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.