Do you have questions or concerns about the gear you think you need to go bikepacking? I did before I rode the Tour Divide, Colorado Trail Race, and Arizona Trail Race last year.  Should I bring a bivy or a tent?  How much water do I need?  You probably have all these questions and more.

Rest assured everyone goes through the same process of selecting gear for any type of adventure.  This page was put together to help you navigate the process of selecting your gear and to take the mystery and fear out of it.

If you’ve only done a single overnight trip, the selection process and what bikepacking gear you bring and how it’s packed and used is the same as it is for a month long race like the Tour divide. Furthermore the gear you’d take hiking is the same as bikepacking gear.

Links have been provided throughout the page to the proven gear I used for your convenience in case you still need to finish your own gear set up.  Lastly, shopping through those links will help support the One of Seven Project and it’s sponsors.

1

Bike

2

Bags

3

Sleep System

4

Clothes

5

Electronics

6

Health/First Aid

7

Hydration

8

Tools/Repair

BIKE

The Giant XTC Advanced Plus, which is a 27.5+ carbon hardtail was my weapon of choice for the Triple Crown.  The main reason to get this bike is because it’s a plus size bike which you can can also run as a 29er, can be run with gears or as a singlespeed.  Most of all, the versatility it offers as a bike makes it an obvious choice. 

I call him Phillip The Trail Donkey, as he carried all the supplies like a real donkey.  YES, I talked to him daily and we are the best of friends after experience the Bikepacking Triple Crown together.

Giant XTC Advanced 27.5+ bikepacking gear

BIKE SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

COLORADO TRAIL

ARIZONA TRAIL

BIKE SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVIDE

I wanted to maximize my comfort as I knew I’d be spending countless hours in the saddle.  To achieve this I put on a Brooks B17 saddle and a pair of Profile Designs 3T+ aero bars (with a 60mm riser).  I also ran a carbon rigid fork, as the Tour Divide doesn’t require a suspension fork.  The last change I made to my bike was to run it as a 29er to maximize efficiency.

COLORADO AND ARIZONA TRAIL 

Knowing both trails would require a suspension fork, I put the OEM Fox 34 back on.  In additions, I removed the aero bars as there isn’t enough road riding on either trail to warrant them.  In place of the aero bars I added what I call HAB Bar Ends (Bar ends you put inside of your controls to make pushing/carrying your bike easier).  To better handle all the climbing I’d be doing I geared down to a 46×30.  Lastly I switched out my tires to Ikon 2.35’s.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Internal routing
  • Mud clearance
  • Added space for frame bag

I really liked my bike and how it performed during my bikepacking triple crown.  I have very few issues and the ones I did were simple issues like flats.

CONS:

  • Wedge type seat post binder creaked  

As I said above I had very few issues with my bike.  The creaking seat post was the biggest issue.  I didn’t list these as an issue as it really wasn’t if you were’t too picky but in the beginning I was worried about my B17 saddle getting wet.  By day 3 of 3 of rain on the CTR I gave up.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Nothing

I’m happy to say none of my choices didn’t work and they met all my needs during my three trails.

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

If I rode any of the three trails again I wouldn’t do much differently.

  • I might try and run Maxxis Ardents 2.4″ if they would fit for both the CTR and AZTR.
  • I would also add bar tape to the aero bars, as they get very cold.
  • Not have a bike with a wedge type seat post binder.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

After completing the Tour Divide, Colorado trail, and Arizona Trail on a hardtail I don’t really think anyone needs a full suspension on the CTR and AZTR.  There are sections of both that you might wish you had full suspension but you can manage without.  A drop bar 29er would be idle for the Tour Divide.

You should focus on comfort, reliability and a bike with good storage ability.

Pro-Tips

  • Focus on comfort (saddle choice and upright cockpit).
  • Dial in your Gearing.
  • Keep your set up simple and efficient.
  • Make sure everything works well and is in good condition before you toe the line. TEST YOUR SET UP!

BAGS

Like with most of the categories here, your bag set up will depend on where you’re going, what bikepacking gear you’re brining, your bike, the potential weather and more.

If you go to any Grand Depart you’ll see every type of set up imaginable.  Everyone has their own idea on what they need and which bags they’ll use.  My suggestion for you is to copy this.  Determine your needs, wants and know what you don’t want and build your own set up accordingly.

 

Bikepacking gear

BAG SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

Handlebar Set Up:
Revelate Pocket Handlebar Bag

COLORADO TRAIL

Handlebar Set Up:
Revelate Pocket Handlebar Bag

ARIZONA TRAIL

Handlebar Set Up:
Revelate Pocket Handlebar Bag

*Carried in Hip Pack

Revelate Harness

Revelate Harness

Revelate Harness

Harness was removed as it wasn’t need.

Cockpit Set Up:
Revelate Gas Tank

  • Food
  • Chapstick
  • Sunglasses cloth

Revelate Jerrycan

Zipties, Park Tool CT-5 Chain Tool, Crank Brothers M10 Multi Tool, Mini Lighter, Pedro Tire Lever, Brooks Seat Wrench, (2) seat bolts, Shimano Cleat, (2) Cleat bolts, (2) Quicklinks, Glueless Patch Kit, Tire Plug Kit, Park Tool Tire Boot TB-2, (2) Valve cores

Cockpit Set Up:
Revelate Gas Tank

  • Food
  • Chapstick
  • Sunglasses cloth

Revelate Jerrycan

Zipties, Park Tool CT-5 Chain Tool, Crank Brothers M10 Multi Tool, Mini Lighter, Pedro Tire Lever, Brooks Seat Wrench, (2) seat bolts, Shimano Cleat, (2) Cleat bolts, (2) Quicklinks, Glueless Patch Kit, Tire Plug Kit, Park Tool Tire Boot TB-2, (2) Valve cores

Cockpit Set Up:
Revelate Gas Tank

  • Food
  • Chapstick
  • Sunglasses cloth

Revelate Jerrycan

Zipties, Park Tool CT-5 Chain Tool, Crank Brothers M10 Multi Tool, Mini Lighter, Pedro Tire Lever, Brooks Seat Wrench, (2) seat bolts, Shimano Cleat, (2) Cleat bolts, (2) Quicklinks, Glueless Patch Kit, Tire Plug Kit, Park Tool Tire Boot TB-2, (2) Valve cores

Frame Bag Set Up:
Defiante Packs Custom Frame Bag:

Left side:

Right side (Main pocket):

Frame Bag Set Up:
Defiante Packs Custom Frame Bag:

Left side:

Right side (Main pocket):

Frame Bag Set Up:
Defiante Packs Custom Frame Bag:

Left side:

Right side (Main pocket):

*Carried in Hip Pack

Seat Bag Set Up:
Revelate Terrapin

Seat Bag Set Up:
Revelate Terrapin

Seat Bag Set Up:
Revelate Terrapin

BAG SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVIDE AND COLORADO TRAIL

For these two trails my bag set up was the same.  The only difference was what was carried in them, and not which type of bags were used.

ARIZONA TRAIL

Like with the Tour Divide and Colorado Trail I mostly just changed what bikepacking gear was carried inside my bags and also which bags held what.

For the AZTR I eliminated my Revelate Harness and just strapped the Handlebar Bag directly to my bars.  I was able to do this since I didn’t carry a sleeping bag and it was one of the only things in the harness.  As a result Thermarest Z-Lite which was in the Harness just got strapped behind the Handle Bar bag.

Consequently in Tucson I bought hip pack for some extra storage space.  The decision to buy a hip pack was solely driven by the need to be able to carry more (food).  I don’t like hydration packs and didn’t need that much space.  I highly recommend a hip pack, they are a key piece of bikepacking gear..

I moved the following items from their original locations and put them in the hip pack:

  • Spare lens for sunglasses
  • Headlamp
  • Some food
  • Sunscreen

PROS:

  • Lighter than most
  • Simplistic
  • Removable seat bag
  • Versatility

For the most part I was quite happy with bag set up.  I really the versatility of the Terrapin Seat Bag by Revelate and also having a harness on the front end instead of a system like the Sweet Roll.

CONS:

  • Lacked efficient storage space
  • Revelate Pocket Handlebar Bag rubbed tire (on CTR).
  • Waterproof lacking

As the first item on the list says, I wish I had more storage space.  I STRONGLY encourage you to get a frame bag that is extra wide.  My cubic space was lacking and that meant I had trouble carrying enough food and water at times.  You don’t want to have to comprise when bikepacking.  Most of all, picking between more food or more water shouldn’t have to happen.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Ziplocks for waterproof bags
  • Stuff sack in Harness

A hard lesson learned, was that bikepacking bags are from waterproof and Ziplock suck at keeping things dry.  Invest in some SealLine Ecases.  I ruined multiple pieces of electronics on the Tour Divide. 

The second thing that didn’t work was having a stuff sack that was either too small or not full enough to properly secure in my Revelate Harness.  With either of these situations the stuff sack will squirt out one side, resulting in you having to adjust it constantly.

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

If I rode any of the three trails again I would do the following:

  • Wider frame bag
  • More water capacity on the AZT
  • Test more stuff sack sizes for harness.
  • Hip Pack for all three, not just the AZT

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Not to sound like a broken record but go with your gut.  It’s your set up, own it.  Look at what others have done with the same type of bike and tweak it for your own needs.  Make sure you test your bag set up thoroughly before you hit the trail.  You don’t want a bag that rubs your tire for 540 miles like me.

Pro-Tips

  • Have more space than you need.
  • Test your set up to avoid issues on trail.
  • Play around with what goes where, you might find better ways to pack your gear.
  • If you zippers get tough to pull, put some wax chain lube on them.
  • Invest in waterproof bags for your electronics.

SLEEP SYSTEM

Unless you’re a robot or going for the podium you’re going to sleep more than you think (sorry no, there isn’t a podium but you get my point).  Choose a shelter set up that you feel comfortable with.  All the trails in the triple crown, or any other trail can have extreme weather at one time of another.

You want a shelter that offers enough protection, that you personally think you can get the proper rest.  No matter what trail you’re on you can’t preform at your best if you’re not sleeping.  Relying on finding a outhouse or some other shelter shouldn’t be part of your daily plan when doing trips of this kind.  They are last resorts.

tent gear CDT tarp

SLEEP SYSTEM SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

COLORADO TRAIL

ARIZONA TRAIL 

*  I left the quilt at home and just took down pants.

SLEEP SYSTEM SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVIDE

I went with a Outdoor Research Bivy on the TD as I was thinking I wouldn’t be sleeping longer than 3-4 at a time.  I also wanted to go as light as possible too.  The bivy met all these requirements.  The NeoAir was nice and I choose it only because I couldn’t find a good way to mount my Z-Lite pad.  I was only cold a few nights with my 30 quilt and the down pants were borderline up north in Arizona.

COLORADO TRAIL 

I slept much more than I had thought I would on the Tour Divide.  Therefore I knew I needed a tent.  I remembered how much I like a dry safe place to go after a long day.  The Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum HV2 was the perfect choice, as it rained 6 out of 7 days on the CTR.  Finally, I switched out the NeoAir for a Z-Lite Sol.  I did this simply to save time in camp and I sleep fine on the Z-Lite Sol.

ARIZONA TRAIL 

I went with the Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum HV2 again on the AZT, but I used it in the Fast Pack mode (No tent body, just a ground sheet and fly).  Even though it was October I figured it was the desert and I didn’t need a full tent.  Furthermore it saved weight and space.  Finally the decision to forgo bringing the quilt was a weight and space saving one, as was going with a Fast Pack set up.

PROS:

  • Small & packable -Helium bivy
  • Quick set up – Helium bivy
  • Spacious – Fly Creek
  • Versatility – Fly Creek

The tent was great with all the rain and in the fast pack mode it still gave me a sense of security.  The down quilt was wonderful and I liked the ease of use of the Z-Lite Sol over the NeoAir.

CONS:

  • No place to change in and out of wet clothes -Helium bivy
  • Condensation – Helium bivy
  • Bulkier – Fly Creek
  • Longer set up – Fly Creek
  • Time consuming – NeoAir
  • Not warm enough – Down Pants

There was some drying out to be done some days due to the condensation with the bivy but it was manageable. The tent did take longer to set up but that was over shadowed in the protection it offered.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Down Pants

Most everything I choose for each trail worked well.  Each had it’s pros/cons as stated above but none were horrible choices.  I was reluctant to say the down pants didn’t work because they only didn’t work 2-3 nights out of the 12 on trail.  

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

If I rode any of the three trails again I wouldn’t do much differently.

  • I would find a way to carry the Z-Lite Sol pad on all three.
  • Bring the quilt on all trails.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Your shelter is your castle, your last line of defense at the end of a long day on the bike.  Personally I thought I’d sleep less but ended up sleeping a lot more than planned.  Choose a system you can live with in any situation.  Gear is personal, don’t follow the herd.

Pro-Tips

  • Know what you can handle and what you can’t, in terms of comfort/discomfort.
  • As usually TEST your set up.
  • Filtering water and setting up camp are things you do everyday.  Be sure the process isn’t too hard/time consuming or you’ll start to resent it.

CLOTHING

Like all bikepacking gear, clothing is different from person to person.  Most of the basics are the same but we all have little differences in our kit.  Most of my changes to my kit were to things I wore day to day, and not my camp clothes.  

Set priorities of what’s important to you or what areas may have special needs.   My goals were to be warm and dry if the situation called for it.  It took some work, but I figured out the right set up. 

Lining up for the start

CLOTHING SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

Worn

COLORADO TRAIL

Worn

ARIZONA TRAIL

Worn

Transition Pieces

Transition Pieces

Transition Pieces

Camp Clothes

Camp Clothes

Camp Clothes

CLOTHING SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVIDE

On the Tour Divide I didn’t have enough clothes.  I didn’t bring a vest and had to order the windproof gloves mid race.  As far as kits went it was okay.  With only one bib and jersey I stunk pretty bad.  My Giro Empire VR90’s got a little tight by the end, In hindsight I should have gotten a bigger size.

COLORADO TRAIL 

After learning my lesson on the TD of not having enough clothes I added a vest, baggies to put over my bibs and switched out my jersey choice.  I got tired of the sun sleeves being so tight on my arms and they were so dingy.  The loose fitting Astroman was awesome.  Can you say four way stretch?   I also went with the X-Alps for more comfort when doing HABs.

ARIZONA TRAIL 

By the time I rode the AZT my Brooks B17 was so comfortable I said screw bibs.  The idea of sweating that much in the Arizona desert day after day with only one pair of bibs didn’t sit will with me or my ass.  My X-Alps were a little too loose in the heel so again I switched shoes to some Giros Terraduro.  I also added a visor for hiking the Grand Canyon.

PROS:

  • Options
  • Take less = Less weight

With the selection of clothes I had in my kit I had a pretty flexible kit that was well suited for most conditions I faced during my bikepacking triple crown.  Less meant more room for other items and helped to keep the weight down.

CONS:

  • One kit = STINKY
  • Tightness of the lycra kit got old. – Tour Divide
  • No vest and cold weather gloves to start – Tour Divide

The above says it all.  You’re going to smell.  No, seriously you will stink worse than you ever imagined possible.  Wearing only lycra get’s old fast.  

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Skimping on what I brought to save weight.
  • Giro Terraduro shoes

Not taking a vest and warmer gloves on the Tour Divide was a mistake.  Bring what you think you’ll need to be comfortable in a wide range of conditions.  The tongue on the Terraduros would slip to either side and chaffed my ankles terribly.

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

  • Bring a vest and glove weather gloves to the start of the Tour Divide
  • Attempt to go without bibs on the Colorado Trail.
  • Possibly bring shoes covers – Tour Divide/CTR.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Your kit won’t be much different than that of a long weekend ride.  Add some clothes to sleep in and some extra gloves and socks.  In the end make sure you’re both physically and mentally comfortable with whatever you decide to take.  Not being so could cost you more than not getting to the finish.

Pro-Tips

  • Bring more, you can always get rid of something, easier than find what your missing.
  • If you’re doing the CTR or AZTR make sure your shoes fit great, both pedaling and hiking. Your feet will swell up, be sure your shoes aren’t too tight in the toe box.
  • The weather could possibly be worse than your imagination thinks, keep this in mind when putting your kit together.  Staying warm  and dry can be very hard when bikepacking.
  • A buff is the one thing everyone should bikepack with!

TOOLS/REPAIR

A solid well put together Tool/Repair Kit should mirror who it belongs too and where they are going.  Every kit will be different for each situation.  Your judgement is better than someone else’s.

I put together my Tools/Repair kit by sitting down with my bike and I looked it over from back to front and top to bottom.  I asked myself what could go wrong, if I could fix it with my mechanical skills, then I made sure I had the tools or parts to fix it.  Tools and a repair kit are mandatory bikepacking gear items every trip needs.   

Tools gear

TOOLS/REPAIR SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

COLORADO TRAIL

ARIZONA TRAIL

TOOLS/REPAIR SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVIDE, COLORADO & ARIZONA TRAIL

As I didn’t have to use anything more than my pump and a couple of tubes throughout 4028 miles of bikepacking, I didn’t make any changes to my tool kit.

I also used my multi tool a few times and this taught me a valuable lesson.  I learned this lesson many times.  See the What didn’t work section to the right to find out more.

PROS:

  • Small and compact
  • Wide range of tools

My tool kit was both of the things listed above but it also gave me a feeling of confidence.  It’s more than some would carry but I wanted to ensure my chances of finishing were the best they could be.

CONS:

  • None to mention.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Park Tool Ibeam

This multi tool is a sub par at best.  Don’t ask why I didn’t replace it after the TD.  It’s short allens couldn’t reach many of the bolts on my bike and they have a tendency to fall apart.

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

  • Find a better multi tool that worked better with my bike.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I was happy with my Tools/Repair kit.  At times I felt like I took too much as I wasn’t using any of it but after some thought I realized, sometimes it’s not about using it but the piece of mind having something in your bag that is more important.

Pro-Tips

  • Make sure your multi tool works on ALL bolts on your bike.
  • Know your bike and tools, just like your other bikepacking gear choices.
  • Cover your bases, be prepared for anything.  You’re on your own!

HEALTH/FIRST AID

During my 8000+ miles of hiking, I’ve learned to be safe or as close to safe as I can when in the woods.  Using prior experiences to judge new situations and approaching them with a level head has allowed me to trim down my Health/First Aid set up to the bare minimum. 

My kit shouldn’t be simply copied to save time.  Everyone’s set up should mirror their own personal experience, skill level, and comfort level.  Know your abilities and what you’re comfortable with or without, then move forward from there when building your own first aid kit.  A first aid kit is a mandatory bikepacking gear item every trip needs.   

First aid gear

HEATLH/FIRST AID SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

  • Sun Screen – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
  • Tooth brush/paste
  • Dude Wipes & hand sanitizer
  • Avid
  • Imodium AD
  • A Few Bandaids
  • Lip Baum
  • Tweezers
  • Contacts
  • Contact Case
  • Small bottle of contact fluid

COLORADO TRAIL

  • Sun Screen – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
  • Tooth brush/paste
  • Dude Wipes & hand sanitizer
  • Avid
  • Imodium AD
  • A Few Bandaids
  • Lip Baum
  • Tweezers
  • Contacts
  • Contact Case
  • Small bottle of contact fluid
  • K Tape

ARIZONA TRAIL

  • Sun Screen – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
  • Tooth brush/paste
  • Dude Wipes & hand sanitizer
  • Avid
  • Imodium AD
  • A Few Bandaids
  • Lip Baum
  • Tweezers
  • Contacts 
  • Contact Case
  • Small bottle of contact fluid
  • K Tape

HEALTH/FIRST AID SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVIDE & COLORADO TRAIL 

My Health/First Aid set up for both these trails were the same.  While on the TD I suffered from achilles pain, so as a result I had a chiropractor friend tape my achilles before I left for the CTR.

ARIZONA TRAIL 

For the AZT I went out and bought some K Tape of my own and added it to my set up.  I never did use it but I was glad to have it, just in case.  My medical issues on the AZT were heat exhaustion and dehydration and those just require fluids.

PROS:

  • Small
  • Compact

The biggest Pro was I barely used my Health/First Aid kit in 4028 miles.

CONS:

  • None 

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Nothing

I only used  my Dude Wipes, tooth paste/brush, contacts, avid and sunscreen.  Everything worked wonderfully.

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

  • Start the Tour Divide with my achilles taped.
  • Bring K Tape for all three.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

My Health/First Aid set up was simple and compact.  Besides the AZT and getting heat stroke I used my head when bikepacking and didn’t need to use my kit much. Don’t skip bringing first aid, most times you’re alone and relaying on others is really shitty.

Pro-Tips

  • Listen to your body, NOT your ego.
  • Tape achilles.
  • Lower saddle or move cleats backward to alleviate achilles pain.
  • Know how to tape other body parts like knees, shoulders or other parts prone to cycling injuries.
  • Use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer or some other that doesn’t sting the eyes.

HYDRATION

When it came to keeping hydrated on the trail I wanted easy access to my water and what I thought would be enough capacity for each trail.  As I did each trail I learned which bladders worked best and also the pros and cons of bottles mounted unconventionally on varies spots on your bike.

I did carry a filter and back up water treatment, which consequently I almost never used.  Most stretches between resupply stops are rideable without having to filter or caches are available, (depending on your capacity).  Not finishing because I skimped and contracted Giardia is not an option on any of my adventures. 

HYDRATION SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

COLORADO TRAIL

ARIZONA TRAIL

  • Filter  – MSR Trail Shot
  • Water Treatment – Aqua Mira (Back up to filter)
  • BladderMSR Dromlite 4L
  • Bottles – 20 oz Water Bottles – on fork (2)
  • Bottles – 20 oz Water Bottles – on down tube (1)

HYDRATION SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVIDE 

Since some distances between towns were longer I wanted extra capacity.  If I didn’t have to filter that meant less stopping, as a result I had about 5 liter capacity.

COLORADO TRAIL 

For the Colorado Trail I switch out my Platypus Big Zip LP for a Platypus Hoser Hydration Bladder. In addition I added a bottle to my down tube (the bottles from the fork were gone).

ARIZONA TRAIL 

Despite being October when I did the AZT I knew I needed to be able to carry lots of water.  I once again switched out the Platypus Hoser for a MSR Dromlite dromedary bag as it fit better in my frame bag.  I added bottles back onto my fork as well.  In conclusion, I had about 5-6 liter capacity.

PROS:

  • Ease of use

I had the water I needed with three different systems that all worked.

CONS:

  • Fit
  • Fork mounts unreliable.
  • Tire clearance

I had fit issue with the Big Zip LP, as the plastic closure didn’t fit between the top and down tubes. The Hoser fit better but it’s shape didn’t use the available space in my frame pack well. The straps that come with most fork mounts are junk and break quickly.  Tire clearance is an issue with downtube bottle mounts and suspension forks.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Nothing

All my Hydration set ups worked, but each had it’s short comings.  None were major and I was able to overcome them while on trail. 

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

  • Better research which type of bladder fit the best in my frame bag.
  • Use a more fixed mount for the down tube bottle mount to avoid bouncing and tire rub.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Like with most set ups on this page, I would have benefitted from more testing before toeing the line at the races.  Everything worked well but I did have to over come some flaws along the way that cause unneeded stress while on trail.

Pro-Tips

  • Check your filters efficiency before leaving.
  • Know how to repair/backwash filter properly.
  • Replace fork mount straps with reinforced ones before you go.

ELECTRONICS

I tried my best to keep the number of electronics I carried to a minimum but only succeeded some what.  Choosing items that used  similar size USB cords further minimize the number of items.  I did this so I could charge anything with my SON generator hub, relaying on my external battery only as a backup.

I found out the hard way that ZipLock bags (and bikepacking bags) are not sufficient at keeping electronics dry. Do yourself a favor and get a waterproof case.

Electronics gear

ELECTRONICS SET UP BY TRAIL

TOUR DIVIDE

COLORADO TRAIL

ARIZONA TRAIL

ELECTRONICS SET UP DIFFERENCES BETWEN TRAILS

TOUR DIVID & COLORADO TRAIL 

My electronics set up was the same for both the TD and CTR expect I switched out the ZipLocks for a SealLine E-case to protect my electronics.

ARIZONA TRAIL 

While on the AZT I switched out my Goal Zero Flip 20 for an Anker external battery.  I did this for two reasons.  The first being that I fried the first one on the TD and the second Flip 20 I had didn’t hold a charge on the CTR.  The second reason was I needed a proven and larger battery for the AZT.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Relability

I choose my electronics kit carefully, and made sure cords were interchangeable.

CONS:

  • ZipLocks failed 

Any and all issues I had with my electronics were due to outside factors and not related to the electronics themselves.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • ZipLocks

As I mentioned in the Bags section above I used ZipLocks to store my electronics on the TD and they failed miserably.  ZipLocks are NOT bikepacking gear.

THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

  • Start with storage like a SealLine E-case.
  • Carry a second strap for headlamp so I could use it without having to wear my helmet.  (I zip tied my head lamp to my helmet)
  • I’d use a Spot Gen 3, because they use less batteries.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I mentioned earlier in the Cons section that my issues were from outside factors.  I think with further use before my races I could have probably eliminated them.  This is yet another example of why I keep saying to TEST your set up!

Pro-Tips

  • Use electronics that have interchangeable USB cords.
  • Make your system redundant, and have back ups for back ups.
  • Proper waterproof storage.

More Resources

Gear lists from the AZT, TD and CTR; Pros & Cons; Things I’d do different; and Tips for selecting the right gear.

Planning should include more than just where towns and water are.  From wills, to healthcare concerns, to electronics, this post covers them all and more.

You can learn everything possible about a trail before you go but it will still teach you plenty once you’re out there.

Navigation is probably the biggest concern for most newbie bikepackers.  The reality is it’s not that bad but the learning curve is tough.

Time is the little killer when bikepack racing.  There’s many ways to limit your losses, we cover some of them here.

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