BIKE & BAGS

This page is mainly for the other bikepackers, hikers and gear junkies out there, but if you're just curious as to what someone might carry on a five year expedition around the world then you might find it interesting. My priorities are simplicity and durability, as I can't afford to have my kit fail me in the middle of nowhere. Beyond that it's about keeping the weight down and doing away with everything but the essentials. 

Listed below is the full breakdown of what I'm using as of June 2021. Note that I have recently made a few changes to the setup I've been using for the last couple of years. Some of the photos below are of older setups but  the gear list shown is fully up to date. 

For a detailed analysis of my original setup, including gear reviews, see HERE.

For my guide to bikepacking navigation, see HERE.

THE NOBLE STEED ('LARA')

Frame & Fork: Surly ECR, Medium, 29+ (I am 180cm, but like a smaller frame)

Saddle: Brooks Cambium C17 Carved

Handlebars: Watson Cycles Revelation (titanium, 680mm width, 32° sweep). Ergon GC1 grips. SQLabs Innerbarends.

Wheels: Kinlin TL29 rims (i29), Bitex 106 front hub, DT Swiss rear freehub - hand built in the UK by Harry Rowland

Tyres: Continental Race King Protection, 29x2.2", tubeless

Chainrings: Shimano XT 24-34t double (Shimano XT cranks)

Cassette: Shimano Deore XT M8000 (11-46)

Shifters/derailleurs: Shimano XT

Brakes: TRP Spyre Mechanical Disc

Pedals: Burgtec Penthouse Flat Mk.4

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BAGS

Frame Bag: Halawa custom rolltop frame bag

Handlebar Bag: Roadrunner Bags Jumbo Jammer

Seat Pack: Revelate Designs Terrapin

Accessories: Halawa Jhatun XL (top tube bag) and two Apidura 1.2+ Backcountry Food Pouches

EXPEDITION KIT LIST (EVERY LAST THING)

BASE OUTFIT

  • RAB Forge merino wool tshirt

  • Decathlon hiking shorts

  • Merino wool Buff

  • Under Armour original boxer jocks

  • Merino wool short socks

  • Merrell light hiking boots

  • SunGod Sierras (best sunglasses I've ever had)

  • Specialized Align helmet

  • Gripgrab Progel fingerless cycling mitts

  • Compact camera in protective case (also containing SD card reader): Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 (clipped to my belt with a carabiner)

  • Wallet, Swiss Army Knife, headphones (in pockets)

SEAT PACK - SLEEP SYSTEM + CLOTHES 

  • Tarptent Rainbow tent (stuffed, poles and stakes stored in frame bag)

  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation down quilt, rated to -6°c

  • Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping mat

  • Sea to Summit Aeros pillow premium

  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, mini comb, roll-on deodorant 

  • Merino socks 

  • Mountain Warehouse long sleeved merino t-shirt

  • Salomon lightweight trousers

  • 1x spare pare Under Armour original boxer jocks

  • Sea to Summit microfiber towel

  • Arc'teryx Men Atom LT Hoody (synthetic down jacket)

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FRAME BAG - HEAVY BITS, LONG BITS + FOOD

  • Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV Mini Pump, wrapped in duct tape

  • 1x lightweight 29er inner tube

  • Small 2oz. bottle of tubeless sealant

  • Poles and stakes for Tarptent Rainbow

  • 2x Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD Power Bank with USB charging cables

  • Kindle Paperwhite, small journal, pens, paperwork documents (all stored in small dry bag)

  • Pedco UltraPod II mini tripod

  • Headtorch

  • Food

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JUMBO JAMMER (HANDLEBAR BAG) - EVERYTHING ELSE + FOOD

  • Inclement weather gear: Gore-Tex waterproof socks, DeFeet e-touch dura merino gloves, dhb merino leg warmers, RAB Windveil windbreaker/rain jacket. 

  • Tarptent Rainbow (stuffed, poles and stakes in frame bag)

  • MSR Titan Kettle (850ml titanium) in homemade pot cosy. Inside the pot: dish brush, BIC lighter, mini microfiber tea towel.

  • MSR Pocket Rocket II stove, fuel cannister

  • Laundry kit: 3x small clothespegs, small ziplock bag of laundry detergent, universal sink plug

  • Pouch with first aid supplies and repair kit: ibuprofen, paracetemol, water purification tablets. Sewing kit including curved upholstery needle for tubeless repairs, tenacious tape, cable ties, string

  • Microsoft Surface Go mini-laptop/tablet with charging cable (stored in a padded case, and wrapped inside sleeping bags for protection)

  • Tommox universal charging plug (60W, PD) with cables

  • Food

IN SMALL POCKETS AT FRONT OF THE BAG

  • Toilet paper, titanium trowel (TheTentLab Deuce #2)

  • Sawyer Mini water filter, syringe for cleaning filter. 2x 2L platypus water bladders (rolled up, only stored here when empty, when full moved to frame bag + main Jumbo Jammer compartment)

  • Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack (packable backpack)

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JHATUN XL (FRONT TOP TUBE BAG) - ACCESS + TOOLBOX

  • Mini cable lock

  • Toolkit -  dry chain lube, allen key multitool, tyre lever, patch kit, tubeless repair kit (bacon strips, tyre boot), spare brake pads, valve core remover tool, spare valve core, chain power link

  • Small red light blinkie

  • Snow Peak titanium spork

  • Mosquito headnet

  • Sunscreen

ON THE BIKE

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone (for navigation) mounted to handlebars using QuadLock

  • 2 x 1L wide mouth water bottles on bars in Apidura feeder bags

  • 1 x 1L water bottle in bottle cage under downtube

  • Cateye Velo Wireless bike computer on handlebars

  • Spare spokes (taped to chainstay)

  • Sir Gingivere (cat, knight, manager, bodyguard and adventure mascot extraordinaire) securely attached to bars with cables ties and duct tape

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OVERVIEW

After three years of experimenting, I find this setup to be a great compromise between weight, convenience and comfort. The backpack on my rear rack contains everything that I don’t need during the day (tent, sleep system, extra clothes, toiletries etc.) while the front handlebar bag and my framebag are both almost completely free for food. Water capacity is 3.5 litres on the bike (in plastic water bottles) as well as an extra 10L in a water bladder which can be easily strapped onto my rack, making for 13.5L total capacity. This could of course be further extended by strapping on extra plastic water bottles. With this setup I can comfortably carry food for 2-3 weeks when necessary. Total capacity is almost 70 litres, which is comparable to a standard 4-pannier touring setup but in a much more stable, balanced and lightweight package.

 

The bike itself has a weight of around 15kg, and the base weight of all the rest of my bags and gear (everything except food and water) is somewhere in the range of 13kg, making for a total bike + gear base weight of around 28kg. Not the lightest rig, but considering the versatility, convenience and carry-potential I’m very happy with this setup.