Last year, I spent almost six months on my bike, bikepacking through numerous countries in Europe, North Africa, and Asia, before ending my trip with a ride across Jordan. I plan to ride through quite a few more countries again this year. You’ll find a detailed review of some of my favorite bikepacking gear in the upcoming Outside Spring Buyer’s Guide (on shelves soon), but until then, here is a look at my base setup.
For each of my trips I used some variation of the Tailfin bikepacking system. In Europe it was the X Series Rack with double panniers, and for Jordan it was the AeroPack Trunk Top Bag with one additional pannier during the days when we carried camping gear (I ditched the camping gear and pannier a few days in). I personally find the system so much easier to use than trying to shove all your gear in a saddle bag and handlebar bag that you constantly have to adjust and which can be a pain to get on and off your bike every day.
Club Ride Joanie Capri: I am not much for wearing Lycra when bikepacking and needed loose clothing that covered my knees for countries like Morocco and Jordan. Super lightweight, these capris offer enough coverage without ever feeling too hot. They also dry quickly after those frequent bathtub wash sessions. I basically lived in these for months.
Pearl Izumi Long Sleeve Merino Wool Jersey: This lightweight wool jersey was perfect for cooler days and I can wear it multiple days in a row before washing.
Columbia Sportswear Long Sleeve Shirt: On warmer days, I stuck with a lightweight, long sleeve shirt for sun protection and quick drying potential after the obligatory shower wash out each night.
Club Ride Liv’n Flannel: In place of a fleece, this flannel shirt served as my extra layer for cooler weather. Moisture wicking and warm, the shirt features mesh underarm panels to keep you from overheating when you are riding hard.
7Mesh Resistance Jacket: Windproof and rain-resistant for colder days or days with light rain.
Columbia OutDry Ex Pants: I stored these lightweight and breathable rain pants in my bag just in case I got stuck in some sort of downpour.
Puffy coat, as well as a hat and gloves for some colder weather trips like Georgia.
Pearl Izumi X-Alp Gravel: I own a couple pairs of the X-Alp Elevate and absolutely love them. For Morocco and Jordan I switched to the X-Alp Gravel. While super comfortable for all day bike adventures, I felt they were not quite burly enough for the hike-a-bike required in Jordan. I’ll probably stick to the Elevate for more rugged adventures and the Gravel for those trips I know I won’t have to push my bike much.
POC Ventral Air Spin: Great ventilation for a helmet and added SPIN rotational impact protection in case I should fall off the bike.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 Bikepack: With shorter pole segments, this ultralight tent fits perfectly on the front of your handlebars. Everything packs into a burly bikepacking-ready compression sack with built-in daisy chain for quick attachment.
Therm-a-rest Neo-Air Uberlite: Ultralight and super compact, you couldn’t ask for much more in a bikepacking sleeping pad.
Therm-a-Rest 20F Vesper Quilt: I’m a quilt convert as unless you are headed someplace super cold, a full sleeping bag is overkill and takes up so much room in your bike bag. Weighing only 19 ounces, the 20-degree Vesper was enough to keep me warm high in the upper Caucuses.
Not a ton of gourmet cooking happens on bikepacking trips (at least for me) since one always worries about weight and depending on your route, you can usually find cheap, delicious food once in awhile if not every day. So for cooking gear, you basically need something to boil water for coffee, oatmeal, and the occasional dehydrated meal or ramen dinner. I have been known, however, to throw instant coffee straight into my bike bottle and call it breakfast.
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe: A small, lightweight canister stove that lights every time.
MSR Trail Mini Solo Cookset: This 0.75-liter aluminum pot comes with an insulated grip for easy pouring, strainer lid, and plastic cup for eating and drinking.
MSR Trail Shot: This water filer packs down small, is super lightweight, and gets the job done.
In another post, I will go into my camera gear, all my electronics, and the huge bag of tools and repair kit which took up most of the room in my frame bag. After numerous issues in Jordan, my list of what to bring on your bike for on-trail repairs keeps growing.