Home Cycling 8 steps to the ultimate bothy bikepacking adventure

8 steps to the ultimate bothy bikepacking adventure

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If you’re anything like us, you’ve been meaning to do this trip for quite some time, and one day you just give up and get started. But now we’re giving you an extra push. Here’s how you can make your own trip to the ultimate bothy bikepacking adventure a success.

Without doubt, the best place to ride in the UK is on the moors—and that includes the most extreme of all. For those who want to get a taste of the real deal, there’s no better place to ride than the Yorkshire and Cumbria Moors (Y&CM).

We all love the idea of beating the weather, hitting the road and blasting off in pursuit of that elusive ‘adventure’ bikepacking trip. All fine and dandy, but the reality of ‘bothies’ (as they’re known to hardcore bikers) is that they’re not all that easy to find, and often require a reasonable amount of planning to get the most out of them.. Read more about best bikepacking routes in the world and let us know what you think.

You may have the bothy to yourself, or you may end up sharing – either way, it's all part of the fun

You may get the bothy to yourself, or you might have to share – either way, it’s all part of the adventure. Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

Staying in a bothy is the perfect mini adventure for mountain bikers.

Mountain bikers will love staying in a bothy as a little adventure. Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

There are many companies producing gear and products to allow you to stash gear on your bike

Many businesses provide gear and items that enable you to store your belongings on your bike. Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

Bikepacking gives you the chance to get out into the wild, be self sufficient, and share adventure with friends

Bikepacking allows you to go out into the wilderness, be self-sufficient, and have fun with others. Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

Bothies are looked after by the volunteers of the Mountain Bothy Association, so if you stay you should look to make a donation - or even join!

The Mountain Bothy Association volunteers care after bothies, so if you stay, consider making a contribution – or even joining! Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

Relax, chat and catch up with friends over some good food and the tipple of your choice

Relax, talk, and catch up with friends over some delicious cuisine and your preferred beverage. Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

A couple of candles and a fire make for a cosy atmosphere

A pleasant environment is created with a couple of candles and a fire. Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

Dinner time! It's worth preparing your food so you have less chopping and peeling to do when you get to the bothy

It’s time for dinner! It’s good prepping your food ahead of time so you don’t have to do as much chopping and peeling when you arrive to the bothy. Immediate Media / Anthony Pease

If you want to go on a real outdoor camping trip on your bike but don’t have weeks to spare, bothy bikepacking is the ideal option. Rather of sleeping beneath the stars or under canvas, you spend the night in a secluded alpine cabin. It’s one of those things that sounds like a lot of fun but never really occurs for us. As a result, we decided to stop talking about it and really attempt it.

Adding a great aspect of adventure to a ride by turning it into a two (or more!) day excursion, being self-sufficient, and carrying all you need, including food. Of course, the weight you save by not having to carry a tent may be used towards other things, such as cheese and wine.

Step 1: Locate a bothy

The Mountain Bothies Association maintains a number of bothies throughout the UK, mostly in Wales, Scotland, and the north of England, and they are all maintained by volunteers.

You don’t have to be a member of the Mountain Bothies Association to use one, and you also don’t have to book one. This means there’s a chance you’ll come to discover other people staying there, which is all part of the fun.

We set off for Moel Prysgau, a bothy in the Towy Forest deep in the Welsh woods.

Another advantage of utilizing a bothy is that you don’t need to bring a tent, and even if the weather is bad, you’ll have four walls and a roof over your head.

Because the Mountain Bothies Association is completely a nonprofit organization, we recommend that if you utilize a bothy as part of a trip, you consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

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You may get the bothy to yourself, or you might have to share – either way, it’s all part of the adventure.

You may get the bothy to yourself, or you might have to share – either way, it’s all part of the adventure.

Step 2: Put on your gear.

You’ll need a stove, fuel, something to cook with, as much water as possible, and water purifying tablets, as well as a spork, plate, cup, headtorch, warm clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and perhaps a tent, tarp, or bivvy in case the bothy is full.

Wildcat Gear, for example, makes great harnesses that let you to attach a dry bag full of gear to your handlebars, frame, or saddle. Bike packing gear that attaches to the frame, seat post, and handlebars is becoming more popular.

Wildcat Gear Tiger Saddle Harness is a related product.

We used our normal 160mm trail bikes, but since we took a very easy route, we thought hardtails or even rigid fat bikes would be better choices for longer rides because there’s less to go wrong.

Step 3: Decide on what to eat and drink.

There’s a lot of food to take for two days: two meals, an evening supper, breakfast… At the very least, a hipflask of your favorite libation should be included (if not a whole bladder of wine as we did).

Keep this in mind while you evaluate your options. Dry meals, such as spaghetti or noodles, perform well, rather than wet components or bread-like items. We chose chicken fajitas, which were delicious but heavy on the tortillas.

You may also choose for sealed packages of pre-prepared adventure meals. These can be found at many camping stores, but we couldn’t say how they compare to freshly cooked fajitas… which were wonderful!

Another great idea is to prepare your meals ahead of time so you aren’t chopping things up in cramped conditions. It also means you may start cooking as soon as the stove is turned on.

Remember that you’ll have to carry it all, so figure out how much food you’ll need ahead of time. Fortunately, as you consume it, your pack will get lighter.

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It’s time for dinner! It’s good prepping your food ahead of time so you don’t have to do as much chopping and peeling when you arrive to the bothy.

It’s time for dinner! It’s good prepping your food ahead of time so you don’t have to do as much chopping and peeling when you arrive to the bothy.

Step 4: Adjust your bike’s configuration

To compensate for the extra weight of camping gear, you’ll need to add air to your suspension and tyres.

While bags may be loaded, the heavier they are, the more difficult it will be to sit on your saddle. Loading as much as you can on the bike offers benefits since the weight is not carried by your back. However, if you add too much, your bike will handle like a dog. You’ll most likely want to play around with this!

Step 5: Decide on a path.

Even if you load yourself and your bike properly, your bike will eventually become less nimble than normal.

When you reach deep muddy puddles, handlebar mounted bags are great for sleeping bags and sleeping mats, but they may make it much easier to go over the bars!

For your first journey, it’s best to go for a mellow route rather than the most technical thing you can find, since this will enable you to get a better sense of how the bike behaves on the trail.

A mellower path also allows you to easily switch out the dropper post for a static seatpost and utilize a saddlepack, distributing the weight more equally between the bike and the rider.

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Many businesses provide gear and items that enable you to store your belongings on your bike.

Step 6: Decide where you want to travel!

Don’t forget to bring your map! It’s also a good idea to inform someone at home about your plans and when you anticipate to return, just in case.

Because there is no phone connection in some rural locations, having someone who knows where you are may be very useful in the case of an emergency or bike breakdown.

Step 7 – Etiquette in bothies

You’ll need time to set up your sleeping gear and begin preparing supper once you get at your bothy. Bothies provide a variety of amenities, which are all mentioned on the Mountain Bothy Association’s website so you know what to anticipate.

It’s likely that you’ll be sharing your bothy with others, which is part of the experience, but you may find it fully filled when you arrive.

If this is the case, you’ll need to either move on to another bothy if possible, or sleep outdoors unless you’re within striking distance of a ride home. It’s recommended bringing a light bivvy sack or tarp with you to sleep beneath in case something occurs. Everyone is allowed to stay inside till night.

Whatever the scenario is on the night you leave, don’t forget to take anything you took with you, including trash and any food that hasn’t been consumed. Perishables will attract mice and rats, making the bothy a less pleasant environment for the next guest.

It’s also a good idea to bring any wood or kindling inside to dry before the next guest arrives.

Step 8 – Eat, drink, and be merry (but don’t forget to get up early!)

There’s not much to do in a bothy besides laugh hysterically with your pals, play cards, drink a few (or a lot, depending on how many you brought in!) beverages, and sleep.

Even if you’ve rode this route many times before, the additional aspect of being self-sufficient for two days makes for a fantastic mini-adventure.

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Relax, talk, and catch up with friends over some delicious cuisine and your preferred beverage.

You can’t beat waking up to see the dawn, particularly if you travel in the spring or fall when the sun rises at a more reasonable hour.

Overall, we can’t suggest a bothy-based backpacking trip highly enough if you like escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life on your mountain bike. It’s surprisingly doable over the course of a weekend, and it’s the ideal way to spend some quality time with friends.

I don’t usually blog about things like this, but after years of not being able to get the bikepacking bug to bite, I’ve decided to take the plunge this year. I’ve got quite a few ideas for my bikepacking in the UK trip, including how to tackle the famous Beast from the East, so I thought I’d share my ideas with you in this blog post. [image: ]. Read more about bikepacking isle of skye and let us know what you think.

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