts or pressure relief channels to eliminate pressure on sensitive areas. These features can greatly reduce discomfort and numbness during long rides. Additionally, some saddles are designed with a slightly wider rear section to provide additional support and stability while climbing or descending on rough terrain.

Another consideration is the padding and cushioning of the saddle. While a thickly padded saddle may seem like a good choice for long rides, it can actually be less comfortable in the long run. Instead, look for a saddle with a moderate amount of padding that provides enough support without excessive squishiness. Gel inserts can also be a good option as they can help absorb shock and provide extra comfort.

Finally, don’t forget about the material of the saddle. Leather saddles are a popular choice for their durability and ability to mold to the rider’s shape over time. However, synthetic materials like synthetic leather or nylon can also be a good option as they are usually more affordable and weather-resistant.

Overall, finding the right saddle for long rides is a personal choice that depends on your individual preferences and riding style. It’s important to test out different saddles and find the one that suits you best. Remember, comfort is key when it comes to long-distance off-road biking, so don’t overlook the importance of a good saddle.

Handlebar options: drop, flat, or riser?

When choosing a handlebar for your gravel bike, there are several options to consider: drop, flat, or riser. Each option has its advantages and is suited to different types of riding.

Drop handlebars:

Drop handlebars are commonly found on road bikes and offer a more aerodynamic riding position. They are ideal for cross-country touring, as they allow you to ride long distances at a fast pace. The lower hand position also helps to reduce wind resistance. However, drop handlebars may not be the best choice for off-road or technical terrain, as they provide less control than flat or riser handlebars.

Flat handlebars:

Flat handlebars are a popular choice for gravel and off-road touring. They offer a more upright riding position, which is comfortable for long rides. Flat handlebars also provide more control and stability, making them suitable for all-terrain and off-road adventures. They are especially beneficial for riders who prefer a more relaxed riding position and want to have a better view of the surroundings.

Riser handlebars:

Riser handlebars are another option to consider for gravel touring. They offer a slightly raised position, allowing for a more comfortable riding posture. Riser handlebars provide better control on technical terrain and are well-suited for adventure rides that involve challenging off-road sections. They also offer more stability, which can be beneficial when riding over rough surfaces or during unpredictable weather conditions.

When choosing a handlebar option for your gravel bike, it is important to consider the type of riding you will be doing. If you are planning long cross-country tours or prefer a more aerodynamic position, drop handlebars may be the best choice for you. For all-terrain and off-road adventures, flat handlebars offer more control and comfort. Riser handlebars are a good option if you want a slightly raised position and enhanced stability for challenging rides.

Ultimately, the choice of handlebar will depend on your personal preferences and the type of terrain you will be riding on. It is recommended to test different handlebars to find the one that suits you best and enhances your gravel biking experience.

Suspension or rigid fork?

When choosing a gravel bike for touring, one of the main decisions you’ll need to make is whether to opt for a suspension or rigid fork. Both options have their advantages and considerations, so it’s important to weigh your priorities and the type of terrain you’ll be encountering on your adventures.

A suspension fork, as the name suggests, adds a suspension system to the front of your bicycle. This can help absorb shocks and bumps when riding on rough and uneven surfaces, providing a smoother and more comfortable ride. If you plan on tackling more technical off-road trails or bikepacking adventures that involve long hours in the saddle, a suspension fork can be a great choice. It can help with traction, reduce fatigue, and improve control on challenging terrain. However, it’s important to note that a suspension fork adds weight and can decrease pedaling efficiency, especially on smoother or paved roads.

On the other hand, a rigid fork does not have any suspension components and is typically lighter than a suspension fork. A rigid fork is generally preferred by riders who prioritize efficiency and speed, as it allows for more direct power transfer when pedaling. It is a great choice for those who primarily ride on smooth or paved surfaces, as it provides a more responsive and agile feel. However, a rigid fork may not offer the same level of comfort and control as a suspension fork on rough and bumpy terrain.

Ultimately, the decision between a suspension fork and a rigid fork depends on your specific touring needs and preferences. Consider the type of terrain you’ll be riding on, the distance you’ll be covering, and the overall weight of your bike. If you’ll be tackling predominantly off-road or challenging terrains, a suspension fork can enhance your riding experience. For long-distance rides or rides on mostly smooth surfaces, a rigid fork can offer better efficiency and speed. It’s worth noting that there are also gravel bikes available with a suspension-equipped or rigid-specific design, providing the best of both worlds.

Whether you choose a suspension or rigid fork, make sure to test ride different options and consider your own riding style and preferences. Ultimately, both options can provide a fantastic touring experience, allowing you to explore all terrains and embark on new adventures with your gravel bike.

Pedal choice for touring

When it comes to choosing the right pedals for your touring bike, there are a few factors to consider. The type of pedal you choose can greatly impact your comfort and performance during long rides on all-terrain surfaces.

Clipless pedals

Clipless pedals are a popular choice for bike touring as they provide a secure connection between your foot and the pedal. They feature a cleat system that attaches to special cycling shoes. This setup offers a more efficient transfer of power, especially during uphill climbs and long-distance rides. Clipless pedals are a preferred choice for cross-country touring, bikepacking, and gravel rides.

Platform pedals

Platform pedals are a common choice for off-road touring and bikepacking. These pedals offer a wide platform for your foot, providing stability and support on rough terrain. They are typically paired with hiking or mountain biking shoes, which offer good grip and flexibility. Platform pedals are ideal for riders who prefer the flexibility of using regular shoes and easily getting on and off the bike.

In addition to the type of pedal, it’s important to consider other features such as pedal durability, weight, and ease of maintenance. Look for pedals that are designed to handle the demands of long-distance touring and are compatible with your specific bicycle.

Ultimately, the best pedal choice for touring depends on your individual preferences and the type of riding you plan to do. Some riders may prefer the efficiency of clipless pedals for long road rides, while others may opt for the versatility of platform pedals for off-road adventures. Consider trying out different pedal types and consult with experienced riders or bike shop professionals to find the pedal that suits your needs best.

Storage options for bikepacking

When it comes to bikepacking, having the right storage options is crucial for a successful adventure. With the growing popularity of gravel bikes and cross-country touring, there are now various storage options available to fit the needs of every rider.


One of the most popular storage options for bikepacking is panniers. These bags can be easily attached to the front and rear racks of your bicycle, providing ample space for your gear. Panniers are ideal for long-distance rides as they offer a large carrying capacity, allowing you to carry everything you need for a multi-day adventure. They can easily fit clothing, camping gear, cooking supplies, and more.

Frame Bags

Frame bags are another excellent storage option for bikepacking. These bags are designed to fit within the triangle of your bike frame, maximizing storage space without interfering with your pedaling. Frame bags are perfect for carrying heavier items such as tools, spare parts, and extra water. They provide a low center of gravity, which helps with bike handling and stability on off-road terrain.

Handlebar Bags and Seat Bags

For those who prefer a minimalist approach to bikepacking, handlebar bags and seat bags are a great choice. Handlebar bags attach to your handlebars and can hold smaller items such as a camera, snacks, or a lightweight sleeping bag. Seat bags, on the other hand, attach to your seatpost and saddle and offer additional storage space for items like clothing layers, a tent, or a sleeping pad. These bags are best suited for shorter adventures or riders who prefer to travel light.

Backpacks and Frame Packs

If you prefer to have your gear on your back rather than attached to your bike, backpacks and frame packs are worth considering. Backpacks are versatile and offer a large carrying capacity, making them perfect for carrying extra water, food, and clothing. If you’re looking for a more streamlined option that won’t interfere with your riding, frame packs are a great choice. These packs attach to the frame of your bike and provide additional storage space for your essentials.

When it comes to choosing the right storage options for your bikepacking adventure, it’s essential to consider your needs and the terrain you’ll be riding on. Whether you opt for panniers, frame bags, handlebar bags, seat bags, backpacks, or frame packs, having a well-equipped bike will ensure you’re ready for any off-road adventure.

Popular gravel bike brands for touring

When it comes to finding the best gravel bike for touring, there are several popular brands that offer high-quality bikes designed for off-road adventures. These bikes are specifically built to handle long rides, cross-country trails, bikepacking trips, and all-terrain exploration.


Trek is a well-known brand that manufactures a wide range of bicycles, including gravel bikes suitable for touring. Their bikes are known for their durability, comfort, and versatility. Trek gravel bikes are designed to handle rough terrains, providing a smooth and stable ride for long-distance adventures.


Specialized is another popular brand that offers a variety of gravel bikes perfect for touring. Specialized gravel bikes are designed with adventure in mind, featuring durable frames, wide tires, and comfortable geometry to tackle any terrain. These bikes are ideal for those looking to explore off the beaten path.

Brand Features
Trek Durable, comfortable, versatile
Specialized Durable frames, wide tires, comfortable geometry

Other popular gravel bike brands for touring include Giant, Cannondale, Salsa, and Surly. These brands offer a wide range of options to suit different preferences and riding styles. Whether you are planning an epic adventure or a weekend getaway, choosing a gravel bike from one of these reputable brands will ensure a reliable and enjoyable touring experience.

Recommended accessories for gravel bike touring

When embarking on a long cross-country adventure or planning a bikepacking trip, having the right accessories for your gravel bike is crucial. These accessories can enhance the versatility and comfort of your bike, making it suitable for off-road rides, all-terrain exploration, and gravel touring. Here are some recommended accessories that you should consider:

Accessory Description
Bikepacking Bags Investing in a set of bikepacking bags will allow you to carry your gear securely and efficiently. These specially designed bags can be attached to various parts of your bike, such as the handlebars, frame, and seatpost. They are lightweight, durable, and can withstand rough off-road conditions.
Tire Repair Kit Since gravel touring often involves riding on rough terrain, a tire repair kit is essential. It should include tire levers, patches, a pump or CO2 inflator, and spare inner tubes. Being able to fix a flat tire quickly can save you from being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Water Bottle Cages Staying hydrated during long rides is crucial, especially when you’re venturing off-road. Installing water bottle cages on your gravel bike will allow you to carry enough water to quench your thirst. Opt for lightweight, durable cages that can securely hold your bottles even on bumpy terrain.
Handlebar Bag A handlebar bag is a convenient accessory to keep essential items within reach, such as your phone, wallet, keys, and snacks. Look for a bag that is easy to attach and remove, and offers enough storage space for your necessities.
Multi-tool A multi-tool is a must-have accessory for any gravel bike tourer. It should include essential tools like Allen keys, screwdrivers, chain breaker, and a spoke wrench. A reliable multi-tool can help you make on-the-go adjustments and repairs.
GPS Bike Computer To navigate and track your progress during long gravel tours, consider investing in a GPS bike computer. These devices provide accurate mapping, route planning, and performance tracking features. Look for a rugged and waterproof model that can handle the demands of off-road riding.
Saddle Bag A saddle bag can provide additional storage space for larger items, such as spare clothing and camping gear. Look for a bag that securely attaches to your saddle rails and offers sufficient room without interfering with your pedaling motion.
Front and Rear Lights When embarking on long gravel tours, it’s important to have proper lighting, especially if you plan to ride during dusk or dawn. Install front and rear lights on your bike to ensure visibility and safety on the roads.

These are just a few of the recommended accessories for gravel bike touring. Depending on the length and nature of your adventure, you may also want to consider items like a first aid kit, tools for bike maintenance, a camping or bivvy setup, and protective gear. Being well-equipped for your gravel adventures will ensure a more enjoyable and safe experience on all types of terrain.

Gravel bike maintenance tips

Gravel bikes are specially designed for long, all-terrain rides, both on and off-road. They are perfect for touring, bikepacking, and cross-country adventures. To ensure your gravel bike is always ready for your next adventure, it’s essential to take good care of it and perform regular maintenance. Here are some gravel bike maintenance tips to keep your bicycle in top shape:

1. Clean your bike

After every ride, especially if you’ve been off-road, make sure to clean your gravel bike thoroughly. Use a gentle brush or sponge, mild soap, and water to remove dirt, mud, and grime. Pay extra attention to the drivetrain, derailleurs, and brakes. Once clean, dry your bike with a soft cloth to prevent rusting.

2. Check tire pressure and condition

Before each ride, check the tire pressure of your gravel bike. The appropriate tire pressure will depend on your weight, riding conditions, and personal preference. Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure range and inspect them for any signs of wear or damage. Replace worn or damaged tires promptly to avoid potential issues during your rides.

3. Lubricate the drivetrain

The drivetrain of your gravel bike, including the chain, cassette, and derailleur pulleys, needs to be properly lubricated. Use a quality bicycle chain lubricant and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply lubricant to the chain, wipe off any excess, and then pedal backward to distribute the lubricant evenly. Regular lubrication will help prevent premature wear and ensure smooth shifting.

4. Check and adjust brakes

Safe and reliable brakes are crucial for any bike, especially for off-road adventures. Routinely check your brake pads for wear and replace them if needed. Make sure the brake levers and calipers are functioning properly and adjust the brake cable tension if necessary. Test your brakes before each ride to ensure consistent and responsive stopping power.

5. Inspect and tighten bolts

Regularly inspect all the bolts on your gravel bike, including those on the frame, stem, handlebars, and seat post. Ensure they are tight and properly torqued. Loose bolts can lead to a dangerous situation while riding. Use a torque wrench if needed and refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper torque specifications.

6. Keep the bike stored properly

When you’re not riding your gravel bike, make sure to store it in a safe and dry place. Avoid storing it in extreme temperatures or humid conditions, as this can damage the components. It’s also a good idea to cover your bike with a breathable bike cover or store it inside a bike bag to protect it from dust and potential scratches.

Tip Description
1 Regularly clean your bike after rides.
2 Check tire pressure and condition before each ride.
3 Lubricate the drivetrain regularly.
4 Inspect and adjust the brakes.
5 Inspect and tighten all bolts.
6 Store the bike properly when not in use.

Training for long-distance gravel rides

When it comes to touring, adventure, and off-road biking such as bikepacking, the ability to endure long distances on varied terrain is essential. Training for long-distance gravel rides requires a combination of cardio endurance, strength training, and bike-specific exercises.

Cardio Endurance

Building cardiovascular endurance is crucial for long-distance gravel rides. This can be achieved through regular aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, or cycling. Aim for at least three to four 60-minute sessions per week, gradually increasing intensity and duration as you progress. Cross-country skiing and rowing are also excellent choices to improve overall endurance.

Strength Training

Strong legs and core muscles are vital for conquering challenging gravel terrain. Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine to build muscles and improve overall power. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and calf raises can strengthen your legs, while planks, crunches, and Russian twists can target your core. Aim for two to three strength training sessions per week, focusing on different muscle groups each time.

Bike-Specific Exercises

Training on your gravel bike or a similar all-terrain bicycle is essential to simulate the experience of long-distance gravel rides. This will help you get accustomed to the bike’s handling and build riding skills. Incorporate both on-road and off-road training sessions to enhance your overall bike handling abilities.

Additionally, interval training can be beneficial for improving speed and climbing ability. Include hill repeats, interval sprints, and tempo rides in your training plan. These workouts will help you develop the necessary strength and stamina required for long-distance gravel rides.

  • On-road training: Focus on maintaining a comfortable and consistent pace on paved roads.
  • Off-road training: Seek out gravel or dirt roads to practice handling the bike on rough terrain.
  • Hill repeats: Find a challenging hill and repeatedly ride up and down at a high intensity.
  • Interval sprints: Alternate between periods of maximum effort and recovery.
  • Tempo rides: Maintain a steady effort level just below your maximum sustainable pace.

Remember to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your training sessions to avoid overexertion and reduce the risk of injuries. Listening to your body and incorporating rest days into your training plan is also crucial for proper recovery.

By following a well-rounded training plan that includes both cardio endurance, strength training, and specific bike exercises, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle long-distance gravel rides and enjoy the adventure of touring on your gravel bike.

Tips for planning a gravel bike tour

Planning a gravel bike tour can be an exciting adventure that allows you to explore new places and enjoy the thrill of off-road riding. Whether you are a seasoned bikepacker or new to long-distance cycling, these tips will help you plan a successful and enjoyable tour.

1. Choose the right bike

Before embarking on a gravel tour, make sure you have the right bike for the job. A gravel bike or a cross-country mountain bike is ideal for all-terrain adventures. These bikes are designed to handle rough surfaces, steep climbs, and long distances. Make sure your bike is equipped with proper tires, gears, and accessories to make your journey comfortable and hassle-free.

2. Plan your route

When planning your route, consider the distance you want to cover, the terrain you want to ride on, and the places you want to visit along the way. Research and map out the gravel roads, trails, and scenic routes that will take you to your desired destinations. Be aware of any road conditions or closures that may affect your journey. It’s also a good idea to have alternative routes or bail-out options in case of emergencies.

Pro tip: Use online resources and apps specifically designed for planning bike tours to help you find the best routes and navigate your way.

3. Pack light, but be prepared

When bikepacking, it’s essential to pack light to minimize weight and maximize efficiency. Only bring the essential items like camping gear, clothing, food, water, tools, and spare parts. However, make sure you are prepared for unexpected situations like changing weather conditions, bike mechanical issues, or injuries. Pack a first aid kit, a bike repair kit, and emergency supplies to ensure your safety and well-being.

4. Fuel up

Long-distance cycling requires proper nutrition and hydration. Make sure to pack enough food and water to sustain you throughout your journey. Plan your meals and snack breaks accordingly, and take advantage of any available water sources along the way. It’s also a good idea to have electrolyte drinks or supplements to replenish your body’s nutrients and prevent dehydration.

5. Test your gear and skills

Before setting off on your gravel adventure, it’s crucial to test your gear and skills. Take shorter off-road rides to get comfortable with your bike’s handling and to ensure that your equipment is working properly. Practice basic bike repairs and maintenance to be self-sufficient on the road. Building your confidence and competence will help you enjoy your tour to its fullest.

In conclusion, planning a gravel bike tour involves careful consideration of various factors such as the right bike, route planning, packing essentials, fueling up, and skill preparation. By following these tips, you can embark on an exciting and unforgettable adventure that will take you on new and scenic off-road rides.

Choosing the right clothing for gravel bike touring

When embarking on long off-road rides and all-terrain adventures with your gravel bike for bikepacking or touring, it’s important to choose the right clothing that suits the demands of the terrain and weather conditions.

Durable and comfortable

Since gravel bike touring can involve rough and challenging trails, it’s crucial to wear clothing that is durable and can withstand the demands of the adventure. Look for garments made from high-quality fabrics that are abrasion-resistant and can handle the rigors of off-road riding. Additionally, prioritize comfort by selecting clothing with a relaxed fit that allows for freedom of movement.

Protection from the elements

Since weather conditions can vary during your gravel bike touring journey, it’s essential to choose clothing that provides protection from the elements. Opt for clothing that offers sun protection, such as UPF-rated shirts and shorts, to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. Additionally, choose garments that are windproof and water-resistant to keep you dry and comfortable during unexpected rain showers or gusty winds.

Layering for versatility

Gravel bike touring often involves changing temperatures and weather conditions, so it’s essential to dress in layers for versatility. Start with a moisture-wicking baselayer to regulate body temperature and keep sweat at bay. Follow it up with a mid-layer, such as a lightweight and breathable cycling jersey or jacket, to provide insulation. Finally, top it off with a windproof and waterproof outer shell to protect against the elements.


Choosing the right clothing for gravel bike touring is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable adventure. Prioritize durability, comfort, and protection from the elements when selecting your attire. Don’t forget to dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions during your all-terrain journey.

Nutrition and hydration for long rides

When embarking on cross-country, adventure, or touring rides with your gravel bike, nutrition and hydration play a crucial role in keeping you fueled and focused throughout the journey. Whether you’re bikepacking for days on end or going for a long day ride, it’s important to have a well-planned approach to what you eat and drink during your ride.

Plan your meals and snacks

Before setting off on your long gravel ride, take some time to plan out your meals and snacks. Opt for foods that are easy to pack and won’t spoil quickly. High-energy options like energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, and jerky can provide the necessary fuel to keep you going. Don’t forget to pack enough food to last you for the duration of your ride, including some extra snacks for emergencies.

Stay hydrated

Proper hydration is essential for maintaining performance and avoiding fatigue during long rides. Make sure to have a sufficient amount of water bottles or a hydration pack to carry enough fluids with you. It’s recommended to drink regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty, as thirst is often not a reliable indicator of dehydration. Consider adding electrolyte tablets or powder to your water to replenish electrolytes lost through perspiration.

Tip: On hot days or during intense rides, it’s best to start hydrating before you even feel thirsty.

In addition to water, you may also want to bring along some sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes to provide an extra boost of energy and help prevent cramping.

Tip: Don’t rely solely on water sources you find along the way, especially if you’re riding in remote areas where water availability may be limited or questionable in terms of quality.

While it’s important to stay hydrated, avoid overhydrating as well. Drinking too much water without balancing it with electrolytes can lead to hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is too low.

Note: Always listen to your body and adjust your hydration strategy accordingly.

By planning your meals and snacks and staying properly hydrated, you’ll be able to enjoy your long gravel bike rides to the fullest. Remember to take breaks to refuel and check your water levels regularly. Happy touring!

Common challenges during gravel bike touring

Gravel bike touring rides offer a unique and thrilling adventure for cyclists who love long-distance travel. However, this type of bikepacking on a gravel bicycle comes with its own set of challenges. Whether you are a seasoned touring cyclist or new to the world of off-road adventure, it is essential to be aware of potential obstacles and plan accordingly.

1. All-terrain capabilities

A common challenge during gravel bike touring is the need for a bicycle that can handle various types of terrain. Gravel roads can vary greatly in terms of roughness, surface conditions, and elevation changes. It is crucial to choose a gravel bike that is equipped with wide, knobby tires and robust suspension to navigate these challenging off-road conditions.

2. Mechanical issues

While touring on gravel, the risk of encountering mechanical problems with your bike is higher than on paved roads. The combination of long distances, rough terrain, and added weight from gear and supplies can put more strain on your bike’s components. Carry a comprehensive tool kit, spare parts, and extra tubes to address any unforeseen mechanical challenges that may arise.

Pro tip: Regular maintenance and pre-trip checks are essential to reduce the likelihood of mechanical problems during your gravel bike tour.

It’s important to remember that gravel bike touring presents unique challenges compared to traditional road touring. Being prepared for all-terrain conditions and potential mechanical issues will ensure a smoother and more enjoyable adventure. So gear up, plan your route, and embark on an unforgettable gravel bike touring experience!

Best gravel bike routes around the world

If you’re looking for long, all-terrain, off-road routes for cross-country rides, bikepacking adventures, or gravel touring, there are numerous options around the world that are worth exploring. These routes offer breathtaking scenery, challenging terrains, and unforgettable experiences for gravel bike enthusiasts.

1. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (United States): This legendary route spans over 2,700 miles from Canada to Mexico, taking riders through the stunning Rocky Mountains. It’s a true test of endurance and offers a mix of gravel, dirt roads, and forest trails.

2. Silk Road Mountain Race (Kyrgyzstan): This 1,700-kilometer race takes riders through the rugged landscapes of Kyrgyzstan, following ancient trade routes. With its challenging climbs, high-altitude passes, and remote wilderness, it’s an adventure of a lifetime for gravel enthusiasts.

3. Carretera Austral (Chile): Located in southern Chile, this 1,240-kilometer route takes riders through untouched Patagonian landscapes. With its mix of gravel and paved sections, it offers stunning views of glaciers, fjords, and mountains.

4. The Transcontinental Race (Europe): Known as one of the toughest self-supported bike races in the world, this cross-Europe route covers over 3,500 kilometers. Riders traverse multiple countries, challenging terrains, and diverse landscapes, making it an ultimate gravel bikepacking adventure.

5. Cape Epic (South Africa): Although primarily a mountain bike race, the Cape Epic route offers an incredible off-road experience for gravel bike riders. The 8-day stage race covers approximately 700 kilometers of challenging terrains, including scenic trails through the Western Cape region.

6. The Colorado Trail (United States): Stretching for 486 miles across the state of Colorado, this trail offers a mix of singletrack, dirt roads, and jeep tracks. It crosses through the picturesque Colorado Rockies, offering breathtaking views and remote wilderness.

7. The Munda Biddi Trail (Australia): Spanning over 1,000 kilometers in Western Australia, this trail is perfect for gravel touring and bikepacking adventures. It takes riders through stunning forests, coastal landscapes, and charming country towns.

8. Lake Baikal (Russia): Located in Siberia, Lake Baikal is the deepest and oldest freshwater lake in the world. A ride around its scenic shores offers gravel riders a unique adventure, with picturesque landscapes, pristine nature, and the opportunity for wild camping.

9. Old Ghost Road (New Zealand): This 85-kilometer trail in New Zealand is known for its epic gravel riding. It traverses through remote wilderness, ancient forest, and rugged mountain landscapes, offering a challenging and rewarding experience for off-road enthusiasts.

10. The Algarve Bikepacking Route (Portugal): This 1,000-kilometer route in the southern region of Portugal showcases the stunning coastal and inland landscapes of the Algarve. Riders can expect a mix of gravel tracks, quiet roads, and scenic trails, making it a perfect destination for gravel bikepacking adventures.

Whether you’re seeking a cross-country adventure, a challenging race, or simply a scenic gravel tour, these routes offer some of the best experiences for gravel bike riders. So, grab your gravel bike, plan your next adventure, and start exploring the world on two wheels!

Testimonials from experienced gravel bike tourers

  • “I’ve taken my gravel bike on multiple bikepacking trips, and it has exceeded my expectations. It handles all types of terrain with ease – from smooth gravel paths to rugged off-road trails. The versatility and durability of this bike make it the perfect choice for any adventure.” – John, experienced bikepacker
  • “I’ve been touring on my gravel bike for years, and it continues to impress me. With its sturdy frame and wide tires, it handles long rides on all types of surfaces, from pavement to gravel to dirt. It’s the ideal all-terrain bicycle for anyone looking to explore off the beaten path.” – Sarah, seasoned bicycle tourer
  • “Gravel biking is all about adventure, and my gravel bike delivers. Whether I’m taking it on day trips or multi-day tours, it never disappoints. The bike’s stability, comfort, and ability to tackle any surface make it my go-to choice for off-road exploration.” – Mark, avid gravel rider
  • “I’ve tried a few different bikes for gravel riding, and none compare to my gravel bike for touring. Its lightweight design and responsive handling make it a joy to ride, while its rugged construction ensures it can withstand tough trail conditions. It’s the perfect companion for any off-road adventure.” – Emily, gravel bike enthusiast
  • “After hours of research, I decided to go with a gravel bike for my cross-country tour, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The bike’s versatility and reliability have been crucial during my long-distance journey. It’s the ultimate companion for exploring new roads while staying comfortable and in control.” – Mike, experienced tourer

If these testimonials are anything to go by, it’s clear that a gravel bike is the best choice for all types of off-road adventure, including bikepacking, touring, and cross-country rides. So, why wait? Get yourself a gravel bike and start exploring the world on two wheels!