The packing list is always in flux–usually until the moment we hop on our bikes to start the adventure–and is determined by pretty simple factors
- how long the trip is
- how remote the route is
- what time of year we’re heading out
So, here we are, taking off
- for ten days of really challenging terrain
- into the middle of nowhere. We’ll have a 145 mile section without any services.
- in late July
We’ll need to move self sufficiently with light and compressible gear, and carry enough food for three day sections at a time. We shouldn’t need to worry too much about cold nights, but I run a little cold in the backcountry from constant exposure. Layers are key. Rain gear is a must, and protection from sun and bugs are a priority.
We’re keenly aware that we’re exploring bear country. Backpacking the Olympics about four years back, we had a good head count daily.
For this trip, I bought a spool of ⅛” nylon cord from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics to make to bear hanging systems for our stuff. Don’t skimp on cord because what goes up has gotta reach back down to be tied off, and you want your food hanging on a limb that’s high off the ground and away from the trunk of the tree. We’ll both carry 100 feet of line with carabiners attached.
Home Sweet Home
My first experiences with camping under tarps made me feel really vulnerable. I had the great luck of guiding trips with a co-instructor who is an engineer. He taught me nuances of pitching tarps, and the art of gauging incline, wind, weather, and rising water lines. Now I love the simplicity of tarp camping, and stubbornly pull out the bulk of our Half Dome when a trip is better served by a tent.
When I was snooping around for an ultralight tarp, I had a conversation with a salesperson who argued against purchasing from an ‘under-the-radar’ company because “a corporate brand name would provide quality and design assurance.” You all know what I do for a living, so you won’t be surprised that I left the store and bit the bullet a Six Moon Designs Tarp. Haven’t heard of them? Well, most folks haven’t heard of Swift Industries either, so I figured it was time to support another small company. Six Moon Designs is well regarded in the Ultralight Backpacking scene, and the Haven Tarp we purchased has been amazing. The tarp itself compresses down to a liter. I opted for the telescoping carbon fiber poles, and had Six Moons seal the tarp for me. The shape of the tarp is enclosed and feels more like a tent. It has two zip entries with large vestibules for shoving our gear under the tarp with us. One can batten down so that there is a four inch gap between the ground and the bottom of the nylon. I just invested in the Haven Tarp’s companion bug NetTent for the for the Range Tour. I’m hoping it does its job.
Sierra Designs just released their new Backcountry Quilt and Jason is eager to put it to the test. The shape of the “bag” is totally unique, and is a sort of blanket- mummy hybrid. Jason went for the 800 fill, 30 degree model and I got really jealous when I watched him compress the bag. My sleeping bag is my biggest piece of gear, and the Backcountry quilt is ⅓ smaller than mine when it’s compressed.
Down to the Details
.6 L Pot, GSI Outdoors Halulite Minimalist
2 Fuel Canisters, 8 oz.
Silicone Pot Grip, GSI Outdoors
Folding bowl, Orikaso
2 Sporks, Park Tools
Giga Power Auto Stove, Snopeak
Hot Lips, Snowpeak
Small hiker’s First Aid Kit
Bike Repair Kit
2 Sets, extra disc brake pads
Extra tire (dedicated to Lucas)
2, tire boots (dedicated to Johnson D)
2, 29” Tubes
Personal Patch Kits
Extra Rack Bolts and Hardware
2, Garmen Touring Pros
Tyvek Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag, the North Face
Pad, Thermarest Backpacker
2 Cycling Chamois
Nylon Running Shorts
Chambray Long Sleeve
Ibex base layers, top and bottom
Light Synthetic Puffy (5”X2” compressible size)
3 pairs socks, one kept in sleeping bag
Metallic Gold Keds
Packable Sun Hat
Ibex Knee Warmers
Indian Cotton Sarong
Book, Kafka on the Shore
Windsor and Newton Cotman Watercolor Set
Small Sketch Book
Acre Hauser 10 L Pack
3 L Bladder
Tyvek Ground Cloth
Backcountry Quilt, Sierra Designs
Pad, Exped Air Mat
Inflatable Camping Pillow, REI
2 Cycling Chamois
Wool Undershirt, Ibex
Wool Leggings, Ibex
3 Pairs Socks
Wind and Rain Jacket, OR
Puffy Jacket, Moonstone Designs
Arm Warmers, Ibex
Long Sleeve Cotton Shirt
Trout Classic 5 Weight, 9 Ft, 6 Piece Redington Fly Rod
Surge 5 Weight Reel, Redington
Mini Fly Pouch, Elemental Horizons
Deuter Compact Air 10L
3 L Bladder
There’s a million ways to pack for an adventure–and the fun of it is honing and adapting according to the kind of trip you’re taking.
If you’re bike-camp-curious, and want to set out on your first adventures you don’t need fancy gear to have a stellar time. If you have a bicycle, a sleeping bag and mat, and a fairly small shelter, then you’re already ninety percent there. Borrow or rent gear when you can, and hit the road.
The more you find yourself getting out, it’ll be obvious what you should invest in. Our gear has been gathered and purchased over ten years. This stuff is expensive. Good gear should facilitate getting out into wild places safely. I started off with really basic, not very technical camping equipment. Going outside with gear that is designed for the backcountry really does improve the experience. Materials are getting lighter smaller and more heat efficient all the time. At its core, gear it about utility. We put ourselves into pretty exposed environments and the things we take make sure we are kept healthy and protected from the elements. It’s that simple.
The next post will be published right before we hit the trail tomorrow morning. It’ll give you a close looks at our bicycles and set-up for the Range Tour.
Thanks for checking out the
We’ll be getting ready to skip town on July 20th. Check out the route we’ll trace, the gear we’ve chosen, and how we plan to carry what we need for ten days in the mountains.
Follow the adventure