As I got my bikepacking setup dialed in for this trip, I had a few things to figure out. I ride a small frame fatbike with a tiny inner triangle that doesn’t fit much gear. The frame bag is the size of a woman’s clutch. I can barely fit 100 oz water bladder in the frame bag. I needed two days worth of water to drink and cook and three days of food. Most guys were bringing over 200 oz. Plus I needed to survive in 30ºF to 65ºF and I am a cold weather wimp! I wanted to sleep comfortably at night.
With Bobby’s help and imagination at District Bicycles, I used hose clamps to attach Salsa Anything Cages to my frame to carry more clothes and water. I protected the frame with old pieces of tubes. The terrain was extremely bumpy and the cages didn’t budge. In fact, I had no major gear or mechanical issues. The one issue I did have was with the food. I ate a lot of nut butters and trail mix. That made my stomach pretty unhappy. Next time I am going to bring more real foods, including fruits and vegetables even though it’s a bit heavier. After Moab, I stashed apple slices and carrots in my bag and felt much better.
I used a Contrail Tarptent. The pluses were
- it has tons of room and kept everything dry through two rainy nights.
- it sets up and breaks down pretty quick.
- it dries quickly.
- it packs very small and is about 1.5 lbs.
The drawbacks were
- It has to be set up perfectly to keep out rain (takes practice). Luckily I only got a few drops in my tent, but it took me longer to set up than the other guys
- It must be staked, so rock, hard ground or too soft ground can be an issue, but this too all worked out OK for me.
- There was a lot of condensation on cold nights, but I looked to be in better shape than the guys in bivys.
All in all I really liked this tent and it served me well. I stayed dry and comfortable. I will be using it more in the future. I do want to try out the Moment too.
Here is a video showing my bike and supplies and there is a gear list below. Enjoy!
Bikepacking Gear List:
Bags and storage:
- Salsa Beargrease – small
- Revelate Designs Frame Bags: Viscacha seat bag, 2 fuel tanks, frame bag, 2 feed bags, handlebar harness, front pocket
- 3 Salsa Anything Cages
- 1 20L Ultralight Sea to Summit Dry sack on handlebars (a little bigger than I needed)
- 2 8L Sea to Summit Dry Sacks on forks
- 2L pop bottle on downtube for water
- Wingnut Hyper 3.0 backpack
Handlebar Harness held the 20L dry bag; dry bag contents:
- Contrail Tarptent, stakes and 4 oz pole
- Thermarest sleeping pad
- Arc’teryx Atom Jacket (love this – super warm, light and packable)
- Marmot Beanie
- Camp Headlight
Front Pocket contents:
- 3 small plastic squeeze bottles for sunscreen, butt butter and chain lube
- 2 headlights
- 2 Colgate wisp toothbrushes (worthless, use a small toothbrush and tiny tube of paste)
- Via instant coffee packets
- 2 bags of trail mix
- 4 extra batteries (didn’t use)
- extra baggies
- beef Jerky in a baggie
- lip Balm
- extra Justin’s Nut Butters (good, nutritious calories)
- extra Kind Bars
Dry Bags on Fork contents:
Right – Camp Clothes
- extra thin wool socks (if needed)
- thick wool socks
- soft cotton mix underwear
- wool mix thermal long underwear (legs)
- rain pants (added extra layer to keep in heat at night)
Left Warmer Riding Clothes
- long sleeve jersey
- ear cover
- windproof gloves
- rain jacket
- leg warmers
- shoe covers (used once, didn’t need)
- 25 oz water bottles
- side pockets for trash
- sometimes I’d move lip balm to side pocket for easy access
- 100oz water bladder
- tool bag with
- tire lever
- tire patches
- tire plugs
- air pump
Pop bottle on down tube for water (terrible for pictures, need to dress up if used again; but lightweight!)
- Phantom 45º sleeping bag
- Power Monkey solar charger (battery inside, panels on outside top)
- Optimus Crux Cookset (borrowed, missing frypanpan lid) all in one small bag
- MSR fuel cannister
- plastic spoon
- socks in pan to keep from rattling
- Dried dinner foods for 3 nights
- 2 bags trail mix
- fat innertube
- DSLR – large full-frame camera
- Hot hands (came in very handy! I put them by my feet at night and stayed warm.)
- wires to charge phone, Garmin and headlight
- used outside webbing to carry wet gloves to let dry
On me – riding clothes
- cycling cap
- glasses (wore my regular prescription glasses all week)
- Adventure Monkey bibs and jersey
- wool baselayer – top (wore all week, riding and camping)
- cycling knickers – blocked wind kept legs comfortable, hid lycra in town
- wool socks
- PI cycling shoes
- cycling gloves
If you are thinking of bikepacking, and you should because it may be the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, try out simple overnight trips in your area and purchase a little bit of gear at a time. Trying to get everything at once can be quite overwhelming and expensive. And by doing simple overnight trips, you will be able to test out your equipment, figure out what you need and see what works well for you. Some people go extremely ultralight and barely bring anything. Other people will sacrifice weight for comfort. There are no rules – it’s up to you. There more you adventure, the more you will figure it all out!
If you are in or near the Stillwater, OK area, District Bicycles and Stillwater Summit are the best help ever! They know their stuff and can help you plan a trip. In fact the owner of each store was on this trip!
If you do have any questions about bikepacking feel free to email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Feed Your Monkey!