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Bikepacking Essentials With Sean Conway | What To Take Bikepacking

Bikepacking Essentials With Sean Conway | What To Take Bikepacking


– We’ve had a number of questions recently about what you need to take with you if you’re going bikepacking. Now unfortunately, I don’t know. But, with me is a man who
is more than qualified to answer that question. This is Sean Conway, a man who
has ridden around the world among many other adventures. And Sean, you have kindly brought your current bikepacking bike with you. Can you talk us through it, and what do you need to take with you if you’re going bikepacking? – Hey Si, thanks for having me. This is my current
bikepacking adventure bike. I would potentially consider taking this to Australia, to be honest,
– Wow! and around the world. I might change the wheels, but certainly that frame, I love it, I’ve done many many miles on it. – There doesn’t look
like there’s much here, and bear in mind I’m quite soft, I’m not entirely sure I’m
gonna be comfortable with this. So, what is in this setup? – Well the first thing you
should know about bikepacking is now, with current
sort of pannier setups, you really don’t need to go off and buy a specific touring bike. You can kind of use your road bike, which is exactly what I’ve got here. I’ve got my old Trek Madone, and I just strap panniers to it and I’m off, I’m ready to go. It really is that simple, you don’t need all this fancy sort of touring kit anymore like you did in the past. – [Simon] Okay, cool. Well that’s a bonus, then. So no new bike, for a start. Just, go and buy some bags. – Yeah, go buy some bags. Then, it depends kind of how long you’re gonna go bikepacking for. If you’re just going
bikepacking for a weekend, you really don’t need
as much as you think. – Yeah.
– The basics are, firstly, you probably need
something to sleep in, obviously you want to go camping, that’s the whole point of bikepacking is to go and sleep under
the stars, I think. So you can always take a
super lightweight tent, this is actually the
world’s lightest tent. Bit of a gramme nerd, there we go. – That is really quite
light, actually, isn’t it. – That is actually as light as a pint. – Oh wow! So Lloydie would
be at home with this. Room for two? – Eh, yeah it depends. Small person, maybe not two of you, but… [Sean Laughing] – Right, fair enough! A bit of spooning, you’d be fine. – Exactly! So, you’ve got the tent, you can also go for a
bivvy bag if you prefer. Then, obviously, you’ve got some other things in here. What do we have here? We have a charging, something
to charge your phone. You’re gonna be out for a couple of days, you might not have access to charging or your kit, so a bit of a battery pack. That’ll help. In the evenings, head torch. Very important for head torch,
– Yeah! ’cause you often, you want to end your ride on the day probably in a pub, and then you wait til it’s dark, and then you go and find a place to camp. You always need a head torch so you don’t sleep on top of a sheep. – Bikepacking’s sounding
good actually now, we’re talking about pubs and pints. Maybe I could do this. – That’s the whole point, you want to enjoy it. It’s not about the racing, you want to have fun. And, hopefully, trying to get as little, as minimal as a kit as possible. – Yeah. – Some people take the whole kitchen sink and have five panniers, you really don’t. When I cycled around the world, I had a similar setup to this.
– Wow. – [Sean] My whole bike, and that was a steel frame bike, with a hub gear, was 16 kgs, so you really don’t need much. This is down to about 12 or 13 kgs. So you really don’t need as much. Saying that, a couple of
things that are important is a deodorant. – Yeah, always important. – You want to make friends in the pub, and when you’re sitting in the cafe, you’ve got to have cafe stops, a bit of deodorant… Obviously, you’ve got
to have the small can. – Yeah. (Deodorant can sputters) – Ooh! That’s actually finished. (Both Laugh) I’m gonna make no friends. Anyway, throw that away. – Well, for a man of my reputation this is a definite.
(Sean laughs) Right, okay, so deodorant. – And because we’re on
the gramme nerd stuff, a half toothbrush. – [Simon] Half a toothbrush! – [Sean] I’ve saved at
least 50 grammes there, didn’t I? And, a mini toothpaste. (both laugh) That’s the hygiene bit. – Yeah, cool – In the evenings, it may
get a little bit colder obviously, so you want
just a lightweight gilet. And I’ve got a waterproof, of course, if it starts to rain. – So this is our only, kind of casual kit. – [Sean] This is the
only casual kit I take, definitely. Some people take a spare set of tights, spare socks, I do have a
spare set of socks here. – Yeah – For the second day, you
can dry out the others, but actually, two sets of tights… I always say your tights
reach salt saturation in about three hours. After there they kind
of stay the same, right? – [Simon] Right!
– [Sean] So your second pair is just going to dirty your bag. – [Simon] So one pair of shorts to potentially ride to Australia with? – [Sean] I did it, I didn’t make many friends, but you know, a couple of
deodorant cans. (laughs) – [Simon] How does that even work? – [Sean] Well each night, what I do is a couple hours before
bed I’d find a river, or something just to
wash all the salt off. A little bit difficult in Australia, because of crocodiles. (Simon laughs) But you make a plan,
(claps hands) clap loudly, they go away. And wash all the salt off, that’s your main enemy really, is just getting the salt off your body. And then you dry out
in the next few hours. – [Simon] You dry them on the bike? – [Sean] You just dry them on the bike. Your socks, I again would wash them, and if they weren’t dry by the time I’ve gotten to my tent, I would actually take them off and put them under my shorts, wrap them around my thigh, and my body heat would actually dry them by the morning. – Wow! Cool! – Then again, I was racing, I didn’t make many friends, you don’t have to go to
those sort of extremes. So, you’ve got your casual clothing, if it gets cold. The other benefit with this, I also take is a spare stuff sack. In here you can put food, any of your extras. This also acts as a handy pillow for your kit. You put all your kit in there, – [Simon] Oh, nice! – [Sean] And now, it spins up. – One pair of shorts, but you’ve got a pillow.
– One pair of shorts, but you’ve got a pillow. Priorities, mate, priorities.
– So right, yeah! – Well if you’ve had a couple of pints, you’ll sleep anywhere. (Simon laughs) I always take a little face towel, and a really useful little tip is, in the morning, often on the inside of your bivy bag it’s a bit wet, or on the inside of your tent it’s a bit wet, you can use this to dry it out. It saves a bit of weight,
– Yeah! – when you’re cycling. Also, you can use it to wipe
your face in the morning. – Cool! More luxury, okay. – More luxury. You want to have fun, you don’t want to hate it. A couple of spare inner tubes, there’s nothing worse than pushing. Sleeping bag, I’m fortunate enough, being a gramme nerd, to have one of the world’s
lightest sleeping bags. That’s about 300 grammes,
– Whoa! – [Sean] that one there. So with the tent, and actually I have, actually I brought my heavy
camping mat this time. (Simon laughs) I have one that’s half that weight, and I can get my entire camping setup to 900 grammes. – Whoa! – But, that saying, you don’t need all the fancy kits. All you need is a camping mat, you can use bubble wrap. People have used bubble wrap before. Or, you get one of the roll mats, you cut it down to your body size. You just want to keep
your core kind of warm. – Yeah. – That’s about it, you really don’t need all the fancy stuff, as lightweight a sleeping bag. If you’ve got your gilet, actually you can get a
really light sleeping bag and wear the gilet in your tent. You are sacrificing pillow space, but, – Yeah.
priorities. (laughs) – Right, yeah. So we’ve got sleeping sorted, what about food? That’s a big deal for me. – Food’s an interesting one, because if you’re only going for a weekend I think there’s no point in
taking cooking equipment. Cooking equipment’s
heavy, it’s cumbersome, and actually then you feel quite isolated. If just there’s two of you, and you’re in a field
boiling up some pasta, yeah that’s great sometimes. But, I want to go
bikepacking to meet people, and I want to spend
those few hours in a pub. Or, you can quite easily survive on cold supermarket food as well. I wouldn’t suggest
taking cooking equipment if you’re just going for a long weekend. – Right. – It’s quite nice to have a
brew in the morning, though. – Yeah, there is that! – Maybe a little stove for your brew. – Okay, and that’ll fit, presumably in this kit. – And that will fit in this setup. – Right. – I’d probably have to put my tent in the front bar bag. A few other things I haven’t put here, lights, it’s very
important to have lights. Often in bikepacking you’ll be
going well into the evening, really important to
have good strong lights. Lastly, a little break for tipple – Ah, more luxury!
at the end. More luxuries! Drink responsibly, kids, only after you’ve been cycling. And lastly, you’ve got to have a mascot. A little flying cow! Shameless plug, he’s on Instagram. (both laugh) @adventuremascot Because you’ve got to talk to someone, especially if you’re
going packing on your own. We’ve solved many many
world problems together. – Have you, really? – We’ve forgotten them straight away when we hit the next hill. – So if there is no pub, you have a hip flask and a cow – And a cow to talk to!
to talk to. And that’s it? – [Sean] That is pretty much it. There’s stuff you can get rid of here, you don’t need the towel, you don’t really need the pillow. You don’t really, no you definitely need that.
– You need that, yeah! (Sean laughs) But you don’t need a fancy camping mat, you can get away, as I say, bubble wrap even does the job. – That has blown my mind, Sean. I’m not gonna lie. The idea of… Getting up tomorrow morning, putting this on my bike, any old bike and potentially riding to Australia, is unbelievable! – It really fuels my imagination. I have this in my shed, ready to go. Someone can phone me and say “Where do you want to go tomorrow?” And I can pick anywhere on the map and pretty much just
get on my bike and go. Might have to sort out
a few visas and things, small problems, but it’s just a nice way to travel, I think,
– Yeah! rather than any other way. – Plus you just need a credit card, tucked in there. And boom!
(Sean laughs) – Well that is the other option, get rid of all this! (both laugh) – Thanks for having me, Si, – It’s a pleasure.
– I really hope this sheds some light on how easy bikepacking actually is. I’m a big fan of GCN, I’ve subscribed. If you want to subscribe to the channel, click on my beard somewhere around here. – Nice! There you go! If you want to go riding around the world, you’re gonna need to be well up on your roadside maintenance. Budgets are a thought, I bet you’ve got a fair
few up your sleeve, but if you want to see a video on that click just down there. And then to contrast with what you need for bikepacking to go around the world, what about what you need to go racing around Spain? Ian Boswell from Team Sky took us through what’s in his suitcase.

100 comments on “Bikepacking Essentials With Sean Conway | What To Take Bikepacking

  1. Take water purification equipment (tablets or filter). If you are cycling between towns and want to refill on water from a stream, last thing you want is to get sick from it.

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Good luck getting spares for that in country Australia…

    That frame is going to love our corrugations.

    Rim brakes on dirt roads, just how many rims does he go through?

    Crocodiles! There IS no water most of the time, and when there is, are you going to drink that stuff? Duuur? Everpure water purifier anyone?

    This guy will die if he's more than a day from a pub, which is perhaps 98% of Australia.

    He's talking about sleeping bags still, they weigh twice as much as quilts.

    Stoves, how much does a Kat Stove weigh? 20grams?

    This video is very irresponsible for people considering remote area travel.

    Recommend you subscribe to backpackinglight.com for sensible and cutting edge advice on remote travel using an ultralight set up.

    You need to be self sufficient, credit cards don't treat dysentry.

  3. I would rather deal with more weight, and have a sleeping pad,jet stove, and some good food,warm clothes, goal zero solar charger,hell I might add a few pounds to my trip going to the Pub.

  4. I carry cooking gear and food…just not enough for people who don't and want to "meet people" at mealtime. Parasite.

  5. Hello Deans trips are something 🙂 … You can Bikepacking so many ways – this is how I do it 🙂 https://youtu.be/hAf0_mjZ0TM

  6. Don't think that is the worlds lightest tent anymore…Zpacks Duplex… Roomy two person… 1lb 14oz… tent/poles/stakes and bag…

  7. fancy feast can camp stove. light AF. Just take a small bottle of 91%rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol and a tin cup and you're set. Hardly any weight, and you can have your hot coffee. 🙂

  8. Here`s my two cents.
    Toilet paper, you need toilet paper! if you ride on an unclean rear end you are gonna get an extremely painful rash.
    Take two shorts, my only pair of shorts ripped right along the crotch and that was a major problem…
    Women will need to wear long trousers in muslim countries and preferably have a male hair style or risk getting stoned (in the religious sense of the word) as you ride through villages.

    A large needle and some good strong thread (repairs tents, bags, shoes, crotchless shorts, etc.).
    First aid kit
    Charger for mobile and battery pack
    Clean shirt in a plastic bag for an instant clean look, for restaurants etc.
    I don`t need a mascot as I enjoy talking to myself.
    That bike of his is way too fancy if you are gonna do some cycling in certain third world countries were bike theft is a major hassle.
    Re cooking I take some cans of beans, corn, sausages, etc. and make a fire then stand the cans in glowing embers after punching a small hole in the top to allow steam to escape.

    Yeah a can opener and spoon.

    A large piece of transparent plastic sheet, to lie on while resting on itchy grass, put it under your tent to keep out humidity and to hide under in case of a torrential downpour.
    Camo pattern tent for stealth camping.
    Best place to camp is on top of a hill where the wind is strongest plus less humidity equals less insects and harder for people to see you.
    Before camping check for those big ants as they will snip EVERYTHING you have that is not metallic into little pieces…

  9. 10x more comfortable and 100x more sensible to just buy a touring bike. Seems like the marketing teams have rebranded touring as ‘bikepacking’ for the hipsters to get out of London – clever (or not). Anyway, if it gets more people cycling then who cares.

  10. NIce video GCN guys!!!

    If someone needs information about bikepacking in spanish just have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP2q2Y7AqKOn7S42PQiLW6Q
    Keep doing this great job GCN ;D

  11. Sleep system; looks like a Yeti Passion One bag, Terra Nova Laser Comp tent, mat impossible to tell but as it's yellow it could be the Thermarest Neoair XLite or Sea to Summit Ultralight

  12. Wait two years and you'll find out when you do the NC 500 🙂 Oh, I'm following in your tracks in a weeks time with the Heb Way thrown in too.

  13. I cycled solo for 4000miles on a hybrid with four panniers, a large drybag and a tent. I was wild camping 85% of the time. I totally disagree with his minimalist approach bcos unless you have a big bank account you are going to need far more clothes and eqpt for emerg cycle repairs. He is not being completely honest!

  14. That's cool but how much does it cost to have the lightest tent in the world and then the lightest sleeping bag in the world? It's probably cheaper to just sleep in a hotel…

  15. Cooking equipment can be as little as an alcohol trangia with titanium pot holders that cross over the top of the stove. If you really want to save weigth you can make am alcohol stove out of an aluminum can. That sucker weighs maybe a few grams. Google penny stoves.

  16. Anyone asking about the "worlds lightest tent". Its a Laser Ultra 1, from Terra Nova Equipment. Sleeping bag, is a "Passion 1" from Yeti.

  17. I always take my stove because I always take my stovetop espresso maker. I' m not even going to start tearing down camp in the morning until I have made a mocha and packed a bowl or two. And what an easy way to make friends in the middle of nowhere. I skip the tent and take a fly and sleeping pad. Depending on weather its either a Mexican blanket or a good winter bag.

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