Before trips I get a bit… concerned about detail. That’s putting it kindly. Perhaps it’s fuzzy memories of my mum organising the troops before family holidays when everything had to be accounted for – to her credit, can’t remember there ever being one of those “I thought you had the passports…” moments, and in my defence I just like knowing that every little thing has been thought of and packed somewhere sensible. With good news from the fracture clinic that I’m good to fly to Patagonia after breaking my ankle 10 days ago (I didn’t tell them about the cycling bit), a bit of hurried/relieved packing was in order, so I took a few photos to show what went where among the various bits of bikepacking paraphernalia. If kit isn’t of interest, then best do a u-turn and get out while you can.
The kit below is everything we’re taking for a self-supported two months in Chile and Argentina, minus the food, obviously. We’re travelling light, which is the result of having gone the opposite way and taken far too much unnecessary kit to Iceland last year. No-one cares if you only have two pairs of smelly socks when they’re thirty miles away in the nearest town…
Although I usually use a Revelate Designs Terrapin holster with a drybag, this time I’m using a Viscacha pack on handy loan from Andy at Backcountrybiking. It isn’t waterproof but is easily lined with a drybag, and to my mind seems a little roomier than a Terrapin drybag. It’s also easier to get in and out of through the course of the day. Inside we find:
- A Hilleberg Nammatj 2. It’s not the lightest at 3kg, but it’s quick to put up and more than strong enough for ballistic Patagonian winds.
- Sleeping mat. A Therm-a-Rest Neo Air X-lite (try saying that after a few).
Again, it could be lighter, but it’s super comfy and still only 400g or so.
- First Aid Kit. Given recent events this could be essential.
- SPOT tracker. So that my mum doesn’t need to worry quite so much.
Oh, and a towel.
A Revelate Designs frame bag with a top and bottom compartment, plus a thin side compartment which is handy for tools. This is full of tools, spares, and at some point will also contain some tasty food.
- Juice lubes chain lube
- Chammy cream (arse lard)
- Two 29er tubes and a nice big pump, spare spokes, zip ties, electrical tape.
- Spare brake pads x 3, a Surly single speed tensioner (if you don’t carry one of these, read this)
- Multi-tool, pliers, chainlink pliers, box o’ bolts + spare cleat/mech hanger/gear cable, tubeless repair kit, spare patches, tyre levers. There should also be a small spanner here, but I couldn’t find it. Whoops.
We both use a Revelate Saltyroll drybag which opens at both ends, and straps to a Revelate Harness. The advantage of this is that it’s easy to attach tent poles to the harness as well, or use the harness to carry something else entirely, like packrafts, logs, legs of ham etc. There’s also an extra pocket that clips on to the front of the drybag and is usually filled with the gelatinous remnants of melted Haribo, or used teabags.
left to right (ish)
- Criterion Quantum 200 sleeping bag. Good to 0 degrees, and very light. I’d rather one or two chilly nights and wear a down jacket in bed than hump a load of extra feathers around for two months.
- Revelate Designs Saltyroll drybag.
- Hilleberg Nammatj tent poles
- Pop-out bowl and cup/Frisbees
- Compass and blinky rear light
- Buff, leg-warmers, waterproof gloves and a helmet liner
- Emergency thermal bivvy bag
- Down jacket (nice and light at 200g)
- Fleece socks, spare riding socks, fleece gloves and running shorts for in the tent.
- Two spare tops, spare chammys.
- Revelate Harness and Revelate pocket.
Apart from t-shirts, socks and chammys, I’m carrying one of everything – if it gets wet, it gets wet. I took four pairs of socks to Iceland, thinking that dry feet were happy feet, but in reality you keep one dry pair for the tent and one pair for riding. Those fresh dry socks are about to get soaked the moment you put them in soggy shoes anyway.
- Sweet Protection Bushwhacker helmet
- Base-layer top
- Thin fleece top (Polartec Powerdry is amazing)
- Sweet Protection Hunter shorts
- Sweet Protection Jailbreak jacket and waterproof troos
- Gloves and socks
- Shimano M200 riding shoes
This is by far the most camera gear I’ve ever taken on a long trip, but with very little else in the pack it shouldn’t be too much of a burden. Any professional photographer would probably laugh at how little there is anyway.
Right to left
- 20l Lowepro backpack. With a couple of spare lenses floating about, it was time to invest in a proper photo backpack thing to keep them safe and snug.
- Canon 7d with attached f1.4 50mm.
- Canon f4 70-200mm L
- Sigma f4-5.6 10-20mm
- Flashcard case
- Charger, remote timer, tripod
- Bag of gubbins, filters, batteries, bits of fluff.
A big tour means squeezing extra stuff in wherever it will fit.
- Revelate Mountian Feed bags (nestle either side of the stem and can be filled with water bottle/sweets/jar of peanut butter
- Revelate Gas Tank toptube bag (also good for sweets)
- Salsa Anything cages w/ 5l drybags. These will probably be full of food.
- Headtorch and useful strap
- Spanish dictionary
- Extra tubeless sealant
- Bag of stuff: tent repair kit, seam sealant, batteries, etc.
We will be using a trusty Jetboil stove as gas cartridges are readily available.
Lastly, a Powertraveller solar charger, plus associated tangled charging cords, will get strapped on top of a bag/rucksack/helmet to take advantage of all that sweet, sweet sunshine(?)
There are almost certainly very important items of kit that I haven’t listed, which will probably be remembered about twenty minutes before departure on Friday. Cue screaming and nervous passport-checking.