The best bikepacking tires will hold up well against your chosen terrain for miles and days on end. While bikepacking bikes come in all shapes and sizes, the need for perfect tires will always remain a constant. Of course, there is no perfect tire for every situation so it's important to find the best bikepacking tires for the riding you want to do.
Tires are your connection to the landscape and your primary suspension system, so it's important to get them right for your specific needs, and whatever it is you need, there's a manufacturer who has something. With options for every situation and type of landscape, the choice can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. We've looked for options that can handle a wide range of situations and fit a wide range of bikes.
Scroll down to see Bike Perfect's roundup of the best bikepacking tires that will help you finish whatever trip you start: plenty of grip, plenty of protection, and a comfortable ride.
Best bikepacking tires
The Specialized Pathfinder Pro is a fast off-road tire. If your bikepacking route is going to be a mix of gravel roads and pavement this is a good option. Without any large tread blocks it won't do well on singletrack but it will reward the rider with high average cruising speeds. The slick center section will handle forward movement without much resistance. When it's time to lean into a corner there's just enough to grip at the edges to keep things feeling sure on light gravel. If you are going to be rolling a lot of miles on fast country roads, there are few tires with a better efficiency index.
The Touareg is a tire designed so that it can seamlessly transition between pavement and gravel. The tread design centers around lots of small blocks. It's a design borrowed from the Hutchinson Overide but further developed for off-road performance. Using lots of small, compact blocks hits that sweet spot where it's useable on-road but still has lots of off-road capability. There are more aggressive tires out there but the Touareg is about feeling comfortable with change. If you have a bikepacking route that isn't too technical but don't want to worry about the unexpected, this is a great option.
The WTB Venture keeps the trend of heading towards more off-road focused tires but it's still capable on road. As you are planning your trip, decide where you want the tire to perform and it's as easy as adjusting air pressure. At low pressures, the aggressive edge blocks will see you through even the fastest corners on dry, slippery, dirt and gravel roads. There's no truly slick center, so even while climbing you've got the grip you need. When it's time to head back to civilization, air up and you can completely transform the feel. With an extra 10 psi you've got a completely capable, although somewhat heavy, road tire.
If you need to deal with wet, muddy, off-road riding you need deep enough tread blocks to do it. The WTB Resolute is a tire designed to handle riding when you need some serious traction but it also considers the need for on-road riding. It's always going to be heavy on-road but clever block placement makes it usable. The noise isn't overwhelming and the tires don't squirm on paved descents. Even with the on-road concessions, the ability of the Resolute to handle steep climbs on wet, slick, trails will surprise you. As long as there's a size for you these are tires you can keep on your bike no matter the terrain or season.
The Rambler has existed for a few years now, but Maxxis recently introduced a 50mm version. If you've got the space for a tire that wide, Maxxis has a tire for you with a close-spaced mix of rough top crosses and depressed bricks. The shoulders feature ramped L knobs and siped mini-MTB blocks.
For protection, riders can choose from two carcass options: either Maxxis's standard EXO or SilkShield. The Silkshield carcass is tougher but not without drawbacks: the thicker rubber means riders need to lower their pressure for a smooth, responsive ride. On the other hand, the EXO version is more supple and compliant at higher pressures and lighter.
The Rhombus is one of Specialized's latest gravel tires as well as coming standard on the brand's Diverge Evo. The Evo is a flat-bar version of the flagship Diverge gravel bike. It's meant for the roughest trails and gives a clue to the nature of the tire.
If you are expecting variable off-road conditions then the Rhombus is worth a look. The center tread consists of tightly packed siped knobs in a varying arrowhead design. At the edge of the tire there are bigger square-edge knobs. The carcass is 60tpi to protect from sidewall slashes. This tire is for riders who aren't afraid to take their gravel bikepacking setup on terrain most riders reserve for mountain bikes.
Recently updated with skinwalls and the company’s new Graphene 2.0 compound, the Vittoria Mezcal is a truly beautiful tire. There are options for tan or black sidewalls for bike customization as well as an expansive choice of sizes. Despite being primarily a tire for cross-country-style mountain bikes, there are wider 2.6-inch options for trail riders. There's even a 700c size available for drop-bar bikes. Whatever size sounds good to you, you'll get the same clever center tread design, as well as the low profile and tightly spaced design that transitions well from loose to hard pack and even dirt to pavement.
Parent company Trek describes the Bontrager XR4 as an all-around, do-it-all trail tire. To back it up they've included an aggressively designed tread pattern with evenly spaced knobblies. It's a design aimed at dry and loose conditions unconcerned with shrugging off rocks. Despite the big traction and sidewall protection, the weight has been well controlled. The low weight, high TPI, and smart placement of center lugs make for a relatively smooth, fast-rolling tire. These are perfect tires for covering big miles when bikepacking with a mountain bike, as long as you expect mostly clear skies.
- Bikepacking essentials: our tips to get ready for a bikepacking adventure
- Lightweight bikepacking: top tips to save weight on your bikepacking rig
Best bikepacking tires: what you need to know
1. Get Your Pressure Right
Enve has done extensive testing and has one of the best tire pressure charts in the industry. It doesn't matter if you have Enve wheels or not, if you want to know how much pressure to run consult its chart. When it comes to bikepacking they recommend two changes.
One of the variables in the pressure equation is weight. When bikepacking that means you should make sure to add the weight of the load to the rider weight to get a correct recommendation. Beyond the weight, where it is located also matters. Consider front-to-back weight distribution. If the majority of the weight is being added to the front, or rear, then consider running a different pressure with that weight in mind.
2. Don’t compromise toughness
When it comes to bikepacking you should prioritize puncture resistance over all-out speed. It's kind of a hassle to deal with a punctured tire on any given day, but it's a significantly bigger hassle to attend to one on a fully loaded bikepacking rig. Bikepacking means you are more likely to subject your tires to rubber-shredding terrain. If you were to have a serious issue, being in the backcountry means the potential for more serious consequences.
With all that in mind, make sure you use a tough tire. Look for something that has good sidewall protection and a sturdy center tread. If it ends up being a little heavier, that's okay given that it's going on a fully loaded bike.
3. Prioritize Stability
Along with puncture protection, you want to look for extra stability as well. It's kind of the same balance discussion. Typically, you'd want to find a tire with enough grip but not too much. The larger tread blocks meant for faster riding make for more traction in mud, or loose dirt. Those same features make for a slower tire.
When it comes to bikepacking you want to really prioritize stability over speed. A loaded bike is already going to have degraded handling. The last thing you want to add to that is a tire that doesn't have enough grip. If larger tread blocks slow you a bit it's going to be a small price to pay for feeling secure with a loaded-up bike.