UL Bikepacking/Backpacking Gear

Discussion in 'Bikepacking' started by kazlx, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. kazlx

    kazlx Member

    Location:
    Tustin, CA
    Name:
    Joe
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Spitfire
    I grew up backpacking. I've always thought it would be awesome to go bikepacking, but just never jumped in. A few of the guys at work have been into backpacking, overnights and multi-day trips, so I've been getting fired up about it again. A little while ago, my dad gave me a bunch of stuff, which even included the aluminum framed backpack I used as a kid.

    I then realized how far gear has come in 20 years. I remember my dad carrying a 60+lb full frame pack with all of his stuff, plus a majority of the stuff for my brother and I. So after chatting with a few of the guys at work who have already been researching and using gear, I've pieced together a bunch of stuff with the intentions of backpacking with them as well as planning some bikepacking trips.

    For anyone that's interested, looking for gear or just wants to share what they are using, I figured it would be a good spot to start, since this is basically where I'm at. My co-worker that goes routinely has his normal summer pack, with food and water for an overnight trip at 18lbs. There will be some extras needed for the bike, but I think that's a pretty good starting point. I should be right around there.

    I have little kids and I've been taking my family camping more, so I don't mind splurging on a few things, knowing that I'll use them.

    The majors

    -Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 pack (18.5 oz)
    -Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent, pretty awesome and only 26oz and $200.
    -Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt, Long/Wide 19 oz (I didn't even know these existed, but my buddy raves and I think it's going to be awesome for how I sleep as well. I've always hated mummy bags. Probably the biggest splurge for me)
    -Outdoorsman Lab UL sleeping pad (16oz and $40 on Amazon. Feels pretty comfy and gets good reviews)
    -BRS UL stove (seriously tiny and under $20)
    -Snow Peak cup
    -Sawyer mini water filter

    That's the bulk of it. There's a few things I'm still putting together and have included a list to Lighter Pack for anyone that wants details (I think it will update as I update)

    https://lighterpack.com/r/9aade9

    If anyone is interested in some bikepacking, hit me up.
     
  2. floyd

    floyd Member

    Location:
    anaheim
    Name:
    garret
    Current Bike:
    Jeffsy 29, Meta AM 4.2, Fargo
    That's some nice stuff! I have a buddy that occasionally goes backpacking so I bought some stuff awhile back so I could join him if I wanted.. but I've yet to use any of it. I've since realized I made some poor choices but I'm sure it will do for now. My tent is particularly bulky and heavy, and I'm not a fan of mummy bags either. I didn't realize quilts existed. Your tent and quilt look super nice.

    I'm interested in some overnighter bikepacking to get the feel for it.
     
  3. kazlx

    kazlx Member

    Location:
    Tustin, CA
    Name:
    Joe
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Spitfire
    Yea, I was sold on the quilt idea when my buddy explained it. Essentially removing the bottom part of the sleeping back that would be crushed while sleeping and not having effective insulation anyway without the loft. So you use the sleeping pad as the insulation and sort of strap the quilt over you. EE has two different styles, I got the one with the foot box that can be open or closed. My buddy has the one with the closed foot box and is a big dude so his recommendations work out well. I generally sleep pretty warm so having an easier way to regulate temperature is appealing. He also suggested the tent, which he also has, which was a no-brainer for the weight at a great price. I also ordered the carbon pole for when I take the bike and won't have trekking poles.

    Part of my motivation is that I just need to get out more. I love riding and being outdoors and have always wanted to do overnights. Plus most of the gear I will even be able to use car camping with my family. My wife has no interest in backpacking haha.
     
    mountaingirl sara, Danmtchl and mike like this.
  4. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    I haven't spent too much time minding grams; been willing to get/stick with proven gear.

    I honestly think people get too hung up thinking they need the perfect whatsit to take a trip. Bike and gear. People use all kinds of whacky setups and have fun. Managing expectations is key. Light is right, but attitude can go far.

    The more tech the riding, the more that weight and bulk detract from bikepacking. If it's a short trip, it's easy to sus the forecast and go very light (no shelter or storm gear).

    smashloaded.jpg
     
  5. kazlx

    kazlx Member

    Location:
    Tustin, CA
    Name:
    Joe
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Spitfire
    I totally agree. I’m not chasing every single gram, but I figured if I needed some stuff anyway, it’s easy to be smart about what you buy. My other motivation to get light gear is exactly what you said, that the more weight detracts from riding. I want bikepacking trips to center around biking and not just the fact that you’re on a bike. I want the riding to be fun. I occasionally see (mainly roadgoing guys) traveling with more gear weight than bike or a trailer. And while it’s a different type of adventure that’s not really what I’m after.

    Mike, your setup on your bike looks ideal to me.
     
  6. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    It's smart to have reasonably light / compact gear but you can easily kill the benefit of it by overloading with too much gear, clothing and food. Remember you're already strapping a bunch of extra stuff to your bike, a pound or two less in a sleeping bag or tent isn't going to make that much difference. As mike alluded to you can gain more by packing less. That is something I'm still working on. Seems like I always bring more clothing and food than I need to, and that stuff can add up quickly. Ideally I'd like to be able to ditch the large seat bag but it seems like I always have enough to fill it up. Riding-wise the inability to lower the saddle much affects the ride more for me than the extra weight. But generally I find that's not a huge deal as I'm not out to ride the gnarliest trails when bikepacking.

    Most of my gear I already had from backpacking and general camping. I did buy a few items for better functionality and weight savings, the main purchase being a one-man tent - a Big Agnes spur ultralight or something.

    Have the 1-man tent and an OR bivy sack. I use the tent for places like CO where rain is likely or if I might want to hang out in it for a while.
    Bivy is more for colder temps - good for bug/wind protection too. It isn't good for hanging out in. I actually use it mostly for car camping as it's so easy to fold up my whole sleep system and stash in the truck when moving campsites. I'll cowboy camp on shorter trips when forecast is good.
    Sleeping bag is an old basic REI bag. Reasonably compact and light-ish. It was around $100, 15 yrs ago. Added to it a sleeping bag liner I can take or leave depending on temps.
    Sleeping pad is a Big agnes insulated air core. Most comfortable pad I've found. Its a bit bulky and heavy at around 18oz. I picked up an ultralight Klymit on sale which is half that size/weight not not that comfy. It gets used for long distance bikepacks where I'll be too whooped to notice.
    For a pack I use my normal Osprey talon, a Manta 36 or if I need more room an older day pack. Prefer having less weight on my back for bikepacking.
    For food I made my own alcohol stove. Works well for what I need which is boiling water. For long distance rides where I want to keep moving I tend not to use it much, instead carrying food that doesn't require cooking. Would like to leave it home altogether. Might look into cold soaking.
    I use a sawyer as well for filtering, but got tired of the slow filter rate on the mini and bought a swayer squeeze. For an extra ounce of weight it is much faster.

    DSC03636_zps3c94e6ce.jpg

    DSC03833_zpsdchzurtj.jpg
     
  7. kazlx

    kazlx Member

    Location:
    Tustin, CA
    Name:
    Joe
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Spitfire
    Awesome info Evdog. I really plan on packing minimally anyway. I'm not really one to need a bunch of extra stuff or luxuries when camping anyway and it's my way to disconnect. I plan on getting out a few times backpacking to dial the gear and figure out what works for me and what doesn't and then basically be able to add in the required bike stuff to head out pedaling. I do plan on getting a bivy at some point, but figured a tent would be a better place to start. I have a big 6 person for the family and an old Kelty 2 person that we used as kids, but getting the Six Moon was an easy way to knock down a bunch of weight, especially since my wife won't go and my kids are small enough for a few years that even if my oldest does go it will be easy to fit him in there.

    What are your favorite routes that you've done? Trying to figure out where a good first outing would be on the bike.
     
  8. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    I've done decades of backpacking and a number of road bike tours, but haven't done one on my mountain bike yet. It looks fun! I tend toward ultra-light and don't like tents, but that Lunar Solo looks better than the bivy sack and tarp I used on a European bike tour. I also did a road tour through Mojave and Death Valley on my way to Mammoth, Tahoe and San Francisco, but winter hit with a bang and camping gave way to motels and couch surfing.

    I actually like the idea of a motel tour on a mountain bike, with minimal gear and food. Guide services offer this sort of thing, but I've had good luck doing it on my own (on the road bike). Then you're down to rain gear and a few add-ons, but otherwise point-to-point mountain biking.

    The backcountry trips people are doing, where there's abundant water and good trail systems, look like a good place for fully self-sustained travel. Once the minimals are met for overnite camping, food weight seems like the biggest factor. Even with freeze-dried, it can add up fast and pretty soon you could be pushing a 60 lb. bike up the climbs. A got the base weight for Sierra hikes down to @ 10-12 lbs., so a 20 lb. load seems possible for a 3-day weekend.

    I'm not a fan of heavy day packs for riding, but cold weather gear can be bulky and I guess a day pack could help with lightweight clothes. Otherwise I like @mike's set-up above, minus the seat bag, though I prefer the load close to the ground and most of my "road packing" gear went in front panniers (with tools at the bottom). Even with that, the bike rode like a semi, so handling is another factor to manage on a bikepacking rig.
     
  9. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    For sure, food adds up and water even moreso if you have to carry lots of it. The one nice thing is both get used up as you go, so at least the load lessens as your trip progresses. As mentioned I tend to err on the safe side and carry more than I think I'll need. That is in part because I'm not fast and don't always make it to resupply spots before closing time, so I'll still be ok if I miss one. And with water, especially in the desert, I am willing to carry extra to make sure I don't run out. Might not be an issue depending on your route and timing. With clothing I need to work on paring that down too. One set of riding clothes. One set of dry sleeping clothes, and a minimal set of layers based on the forecast. It's easy til I'm packing and then end up throwing a few extra things in. It all adds up.

    There's an unlimited selection of routes out there that work. The main thing is being able to link up various public lands with resupplies and trails.

    Big Bear / SART area may be one of the best especially this time of year. Good elevations and connectivity, available water and resupply, and a good network of roads and trails all the way to Arrowhead and beyond.
    Noble / Laguna / Cuyamaca - pretty good as well but not really enough for more than 2 days without getting creative.
    Kernville / Kern Plateau. Lots of good riding that can be linked all the way around Lake Isabella or do loops within smaller area.
    Arizona - tons of options - Black Canyon Trail, AZT, other loops like Coconino or Schillingsworth's Queen's Ransom bikepack
    Anza Borrego in winter - tons of options, but not lots of available water

    Look on bikepacking.com for other route ideas. Good loops can be a challenge to put together but there are tons of point to point options if you can get a ride to one end.

    Any route for a bikepacking race can be ridden casually at any time and any pace, or modified to fit your schedule and logistics. Stagecoach 400 and Tour de los Padres are local ones. Rich Wolf also put together a triple loop route where you can do one or all of the loops https://www.julianbikepackchallenge.com/. Some will be better than others depending on the season.
     
  10. Sidewalk

    Sidewalk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Unknown
    Name:
    Josh
    Current Bike:
    N+1
    This is actually one I plan to use to test my setup, when I am ready. I already know the route well, I know I can do it all in a day if I need to, but still worthy of an overnight camping trip. Start at Loch Leven or Angeles Oaks and ride up to BB, camp out, then return. Make adjustments, then do it again another weekend until I feel I am ready to try something unknown.
     
    mike, mountaingirl sara and kioti like this.
  11. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Trying something unknown is part of the fun. There's nothing like rolling in to the end of your ride at midnight or later... And if you don't make it by then it's no problem because you have your camping gear with you.
     
    mike, mountaingirl sara and kioti like this.
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