Bikepacking Gear: 10 Necessities for an Epic Experience

Champions Jay Petervary and Josh Kato share with GearJunkie what important bikepacking gear is of their package on race day. Right here’s the whole lot you want for an epic experience.

Most gear has an outlined function, and also you both want it on your journey otherwise you don’t. However the bikepacking gear you convey on a race or epic experience is trial and error — you’re your personal guinea pig. As a result of what works for one might not work for one more. Climate, circumstances, altitude — bikepacking gear is a puzzle with items procured and fitted by expertise.

Bikepacking kit

We sat down with Josh Kato, winner of the 2015 Tour Divide, and Jay Petervary, who’s podiumed at almost each main bikepack racing occasion, to study what bikepacking gear they carry on a self-supported bikepack race.

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10 Bikepacking Gear Necessities

1. Bike

JayP: Should you’re into drop handlebars, a gravel bike that has had some improvement with journey in thoughts is far more succesful than chances are you’ll assume. Should you select one that may match 700x50mm (1.9) or 650×2.1mm tires, you are able to do absolutely anything with it. Belief me, I’ve taken any such bike to the road and crossed it.

And a few gravel bikes have extra helpful accent mounting choices on your baggage as nicely. Personally, I just like the gravel bike for its narrower Q-factor, in addition to with the ability to string gravel or street elements on it with out the hiccups concerned with MTBs and/or drop-bar MTBs. A whole lot of trendy gravel bikes are single-day race-worthy and adventure-worthy with out compromise.

Kato: You possibly can’t experience an epic with out one. Whereas your bike doesn’t essentially should be a devoted “gravel” bike, you’ll be higher off with a motorbike that matches the terrain.

Additionally, take into account gearing. Until you’re acquainted with the course, having a wider vary of accessible gearing is best than being caught wishing you had extra. My bikepacking bikes are all arrange with 2x or 3x cranksets. I’ve by no means accomplished a bikepack race with fewer than two chainrings, and I a lot desire my triple. A Three×10 is my present setup. I’m most likely within the minority with this, however I actually like a number of chainrings.

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2. Packs

JayP: I’m a bag dork. I’ve lots from many alternative manufacturers, however I’m additionally very specific in relation to racing. That places me in an area the place I get a whole lot of my baggage customized made for my particular want. And actually, it’s not simply concerning the baggage, as racks are loads helpful and related, too.

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Kato: I’m all for luggage that strap to your bars, seat, or body. They’re easy, dependable, and weigh a lot lower than panniers and racks.

I virtually all the time use a small hydration pack. They don’t weigh a lot when empty, however they are often lifesavers when crammed with meals and further water for lengthy sections with no resupply choices. My favorites proper now are Apidura Expedition baggage for the bike and a Mammut MTR 201 path working backpack for my physique.

(Notice that the MTR 201 is now not within the Mammut line, however take a look at the model’s different trekking and working packs right here.)

Three. Lights

JayP: This expertise adjustments virtually every day, and it’s fairly dang wonderful proper now. Go get 2 Fenix flashlights and a few their 3500mAh batteries, and you can be blown away by the sunshine output and the run occasions.

I used to make use of a dynamo hub fairly a bit, however much less these days with the battery expertise. I sort of make that call on the remoteness of the occasion or route, and 4 nights is the place I begin to rethink utilizing the dynamo.

Kato: Should you’re out for greater than a day experience, you’ll want lights. The kLite lighting system, powered by a Schmidt hub, has been fairly bombproof on my solo bike and my tandem. I’ve used the Sinewave Revolution charger with success, however I really feel that the brand new kLite charger is superior.

I additionally carry a Fenix LD22 AA battery-operated mild as my backup and auxiliary mild. I strap it to my handlebars or helmet with a Twofish mount.

four. Water Purification

JayP: I prefer to preserve it easy and sometimes will strategize to not must filter water. And if I do, I simply convey some chloride tabs.

Kato: I desire clear faucet water to filtration, however that’s not all the time attainable. So I all the time carry a Sawyer Mini Filter and a few Potable Aqua purification tablets. The Sawyer has been nice. You possibly can drink out of mud puddles with it like a straw or fill your bottles with it. The tabs require a wait time however are an amazing backup merchandise. Not all tabs and filters work towards sure organisms, so take heed and match to your wants.

Nonetheless, I often have a excessive water-carrying capability, round 10 liters between my body bag, bike bottles, and backpack. I discover carrying a bit of further water weight is quicker than stopping to refill.

5. Sleeping Package

JayP: Coming from a race perspective, I had Moab-based Nunatak make me two units of insulated knickers (one down, one artificial) and an insulated tube skirt.

Kato: Ah, my puffy go well with! For the previous few years, I’ve thinned this package right down to a Montbell Ex Mild Down Anorak, GooseFeet Gear down pants, and down booties. It’s ultralight, ultrasmall, and really heat. Simply don’t get it moist, otherwise you’ll have that moist canine look (and odor).

As for bedding, I’ve been going and not using a sleeping pad for a number of years now. I desire the naked floor or a mattress of pine needles. My spouse, Valerie, tried my technique throughout our tandem assault on the Smoke and Fireplace a number of years in the past, and he or she hated it. To at the present time, she nonetheless carries a sleeping pad. So that you’ll must determine between consolation and weight.

6. Shelter

JayP: Relying on the occasion location and the way lengthy it’s, I pair the objects above with an insulated jacket and an emergency bivy bag. When not racing, I exploit a full Huge Agnes package — a fats Three-inch-plus pad, a warmer-than-needed bag, and a tent to maintain it cozy!

Kato: I often convey a Montbell Sleeping bag cowl. It’s not a lot of a shelter, nevertheless it’s principally waterproof, mild, and small. My favourite shelter is none in any respect: only a huge tree overhead and pine needles under. However I do generally use my rain gear over my down jacket and pants if I don’t have a bivy and the climate is moist or snowy.

And I all the time carry an area blanket. It’s saved me a number of occasions.

7. Garments

JayP: Minimal. Nothing further. Each piece of clothes I convey might be worn or in several combos. No one stated you’ll be able to’t put your lengthy sleeve on prime of your quick sleeve, or your puffy jacket can’t go on prime of your rain jacket and vice versa. I not often change clothes, however usually simply layer.

Kato: My package is fairly slim: a small beanie hat, a Buff, arm and leg heaters, solar sleeves, shorts, and a jersey. And my sleep package doubles as my heat clothes package.

For rain, I exploit Montbell’s Versalite jacket and rain pants. I pair it with waterproof rain mittens and heat liners.

You actually don’t want a lot to go far, however having windproof and heat clothes from head to toe can save your life.

eight. Chamois Butter

JayP: I exploit sunscreen and that’s it.

Kato: I combine my very own and apply twice a day. I exploit equal elements clotrimazole cream and benzoyl peroxide cream. I additionally combine in some A&D ointment if I get some sizzling spots.

And don’t overlook moist wipes — they’re key. Cleanliness!

9. Footwear and Socks

JayP: I measurement up one measurement for multiday driving to permit for a number of socks and attainable toes swelling. I additionally carry three pairs of socks — one mild, one medium wool, and one expedition wool. I additionally carry plastic baggage (or formal vapor obstacles) for water safety.

I’ve been tremendous lucky to have the ability to work with Fizik and put on all their sneakers for various purposes. They’ve additionally taken my suggestions on all my favourite pairs of their sneakers and made me customized ones.

Kato: I all the time use outsized sneakers, as much as a full measurement or extra too huge. It’s vital (for me) to permit the toes to swell over the repeated 20-plus-hour days on the bike. Plus, you could have room to layer up socks or add water obstacles if wanted. (You may as well wiggle your toes freely to the tunes in your head.)

My favourite socks are Drymax Chilly Climate working socks and NRS HydroSkin zero.5 Wetsocks. Heat when moist is vital. The mixture of dry and heat proves an elusive luxurious.

10. Group

JayP: You’d higher be! I pack, unpack, pack one other method, unpack, pack one other method — after which label most something I can with a sharpie. I write “left” on it if it’s a left. I put duct tape on my baggage and write down what’s in it. I do all this on the lead of occasions, so it’s embedded in my mind the place issues are and what precisely I’m carrying.

I like to recommend occurring a simulation experience that may pressure you to place your bikepacking gear the place you need it in actual time (as an alternative of within the storage). Not the whole lot wants a bag. No must put baggage in baggage, however do set up and isolate some issues.

Kato: The place you pack your gear depends upon how moist it is going to be and the way usually you’ll must seize particular objects. So, it actually depends upon the climate.

Typically talking, my sleep and shelter package is within the entrance roll on my handlebar, and my clothes is within the seat bag. Water and instruments go within the body bag, and meals sits in prime tube baggage or a backpack.

I discover it extra vital to guarantee that the whole lot is strapped down, closed, and secured than it’s to have a selected location for the whole lot. I prefer to make the most of one of many strap-on accent pockets that goes onto the entrance roll bag as a go-to. I begin with it empty after which use it as wanted on the course.

(Should you’re a visible learner, you’ll be able to take a look at this illustrated bikepacking gear information.)

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