Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting all dressed up for bikepacking.

Remember the box that Fed Ex brought me, the one that suggested, "Go further"? This is what was in it. This is a very cool set of bikepacking bags from Carousel Design Works. Beginning at the bottom and heading clockwise, there is a bar bag, a saddle pack, a frame pack, and a fuel cell.

I spent some time this weekend fitting the bags to the Lev to check the fit and such, stuffed some of my gear in there to see what fit and what I need to replace, and just to get a feel for the whole set-up. I will be doing an extensive article series on this soon so I will just hit the high points in the blog, but the frame pack and the fuel cell are very cool and in fact, totally useful for more than bikepacking. The frame pack would be excellent for longer day trips where you need to pack some more stuff. The fuel cell would have been very cool for the last endurance race. GUs, snacks, odds and ends that you want to keep at hand without taking a pack off to access, etc. I likey.

The saddle pack is very nice and swallowed up a down vest and a long sleeve midweight jersey easily. It was a bit small for my 20* sleeping bag, but that bag is not really made for ultralight use. It also fit my tent (REI Chrysalis), both main section and the storm canopy with ease. Compression straps and the roll up end allowed for adjusting to the load contents.

The bar bag was a bit of a can-o-worms to get around all the brake and shifter lines, but I did come to some kind of arrangement that seemed acceptable. I could not fit my full length Big Agnes foam core pad as the rolled diameter was too great. I did fit a 3/4 length Thermarest and the tent poles with plenty of room for more stuff.

Now, I am already seeing the balance that needs to be made as far as what can and should be carried with you. As Jeff from Carousel Design Works pointed out, at some point you cross over from bikepacking to bike touring. That line is a fine one, and that is one of the things I need to sort out as I get into this.

So until then, here is the bike all dolled up and looking proud in its first outfitting. Much more to come.

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