Bikepacking Gear Gift Guide: Shiny and New
In the spirit of the holiday season, here’s our list of outstanding bikepacking gifts, each handpicked from a horde of new — or shiny — products that came out in 2016. Find gifts in six categories ranging from stocking stuffers under $25 to ‘money no object’ investments, and stealthily share them with your partner or family.
Explore the gifts below by price category. And for even more gift ideas, check out last year’s ‘Extra-Useful’ gift guide. Click the images to zoom, the info icons to visit the manufacturer’s page for each product, and the test-tube icon to see our coverage.
Need a few small gifts to spread some cheer? Here are some stocking fillers under $25 that won’t break the bank:
Knog OI Bell
Minimalists might scoff the idea, but if your route takes in a bike path or some urban adventure, bells come in very handy. The Knog OI has nice tone and look, all in a minimal package that doesn’t interfere with other controls.
Good To-Go Pad Thai
If you like to treat yourself after a long ride, look no further than Good To-Go meals. Even though their new Pad Thai is technically a dehydrated bikepacking meal, Good To-Go seems to have captured the flavors and textures that make this classic Thai dish a special treat. Also try our original favorite, the Thai Curry.
Lezyne Lever Kit
While we (fortunately) have not had the opportunity to try it — we’ve not too many flats to report while running tubeless — Lezyne’s new Lever Kit is a nice little compact kit that includes a tire boot, several glueless patches, a scuffer pad, and two tire levers.
Ursa Minor East to West Thermolite Socks
When all else fails… socks! These new Thermolite socks perform like wool with a lightweight and comfy construction, and high wicking capability. This pair has been worn for about 10 afternoon rides straight without washing — no odor to speak of… impressive.
Purist Water Bottle
These new bottles from Specialized are made in California, BPA free and have several spout options, including the aptly named ‘Watergate’. Purist technology shields the inside of the bottle from mold and staining, which is great on long trips.
Blackburn Switch Multi-tool
With just four bits — five hex (2.5/3/4/5/6), two torx (T25/T30), and a flathead screwdriver — and a wrench, the Blackburn Switch Multi-tool packs a lot of practical utility into a little gadget…
Surly Junk Strap Loop
Surly’s 120cm long Junk Straps are now available in a new loop flavor, a super handy way of cinching random gear to your bike.
Have a little more cash to spend? Here are several great gifts for under fifty bucks:
Knog Blinder MINI
Knog’s latest lights add a few nice touches. The Blinder MINI comes in four different lighting configurations and attach to the bars with a unique lever strap system. The blinkers put out the perfect amount of light, have up to 11 hours runtime, and recharge in just a couple hours via a built in USB.
Giro Merino Gloves
Giro’s Merino baselayer gloves make a great camp glove and provide a nice touch of warmth as an underlayer for a Gore-tex mitt. In addition wool gloves wick moisture, eliminate odor, and can provide warmth even when damp.
Revelate Mountain Feedbag
2016 marks the 10th anniversary for the Mountain Feedbag, the original stem-mounted snack accessory. To mark this occasion Revelate redesigned the Feedbag to sport a new closure system, more volume, and a few other nice tweaks…
Ergon GE1 Grips
Inspired by the high end cutlery industry, Ergon rewrapped their GE1 grips with a new rubber compound touted to have minimal slippage, even when wet. We’ve been riding these grips for a couple months now and love the feel. Unfortunately, these are too new and won’t be on the market ’til january. But you can still get the GE1 in the original multi-color rubber.
Swift Industries Scout Motto Tool Roll
Be prepared and organize your bikepacking tool kit and spare parts with Swift’s new Scout Motto tool roll. The roll can be tossed into a frame pack or clipped securely to the rails of your saddle and one simple velcro tab prevents the bundle from shifting.
Revelate Designs Periphery Pocket
Just released, the all new Periphery Pocket is designed to work with Revelate’s Harness and Sweetroll handlebar systems. Constructed with only two fabric panels, seams are minimized to increase durability and weather resistance. Its zipper-free roll down closure provides variable volume and durability that’s worthy of the Revelate brand.
$100 dollars gets you some seriously nice gear. Here’s what we’d do with it…
Club Ride Shaka Flannel
Club Ride makes versatile button down shirts from moisture wicking poly-yarn. You can wear them for weeks on end, ride in them, and even work in them. The new Shaka flannel is constructed from their ‘Keep Warm Poly-Yarn’ to help keep you toasty on any winter adventure. For the ladies, check out the Liv’n Flannel.
Lezyne Macro Drive 800XL
The 800XL is the smallest in the Lezyne Macro Drive lineup and works as a relatively lightweight and minimal light for gravel and dirt road cycling. The 800xl has eight settings that range from 800 lumens with 1.5 hr runtime to 150 lumens with a 9hr runtime. What makes the Macro Drive extra special is a four hour USB recharge; perfect for use with a cache battery.
Search and State S3-B Merino Base Layer
Search and State garments are made in NYC. The S3-B is their take on the perfect cycling base layer and features a wool blend thermal fabric, two button poplin placket, shoulder panels, and single-shuttle military inspired trim label. The S3-B is available in both black and heather gray. If you have any doubts, order a size up as they run slim.
King Cage Manything Cage
Although it’s priced about $20 over the Salsa Anything Cage HD, the titanium Manything weighs about a quarter pound less. Using Washboard or Voilé straps to secure the load, the Manything is a stable and bulletproof option for three-pack bottle bosses. Or, use it with King’s new USB mounts.
ATM (Andrew The Maker) Handmade Goods Manything Sack
… and if you are getting the Manything Cage, why not pick up the only bags designed specifically for it. Andrew’s Manything Sack is a beautifully designed and well-crafted roll-top bag that slides onto the cage by way of two velcro straps and a top sheath. It’s available in an array of color combinations too.
Oveja Negra Snack Pack Xtra Large
Oveja Negra’s Large Snack Pack is one of our favorites, and now they’ve made an even better option — the Xtra Large. Get it in a variety of colors including Multi-cam Black and Fluorescent Orange.
Apidura Accessory Pocket Dry
In addition to their Handlebar Pack Dry, Apidura released their new Accessory Pocket Dry this year. It features a seam welded construction and a unique zipper opening flap — complete with a unique zipper garage. The Pocket is about 5L and works with their handlebar pack systems.
Stepping it up a notch, here’s what we’re recommending if you have a couple of Benjamins to spend…
Industry 9 Matchstix
After a long process of engineering evolution, Matchstix are finally available. This 15mm thru-axle tool kit includes #5/6/4/3 hex bits, T25/T30 torx, an integrated chain-breaker, spoke tool, and quick link storage. It’s available for Fox and Rock Shox in 11 different colors. You can also pick which bits to include when you order the kit at their website.
Porcelain Rocket Albert
Building on the no-sway rack concept behind their popular Mr Fusion, Porcelain Rocket introduced the world’s first dropper-post specific seat pack — called “Albert” after the monkey that went to space. The pack is available in an array of colors and starts shipping in just a few days (it says Sold Out now, but watch the store for updates).
Paul Boxcar Stem
Here’s another finely crafted component from PAUL in Chico, California, made from 2024 aircraft alloy and the shiniest item in the list. The Boxcar Stem has the perfect combination of stiffness, strength and reasonable weight. It’s available in Black, Silver, Polished (shown here), and Purple in a variety of sizes. All screws are high strength stainless steel with the popular T25 head.
Crank Brothers Candy 7 Pedals
Logan’s personal favorite Candy 3 pedals have seen countless miles — both bikepacking and trail riding — two bearing rebuilds, and are still going strong. However, this year Crank Brothers one-upped the Candy 3 with a new 7 series that features a refined body design and integrated traction pads. And like its predecessor, it comes with a 5 year warranty.
Wolf Tooth Camo + Stainless Chainring
Bikepackers with a single rig for both trail riding and bikepacking will like this: Wolf Tooth created a solution swap chainrings without removing the crankset (especially for SRAM GX Direct mount). This allows gearing to be fine-tuned for loaded or unloaded riding. In addition, with stainless steel ring options at a fraction of the material, the CAMO system is a great solution for long distance hard wear rides as well.
Big Agnes Q-core SLX Sleeping Pad
Looking for plush backcountry comfort? Big Agnes made some improvements to their lightest and most compact sleeping pad. The latest iteration of the Q-core weighs in at just a pound and is tougher and warmer with a thicker denier bottom fabric. It’s also much faster to setup and pack via the new one-way inflation valve and quick release deflation valve.
WTB Ranger Plus (Tough)
$153.90 (pair) info
A combination of fast rolling center tread, and somewhat aggressive side knobs make the WTB’s Ranger+ a good design for long distance trips. Although they proved worthy in Kyrgyzstan, the initial TCS Light was a little dainty for some. Now they added a ‘Tough’ version to the line, with a thicker casing and heartier sidewalls. The dirt touring tire of the future?
Lezyne Super GPS
With a 24 hour battery life, USB recharging, and an easy to read screen, the Lezyne Super GPS may be one of the best head units on the market for tracking your ride. Lezyne also integrated tons of other bells and whistles including a phone app and text notifications.
Smith Pivlock Arena / Chromopop
String together many long days in wide open sunlight and cheap sunglasses can lead to some serious eye problems. Good lenses can help you avoid this fate. Smith added Chromapop technology to its cycling specific Pivlock Arena frames this year and claims it filters light at two different wavelengths to give sharper visuals and enhanced natural color… all the while protecting the eyes. After riding trails with these shades for the past few weeks, I have to say it is quite impressive. Ladies may also like the Asana frames.
Surly 24-Pack Rack
Want to turn your steed into a serious load hauler for round town duties? Surly’s ultra burly 24 pack offers more than enough real estate for groceries, beer or pizza… And if you want to escape town for the weekend, load on one of their new Porteur House bags ($120).
Okay, we’re talking serious moola here, so spend it wisely…
Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka
We loved Montbell’s EX Light Down Anorak. It was perhaps the favorite in our Ultralight Down Jacket roundup last year. Now they’ve released an even beefier parka complete with the highest count down fill. The Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka is an amazing piece for winter and shoulder season exploits. Stay tuned for more.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1
The new HV version of the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 is a significant reboot of the original. It boasts steeper walls, a larger entry, and a few other subtle improvements over its predecessor. At a packed weight of 940 grams, the Fly Creek HV UL1 is hands down one of the best solo shelters for bikepacking on the market.
Crank Brothers Highline Dropper Seatpost
Now that bikepacking with a dropper post is a realistic endeavor, we’ve been searching for cable actuated posts that perform well and are durable. So far we’re very impressed with Crank Brothers’ Highline Dropper Seatpost. It performs smoothly and is getting good marks for durability as well.
Mission Workshop Albion
The Albion is Mission Workshop’s take on the classic insulated flannel. It features an engineered highly water repellent nylon face fabric that is ultralight, and super stretchy, and cozy warm fleece insulation — the perfect mix for everyday warmth. Although it’s not the lightest, it still has it’s own stuff sack in case you want to bring it along.
Sea To Summit Ember EB II Quilt
While we’ve tested the insanely light and summery EB I quilt, the Ember Eb II offers the same ultralight sensibilities (548g/19oz) with a 25° temperature rating in an affordable package.
Pedal Ed Mido Riding Boots
Ultralight cycling shoes are nice and all, but wearing a proper pair of rugged shoes is crucial in mountain environments. Joe Cruz found Pedal Ed’s purpose built expedition boots to be a worthy investment in the rock-strewn terrain of Kyrgyzstan…
Looking for the ultimate gift for the bikepacker in your life?! Or you are just looking to treat yo’self… Here’s the crème de la crème of 2016:
Industry Nine Torch/Backcountry 450 Wheels from the AnoLab
Industry Nine makes some of the most sought after hubs and handbuilt wheelsets in the world. And now with their interactive — and highly addictive — AnoLab, you can design your own wheels from an array of color choices. Order them directly from I9 or send the specs to your LBS.
2017 Salsa Warbird (Carbon Rival)
We had the chance to try out a pair of Warbirds on the Green Mountain Gravel Growler which included gravel, singletrack, and the burliest forgotten roads Vermont has to offer. The Warbird didn’t back down to the challenge. If you are looking to invest in a capable carbon gravel bike, here’s one for your list. Stay tuned for our full review too.
SRAM Eagle XO1 Drivetrain
If you haven’t ridden a bike with an Eagle drivetrain, you should. Not only does the group offer the perfect range for loaded bikepacking, it has a crisp and precise shifting feel. It’s also touted to have improved cog and cassette wear life, and better overall toughness. 1x has landed folks. Expect a detailed review and comparison soon.
Surly Karate Monkey 27.5+
The Karate Monkey was one of the first commercially available 29ers on the market. Now Surly’s reinvented it with 27.5+ tires in mind. It’s a fun bike built for trail riding, but with the added utility in all the right places, it makes a great choice for bikepacking as well. It won’t be shipping ’til February of 2017, but you can preorder yours today.
Jones Plus Ti
The Jones Plus is a bike like no other and will challenge your preconceived ideas of how a rigid bike should feel and ride, wherever you choose to take it. And now there’s a titanium, Boost-compatible version. Our advice? Try one if you can…