Gear List for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR)

Compared to how I usually pack for bicycle touring, my kit for the GDR isn’t much different. I’m using a 1 person tent, not carrying a laptop and I don’t need to carry food for a week, so rear panniers aren’t needed. As a replacement for the panniers and Revelate Pika seat bag I usually use, I’m using a Carradice Camper Longflap saddlebag supported by a Bagman 2 QR saddlebag support. If you are interested, the rest of the kit rundown is:


To save pack space and weight, I’m using a 1 person tent and instead of a traditional sleeping bag, I’m using a down quilt.

  • MSR Hubba 1 person tent – I prefer the original Hubba over the NX for the stealthy green color
  • MSR Hubba footprint – enables pitching the tent with just the fly.
  • DAC J-Stake tent pegs – after breaking the tops off a few MSR Groundhogs, I’ve gone back to these
  • NEMO Siren down quilt 30 degree rating and only 19 ounces
  • Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack keeps the down dry
  • Klymit Static V sleeping pad – a cheaper and more durable alternative to the NeoAir
  • Stuff sack with extra cloths for a pillow

I don’t use padded cycling shorts and prefer the pockets, durability and appearance of regular cloths. While I’m not afraid of cotton and don’t mind synthetics, I prefer the softness and odor resistance of wool.

  • Thrift store button down short sleeve shirt – comfortable, cheep, and when it gets to ratty I just buy another
  • Cut off shorts – Carhartt’s for now Replaced with a pair of Patagonia shorts off the clearance rack.
  • Thrift store button down long sleeve shirt – for sun protection or nights on the town
  • Ibex half zip jersey – loose fitting and well worn
  • Ibex Woolies 150 top lightweight base layer
  • Ibex Leg Warmers
  • Marmot packable hiking pants – lightweight and quick drying
  • 1 pair of cycling socks – I prefer a wool and synthetic blend
  • 1 pair of thick socks – mostly for cold weather sleeping
  • 2 pair of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) synthetic underwear – I prefer regular underwear over cycling shorts
  • RAB Boreas Pull-On half zip shirt – very light, a bit wind resistant, and most bugs, including mosquitoes, don’t get through the material
  • Smartwool half zip long sleeve – a mid-weight pullover top
  • Patagonia ultralight wind vest thrift store find
  • RAB Strata hooded puffy jacket – a breathable puffy jacket
  • Gore Bike Wear Alp-X Gore-Tex cycling jacket – the best cycling rain jacket I’ve found
  • Cannondale cycling rain pants
  • Boss Arctik Xtreme insulated knit work gloves – cheap and warm
  • Eastern Mountain Sports half finger cycling gloves
  • VAUDE Bike Gaiter waterproof shoe covers – they fit over regular shoes
  • Bandana – sun protection and first aid
  • Mesh trucker hat sometimes I don’t wear a helmet, but I always wear a hat
  • Alpaca wool winter hat bought at a market in Peru years ago
  • Chaco Z2 sandals I do most of my bike touring in Chacos.
Cooking and Eating:

After many years using a MSR Wisperlite, then a MSR Dragonfly, I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity and silence of an alcohol stove. As a bonus, the fuel doesn’t leave your hands and bags stinking.

  • Trangia alcohol stove – simple and silent
  • Clickstand stove support for the Trangia Spirit Burner
  • Snow Peak Trek 1400 titanium cookset – I prefer the larger pot for 1 pot meals
  • Snow Peak Trek 700 titanium mug – I use it as a coffee mug or bowl and it nests in the Fairshare Mug
  • Mini Bic lighter – I keep this in the cookset in addition to the lighter I carry
  • MSR Mugmate coffee filter – the easiest coffee method I’ve found besides instant
  • Gold plated spoon I found at a thrift store.
  • Small plastic spatula – for scraping the bottom of pots and jars.
  • Homemade Reflectix pot and mug cozy – little weight compared to the long term fuel savings
  • Ursack Minor Kevlar food bag keeps the smaller critters out of my food when it’s hung
  • 375ml cheap plastic alcohol bottle for fuel – stored in my frame bag

While I can go weeks without a shower, I always brush my teeth at least twice a day.

  • Half used tube of toothpaste
  • New toothbrush – why are toothbrushes so expensive?
  • Q-tips
  • Small pair of scissors – lots of uses from altering cloths to trimming my beard
  • Nail clipper
  • Roll of TP
  • Wet Wipes
  • Small pack towel – I store this in my cook pot to reduce the rattling noise
First Aid:

I pack just enough to handle the common ailments and accidents.

  • Assorted dressings, bandages and band-aids and gauze
  • Steri Strips – wound closure
  • 2mm disposable suture kit
  • Ibuprofen – pain and swelling
  • Loperamide – anti-diarrheal
  • Benadryl – antihistamine
  • Rescue Essentials Mini Tweezers
  • Leukotape P tape
  • One razor blade
  • Nitrile Gloves
Maintenance and Repair:

I try to keep the kit light, but well equipped for bike and gear disabling disasters.

  • Leatherman Rebar multi-tool – carried on my belt and used for everything from food prep to opening faucets without handles.
  • 15mm wrench for the Rohloff axle bolts and pedal removal
  • 8mm / 10mm combo wrench – the two most used sizes
  • T-20 Torx wrench for Rohloff bolts
  • Crank Brothers Multi 19 tool – great chain breaker and spoke wrench
  • Plastic Shimano Hollowtech II tool for the outer crank arm bolt – I’ve used this a lot for bottom bracket adjustment and repair
  • Spare shifter cable – the Rohloff uses a slightly smaller ferrule but it’s easy to modify a standard cable with a file.
  • Fiber Spokes – I carry two
  • Replacement spokes two front and two rear with nipples, stored in my handlebar
  • King Cage titanium tire levers – light and strong
  • Generic patch kit
  • Presta to Schrader valve adapter – for touring I use Schrader valve tubes
  • 2 extra tubes – Schrader valve
  • A few miscellaneous nuts, bolts and washers
  • 2 chainring bolts that also double as Rohloff disk rotor bolts.
  • A few chain links and a master link
  • Front and rear disk brake pads – left out for trips under 2 weeks
  • Gorilla Tape – the strongest duct tape I have found
  • Tyvek tape– for fabric repair
  • Zip ties
  • Small tube of Aquaseal
  • Small sewing kit – thick nylon thread, one straight and one curved needle, 2 safety pins and that’s about it.
  • 2 hose clamps
  • 3 feet of baling wire – there’s a reason why farmers fix everything with this stuff
  • Lezyne Micro Drive HV pump with gauge – the best pump I’ve found for high volume tires
  • Chain lube, an old toothbrush with a chopped handle, and a rag
Camera and Electronics:

No laptop for this trip, my smartphone will handle the communication and I’m using my old mirrorless camera to save weight and space. Many image corrections can be made post process, but polarizing and ND filters are still irreplaceable in my book.

  • Olympus PEN EPL-3 micro four-thirds camera
  • Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens – this stays on most of the time.
  • Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 R zoom lens – stored in a vintage Olympus lens case
  • Olympus VF-2 Electronic Viewfinder with EP-9 eyecup – allows image composing like a DSLR
  • 3 Olympus batteries
  • Tiffen 37mm and 58mm polarizing filters – I love the effect polarizing filters give to mountain skies
  • Cokin graduated ND8 filter – I just hold it in front of the lens to darken the sky
  • Lens pen and cleaning cloth
  • Silicon Power 64GB Firma ZN F80 flash drive for backing up photos from my camera and phone
  • ASUS ZenFone 2 ZE551ML a $200 unlocked, dual SIM Android smartphone that I’m also using as my computer and GPS with the apps, Mavrick and OruxMaps
  • Zagg Pocket Keyboard turns my ZenFone into a mini computer
  • Skullcandy Ink’d flat cable earbuds – decent sound, cheap and durable
  • Micro USB Host OTG Cable with Micro USB Power for attaching a USB flash drive to my phone for photo backups
  • Micro USB SD Card Reader for downloading images from my camera to my phone
  • Brunton Ember 2800 solar charger power pack – a solar power booster for my USB electronics. It supplements my dynamo for when I’m riding too slow.
  • Assorted chargers and cables

All the little things.

  • Planet Bike Superflash rear blinky light
  • Aardvark reflective triangle – I attach it to my Carradice seat bag
  • Black Diamond Revolt headlamp – USB rechargeable
  • SteriPEN Freedom – I have a strong stomach and drink most water without treating, but this is great for the questionable stream and lake fill ups.
  • MSR 6 liter Dromedary Bag – boosts my water capacity to two days for the long, dry stretches.
  • Tyvek postal envelopes – free stuff sacks for organization.
  • Two Zefel Magnum 164 1 liter water bottles – mounted on the fork legs
  • One Nalgene 48oz water bottle – strapped to the underside of the downtube
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Foam earplugs – I keep these in the small pocket on my sleeping bag
  • Suunto Clipper compass – for when all else fails
  • Mosquito head net – keeps me sane during bug infested bike repairs
  • Notebook and pen pocket sized and gets stored with my passport
  • Sharpie marker – when making signs for hitchhiking it’s easy to find cardboard, but hard to find a marker
  • 30 feet of 550 cord – multiple uses, but mostly used to hang the food bag
  • A few extra straps for lashing items to the bike
  • Plastic bag with my passport, important papers, and SD card with digital document copies
  • Cheap cable combination bike lock
  • Foster Grant sunglasses – the best Walmart had
Bags and Racks:

I’m using a full complement of modern bikepacking bags, but am going traditional with my canvas saddle bag, preferring it’s shape and expandability.

  • Revelate Designs frame bag – I’m using the model that is made for the Surly Pugsley to get a little extra capacity, but it fits the Troll perfect.
  • Revelate Designs Sweetroll – used as a dry bag in the Revelate Harness
  • Revelate Designs Harness – provides more support than the Sweetroll and holds my tent poles and sleeping pad as well
  • Ortlieb Ultimate 6 M Plus handlebar bag– Modified to clip into the Revelate Harness and holds my camera gear, wallet, headlamp and documents
  • Carradice Camper Long Flap saddlebag
  • Carradice Bagman 2 QR Expedition support – these seem impossible to find now
  • Revelate Designs Gas Tank – holds frequently used items such as my spork and sunscreen
  • Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage – under the downtube, I bent it a little to clear the chairing
  • Delta Megarack Cargo Net stretches over my Carradice bag and holds my helmet and rain jacket
  • Lots of extra straps to keep things from rattling around

One thought on “

  1. This was a great read. I am planning taking my son in two years when he is 12. We love biking and this trip should be epic

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