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How To Pack Your Bags For Bikepacking

How To Pack Your Bags For Bikepacking


– You have all the bikepacking gear that you think you’re
gonna need for your trip. Now you need to know how you’re actually gonna take it
with you, and apparently it’s not quite as simple
as just stuffing it in. – There’s a number of different
styles of bikepacking bag. Each one mounts in a different
place around the bike and is good for carrying
different types of things. One thing to consider
when packing your bike is that the extra weight
will affect the handling, so weight distribution, and even weight distribution at that, is very important so you
don’t skew it too much. – Right, where are we gonna start, mate? – Well, let’s start with the frame pack, but before we put anything on our bikes, it’s also good to consider
putting protective tape on, because they will move a little bit, and they will scuff your paint, and it is very disappointing to find you’ve just scuffed your best bike. – Yeah, we don’t wanna do that. – Learning from lessons there. – [Simon] Right, so frame bag. – The frame bag is obviously
mounted within the frame. The benefit of this is that
it’s very well secured, because it’s got lots of mounting points. You can get a half frame pack like this, or you could get a whole frame bag which would actually take
up the whole triangle. The kind of items you want to put in here are the heavier items, and things that you want to access readily, easily while you’re on your bike. So, arm warmers, jackets, and maybe tools. – Okay, and I guess because
the weight is central over the bike, it’s gonna help
with that weight distribution thing, ’cause that of all places is the best place to stash stuff. – Exactly, you’re gonna
have quite a lot of control over that weight, so that’s why we go for the heaver items there. – Okay, right then, so
following Josh’s advice I’m gonna go for my tool
kit, and inner tubes, pump, and then those
warm cycling kit items, so like arm warmers,
leg warmers, gilet, cap, and also a spork as well,
which I think I need to put in there because it’s long
and thin, but also pointy, and I don’t want it spiking anything else. There we go, like a glove. – There is one point, though, with a frame pack, that
you need to be aware of. It is obviously inside your triangle which is also where you’re
gonna put your water. You’re quite lucky, ’cause
you’ve got a big enough frame to accommodate
bottles and a frame pack. However, if you ride a smaller
frame it might be an issue. Now, there’s a few ways around this. You can mount bottles
elsewhere on the bike. So some bikes have a
mounting point underneath, or you can actually get
mounting points on the frame, on the fork here, so you can
hold the bottles in front. However, if you don’t
have either of those, you can put a water bladder
inside your frame pack, or you can run a full frame
pack, and then you can carry the stuff you’ve got
in there, plus extra water. – Yeah, to be fair, even
on this medium frame, I have had to change my
bottle cages for some very old aluminum ones so I can squish
the bottle in from the side, ’cause clearly this is pretty
tight in there isn’t it? – Yeah, I’ve have the same
problem with my large frame as well, so I’ve got
side entry bottle cages, so it is a very important
thing to consider. – Yeah. Okay, Josh, next up seat pack? – Yeah, let’s go for the seat pack. So the benefit of the seat pack is you can fit quite
large volume items in it. However, there are some drawbacks. The weight is quite high up on the bike, and you remember we spoke
about the balance of the bike, so if you have too much weight up, it’s gonna swing the bike
around more, and it’ll make it harder to corner and to
throw the bike around. – It’s quite dynamic,
’cause this is the biggest bag on the bike, right,
you know 15 liters plus. – Exactly, so we need to put in there the bulkiest lightweight item. – Okay, sleeping bag? – I think so. – Alright, now cool little
pro tip from Josh here, you’ve made me roll my
bivy bag, my sleeping bag, and my mat all in one, right? Exactly, yeah. Now, it’s kind of quite
specific to this particular trip we’re on, because we’re
only gonna be sleeping out one night, and we haven’t
really got that much stuff, so we’re utilizing the
space of the saddle pack, and putting the light item in there, but it’s not really packed up too well. The benefit is, though, when
we come to bivy tomorrow night, we can just roll it out quickly
and we don’t have to get cold and spend loads of time putting everything
together and unpacking it. Vice versa, when we start in the morning we can just roll it up
quickly, shove it in, and get going before we get cold. – Okay, so we can stuff this one. This is the bit we’re allowed to stuff. – You’re allowed to stuff this one. – Great stuff. (claps) Stuff, hey! (imitates rimshot) – You alright, mate? – Just about, mate. – Oh, nice. I just went out and got a
coffee while I was waitin’. – Right. – So you’re all packed
and ready then, are you? – Well, no not quite,
because I did wonder whether this was also a good place
to stash my rain jacket, ’cause that needs to be easily accessible, but it won’t fit in the frame bag, and actually that roll top at
the back makes it super quick, and then also with the same
idea, obligatory bog roll. – Definitely, just remember
the plastic bag, though. – Plastic bag for the
bog roll, right, got it. – One thing to remember with a saddle pack is that it is quite high up, and it can swing a little bit if it’s
not packed really well. So it’s important to make
sure you stuff all your stuff right to the bottom of it,
so it’s supported here. Now we’re riding these 3T Exploro frames, which kind of aero, and have this nice squared off seat post. The benefit is that it actually stops the bag swinging quite a lot. Now, not all bikes have
that, so it’s important to really tighten the straps up. After a few hours on the bike, as well, everything kind of settles into place, and the straps do kind of,
like, move a little bit, so you may need to just
tighten it up again to make sure you’re not
swinging everywhere. Am I gonna get another coffee, Si? – No, I’m nearly there. (exhales) What was the pro tip,
you stick your knee in? – Yeah, if you put your
knee underneath the back of the pack, you can
actually push everything up into the saddle and then you can really get some leverage on the straps. And as you can see, that’s pretty stable. It’s not gonna swing everywhere. – That was a morning’s
work well spent, I think. – The good thing as
well is if it does rain it’s like a nice big mud guard. – Not much left now, Josh, but also not much space left either. – No, so we’re gonna have
to go for the bar bag. Now, bar bags are actually pretty good at fitting quite a lot of stuff in them. They’re also fairly good
for heavier items, as well, because the weight is kind of
controlled between the bars. It will make the steering
feel a little heavier, but it’s something you soon get used to. The other benefit of having the weight over the front wheel is, as
you found out on our rough, loose, gravely descents yesterday, it actually puts a bit more grip on the front tire, which is a benefit. – Yeah, it did feel really secure, innit? So, for the bar bag, then,
this is the prime place for what casual kit that’s left, and any kind of extra warm stuff that– – [Josh] Exactly, yeah. So, on this particular trip we’ve got our casual clothes for the evenings. So, I like to pack them
all together in one bag. Then if you stay in a hotel
like we have a couple of times, or you’re camping, you can just
take the bag off at the end of the day, and everything
you need is in one place. – Cool. Okay, now, one thing I’ve
found out with this one is that you can get into
the bag at both ends. So I’ve got warm cycling kit,
and my jacket at one end, and my casual clothes at the other end, so depending on which I
need I can do it instantly, but then also I’m still
stuck with my sauce pan, and my mug, and my coffee
making paraphernalia. So am I allowed to stick
that in there as well? – You can fit it wherever you want. – Thanks, mate. (relaxing music) Right. Right, Josh, we are very nearly there. – [Josh] Yeah, most of your stuff is now packed up in one
of the three main bags. However, we’ve still got
a few little items left, and this is where things like
top tube bags come into play. Now, top tube bags are actually really good, contrary to popular belief. They’re good for things like
tools, money, your phone, charging cables, your passport. Even floral battery packs. – If you’re gonna have a battery pack, you might as well make it pretty. To be fair, in my limited bike
packing experience so far, I will admit the top tube bag
has been remarkably useful. So, yeah, passport, floral battery pack, cables, and food as well. – Yeah, and then we’ve
got a few bits left over. So this is your wash kit. – It is indeed. – Sometimes little extra
items like that do crop up, and they don’t really have a proper home, but that’s when things like
bungees and extra straps on the outside come into
play, because it’s not the most valuable items, but
you wanna kind of get ahold of it, so if you just put it
under a bungee, it’ll stay put. And then when you need it
you can grab it easily. – Done. – And there we go, sorted, I think we’re ready to get bikepacking again. – Yeah, it’s taken so long, mate, should we wait and go tomorrow? – Well, let’s just bivy
out here. (Simon laughs) Looks like we’re ready then,
Si, this is looking quite neat. – Thanks. – So one thing to bear in mind as well, as where you pack your stuff, is the order in which you pack it. Obviously, if you pack your rain jacket right at the bottom of your
saddle pack, that’s gonna be a bit of a pain if you
get caught in a rainstorm. So you need to think about when and where you’re gonna need things. So, my advice would be if you
start off, and you’re wearing extra layers, not really
applicable right here, right now, make sure you take them off
and put them into your bag in the order you take clothes off. That way when you wanna
start putting layers on again later in the day, you
put it on in the right order. So, you start with arm
warmers, gilet, leg warmers, so you pack them the other way ’round. – [Simon] I’m guessing
as well that, you know, you are inevitably going to make mistakes when you’re packing
stuff for the first time, but when you realize that
putting your roll of toilet roll in the middle of your handlebar bag is a disastrous place to put
it, and you will end up doing a Tom Dumoulin, then you only
do that kind of thing once. – Exactly, speaking from experience, that is the number one lesson you learn. – So that’s my setup there. Now, you’ve got one or two extra bits that you’re carrying as well,
so I’ll be really interested to know whether you’ve actually
done anything differently. – So, yeah, fundamentally my setup is pretty much the same as yours. I’ve got the frame bag, the saddle pack with my sleeping gear, and my
casual stuff in my front bag. However, the volume’s
slightly smaller here, so I’ve got a few different bits to help me take everything I need. So, you may notice my stove
and pot are on the top there in a special little holder, and that works out quite well. I couldn’t fit my mug in my frame bag, so I’ve hung it on the side. – Should I do that too, to be cool? Is that like a cool thing? – Well– – Having your mug on the outside? – I’m not particularly cool,
but it’s quite practical. – Practical’s cool,
though, I’m gonna do that. (Josh Laughs) – There we go. – Okay, and what about,
so you’ve got a feed bag on your bars as well, so
that’s different to mine. – Yeah, so you’ve got
a large top tube bag. Instead of one big bag,
I’ve got two smaller ones. So, I’ve got a small one here for tools, things like toothpaste, my emergency tubeless tire repair kit, hand sanitizer, things that I may need quickly
in an emergency situation. And then I’ve got a feed pouch here, and this is quick and easy to
access while I’m on the go, and I can put in all the food
I need to eat on the bike. So, I’ve got some nice
cakes that have been going nice and stale in the sun. – Nice. So effectively, we are the
same, except your feedbag is kind of like my top tube
bag and your top tube bag is like half my frame
bag, and then obviously, yeah, I still need to do this. – Exactly, yeah. One thing about bikepacking is
that there is no golden rule. You kind of have to make it work for you. If you follow these basic principles, that would be a good start,
but I’ve come across, I’ve sort of settled on
this system just through loads of trial and error over a few trips. So, quite often people
may find that things work differently for them, and essentially, if it works for you then
that’s the right thing to do. – Yeah, and duration of trip as well is gonna add different kind of– – Exactly, we’ve been pretty,
we’ve taken some liberties with the amount of space we’ve taken up with our sleeping gear. For example, when I went on a longer kind of six month trip last summer, I had loads of casual clothes, and shoes, and stuff like that. And then I had to really
compact everything as much as I could, because I needed
to fit more stuff in there. – Okay, now, the last
thing is waterproof-ness. It’s not such a big deal here in Morocco, but then there is a reason why
we chose Morocco as opposed to Great Britain for our first
adventure into bikepacking. But were we to be bikepacking
in a wetter climate, or in fact somewhere with
a risk at all of rain, what are you gonna do
about keeping stuff dry? – Well, you can get some
frame packs with tape seams and waterproof material, so these ones, these particular ones, are waterproof, so it will keep the worst
of the moisture out. However, it pays to be sensible and put all your dry clothes
in a separate dry bag inside of the bags just in case. There’s nothing worse
than finishing a long day out in the saddle, getting
into a nice, dry place, and then realizing all your
clothes are soaking wet. – No, that sounds awful, actually. – It is pretty mean. – Yeah, well here’s to Morocco
and the Atlas Mountains. Right, thanks Josh for those tips, that is absolutely
cracking, and so far one day into this trip, apart
from the toilet roll, everything’s been perfect, so there we go, one lesson learned anyway. Do make sure you give
this video a big thumbs up if you’re enjoying the
bikepacking content here on GTN, and if you’d like a little
bit more information on exactly what we’re
taking, Josh very kindly talked me through it when we were actually back in the UK before we’d come out. So if you wanna see that
video click just down there.

100 comments on “How To Pack Your Bags For Bikepacking

  1. Hi what bivi bag and sleeping bag did you use.
    Full gear list please.
    Love this video
    Well done lads🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️

  2. Comments on sleeping mats, please? Inflatable or foam with silver backing? The latter is much lighter but bulkier, that should not be a problem if it is attached to the webbing on the seatpost bag, though.

  3. Use 4 bags on the bike or use 1 rucksack on your back.
    Only experience with rucksack 10 day mtb ride. Went well.

  4. This might not be such an issue with bivys, but any suggestions for dealing with a wet tent? I have a waterproof handlebar bag that takes my sleeping kit, but that leaves my wet fly going into my saddlebag.

  5. Ok so where do you put your tent? Sounds like Ray Mears ( camped out wild) v Bear Grills ( hotel every night)😕

  6. Thanks – looks like great advice. Any experience using a rack system like the Thule/Freeload on a road frame, compared to the large seat bag?

  7. What shorts are you guy wearing? I’m digging them. They look a little more relaxed, but not quite mtb baggies…

  8. Nice video chaps – very informative. I've been wanting to get a decent saddle pack for some time now but unfortunately i've got an aero seat tube. Do you have any suggestions?

  9. How about front panniers? Low stable aero if you get good ones, and like the way they lower the center of gravity. Also what about the BIKES? Yours look very specialized and custom for fast touring, not what I’m used to seeing, are they mountain bikes or hybrids? More please in detail, thanks…

  10. Both these guys are articulate presenters. How rare!!!! Somin really is great in front of the camera: he's funny; doesnt interrupt his guest; his comments ADD to the guest's info, for expansion of emphasis.

  11. This is very nice video.
    Pleace tell as how much is weight all equpiment ? And wich is average speed was on the
    your journey ?
    Thank you very much.

  12. I recommend a thule rack; these fit both in the front or rear on practically any bike; They hold up to 40lbs on the sides of them and 55lbs ontop 🙂 Easy on and off too!

  13. Instead to use a saddle pack , use a pair of panniers , you can put all your stuff and the bike is more stable , I guess ?

  14. Are panniers not a thing anymore?  I haven't done any bikepacking, but I getting the bug and interested in pro's and con's…Thanks

  15. What about shoes? Do you carry some sort of non-cycling shoes for after the end of the ride each day? Didn't see you pack any.

  16. I prefer regular old bicycle touring. those tiny bags are a bit to small for me and crazy expensive, especially since your other equipment will also have to be some kind of Ultralight which always is ultraexpensive

  17. @GCN Please do a video on how to take an ebike on an international flight and pay attention to the battery pack. Thanks.

  18. Off topic a bit but those tires on the demo bike, were they not BALD? Someone needs to put some new rubber on that bike mate.

  19. One of the most essential items is a zinc oxide containing powder. Sprinkling on your shorts, armpits, and shoes and socks will extend the time between changes, and make you more pleasant to be around in general.

  20. It has to suck to carry so little and to only focus on covering distance. I DO agree that packing gear in a specific way when you are bike touring can help in many ways. You should try it sometime when you are carrying more than the absolute minimum gear and you will gain a whole new appreciation for how you are carrying everything. The primary example I use for traditional panniers is to only pack soft gear on the left side of the bike. Nothing that can be damaged by being "nudged" by a motor vehicle, or outright punted by a Dodge Durango in my case. Also, fenders are a must if you really ride much. – https://imgur.com/a/zXXlyuv

  21. Now you have to come out and enjoy the the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. This will determine if you are ready for bike packing.

  22. Why are bar bags, and large saddle bags so popular now, as opposed to rear panniers, and front fork bags? Surely the lower center of gravity, of the latter, would be safer.

  23. There's these things called "panniers", maybe you've heard of them? They fit on a "rack" and also on "low riders". You should really check them out. For shorter trips there's also things called "backpacks", which you put on your back.

  24. Thanks for this video. I found that the best saddle bag is made by an interesting British company named AlpKit. The bag is called Big Pappa. It has an extra strap to avoid bag movement. Thks again

  25. I don't understand the obsession with avoiding a rack and using a floppy seat bag. My rack is only 340 grams. I can carry 4 kg … My tent, sleeping bag , pad, plus saddle bag panniers.

  26. The BURLEY TRAVOY is the best trailer on the market for weight and balance all you are a tourist so speed is not a part of the tour. I cannot get over for all the cycling you blokes do you still have a hopstial suntan I only go out a few hours a week and I am a brown as a berry where all parts of my skin are exposed to the sun

  27. 10:14 Practical is cool though; I'm going to do that!". He sounded like Doctor Who "I wear a fez now; Fezzes are cool.". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obnblNruPiU

  28. Awesome Video! I found a great seat bike pack at a good price at this store if anyone is wondering a good spot to get one. https://adventuresportoutfitters.com/products/adjustable-extendable-3l-10l-bicycle-seatpost-bag-bike

  29. A Medium size frame for Si on the Exploro? Maybe he's running a long stem? I'm 5' 7" (170cms, 29.5" inseam) & the geometry of size M with a 85-90mm stem with 25-30mm spacers is a practically a perfect fit for me.

  30. Try two Carradice Camper Longflap Saddlebags you can use one as a Handle bar roller pack..and the other as your saddle bags…

  31. Doing a "Tom Dumoulin" should be a "Tom DoDoDumoulin" … poor guy one of the best cyclists in the world and remembered for that.

  32. Hey guys, don't quite understand the "bike packing" frenzy here… Tis as been on for ages ! Why not just mount a rear rack when you go on a trip and rear bags on each side, so that you have more room for stuff and save money compared to your setting here… I'd really like to get your thoughts on this.

  33. Hey guys. What are those semi-baggie shorts you’re wearing? I like them. Where can I get a pair? Thanks!

  34. Adding a 15lt backpack to my 2 main back and front bags makes the perfect setup as i cant't live without my camelbak. 2 bags 1 backpack and im set for a full week!

  35. The sleeping bag will be humid in the morning. If you pack it like that it's gonna stay wet and start to stink soon. You have to dry it once a day.

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