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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Great Divide - How I Packed & Changes

I'm going to pack it up
I'm going to give it up
I'm going to put you right out of my mind
I'm going to pack it up
Pack It Up, Freddie King (1974) 

Loaded Jones 29+ bike taking a break at the TLC Ranch on the Great Divide. 

A different view of my loaded Jones 29+ bike.

How do you pack all that gear, and what would you do differently?

Last week I posted a Gear List of what I carried on my 2021 ride of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, as well as changes I might make if I were to ride it again the same way.  See My Gear List & Changes. Tour Divide racers identify things that I could leave home and Great Divide tourers identify things not on my list that I could bring. I appreciate the input and will continue to experiment.

This post describes on how I packed all that gear on my bike, with possible changes noted in blue type. Every bag had some extra space, providing easy and flexible packing during the ride.

Truss Fork Bags (fork):  In addition to being light and strong, the Jones truss fork provides a built-in structure to support a pair of bags. Recognizing this potential, Jeff Jones teamed with Revelate Designs to create these bags, each offering nearly the capacity of a seat post bag. For quick access in inclement weather, I pack the tent and rain jacket in the left side bag, along with the Spot X tracker in an outside mesh pocket. I pack the sleeping pad, sleeping bag liner, pillow, and rain pants in the right side bag. 

    No change.

Harness + Salty Roll (handle bar):  I pack the sleeping bag and down hoodie in the middle third of the Salty Roll bag, leaving more than a third of the bag on each side for all the clothes, except liner gloves, skull cap, and wind jacket. On the left side I pack camp shorts, camp shirt, extra pair of socks, stocking cap, arm warmers, and leg warmers. On the right side I pack the extra shorts and jersey, and a stuff sack of extra layers (waterproof gloves, waterproof socks, head band, buff)

    No change to packing what I bring, but I might not bring a second jersey and likely would not bring the waterproof gloves and socks. That would leave more extra space in that bag.

Egress Pocket (handle bar):  Strapped to the Harness and atop the Salty Roll bag, the Egress Pocket holds the ACA book and related notes, sunglasses/glasses, Bible, journal, paper, toilet paper, chain lube, and a bag of some medicinals. In the left side outside mesh pocket I pack a pair of liner gloves and in the right side outside mesh pocket I pack a skull cap.

    No change to this list, although I sometimes put other things in this readily accessible bag.

Adventure Cycling Map Case (handle bar):  This map case holds an Adventure Cycling map, is water resistant, sits atop the Loop Hole H-Bar bag, and doesn't move at all in use. Perfect.

    No change.

Loop Hole H-Bar bag (handle bar):  This bag sits under the map case, tucked into the space between the lateral tubes of the Jones handle bar. It's bigger than you think, is a great use of space, and is on the bike full time. In it I carried a pump, sunscreen, insect repellant, water filter, and head light.

    The pump barely fit into this bag and I plan to replace it with a larger one, so I'll find a new place to put the new pump, probably in the main triangle frame bag. If the Loop Hole H-Bar bag no longer holds a pump, I would move the chain lube and Bible from the Egress bag into this bag.

Mountain Feed Bag (handle bar/stem):  In the left side bag, I carry a 26 ounce water bottle, as well as lip balm in the outside mesh pocket. In the right side bag, I carry bear spray, just a few inches from my right hand for a quick draw.

    No change.

Mag-Tank 2000 bag (top tube by the handle bar):  This handy bag with a magnetic closure allows easy, one-handed access to 2,000 calories of on-the-fly food. I often put my camera in there, too.

    No change.

Jerry Can bag (top tube by the seat post):  This sneaky little bag holds an entire tool kit, including a tubeless repair kit, patch kit, tire plugs, CO2 cartridges, valve cores, valve stem, extra chain links, quick links, spare derailleur hanger, multi-tool, tire irons, and LeatherMan tool.

    I might substitute individual 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mm Allen wrenches and a chain breaker for the heavy multi-tool. Although I never had to use the multi-tool Allen wrenches on my ride, they can be hard to work with. The other tools in the multi-tool are pretty much covered by the LeatherMan Skeletool. 

Terrapin bag (seat post):  This modular setup comprises a harness that attaches to the bike and a 14 liter dry bag that easily removes from the harness. I pack this dry bag with food, so I can readily remove the entire bag for overnight storage away from my sleeping area. Think grizzly. In addition to 1-3 days of food, the Terrapin bag also carries the First Aid kit, two spare tubes wrapped with some duct tape, tire sealant, the ACA maps not in use, two 34 ounce collapsible water bladders, a spares stuff sack with zip ties, straps, and rope to hang a bear bag, a hygiene stuff sack with soap, razor, toothbrush/paste, zinc oxide, wipes, and hand towel, and a kitchen stuff sack with spork, salt/pepper, collapsible cups, can opener, spare matches, and iodine tablets. I also attached a bungee cord net atop the Terrapin bag to hold a Nemo seat pad and a wind jacket.

    No change, other than perhaps removing one of the two spare tubes and adding a third 34 ounce collapsible water bladder for the Great Basin and New Mexico. 

Frame Bag (main triangle):  The frame bag is divided into top and bottom compartments. The right side of the top compartment holds a 38 ounce water bottle and a 26 ounce "dirty" water bottle (used to draw and hold unfiltered water), as well as peanut butter, honey, tortillas and a spork for easy access for lunch. The left side of the top compartment is a relatively thin sleeve that holds wallet, flip phone, charger, electric cords, and mud scraper. The bottom compartment holds the top and bottom SmartWool base layers and a pair of aqua socks.

    No change, although I might leave the bottom base layer at home.

Down Tube Cage:  Strapped to a Salsa Anything Cage on the bottom side of the down tube is a stuff sack containing my Jet Boil MiniMo stove, fuel and cook pot.

    No change.

Rear Axle Cages:  Bottle cages near the rear axle hold two 38 ounce Soma Further water bottles, secured with a flexible tie-down.

    No change.

In addition to the bags and their contents, I mounted a CatEye cyclocomputer, CatEye head light, a Timber bear bell, a Knog Oi bell, a Stem Captain compass, some old stubby bar ends near the levers, and Ergon GP3 grips. The crowning touch is the Slow Moving Vehicle sign strapped to the back.

    No change.

That's it, for now. As you can see, I liked how all this gear packed on the bike and would not make any major changes. Like packing for the Cloud Peak 500, each bag has some extra room remaining, so I have some flexibility to change on the road, as needed. You never know when you want to carry a new Great Divide Cyclery water bottle or an Ovando Jail t-shirt.

Next up - What changes, if any, to the Jones 29+ for next time.

Pack It Up, Freddie King (1974)

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