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  • Bike packing advice needed………
  • donslow
    Full Member

    I’ve been looking to get more into bike packing/overnight/wild camping type rides and was happy to amble along finding information as and when I stumbled across it,

    All of a sudden, I’m finding myself with less than a month to get organised as I have just planned out a 2 day run around King Alfred’s Way Loop with a buddy of mine as a joint birthday, leave the wife and kids behind jaunt.

    For something like this, what would I need? I see all sorts of information on sleeping bags vs bivvy bags, canopy’s vs tents, this vs that. I cant help but feel I’m in the middle of a minefield ready to blow, Can anyone help get me pointed in the right direction with a starters guide / kit for this type of adventure

    Are there any comapnies that might sell a basic idiots bike packing kit with everything you’d need?! Looking to buy what’s needed / what would work at lowest cost for now and then look to improve/upgrade in the future when I work out what works best for me

    any help / pointers / advice massively appreciated

    Full Member

    Bear Bones is the web site you need! No, honestly…..

    Full Member

    @Stigheed thankyou for headsup, next stop…..

    Full Member

    What have you already got? Chances are some or all of it could be strapped to a bike.

    A drybag or two and some straps might well get you started.

    Full Member

    Alpkit sometimes do little bundle deals.

    If using soft bikepacking luggage, space runs out quick!

    So pick bulky items such as puffy jacket, sleeping bag and perhaps lightweight trousers carefully as they can steal all the space. I also find it helps to stuff things directly into the seat and bar bag rather than faffing around with lots of little stuff sacks.

    Full Member

    If you want to take the softer option there are companies who will transfer your luggage around the KAW from one B&B, boutique hotel, yurt, shepherd’s hut etc to the next.

    Full Member

    @martinhutch not much really, I have a frame bag (topeak midloader) a couple of small saddle bags and that’s about it, so starting from scratch really

    Bundle deals and kits are what i might be looking for so will have a look at alpkit for sure, if I could get a whole biking packing set up in a bundle that’d be the ideal solution (if only short term) for me

    that sir could also be a good shout, something to bear in mind for sure

    Full Member

    Very much depends. Bikepacking can be anything from B&B, tent, to sleeping in a bin bag somewhere. More luxury usual means more weight, its just finding a balance between weight and comfort that suits you. As above, Alpkit do bundle deals, which is probably a quick way to get some basic kit. But you just need whatever you plan on living and sleeping in and a means to carry it. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

    Free Member

    Take a backpack.
    Split the tent with your mate (one person takes poles, other takes fabric)
    Eat at the pub. Get a bit pissed.

    That’ll get you started and you can work it out from there.

    It’s just camping – don’t over analyse it.

    Full Member

    @butcher thankyou for that, ive found a couple of basic kit bundle deals on alpkit already, I have found quite quickly that it would be so easy to get carried away and buy it all!

    so far, I THINK im looking at a
    bivvy bag
    possibly shelter
    something to cook with
    spare clothing essentials (socks etc)
    and something to carry it all in

    as a start would that be about right or have I missed something?

    Full Member


    Sleeping bag.

    Free Member

    I wouldn’t buy cooking kit specifically for something like the KAW. Food options will be plentiful. Go down the stove route if you subsequently enjoy it. Butcher has it. Go when the weather’s good, postpone if it isn’t. Mat, sleeping bag, cheap bivi bag.

    Full Member

    My minimal kit list goes like this

    Hunka bivvy
    Sleeping bag
    Exped air pillow UL
    MSR pocket rocket stove and gas, lighter
    Titanium kettle and mug
    Coffee bags and sugar
    Hip flask
    Thermal top or synthetic jacket
    Liner shorts

    Granted, hip flask could be left behind but where’s the fun in that.

    Full Member

    @montgomery thankyou for the advice, I’m not buying stuff specifically for KAW as I was looking at bits already, just as it turns out, first bike packing trip has been planned a lot sooner than I initially anticipated

    thankyou for that, that is just what I was after,

    thankyou also, I/’ve just figured out that a) I didn’t REALLY know what a bivvy bag was and b) I was confusing it for / assuming I could use it as a sleeping bag so all good to know

    Free Member

    OK. There’s a fairly long thread on here about the KAW so do a search. There’s also one on bearbones.

    KAW thread –
    Our trip:

    My wife and I did it in three days’ riding at the end of May. That was: Sunday afternoon, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday morning so three bivvies. My riding time was 30hrs. My thought at the time was that was as late in the year as I’d like to do it as many of the singletrack BWs were already nearly overgrown with nettles and brambles. Also a lot of the tracks are rutted and the grass hadn’t grown to hide those ruts – someone I know did it a couple of weeks later and had a rough time.

    The KAW is 320km, i.e. 200 miles, assuming you are looking at doing the whole thing that’s 160km per day. Have you ridden anywhere near that with a loaded bike?

    If you do plan on doing the whole lot in two days, take as little as possible. As Colin notes: Mat and sleeping bag. Get a summer bag – if the nights are cool it will make you get up in the morning! Inflatable mats take up less space than CCF – Alpkit do one but look up Multimat, the same thing but half the price. If it’s going to rain then a small tarp strung between trees will keep the two of you dry. The official guide talks about wild camping spots being scarce in the eastern part but I don’t remember going much more than a kilometre between possible sites. Further west it’s even easier.

    Cooking: it’s only one night and morning. Aim for an evening meal at a pub. For the morning a meths stove (do a youtube search on how to make a soda can stove) and a metal mug will let you make a brew and water for porridge.

    Hope for dry weather for the week before – folk talk about things getting bad in the wet and we had really hot weather but there were still some big puddles on the Ridgeway.

    Tarp – Alpkit do the Rig3.5, DD hammocks do lightweight tarps as well.
    Mat – as above, Alpkit or Multimat
    Stove – make your own.
    Mug – Alpkit titanium mug – the 400ml is fine but the 650 fits a beer can stove better.
    Spare clothing – just something to put on at night when you stop, I take a merino baselayer that’s only used to sleep in – I know it’s going to be dry. Obviously you’ll have waterproofs in case it rains.

    Free Member

    Tents are so small/light now that I’d give real thought to one over a bivi bag.

    I’d try to avoid a backpack if at all possible.

    You probably want to consider lights and how you might mount them with bags. Even if you’re not intending to ride when it’s dark, you don’t want to be caught out.

    Free Member

    Don’t overthink it. As long as you have a sleeping mat and some sort of bag Worst comes to the worst you will be able to find some shelter and curl up for a few hours then pedal on when light to find somewhere to eat.

    Free Member

    If you’re looking for basic kit to get you started have a look at planet x have a seat pack, stem bags and bar bag. they’ll easily last your trip and more, cheaper then alpkit.

    Full Member

    There are multiple options, are you riding out so you can camp?
    Camping out but using a bike to get there?
    I use a frame bag, drybag attached to the bars, alpkit koala seat pack (ie: quite big) and a couple of stem cells.
    But, I’m a fat knacker, and I can’t sleep on the ground, I would just lie awake all nihht and be crippled in the morning.
    I get round this by using a hammock.
    I’ve tried most kinds of stove, gas is the best overall, lightish, reliable.
    My setup, although not light, has very little effect on handling when riding.
    Every single thing you take will add weight, so be ruthless.
    Take a hip flask, it’ll make it easier to get to sleep 😂😂😂

    Full Member

    @TheBrick really like that idea actually, could be something in that

    cycling and camping halfway around a planned loop, I like a hammock but then I don’t mind sleeping on the ground, I do have old meths stoves from my old scouting days but I think your right, gas would definitely be the way to go

    thanks for all the pointers so far, since asking I’ve think I’ve gone from packing the whole house to just packing something to sleep in, something to warm food on and some dry/warm clothes, when I REALLY think about it, what more do you need? there’s something very appealing about that kind of simplicity (thanks again @TheBrick)

    Full Member

    I had a tinker with the pop can alcohol stoves, however I settled on one sold by barebones. The stove, heatshield, striker and some tea and coffee sachets all fit in the mug, with the stove in my midge headnet to stop it rattling.

    I don’t ever try to cook, I just heat water for tea/soup/porridge/pasta pots etc, head to a pub for dinner and cafe for brekkie 🙂

    Full Member

    As someone who went on their first bikepacking trips this year I’d recommend a tarp, mat sleeping bag combo. I also bought a tent this year but loved the tarp that much I’ve not used it. Pitched between two trees is my preferred method so far. I bought the Rig 7 from Alpkit. Dried food from Tiso means you only have to boil water.

    Full Member

    If you’re aiming to do it in 2 days, adjust your start point and aim to overnight at QECP, there are a couple of shelters there suitable for bivvying in – I’ve slept there before, so you just need a sleeping bag and mat.

    Full Member

    You really don’t need much kit but having good quality kit that works well for you is incredibly satisfying and generally lasts ages (so is the feeling of being pretty much self sufficient). So buying good quality kit is important but you won’t know what kit you favour until trying it.

    Maybe borrow some bags and sleep kit from someone to try it out first? You might hate bike packing 😂

    Full Member

    I did KAW at start of August. Did it over 4 days 3 nights wild camping. Could have done it in 3 days with an earlier start on first day as we finished by lunch time of the last day. Doing it in two days would be bloody tough imo.

    I used planet X podsacs bags which I’ve had a while and for my one or two trips a year are a good option. Used the outer only of my tent, mat and sleeping bag. We took a light weight meths stove to make drinks and ate in pubs and chippies etc mostly. If you are a pair you can share a lot of kit.

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