I’ve got a theory that some folks don’t equate full-suspension bikes with bikepacking. Maybe it has something to do with losing front triangle space? Or perhaps it is the perception of extra complexity that suspension forks and rear shocks? For whatever reason, it just seems that you see more folks bikepacking on hardtails than full-sus bikes.
Last Fall, Kid and I did a quick bikepacking trip up north and we both decided we’d use our Horsethief bikes for the trip. Part of that decision was based around wanting to see what a bikepacking trip would be like on a 120mm-travel bike.
What I really like about my bikepacking setup is that it really stays the same regardless of the bike I’m riding.
It relies on the Revelate Designs Viscacha seat bag and the Outdoor Research Lateral dry bag (sadly discontinued) to hold most of my gear. This allows me to transfer it from one bike to the next without fuss and I don’t need multiple frame-specific bags that can only be used with that specific bike. From hardtail El Mariachi to full-sus Spearfish or Horsthief to Warbird gravel
bike and back…these two bags work.
That said, frame-specific bags are great as well. They really allow you to ‘perfect’ your gear for the bike and carry it neatly.
My bikepacking setup requires me to keep my kit pretty minimal in most cases, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Inside my front dry bag I always keep my sleeping quarters:
-Shelter is always my trusty and light Nemo El Gogo Elite bivy tent. It is small, light, and easy to put up.
-Sleeping pad is also by Nemo, their Astro insulated model. I find it offers plenty of support with its lateral design and the insulation helps block the
-Finally my Sierra Designs down bag provides plenty of warmth, but is also able to be compressed into a very small shape to save packing room.
Seat bags and full-suspension bikes don’t necessarily work well together as the bag can impact the rear tire on bigger hits. That said, I ride an XL size Horsethief so that problem is mitigated for me by sheer sizing luck. I’m always amazed at what can fit into this cavernous bag. Packed correctly the seat bag feels really solid, and doesn’t move around a bunch or hinder your bike maneuvering.
My seat bag usually holds:
-My sleeping attire (a good wool base layer top and bottom goes a long way).
-Extra riding clothes
-Esbit solid fuel tab stove and cook kit. This light, relatively inexpensive and simple design has won me over.
Most of my personal stuff and items I need to quickly reach go in my pack. On this trip, the Deuter Race EXP Air provided the right amount of space and water storage with support and comfort. But lately I’ve also started to use an Osprey Syncro 15 pack which I really like.
Inside my pack you will find:
-Snacks and energy food
-Bike tools and flat repair kit
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I really like the versatility of my setup. In theory, my gear could stay packed and at a moments notice be thrown on any of my bikes. I hope this information is of help to you as you put together or evolve your own bikepacking kit.
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I've been working in shops since before I could drive a car. I feel blessed to be able to fulfill one of my passions here with Salsa. Give me a pair of 29r wheels, one gear, and some dirt and I will be happy. I like to keep it simple. I'm also a sucker for some gears and pavement on the back roads of Wisconsin where I live. When I am not biking, I enjoy spending my time with my BEAUTIFUL wife and daughter. Family-Bikes-Music, my passions are and always will be in that order.