Whether you are looking to reduce weight for a weekend overnighter, or cutting the grams for your next bikepacking race, there are a number of steps you can take to cut weight. At the same time managing your comfort and risk is also very important – and each rider is different. The below list describes a number of options for lightening your load. 1) Forget the tent – Poles and tent bodies are heavy and Lighten your Bikepacking Loadbulky, and while it may give you a sense of security, it will only weigh down your rig. There are two alternatives that seem to work well for bikepackers. A bivvy sac is one of the best options to drop the weight and the views from a bivvy are unparallelled. The next option would be a tarp tent. A tarp tent can be hung between trees, or can be propped up by your bike tire. If you insist on a tent, there are a few alternatives such as a single pole system, or an inflatable air supported pole system. Choosing a minimalist shelter may be the most effective way to save weight, but the comfort and security may be hard habit to kick. White Rim2) Leave the camp shoes at home – Camp shoes can prove to be an awkward shape and difficult to pack. There are some super light weight options that pack well, but do you really need them? Your best bet is to rock flats and ride in your comfortable shoes, or purchase some SPD shoes that work well for both riding and walking around after your day in the saddle. Bikepacker friendly clipless shoes tend to be much more comfortable than your standard cycling shoe and tend to work much better when you need to hike with your bike. DSC026243) Reuse layers and clothing – If you are carrying thermal knee and arm warmers, do you really need that additional long sleeve? Extra wool socks can act as mittens in the morning. Don’t pack for your fears, pack for what you can really see yourself needing on a daily basis. That advice can go for almost anything you bring.   Gear Differences: Colorado Trail Race vs. Arizona Trail Race4) Less water – We all need water to survive, but do you really need to carry it all from the start when it is readily available. Though it is important to carry extra water in case of emergency, you may not need four liters when there is a resupply option 25 miles into your ride. Water is heavy. A three liter hydration bladder that you pack in your frame bag or on your back weights seven pounds. Overall, bring extra for safety, but moderate amount by distance between resupply locations. 5) Go tubeless – The rewards are far superior than rocking a tube. On top of dropping weight you also get a better feel for your bike, the tires roll much more efficiently, and the tubeless sealant plugs most punctures. Don’t forget to still bring that spare tube for when things go awry. i32pc6) Use the full camp kitchen for car camping only – Bringing multifunctional cookware goes a long way. While there are some really cool new products like the X-Pot, the simplicity of cooking your food in the same pot you eat and drink out of leaves you with less weight and less cleaning. There are some oversize titanium mugs with lids on the market that double as a cook pot. tri_17) Sleeping pad options –  Unless you have a back problem, go minimalist with your sleeping pad or leave it at home entirely! While that may be very extreme, there are some ultralight alternatives. Cutting a foam pad to fit your shoulder blades down to your butt will cover the necessities. Other options are 3/4 length inflating pads, the ultralight Klymit pads, and others. Balancing comfort is difficult here, maybe start slowly by figuring out how lightweight you can go before you start effecting your sleep pattern. 8) Think of alternatives to bringing bulky layers –   Do your feet get cold while sleeping? Bring heat warmers instead of a large pair of wool socks. Down jackets compress much smaller than most synthetic jackets, likewise with sleeping bags. Wind layers like vests hold heat in extremely well, and pack down to a very small size. Bikepacking Repair Kit9) Share gear – When you are traveling with others, work together so that you don’t have duplicate gear. The easiest way to do this is to share cookware, not only will this reduce weight, but it will also reduce the bulk. Other Items that can be easily shared is water purification devices, tools and emergency items, first aid, medicine and so on. Spread your gear out in front of you and split it amongst your crew. 10) Ration your items – Leave the full bottle of ibuprofen at home, bring a small baggy or container to carry just enough for your days on trail. Same with your wallet, do your need the whole thing? ID, credit cards, insurance card and cash.  Talk about same idea with food and resupply points, as well as sunscreen, toothpaste, toothbrush etc. 11) Pack smart – How much is really in that handle bar bag? Can you fit the items in your frame or saddle bag? How about that stem bag? Are you really using both of them? Can you fit the rest of the contents into your top tube bag? When you have bags you tend to stuff them with extra gear, which equals more weight.

4 Comments

  1. If you’re carrying a down bag I do recommend a synthetic hoody. it’s hard to ride in a down jacket and keep it dry even when it’s not raining.

  2. I’ve done loads of tours, long-distance trips, ultralight bikepacking and backpacking, and this list was STILL helpful. Really well-written; a guide for the newbies and a skills drill for the veterans. Good stuff!

  3. Pingback: Plan and Prepair: 24 Hour Overnighter - Bikepackers Magazine

  4. Pingback: Plan and Prepair: 24 Hour Overnight - Bikepackers Magazine

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