Updated: Nov 12
Hello again and thanks for taking the time to stop by, I hope you find these blogs helpful in some way xoxo
I'm frequently asked about what kit I use and recently the focus has been on what I took for the Torino Nice Rally (read blog). Originally, I was going to write a blog featuring my entire bikepacking kit but it became quite apparent it would end up reading like a novel so I've decided to break it down.
Part 1- Bikepacking bags
Part 2- Sleep System(s)
Part 3- Cooking & Accessories
As a petite rider there's a few restrictions with clearance, the size of the bikepacking bags I can use due to the size of my frame and bike in general, so I've had to do a lot of research and discovery through trial and error.
Side note: I'm not supported or affiliated with these brands, it's just what works for me.
Most of my bags are from the Apidura Expedition Range. I think these bags are pretty robust and so far have been waterproof, I live in Scotland so let that be a testament to their 'waterproofness'. They're pretty easy and quick to use, there's no dog tail wagging at the back or bags sliding about and I use the bungees ALL the time. I would love to have spare bag space and a little extra clearance though.
This is the 14L saddle bag by Apidura, I tried the 17L bag but sadly it wasn't a good fit. As you can see I don't have a huge amount of clearance but I'm confident it won't slip or rub, I've learned the hard way and now have some leopard print Duct tape covering a rubbed section.
My set up varies as there's always so many variables to consider but I usually have my sleep system and waterproofs in my saddle bag. I tend to 'stuff' in a particular order to limit faff (less time in midges or heavy rain) and make things easily accessible.
For the TNR I had my 3 season sleeping bag stuffed in first which fills up any awkward spaces, then my sleep mat, outer sheet for tent followed by my inner and lastly my waterproofs. This means I can get my waterproofs quickly and without having to take my entire saddle bag off and I can pitch my tent in the right order keeping my mat and sleeping bag dry. I'm sure you already have your own way or will find it but this is what works for me.
I use the 9L handlebar bag and it's pretty snug. I can't quite get full use of the volume as it needs to squish in between my very narrow handlebars. Again I've tried the next size up which is 14L but I didn't actually think I could get much more in so returned it.
As it's quite a narrow bag and small volume I can't really get much in it and I like to keep things separate so I'm not having to dig around in all of my bags. I usually use this for clothing and cookware. In an ideal world I'd love to have the stove separate but I just don't have the space and I prefer my sleep system being in one bag.
Sometimes I use my beautiful custom leopard print bag from London Broil Bagshop to double up...mostly for snacks!
Down Tube bag
I have the 1.2L Downtube bag and use it with a Voile Strap for extra security to stop it from moving at all. You can get quite a lot in here and keeps it all together. I have a pump, inner tube, multi-tool, spare hanger, pliers, spare spoke, cable ties, glue, patches, quick links, levers, chainbreaker, brake pads...I'm sure there's more but it's surprising how much you can fit in. Let me know if you'd be interested in reading a 'repairs/tools' blog.
The 5.3L frame bag is an ace wee extra and I use it in conjunction with the Apidura 1.5L bladder, this bladder was so handy for the TNR and ensured I drank much more than I would've just using bottles. There's a zipped section at either side, one is more narrow and has a handy wee zipped pocket for keys, I usually pack my tent poles and pegs in this side. The other side is a little deeper and I stash my rain jacket, gloves, buff, foil blanket, Apidura musette,1.5L of water and snacks... snacks in every bag 😆
Top Tube Bag
This is the newest addition to my bags and I actually love it although the stitching looks a little frayed already. The 1L top tube is super handy for things I need to use quickly or often, so I put my inhaler, phone, money, portable charger, small chain lube bottle and lip balm in there. There's a bolt on version too.
These wee Collins CycleWorks bags are so versatile. Great for waterbottles, snacks, phone, camera and more snacks! Easy to use when you're cycling and simple to put on the bike with the velcro straps. I probably use at least one of these on every ride.
Due to an old clavicle injury I try to use a hip pack/bumbag wherever possible and I have sourced this huge one from Banana Industries. Again, that's mostly for snacks lol but super handy as has lots of zipped sections for keys, money, passport etc and you can fit and unbelievable amount in it.
Well, I hope that's been somewhat useful to someone. Part 2 will include all things sleep related, I'm not sure why...but tents, bivvy bags and sleeping bags tend to be the thing I love to research and buy the most.