While I can’t call myself a seasoned bikepacker, I’ve done a few great adventures in the last 2 years though some varied terrain and I think I’ve evolved a great bike setup over that time. Wanted to share with you guys both my camping setup as well as my faster, lighter “ultra racing” or “staying in hotels” modifications. I’ve used the camping setup on Trans North Georgia and a couple other overnighters, where other than food I was self sustaining. The lighter setup was used on this year’s Huracan 300, where other than a quick nap at a hotel, I rode straight through.
I started out originally stuffing a lot of items in the handlebar bag as it was easy, but I learned that I needed to keep the front end light as I needed a good balance on singletrack. I took my setup to the free ride trails here in town, where despite looking kind of dumb, I was able to hit the rocky gulley at pretty good speed. I also evolved to not carrying a backpack. It’s easier on the sit bones, easier on the shoulders, and for longer adventures, I feel it’s a must. If it’s a one day or less adventure, I still love a Camelbak pack, but for something longer, its SO nice to not have to deal with it. Also, the jersey pockets can be used as overflow for a sandwich or something. Here is the setup I use for when I camp. I like using a hammock personally, but I can also forego that and instead just lay out under the stars on a sleeping pad. The pad and the hammock are about the same size.
Handlebar – The Relevate Designs sling is great to hold things against the bars. I’ll be upgrading to a Revelate harness at some point, as it keeps the items better off the handlebar, but this works for now. I keep the sleeping bag in it’s own dry bag, so if it rains, the rain fly won’t get the down bag all wet. The rain fly is optional, and if the weather is looking great, I’ll leave it out, and replace it with the shirts and pants from the seat bag.
- XS Evac dry bag with REI Flash 32 degree sleeping bag
- ENO hammock rain fly
- S Evac compression bag
Gas Tank – I use a Topeak Large gas tank is a little smaller and leaner than the Revelate one and works better with my shorter steerer tube. Here I keep my battery pack for the front light, as well as the battery pack that powers the Garmin and my phone if need be.
- Goal Zero battery pack
- USB cord for Garmin
- Battery pack for light
- Bear whistle
Jerrycan – This is a cool little Revelate Designs bag that sits between my legs on the top tube. This is food only as it’s easy to grab and fits Clif bars and Gu gels perfectly
- Revelate Designs Jerrycan
Mountain Feed Bag – Another Revelate product, this one is “overflow”. When I buy a coke or Gatorade I keep it here. I store some Gu gels and my Chamois Buttr packets in the mesh pockets. Frame Bag – Revelate sells a custom frame bag for my Salsa and this is the centerpiece of my kit. Here I carry my water and tools.
- Small Pocket
- Cards/IDs in a plastic bag
- Arm warmers
- Leg warmers
- Rag for sunglasses
- Leatherman CX (Knife + Pliers)
- Big Pocket
- Tool Bag (multi tool, bolts, lube, derailleur cable etc)
- 100oz bladder
- 20oz bottle
- zip ties (always, always, carry zip ties)
Frame – On the frame I strap on a Topeak Race pump which has duct tape and electrical tape wrapped around it. Seat Bag – I use a Revelate Pika seat bag. It’s the smaller one they make, as I didn’t need the extra room. It has more rear tire clearance so I can use it on the full suspension bike if I need to. I pack the Tube in as the first item as it gives a nice base against the seat post so I really crank the straps tight.
- Rope to hang hammock
- ENO double hammock
- Eletrical bag (light, phone chargers, extra batteries)
- Emergency food (couple of Clif bars and a Gu)
- Hygiene (deodorant, toothbrush, sunscreen, etc)
- First aid
- Rain jacket
When I go light, or when I know I’m going to be staying in hotels, I remove the hammock, the rope, the rain fly and the sleeping bag. What ends up happening is that removes all the weight off the handlebars and makes the rear bag quit a bit smaller as well. Then depending on whether I’m “racing” or whether just staying in hotels, I’ll remove the shirt and pants. If I’m racing, I’ll stay in the kit the whole time other than a nap,where if I’m having an adventure, it’s nice to get out of the bibs at night. I still do carry all the other items including tools, electrical, etc as I would rather be more prepared than less. Let me know what you guys think, and if you have any comments or suggestions, leave them below!