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Bikepacking – Test. Pack. Ride. Repack. Repeat.

May 5, 2009

You are all probably tired of me talking about last week in Fruita and Moab, but I can’t help it.   I am obsessed with equipment right now.  Today, I want to share a little bit of info on my equipment.

I rode my Big Mama – I’m working on a longer story on the Salsa blog regarding the Big Mama, but in short it was a perfect sled for the Kokopelli.   The Kokopelli starts and ends with epic single track.  Almost everything in the middle is gravel and sand.  The Big Mama pedals so well.  It was the perfect ride for this trail.   Not one mechanical.  The only thing I had to do was repack my seat bag after I pulled my rain jacket out of it.  I had to repack it because it was drooping and hitting the rear wheel during full compression of the suspension.  Not a fault of either the bike or the bag.  It was a packing issue.  Just be aware of this issue if you are riding with seat bags and full suspension.

Did I mention there was sand?

Did I mention there was sand?

I ended up getting about 125 miles and about 13.5 hours with all my equipment on, including an over filled back Osprey 22 pack and full Epic Designs bar and seat bag.     My front bag was packed with my night time stuff; bivy, sleeping pad and wool top and beanie.   I also put food in the front pockets along with a map.  My seat bag was filled with an extra set of riding gear, my sleeping bag and my rain jacket.  My back pack was filled with 2 days of food, water filter, 5 liters of water, tools, tubes, misc safety gear and survival bits.   It was a grueling 125 miles, but other than a few issues like saddle, bar, & grips this set up is almost perfect.   Look for more info on gear and set up on the Salsa blog.

My over night gear needs a bit of tweaking too.    Nothing major, but some tweaking.

Did I mention there was sand?

Did I mention there was sand?

My bivy/shelter needs a little more work with the staking.  I ended up tossing and turning a bit inside pulling the stakes right out of the sand.   Not all that surprising, but the end result was an outer shell that layed on top of my sleeping bag.  Next time I’ll park my BM near the back and string the shelter to the BM.   The end result was my feet got damp and then cold due to the condensation on the single wall shelter.   I ended up waking up and wraping my feet in my rain gear and was able to sleep the rest of the night.

My only niggles were:

– My Gas tank for the top tube doesn’t work with the Big Mama due to the long overlap and weld area of the down tube.

– I was longing for a frame bag to help store gear.  I think I know where to get one of those.

– My staking of my shelter – Not sure this ultralight shelter thing is going to work.   I’ll need to give it another shot.

It must of worked pretty good because I rode the next day with the Lincoln Crew.   We rode Slick Rock, another perfect day riding the Big Mama.

Sun, sand and Slick Rock

Sun, sand and Slick Rock

I got what I wanted out of my testing.   Now I’ve got to trim down the back pack and extra gear.  When bikepacking for extra light and extra long miles, every ounce counts.

Test.  Pack.  Ride.  Repack.  Repeat.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2009 5:17 am

    Does this mean you may rethink you bike choice for your Colorado adventure, or just your pack(ing) choices? Or both? Looking forward to reading and seeing more about your trip (hint).


  2. Gnat permalink*
    May 5, 2009 5:29 am

    Jason, thanks for the comment.

    Well….I’m rethinking a lot of things right now. Mostly, I’m rethinking equipment and how to keep it off my body. I have a degenerative and crushed disc in my back and weight on my back is critical. Who knows you might see me on a different ride by the time I do my next adventure.

    Right now, I’m back riding my Fargo again. That bike has it all except for front or rear suspension…….

    Let me get through this week at work and home and you’ll see something.

  3. May 7, 2009 10:07 pm

    nice… i recognize those images. you definitely got a good trial run in with the fruita/moab trip, didn’t you? it’ll be interesting to see how all this evolution takes its course… i’m definitely going to be watching very closely. the fargo with big ‘ol fatties is an awfully appealing option from a gear hauling standpoint, but you’re right… no front or rear suspension to speak of and after having just gone through wilderness park on an un-loaded big mama, i can attest to the fact that dual-squishie is indeed an awfully nice thing to have, whether loaded or not!

    word ’em up! thanks for the good times and entertaining writing, good buddy.


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