In the summer of 2020 I rode 5521km from Vancouver, British Columbia to Whitehorse, Yukon and then onwards east all the way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Covering a distance of 5500km (3400 miles) over 29 days of riding, averaging 190km per day across 6 different major Canadian highways, packing the bike in an efficient and organized manner was key to success.
Detailed below is the setup and packing list I used throughout the tour, including changes I would make in future major undertakings.
The Bike and Setup
On the person
- Bike jersey
- Bib shorts
- MTB gloves
- Heart-rate monitor
- Cycling cap
- Arm sleeves
- MTB shoes
For a long distance cycling trip in the summer, it’s important to have a comfortable set of clothing which you don’t mind wearing for 10+ hours a day. It’s also a good idea to have a good pair of sunglasses, a cycling cap to protect your head from the sun and a pair of arm sleeves.
Blackburn Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll
- Bike jersey x 1
- Bib shorts x 1
- Socks x 1
- Merino wool underwear x 1
- Merino wool long-sleeve shirt x 1
- T-shirt and running shorts (1 set)
- Lightweight insulated gloves
- Galibier Tempest Pro rain jacket
- Louis Garneau rain pants
- Endura MTB shorts
- Big Agnes Air Core Ultra air mattress
- Mont Bell Downhugger 800 sleeping bag
I was extremely pleased with my gear selection for the handlebar roll. The only change I may have made would have been to not bring an extra set of bib shorts, and just stick with 1 pair of bib shorts and 1 pair of MTB shorts, which would allow my backside to get a chance to breath and air out. I also didn’t use the sleeping bag stuff sack and instead just stuffed the sleeping bag into the drybag.
About the Handlebar roll itself. One thing I really like about the Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll is that there is a harness to which the drybag gets strapped. This harness attaches to the handlebars with a bar-clamp type attachment and is very adjustable. Because of my narrow handlebars, I had to keep the roll almost as low as it could go so that it wouldn’t interfere with the shifters. This made it really tough to attach the drybag, as the top strap had to connect to the handlebar itself, which provided additional support for the drybag and harness. However, the webbing provided for this was hardly long enough, and I often had to pull as hard as I could in order to connect the hook. That was the only downside I could see with the drybag.
Blackburn Outpost Elite Seatpost Bag
- Tarptent Rainbow 1 person tent – approx. 1 kg
- Spare tubes x 2
- Sawyer Mini filtration system
- Homemade first aid kit
- Tylenol and Ibuprofen
- Medical tape
- Duct tape
- 2nd Skin
- Sterile bandage
Blackburn Outpost Tool Roll
- Tire levers
- Tubeless tire plug kit
- Tire tube repair kit
- Extra self-adhesive patches
- Parktool tire boots
- Blackburn digital pressure gauge
- Spare brake pads x 1
- Spare chain-links
- Quicklinks x 1
- CO2 canisters x 2 and mini adapter
- Spare shifter cable
- Spare valve cores
- Spare cage and accessory bolts
- Air mattress repair kit
This was my setup for the seatpost bag throughout most of the trip. On occasion other things were stuffed in the bag, such as rain gear when the weather was nice and there was no chance that I would need it. In future trips, I would take a more slimmed down version of my first air kit, most likely removing the small bit of duct tape and 2nd Skin. From my spare parts kit I would probably only bring 1 CO2 canister, put the tire patch kit into a very small ziplock bag, not carry chain-links and possibly not bring the air pressure gauge, but just rely on feel and check the tires more regularly.
The Blackburn Outpost Elite Seatpost Bag had very little sway and was suitable for carrying all the things I needed to carry. In hindsight I think that a lightweight rack with a frame bag would have been better as it would have allowed me easier access to my tent without the need of dumping everything out whenever I needed to get it. I also had to manufacture a bracket to mount my bag to my Brooks B17 seat, as the provided bracket is too narrow for the wide-railed Brooks seats. This essentially meant that I was carrying around extra weight for nothing.
Blackburn Outpost Elite Frame Bag
- Small tripod
- Mosquito headnet
- Sea to Summit Airlite Towel
- Sea to Summit Micro Clothesline
- Silicone travel bottles with chamois cream
- Emergency fire starter
- Rope for hanging food
- Peanut butter x 1 small jar
- Nutella x 1 small jar
Lower pocket (right side)
- Spare chain
- Dry chain wax
- Chain cleaner
- Tire sealant x 2 bottles
- Ziploc with toilet paper
- Zip ties
- Spare credit card
- Face mask (for covid)
The Blackburn Outpost Elite Framebag was excellent and overall, I had no major complaints with it. My only gripe with it was that the divider between the upper and lower compartments would ofter un-velcro, because of the weight of things pushing against it, which would cause it to bulge. However, this wasn’t an issue as it never rubbed against my legs while riding.
In the lower compartment, I carried my spare chain, chain wax and wax remover, as well as two bottles of tire sealant. For this tour I opted to ride my chains without lube and instead use wax, which was reapplied every few hundred kilometres. Overall this worked out really well, keeping my drive train incredibly clean and smooth.
The upper compartment of the frame bag held the things that I often needed as soon as I stopped my bike for a rest, such as my head net, chamois cream, and other things I had nowhere else to put. Any leftover space was usually filled up with jujubes and licorice.
Blackburn Outpost Elite Toptube Bag
Blackburn Outpost Elite Toptube Bag
- Anker 10,000 mAh powerbanks x 2
- Anker Power Port (wall adapter)
- Jabra wireless ear buds
- Spare GoPro battery
- Spare memory cards
- USB C cables x 2
- Micro USB cable x 1
- Sunscreen (outside mesh on top of bag)
The top tube bag was my tech bag and played such a vital role throughout the tour. This was where I carried everything that kept me connected to the world. It is supposed to be very rain resistant but at some point I decided to put my electronics in a ziploc just to be extra safe.
Drybags x 2
- MSR Rocket Rocket 2 Mini Stove Kit
- Spiderco folding knife
- Sea to Summit Shampoo
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Mini can-opener
- Mini bottle of olive oil, chilli peppers and salt
- Sea to Summit X-cup (to replace pot cozy I melted)
- Uncle Ben’s fried rice
- Idahoan instant mashed potatoes
- Instant oatmeal (breakfast)
- Tuna or canned ham x 3-4 cans total
- Granola bars
For my food solution, I used 2 drybags to carry the food and cooking gear as evenly distributed as possible, and which were then attached to the Salsa Anything Cage HD, which were in turn mounted to the front forks. This worked out really well, except for the fact that all my drybags wore small holes into them from the constant rubbing.
When bound for remote places I would carry up to a week worth of food and attach the extra drybag to the top of my seatpost bag. This wasn’t ideal as it caused it to bounce a bit more, but was the only place available to mount it.