Laurence McJannet, author of Bikepacking on the Wild trails of Britain, details how he racks up for a pedal-powered weekend adventure
On all but the shortest rides into my local hills i’ll distribute my kit between four bags: an Alpkit Koala 13-litre seat bag, an Alpkit Possum frame bag, a Wildcat Gear Mountain Lion handlebar harness (pictured below) and a 30-litre Deuter Bike One daypack.
In the daypack i’ll usually have a 3-litre Camelbak bladder, a gilet and an extra baselayer or Alpkit’s Filoment down jacket(pictured below), which offers bags of insulation but packs down really small. I’ll also have a selection of tools and spares, including patches and tyre levers, a multi tool, brake pads, spare batteries, a fork and spoon, Swiss Army knife and a Silva Cocoon headtorch (a tiny but powerful LED torch with a neat hinge for precise positioning and storage pouch built into the strap).
I stash my sleeping bag in my saddle bag. Last autumn I splashed out on the Nordisk Oscar (pictured below), and it’s been worth every penny. It weighs a measly 564g but will keep you warm and comfortable down to -6 degrees.
My frame bag usually holds my camping clothes: a wool hat, Answer XC gloves (which have a little padding but keep your fingers light enough to light stoves), a merino baselayer, thermal tights and spare wool socks. If I am bringing my hammock, which is an amazingly strong but compact Amazonas one made from parachute silk, then i’ll store that in here and make room in my daypack and handlebar bag for the spare clothes.
I have my cooking kit in my handlebar harness, carrying an Alpkit BruKit (a compact all-in-one stove and pan with electronic ignition, insulating cover and fold-out handfles) and Coleman 100C Propane/Butane self-sealing gas canisters, which screw straight on and fit handily inside the BruKit when not in use. I’ll also keep my Alpkit Rig tarp in here, and my bivvy bag, inflatable 3/4 sleeping mat, and my powdered drinks and dehydrated footstuffs. With all that, there’s still room in this 18-litre bag for a themos cup, coffee filter and, most importantly my hip flask!
I also have two smaller bags on the bike: Alpkit’s Stem Cell and the Fuel Pod (pictured), which I strap to the stem and top tube respectively. In these i’ll keep my GoPro and phone, plus any mid-ride snacks, energy bars and gels. If I’m going on longer trips i’ll use a couple of SKS bottle cage adapters so I can mount extra water bottles on the frame or forks.
I pedal in regular walking shoes – waterproof ones by Teva – rather than cycling cleats as they’re more comfortable when I have to get off and push, and they can be worn around camp at night.
Bikepacking: Mountain Bike Camping Adventures on the Wild Trails of Britain by Laurence McJannet is available from all good bookshops (£16.99, Wild Things Publishing).