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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Great Divide - My Gear List & Changes

I don't need a whole lots of money
I don't need a big fine car
I got everything that a man could want
I got more than I could ask for
Some Kind Of Wonderful, John Ellison (1967)

Shelter, clothes, food, water, kitchen, first aid, hygiene, tools, parts, navigation, documentation.
It's all in there. For 7 weeks, I lived out of this suitcase.

Here's my gear list from my ride of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, along with a few changes I might make if I were to ride that route again the same way. If I were racing, this gear list would likely look different.

This gear list is not copied off some "What To Pack For Bikepacking" YouTube video. I developed it by experimenting with gear, packs, and bikes over several years of local overnight and multi-day rides. For example, in 2019 and 2020, I bike packed 20+ overnighters, several 2 nighters, and a big shakedown 7 day ride in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Cloud Peak 500 - Feeling Good. I also asked many people many questions, read many journals, and watched many videos of others who had actually ridden the Great Divide. I further benefitted from many conversations with my friend Paul Brasby, who conducted his own field research and planned to start the ride with me.

As a result, I believe I had dialed in my gear list, for my planned ride, pretty well in advance. Below in normal type is the gear that I used on my Great Divide ride, followed by any changes in blue type. As you will see, practically everything worked well and I would not make many changes. 

Sleep Kit:  Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Bikepack tent, Brooks Range Mountaineering Alpini 30 sleeping bag, SeaToSummit Reactor Extreme liner, ThermaRest ProLite pad, Outdoor Vitals UL Stretch pillow.

    No change. 

Clothes:  2 Voler bib shorts, 2 Voler jerseys, 2 pair SmartWool socks, Pearl Izumi X-Alp Summit shoes, Voler arm warmers, Voler knee warmers, SmartWool top base layer, SmartWool bottom base layer, Voler wind jacket, Showers Pass Refuge rain jacket, Showers Pass rain pants, Marmot down hoodie, SmartWool camp shirt, nylon camp shorts, SmartWool liner gloves, Showers Pass waterproof gloves, Bontrager cycling gloves, Showers Pass waterproof socks, Voler skull cap, SmartWool 250 headband, SmartWool 250 stocking cap, buff, Giro Aspect helmet, Oakley M-frame prescription sunglasses, Oakley athletic prescription glasses.

    Subtract the Showers Pass waterproof socks and waterproof gloves, maybe subtract one of the cycling jerseys, maybe subtract the SmartWool bottom base layer.

First Aid/Hygiene/Personal:  Ace bandage, gauze pads, large & small bandaids, butterfly bandaids, alcohol wipes, zinc oxide, Neosporin, hydrocortisone, sun screen, lip balm, insect repellant, aspirin, ibuprofen, Doans, Tums, toilet paper, hand towel, toothbrush/paste, soap, bear spray, flip phone, wallet, Spot X satellite tracker/messenger, battery/charger, cords, Timber bear bell.

    No change.

Tool Kit:  Lezyne Alloy HV Drive pump, Lezyne SV-16 multi-tool, spork wrench for brakes, Lezyne Tubeless CO2 Blaster tubeless repair kit, 4 ounces of extra sealant, 2 tubes, 2 valve cores, 1 valve stem, Park Tool patch kit, 2 tire irons, LeatherMan Skeletool CX, Jones derailleur hanger, 4 chain links, 2 quick links, chain lube, duct tape, zip ties, mud scraper.

    Replace pump with higher volume/stroke pump, with a foot peg. Subtract 1 of the extra tubes. Maybe substitute the heavy multi-tool with individual 2.5,3,4,5,6 mm Allen wrenches and a chain breaker.

Navigation:  Adventure Cycling Association hard copy maps, cue sheets and book, Stem Captain compass, CatEye cyclocomputer, Cateye head light, Mountain Miser thermometer, Gideon's pocket Bible.

    No change, although I saw no other cyclist on the Great Divide without GPS navigation of some sort. Maybe I would add GPS navigation if I returned to the Great Divide. Maybe.

Documentation:  Olympus TG-4 Tough camera, leather bound paper journal, 2 No. 2 pencils.

    No change.

Hydration:   3 x 38 ounce Soma Further water bottles, 2 x 26 ounce water bottles, 2 x 34 ounce collapsible water containers, (total capacity about 7 liters), MSR Trail Shot filter, iodine tablets.

    Add a third 34 ounce collapsible water container for the Great Basin and New Mexico. Maybe substitute the reliable, but slow MSR Trail Shot filter with something faster like the Sawyer Squeeze.

Food (1-2 days):  instant oatmeal/coffee (breakfast), peanut butter/honey/tortilla (lunch), nutrition bars/Snickers/M&Ms/chips/nuts/trail mix (during the day), ramen/tuna/freeze dried entree (dinner).

   Over time, I carried less food and ate more in towns when possible. But I always carried a day or two worth of calories of the above items. Peanut butter/honey/tortillas and snicker bars were daily staples the entire ride. Over time, my biggest change was eating more nuts and trail mix, especially in the morning.

Kitchen:  Jet Boil MiniMo stove and fuel, matches, salt/pepper, SeaToSummit collapsible cup & bowl, Pony Express titanium spork, rope for bear bag.

    Substitute the small (8 ounce) collapsible cup with another large (16 ounce) collapsible bowl.

As you can see, I would not make many changes. My gear worked well for me. 

Next up - The packs I used and how I packed all that gear, along with a few changes I might make.

Some Kind Of Wonderful, Grand Funk Railroad (1974)

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