One Take on an Ultralight Bikepacking Packlist for the BC Epic 1,000

Making a List, Checking it… A Million Times

Creating a comprehensive and simultaneously competitively light packlist for an ultra-endurance bike race is hard. Really hard. Many bikepackers create a working list of their gear in order to

  1. Remember all the essentials. You don’t want to show up to a big race without your helmet.
  2. Think through what truly is an essential vs. nonessential item. Questions like this are common: do I bring the cookpot and stove? Do I use a tent or bivvy? One pair of socks or two? One chammy or two?)
  3. Analyze the complete gear list for packability and total pack weight. Looking over the entire list, making tweaks, comparing to other riders, repeating steps 2 and 3 another dozen times, is also part of the process.

A Working Document

For my own gear list, I am going for weight savings above all else. When you’re riding your bike 20 hours a day in a race like the BC Epic, you don’t need or want many of the luxuries that regular bikepacking warrants, mostly because luxuries equal weight, and weight hurts the legs. After following the steps listed above, I was able to get my entire gear list, including my bike, to be under 40 pounds which, based on what I’ve seen from other bikepacking racers, puts me about where I want to be.

However, there is still one big question mark in my gear list: my tent. I personally value the comfort a tent provides. It keeps bugs out and it provides the illusion of safety when you’re out camping in the middle of nowhere. I haven’t decided for sure whether I’ll bring my tent or my sleeping bag – it will mostly depend on the weather. With only about a 1/2 pound difference between my tent and sleeping bag though, the luxury of the tent ‘outweighs’ the extra 1/2 pound it forces me to lug around.

Outside of the tent/sleeping bag conflict, though, my gear setup is pretty dialed. Below is an inventory of what I’ll be bringing with me on the BC Epic this June:

BC Epic 1,000 Gear List

Sleep System

  • Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Tent (No rainfly): 575 grams
  • SOL Bivvy: 152 grams                                  
  • Thermarest Neo-Air X-Lite Sleeping Pad: 365 grams
  • Exped Airpillow UL: 53 grams

Total Weight: 1,145 grams, or 2.524 pounds

Clothing (on person): Not a Factor in Total Weight

  • Why Cycles Cycling Jersey: 140 grams
  • Giordana FR-C Pro Lyte Short: 240 grams
  • Giro Fingerless Gloves: 60 grams
  • Sock Guy Socks: 30 grams
  • Skratch Cycling Cap: 44 grams
  • Bontrager Circuit MIPS Road Bike Helmet: 300 grams
  • Giro Terraduro MTB Clipless Shoes: 420 grams
  • Native Catamount Sunglasses: 25 grams

Total Weight: 1,215 grams, or 2.78 pounds

Clothing (Core)

  • Men’s Featherless Trail Insulated Vest: 130 grams
  • Montbell UL Down Jacket: 130 grams
  • OR Helium II Jacket: 181 grams
  • Pearl Izumi Elite Escape AmFIB Bike Tights: 420 grams
  • Rain shorts (pants made into cutoff shorts): 94 grams

Total Weight: 955 grams, or 2.105 pounds

Clothing (Accessories)

  • Specialized Deflect Sun Sleeves: 63 grams
  • Rain Gloves: 100 grams
  • Gore Bike Universal Windstopper Headband: 15 grams
  • Icebreaker Anatomica Boxer Briefs: 25 grams
  • Defeet Wool Socks: 90 grams
  • Toe Covers: 90 grams (maybe)

Total Weight: 383 grams, or .844 pounds

Electronics

  • Garmin Touring Edge Plus: 96 grams
  • Garmin Fenix 5x: 96 grams
  • Garmin Inreach Mini 2: 114 grams
  • Light & Motion Urban 800 Front Bike Light: 106 grams
  • Black Diamond Icon Polar Headlamp w/ batteries: 237 grams
  • Iphone 8 with Quadlock Case: 191 grams
  • Anker PowerCore 20100: 358 grams
  • Anker PowerCore 10000: 234 grams
  • Heart Rate Monitor: 30 grams
  • Cables for (50 grams)
    • Garmin Touring Edge Plus
    • Garmin Fenix 5x
    • Garmin Inreach Mini 2/Light & Motion Light

Total Weight: 1,512 grams, or  3.333 pounds

Tools

  • Lezyne Tech Drive HV Tire Pump with Electrical Tape: 141 grams
  • 1X 27.5×2.1 Tire Tube: 220 grams
  • Grease Rag (Old Sock): 21 grams
  • Chain Lube: 46 grams
  • Crankbrother’s Multi-Tool: 170 grams
  • X2 Spare SPD Cleat: 53 grams
  • 2 Tire Levers: 43 grams
  • Tire Boot: 10 grams
  • Valve Cores: 7 grams
  • Wolftooth Master Link Combo Pliars (w/ 3 quicklinks): 43 grams
  • Dynaplug Tubeless Repair Kit: 43 grams
  • 2 ounces of Stan’s: 70 grams
  • Zip Ties, tire patch kit, gorilla glue, Blackburn Strap: 71 grams

Total Weight: 938 grams, or 2.068 pounds

Miscellaneous

  • MSR Trailshot Water Filter: 142 grams
  • Iodine Tablets: 32 grams
  • Iphone Rain Cover: 18 grams
  • Sunscreen Spray: 78 grams
  • Chapstick: 5 grams
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste: 20 grams
  • Chamois Cream: 70 grams
  • Replacement Lenses for Sunglasses: 20 grams
  • Wet-Wipes: 110 grams
  • Handkerchief: 10 grams
  • Ear Plugs: 5 grams
  • Some Extra Garmin Bands: 10 grams
  • First Aid: Benadryl, Alcohol Wipes, Neosporin, band-aids: 32 grams
  • X3 Water Bottles: 300 grams
  • Titanium Spork: 15 grams
  • Some Ziplocs: 15 grams

Total Weight: 882 grams, or 1.944 pounds

Bike: Why Cycles R+ with 650B 27.5X2.1 Wheels

Total Weight (including aero bars, mounts for light, water cages, electronic mounts): 22 pounds

Bikepacking Bags

Total Weight (including seat bag, X4 feedbags, gas tank, jerry can): 2.19 pounds

Total Weight: 37.008 pounds

  • Note: this weight does not include the main clothes I’ll be wearing each day.

Too Much or Too Little?

Obviously, I have second guessed the crap out of my gear list countless times, but this seems to be the right balance for me of lightweight and practical. It’s also important to note that the total weight does not include water or food. I’ll be carrying about 2.5 liters of water at a time (about 5 pounds), and I’m guessing as much as 3-4 pounds of food at a time as well. So my bike could weigh roughly 44 pounds with those last items included.

Still, My old Surly Krampus mountain bike weighed in at 35 pounds completely naked, and my current commuter bike – the Kona Sutra – weighs 36 pounds, with fenders, a rear rack, and bottle cages, so the fact that my loaded bike weighs in at roughly the same weight as these bikes without any gear is no small feat.

Additionally, you may have noticed from my initial fully loaded picture of my bike that my handlebar bag setup is a little… peculiar. I elected to go with four Revelate Design feedbags instead of the more conventional Harness or Sweetroll setup because it fit a lot better with the rest of my bike setup. I can never quite get the pull cords of the bags to play nice with my brake and gear cables on my bike, and in the past have had some rather disconcerting wear marks on my bike cables by the end of long bikepacking trips. I’m hoping that the 4 feedbag setup alleviates these issues, as they do not rub against any of my cables and keep things pretty tidy up front. I guess I’ll find out if this setup makes sense in two weeks!

Categories: Bikes and Gear

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2 replies »

  1. Great article, thank you for creating this. It’s great guidance even if someone’s not racing. I imagine it’s somewhat cathartic to get this article and list created?!

    • Hey Thomas, first off, I’m glad it’s helpful! That of course is my number one intent, for anyone looking to get into the sport or recreation of bikepacking. And yes, while it’s sometimes a bit tedious putting together the details of a writeup like this, it’s totally cathartic – plus, it’s really helpful for me to have a list like this to look back at for future rides. Cheers, my friend.

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