All the gear...

A few people asked about my gear for the HTT550. I'm by no means and expert but just asked a lot of people and tried to make it work for me.

I just went with the bike I had. Other bikes may or may not be more appropriate but I rode a lot on my racy carbon hardtail last summer and I love it. A merida big 7.  So we went on the adventure together and it was great. I even just went with the tyres I'd put on last year for the Breck Epic (maxxis ardent) because they were on the bike and seemed in ok nick and would be good for all conditions as well as pretty tough.

I had a Garmin 810 with some free maps from open streetmap. I barely know how to use it but it seemed to point me in the right direction and I could charge it by trailing a cable to powerpack in my framebag (the garmin battery lasts about 11-12hr). I needed an SD card in it (I am such a novice, I didn't realise this for a while) and the pro tips I got were to make sure it wasn't a cheapo one, that the maps and .gpx file were both on the SD card rather than the unit and that you tape up the port for the SD card as it can come undone and eject itself.

My first few bike packing trips were done with bungees and dry bags. Which is fine until your bungee gnaws through the dry bag and your sleeping bag gets soaked through.
I then switched to a full wildcat gear set-up, which (once I worked out how it all worked) seemed really easy and no hassle.

The framebag was custom made to fit round my waterbottle. I just took a 750ml waterbottle and filled it up from rivers (though not in sheepy areas and I carried an extra bottle in my back pocket on day 1 because the forecast was so hot).  My framebag had bike spares* and minimalist first aid kit, sachets of suncream and chamois cream, power pack (which I had to charge at least once during the week), midgie net, repellent, cables for charging various things, front light and sometimes a bit of food. Eventually my framebag chaffed my legs so much that I resorted to wearing longs, even when it was hot. Overfilling of framebag is definitely to be avoided but I think I also turn my knees in when I cycle which makes this worse.

*2 tubes-one in my stemcell bag, spare rear mech hanger, cable ties, tyre boot, chain link, lube, tools, patches, cable ties, electrical tape.

Bar bag (wildcat lion):  tiny tiny OMM sleeping bag, laser comp tent, a few spare clothes shared between here and the seatpack depending on what I was wearing, paper maps. Sometimes some food.

Seatpack (wildcat tiger): Neoair rollmat, extra gloves and clothes.

Top tube bag (wildcat): food, phone, cash
Stemcell bag (alpkit, attached to stem and bars): as much food as possible and one of my two spare tubes

One cycling jersey (I'm sorry world! It smelled a bit)
Two pairs of shorts
Three pairs of socks (I got rid of one after day one, as I knew it was going to be scorching so wore really lightweight socks) - one waterproof, one merino
Merino baselayer for sleeping in
One pair cycling tights
Two pairs of gloves (I am bad for cold hands)
Two thin fleecy jumpers that I could layer if need be
Waterproof jacket
Waterproof socks
Arm warmers. So happy about those for letting me adjust my temp

Where stuff didn't fit in my pack I put it in my jersey pockets (food, jacket...)

Sometimes I wanted headphones or a proper camera but mostly didn't mind not having the extra weight.
And I think that's about it for kit. A few practice runs worked well for telling me what I needed and where to store it.  Overall, I was pretty happy with my gear choices but I suppose different things work for different people and weather.


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