Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bikepacking....almost ready!

I've been slowly assembling gear over the last few months to begin a sort of new chapter in my riding that involves so called bikepacking. It's been something I've pondered for quite a while and after spending significant hours surfing bikepacking.net and other ultra-light backpacking sites, I put a gear list together and decided with the help of my Mom, we'd sew up some bags. The first two were a frame bag and gas tank that took us the better part of the day to create. Made primarily from x-pac material with some 1/8 inch foam sandwiched in between along the tubes, they turned out pretty well.
Following that, I made another long trip out to the east valley where Mom lives, and we made a seat post bag; for the front side of the seat post. Very similar in design to the gas tank, I've loaded it up will all the usual repair stuff that I'd carry on my back (spare tube, leatherman squirt, first aid kit, multitool, zip ties, etc). Loaded it's 1lb, 8oz...nice to get that off my back. I've been carrying that for even day rides which has held up very well and been a rock solid design. Finally, I received most of my sleep kit (bag, pad, ground sheet) and decided it was time to load up the bike and go out for a test ride. The seat tube bag was loaded as described before, the gas tank bag loaded with snacks and spare charger, and the frame bag loaded with 32oz of water, steripen, pump, and filter funnel. I strapped the sleeping stuff to the bars with a couple of straps and pulled it towards the stem with another velcro strap.
All the bags full of stuff were an extra 11 lbs. Headed out to BCT to do LPL from Rock Springs and I immediately noticed that extra weight as we climbed up after the first river crossing. The bike handled actually very well and everything stayed put. After arriving back home, I did a little post-mortem as I unpacked things looking for signs of wear, etc and found that the cheap Wally World dry sack on the bars had developed several wear marks from the velcro straps, wires and cables. I figured I'd better proceed with making the handlebar harness which I'd designed about 3 weeks ago to better protect those items since I'd hate to start wearing holes in my brand new down bag, pad, and whatever else I put in there. Having the day off and needing a day off the bike, I headed out to Mom's again to make the handlebar harness... Here are the final pics of what we made.
Major "Thanks" goes out to my Mom who's sewing skills and patience are 2nd to none. Not only did I save money, but I gained extra time with Mom and did all those chores around her house she needed done...win-win for all! Looking forward to a real test of all the gear on my first overnight....

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