Advice on what to carry?
Take what you think you will need and if it’s too much you can always mail it back. If you aren’t racing or doing something crazy it won’t be a problem. For cold weather, definitely bring an appropriately rated sleeping bag, extra clothes, and gloves. The shoes don’t need to be too fancy – size 13 and few pairs of wool socks will do the trick. It’s also important to have good goggles, thermos and a lot of patience when setting up or packing.
Advice on what to eat?
Instant mash potatoes, noodles, oatmeal, nutella, PB, poptarts and tuna packets/cans. Chili works well and you can eat it cold, especially if you like to spend the most time riding on those long summer days in the north. Buying an extra large pizza in town is great, will last for a few meals. In Mexico some of these items were hard to find so I ended up cooking more, which is perfect due to shorter days. Eating out can be very cheap too and easily doable on <$10 a day. Food is really dependent on where you are. You could be chewing on a frozen smoked salmon with your ski mask pulled down or hiding in the shade to eat tortas and cold coca cola! But as a touring cyclist – eat what you can get your hands on.
Size, specs and species of your ride?
Surly Troll with Rock Shox Coil front suspension. Everything else is mix and match, 9 speed drive train, Avid bb7’s, Shimano hubs with Rhyno lite rims. In 2015 I ditched my pannier/rack combo for a set of Blackburn Outpost bags. I can see using a rear rack for winter touring or packrafting, but it is unlikely that I’d ever go back to fully loaded touring. It really limits where you can go and how far you can carry your bike if needed. I also rode a Niner Jet 9 over the summer, however I decided to stick to 26″ for Central and South America. I absolutely loved full suspension and 29″ on the trail but these parts can be hard to find and also significantly more expensive.
Thoughts on essential bike equipment?
Front suspension and larger tires, unless you are racing or in a real rush. Spare brake pads, pump, patches (glue can dry out, so grab some glueless ones just in case). I’ve been using a Sawyer filter, although I carry iodine tablets for the sketchy-funny tasting pond water.
Until Mexico I used a Jetboil stove – super quick and easy to use, worked even in -30c (just slightly slower). I am now using an MSR Dragonfly – it takes gasoline which is easy to find and cheap.
Thoughts on essential gear for staying alive?
Zipties, hose clamps, duct tape, coffee and nutella. Having an emergency bivvy is also always good.
Favorite trail/bikepacking recommendations?
Logging roads around Fraser Canyon and The Chilcotin in British Columbia – remote, tough and wild. Some magical sections of CDT (Herman Gulch / Argentine Pass, Helena to Idaho / Montana border).
If you have yet to check out Iohan’s videos check out his You Tube channel and enjoy one of his videos below.