Essential apps for bikepacking: turn your phone into the ultimate riding buddy

Bikepacker checking phone during ride
(Image credit: Getty)

A phone can be a bikepacker's best friend, and loading yours up with the right apps in advance can make your expedition a whole lot easier. Whether it's planning your route, checking the weather, or getting advice on how to change an inner tube, there's an app to help.

Of course, you'll need data connectivity to get live updates or download maps and videos, so you'll only be able to use some of these apps in areas with cellular connectivity. Thankfully, apps like YouTube and Komoot allow you to download content so you can access it offline.

For advice on other devices to make bikepacking a breeze, see our guide to must-have bikepacking tech.


Komoot isn't just one of the best navigation apps for hiking, it's also superb for bikepacking. It makes it easy to plot a route on a mobile device or your desktop computer, taking into consideration the terrain, gradient, and overall difficulty, then provides turn-by-turn directions on your phone. Alternatively, you can export the route as a GPX file to follow on your bike computer or GPX watch. You can also plan a route around certain landmarks and popular sightseeing spots to make the most of your expedition.

Download Komoot for iOS
Download Komoot for Android

Komoot app screenshot

Komoot makes it straightforward to plan bikepacking routes, or follow ones created by other people (Image credit: Komoot)


Sometimes it's hard to describe an exact location, particularly if there are no big landmarks or street intersections around. What3words is an ingenious service that splits the entire world into 10ft x 10ft squares, and assigns each of them a set of three words. The app lets you find the what3words reference for your current location, or navigate to one. It's particularly handy in emergencies, or if you're traveling to a campsite in a remote area.

Download what3words for iOS
Download what3words for Android

Screengrab from what3words app

What3words makes it easy to tell others exactly where you are, even in the middle of nowhere (Image credit: what3words)


There's no shortage of weather apps available for iPhone or Android, but WeatherBug is one of the best. Not only does it provide you with free 10-day forecasts, it also gives you the pollen count (great for allergy sufferers), heat index (so you can plan your clothing and hydration), wind chill (so you can choose your layers), and even a lightning map so you know if it's wise to take shelter. For $10 a year, you can get rid of ads too.

Download WeatherBug for iOS
Download WeatherBug for Android

Weatherbug app screenshot

Weatherbug is one of the most comprehensive free weather apps around (Image credit: Weatherbug)


If you have a mechanical problem on the road, and you're not sure what to do, there's almost certainly a YouTube video to help. The guys and girls at GCN have some particularly good guides, including how to change an inner tube quickly, how to stop your disc brakes rubbing, and how to remove tubeless bike tires from your wheel rim. Before you head out, you might also like to check out some of the guides from my friends at Cycling Weekly, who can show you how to puncture proof your tires and how to set up your bike for bad weather.

Download YouTube for iOS
Download YouTube for Android

Cycling Weekly channel on YouTube app

YouTube is packed with guides to help you solve common problems (Image credit: Future)

This article is part of Advnture's Bikepacking Week 2023 (running from Monday 22 to Sunday 28 May), our ultimate guide to adventuring on two wheels including essential advice, gear, and features to help you plan the perfect expedition.

Cat Ellis

Cat is Homes Editor at TechRadar and former editor of Advnture. She's been a journalist for 15 years, and cut her teeth on magazines before moving online. She helps readers choose the right tech for their home, get the best deals, and do more with their new devices.