A little over a month ago I had attempted my first bike overnight. Biking from Salt Lake City up over into Park City. So I figured I would go over that first set up and then go over what I changed out. For the last couple years I have been going over, over and over different ways everyone else sets up their bikes for bike packing and for road touring. I was totally over thinking the whole thing which is why it only took me 5 years to finally start doing overnights out on the bike.
On the Handle Bars I put my Sleeping pad which is the Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite and put that into as you can see a very bright orange dry bag. I believe for this I used two straps to make sure that it was secure on the handle bar. I would through out the ride have to adjust it here and there. It wasn’t that it was slipping down just keeping it at positions that where better for hand positions.
On that middle bar I attached my tent pools. No special bag just the bag the pools come along with with the tent. Austen had some wire rubber straps that worked really well for this. I do not know the official name so we will just keep it with that. This mostly works, though it will slide back up against the tire. It was something to get used to riding with have the polls there.
Now for the fun part.
The seat post – Since this bike isn’t my own I needed to figure out a way to carry the bulk of things without adding a back rack and panniers. In an ideal world this would be what I would set up for. Panniers would also make it rather nice when going to the grocery store, farmers market and what ever other ideas I have.
So I went onto the inter webs as always and looked around at what others with a gravel bike were doing. Then looked at different bike bags I eventually settled on doing a seat post bag. Went to a couple of the bike shops around town to get a good idea of what the sizes look like. They put the sizes obviously online for you but I can’t tell until I am actually looking at in.
As I looked around I decided to go with the Topeak backloader Seat Bag. I loaded the tent, tent fly, my pillow & toiletry bag. I then put my blanket that I’d use for sleeping on the top of the bag. This bag for this trip didn’t do as well. I think I might have had it loaded to heavy and where the seat to the wheel isn’t much space. On any bumps and a good portion on the gravel sections it kept slipping and rubbing up against the tire.
For the rest of the items I had to carry on my back. I went and got a bicycling hydration pack. I had been looking for one for awhile and finally settled on the Osprey Raven Women’s Backpack. This was able to hold extra water, sleeping clothes, extra socks, underwear, snacks, portable charger & cords, the cards.
My tent is the REI Groundbreaker 2 person tent. It does well for now though I wish the polls were slightly smaller for back-ability. I’m also not ready to throw down $500 or more for a bike packing specific tent to have those smaller polls.
I knew that this set up would need to be changed out eventually but I wanted to see what I could do with what I had and how or if it would get me by at least. This set up worked for a one nighter but for something that would be a bit longer I would have to start considering where I would place the food that I would need to carry.
For now this set up works where I am able to still be close to civilization and can get to a grocery store easily. Eventually as I get a little more comfortable with camping on my own I will eventually start adjusting the set up. Which I have already.
For the Adjustments
I recently just purchased the REI Handlebar Roll and just with that one adjustment have started improving things. On my second overnighter I was able to put the tent and and my sleeping pad in the Handlebar bag. I did change out my sleeping pad to the Nemo Tensor Insulated Sleeping pad and that has helped with space as well.
I also switched to the NanoLoft Puffy Blanket and I also added a sleeping bag liner as well. For summer I really don’t need a sleeping bag all that much. I tend to sleep a little warmer and the tent has tended to not have nearly as much air flow going through it.
So now that we have finally all made it down here, thank you. I am also excited about more smaller bike overnighters. At least now I have the main things down and I can easily get things organized now and head out when I am only home for a couple days.
Sometimes it’s just those little breaks to readjust, filter out and decompress from everything else.
I hope this helps any of those who have also been on the fence, thinking heavily about adding a little more layers to their own biking experience.
I have no idea what I am doing just making it up as I go.