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Brider007
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Hey all! I am fairly new to bikepacking and am wondering about must have equipment. So i plan on going on 1 night or 2 night expeditions and would like to know the absolute must have equipment. Also if you could suggest some cheap equipment that would be a good grab. Thanks!
 

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OP, where are you? Desert, rainforest, high plains? New England Summer bikepacker here. Tent, for bugs and rain, something to sleep on like a mattress and something to stay warm. Sleeping bag or quilt will work. Food and stove is up to you, stores nearby? Clean water or a way to filter is good. I like 2 sets on bike clothes, one off bike set of clothes, a warm layer and a dry layer, like rain a coat. And a way to carry it all on your bike. Basic bike fix it stuff, for say a flat or broken chain.
 

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I break it down like:

Water
Food
Clothes
Sleep
Personal
Bike (including navigation)


What each category contains depends on many things; no two trips contain the same items.

For a few nights out, I usually don't think of it as bikepacking – I think of it as adding minimalist bivy gear to my day ride kit. (Not applicable you're shaking down for something bigger.) Those less-loaded rides are a good chance to enjoy technical routes. And they give you something to shoot for when kitting up for something big. You already know that you don't need all the stuff that people think they do.

I don't think there is any must-have gear besides a bike. Because if you cite something as mandatory, some high-mileage rider will tell how she's never owned or used one.

Enjoy the discoveries you earn.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Hey all! I am fairly new to bikepacking and am wondering about must have equipment. So i plan on going on 1 night or 2 night expeditions and would like to know the absolute must have equipment. Also if you could suggest some cheap equipment that would be a good grab. Thanks!
Where you live and the conditions you'll encounter are CRITICAL factors that'll determine your gear.

You don't want to carry a 4 season tent when you'll be riding in the AZ desert in July.

A short list (with longer explanations):
1. your bike - of course!
2. Shelter - where do you go to get away from rain, sun, bugs, etc and to sleep?
3. Sleep gear - Depends on your conditions. Some sort of ground mat, something to cover yourself/insulate during cool nighttime temps.
4. Food and prep gear - bringing no-cook food? then no need for a stove. but if you need to heat anything up, even just water, you should have a stove. utensils, cutlery, etc all falls in here. don't "test" new foods on a trip. know what you're eating and how you're going to prepare it on the trail BEFORE you get to BFE. also includes food storage and security like bear bags/canisters (some places have requirements for this) or rodent protection.
5. water and associated gear - another conditions-dependent one. on multi-day trips you need to figure out resupply. Is it possible to draw water from wild sources? how are you going to carry it, obtain it from the source, and treat it? if no resupply sources are available, can you pack all your water along? are there places you can cache water for resupply prior to the trip? how are you going to treat the water? what are the major water quality issues for the place you're going? you should probably at least have some backup chemical treatment (it's tiny and super lightweight), but are you going to use a pump, gravity filter, UV, chemicals, inline on your bladder, filter bottle, or something else for your primary treatment method? if boiling is a backup for you, then that means a stove and a pot, obviously.
6. clothes - another conditions-dependent one. How warm during the day? What temp at night? Any precip in the forecast? Any subfreezing temps? What's the trip duration? The longer the trip, the more critical cleaning your clothes becomes. Especially next-to-skin layers that will get rank and/or rub on your body. You can only haul so many fresh changes. I agree with having more on-bike clothes than off-bike clothes.
7. navigation - Map & compass, GPS. Make sure you know how to use your gear. My primary navigation method is actually a map. Anything digital is convenient, but is technically secondary for navigation (my primary use for digital navigation devices is for recording).
8. communications - Will your phone work where you're going? Spotty coverage? How far away are you going? Will you be solo? Do you have a spouse or other family member who worries excessively? You may need to plan around satisfying an excessive worrier more than anything.
9. bike repair - What do you usually carry? Are you a minimalist who tries to avoid carrying a tube and a pump, or do you carry that (and more) on every ride? You'll definitely want to carry stuff to repair more than one flat on a bikepacking ride, and at least have tools to handle a little more. for longer trips, maybe extra parts are worth a thought.
10. safety gear - This is a broad topic that includes lots of small, light things. Most of mine are kept in the same little bag. Things that might not get used on a trip, but are backups or for when TSHTF. Stuff that'll get you out of a bind (not related to bike/gear repair, that's another topic). Things like a small headlamp that you'll use around camp after dark, or maybe even as an emergency light to make progress down the trail at night. First aid kit (and the training to use what you bring). Protective equipment (things like sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, bear repellent, etc). Knife. Matches/lighter/ability to make a fire in a pinch. extra batteries for anything you have that requires them. sanitation (esp for after you poop, to prevent fecal-oral contamination) from camp soap and/or hand sanitizer, also the knowledge for how to deal with that - some places require you to pack it out.
11. something to carry this gear in. for bikepacking, that usually means multiple bags, with the majority of the stuff on your bike. this is going to relate back to pretty much every previous topic. your bags need to fit your gear. strapping a bunch of stuff to the outside of your bags will make a lot of irritating noise and be potential hazards on the bike. the bags also need to fit you and/or your bike.
 

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Is there a source on what to learn regarding bicycle maintenance in the field? I know how to change a chain, fix a flat, and things like that. I don’t know how or why to change a spoke on the trail or other major (maybe minor to some) problems that can happen in the backcountry. I’d love to see a video or a list of problems that happen when bikepacking so we can learn from either those mistakes or learn what to do if/when they arrive.
 

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Is there a source on what to learn regarding bicycle maintenance in the field? I know how to change a chain, fix a flat, and things like that. I don't know how or why to change a spoke on the trail or other major (maybe minor to some) problems that can happen in the backcountry. I'd love to see a video or a list of problems that happen when bikepacking so we can learn from either those mistakes or learn what to do if/when they arrive.
It doesn't really work that way.

If it can go wrong, there is a possibility it will eventually. But is that likely to be a problem? That's debatable.

Unless you are WAY out there, a broken spoke is unlikely to be a critical failure. I have ridden many miles on a broken spoke no problem. You are more likely to have something else fail critically on your bike.

And what to do about those things in the field? Either you fix it like you do at home, or you limp home with something not working correctly. You aren't bleeding brakes in the woods.

So just learn to work on your bike just like you would otherwise. Some things you can improvise. Others you can't. Carry some basic tools and maybe some spare bits that are easy to replace if they fail. Spare spokes might be worth the effort if you are weeks out from somewhere. Not for a couple days.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

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A few that come to mind:

a few zip ties. They are light and potentially fix an array of problems.

About 10 feet of (high quality) duct tape wrapped around a hand pump or credit card.

Pocket knife

Derailer hanger

Spare chain links

In addition to a headlamp, a backup light source, usually a tiny pen light if I’m not carrying Bike illumination already.
 

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It doesn't really work that way.

If it can go wrong, there is a possibility it will eventually. But is that likely to be a problem? That's debatable.

Unless you are WAY out there, a broken spoke is unlikely to be a critical failure. I have ridden many miles on a broken spoke no problem. You are more likely to have something else fail critically on your bike.

And what to do about those things in the field? Either you fix it like you do at home, or you limp home with something not working correctly. You aren't bleeding brakes in the woods.

So just learn to work on your bike just like you would otherwise. Some things you can improvise. Others you can't. Carry some basic tools and maybe some spare bits that are easy to replace if they fail. Spare spokes might be worth the effort if you are weeks out from somewhere. Not for a couple days.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
Fair enough on the extra spoke(s). I always see them in pack list pictures.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Fair enough on the extra spoke(s). I always see them in pack list pictures.
For a big trip, sure, it won't hurt to have em. But realistically, on a good wheelset, you can ride on it with a broken spoke for awhile. And if you bring gear to fix broken spokes, you better be able to replace the rim strip, at least with a cheapie to run a tube after. If tubeless with sealant, that means cleaning out the old sealant before installing the new one if it's an adhesive strip. If it's a rear spoke, you aren't installing a new one with the cassette and rotor installed. MAYBE if you have a fiberfix spoke...MAYBE. But some jobs just have additional tool requirements that start getting cumbersome.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

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Hey all! I am fairly new to bikepacking and am wondering about must have equipment. So i plan on going on 1 night or 2 night expeditions and would like to know the absolute must have equipment. Also if you could suggest some cheap equipment that would be a good grab. Thanks!
Ya wanna carry as light as possible. Takes a bit of practice to reduce the load of so called 'essentials'.

My list:
For the bike; spare tube, hand pump, tire spoons. 9, 10 and 15mm wrench, a three side Park allen wrench tool. zip ties, small roll of duct tape.

for camping; Warbonnet hammock/tarp, lightweight down bag, MSR Titan 900ml pot for heating water for tea (me, tea addict), White Box alcohol stove with 95-99% alcohol, 2L MSR Titan for cooking oatmeal or pasta. 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 long pants, 1 pair riding shorts, 2 riding jerseys, 1 pair riding gloves, light sandals and or cold/rain gear if climate mandates. In the USA I just buy gallons jugs of drinking water at the jiffy marts. In asia and euroland 1.5 liter bottles of water. Medicinal whisky, (Old Overholt Rye)
I've gone for weeks with this kit...
Less is more, especially on longer rides.
 

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saddlemeat
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Fair enough on the extra spoke(s). I always see them in pack list pictures.
Let a little tension off the two adjacent nipples, is a good fix for a single broken spoke. Twist it around an adjacent spoke so it doesn't flop around and cause damage. Creativity is the real must have.
 

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I get out on a 3 day about once a month and I carry too much ****. But so what.

I do a handlebar roll that has a tyvek ground sheet, tent body, poles, sleeping bag and pad. If I roll it right, it goes into a 13 liter dry bag.

Clothes, food, and cook kit all fit in the 13L Terrapin. Not cheap but well worth the cash.

I keep a separate 9x11 tarp in its own dry bag complete with stakes and cord strapped either to the terrapin or on the handlebars so if it's wet I can set up a dry area without opening anything up. I use this both as a shelter and a rainfly.

And I carry a chair. After 8 hours of riding, I'm not sitting on the ground. I currently have a 3# Amazon monster but will replace it with the Big Agnes Skyline UL at some point. It goes on the blacburn rack on the water bottle mounts on the down tube.

As far as cheap, I use the Alps Zephyr 1 which is a little heavy but you can find it for around a hundo which is a nice price. For summer I use the REI helio sack 55 and it's well under a hundred and light to boot. I use a Primus Classic stove for under 20 bucks.

Next winter I'm investing in a Katabic Flex 22. It's not cheap.

Food wise, I do oatmeal with peanuyt butter for breakfast, PBJ torts for lunch, and a meal pack of some sort for dinner. There's a brand of Indian food that has a great Eggplant and Saag Paneer I'm currently jamming on.
 

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My must-have item that's totally unnecessary for survival is a good book. Usually I take along something tiresome that I'd never read unless it was the only option (which while bikepacking, it is.)


Last trip it was the Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky.


I guess if I really got in a survival pickle, it makes for good fire starter. :)
 

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My must-have item that's totally unnecessary for survival is a good book. Usually I take along something tiresome that I'd never read unless it was the only option (which while bikepacking, it is.)

Last trip it was the Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky.

I guess if I really got in a survival pickle, it makes for good fire starter. :)
Good idea! I'm working up to my first bikepack, and wondered how to spend the non-biking hours, other than sleeping and eating!
 

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Good idea! I'm working up to my first bikepack, and wondered how to spend the non-biking hours, other than sleeping and eating!
I try to schedule my mileage so there's not much down time. 80 miles a day fully loaded on gravel in the mountains is about 8 hours of riding for me at least. . Add on poke-around time, meal time, nap time, etc., and that's a full day. If you're camp cooking getting fed in the morning and evening also takes up time.

Here's a tip: On three-day trips, do the second day an unloaded out and back. I've done this on the Swamp Fox and the last 120 miles of the TransVirginia Gravel Trail. You can bump mileage up unloaded and you only have to set and break camp once.
 

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Good idea! I'm working up to my first bikepack, and wondered how to spend the non-biking hours, other than sleeping and eating!
Find a campsite, sit back and soak it in.
Take your time and enjoy your dinner.
Watch wildlife. Change gears from the day and really slow your brain down -it's quite the relaxing contrast.

 

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I try to schedule my mileage so there's not much down time. 80 miles a day fully loaded on gravel in the mountains is about 8 hours of riding for me at least. . Add on poke-around time, meal time, nap time, etc., and that's a full day. If you're camp cooking getting fed in the morning and evening also takes up time.

Here's a tip: On three-day trips, do the second day an unloaded out and back. I've done this on the Swamp Fox and the last 120 miles of the TransVirginia Gravel Trail. You can bump mileage up unloaded and you only have to set and break camp once.
That sounds like a good plan, as long as your gear stays safe while you're gone for the day.
 
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