At JustMTB, we've always been into adventure. In fact it's the whole premise behind what we do - sharing some of our favourite adventures with you and turning them into trips of a lifetime. Over the years, we've embarked on an array of personal and work related adventures, from heli biking, float planes shuttles, 3 hour hike a bikes searching for ridge line trails, riding through snowy blizzards, overnighting at 7000 feet in European refuges, meeting bears and riding more ski lifts than we can remember. One thing we hadn't really tried though was bike packing.
It seems bike packing has been taking everywhere outside of New Zealand by storm the last few years, it hasn't really taken off here as of yet, but it's slowly growing. For those who haven't heard of the term, bikepacking essentially involves a ride with an overnight or multiple overnight stops and carrying all your required kit. We thought we'd better get out and see what all the fuss was about.
Embarking into the wilderness, kit packed into bags and strapped to bikes JustMTB's New Zealand bike packing was go! We're always amazed at the beautiful places bikes take us to, and every time we make it to South Island we're always blown away. Yes I know we live here, we should be used to stunning landscapes, snowcapped mountains etc, but truthfully, it never ever gets old! Anyway, day 1 was a stunner.
The idea behind bike packing in my mind is to travel as light as possible. Hence we try to aim to stay in huts and cabins in the mountains rather than carry tents and all the paraphernalia that goes with it. The benefit of travelling light means your bike feels like a bike to ride and not a tank - so you can still enjoy the ride. When considering overnight needs, it can pay to invest in some good quality kit. A small light sleeping bag, merino thermals, a lightweight gas cooker and plenty of dehydrated food ticks all our boxes and means an evening spent staying warm and consuming warm and surprisingly tasty meals!
The huts are fairly basic, there's no wifi out here. It's a mattress, a roof over your head, a basic toilet and some water. And do you know what? No one complained about not having Sky TV - it's part of an amazing and slightly primitive experience, but guaranteed one you will remember for years to come.
So having completed a successful New Zealand bike packing trip, the question is was it worth it? Well, we loved it so much that we're overnight options into all our future Alpine South Tours. Having gone back to basics in the backcountry, we feel it's something everyone should have the opportunity to experience, especially in a safe country devoid of all sorts of predators such as New Zealand.