A Minimalist (Ultralight) Gear List for Off-Road Touring (Bikepacking)

Through the generosity of family members, Christmas provided the necessary upgrades to have a legitimate minimalist (or ultralight) kit for off-road touring. I’m really excited to try some of this new gear out in a week or two, but for now, I’ll have to be satisfied with writing about it.

Just like my packlist for bike touring, I’ve separated my gear into 10 basic categories: 1) cookware, 2) camp gear, 3) hydration, 4) food, 5) electronics, 6) bike tools, 7) ‘miscellaneous’ items, 8) clothing, 9) bike bags, and 10) optional gear.


1) Cookware

Vargo Bot Pot, Spork, Mug, and Pot Holder: This stuff is ultralight and serves multiple functions, and because of its narrow design, can fit in the frame bag of your bike. The entire kit shown, minus the wire coffee maker, fits into the bot for easy storage.

Fancy Feast Aluminum Stove: It’s official. I’ve converted to a DIY stove. This one works great and cuts down on weight.

Ethanol/Methanol Gas Mix023

Aluminum Foil: Used to wrap around the bot and help keep the stove burning on windy days.

Soto Helix Coffee Maker: This little guy is the best; it holds a filter over your mug while you pour boiling water through the filter. The best part is that you don’t have to clean out a container, like many backpacking French Presses. I highly recommend this item if you’re as addicted to coffee as I am.

REI Pack Towel Ultralight Towel: This towel is indispensable. Add one to your packing kit.

2) Camp Gear031

Kelty Light Trekker 20°F Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1: Ultralight (2 pounds, 1 ounce) 1-person tent.

REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad: Ultralight (1 pound) blow up sleeping pad.

3) Hydration027

Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir – 3 Liter

Two generic Water Bottles

4) Food

Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee.

Lunch and Snacks: Whether I’m backpacking or bikepacking, lunch is always a relative term. I periodically take 025breaks to eat throughout the day, and those breaks include eating Clif bars, dried fruit (in this case, apples), gummy bears (instant energy; don’t bash it until you try it), and mixed nuts.

Dinner: I usually pack a freeze-dried meal or cans of soup. Although this picture features a Backpacker’s Pantry freeze-dried meal, I personally prefer Mountain House if given the option.

5) Electronics

Garmin Edge Touring Bike Computer

Smart Phone019


Small Flashlight

Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Camera: This is not featured in the picture because it took the picture.  A pretty simple point and shoot camera, but I think it takes great pictures and has enough features that I can at least pretend to be a photographer.

6) Bike Tools

Alien II Multi-Tool: Has a lot of great tools; should assist with most minor mechanical issues.

Leatherman Style PS: Handy little back-up tool if you need one in each hand.  Also has pliers.

Zip Ties022

Bike Tube

Tire Levers

Patch Kit (with Vulcanizing Glue)

Wear patches (clear)

2 Emergency Tire Boots

Tire Pressure Gauge

Extra Garmin rubber rings for GPS

1 Permanent Marker: For marking potential loose spokes, tire holes, and other stuff.

Electrical Tape (wrapped around permanent marker)

Miscellaneous screws, bolts, and nuts

Rubber Bands

2 Quick-Links

Grease Towel

Bike Pump

7) Miscellaneous018

Bug Repellant

Pills Kit: Ibuprofen, Tylenol, allergy medicine, Benadryl.



Ear plugs

Bag of Bags: A bag full of Ziploc and garbage bags of various sizes; this really comes in handy.029

Fire Starters: A lighter and a set of matches, just in case.


Salsa Anything Straps: I’ll be using these to strap my sleeping bag to the front of my bike, but these straps can be used for just about… well… anything.

Bungee Cords

Toiletries: Toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste (No individual picture for this… you know what toiletries look like)

8) Clothing

Legs: Spandex Under-Armor (DISCLAIMER: If you’re like me and no longer wear bike spandex, make sure all pants DO NOT have seams that run along your butt cheeks. These seams can become very painful if doing day-long or multi-day trips), Soccer Pants (great for cold-weather riding AND because the pants get tight around the ankles, they won’t get caught in your chain), Pearl Izumi Mountain Bike Shorts, and two Icebreaker Merino Wool 150 Underwear.033

Torso: Merino Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Short-Sleeve Crew Cut shirt, Merino Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Long-Sleeve Crew Cut shirt, Generic long-sleeve midlayer shirt.

Extremities: 1 light and 1 heavy pair of riding gloves, 1 light and one heavy pair of wool socks, 1 lightweight riding beanie, 1 lightweight buff (for neck), and 1 handkerchief.

Miscellaneous: 1 REI packing Cube; holds all extra clothing.

9) Bike Bags

Osprey Momentum 34 Backpack: Although no longer made, this backpack has lasted me years, and has many awesome features; a great all-purpose pack.042

Revelate Designs Frame Bag: Revelate Design makes a whole host of custom frame bags for bikes. Mine has been excellent.

Revelate Designs Pika Seat Bag: Another excellently designed bag that holds a surprisingly large amount of stuff.

Acorn Handlebar Bag: A high quality canvas bag. Check out my full review in the ‘Bike and Gear’ section of my blog.

10) Optional Gear

Two items I didn’t include in my list are rain gear (rain jacket and rain pants) and a water filter. For a long-distance ride, these two items would be essential parts of my gear list; however, for two or three day trips, I can usually get away with not including them, as long as I have timed my trip according to the weather, and can either carry all my water or else have clean creeks where boiling water will provide sufficient filtration. Otherwise, this list covers everything I bring on multi-day off-road tours. Now it’s time to find my next ride!


Categories: Bikes and Gear

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