Is it better to have a front rack or a rear rack? I’ve been bike camping some lately, and it’d be nice not to have to wear the backpack, especially in the summertime. Mostly light off-road, no heavy stuff, but everything will get shaken around some. I’m riding an old steel MTB, it’s got eyelets at the rear dropouts and by the seat cluster, no lowrider eyelets though.
I think you need a rear rack at the minimum, and should have both. A tent can’t really go on the front, it’s just too long. I have Tubus racks, panniers on the front, the tent and random light stuff strapped on the back, and a handlebar bag. I have eyelets on the fork, but you can get front racks that mount on the brake posts. You could put the bags on the back too, but I wouldn’t.
I got out on my MTB for a week sometimes, and I have neither a front nor a rear rack. The only racks I have are two cargo cages on the forks. You can load a lot of gear without them: get a frame bag, a big saddlebag, and something to hang off the handebars, you’re cool.