My First Bikepacking Trip

If you are a regular visitor to our blog, you're probably used to reading about huge multi-day affairs. This is not that. This is about my first bikepacking experience.

A couple weeks ago, Salsa sales guys Andy and Bobby and I went on a short bikepacking adventure. We left after work and rode south of Salsa HQ about 15 miles to Cleary Lake Regional Park, where we had secured a site to camp overnight. Upon arrival at the campsite we were greeted by clouds of the Minnesota state bird: the Mosquito. After the mosquitoes sucked enough blood out of us to make us light headed, we got a fire going, cooked dinner, drank some beers and had a good old time.

It was a great introduction to bike-packing, as this was my first attempt. We even made it back to work on time the next morning. There was not a huge time commitment nor was there a need for a high level of fitness.

For those that want details of my setup, here it is:

2012 Salsa Fargo

Revelate Designs Gas Tank for food, camera, etc

Frame Bag for stove, gas, cooking pot and misc items

Viscacha Seat Bag with sleeping pad and bag, and food

Outdoor Research Lateral Dry Bag used as a handlebar bag, which is the perfect size for my one person tent.

Anything Cage with a 10 liter stuff sack with clothes in it.

Everything worked quite well. and there was not much I would change. I may pack stuff differently next time, but overall there wasn’t anything I really missed.

So if you’re contemplating giving this whole bikepacking thing a try, I offer this story as both inspiration and as a reminder that you can start small. This is a great way to find out what works, and what doesn’t, and to figure out what you need and what you don’t, so when or if you decide to go bigger you’ll be better prepared. So get out there and give it a try!

This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Fargo Gear List Overnighter Thomas Scherber

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Thomas Scherber

Thomas Scherber

I’m the buyer for Salsa and when I’m not staring at spreadsheets, I like to ride bikes, any kind, anywhere. I like to take the road or trail that I have never been down and see where it goes. The band would like to thank: Katy, Bram, Lake Superior, Duluth, craft beer, Low, potatoes, Minnesota, cheap Mexican beer, The Marshall Islands, Gin, Jack Kerouac, The Big Lebowski, Semsational, avocadoes, Copper Harbor, Ernest Hemingway, the outdoors, and The Netherlands.


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DC | August 14th, 2012

Nice! And kicking it on a weekday, too!

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cmherron | August 14th, 2012

Love the weekday outing!  This is a great reminder that bike packing doesn’t have to be a huge couple of days in the saddle.  Getting out and camping with your bike is great fun, no matter how far you go.
Thanks for the reminder!

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gremlin | August 14th, 2012

Who carried the beers?

Andy Palmer

Andy Palmer | August 14th, 2012

I did! My sleeping bag and pad helped keep my clothes dry when a can decided to open in my dry bag. Other than that, it was a great little trip.

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Don Phillips | August 15th, 2012

Good that you were able to go with some seasoned veterans.  Looks like you’ve been “compact” camping before, which helps, so you had all the necessary gear. 

I am working on building up my arsenal of camping supplies that are small enough to carry on my person or bike.  Thanks for sharing!  I’m sure the Salsa corporate offices have a fine shower facility for the morning after (smile).


Don Phillips

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Salsaholic in CO | August 15th, 2012

THANK YOU - “Baby Steps” (What About Bob?) is good!Three of us decided to go on our first bikepack trip - a two-day overnight 100+ total miles ride carrying backpacks, with a B&B thrown inbetween. We don’t have the gear to camp yet, but we enjoyed the trip so much we’re palnning to invest - and palnning another overnighter before winter. Anyone out there have good suggestions for sleep gear, tent, and stove? We’ve already figured out the beer part! REI here I come…

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Jason | August 15th, 2012

Nice setup!  I too went for my first bikepacking trip on my Vaya last weekend.  Unlike what most bikepackers do, I started off with all the right gear rather than earn it over time - looks like you did the same!

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Chris | August 16th, 2012

I found you by searching for someone using that Lateral Dry Bag on a bike… so I’m curious, is that the 25L size?

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HugoFar | August 16th, 2012

Salsaholic in CO,check out for Gear reviews and ideas about kit. There’s a lot there that can help. Enjoy.


Scherbs | August 16th, 2012

Chris, it was a 10L Lateral Dry Bag.  It fit my one person tent perfectly, and just fit between my 42cm Woodchipper handlebar.  If you go with a flat bar, you could probably go with a bigger bag.

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BG | August 16th, 2012

Hey,  great mini-adventure! I am new to the salsa world and just got my Fargo 2 last week and starting to get set up. Looking forward to some bikepacking trips of my own. What size is the Fargo 2 in the pic? Trying to get a visual on how big the frame bags are. 

Oh and thanks for the website suggestion Hugofar.

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Glenn Charles | August 16th, 2012

Congrats.  I love the small ‘Micro Adventure’ as much as I love the big epic trip.  Congrats on getting out there and just doing it.  Well done!

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Salsaholic in CO | August 27th, 2012

HugoFar - Thanks for the web referral - I’m on it!
Anyone - Check out the tents and bags at GoLite - a Boulder CO company.
Also - Cyclosource Store (Adventure Cycling) for good ideas, and stuff…
AND - Revelate all the way! Check out Eric’s new (last week), revised “Harness” design.

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