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Any advice would be appreciated.
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Justin Voss
(pd28532) - MLife
Any advice would be appreciated. on 01/17/2011 00:54:45 MST Print View

This summer I am doing a 2700 mile self-supported mountain bike race. The trail follows the North America divide route from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Part of the fun is loading all my gear on my bike. Given that it climbs 200,000 feet, I am trying to be light as possible.

I haven't been through-biking (or bikepacking as it is know) for very long. I have whittled down my kit as best I can but I just know that there are good people out there that could help me get it even lighter.

For reference, the race follows mostly old forrest service roads and goes through several towns, so I can resupply most days if I need to. The most critical element, in my view, is being able to bike for about 16 hours a day. Part of that is being comfortable with my sleep system and having warm enough clothing to continue riding past the siren call of a motel room, even in to hail and lightning storms. (See the website,

Here is my list, feel free to hack it up as you see fit. (For reference, all weights are in grams. The grand total is 10.04 pounds, sans bike)


Bivy (older OR, I can't remember the name but I know that I can use it in pouring rain and stay dry) 499
Bag (WM Highlite) 509
Pad (Neo Air) 274
Pillow ? 70

Total: 1352g

Utilities (Body, mind, and bike maintenance)

Toothbrush/paste 33
Body glide 60
Anbesol 12
A and D 81
Toilet paper 30
Chain Tool 120
Lube 50
Chain brush 9
Tube (x2??) 300
Tire Patch Kit 15
Allen wrenches 59
Super glue 25
Fire starter kit 22
First Aid Kit (bandages, duct tape, advil, safety pins, tape, soap, etc) 100
Medical scissors 19
Zip ties 4
Batteries 108
Cell 195
Charger w/ bat 76
Credit Card 5
Passport 33
Golden link 5
Condensed cues (race course guide) 30
Sunscreen 154
Brake pads 2x 52
Spoke tool 30
Tire plug kit 30
Dry bag (front of bike) 21
Ditty Sack 15
Bear Whistle 10

Total 1698g


Sun glasses 29
Rain Jacket 184
Rain Pants ? (knickers!!) 110
Wool gloves 44
Rain mits 58
Down Jacket 182
Arm warmers 79
Leg Warmers 135
Light wool hat 60
Intergral booties 69

Total 950g


Water filter 83
Water bottle 2x 172
Water bladder 2x 308

Total 563g

Thanks for helping a noob out!

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Any advice would be appreciated on 01/17/2011 12:15:41 MST Print View

I dont know much about what you are doing, but I would not head out with a Bivy bag alone.
I would also pack a cuben tarp. Should weigh about 6 oz or so.

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
Re: Any advice would be appreciated. on 01/17/2011 13:25:34 MST Print View

Sounds like you are biking the Continental Divide Trail? I am sure a few people on here have hiked it and would be able to give you more specific gear advice with regards to the conditions you will experience. my two cents:

.01 Most people's issue with a bivy is entry/exit during heavy rain. no matter how waterproof it is when shut, when you open it to get out, everything will be left unprotected. A small tarp over the head area could suffice for this. Plus you could use your bike as a support for the tarp.

Let me try to outline what I am thinking. from above, you have your ivy laid out, and the bike to the right of it at the head end. Stake left side of a small tarp (MLD has one) to the ground to the left of the ivy, and attach right side of tarp to seatpost/handlebars of bike. If you are oriented so rain is coming at the tarp side, you should be pretty well off.

.02 have you thought about how you will be attaching your gear? you list a dry bag, but thats it? spend a lot of time thinking about where you want stuff. do you need access while riding, center of gravity, mud from the tires, etc

also, as Mike would say, nix the TP! not totally needed as you have a pretty good list so far, but the freedom of not needing TP is a huge weight off of your back!


Justin Voss
(pd28532) - MLife
Bivy on 01/17/2011 14:26:20 MST Print View

I will look into getting a tarp and experiment with setting it up on the bike.

I'm attaching the gear to my bike with bags that are designed for bikepacking by Eric at (I forgot to list their weight because I have them under bike weight in my excel spreadsheet.)

I have most of the gear laid out on the bike in a pretty good manner from other trips/training. Although, it seems that organization is a never ending process....

Justin Voss
(pd28532) - MLife
BIg Thanks! on 07/25/2011 04:18:13 MDT Print View

Well.... I did it. I finished in 20 days, which nabbed me an 11th place finish.

Thanks to everybody for all the advice on this thread and abroad in the forums as well.

My gear ended up being pretty light, 32 pounds including bike.

If anybody finds this thread through a google search and wants to talk bikepacking gear, feel free to send me an email.

Thanks again!

Michael Moore
(lilricky) - F
Nice! on 07/25/2011 09:16:39 MDT Print View

Great going Justin! Have you written a journal about your experiences? Would love to read it.

Justin Voss
(pd28532) - MLife
Thanks! on 07/25/2011 12:40:06 MDT Print View

Thanks, it was quite the adventure and I learned tons about my backpacking/bikepacking setup.

I haven't started writing it up yet but I will. I did a daily (most days anyways) video journal and took some photos. I plan to do a write up day by day as I have time and mental energy (It's still kinda hard to relive at this point). Check out in the coming weeks for the full story!

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Any advice would be appreciated on 07/27/2011 19:49:56 MDT Print View

+1 on the cuben tarp. I would not try that without a tarp especially with a down bag.
You will need about 3 oz of stakes and cordage so figure 9oz total.

You can do a cuben/m55 bivy to go with the tarp that weighs about 5 oz.

Sounds like fun except for the 14 hours per day.

Edited by tammons on 07/27/2011 19:50:44 MDT.