Time is flying! This month myself and two good friends are heading down to Tasmania to bikepack the Tasmanian Trail. Too say I am a little bit excited would be a huge understatement. Click on the link for what it is all about.
When I got interested in Bikepacking, I was really keen to see how others were packing all their camping/hiking gear onto their bikes. So I thought I would give a run down on my setup.
My setup also needs to hold everything on the bike itself as I don’t wear a back pack. I prefer not to have any extra weight on my back and sit bones.
The next picture shows the frame bag. It amazes me just how much you can jam in these frame bags and they are completely water proof. I have sprayed it with a strong garden hose at all angles and not a drop gets in.
My frame bag holds all my spare parts, spare tube and pump, bike repair tools that include zip ties, gaffer tape, velcro etc, chain lube, bike lock, first aid kit and basically everything else I don’t plan on accessing on a daily basis. You can also see, I store a one litre water bottle underneath the frame. I like having the weight low for handling reasons.
These bags in the next picture are called ‘anything cage bags’. They’re straped to a bracket held by three screws and are rated for a weight limit of three kilograms each. There is one on each side, attached to the fork arms. I put my cooking stove, stainless steel cup, eating utensils and all my general camping items in them. I try to even the weight out for handling reasons.
The next picture is a handlebar roll bag that bascially holds my home. These bags come with a handle bar harness if you wish to mount it to the bars instead.
I have a Kathmandu tent, tent ground sheet, ‘Black Wolf’ sleeping mattress, Kathmandu duck down sleeping bag and all my spare clothes. I just have it strapped on top of a ‘Tubus Fat Rack’ which I am very impressed with. The rack fits the bike great and is very rock solid, it never moves or shakes at all regardless of the rough terrain I am bombing downhill on.
Tip: If you store your sleeping bag with your tent, always keep the sleeping bag in a dry bag, as often in cold or wet weather you will be putting a wet tent back in there and if the duck down sleeping bag is not protected from moisture, you may ruin it, not too mention how bad it would be sliding into a wet bag on a cold night. (Thanks Darb for the tip!)
In the next picture, the pannier bags are just a throw over light weight, fully water proof one piece pannier bag. It just sits over the rack and the idea has worked out really well for me. It doesn’t have the usual heavy frame with it like most pannier bags. It was also only $30 (including postage!) on eBay. I like it for the big multi-day trips as It gives me huge volumes of space to fit anything I want. I like to pick up plastic rubbish I find in the environment, so this allows me to stick the rubbish in there until I find the next bin.
I also have a two litre ‘MSR dromedary’ water bladder stored on each side of the pannier bag, which gives me a total water carrying capacity of seven litres. With the upcoming Tasmania Trail trip, five litres should be enough. These bladders are pretty cool, as you can buy a shower head attachment and hang them in a tree.
Next picture is the cockpit. I use my phone as a GPS so I need it up close for viewing. It is connected via a ‘Quad Lock’ which allows me to remove it and attach it with ease.
You can also see two ‘chaff bags’. These are great, you can store what you like in them, just be aware, rain will fall in from the top, so they are not designed for things you cannot afford to get wet. I like to put my one litre water bottles in them. This allows me to drink while riding.
The next picture shows the ‘Top Tube Bag’. This bag is very handy. I keep my food snacks, sunscreen, lip balm etc and anything else I want to access on the fly. They are completely water proof and the zip works great even operating it with one hand. In this picture I also have my head light battery stored in there.
The next picture shows the front ‘handle bar lunch bag’ from ‘Oveja Negra’. I use this bag to access things when we stop, like my camera, hat, extra food and anything else I just need to stash quickly. I also use it as an overflow bag so to speak, when my other bags are jam packed.
The awesome thing about this bag is, it has nice long straps that allow you to secure a roll bag or in my case a lightweight closed cell sleeping matt. I use this matt to sit on when the ground is a bit crappy and it double ups for more comfort when I sleep along with more thermal resistance from the cold ground.
I also use a ‘Goal zero nomad 7’ solar panel via a 13,000mah power bank to keep the electronics charged up. This is not in the first pic but I mount it depending on the direction of travel. So if I’m heading South, I will put it on the rear on top of the roll bag as the sun predominantly sits North as I live in the southern hemisphere. Likewise it is mounted on the front when travelling North.
So I hope this short description of my Bikepacking setup has helped anyone getting into this awesome activity and answered a few questions for the curious just watching on.
Mid-March I will be posting many days worth of Bikepacking in Tasmania, so if you don’t want to miss the blogs, click on the email subscription service on this site and you will be notified when I publish another one. You won’t be spammed with advertising junk.
Any questions at all, drop them in the comments at the bottem of this page and I will endeavour to answer them.