Bikepacking Gear: 9 New Toys for The Thick of Pisgah

A preview of a few new items I’ve assembled for an upcoming bikepacking trip through the Appalachians…

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Things wear out, break, become irrelevant, or just won’t work for an intended purpose. My clipless shoes are shot; my helmet is falling apart; my pack won’t fit my camera. It was time to upgrade a few core elements of my bikepacking kit for a 6 day western North Carolina Pisgah adventure. This one will be sans my better half, so I am lightening the load with a one-man tent, and a smaller 1L pot. I procured (and made) a few other things to help me lug a DSLR through the woods. Also, the Krampus will be set up with a rackless/cageless system for this enduro bikepacking romp-about. Here are some initial impressions/thoughts. More to come once I put this stuff through the wringer.

FiveTen Maltese Falcon Clipless Shoes

Bikepacking Shoes - Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT Race - Clipless

My Lake clipless shoes have seen many years of mountain biking abuse including three PMBARs. They are coming apart at the seams, so I had to find another pair of lightish shoes that would be burly enough for a long haul, but comfortable enough climbing and walking to manage a few Pisgah hike-a-bikes. I was so impressed with my Five Ten AEscents after a 7,500 KM beating, I decided to replace my Lakes with the new Five Ten Maltese Falcon LT. More to come on these…

Osprey Manta 28 – A Bikepackers Backpack

Backpack for Bikepacking - Osprey Manta 28

My old hydration bag is also an Osprey. Same color even. I’ve had it for at least 5 years and it’s definitely taken a beating. But I needed something slightly bigger, big enough to fit my DSLR (which is kind of ridiculous, but I have a hard time going without it). At first glance the Manta 28 seems extremely well built and has a few new tricks that my older Raptor is lacking: an integrated rain fly; waist belt zipper pockets; and, the Airspeed suspension system with a mesh back panel to keep air between you and the bag.

Crumpler Haven (M)

Carry DSLR Bikepacking - Crumpler Haven

The Crumpler Haven is a simple no-nonsense camera bag liner. Basically the idea behind it is to allow any bag to become a camera bag. The medium fits my 6D with a lens and slides into the main pocket of the Manta 28.

The Bell Super

Bikepacking Helmet - Bell Super

My old Giro Xen was just flat worn out. I always loved the Xen, but helmet tech seems to have come a long way since the Xen was the fancy kid on the block. The Super is an attractive helmet that seems well built with a couple nice bells and whistles. I am normally not a graphics kind of a person, but I am kind of digging the Día de los Muertos graffiti style art.

A Simple DIY Framebag for the Krampus

DIY Framebag for Surly Krampus Bikepacking

I made this over the last couple of days with some leftovers from my ECR bag. I have had some people write and ask, and I took some photos of the process, so time permitting, I’ll soon post a little how-to. Or at least materials and links to better how-tos from which I learned.

Vargo Bot

Titanium Pot - Bikepacking - Vargo Bot

I had heard about the Bot when I was in Africa; someone pinged me on Facebook and mentioned using it strapped to an Anything cage. At 133 grams with a lid, this genius little titanium pot is also a bottle. The Bot 4” in diameter, and once I saw that spec, the first thing that came to mind was using it as a kitchen container that would slide in the frame bag. I will let you know in a further review.

Ultrapod II

Tripod for Bike Touring and Bikepacking - Ultrapod II

I’ve always wanted to carry a tripod, but it’s kind of ridiculous luxury. I’ve read that the Ultrapod II can support a DSLR and lens with ease. It is tiny and weighs only 119 grams. We’ll see…

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1

Another Big Agnes to try on the trail. I know you you can get tarp setups now that are ridiculously light, and I have friends who use ultralight hammocks, but I like a good ole tent. Lugging a 3 person tent up the steeps of Pisgah didn’t sound like too much fun, so I decided to pick up the little brother of the tent that treated us well in Africa. Overall I don’t have any complaints about the FlyCreek design, so expect the same from this minified version. In a small 4×18” package, it weighs less than 2 pounds.

DIY Handlebar Lens bag

I threw this ugly little prototype together with scraps the other night. Basically I wanted to carry a spare lens on the bar opposite my Randi-Jo Bartender Bag. This should do the trick, but I have a few ideas on how to make it better… once I build 2.0, I’ll post more.

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