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Monday, July 1, 2019

Outfitting the Jones Plus LWB - BikePacking Bags

After a solid season of riding the Jones Plus LWB on my favorite Black Hills trails, I'm starting to get a decent feel for its top shelf performance capabilities. But I won't find its limits. The Jones is far more bike than I am rider.

This summer I'm loading it up for bikepacking, starting with a string of one night trips over a mix of gravel, dirt and trail. As time allows, I'd love to ride multi-days trips, such as the Southern Loop of the Double BackBone (3 days), the Double BackBone itself (likely 5-6 days), the DED Dirt Ride (5-6 days), or maybe even the Black Hills Expedition (although that would put me in the crazy camp). Eventually, maybe longer, but I'll start with some fun, low-key sub-24's.

Here's my lineup of bags for bikepacking, all by Revelate Designs, which I have accumulated gradually over the past four years: a pair of Truss Fork bags (fork), Harness + Salty Roll (handle bar), Loop Hole H-Bar (between the loops of the handlebar), Mag-Tank 2000 (top tube), Jerry Can (seat post/top tube), Terrapin (seat post), and fitted Frame bag (main triangle). Not pictured are a pair of Mountain Feedbags (handlebar) and an Egress Pocket (atop the Salty Roll).

Now, that's a lot of capacity, much more than needed for a one or two night trip. However, I'll use this setup to learn for longer trips, where I may use every bag. This bike can certainly handle it.

Early morning start on Pilger Mountain in the Southern Black Hills of South Dakota.

So, here's a quick run-down of the bags and how I'm currently using them.

Truss Fork Bags. In addition to being light and strong, the Jones truss fork provides a built-in structure to support a pair of bags. Jeff Jones saw this potential and created these bags with Revelate Designs. Jeff Jones Reveals Truss Fork Packs. With each bag offering almost the capacity of a seat post bag, one bag holds a sleeping bag and sleepwear, while the other holds a down jacket, sleeping pad and extra clothing. They can hold more.

Harness + Salty Roll (handle bar bag):  Currently, I pack a tent and extra clothes in the Salty Roll bag. The pictures here show the Salty Roll bag with a Marmot two person tent and some clothes inside. Again, it can hold more. And if I take my Big Agnes one person tent or my Outdoor Research Helium bivy bag, that bag compresses much smaller. I also have an Egress Pocket bag (not pictured) that is designed to fit on the top and front of the Salty Roll for more capacity.

Loop Hole H-Bar: This bag is barely visible, because it's tucked into the space between the lateral tubes of the Jones handle bar. It is bigger than you might think, is a great use of space and is on the bike full time. For bikepacking, it currently holds a pump, extra light, glove liners, skull cap, headband, wallet and medicinals.

Mag-Tank 2000 (top tube bag): This handy bag holds on-the-fly food and is large enough for my Olympus Tough camera, if that's not in my jersey pocket. The magnetic closure works flawlessly.

Jerry Can (top tube/seat post bag): This sweet, little, out-of-the-way bag holds my entire tool kit, including a spare tube, patch kit, tire plugs, extra sealant, mini-tool, LeatherMan and such. This bag also is a full time resident on the bike.

Terrapin (seat post bag): This modular setup comprises a harness that attaches to the bike and a 14L dry bag that is easily removable from the harness. I like this bag for food, so I can readily remove it for overnight storage away from my sleeping area. Eventually, I may ride through grizzly country.

Frame Bag: Revelate Designs created this frame bag specifically for the Jones Plus LWB and it fits precisely. I use the right side of the top compartment for a 100 ounce CamelBack water bladder and it can hold more. The slimmer left side of the top compartment carries paper maps, compass, mud shank and my emergency flip phone. Again, it can hold more. The bottom compartment currently carries a water filter, stove and fuel. In these pictures it looks full because I also stuffed a light rain jacket in there.

Down Tube Bottle: I currently use the down tube bottle for HEED, but I know others store a tool kit there. Right now, the Jerry Can bag works great for the tool kit, is out of my way and stays out of the muck. Besides, if the HEED bottle gets too dirty, I can always toss the HEED.

That's a quick run-down of my bags for bikepacking. Or at least, my start of experimenting with bags on local sub-24's and the beginning aspirations of a bigger plan.

Pulling into camp atop Coad Hill, for a room with a view of Harney Peak.

For my 2018 posts about the Jone Plus LWB bike itself, with links to Jeff Jones blogs and videos, go to Jones Plus LWB - What It Is and Jones Plus LWB - The Build. For earlier 2018 posts about my decision to buy the Jones Plus LWB, go to A Mountain Bike Companion and A Mountain Bike By Jones.

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