What do you take on for the ride?! essential stuff or waste of weight?!
Last year I helped writing an article about adventure bike packing and the things we should carry on a bike ride, depending on the type, place and length of the ride you are about to take.
The thing is that you have to be dynamic in everything you do, in how you ride, what decisions you make, and change your track if necessary and also in what you take with you on the ride. Yes, is good to have everything with you and don’t miss a thing when you camp but maybe you will not enjoy the trail that much with a 10kg backpack on you or with lots of stuff hanging from the bike. I for one don’t want to sacrifice the descent as much as possible, I like to enjoy every bit of it and ride it in almost normal conditions not being forced to take it to slowly because of the stuff I carry. That’s why I try not to take unnecessary things with me and I am very pleased when everything in my backpack (except first aid kit) is used and I did not carry anything useless with me :).
To help organize your backpack, you can use this website I find very simple and practical: lighterpack.com
With this in mind, I would split the bike luggage in 3 groups: super light, light and bike packing.
- “Super light” luggage – for half-day or maximum 1-day ride
These are fun rides, for training in the bike park or on enduro trails. These are rides on routes that you already know and where no significant surprises can occur. These are rides in which you can leave later in the day and which you can finish without worries over a beer in the evening. In such rides the luggage is super minimal and many of the objects, such as tools, it is recommended not to be taken in duplicates. For example, a pump is enough for everyone or a single multi tool. The recommendation is also valid for the other two types of luggage.
In a “Super light” ride it is enough to have the things below. Luggage should not exceed 1-1.5 kg.
- Snacks (2-3 energy bars / chocolate, a sandwich, possibly 1 energy gel)
- Spare tire tube, self-adhesive patches, levers, pump, multi tool (except for the tube, the others are enough to be in one for the entire group, spread to other friends in the brat pack :)))
- Water bottle – with water 😉
- Hip bag (optional), in which you carry tools and snacks
- Knee pads (elbow pads are optional or depending on your experience)
You can check the representation of this type of luggage on lighterpack here.
2. “Light” luggage – for tours of 1 day or maximum 2.
The 1-2 days tours can be characterized as “short adventures”, in search of beautiful alpine trails. These are rides in which we do some exploration with an average level of “surprises”. It is not excluded to reach unknown areas from which we must get out safely. However, it is important to mention that having this luggage with you, rides should not exceed two days.
For safety we will have several items with us, such as a headlamp, first aid kit or change / sleeping clothes. If the ride involves sleeping in a shelter or a mountain refuge, we must also have a “light” sleeping bag. If we stay at a cottage, there is no need.
For such a ride, a backpack of 20-25 L is needed, and the weight should not exceed 3 kg (excluding the weight of the backpack). It is also important to say that the weight of the luggage is directly proportional to the accommodation comfort. The larger the luggage, the greater the comfort. I always sacrifice a little of the comfort side of the ride to have a lighter and more balanced luggage, to feel freer on the bike.
- Snacks – double the quantity from the “super light” luggage or keep the same number of energy bars if you can refuel on the route
- The same tools (it is recommended to be fixed on the bike and not carried in the backpack)
- Rain jacket
- First aid kit
- Sun lotion
- Photo / video camera (or phone only)
- 1 liter of water (possibly with hydration powder if you know it helps)
- Backpack 20-25L
- knee pads
You can check the representation of the light luggage on lighterpack here.
3. “Bike packing” luggage – for rides that take more than 2 days
This baggage can be more complicated and certainly heavier, but it should not be discouraging. It depends a lot on how you evaluate yourself – whether you feel colder or not, whether you eat a lot or not, etc. And that’s because you don’t want to take with you things you won’t use, excluding tools, or first aid kits. During the multi-day tours, surprises can appear on the route, from bad weather to dead ends on the route and you have to make a U-turn or get stuck there. These are reasons why luggage gets bigger, with more food, spare clothes and extra equipment. The luggage must contain food for two meals (evening and morning) as well as snacks during the day, if you know that the route does not go near “civilization”. If you go down to the cottage or a mountain hut in the evening, you can lose food because you will eat there. But if the route is only on top, on ridges, then the self-assessment we were talking about matters a lot. As for the food, in the evening you can be satisfied with “gas station” type sandwiches that withstand a day of heat or you can add comfort if you have small burner and some quick cooking food. But keep in mind that luggage can be shared between members of the ride. The burner can be stored in someone’s backpack, the gas container can be carried by someone else, and the dishes can be carried by the third riding buddy.
Also, if there is an epic trip and you are going to wild camp, you should have more specific equipment like bivouac bag (in addition to sleeping bag), air mattress or tarp under which 3 people can sleep. The survival foil is very effective, put under the mattress, and does not weigh much. In addition, it is very useful in case of an accident. For a warm sleep don’t forget that the surviving foil must be put with the silver part towards your body.
- Knee pads (optional)
- Food for two days – it is preferable for the route to pass through areas with villages, cottages from where you can resupply. Otherwise the luggage is a bit bigger
- Tea or coffee – for relaxation in the evening and in the morning when you look at the mountain tops 😉
- Tools (to be shared between members, taking care that the spare space remains in everyone’s backpack)
- First aid kit
- Sun lotion
- Photo / video camera (or phone only)
- External battery – for phone, video camera, GPS
- GPS or cycling computer (preferably with navigation included)
- Small burner (primus – 110-200g) and gas supply (capacity 100 g or more, 230 g if there are several riders in the lap)
- Drinking cup for each rider
- Spork (spoon, fork and knife integrated into a single object)
- Lighter / flint (if you want a campfire or for the burner)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Wet wipes for intimate care
- Sleeping bag, bivouac bag, mattress
- Change clothes, for wet or cold weather – it’s up to you how you can stand the cold
- 1-2 L of water – depends on whether you still find on the route for resupply (springs, cottages, villages)
- Tent or tarp. The components of the tent (tent, tarp, sticks, nails) can be divided between ride members. There are also self-supporting tents. They no longer need the inner tent or nails because the upper tent is supporting itself using only the sticks.
- Backpack 25-30 L.
You can check the representation of the bike packing luggage on lighterpack here.
Please find the original article form freerider.ro here.
Also check this clip we made on our last trip to Cindrel mountains bellow or the Tour du Mont Blanc video and article.
Enjoy and ride safe!