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2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List on 02/10/2014 17:09:35 MST Print View

This is a first draft. I'm playing with the idea of taking on the CDT this summer. Let me know what you think!


Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock
Smartwool PhD Toe Sock
Darn Tough Ankle Cycling Sock
Smartwool Midweight Baselayer, Crew and Tights
Icebreaker Bodyfit 180 Long-Sleeve
Mountain Hardwear Refueler Shorts
Smartwool Men's Microweight Brief
Patagonia Micro-D Fleece
EMS Helix Neoshell Anorak
Vibram FiveFingers KSO
Icebreaker Cadence Bike Short
Serfas Padded Gloves
Mavic Rush Bicycle Cleats
Giro Indicator Helmet
3M Safety Glasses, Grey Lenses
Salomon Trail Gaiters Low

Borah Gear Snowyside Bivy
Tyvek Groundsheet (9x5)
Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 45ยบ Long
Cocoon Silk Liner
Thermarest Prolite XS

Stoic Titanium Spork
MSR Titan Titanium Pot
Snow Peak Giga Power Stove

First Aid Kit
Emergency Whistle
Emergency Blanket
Leatherman Micra
Leatherman Crunch
Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite Tool
Petzl Tikka Plus II with Core Rechargeable Battery
Cygolite Metro 300 Lumen Bike Light
Cygolite Hotshot Taillight
Photon II LED Keychain Micro-Light
Moleskine Volant Extra Small
Palomino Blackwing 602 Pencil
Park Tool Flat Kit
Pedro's Tire Lever
Spare Tube
Kevlar Spoke
Camp Towel

Sawyer Squeeze Filtration System
Sawyer Squeeze Backflush Syringe
Platypus 2L Soft Bottle
Camelbak 3L Reservoir
Nalgene 1.5Loz Silo
Sawyer Squeeze 1L Reservoir

Sea to Summit e-Vent Compression Sack
Revelate Designs Tangle Frame Bag, Large
Revelate Designs Viscacha
Sea to Summit Dry Sack
Ergon BA3 15 + 2L Daypack

iPhone 5
Lifeproof Fre Case
iPhone Charger and Charging Block
Petzl Core Charging Cord

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: 2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List on 02/10/2014 18:54:43 MST Print View

A bikepacking gear list without a bike is incomplete.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

No Kidding... on 02/10/2014 19:03:11 MST Print View

Ironically, my bikepacking setup is without a bike, too. I'm scouring craigslist and trying to hock a camera to pick up a Surly Karate Monkey or something. I don't need the bike until June, but I need the bike.

Right now I'm camping and prowling around on good ol' Bikeasaurus Rex and his new 38mm tires:


Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: 2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List on 02/10/2014 20:43:02 MST Print View

Those Kevlar emergency repair spokes are useless. Carry real spokes and nipples to fit your wheels. You'll also need a hypercracker to bust the cassette off, or you could MYOG.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Noted on 02/10/2014 20:49:14 MST Print View


Noted on spoke. I have spares, I'll carry them instead. I barely trust myself to re-true a wheel as I've only watched other people do it, but I also have a spoke wrench that I forgot to list and if I do race the CDT instead of tour it casually, I'll be traveling with a mechanic (lucky me!).

As for the hypercracker, will this work? I already have one:


Edited by mdilthey on 02/10/2014 20:49:47 MST.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: 2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List on 02/10/2014 21:09:00 MST Print View

From a quick google search, Cygolite Metro 300 Lumen Bike Light looks like a USB rechargeable light at a dang good price. What is your experience with this light? If you end up racing, which setting do you normally use, how many hours can you ride on a single charge and what is your plan to recharge it?

I suspect Nick will approve of your pencil choice.

I don't see bear spray on your list. If you start in Banff, you may want to consider buying some in Canada. Last I checked, I don't believe you can bring it into Canada but you can buy it once you're in as "pest control" or something along those lines.

Maybe an Ursack.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 02/10/2014 21:09:53 MST.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Noted on 02/10/2014 21:11:07 MST Print View

To use that tool to remove a cassette lockring, you also need a big crescent wrench to turn it with and a chain-whip to keep the cassette from turning. The beauty of the hypercracker is that, in effect, you use the bike frame as a wrench and the chain that's already on your bike as the whip. If you want to learn how to replace spokes and true wheels, now is the time to bribe your local bicycle mechanic with beer to share with you his knowledge of the dark arts.

Or if you're feeling really bad-ass, build up a singlespeed rig with the same length spokes front and rear, using hi-flange hubs where the spoke holes clear your cog. Then, you can replace a spoke without even removing the wheel from the frame.

Seriously though, my best advice is to buy a good bicycle repair manual (Park Tools has a good one) and some $15 kids bikes from Goodwill. Practice basic repairs on those, and donate them back when you're done with them. Anyone can fix a great bike; the mark of a truly talented mechanic is the ability to make junk rideable.

Send any bike-related questions to sugar_sandwich AT yahoo dot com. It will be my pleasure to help you out.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Cheers on 02/10/2014 21:18:32 MST Print View


My bike repair knowledge has taken me far beyond the entry-level grasshopper, and yet still, the surface is only scratched. I have loads to learn. I will pick up a hypercracker and learn how to use it, and I will send you a few e-mails as I go along.

I am friends with several bike mechanics and I hang around the shop. Maybe I'll see if I can do an apprenticeship. Last week I learned how to replace hub bearings.

Thanks for the offer, I really appreciate it. And thanks for believing I'm capable of racing the CDT single-speed; I'm not one of *those* guys.


The light used to be perfect when I was touring. I'm a writer, and I carried a Macbook Air. It has ten hours of battery, and I'd recharge all my lights (headlamp, front light, taillight) via USB sitting in coffeeshops.

Because it was so damn easy to recharge, I have no idea what the run time is. I'll be chatting with my riding partner; if I race, I may get a more off-road specific light, but I have a sneaking suspicion the Cygolite will do fine.

The plan right now is to use USB wall chargers to recharge lights at gas stations and supermarkets, but I might need a better plan... like an external battery. The best plan I can think of is to cut the cord; I'm bringing the phone for navigation, but I'd love to just not worry about batteries for the majority of the trip.

But yeah, the light's great. Survived two crashes.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Plan B on 02/10/2014 21:58:12 MST Print View

Oh, Dan, when I carried the little cassette sprocket on the 2013 Colorado tour, the plan was to use my Leatherman Crunch and a boot to kick the cassette loose, with a two-by-four or other piece of wood working to keep the cogs in place.

I found a guy doing it on Youtube:

Whaddya Think? Hypercracker still wins?

William F

Locale: PNW
Re: Plan B on 02/11/2014 00:48:32 MST Print View

You can also do that trick on a picnic table or bench etc (it would be more stable than a free piece of wood). You might cause some damage though. I would make sure you can get the freewheel loose prior to leaving for your tour. It would suck to be trying to get that thing off if it's really tight on there using that method. I've had to use quite a bit of torque on freewheels that haven't been serviced in a long time. In terms of wheel-truing and replacing spokes, like Dan says practice makes perfect. I'm not that great at truing but I notice myself getting better with every attempt.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Sunscreen on 02/11/2014 07:51:02 MST Print View

The smart riders that I met on the CDT last year were covered from head to toe to keep the sun off. You're looking at a month (2 months? how fast are you going?) of being in full sun most of the day at high elevation. Sunscreen will help, but that's still a ton of exposure. What's the SPF of your wool clothing? Not great, I'd bet.

BTW, you mean the Great Divide Route, not the CDT, right? Unless you want to do a lot of illegal biking in wilderness areas, the CDT isn't doable on a bike.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: 2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List on 02/11/2014 08:39:54 MST Print View

I also assuming you mean GDMBR, not CDT.

If you're starting north in June I'd add rain pants or knickers of some kind. Montana is often very rainy in June. If said weather lives up to it's potential, you'll probably want a bit more torso insulation as well, at the very least to put on when you stop. You'll want bug stuff for that time of year, as well.

I don't see a chain tool on the list. And why do you need 2x Leathermans? Add a second spare tube, even if you have a bomber tubeless setup (even though I know two people who raced the Tour Divide on one set of tires and no flats).

Nick Smolinske
(Smo) - F

Locale: Rogue Panda Designs
Next Best Thing on 02/11/2014 10:39:59 MST Print View

So I've heard mixed reviews about the hypercracker and the various versions of it that have come out over the years. Some of them have had strength problems and have broken with use. Regardless of which one you pick up, I would recommend loosening your casette with the standard tools and retightening them with the hypercracker *before* your ride. That way you know the casette isn't on there too tight for the tool to handle.

A lot of people think that the Next Best Thing II is the best version. Only problem, they don't sell directly to the US.

Here's the link to the NBTII (click on "Hard to finds"), they also have a list of distributors, maybe one of them ships to the US:

Oh, and I'd also recommend the Leatherman Kick, if you can find a used one on Ebay. It has a minimal set of tools and weighs about 6 oz, but has full-sized pliers. It's the best bikepacking leatherman in my opinion.

There's a great thread on about mechanical issues people have had on the tour divide. Good reading. Seems like every other person had a water bottle cage swing into their wheel (mounted on the fork legs):,6135.0.html

Edited by Smo on 02/11/2014 10:52:13 MST.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Plan B on 02/11/2014 16:36:49 MST Print View

I made my own cracker, like the second link I posted. It works great.

If you want to use a standard tool with the wheel off the frame, and turn it with your leatherman, you'll need to hold the cogs in place. A chunk of wood or a picnic table will work in a pinch.

I always use SRAM chains on my multispeed bikes, so I'll just pop the powerlink out and wrap the chain around the largest cog and hold the ends with a rag.

If you can replace hub bearings and do other routine maintenance, you can replace spokes and true wheels. It sounds like what's holding you back is the fear of jacking up your wheels. Being a mechanic, I have the luxury of practicing on other people's wheels!

Hit up your mechanic buddies for some hands-on tutorials. There is no substitute for actually doing it yourself a few times. And February is the time when shop guys are looking for things to do.

Durability on the hypercracker is fine, provided you use it correctly. Don't let it slip and don't overtighten your lockring. It really doesn't need to be that tight. I've seen lockrings so tight that the plastic spacers between cogs were compressed to the point where it affected the shifting!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Plan B on 02/11/2014 18:27:36 MST Print View

Truing wheels is no big deal.

I think the biggest oversight is forgetting to oil the nipples.

You might not get them perfect, but you Can get them as good as they would be 2 days out of the shop.

[Edit: This assumes you aren't riding "stupid light" gear. Rims and spokes are not the place to save weight on a backcountry tour.]

Edited by greg23 on 02/11/2014 18:46:48 MST.

Kevin Buggie
(kbuggie) - M

Locale: NW New Mexico
gear list on 02/11/2014 19:48:44 MST Print View

Nice step up from your previous plan of a NE tour; good luck!

Back to the gear list. Why bring the five finger shoes and gaiters?? Camp shoes are so not BPL cool;) If you race im sure this is a no brainer. Wear your cycle shoes loose shopping, etc on towns and air out those feet truley barefoot in camp.

Ditch the briefs; commando hurts no one when not wearing your shammy, which will be the vast majority of the time.

I'd switch the refueler short for ul wind pants and just wear the shammy when you need shorts and gain some leg pro when you need it. Then wear the windpant commando in camp at night. High desert nights will be cool, layer over knee warmers. Cut them down to 3/4ths or shorts when you get midway through NM;

Wool leg or knee warmers (under wind pant) will be much more versatile and quick (if you race) than the smart wool tights, plus avoid groin/butt funk compared to full tights. If those boot socks pull over most of your calf go for knee warmers for sure.

Bring some chain lube too!

Plastic bags for map(?), feet, or hands too.

IMO a SUL rain jacket and wind shell would be more versatile than that neo shell.

If/when you make it down to NM, I've got a crew of BPL lurkers who would love to join you for a few days and witness the Max-bpl-evolution in person or just provide some trail magic!

What's your projected start date?

Edited by kbuggie on 02/11/2014 20:06:00 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: gear list on 02/12/2014 06:56:53 MST Print View


Thanks very much for all the advice. I'll probably ditch the camp shoes like you recommended but the gaiters are for my cycling shoes; every time I go off-roading I get sand and rocks in there and have to stop to remove them.

SUL raincoat and wind shell may be the path. I have a wind shell that weighs a strikingly bad 8oz (I had a pro deal with Chrome Industries and my Houdini died in a crash) and I could probably get away with just that... but the Neo-Shell is ok. I am fine with not wearing any wind shell even if it's a bit chilly.

If I race, I'll be going with another guy who is pretty serious, but neither of us are deluded into thinking we're going to win. It's more for the challenge. We don't have a start date yet; I still need a bike, so we're just kind of testing the waters. By April I'll know if this is happening or not.

If it doesn't, I'll probably opt for a Pacific Coast tour, but i'll still go ultralight and I'll chew up every mountain with a service road on it if I get the chance.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/12/2014 06:58:40 MST.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: 2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List on 02/12/2014 08:48:54 MST Print View

Max, Have you watched THIS ?

Greg Wheelwright
(gdw) - F
a few more items on 02/12/2014 09:21:37 MST Print View

Add extra brake pads to your list as well as pre-cut cables for your derailleurs and brakes if don't use wet disks. A couple extra Sram powerlinks, an extra bolt for you cleats -if you're using clipless pedals- some duct tape, zip ties, and a needle and heavy thread should be part of your tool kit. A full frame pack might be a better choice than the Tangle Bag. It will give you more storage capacity and allow you carry less weight on your back.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: 2014 Continental Divide Bikepacking Gear List on 02/12/2014 11:25:42 MST Print View

You could try and get ahold of BPL member Christopher Plesko who has the Tour Divide single speed record from 2009 , Here is his blog . BPL member Ron Babington did the race last year(22:16:38, 37th place overall, 3rd place singlespeed) and gives his list in my link , you might contact him also