The vibe was high when we welcomed over seventy novice and experienced bikepackers to the huts on Wednesday, January 18 for “Bikepacking, Unpacked”. Bikepacking, in many ways, has been a dirty (literally) secret at SG. Our alumni tackle the Tour Divide. Our employees escape on local weekend routes. We Insta-stalk gear manufacturers and plan more trips than we’ll ever have time to take. And this week, we invited the community to gear up with us for 2017 adventures.
If you’ve ever visited SG, you know that our shop is, um, intimate. Standing room only spilled over into our loft and guests snuggled behind the service counter. Ample beer from shop favorite and Thirsty Thursday partner Upslope Brewing kept everyone happy and calm. In a 90 minute presentation Sam Johnson from Shimano America, David Stokes (representing Sports Garage), and Nick Legan from Adventure Cycling unpacked their trail tested set-ups. Each of these guys has 100’s of fully loaded miles in the saddle, and covered topics ranging from sleep systems to personal hygiene to backcountry repairs. Needless to say, notes were being taken.
Memorable highlights of each experts’ presentation:
- Sam offered advice on how not to find yourself being drug through the Montana wilderness in your bivvy by a grizzly bear….naked. Or how not to get chased through the Montana wilderness by a moose. He also gave practical ideas about emergency preparedness and efficient packing.
- David Stokes reviewed a day-by-day guide for bikepacking from Nederland to Crested Butte, including Pearl Pass. He also shared how he packs differently for hard tail vs. full suspension rigs, all the while sticking to his philosophy that “backpacks are for hikers”.
- Nick blew our minds with an innovative Stages-powered-USB-charger-battery-pack solution for maintaining high tech connectivity on the trail and NASA worthy lightweight shorts for wearing in camp and/or the en route laundromat.
When asked what two items each person used to carry, but ultimately removed from their gear list, the guys had the following answers:
Sam said clothes. Nick said clothes. David said clothes.
Late last year when we launched our new website, we compiled a downloadable bikepacking essentials list, which you can find here. After sharing ideas with all of our presenters, we will likely add to this list:
- Gold Bond Medicated Powder
- Fiber pills
- Emergency water purifying tablets
- Bear spray
- Goal Zero solar panel
Other highlights from the evening:
“Get a sewing machine. When I sewed my own frame bag, it really turned my wife on.” – Nick
“I don’t bring a camera. I mean, bring one if you really need to prove to other people that you were there. I know I was there.” – David
“When I thought the bear was gone, I packed up and rode straight through the night.” – Sam
If you were not able to attend our first bikepacking Q&A panel, stay tuned to our media channels for information a follow-up seminar in late spring, as well as guided one and two night trips this summer.