Wednesday, April 08, 2009

All packed up.

When i started looking at bike packing as a possibility - primarily to ride for longer and see more things, but most importantly to minimise the amount of driving to riding areas - there was a dearth of information available as to what to take. As oft pointed out by folk as able as mike curiak, that is because the learning curve to allow you to travel minimally also helps you travel safely and with minimised discomfort. Not so important in the uk, because over every hill or the next is a town, but worth while dwelling on for sure.

Now there are several websites and forums dedicated to discussion of the kit list and packing essentials. Bikepacking is a good start, as is AK spokes.

I thought i'd run through what i took with me and what i will change for next time. Note: the route was well known to me and the conditions were generally stable and relatively good. I have done a few overnighters now and feel comfortable with less than i started out with.

So: first a picture of the bike is needed so i can refer to the bags and then their innards...

The racks are old man mountain cold springs front and rear. I chose them because they have a good record of surviving actual off road touring, and allow me to swap easily between racks and not racks. They have a high weight rating, which i will never get close to, and this gives me confidence. At the time i spec'ed the bike, the 'rackless systems' now so common and so beautifully made by eric at epic designs and jeff at carousel were in their infancy - a few bugs were worked out and i have a front and rear set coming from eric shortly. By using these, you drop 2 lbs from overall weight as you lose the racks. Once you have a minimal kit list they are easily small enough to not challenge good strong bars or seatposts, wont connect with your legs and arent encumbering enough to through the bike off balance.

But, for my ends so far i have used eric's trunk turtles. I think these were developed due to my requests, added to thoughts that eric had been having for some time. The idea is that there is an easily accessible pocket on top of a roll top expandable dry bag sitting on top of the rack. Stuff you need quickly and frequently, in the top. Sleeping and clothing stuff - in the bags. Stable easy and dry.

On my front rack, in the dry bag i have a sleeping matt - in this instance a thermarest light 3/4 job - folded not rolled, wrapped in a sleeping bag - macpac 400g minimal 1 season bag. In the turtle are a pen, a park mini multitool, and 2 packets of super noodles. Chicken curry and mexican chilli flavours. Try before you eat.

The rear roll top has my bivvi bag and termarest packing sac which inverts to become a fleecy pillow when stuffed with clothing. The trunk turtle has a leatherman, a superlight MSR stove, a small gas cannister (with volume of gas left written on it in sharpie) and also a padlock and cable lock. There is also a plastic spork, mini toothbrush and mini toothpaste, and a guy rope for sinching the bivvi open.

The bottles have nuun charged water in them, but the lower bottle has just water, and also holds a cheeky filter for those HMMMM is that stream going to have decomposed cow in it? moments.

Rucksack is a wingnut. There is no better way to carry weight on your back. In this instance i had a hyper 3.0 which needless to say had a 3 litre camelback bladder fitted, and held an MSR ti kettle, with MSR ti cup and coffee filter inside, with a lighter. There was my spare layer (a 200g icebreaker woolie and a pair of wool arm warmers) a buff, 2 energy bars, 2 honey goo blobs, camera, spare tube, chain link, bolts and levers and patch kit. Two packets oat so simple, ground coffee and TP. All in (separate) ziplocs. Mini Soap. Pump, notebook, keys and ipod shuffle. Oh and a hipflask with highland park in it.

I wore a windproof gilet, short sleeve thin woolie and wind proof endura 3/4. Lid, gloves blah.

Thats it.

The route i took was mixed on/off road and never really ventured far enough away from shops to justify taking so much food with me. In fact i came back with the energy bars, porridge and noodles. I did not weigh the wingnut, but it wasn't heavy. The bike had less than 10lb of kit on it including the bags (not including the racks). Pretty light really.

There you go...

Next time? depending on route: i needed another layer, i was cold overnight. Think that may be it as a starting point...


Karlos said...

Beautiful set up, will be better rackless for sure.

Dave_A said...

Nice packlist, I'll see if I can beat/refine it next week :o)

I'm not really gay said...

Any thoughts about the seatpost mount racks ?, thats what I'm looking at using to carry bivvy bag, roll mat and sleeping bag, I reckon I can get everything else I'll need in a Camelback

dRjON said...

have one en route....more once i have and used it ;-)~