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Old 02-13-12, 02:50 PM   #1
gottabefunky
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Ultimate open-budget backcountry bikepacking setup?

After years of sweating in the cubicle dungeon, I think I'm going to treat myself to a midlife backcountry bikepacking adventure.

I'd be starting from scratch, but since this would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I'm considering throwing out all the stops when it comes to gear.

So if money was no object, what would your ultimate gear setup be? Bike, racks, clothes, tech, you name it - what's the absolute best out there?

Thanks!
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Old 02-13-12, 02:57 PM   #2
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Well, to start off with, you would need to determine whether you will be bikepacking on serious backcountry paths and trails (Great Divide race style) or more riding fire roads and forest service roads thrown in. That makes a big difference in the whole rig. For road/fireroad riding, any touring bike with racks and bags with fattish tires will work...would want mountain bike gearing. This is the type of touring I mostly do on an LHT with 2.0inch mtb tires and standard racks/panniers.
Fire roads and jeep trails push that rig to the edge of fun though. If I was to go anything more technical, I would get a hardtail mountain bike with frame bags. Most riders for this style use frame bags, a small backpack, and some sort of either seatpost rack or if they ride a hardtail maybe a standard rear rack.
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Old 02-13-12, 03:41 PM   #3
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Well, to start off with, you would need to determine whether you will be bikepacking on serious backcountry paths and trails (Great Divide race style) or more riding fire roads and forest service roads thrown in. That makes a big difference in the whole rig. For road/fireroad riding, any touring bike with racks and bags with fattish tires will work...would want mountain bike gearing. This is the type of touring I mostly do on an LHT with 2.0inch mtb tires and standard racks/panniers.
Fire roads and jeep trails push that rig to the edge of fun though. If I was to go anything more technical, I would get a hardtail mountain bike with frame bags. Most riders for this style use frame bags, a small backpack, and some sort of either seatpost rack or if they ride a hardtail maybe a standard rear rack.
The Great Divide is a series of US Forest Service roads linked together. It's really not all that technical. It's also, along with almost all of the Forest Service roads that I've been on in Colorado, completely inappropriate for a road style touring bike. You might be able to do most of it on a road bike but it wouldn't be comfortable nor easy.

gottabefunky: If you are looking for a mountain bike backcountry adventure, I'd suggest bags from Revelate Design. The Revelate Design stuff carries your gear in a narrower foot print than panniers and it's not as much hassle as a trailer. You could add a rear rack and a trunk bag for a little more space.

For a tent, I'd suggest a Big Agnes Flycreek UL1 (if you are taking company, get the UL2). The Flycreek is right at 2 lbs. It's roomy enough for a single tent and packs down really small. Get a Big Agnes down bag while you are at it with the Big Agnes pad. Both are light and small.

For food prep, I'd get a Snow Peak Giga or Primus Express Ti and use butane. Get a teapot and eat freeze dry...ugg!...because it's lighter.

For the bike, I'd go with either a full dually...the Specialized Epic is my favorite...or a soft tail like the Moots YBB (I have both). The Epic has a great system that minimizes pedal bob but activates on impacts while the YBB takes the edge off of bumps and has a very simple rear suspension system that is rugged and uncomplicated. I'd throw a Fox fork on the front of either.

You're on your own for clothing because that's so personal. Lycra/nylon clothing does dry faster but it's not as warm. Carry rain stuff and make it do double duty around camp.
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Old 02-13-12, 04:14 PM   #4
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The Great Divide is a series of US Forest Service roads linked together. It's really not all that technical. It's also, along with almost all of the Forest Service roads that I've been on in Colorado, completely inappropriate for a road style touring bike. You might be able to do most of it on a road bike but it wouldn't be comfortable nor easy..
Very true, but I think it is a matter of degree and what images certain terminology brings about. Forest service roads in different parts of the country tend to be of markedly different levels of maintenance. In logging and fire country in Northern California, much of the time they are in pretty good shape, at least good enough to drive a non 4x4 pickup on. I agree in that I wouldn't want to take a road touring bike on stuff much rougher than that. Just takes the fun out of it.
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Old 02-13-12, 07:09 PM   #5
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Good for you! Go for it! I would start with the Co-Motion Pangea Rohloff.
http://www.co-motion.com/index.php/s...pangea_rohloff

Last edited by reed523; 02-13-12 at 07:10 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 02-13-12, 07:35 PM   #6
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money no object I'd pay a trainer to help me to lose 50lbs of fat and then I'd put together a hard-tail front shock bike with basic light weight gear. The body matters more.
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Old 02-13-12, 07:49 PM   #7
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If money were no object, I would still go for middle-of-the-road-well-thought-out-equipment. It's nice having the funds to buy whatever you want but you don't need to go into a tour thinking you have to have the best of everything to enjoy yourself. I don't want to sound like I am preaching but just speaking from experience since my mid-life crisis involved taking a year off work and touring on an old MB1 even though I could have afforded much than than that.

You will get some good recommendations here but all I can say is don't get to boutiquesh. It takes the fun out of it.
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Old 02-13-12, 07:49 PM   #8
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the Co-Motion Pangea Rohloff.
I have a Thorn Nomad which is a very similar bike. There are lots of choices involved! How long do you expect to be traveling and how far from bike shops etc. Durability, weight, load capacity, comfort, efficiency/speed: these are factors that have to be balanced in a way that fits your plans & intent.

I would definitely recommend reading about other folks who have done the style of travel you are considering, or look at some of the options to clarify what it is you want to do. Stephen Lord's book Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook is a good resource. Look too at journals and reviews on

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/
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Old 02-13-12, 08:01 PM   #9
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I plan to ride the Great Divide this June. Using a hardtail MTB 26er and 3/4 ultralight gear . Plan on cooking and camping so not total ultralight .
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Old 02-13-12, 08:34 PM   #10
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"throwing out all the stops"...

oh hell, titanium frame, titanium stove, embroidered wool jacket and cap.
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Old 02-13-12, 09:16 PM   #11
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Well, if money was no object...
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Old 02-14-12, 12:42 AM   #12
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If money is no object, Cuben Fiber for gear (Two pounds for a tent? Try a few ounces over one! More space too), lots of fun down gear, shave a few ounces off the Snowpeak Giga and go with the Montauk Gnat. Either that, or an alcohol stove setup, depending on just how light you want.

Really I think the issue is going to be resupply points; how long can you really manage self sufficient back country touring before you need to stop by civilization to buy lightweight food, or fuel, or just want to hear the sound of another human voice?
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Old 02-14-12, 01:49 AM   #13
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If money is no problem for tent I would shoose Hilleberg Staika and a Marmot high end sleeeping bag. For bike I would go for a Koga world traveller. Add to this a good multilevel burner and titanium pots.
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Old 02-14-12, 03:06 AM   #14
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Humm, interesting!!! Are you going to stay with the bicycle or are you going to ride into an area only to a certain point and then hike the rest of the way (like up a mountain)? If you decide to hike after you bike then you want to go really light. I like Ultralight weight materials.........you did say money wasn't an issue so here it goes......

Pack: http://www.summithut.com/products/ultra-205/
Tent: http://www.summithut.com/products/la...=3057_a1b67ae1
Sleeping bag: http://www.summithut.com/products/lithium-membrain/
Sleeping pad: http://www.summithut.com/products/synmat24/
Stove: Snowpeak Ti auto http://www.backcountry.com/snow-peak...-auto-ignition
Alternative stove using wood: http://www.backpacker.com/gear-revie...ove/gear/14993

this is a start...........Fix it all on a Surly LHT and you got an adventure. I am one for a few comforts.....minimize but don't compromise is the minimalist moto. I like a nice comfortable sleeping pad for a good nights sleep. You can deal with a lot of crap when your well rested. Sleep on a hard cold ground day after day and it takes a toll. Same with carrying too much stuff or too heavy of stuff. Anyway, this is a start. I have spent years researching this stuff and I still haven't found the perfect setup........yet .
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Old 02-14-12, 05:59 AM   #15
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Sleeping pad = car sun shade
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Old 02-14-12, 08:22 AM   #16
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You joined this forum this month. Have you checked out past threads on gear? If not, you should.

Look at the photos on this link, many touring bikes shown, you can get an idea on bikes and how others carry their gear:
http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded
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Old 02-14-12, 10:02 AM   #17
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If money is no object, Cuben Fiber for gear.
$475 for a tarp tent And you provide the poles..."LightHeart Tents are hiking pole supported shelters "

With the optional aluminum tent poles and the aluminum awning pole, the tent weighs 32 oz, which is a bit over the trail weight of the Fly Creek. I don't see a packed dimension, either. The Fly Creek is 5" x 19". The Fly Creek has the added advantage of being a free standing tent so setup is easier and it doesn't have to guy lines and/or can be easily moved if you find that you've set it up over a big rock.

And, finally, the Fly Creek is a double walled tent. I've tried single walls. Ick! Dude. Seriously? That's gross.
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Old 02-14-12, 03:47 PM   #18
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It's all about ventalation . Single walls are fine
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Old 02-14-12, 04:05 PM   #19
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Tout Terrain , a German Builder has a full suspension bike
made for carrying 4 panniers.
rear suspension shock mount is part of a rear rack pannier support,

They got an arrangement with Arkel, the front ones fit in a special fitting
on their special suspension fork
bags stay up with the bike, upper part of the fork is reversed
in comparison with usual suspension forks.
the wheel moves separately without that added mass, over the terrain.
Peter White Cycles in NH is the sole source of those in NA.

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Old 02-14-12, 04:06 PM   #20
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It's all about ventalation . Single walls are fine
Yup, it's about ventilation. Single wall tents don't got none. Been there, done that, got the wet tee-shirt.
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Old 02-14-12, 04:54 PM   #21
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I'd stick some front suspension on my Surly Troll (well, I guess if money was no object I'd buy some super-light fancy bike) and go with a frame pack, saddlebag from Revelate Designs or whatever, and a handlebar pack...for longer trips where resupply points are questionable, I'd base it on a front and rear rack (light, not expedition quality) with stuff sacks full of things lashed on top, plus all of the above.

Realistically, I'd just start with the front and rear rack stuff sacks. For a summer setup, that plus a large one strapped to the handlebars should hold everything I need for a few days out. Winter/cold weather would be tougher to manage without also adding a frame pack, etc.

Gear - I'll sleep in my hammock with included bug net, covered by a 9 oz tarp, cook on a MSR Pocket Rocket stove, be kept warm on top by an 8 oz Insultex quilt and on the bottom by a 10 oz down underquilt, take only one change of clothes plus rain gear (and that only if rain is expected) and store extra water in a Nalgene bladder.

I know a lot of people see "bikepacking" as defined by being ultralight and not having racks, but what I like about the setup with racks is versatility; if you're on a long trip you can just ditch the panniers, pull out a few stuff sacks, and be pretty darn light for a few days' mountain biking without having to swap out everything and remove racks.

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Old 02-14-12, 05:24 PM   #22
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Yup, it's about ventilation. Single wall tents don't got none. Been there, done that, got the wet tee-shirt.
Glad you got a tee shirt . I will stick with a tarp
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Old 02-14-12, 06:37 PM   #23
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For bike I would go for a Koga world traveller.
+1 on the World Traveller, I would add Signature series. It now comes in a 26 (original) and a 29 inch version. I have a 26 and love it.
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Old 02-14-12, 06:38 PM   #24
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Since no one has mentioned it yet... I highly recommend you do a shorter tour before irrevocably committing yourself to an extensive tour. Among other benefits:

1) You can test out your gear, and see what you missed and what you can leave home
2) You can find out if this kind of trip truly suits you.
3) It'll test and/or improve your fitness.

Perhaps a week on the Katy Trail is a good warm-up, if you don't live too far from it.
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Old 02-14-12, 08:17 PM   #25
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I'd stick some front suspension on my Surly Troll .
ok, Troll and embroidered hat and jacket. Maybe put some black stripes on the orange for fun.
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