Gravel riding and bike packing have become quite popular the last couple of years. Gravel riding has the best of both worlds, since it’s the ideal combination between road cycling and mountain biking and when equipped with the correct gear, it gives you the opportunity to discover new roads you wouldn’t otherwise have entered. But what do you bring on your first adventure? Together with our ambassador and ultra-cyclist Jack Thompson we’ve prepared a list with tips and tricks that should help you with your first adventure.
Are you planning a one-day trip or multi-day bike packing journey? Bike packing bags expand your options so you can discover more by bike than ever before. For a day trip, a top tube bag could be enough to store your essentials. If you are going for a longer trip, you can equip your bike with handlebar bags, frame bags and saddle bags.
A handlebar bag is ideal for the items that you need to survive the night. Jack Thompson uses this bag for his tent, sleeping equipment and cooking utensils. An example of a handlebar bag is our Front Fellow, which consists of a lightweight nylon handlebar harness with weatherproof carry bag. It has a volume of 10L and is easy to attach.
Do you want to store some more stuff on your handlebar? Then the Bar Buddy is your best companion. This bag has one big compartment to store energy bars, wallet, keys, phone etc.
You can use a frame bag for items you want to have within reach. The Middle Mate is designed to fit within your frame. This lightweight nylon bag has a volume of 4L, divided in 2 compartments. Try to pack this bag as flat as possible, so your knees won’t touch it when cycling. According to Jack the best things to store in this bag are sun cream, bank cards, a small USB charger and anything that you’ll need to access on the fly whilst out on the road.
Where do you leave your extra clothes and casual shoes? That is where you need the Seat Sidekick for. You can easily mount it to your saddle and seatpost, so you won’t even know it’s there. This 10L weatherproof bag has a single quick release buckle for the carry bag, so you can take it with you in a café or refuel point if required.
A must-have according to Jack is a top tube bag for shorter and longer trips alike. You can use this bag for snacks, an extra pair of sunglasses, your wallet and keys. The Toptank X also has a clear compartment for your phone, so you can easily check the route whilst on the bike.
Never forget your repair kit! Jack always takes the following things with him on his trips, depending on how far he’s going: 2 spare tubes, a multi tool, spare batteries for his Wahoo HR monitor and Power Meter, a small bottle of chain lube and a hand pump. You can store your repair kit in the our Tools&Tubes and put in your bottle cage or bag. Not enough room? Place an extra bottle cage on your bike by using the CageFix straps.
It’s better to be prepared than under prepared. Jack wouldn’t leave home without 2 big water bottles, filled with a carbohydrate rich energy fuel along with a series of snacks to help keep him fueled.
In addition to this: if you take a rain jacket, it won’t rain! Opt for a compact rain jacket that’s easy to store.
And the most important one of all: have fun! Bike packing is full of adventure and makes for good campfire stories.