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Bikepacking Wales, by Emma Kingston, is an extremely informative and very useful book if you're looking for a weekend's adventure. With routes from all over Wales and truly impressive levels of detail about them, it's a brilliant place to start looking for adventures across the country.
The book contains 18 varied routes across four different areas: west, south, mid and north Wales. Length and difficulty are handily denoted in the key, grading the routes from blue (easy) to red (medium) and finally black (hard). There's a handy recommendation for the best sort of bike for each route, too.
One of my favourite features is the fantastic knowledge of local places to eat at, stay at or visit. This really makes planning very easy. You're even given contact numbers, where they're available, plus info on train stations, bike paths, alternative routes, nearby bike parks and more. The maps are incredibly detailed.
Handy infographics break down key details such as surface types by percentage and the elevation. For each route you'll find coordinates for the start and finish points, along with key words to use when finding the area, on Google maps and the like.
Kingston provides comprehensive advice on preparation and kit, including full recommended pack lists, what style of bags to go for and what to put where. This makes the book very beginner-proof and a handy guide when embarking on your first trip into the wilderness.
The pictures throughout really complement the routes, and make for very appealing and engaging viewing. It really gives a sense of what is to come, and they highlight some of the best bits of each route.
Another great feature is being able to download GPX files from the links in the book. Plenty of guide books include these now, and it makes life so much easier than having to trace routes across from paper to digital format. The only issue I found was with the QR codes – on my phone, an iPhone 12, I just got an error every time – but as the routes are all easily accessed via the website, listed in the book, it proved a minor issue. It's all clearly explained and easy to use, too.
Bikepacking Wales comes in at £20, which feels very reasonable for the bountiful content inside – the detail and knowledge here far outperforms anything that can be found online, and it can feel very nice to get back to some paper maps to plan over.
My personal favourite has to be the route around the Gower, which proved easy to get to, great fun to ride, and blessed with as many pubs as beautiful views! It, like this book, is highly recommended.
Packed with detailed knowledge and insight, this is a brilliant way to find adventure in Wales
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bikepacking Wales by Emma Kingston
Size tested: Paperback
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Adventure Books says: "Bikepacking Wales by Emma Kingston contains 18 multi-day mountain bike adventures across Wales. Each route includes a route description, points of interest along the route, food recommendations and accommodation options, in addition to stunning photography and overview mapping. Downloadable GPX files of the routes are also available."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
About the author:
Emma Kingston is a writer, teacher, route creator and self-confessed map geek living in Bristol. She took up bikepacking when she realised it meant that she could stay out and ride her bike for longer, take the time to explore interesting places off-route and eat an outrageous amount of ice cream. Specialising in mountain biking, she has travelled extensively around the UK, Europe and further afield in search of ever more flowing singletrack. After publishing her first book – Bikepacking England – in 2021, Emma jumped at the chance to share her favourite trails over the border in Wales, resulting in her latest book, Bikepacking Wales. @emma.outdoors
A brilliant book with fantastic knowledge of many great routes.
Very well. It was easy to find routes and get stuck into exploring them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The range of routes, all distinct from each other.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I couldn't get the QR codes to work on my iPhone.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A brilliant, informative book that really allows you to plan great bikepacking trips in Wales. It gives you all the information you could want and is very easy to understand. Minor tech issues with the QR codes aside, this is fantastic – a 10 if the QR codes work for you.
About the tester
I usually ride: Windover Bostal My best bike is: Windover Bostal
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb, Gravel and ultra-endurance racing