Ultralight Bikepacking Kit for Armenia + Six New Favorites

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We just completed the forthcoming Armenian leg of the Caucasus Crossing, aka the Trans-Armenia. Here’s Logan’s full backpackless kit he brought along—capable of carrying five days’ worth of food and a full frame camera kit. Plus, six new favorite pieces of gear that he may never go bikepacking without again…

Year over year, trip after trip, I strive to hone my kit and make it smaller, lighter, and more efficient. After all, there’s nothing better than riding a mountain bike that feels the way a mountain bike should—nimble, playful, and fun. On our recent excursion through Armenia, boasting almost 70,000 feet of climbing in less than 400 miles, weight and efficiency were paramount, to say the least. Not to mention, Armenia is chock full of steep and rugged terrain. Daily hike-a-bikes give way to rutted and chunky descents.

Being my first major trip back on the bike following surgery and ten months of therapy and recovery, it probably wasn’t the wisest decision to tackle this place. Another reason for a smart and ultralight kit. To this end, I believe I had the most dialed bikepacking setup I’ve used to date. Here is the full packlist plus how it was organized by location on the bike, followed by six new pieces of gear that I very well may never leave home without.

Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List

  • v
  • Bikepacking Armenia

Core Packlist

  • Riding shorts – Kitsbow Haskell
  • Riding underwear – Patagonia padded underwear/bibs
  • Riding shirt – Specialized wool t-shirt
  • Riding socks – deFeet wool
  • Helmet – Smith Venture MIPS
  • ShoesFive Ten Guide Tennies
  • Off-bike pants – 1 pair Patagonia Quandary pants
  • Off-bike shirt – Old polyester western button-down
  • Off-bike underwear – Exofficio boxers
  • Off-bike T-shirt – wool t-shirt
  • Baselayer – Patagonia Merino Air long underwear
  • Insulating Jacket – Montbell Down Anorak
  • Spare socks – Ursa Minor
  • Toiletries
  • Ball cap
  • Anker Powercore 20100 – battery pack
  • Rain pants – Gore Bike Wear Power Trail Pants
  • Rain jacket/shell – Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shell jacket
  • Mitts – Outdoor Research Revel Shell Mitts
  • Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 tent
  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation 30° Quilt
  • Big Agnes AXL Air sleeping pad
  • Big Agnes inflatable pillow
  • Shockproof Camera insert
  • Sony A7III Camera + two lenses
  • Spurcycle Multi Pouch – Passport and documents
  • Egress shoulder strap
  • Oakley Frogskins Sunglasses
  • Charging cords and spare batteries – in stuff sack
  • DIY tool roll – derailleur hanger, bolts, tire repair, zip ties, super glue, etc.
  • Fozzils bowl
  • Snowpeak titanium mug
  • Nylon sack with Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp, Vargo titanium spork, 15’ cordage, 2 Sea to Summit Ultrasil dry bags, spare Voile strap, knife, spork, Leathermen
  • Sawyer Water filter and two bags
  • Silca T-Ratchet multitool
  • Spare 3mm L-hex – for adjusting brakes
  • 1 spare tube – mounted to B-Rad on downtube
  • 2nd spare tube, tire lever, chain lube, 4oz Orange Seal
  • 2 Zefal 1 Liter bottles
  • 1 Klean Kanteen bottle
  • KTV Drive Pro rear light
  • Bikepacking Armenia
  • Bikepacking Armenia
  • Bikepacking Armenia
  • Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List
  • Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List

Where Does It All Go?

Revelate Sweet Roll

On this trip I ran a size medium Revelate Sweet Roll as my main handlebar bag. Aside from being waterproof—and generally bomber—the most appealing benefit to the Sweet Roll is that it can be packed long and narrow when it’s mounted on flat handlebars. This format is perfect for containing the majority of my sleep system and foul weather gear, and it’s expandable. Note what all it held below.

Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List

  • Rain pants – Gore Bike Wear Power Trail Pants
  • Rain jacket/shell – Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shell jacket
  • Mitts – Outdoor Research Revel Shell Mitts
  • Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 tent
  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation 30° Quilt

Camera Carrying Egress

In an effort to curb my DSLR addiction and eliminate the need for a backpack, I traded in the chunky Canon for a mirrorless camera on this trip. For camera carrying duties, I turned to the waterproof Revelate Egress accessory pocket. To bolster protection, I added a small insert I picked up on Amazon. This system worked remarkably well and offered quick access to the camera with all the necessary padding and weather protection to keep the camera safe. In addition, using the included strap, it was easy to convert to the perfect walking around shoulder bag.

  • Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List
  • Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List
  • Revelate Egress Camera Insert
  • Revelate Egress Camera Insert
  • Revelate Egress Camera Insert

Cockpit bags

Other handlebar accessories included just two bags, the Oveja Negra Snack Pack XL top tube bag, and the Revelate Designs Mountain Feed Bag. The Snack Pack carried my multitool, the Silca T-Ratchet, spare 3mm L-hex (for adjusting brakes), as well as snacks. The Mountain Feedbag held a microfiber cloth, a second camera lens, and snacks.

  • Oveja Negra Snack Pack XL
  • Revelate Mountain Feedbag Review

Porcelain Rocket 52hz Frame Pack

The roll-top waterproof Porcelain Rocket 52hz was tasked with the heavier duties. When not carrying a full five days’ worth of food, I moved items from the seat pack and handlebar roll to balance the weight. The beauty of Porcelain Rocket’s roll-top design is that it can expand, contract, and isn’t limited by a zipper. And, come to think of it, considering I was carrying food for two (Gin carried some too, but I carried the bulk of it), it was probably the equivalent of seven days worth of food for one person. As for the bag, you can read my full review here, and see what all it fit below.

Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List

  • Bikepacking Food
  • DIY Bike Tool Roll
  • Five days worth of food
  • Charging cords and spare batteries – in stuff sack
  • DIY tool roll – derailleur hanger, bolts, tire repair, zip ties, super glue, etc.
  • Fozzils bowl
  • Snowpeak titanium mug
  • Nylon sack with Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp, Vargo titanium spork, 15’ cordage, 2 Sea to Summit Ultrasil dry bags, spare Voile strap, knife, spork, Leathermen
  • Sawyer Water filter and two bags

Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion XL Seat Pack

While it seems that many multi-country bikepackers are turning to saddlebags for their rear carrying duties these days, they certainly aren’t for everyone. I pedaled well over 10,000 kilometers with a big waxed canvas saddlebag, but now prefer a bikepacking-style seat pack for stability and balance. I find that large saddlebags can feel shifty and a little imbalanced, especially when riding technical terrain. Granted, they are easy to use, but I find a seat pack with a removable dry bag just as, if not more, user-friendly.

Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion XL

As you may know from my ultra-long-term review of the second generation Mr. Fusion, it is one of my favorite seat packs. Not only is the Mr. Fusion waterproof and very easy to use, its integrated rack makes it very stable. Since that particular iteration of Mr. F, Calgary-based Porcelain Rocket snuck in a few upgrades to the system and released XL and Mini versions. With plenty of space between my rear tire and saddle—owed to my stork-like 34” inseam—the XL seemed like the perfect upgrade. Ultimately, having the additional girth and room was great. I never came close to filling up its voluminous 17-liter removable dry bag, but that extra space came in handy when we had to carry multiple days’ worth of food through the Geghama and Vardenis mountain ranges.

  • Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion XL
  • Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion XL
  • Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion XL

The recent changes to Mr. Fusion include new trucker hitch side compression straps and a revamped seatpost strap. Both of these result in an even more solid harness system. Even with the added space and weight of the XL, I swear I still couldn’t feel the bag on the bike. It’s as solid as they come. Here’s what it contained most of the time:

  • Big Agnes AXL Air sleeping pad
  • Big Agnes inflatable pillow
  • Off-bike pants – 1 pair Patagonia Quandary pants
  • Off-bike shirt – Old polyester western button-down
  • Off-bike underwear – Exofficio boxers
  • Off-bike T-shirt – wool t-shirt
  • Baselayer – Patagonia Merino Air long underwear
  • Insulating Jacket – Montbell Down Anorak
  • Spare socks – Ursa Minor
  • Toiletries
  • Ball cap
  • Anker Powercore 20100 – battery pack

Notes

There are a few things to note about this kit. When considering this as a complete bikepacking gear list, there are a couple integral items that Gin carried on her bike, namely the cook kit and the tent poles. If I were to pack these items, it still wouldn’t impede the food-carrying capacity. For example, the cook kit, housed in a Vargo 1.2L titanium pot, could go to one side of the Sweet Roll, and the poles could be strapped to the bike frame.

For water, I used a Wolf Tooth B-Rad 3 on the down tube to carry a small Klean Kanteen along with a spare innertube. In addition, I carried two one-liter bottles on the fork. When we went through an arid region in the south of Armenia, I also filled one of the Sawyer bags and stored it in the frame pack.

On me, a pair of Kitsbow Haskell shorts, which I love, a wool t-shirt, wool socks, Patagonia padded underwear/bibs, FiveTen Guide Tennies, and a Smith helmet. Additional bags I’ve yet to list included the Bedrock Sinbad mounted to the downtube, which we’ll cover next…

Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List

  • Bikepacking Armenia
  • Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List

Six Small Favorites

It’s always the little things that I get attached to. Here are several small pieces of gear that particularly impressed on this trip. I’ll probably bring each of these along on many trips to come…

Bedrock Sinbad Review, Roll-top accessory bag
Bedrock Sinbad Review, Roll-top accessory bag
Bedrock Sinbad Review, Roll-top accessory bag
Bedrock Sinbad Review, Roll-top accessory bag
Bedrock Sinbad Review, Roll-top accessory bag
Bedrock Sinbad Review, Roll-top accessory bag
Bedrock Sinbad Review, Roll-top accessory bag

Bedrock Sinbad

It seems that Durango-based Bedrock Bags has perfected the downtube accessory bag. First, they introduced the Honaker, a great little accessory for holding a water bottle without cage mounts. Now they’ve created the Sinbad Stash Sack, a sweet little roll-top accessory bag that can store tools, spares, fluids, or other miscellaneous items while out mountain biking or bikepacking. As shown below, the Sinbad carried our second spare innertube, a tire lever, a 4oz container of Orange Seal tire sealant, and a large bottle of chain lube. Most of these items were never used, save the chain lube.

Functionally, the bag works perfectly. With grippy, rubberized fabric on the back of the bag, it stays in place, and the roll-top design makes it possible to tightly cinch around whatever’s in it. Also, as shown, you can swivel Sinbad to easily access the roll-top and contents. Like other Bedrock Bags, Sinbad is very well made with the utmost attention to detail and burly reinforcements where it counts. Back at home, it will come in extra handy to move from bike to bike. Learn more about Sinbad over at BedrockBags.com.



Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List

Rockgeist Animalist

The Rockgeist Animalist is probably the simplest and most unassuming piece of bikepacking-specific gear currently on the market, yet it’s one of my new favorites. Mind you, I didn’t use it as it’s intended—as a standalone, ultralight sleeping pad. I used it for a lot of other things: 1. As a nice sitting pad while making coffee on the damp ground; 2. As a secondary sleeping pad to protect my inflatable pad from thorns and other pokey things that can be found throughout Armenia; 3. As a yoga mat. Since my back injury and surgery, daily stretching is essential.

All in all, this 3.25 x 18” (8.5 x 46cm), 86g roll is incredibly handy piece that easily straps to my Revelate Sweetroll via two 25” Voile Straps. It weighs virtually nothing and serves many purposes.

otto bikepacking lock
Ottolock
Ottolock
otto bikepacking lock

Ottolock

Cass had nothing but good things to say about the Ottolock, so I thought I’d give it a try. In the past, we’ve carried a single padlock and locked our pedals together to prevent an unlikely, opportune bike theft. It was always a pain and the bikes had to be positioned just so. The Ottolock changes the game. And it can easily be stored by wrapping around the seat pack. As Cass stated in our Bikepacking Gear That Lasts post, “Although I’d never recommend relying on a lightweight lock for bike security in a major city – even for the shortest of time – the 120g Otto Lock is perfect for quick resupplies in provincial towns, cafe stops, or securing bikes together at a campsite. Despite its compact pack size (46-152cm), it cinches tightly around awkward street furniture.”

Fozzils
Fozzils
Fozzils
Fozzils

Fozzils!

A funny story about Fozzils Way back in 2012, Gin brought a pair home from REI one day. I said something to the effect of, “What?! I’m not bringing foldable plastic bowls on a bike trip. They’ll surely break within a week.” Fast forward six years, and after consistently hearing good things about them and giving them a try myself, I’m sold. Not only are they useful to eat in/on, and easy to clean, they are great as a cutting board and for food prep. And, lo and behold, they don’t seem to break, either. The one shown below is holding the makings of smoked cheese and garbanzo stew, an Armenian delicacy (that we made up).

Voilé Straps
Voilé Straps
Armenia Bikepacking Kit, Gear List
Ottolock

25” Voile Straps

I’ve carried Voilé straps on every trip since I discovered them. They are a crucial piece of gear. However, this is the first time I’ve carried 25” version. The 25” straps are the longest you can get that are still in the ¾” width, so unlike the XL Voilés, they’re still lightweight. They are just big enough to strap something onto a medium sized handlebar roll, and if you need a smaller version, you could always tuck the ends. In addition, four of them make the perfect carry-on luggage—a Mr. Fusion dry bag and Sweet Roll bound together (see a photo in the slideshow).

Also, a shameless plug, make sure to check out our new PEDAL FURTHER 25″ Voilé Straps… the size was decided on while I was in Armenia!

Spurcycle Pouch
Spurcycle Pouch

Spurcycle Multi Pouch

Kind of a silly little piece of gear to be in the favorites list, but I really appreciate its simplicity and usefulness. I also like to have things organized and well protected. The Spurcycle Multi Pounch is constructed with Dyneema Composite Fabric and is approximately 11.5 x 19cm (4.5 x 9.5”), just the right size for a passport, cards, plane tickets, and other important documents. It’s made in the USA and weighs just 24g, but the beauty of it is that it can be tossed in the handlebar bag and all those important things gets protected from moisture and abrasion. Learn more over at Spurcycle.com.

The Bike

And last but not least, all of this was carried on my trusty Salsa Timberjack Ti. This bike was covered in detail in this post, but here’s a brief rundown. It is set up with 29 x 2.6″ tires, an XT/Wolftooth wide-range 1×11 drivetrain, and a Niner carbon fork. In addition, I brought along a new Selle Anatomica saddle, which I’ll review independently.

  • Salsa Timberjack Ti Review
  • Salsa Timberjack Ti bikepacking rig
  • Salsa Timberjack Ti Review

If you have any questions about specifics or feedback on any particular item, leave it in the comments and I’ll try to reply in a timely manner…

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