Personal setups » First attempt


Maah Daah Hey trail, Badlands of ND

Maah Daah Hey trail, Badlands of ND

At the end of our ride

At the end of our ride

This was my first attempt at a bikepacking trip. I used gear I already had. The ride was in North Dakota in mid October, 6″ of snow the week before, estimated average lows 20, estimated highs 45 and chance of extreme wind. In fact we had sun most days, no rain and highs in the low 60’s!

I learned a few things:

  • Keep the weight and bulk down!
  • If you use a rear rack you need something heavy on the front to compensate
  • a backpack is not great, smaller is definitely better
  • Make sure rear bags (rack or seat mounted) don’t interfere with getting behind the seat for steep drop-offs.
  • Smartwool socks shed Bentonite clay better than bare feet!

I used a Cannondale Prophet with a Topeak seatpost rack. On the rack a drybag with my rectangular down sleeping bag and non-wp bivysack, 3 spokes, as well as food for the rest of the ride. Bag secured with small camlock straps.

On the handlebar a small REI bag that mounts on top of the stem/bar, has a map compartment. In bag:

  • map
  • gps
  • bike minitool
  • day food
  • arm warmers
  • chain lube
  • petzl tikka
  • small first aid kit
  • yellow lenses for glasses
  • Park cassette tool
  • quick link

Under the handlebar was one 2l Platypus bladder, tied on with giant twist-ties, and the hose routed straight up in the air on one of those.

On my back a 33l Black Diamond Stone pack with the frame removed. In it:

  • Cut to calf length and torso shape Ridgerest
  • Long midweight bib tights
  • spare Smartwool socks
  • Mtn Hardwear Tempest pants (a 2l WP/B fabric, not taped, with a brushed lining)
  • Mtn Harwear Epic jacket
  • Gore-Tex Paclite shell mittens
  • Pearl Izumi Amfib shoecovers
  • Vaude lightweight fleece vest
  • Merino wool boxers
  • Sprayway down jacket
  • Odlo balaclava
  • Mtn Harwear Windpro beanie
  • Golite tarp,with spectra guylines and Hi-vis orange Ti stakes
  • 1 trekking pole
  • spork
  • derailleur hanger
  • brake pads
  • derailleur cable
  • film canister with Assos
  • second 2l platypus reservoir, not allways filled.

Wearing Northwave shoes, Smartwool socks, Specialized Pro bibs, Ibex merino wool zip-T, long finger gloves and Sunglasses.

My friend had the other pole and the canister stove.

The clothes were the lightest I had on hand that would give full waterproof protection in 35 degree weather on the bike, and keep me warm in the morning in camp in 20 degrees. The 2 hats because I used a bag without a hood. I planned on sleeping in all my insulating clothes. The fairly heavy pants were brought because they were only slightly heavier than my rainpants and substantially warmer.

After this I came up with some changes: The backpack needs to be lower, this one kept knocking the back of my helmet if I braked on a downhill. Lighter is better, both for the climbing and for the handling and the comfort of sitting on the saddle. I got lighter clothes and sleeping bag, a Wingnut backpack and much else. I would welcome some comments.

Comments (7)

Rodolpho ArrudaNovember 12th, 2008 at 4:42 am

Very nice. Please keep posting your trip’s records. I’m learning a lot from them.

AaronNovember 23rd, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I did this trail a while back and found a water filter indispensable. I am planning on doing it again next year. Did you forget to list a water filter or did you not use one? (and if so) how did you manage without one?

TjaardNovember 23rd, 2010 at 8:20 pm

We did not take a water filter. All the info lists water sources as very infrequent and unreliable. We did have plenty of little streams, but this was after a good snow fall. The river water is listed as being unsuitable for filtering because of extremely high levels of silt.
We simply used water from the pumps at the campsites, so we did have to carry a lot of water( a full days supply).

MarcFebruary 13th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Which topeak seat rack did you use? the quick release or the bolt on? I am wondering how the quick release would hold up out in the wild.

SlimFebruary 17th, 2011 at 10:22 am

I used a QR, but this was only for 4 days. Other people have reported failures, maybe post this in the Q&A forum.

kruzApril 12th, 2011 at 6:09 am

The Qr version would that just mount to the seatpost and thats it i need to buy a new rack for my kona unit 29er and i would have to get one like that i have no other mounts and no choice around it are any of those reliable all ive heard about them is that they just cant hold as much weight i was just planning on putting my sleeping bag and sleeping pad on it then wear a reg backpack

I accually have an idea I skateboard alot and have a pack with a skateboard carrier well the straps go horazontal across the pack couldn’t that be usefull for something just an idea i plan to mount most of my gear on the bike and carry food and spare clothes im my skate pack i would only do this for short 2 night trips I think it might be a good idea

WalterOctober 9th, 2012 at 9:40 am

Nice post! Looks like a great trip. I have heard good things about Wingnut packs. I use Osprey’s Talon 22 and I highly recommend it. I barely notice it is on (depending on how much stuff is in it, of course). It sits pretty low. I also like the wrap around waist pockets that you can put small stuff in – I usually keep my phone in one and gus/bars in the other for easy access. It is one of the lighter packs out there too with plenty of room – the only downside is it has one large main pocket, which makes it hard to find stuff since it all gets mixed up. I now take 3-4 smaller bags (including zip locks) to organize my stuff b/f throwing them in the pack to make it easier to find stuff.

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