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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Paul's Great Divide Set Up And Gear List

Cycling buddy Paul Brasby plans to join me in late July at the Canadian border to ride the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) as far as his time off allows. See Hit It! As he prepares for this multi-week ride on remote roads, Paul agreed to share his bike set up and gear list, as currently contemplated. Below are his words and pictures.

I've already posted my current thoughts on changes to my Gear ListGear Packing, and Bike, as well as some changes to my approach to Food on the GDMBR. Perhaps these posts will help you find what works best for you.

Last year's Cloud Peak 500 was a great tune up for this year's Great Divide. Here's a breakdown on my bike set up and gear that I plan to have with me. I made a few changes for this year's 30 day adventure and they will be noted. I also added a few tricks I've learned over the years and a few from friends along the way. 

Paul Brasby's Salsa CutThroat loaded to roll on a bikepacking adventure.
(photo by Paul Brasby)

Bike - Stock 2019 Salsa CutThroat Rival 1, 1x11, 34 tooth front ring, 11-42 cassette, large, 21.6 lbs

Mounted To The Handle Bar 
    New Vision Mini TT Aero Bars, with Ergo hand grips attached to carbon light bar
    Garmin Edge 520
    2 Nebo Torchy head lights (USB rechargeable)
    Aukey 20,000 mAh battery pack (USB rechargeable, 3 ports - phone, computer, lights)
    Map holder attached to battery pack
    Timber bear bell (new for trip)
    Spot Tracker Gen 4 (new for trip)
    Salsa EXP Cradle (just the cradle) bolted to aero bars
    Salsa EXP 15L dry bag
    Salsa EXP 1.7 L front pouch bag
    2 Revelate Designs Mountain Feed Bags (new for trip)
    Homemade cell phone holder for cell phone (USB rechargeable)

Mounted To Front Forks 
    2 Salsa EXP Anything cages
    2 Salsa EXP 2.5L dry bags
    2 water bottle cages bolted to backside of Anything Cages (new for trip)

Mounted To Frame Main Triangle
    Revelate Designs Gas Tank bag
    Revelate Designs Jerry Cam bag
    Revelate Designs 7.7L Ripio frame bag (new for trip)
    Bear Spray 10.2 ounces, strapped to down tube (new for trip)
    Water bottle cage on the down tube for water
    Water bottle cage below the bottom bracket for Salsa tool keg with first aid kit

Mounted To Seat Post
    Revelate Designs Terapin 14L seat post bag (new for trip)
    Brooks B17 Carve saddle (new for trip)
    Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge 700 x 2.2 inch tires (new for trip)
    Crank Brothers Candy 1 pedals
    Salsa cork handle bar tape, double wrapped (new for trip)
    rear blinky light mounted to left seat stay (USB rechargeable)
    6 Voile straps

Top view of Paul Brasby's loaded Salsa CutThroat.
(photo by Paul Brasby) 

Gear List
    Salsa 15L Handle Bar Bag - This bag holds my entire camp setup. 
        Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 1 tent, fly, stakes, poles (attached to outside of bag with velcro straps),
        and footprint (attached to tent to save a step during setup)
        Kelty Cosmic 20 degree sleeping bag
        ThermoRest Neo Air 4.2R value insulated air mattress
        SeaToSummit air pillow
        If it doesn't rain during the night, I take the fly off the next morning and roll my tent up with the air mattress and sleeping bag inside and it just fits inside the Salsa 15L bag. Then I take the deflated pillow to use as a moisture barrier between the tent and damp fly. At the next campsite, I roll out the tent, put the poles in, stake it down, and camp is made! This all fits between the shifters on my Salsa CowChippers Deluxe handle bars.

    Front Pouch - UV arm warmers, bug head net, lighter, extra gel, Lauf spork, salt stick, fast chews, baby 
                            wipes, T-pee in a baggie, maps, maybe my Spot Tracker, head lamp (USB rechargeable)

    Fork Bags
        Right side - REI puffy jacket 650 fill, Showers Pass Syncline CC rain jacket, Primal wind jacket
        Left side - Jet Boil stove, 3-4 tuna packets, small can opener, plastic cup to hold and protect crackers 
                          from being crushed, until I eat them with pastrami and cheese during the day's ride

    Feed Bags
        Right side - one 26 ounce water bottle, tube of Hammer Fizz Cola in the mesh pocket (easy to add
                            one tablet on the fly), also use this area to hold trash
        Left side - what I call "Finger Food," mixed nuts, fruits, chips, cookies, jerky, etc, also a small bottle
                          sun screen and an all-in-one bear whistle, thermometer and compass in the mesh pocket

    Gas Tank Bag - assortment of GU gels, Lara bars, Honey Caramel Stinger Waffles, totaling 2,000 -
                             3,000 calories, a couple of Butt Butter packets, and inhaler

    JerryCan Bag - My entire tool kit fits in this bag. I carry patches, glue, Gorilla glue, 2 cores, 2 tubeless 
                                valve stems, 2 boots, plug kit that doubles as a core remover and plug tool, 2 sizes
                                bacon strips, foldable pair of pliers, multi-tool, 2 bottles of 2 ounces of Stan's sealant
                                chain lube, chain cloth, 3 long handle allen wrenches (3/4/5 mm) to adjust brake fade
                                on SRAM shift levers (short wrenches on a multi-tool do not work well here!)

   Ripio Frame Bag
        Top Compartment - The drive side holds my empty 78 ounce water bladder for those 100+ mile dry
                                        sections of the route, a Zefal pump with air gauge strapped to the top of the bag,
                                        and an assortment of handy-to-grab cycling gear items all rolled up to fit
                                        vertically in the zipper compartment (micro fiber towel, extra pair of socks, leg 
                                        warmers, water resistant long finger gloves, beanie cap, and filtration system of a
                                        32 ounce foldable water pouch, filter with straw, extra washer and screw cap
                                        adapter to fit a normal size water bottle with the filter screwed directly to bottle 
                                        that you can get from a store. You can reuse it later at a stream or campsite and 
                                        drink from it straight from the bottle.

        Top Compartment - The top left compartment holds my mud stick, chain and cassette brush, zip ties, 
                                         3 spokes, shifter cable, sewing kit, 110 charger and cord, money clip, ID, 
                                         laminated list of family contacts, allergies, blood type and insurance card, 
                                         toiletry kit of tooth brush, tooth paste, 2 floss picks, shampoo, Q-tips, and soap

        Bottom Compartment - The drive side of the bottom compartment is set aside for my C-Pap system.
                                                It's taken two years to build this setup so it works for me and it allows me to
                                                spend up to 3 nights in the back country before having to recharge. This
                                                compartment holds 2 battery packs, C-Pap machine, charger unit and an
                                                assortment of charging adapters, hose, and head gear. The whole setup
                                                weighs 4.2 pounds. Also, C-Pap machines work great to air up mattresses. 

        Below Bottom Compartment - On the very outside bottom of the frame bag, there is a gap between
                                                          the bag and frame. I use this area to stash a spare tube to help fill in 
                                                          the gap and have something for the frame bag to sit on.

    Terrapin Seat Bag - Second spare tube, zip off pants, t-shirt, extra cycling kit, 2 pair socks, snap up
                                    cycling shirt that doubles as a shirt, Merino wool mid-weight top and bottom,
                                    boxers, SeaToSummit Ulti Sil backpack that fits in the palm of your hand when in
                                    stuff sack, holds 2 days of food, and doubles as grocery and bear bag, 3 Hammer
                                    Fizz packets, 5 days of Hammer Recoverite, rope and clip for hanging bear bag

                                    On top of the seat bag is a pair of aqua socks and maybe a ball cap.

    Riding Kit - cycling kit, shoes, socks, short finger gloves, helmet, OR hat with visor and glasses
                         (buff for hot days to keep sun off face and lips, like the Great Basin in Wyoming)

Last But Not Least - the kitchen sink . . . LOL

I know it sounds like a lot. But when you're gone for 30 days, or even longer like Craig, you have to pack for all weather conditions and the full gamut of temperature swings at elevations ranging from 4,500 feet to 12,000 feet. A few more creature comforts don't hurt. This is a vacation, after all.

Total weight of the bike and all the gear as set up is 70 pounds, including 104 ounces of water, with additional water capacity of 110 ounces for long, dry stretches, if needed.

Before the Great Divide, I plan one more test trip to dial in the set up. Total miles planned for this year's Great Divide ride is 1,200 and I plan to ride the rest next year.


  1. Thanks for sharing the setup. I would worry about the exposed usb connections to the non-waterproof battery?

  2. Great review of your setup. One question. How did you mount the cages (Salsa Nikless cages?) to the back of the Anything Cages? I tried to do it to mine and don't see an obvious way to keep them stable and not move about. Thanks.

    1. Good question BikepackingStuff. I've been using this setup for over a year, even ride with it during the winter months with no issues. What you don't see is the map I use, it covers the entire battery system including USB ports. When it rains I remove it from its velcro mount and store it in my frame bag

    2. I used a metal L bracket with 4 holes in it and flattened it out. I placed it on the inside of the anything cages and placed my water bottle cage on the outside and bolted the two together