Gear for Bikepacking the Great Divide

I have been bikepacking for four years, and in that time I have fine-tuned my gear selection. Trial and error is the best teacher. What works for me will not necessarily work for you.

I am not sponsored by any companies. So far, these companies have been great about providing warranty repairs and replacements. I only mention the brand when I am particularly impressed by a product.

I recommend buying good gear and making it last. That is what I have done. I ride all of my bikes (and gear) into the ground. If the frame is not (yet) broken, I keep riding the bike, replacing parts when they need to be replaced. The same goes for gear.

I have good reasons for selecting each of these items. Please feel free to ask me about any of my choices.

Bicycle: Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29-er (Fox Float front shock with Lizard  Skins fork boot, no rear shock), Profile Design century aero bars, Ergon grips, Maxxis Ardent tires (tubeless), Shimano clipless pedals with platform, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, 2×10 gearing and a saddle you can spend all day in

Bags: Revelate saddle, frame & handlebar packs, top tube feed bag and Revelate Mountain Feedbag, REI dry sacks, extra straps (to keep bags in place)

  • Clothes go in the saddle bag. Tent and extra food go in the handlebar pack. Water, sleeping bag and air mattress go in (or on) the hydration backpack. Everything else (the heavy stuff!) goes in the frame pack.

Backpack: Osprey Synchro hydration pack with extra bladder

Clothes: Helmet and helmet cover, cycling cap, buff, 45Nrth balaclava, bib shorts and synthetic T-Shirt, sunglasses, cycling tights, base layer, rain pants, rain jacket, waterproof socks, compression socks, thick and thin socks, long-fingered cycling gloves, winter gloves, waterproof glove liners, booties, primaloft jacket, multi-sport clipless cycling shoes, sun sleeves/arm warmers

Electronics: AA and AAA lithium-ion batteries, USB charger (battery powered), rear blinking lights, NiteRider Maco handlebar and helmet lights (battery powered), Garmin 800 touring GPS (USB powered), Garmin eTrex 30 GPS (battery powered), mini MP3 player, camera, SPOT tracker

Personal: House key, passport, driver’s license, debit card, cash, health insurance card, sunscreen, lip balm, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, Adventure Cycling maps, Aquamira water purification solution, travel soap, travel toothbrush & toothpaste, disposable razor, comb and hair bands, Sea to Summit DryLite antibacterial towel, ziplock baggies, field booklets (for journaling), a bear bell (fixed to the handlebar), knife, lighter, rope, baby wipes, a whistle

First Aid: Triple antibiotic ointment, Duoderm bandages, Eucerin and tea tree oil, bandages and bandaids, antiseptic towelettes, clothes pins, mole skin, tweezers, prescription z-pack (antibiotics), prescription allergy meds and allergy eye drops

Sleeping system: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 tent, Thermarest Fast & Light air mattress, primaloft 30 degree backpacking sleeping bag

Tools/Parts: Pump, patch kit, multi-tool (with chain breaker), quick link, tire levers, tire boot, CO2 inflator and cartridge, tube, spoke wrench, derailleur hanger, shoe cleat, duct tape, brake pads (two sets), chain lube, zip ties, cable, water nozzle, GPS mounts, Specialized crank tightening tool, wheel valve stem


Riding the Great Divide, starting Saturday

Staring Saturday, I am bicycling the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, from Silver City, New Mexico to (at least!) Whitefish, Montana. You can follow me here, at my SPOT tracker page. (I recorded this evening’s ride, just to make sure it is working. It is.)

I plan to be on the Divide 3-4 weeks (2,000+ miles!), camping, hosteling and writing as I go. I have another book in the works about riding the Great Divide. 🙂


The rig is just about ready!

I will try to post photographs, wherever there are libraries.

Happy riding,