Gear I Use

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I get hit up daily about my personal gear and cycling equipment choices – especially regarding Tour Divide and other bikepacking essentials, pack lists, etc.  My gear selection varies based on bike choice, terrain, ride length, riding goals (speed vs comfort) weather, and endless other factors.  So I figured I’d organize one comprehensive “master list”.  This is a living document to pour over, compare with your own lists, and hopefully get some good take away.  Likewise, I’m on an endless quest to dial in my kit, so I’d love to get your input in the comments.   A couple notes:

  • Much of this list is wayyyyy overkill for the afternoon quickie on your local loop.  I want this to be comprehensive enough for solo Tour Divide style bikepacking / cycle touring or epic backcountry/self-supported rides where nobody is gonna be around to help you out of a jam.  Obviously, you can cherry pick the content based on your needs, but it’s best to start with big list and pare it down.
  • I vouch for these items based on personal use over thousands of miles of riding or based on input from cyclists I trust.  100% honest and objective opinions and feedback.  I don’t get kickbacks, sponsorships, freebies, etc.
  • Some of the hyperlinks below will take you to Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

SLEEP SYSTEM

  • Sleeping BagMontbell Down Hugger 800 #5 40 degree *Very light, for ultralight bikepacking.  Not the warmest bag, but gets the job done most of the time.
  • BivyMontbell UL Sleeping Bag Cover *I find this adds about 10 degrees to my sleeping bag, and is pretty darn waterproof in a jam / or if you’re not carrying a tent/tarp setup.
  • Inflatable PillowSea To Summit Aeros Premium Regular  *Game changer for me.  Super light, packs up tiny and the comfort is soooo worth it!
  • Sleeping PadBig Agnes AXL 20×72 *super light, packs up great, easy to inflate/deflate.  Only downside is it started leaking on me towards end of Tour Divide (but they all leak or puncture eventually).  Big Agnes replaced right away.  Great customer service.  I still think it’s the best option out there, just be careful with it.  Patch kit that comes with it works sometimes… but you have to find the hole, which isn’t always easy 🙂
  • TentBig Agnes HV UL 1 Bikepacking *I have the older, non-bikepacking version.  Same tent, but bikepacking version has shorter pole sections.  Awesome lightweight rig.  Worth every penny in peace of mind.
  • GroundsheetBig Agnes HV UL 1 Footprint *Totally worth getting this instead of a tarp or homemade tyvek groundsheet, etc.  Fits the HV UL 1 tent perfectly.  I just keep it clipped to the tent and it makes setup super quick.
  • Ear Plugs3M Reusable Ear Plugs – *Sometimes you have to sleep near noisy roads or you don’t wanna be woken up by the cattle “mooing”.  If you’re a light sleeper, consider some ear plugs.  The reusable ones with the cord to keep them together are a good choice.
  • Mosquito / Midge Net – Coghlan’s Mosquito Head Net -*I don’t always pack one, but this can be a real lifesaver in certain situations.  I like the one’s that fit over my helmet in case I don’t wanna be eaten alive while riding.

CLOTHING / OUTERWEAR / FOOTWEAR

  • Rain JacketOutdoor Research Helium II *very light, good in terms of protection from the elements.  It was my Tour Divide jacket and did it’s job.  In heavy rain and extreme cold, I like to wear the hood under my helmet for extra warmth.  Not really “waterproof” under hard/extended periods of rain, nor does it breath well.  If you want something really waterproof & breathable, you’ll need a heaver, more expensive gore-tex option.
  • Rain PantsMarmot Pre-cip *same note as jacket.  I find I don’t use rain pants unless it’s absolutely pouring because my legs stay warm with movement, etc – However, they are indispensable when you are super cold at night and need an extra layer for warmth.  Some people cut rain pants into knickers, to help with breathability and weight.  I haven’t tried yet, but might turn my current ones into knickers to have the option once I buy some new ones.
  • Lightweight Puffy Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer *absolutely love this piece of gear!  It’s saved my butt many times.   You’d be surprised at how warm you can stay with a light puffy and a rain jacket when poop hits the fan 🙂  I personally don’t like hoods on my ultralight puffies.  I prefer them to pack up smaller and I use the hood on my rain jacket.
  • SocksSwiftwick Pursuit 7″ Merino Socks  *these are the socks I wore on the TD.  Need I say more?  I took two pairs, to switch off when one was soaked, etc.  Comfy, a little bit of compression, keep you warm when wet, durable, long lasting.  I wear these for everything, not just cycling.
  • SocksDarn Tough Boot Length *I wear these for winter, fat biking, skiing, etc.  Other than the Swiftwicks, these are the only socks I wear.  I pretty much use them any time it’s really cold or I’m wearing boots.
  • GlovesPearl Izumi P.R.O. Softshell Lite  *Taking care of your digits is SO important.  So I am kind of a glove snob.  I have the right pair for every occasion and weather.  These are perfect for cooler weather.  I’d say down into the 40’s – 50’s comfortably… and you can touch your iPhone.  Not waterproof however and will soak through in heavy rain.  Keep that in mind.  For that, I own the Barrier WxB gloves (in an XL size) below, and use them as an overshell
  • GlovesPearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WXB Gloves *Not as warm as the softshell lite gloves, but they’re pretty much waterproof, and act more like a shell.  I have these in the biggest size and use them with liners or the Softshell Lite underneath to keep warm when it’s raining.
  • GlovesPearl Izumi P.R.O. AmFib *Kind of like lobster gloves, but your index and middle fingers are individually separated.  Makes braking easier, using your fingers, etc.  I mainly use these for winter fat biking, and they keep me warm down to around 20 degrees.  Below that, it’s pogie time.  Sometimes I’ll wear liners underneath and they keep digits happy to the mid-teen temps.
  • GlovesErgon HC-2 Gloves *for regular, everyday riding, I like a nice then glove that is breathable and doesn’t make my hands sweat.  I go through “everyday” gloves often.  The thumb holes always seem to rip on me.  Ergon’s hold up pretty well, and they’re relatively cheap and conform to my hands well.  I also have a few mix n match Hand Ups, 661’s, etc – and just grab whatever I see from my bag. 
  • GlovesNitrile / Latex Free *Yes, these are simply workshop gloves / exam gloves from the doctor’s office.  They are super light and packable – so I stash one or two pairs.  Great to put under your “real” gloves if it gets cold and/or rainy.  You might sweat a little, but the warmth/waterproof factor is well worth it.  If you need to wrench on your bike, good for that too :).  I know many on the Tour Divide stuck buying dishwashing gloves when ish hit the fan… but this is a way better option IMO.  If you don’t have anybody to bum a pair off of, buy a box on Amazon – they’re good to have around.
  • Wind VestPearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier Lite *Such a useful piece of kit!  Love this item!  Super packable and super lightweight.  Throw it on as it gets chilly late in the day or before a long descent.  Layer it with all your other gear when you’re freezing!  Absolutely never go on a bikepacking trip without.
  • Neck Gaitor/BuffSmartwool 150 Merino *Versatility in clothing is crucial for ultralight bikepacking.  Each piece needs to multi-task.  This one doesn’t get too stinky.  Wear it on your neck, on your head, around your ears, over your face, use as pre-filter for silty river water… so many uses, worth it’s weight in gold.
  • Baselayer TopSmartwool 150 Merino Long Sleeve *I use both the long sleeve and short sleeve version of this item (not at the same time :).  Comfy and wicking for next to skin layer, no tag, doesn’t get stinky, dries fast, durable.  On the Tour Divide I would ride in one and sleep in the other, depending on the weather. 
  • Leg WarmersPearl Izumi Thermal *I don’t use knee warmers, a I haven’t found a pair that doesn’t slide down.  I also have trouble with leg warmers slipping but these do pretty well for me, and keep me warm.  I just got a small hole in one leg after about 3,500 miles but I think it was my fault.  The elastic grippers haven’t stretched out yet.  Amazing.
  • Arm WarmersPearl Izumi Thermal *Pretty standard, these fit me well and I’ve had them forever.  For normal riding, I usually just wear a long-sleeve jersey.  But for bikepacking/epics I like them for versatility.  I always have either arm warmers or sun sleeves on and rarely leave my arms exposed.  Same with the legs.
  • Sun SleevesPearl Izumi *absolute necessity.  I always cover my arms and legs on bikepacking trips in lieu of applying/carrying a ton of sunblock.
  • Sun LegsPearl Izumi * same reasons as above
  • Short Sleeve JerseyThe Maven Bike Shop *I like having a traditional jersey with three pockets for bikepacking.  Since I rarely wear a backpack, I use the pockets for everything from my phone, to extra bottles, snacks, or to stuff a wind vest, etc.  I still have a few of these Maven jersies left in stock from the bike shop – $60 shipped for anyone interested)  Made by Primal, full zip is a must for easy on/off, layering, etc.  3 pockets and relaxed fit is a must for me.  Lasted the whole Tour Divide and it’s still going strong!  For shorter”normal” day rides, I love the Club Ride Mag 7 Jersey . 
  • Cycling CapPearl Izumi Transfer Lite *like my arms and legs, I always wear something on my head.  I’m bald.  When it’s hot, I wear this one.  Keeps my head cool, and prevents sweat from dripping into my eyes (most of the time), and the visor shades eyes from the sun.  When it’s cold, I wear the P.R.O Barrier version below.
  • Cycling CapPearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier *See above
  • ShortsPearl Izumi Canyon *The only baggy shorts I’ve worn for years.  I have multiple pairs.  I finally just ripped the exact pair I took on the Tour Divide.  Comfy and light and dry quickly.  Zipper pocket, adjustable waist.  Good stuff.
  • Liner Shorts – Club Ride Gunslinger *I only wear chamois on longer bikepacking trips (more than a couple days).  When I do, these are comfy and well priced.
  • HelmetLazer Blade MIPS *I got a free one during a Shimano mechanic clinic.  Liked it so much, I bought another one, which I take on all my bikepacking trips.  Light, lots of vents, comfy and durable.
  • SunglassesSmith Pivlock *Comfy, light, high quality, interchangeable lenses that repel water well and are easy to clean.  Interacts with my helmet well.  I save these for special occasions/important rides because they’re expensive.
  • SunglassesSuncloud Slice *I wear these for my day to day cycling.  They’re only $50 which is a great price for good quality, polarized cycling glasses that can take a beating.
  • Shoes (Bikepacking)Pearl Izumi Alp-X Summit *best bikepacking shoe that I know of.  I originally tried them because I read that Kurt Refsnider uses them.  Now I’m on my 3rd pair.  I tend to get around 5,000 miles per pair, depending on hike-a-bike, elements, etc.  Comfy for hiking, robust, etc.  The velco/ratchet closure combo is great – quick and easy to use in gloves and when you’re tired.  I order 1 size big for bikepacking – to accommodate swollen feet and more room in toe box to wiggle around and stay warm. 
  • Shoes (Fat Biking/Winter) Lake MXZ-303 Boots *bullet-proof, keeps my feet warm and dry down into single digit temps.  I’ve got approximately 2,500 fat bike miles on these and they’ve handled tons of hike-a-bike, etc.  I snapped a boa on a tree branch once, and Lake replaced it quickly and free of charge.
  • Shoe InsolesSuperfeet Merino Wool – *I replace my insoles with these, and I swear by them.  Great arch support, and the merino wool top layer keeps the shoes from getting too stinky.  
  • Shoe CoversPearl Izumi Elite Softshell MTB *I don’t wear shoe covers often, as I’ll just throw on my winter boots.  But on long bikepacking trips, with rain in the forecast, I’ll take these.  They saved my feet on the TD.  In a jam, you can use dog poop bags, produce bags from the grocery store, etc and just pop a hole for your cleat and gorilla tape to your ankle… but obviously, these work best, especially if you mix in some HAB 🙂 – PS, just get the biggest size, as they’re always fumbly over MTB shoes, especially since X-Alps are kind of bulky. 
  • Shower CapDisposable / Emergency *I’m talking about the cheapo shower caps you get for free in hotel rooms.  My wife always has an arsenal of these, so I just grab a couple.  But you can also get them on Amazon.  They weigh nothing, take up hardly any space and will save your butt!  In a frigid downpour, I’ll put my rain jacket hood under my helmet and the shower cap over my helmet.  Toasty.  You can also use over your socks to keep feet dry and warmer, or sandwich between two socks as a vapor barrier in a jam.
  • Zipper Pull ExtensionsNeo Tactical Nylon *I add zipper pull extensions to all my jackets, jerseys, etc when I’m bikepacking so they’re super easy to grab with gloves, etc and use without having to get off the bike.  These are nice to have for pretty cheap, but you can also use small zip ties, paper clips wrapped in 3M tape – Boom!

REPAIR / TOOLS / MAINTENANCE / SPARES

  • Chain LubeDumonde Tech Regular  *Hands down, best chain lube out there.  Get the tiny one for bikepacking and the large one for normal use.  They make a dry version/yellow, but the “regular” / blue color is great for everything, no need to buy both.  I know some people get mini shampoo containers to put lube in while bikepacking.  I’ve had trouble with these leaking.  Luckily, I’ve never had problems with the Dumonde bottles leaking, and it happens to be the best lube… WINNING!
  • Chain ToolPark CT-5 *I usually keep this in my toolbag that I take to the trail with me, but sometimes I’ll pack in on longer bikepacking trips.  It’s nice to have a “real” chain tool instead of the built-in chainbreaker on your multi-tool if you’re riding in remote regions or on a long trip.   But you’ve gotta factor in the slight weight penalty.   take this on longer trips. 
  • Multi-ToolCrank Brothers M-17 *I’ve tried and own a zillion different multi-tools.  Some suck and some don’t.  It must fit and reach every bolt on your bike.  The M-17 is my go-to for bikepacking.  Has what I need for my bikes.  Make sure it has what you need.  Longer allens give better leverage then the smaller ones.  Can true a rotor by sliding between the allens if need be.  I carry an extra 8mm extension I pilfered off another tool that allows me to reach my crank bolt.
  • Multi-ToolLeatherman Squirt PS-4 *Will save your butt if you need to MacGyver stuff out in the field.  Has served me well on many occasions.  Tiny, light, and lots of usable goodies on it.  I only carry it for epics/bikepacking.
  • Multi-Tool Wolf Tooth Pack Pliers *New addition to my kit, haven’t had to use much.  But I dig the core remover, tire lever, chainlink tool combo while holding your spare masterlinks.  When you’re sleep deprived and numb, and you need to undue a masterlink, this pays for itself in spades, trust me.
  • Tire Sealant 2oz Stans Liquid *if I puncture, I’ll always try extra sealant and if necessary a tire plug, before grabbing a tube.  I love this size because it fits in the pack and the tip fits in the valve stem when you remove the core.  Quick and easy, with no mess. – PS, I prefer Orange Seal over Stans sealant.  So I fill my tires with Orange Seal, but carry Stans on the bike, which I rarely need to use.  It’s ok to mix sealant btw, no harm.
  • Tire Plugs Tool and Side of BaconGenuine Innovations Tire Plug Kit *These have saved my life multiple times!! The tool is super small and light.  Sometimes a hole in your tire is too big for sealant.  Enter the tire plug.  I’ve tried the gucci tools, and this little cheapy works just fine.  If you already have a tool, you can just order a Side of Bacon, which are 1/8″ tire plugs.  I also recommend carrying a few 1/4″ automotive tire plugs, which you can order here.
  • Spoke WrenchPark SW-0 *This fits my spoke nipples, double check yours.  It’s light and doesn’t take up much room, so I prefer over those found on a multi-tool in case I have to do some legit truing out in the field.  If so, I’ll use a zip tie strapped to fork or chainstay as a makeshift truing stand.
  • Valve Core RemoverPark Tool VC-1 *the above wolf tooth tool is ok, but a “real” valve core remover is a great option.  Depending on the trip and how weight weenie I want to be, I usually take this.
  • Tire LeversPedros *I don’t mind the lever built into the Wolf Tooth tool above, but with carbon wheels, I like a plastic lever.  I’ve also used a QR skewer in a jam.  Honestly, I rarely use levers at all, and do my best not to… but you always need at least one in case.  Some people need two.  I never have because I don’t use DH casing or wire bead tires.  Bonus – these levers work well to push back your brake pistons when you put in new pads.
  • Valve Adaptor Presta to Schrader*in case you need to fill a presta tube/valve stem at a gas station with schrader air compressor hose… or your pump breaks and you need to use a cheapy in a podunk town.
  • Co2 ChuckGenuine Innovations Elite *Light, well-made, has never failed me in the field.  Comes with a couple cartridges.
  • Co2 CartridgesGenuine Innovations 20g *If you’re tubeless, and need to re-seat the bead in the field, you need Co2.  I usually carry a 20g cartridge.  16g is not quite enough for 29ers/ plus tires, and 25g is usually a little overkill for me.  You need threaded cartridges.  In case the Co2 doesn’t do the job, you still need a pump too!
  • Frame PumpLezyne Micro Floor HV Pump *my favorite pump for all mtb, plus bike, and fat biking adventures.  Make sure to get the HV (high volume as it can fill fat and plus tires without making your arms fall off).  The HP (high pressure is for road bikes).
  • Spare Valve StemStans w/Removable Core *Just in case you bust your stem or bend a valve core, it’s leaking, etc.  Weighs nothing, very cheap, but peace of mind is priceless. 
  • Spare Cleats/BoltsCrank Brothers or Shimano SPD *Better safe than sorry.  If you don’t have spare cleat bolts and lose one, you can usually fit a brake rotor bolt in a pinch – Your rotors will be fine with 4 bolts, just fix correctly when you can.
  • Chain Master LinkSram Eagle 12 speed *I use a Sram 12-speed chain.  Make sure to order  whatever speed your drivetrain is and whatever brand your chain is.  Not all master links are compatible.  I carry two, just in case. The manufacturers say 11 and 12speed versions are one time use, but I’ve reused them plenty, no issues.  But for liability reasons, I’m not recommending it, know what I’m sayin?
  • Spare Chain links *if you don’t have any, your LBS might.  When I put on a new chain and cut it, I keep the extra links.  Simps.  You’ll need these if you brake a chain, so that you can replace the links you damaged without shortening your chain and affecting your shifting.
  • AAA BatteriesEnergizer Lithium Ultimate AAA *I use for my Spot Tracker.
  • AA BatteriesEnergizer Lithium Ultimate AA *I use for my Garmin eTrex 30 and my Fenix LD22 light (see below in Electronics).  Since my Fenix light is a backup, sometimes on shorter trips I’ll just load fresh batts in the light and those will double as spare batts for the Garmin, ya dig?
  • Spare Brake Pads  – Sram Guide Sintered/Metal *Obviously, get the right pads that fit your brakes.  I know people that have taken the wrong spare.  Oops.  Metal/sintered vs organic is personal preference.  They all work fine.  I like metal/sintered for bikepacking because they have a little better stopping power with the heavy/loaded bike and they perform better in wet weather.  Also, make sure you have the clip/pad holder and screw/cotter pin.  I messed up once on the Tour Divide and didn’t have a spare pad holder and snapped one.  Very troublesome trying to install pads with no pad holder and it cost me a lot of stress! – Also, I wrap each set in electrical tape with the little bits, keeps it nice and tidy – got that tip from Jay Petervary.
  • Patch Kit (Vulcanizing)Park Tool *Works a little better than the glueless patches, but can be messy.  I carry both when I bikepack.
  • Patch Kit (Glueless)Park Tool *Small and lightweight.  If crap hits the fan and you’re out of tubes.
  • Tire BootsPark Tool *Sure, you can use a dollar bill or clif bar wrapper, etc. in a jam… but it’s nice to have a real tire boot in case you get a wicked sidewall tear in the middle of BFE.
  • Ski Strap Voile Rubber *comes in handy for all sorts of stuff.  I wrap it around whatever bottle is on the bottom of my downtube and it’s there in case I need it for anything else.  I also use them to strap my sleep system to my handlebars.  They come in a zillion sizes to suit, as well as metal or nylon buckles.  I’ve used both buckles and they all work fine.  I mainly use the 25″ and 32″ xl versions. 
  • Shock Cord / Bungee Cord –  1/8″ Shock Cord w/ Locks *Comes in very handy for strapping lightweight items onto your bike – like keeping a rain jacket handy on your handlebar bag, top tube, etc.  Also good for plain old McGyvering.
  • Spare Derailleur Hanger *have one that’s made for your bike specifically – I recommend using Wheels Manufacturing
  • Spare Derailleur Pulleys *I always check my pulleys before leaving on a bikepacking adventure, and don’t always take spares.  But for something like the Tour Divide or something very remote, it’s a good idea.  They’re very specific to your derailleur and not many bike shops carry them.
  • Spare Tubes – *Make sure they’re the right size and presta if that’s the hole your rim has.  Presta is smaller than schrader and could be a real bone job if you have the wrong tube.
  • Patches for Clothing, Bags, etc. – Gear Aid Tenacious Tape *this stuff comes in handy for all kinds of patch jobs.  
  • Electrical Tape 3M Scotch 35*you can wrap around your pump.  A million uses, a zillion color choices.  Will save your butt, I promise you.
  • Duct TapeGorilla Tape *I prefer the 1″, and you can also wrap around your pump.  So many uses!  
  • Safety PinsA variety of sizes
  • Spare Bolts / Misc *Each bike is different.  Bring what you need for peace of mind.  I always pack a couple bottle cage bolts (which usually work for stem bolts too), rotor bolts, an extra seatpost clamp & bolt.  Brake caliper hardware is a good idea as they can rattle free (can use zip ties in a jam).  If you’re rockin’ a full squish bike, have spare pivot bolts.  Also, chainring bolts are good to have if you’re not using a fancy direct mount chainring.
  • Spare Spokes/Nipplesjust in case! Make sure spokes are the correct length and will fit drive and non-drive of both front and rear wheel! 
  • Spoke Quick Fix FiberFix Spoke Replacement Kit *If you break a drive-side rear spoke and can’t take your cassette off, this can be a great help until you limp into a bike shop.  Also, good if your wheel is still holding tubeless and you don’t want to deal with removing tubeless tape, etc to replace spoke.  *Note, gorilla tape can be used as tubeless tape.  I’ll put a video on YouTube about this soon…
  • Zip TiesMisc Sizes *If you have a regular seatpost (non-dropper) you may be able to stash these and your spare spokes inside – just sayin… a wine cork can cap a 27.2 diameter seatpost.  I’ll be posting a video to Youtube soon about all the amazing uses of zip ties for mountain biking and bikepacking.
  • Needle & Thread – Heavy Duty Sewing Needle and Upholstery Thread Kit *If you get a wicked sidewall tear, place a tire boot and sew it up.  I’ll be posting a “How-To” video on Youtube soon how to do this in the field.  In many cases, you can continue tubeless.
  • Super GlueLoctite Super Glue 2g*many emergency uses including sealing up a tire that’s had a sidewall tear.  Once you’ve put in a tire boot and sewed it up, and applied glue, often times it will work tubeless again. 
  • RagsRed Shop Rags *Since I keep these in my workshop, I cut them into quarters and take ’em bikepacking.  Comes in handy for all kinds of stuff, including lubing your chain and keeping your tools/spares from rattling around.  A cut up old t-shirt works fine as well.
  • GlovesNitrile / Latex Free *They are super light and packable – so I stash one or two pairs.  Great to put under your “real” gloves if it gets cold and/or rainy.  You might sweat a little, but the warmth/waterproof factor is well worth it.  If you need to wrench on your bike, good for that too :).  I know many on the Tour Divide stuck buying dishwashing gloves when ish hit the fan… but this is a way better option IMO.  If you don’t have anybody to bum a pair off of, buy a box on Amazon – they’re good to have around.

HYDRATION

  • Bladder 4L MSR Dromlite * I like to use a large bag even when I don’t fill it all the way.  When it’s big, it’ll flop and morph into your framebag better than smaller bags that are more “full”.  You can also get the hose kit for this bladder.
  • 24 oz Water Bottle
  • Large Water BottleZefal Magnum 33oz *fits in bottle cage, but obviously holds more than 24oz regular cycling water bottles.  Downside is I’ve had issues with leaking on the older versions, but newer ones seem to have fixed the issue.  Check tire clearance if you’re mounting under your downtube.  If you have room on your downtube, you can sometimes use an Aquafina bottle, etc that you buy in a convenience store/gas station/grocery if you have a Topeak Modula Cage XL
  • Water FilterSawyer Squeeze Mini *Lightweight, small, easy to use.  Not much else to say.
  • Collapsible Water BottlePlatypus 1L Soft Bottle *Great for bikepacking when you have a section where you need extra water but don’t need it the whole time.  Also great to use for filtering as you can thread your Sawyer Squeeze directly to it.  I wrap it around my filter and it doesn’t take up any room when not in use.  
  • Water PurificationAquatabs Purification Tablets *In case you have some super dank water and want to double up with filtering… or too lazy to filter, in a hurry, etc.  Always good to have some purification tablets.

LIGHTING / ELECTRONICS / NAVIGATION

  • Handlebar LightExposure Revo Dynamo Light *works well for me, and I love the way Exposure mounts are super secure, easy in and out, and lightweight.  I used a SP (Shutter Precision) PD-8x dynamo on the TD and it’s held up great.  I used to hear complaints about bearings failing years ago, but a couple years ago I was assured they upgraded the bearings and I haven’t heard any complaints since.  I’ve built many wheelsets with these and Schmidt SON dynamo hubs for bikepacking clients and have only received positive feedback for both.
  • Handlebar Light – I dig the Exposure Revo, but if I was in the market for a new dynamo light, or just wanted to try something different, I’d consider the kLite Bikepacker Ultra  or the Sinewave BeaconI’ve heard nothing but good reviews from friends.
  • Handlebar LightLezyne 1100XL *I use this on “normal” night rides, or keep in my pack as insurance if a day ride accidentally goes to night.  It has an integrated strap that mounts to your bar super quickly.  It lasts long, especially on the lower output settings and is USB rechargeable.  These were what I kept at the bike shop in the rental fleet for people doing the night fat bike race series.  Very robust.  Great to have in the quiver.
  • Backup Handlebar Light – Fenix LD22 *uses AA’s and is a great backup light, just in case.  It’ll get you out of a jam.  The battery life is exceptional if you use on lower output settings.
  • Handlebar Light Mount – TwoFish Flashlight Mount *I keep this attached to my Fenix LD22.  In case your “main” handlebar light stops functioning, you’ll need to mount your backup to your handlebars, and this mount is super light and makes mounting a breeze.  Sure beats using duct tape and zip ties when you’re already bumming about your busted light!
  • Helmet Light– Exposure Joystick*I use as a helmet mounted light. USB rechargeable and I can charge it through my dynamo hub if necessary.  Lasts around 24 hours on low setting, which is where I usually keep it.  Also doubles as a flashlight/camp light.
  • Tail Light – PDW Daybot *Awesome blinky taillight, can last for days on the low output setting but nice to have the bright daylight option of you’re riding on roads/highways a bunch.  USB rechargeable and I can charge through my dynamo hub or cache battery if necessary.
  • Dynamo Hub Wiring Harness /Switch Custom kLite *They made me a harness that plugs into my SP dynamo and then has two outs and a switch (switch one way to power my handlebar light or the other way to for usb power which I plug into my Sinewave USB charger to charge my phone, cache batteries, helmet light, etc) 
  • Dynamo Powered USB ChargerSinewave Revolution *Waterproof and Tour Divide tested and proven.  Superlight and small.  Not much else to say.
  • Emergency Tracking DeviceSpot Tracker *Nice for loved ones to have peace of mind, and just in case you really get in a jam, it could save your life.
  • GPX Navigation Device Garmin eTrex 30x *solid and reliable navigating.
  • Cache BatteryJackery Bar  *I used a couple Goal Zero units on the TD and they didn’t fare too well.  Switched over to the Jackery and have been happy so far.  Pretty light and compact 6000 mAh (enough to charge iphone 2-3 times), aluminum shell.  I have the earlier version of this, so I’m assuming the newer one is just as good/if not better and I’ll get this when I need to replace mine.
  • Multi-Port USB Charger – 4-Port USB Travel Charger w/ Folding Plug *When you make it to a restaurant, coffee shop, or splurge on a motel, it’s nice to be able to charge all your gack at once.  This one is slim and has folding prongs and can charge four USB devices at once.

FIRST AID / EMERGENCY / SURVIVAL

  • First Aid KitAdventure Medical Kit .7 *very light and comes in a waterproof bag.  I customize it a bit, as I don’t need everything in the kit and I like to fit everything in the .3 waterproof pouch.  But it’s great to start with.  Make sure you have alcohol pads, as they can also be used to clean a contaminated brake rotor or clean out tubeless goop residue to help a tire boot adhere better.  Also, triple antibiotic ointment or Neosporin is a must.  Also, a pair of nitrile gloves are good to have in the kit.  They can double as cold weather/wet weather liners under your riding gloves and keep you from getting grimy if you need to wrench on your bike.
  • Moleskin2″x 3″ Sheets*You don’t want blisters ruining a trip
  • Molefoam4″ x 3″ Sheets*Sometimes this is better than moleskin, since it puts a raised cushion around the blister.  Good to have both.
  • TweezersMini Travel Tweezers*Tick removal, splinters… So many potential uses.  Pack ’em.
  • Emergency Fire StarterAMK Fire Lite Kit *can make the difference between a pleasant evening and a horrible one.
  • Spare Tinder SOL Tinder Quik *weighs next to nothing, so doesn’t hurt to have some more.
  • Bear BellCoglans w/ Magnetic Silencer *if you’re riding in an area known to have a lot of bears, it’s a good idea to let them hear you coming, so you don’t startle them.
  • Bear SprayFrontiersman 7.9oz *if you’re doing the Tour Divide north to south, just buy it in Banff if you’re flying… and ditch when you get out of grizzly territory.  If you’re going S to N, buy it when you get near grizzly territory.  Don’t bother carrying for the whole ride.  If you’re gonna carry it, make sure you know how to use it and are prepared to use it.  Treat it the same way you would a gun.  If you don’t know how to use it and aren’t mentally prepared to, then don’t bother.
  • Parachute CordBored Paracord -*If I’m traveling in bear territory, I’ll take 25-30′ in case I need to hang any food up in tree. 

BIKEPACKING BAGS / STORAGE / ORGANIZATION

  • Frame BagI get all my custom frame bags from Rogue PandaExceptional quality, fast turnaround, good pricing.  For frame bags you just need to take a picture of your bike with a tape measure in the shot.  No cutting out patterns, etc.  Fits like a glove every time… and they’re nice.  I used a roll-top bag on the TD so I didn’t have to deal with zippers going bad.  Worked great.  If you do get zippers, that’s fine too… just make sure to put chain lube and clean them once in a while to keep the working well.
  • Feed BagRevelate Mountain Feed Bag *I’ve been using these for years.  No complaints.  I usually keep a water bottle in this one for easy access when bikepacking.  I also keep lip balm, sunscreen, and chamois cream for easy access.
  • Feed Bag Bedrock Bags Tapeats To Go Bag *This thing is the bomb!  Holds a ton of stuff!  I fill this with food, and keep a bottle in the more traditional Revelate.  
  • Gas TankSalsa Top Tube Bag *Bigger than most on the market.  I always go for bigger, just in case you need the space, you’ll be glad you have it.
  • Saddle BagRevelate Vischacha *it’s the original “big” one, and I like having extra room in case I need it.  But it’s officially been discontinued.  Check out the current offerings from Revelate Designs
  • Saddle BagRock Bros 1.7L *When I don’t need a “full-on” saddle bag, this is great for epic day rides.  Holds a water bottle and a bunch of stuff.  And it’s less than $20!
  • Handlebar MountSalsa EXP Cradle *A little heavier than others I’ve used, but burly and strong and I love it.  Doesn’t squish your cables or bounce around on technical singletrack.  I remove the straps that come with it and use Voile Ski Straps (XL) instead.  I just strap different sized dry bags to it depending on my needs.
  • PogiesRevelate Willawaw *I only use when it’s single digit temps or lower
  • Bottle Cages Salsa Nickless Cages *Fantastic stainless steel cages, perfect for bikepacking.  Bottles don’t slip, these are light and solid and last forever.
  • Bottle CagesTopeak Modula XL *If you have room on your downtube and want extra water storage, this is awesome.  It can fit an Aquafina bottle or other store bought water bottles as the cage is adjustable.  I’ve used this many times but doesn’t have clearance on all bikes.  Worth a shot though.
  • Bottle Cage MountSKS Anywhere Mount *Allows you to mount a cage of your choice on your top tube, seat post, or anywhere else you can fit one.  
  • Accessory BottleKEG Storage Bottle *fits in bottle cage – sometimes I’ll put this on my downtube and keep tools, spares, etc. in it.  Keeps heavy stuff you rarely use down low for bikepacking… as long as you don’t need that cage for a water bottle 🙂  I make sure to pack it full and stick my chain lube rag in there to keep stuff from rattling – a huge pet peeve of mine.
  • Packable Nylon Drawstring BackpackGeneric Brand *Indispensable!  Weighs and packs up next to nothing.  When you need a place to store extra groceries/meals for a long stretch between resupplies, take clothes to laundromat, etc – you’ll be stoked you have this.  Odds are you’ve been given one of these as a freebie, and have one lying around the house.  If not, pick one up on Amazon (link above).
  • Packable Ultralight BackpackSea To Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack *If you’ve got $32 to spend, this is better than the drawstring backpack.  Has real shoulder straps instead of nylon drawstrings and is more comfy if you have to wear it for a while.
  • Waterproof Ziploc BagsAloksak *Stronger/better than ziplocs when you need to really waterproof your electronics, cue sheets, etc.  They come in a variety of sizes and are very handy.
  • Misc StorageContact Lens Case *A no-brainer for those of you who wear contacts.  But on shorter trips, these work great for stashing small amounts of sunscreen / chamois cream.  I’ve also heard of people using them for bike grease, carbon paste, etc on longer/remote bike tours…
  • Frame Protection TapeETC Helicopter Tape (Clear) *It’s a good idea to protect the downtube from rock strikes, and all your bag attachment points from abrasion / friction that can damage your bike over time.  This stuff is well-priced compared to other products, comes in a nice long roll, easy to cut, and doesn’t turn yellow.  It’s not the thickest out there, but I’ve found it does the job just fine.
  • Silicone TapeSelf-Fusing Emergency Tape *I use this tape where bikepacking bags connect with the bike and it’s possible to wrap the tape around and fuse to itself.  Example – around the seatpost, top tube, downtube, seat tube, etc.  I also put underneath my Garmin mount to keep it from slipping.  I love how this tape fuses to itself, but doesn’t stick to the bike.  A must have!  
  • Rubber Mastic TapeScotch 2228 *This comes in 1″ or 2″ widths.  I usually use the 1″.  Very strong adhesive on one side and rubberized coating on the other.  Will conform to curves of your bike.  Great for chainstay protection as well as protecting any part of your bike from cable rub, bikepacking bag rub, etc.
  • Velcro 3/4″ Roll *Not only is velcro used for mounting my top tube bags and feed bags, I also use it to tuck charging cables securly along my framebag, etc.  Lots of good uses, comes in very handy.

HEALTH / HYGIENE

  • Lip Balm – Dermatone SPF 23 *As you’ll see below, I’m a big fan of Dermatone.  Quality products to protect you from the elements.
  • Sunscreen – Dermatone SPF 30 4oz Tube*can use as chain lube in an emergency
  • Skin Protectant Dermatone Face Protection *Very important on exposed parts of your face and especially the tip of your nose if you’re doing extreme cold weather riding.    Serves as a barrier to the elements and helps prevent frost bite, etc.  Also good for skiing, etc.
  • Tooth Brush Foldable Travel Toothbrush *These are pretty nifty, or you can cut grab the regular toothbrush you got as a free gift from the dentist and cut it in half to save some room and weight.  
  • Toothpaste – Crest Gum Detoxify/Deep Clean *Small, travel-size.  Perfect for bikepacking.  With the long days in the saddle and all the acids, and junk in your mouth, the “gum detoxify” and “deep clean” make you feel like you’re doing some good 🙂
  • Dental Floss – Oral B Glide*They make these in travel sizes, but they’re really not much smaller or lighter and have a lot less floss.  I prefer to take a regular one, as I floss a lot, and don’t wanna skimp or run out.  Also, it can double for thread in a jam to sew up a tire, ripped stuff sack, etc
  • Wet Wipes Wet Ones Travel Size *Keep your backside clean.  Don’t skimp on this.  Every night, when you take off your chamois, give yourself a thorough cleaning and “air out”!  
  • Antibiotics -*chat with your doctor, let him/her know what you’re up to, and they should be able to prescribe you some antibiotics that could wind up becoming worth their weight in gold.
  • Anti-Diarrheal – Immodium A-D *I like the soft gels, and I own Johnson & Johnson stock, so I stick with the name brand on this one 🙂 – A must bring on any bikepacking trip, especially if you aren’t packing antibiotics.
  • Anti-Inflamatory – Ibuprofin *I go with the 200mg softgels – I normally don’t take any “meds” or “drugs” but when you’re getting achy back and joints after hours in the saddle, your body with thank you.
  • Chafing CreamChamois Butt’r *This has always done well for me.  I use it on longer one day rides, but anything more than that, I carry the big guns below:
  • Diaper Rash Cream – A&D Ointment *I find this better than traditional cycling chamois cream on multi-day rides.  It “lasts” longer and serves as a better barrier to friction.  I carry the 4oz and use it generously, but they have a smaller version as well.
  • Anti-Fungal Cream – Clotrimazole *In case you get a fungus among-us in your nethers.  It’s a small 1oz tube.  Hopefully you won’t need it, I haven’t yet… knock on wood! 
  • Acne Cream – Benzoyl Peroxide *This is the final ingredient of my “arse kit”.  Zit cream is great on specific saddle sores that are forming or have already formed.  Kind of like pimples, right?  It helps them to dry out quicker and clear out.  At night, after you clean yourself with baby wipes and “dry out” – apply this stuff!

VIDEO / YOUTUBE EQUIPMENT

  • Drone Mavic Mini *Lightweight, easy to carry in my backpack and take on remote rides.  Can’t beat the price tag.  A little hard to film myself riding with, but it gets the job done.
  • Main Camera Canon M50 *Small, lightweight, comes with a good lens.  Priced well.  The dual pixel autofocus is fantastic and can keep you in focus, so it’s great for YouTube / vlog-type use.
  • Action / POV Camera GoPro Hero 8 *Hypersmooth is the ticket for mountain biking  POV camera and doesn’t need a gimble.  The in-camera mic is pretty dang good too unless it gets very windy… which is why I carry a Windslayer as well (see below)
  • Chest Mount GoPro Brand *I’ve tried a few.  I like the way the genuine GoPro version latches on and holds nice and snug.
  • Audio Wind Reducer for GoPro Windslayer *Helps reduce wind noise on the audio track when using the GoPro under less than favorable conditions.  Good to have in the kit.
  • Mini/Bendy Tripod Jobi Gorilla Pod *Good to have in the kit.  Super versatile.  Can wrap around a tree branch or just put on the ground to get a ride by shot, etc.
  • Lightweight TripodK&F Concept Carbon Fiber *Super light and easy to travel with.  Super smooth ball head.
  • Spare MicroSD Cards – SanDisk Extreme *These work great and are priced well.https://amzn.to/2WML9hz
  • Spare SD Cards – SanDisk Extreme *These work great and are priced well.
  • Hard Drives – LaCie Rugged *I’ve used for years and they’ve held up well after being beaten up pretty bad.
  • Computer for Editing – iMac *I keep it simple with iMovie and the iMac does well.  Plenty of speed to edit at 4K.
  • Mic for Voiceover Blue USB *I love this microphone!  Plugs straight into my computer with a USB cable and records VO straight into iMovie.  Super simple.  Sounds great too.
  • On-Camera Mic – Rode Video Micro *Cheap and sounds good.  Plugs right into the port on my Canon M50, sets up easy on the hot shoe, and you’re off and running.
  • Comfy Editing ChairRespawn Ergonomic Gaming Chair  *Game changer (no pun intended) for back and neck pain and strain during long editing sessions and computer time.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Reflective Tape or Stickers3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape or Reflective Stickers – *It’s a good idea to have some reflective material on your frame, fork, wheels and spokes.
  • GPS AppGAIA – *I use as a backup GPS tracker on my iPhone (gpx track on my Garmin 30x is primary).  I think the app is $20/year but it works great, you can download different basemaps for your specific route to your phone so you don’t need cell service for it to work.  
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some items.  Please leave questions/additions/thoughts in the comments or contact me.