Video Guide to Preparing for the Baja Divide

While planning for the upcoming Baja Divide, Brendan Collier, creator of the Stagecoach 400, started documenting his preparations. This video series has some great tidbits, whether you’re riding the Baja Divide or planning a trip closer to home.

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Words and videos by Brendan Collier

This Baja Divide trip will be my longest, most ambitious bikepacking trip to date, I’m so excited to see it coming together. I’m producing this video series to document my prep for it and to share the lessons I’m learning along the way. I’ll keep making videos as long as I have something to share. I hope people like them, ask questions, and get excited for their own adventures. Here are the videos, latest first. Expect more in the coming weeks before the grand depart.

Volume 7: Gadgets

Discussing my home-modified maps, GPS, charging… plus music & camera.

Volume 6: Bike Setup

My Advocate Cycles Hayduke set up with a great drivetrain, carbon rims, and extra water capacity.

Volume 5: Baja Repair Kit

The boys join me in this video — right after eating candy canes & apple cider — to present my Baja gear repair kit.

For those who tune out early, here’s the complete list:
Lezyne MicroDrive HP pump, tube, Lezyne multi-tool, leatherman-type tool, 2 oz Dumond Tech lube & rag, 4-6 oz tire sealant, 6″ of Tenacious gear tape, patch kit w/extras, zip ties, tire levers, half-full tube of Shoe Goo, home made large patches, crazy glue, 2 upholstery needles, dental floss, 16 tire plugs, shifter cable, valve stem, 2 11-spd quick links, 2 M5 bolts, 2 M6 bolts, 1 chainring bolt, 4 spokes.

Volume 4: Riding in Sand

Lessons learned while riding sandy roads in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Volume 3: Bikepacking at Night

Tips for Bikepacking into the night.

Volume 2: Layering

Choosing an effective layering system.

Volume 1: Prepping for The Baja Divide

I got a wild hair today (mid ride!) to start documenting the prep.

Brendan Collier

About Brendan

Brendan Collier is the owner and founder of Hub Cyclery in the mountain utopia of Idyllwild, California. In addition, Brendan created the Stagecoach 400 bikepacking route which is raced annually every March, and toured year round. Follow Brendan on Instagram @hubcyclery.

  • Dave

    Awsome video set, helpful for us thinking about similar trips. How about a video on how you pack your bike, what goes where. Like what cage do you have on your fork that lets you use a full sized nalgene.

  • Eric Hightower

    Totally splitting hairs, but having been considering this ride for a while I figured I’d add a few thoughts to get people think about how to keep it light.

    The bike in the video is a great example and similar to what I’d like to take. However, you’d save considerable of weight replacing the Nalgene, sports bottle, and aluminum bottle with Smartwater bottles. That and there are lighter battery banks and portable speakers available from Anker. Of course there are new and lighter battery banks and portable speakers every 10 months or so.

    6.2 oz. for a 1 liter Nalgene.
    1.3 oz. for a 1 liter Smart water bottle.
    1.8 oz. for a 1.5 liter smart water bottle
    2 liter aluminum bottle has got to be at least 12 oz.
    the pop top sports bottle probably weighs 8 oz.

    In the case of the bike in the video, you could achieve the same water carry capacity by switching the 1 liter Nalgene and the 16 oz sports bottle out with 1.5 liter Smart water bottles on the forks and a 1.5 liter in place of the 64 oz. aluminum bottle.
    The weight of a water bottle is a real burden when it is revealed that a pound can be shaved for $10 at an average grocery store and some of the grams shaved on expensive bike equipment.

    There are .75 liter, 1 liter, and 1.5 liter options. All are very durable.
    The .75 liter bottles include a pop top that you could buy solely for the pop top if you really desire a pop top and wanna save some weight on the cheap.

    Additionally, the new Anker Ultra is 3 ounces and has the longest lasting battery of any portable speaker I encountered on the PCT. It’s probably the lightest/best battery/best volume range around. $20. So yeah, there is newer stuff and that’s probably the best one out there. It is either Bluetooth or cable.

    The new Anker Powercore (3rd generation) 10,000 mAh batteries can charge an iPhone 3 times and are considerably smaller than the one in the video. 8 ounces and a lot slimmer. $20.

    Cell phones are probably the best camera for fast and light. Do more with less. You’ll always know where your phone is and it’ll probably be the easiest thing to keep accessible to snap photos in a hurry.

    I’ve also been leaning on the use of Platypus bags (1 liter) instead of a large MSR Dromedary bag. Dromedary bags get criticism from thru hikers in the desert due to their susceptibility to lose all your carry capacity if one bag gets destroyed. 1 liter platypus bags weigh 1.3 oz so 10 would weigh 13 oz compared to 10 ounces for a 10 liter dromedary but again it always seemed risky to me to invest in one large bag to hold all my water. That and I feel you can pack the platypus bags in a way to distribute weight more effectively depending on your set up.

    *I had a 5 & 1/4 pound base weight for a 1,000 mile stretch of the 2,600+ miles I walked. Knowing what I know now I could have done those 1,000 miles with a 4 & 1/4 base weight and not have spent more than $20 doing it to change my set up. I walked over 1,600 miles with one Smart water bottle. Would’ve done 2,600 miles with one but I lost the first one in a creek crossing near mile 1,000.

  • One thing the stainless has in favor for it would be boiled water could be poured into it without concern. I live/work/travel in a third-world country where boiling water in people’s homes is the main way they purify water. I can easily have them fill up a metal container of some sort without concern. Also, if need be I could use it to boil a good amount of water in and then let it cool to add to a hydration pack. I’m not sure boiled water would apply to traveling in Mexico but it sure does in most parts of Asia where I live/travel/work. I was just in a small village where I could have purified the water. However, that could have been insulting to them and it was just easier to get the water they were boiling. This gave me time to sit with them and talk, eat, etc.

    The saved weight of the Smartwater bottles or platypus bags is awesome! And I have and use those systems. Sometimes, however, it’s not just about weight.

  • Looking forward to hearing how your trip went. How did those China carbon wheels hold up? I’d love to know the name of them. I live there and could easily get them for a new bike build.

  • Steve

    What tire size did you run?

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