Are you thinking about tackling a Backcountry Discovery Route for the first time? It doesn’t matter which specific one; if that’s something you see in your future, then you may want to take a look at YouTuber Dork in the Road’s newest video. He and some riding buddies recently did a BDR—and of course, with experience comes greater knowledge.
Upon reflection, he realized that he’d overpacked in some areas—which is something he went into greater detail about in a separate video. That’s going to happen no matter what type of trip you take, because if you’re the type of person who likes to plan, chances are good that you’re also the type of person who finds yourself overplanning (believe me, I know all about that).
Since he felt like he learned more than just about which things to pack and which to leave home, he decided to share eight of those things in this handy video, which is under 10 minutes long. The first and most important thing is, talk to the locals if you can. It may seem obvious, but local information about good places to eat or stay, as well as routes that may be impassable, and so on is the kind of stuff you just can’t get anywhere else.
Sometimes, of course, that’s easier said than done—especially if you’re not a person who really likes talking to strangers all that much. That’s why it’s good to travel with at least one other riding buddy—because hopefully you each have different skill sets (like talking to random people) that can complement each other and make you stronger as a team. (That and, of course, it’s nice to have someone to chat with at camp.)
Another important tip that DITR noted is that you’ll have the chance to pick up provisions along the way. You’re not summiting Mount Everest; you’re going on an established BDR, which likely has built-in stops for fuel (at the very least). Most places that have fuel also have other things—like snacks, actual food, water, and even bathrooms. Since you can likely top up those things when you stop for fuel, it’s not necessary to pack like you won’t see civilization for the next month.
DITR also phrases another tip in his list as “some luxuries are essential,” and that’s where he talks about his permethrin-sprayed clothes (to ward off mosquitoes), as well as his camp table.
Since everyone has different pain points and deal-breakers, it stands to reason that everyone’s going to have different items they deem essential/not essential when they’re out camping. For example, if you’ve got back issues, and a foldable camp table is going to make your life at camp immeasurably better, don’t let anyone else talk you out of bringing it because it’s ‘not essential.’ They’re not the ones who will have to ride in pain the next day, are they? You should do what makes your BDR better for you.
These are just some of the tips that DITR advises, and you can see all of them if you watch this video. The very last one is also solid, and it’s a reminder that the BDR is mostly about the ride, not the camping.
You will likely camp along the way, but it’s primarily set up to be about the challenges of the ride—so that's the part you should concentrate on. Don’t worry too much about having all the perfect camping gear, because chances are excellent that you’re just going to roll into camp, get your stuff together well enough to rest for the night, and then pack up and ride out the next morning.