I have never done anything close to bikepacking but decided to dip my toe in the waters and cycle the Hebridean Way in Scotland in the summer of 2023. It’s 430km (270 miles). I am not planning to camp or cook. Taking it easy and booked B&Bs along the way. I want to pack as light as poss, can you recommend a good kit too - bike bags etc. I don’t know if the seatpost bags or handlebar ones are better. Or simply a rucksack and ditch the bike load altogether? Some photos of your set ups would be great help. Thanks in advance.
Not cooking or camping along the way will make it considerably lighter.
If I was cutting a bag out it would be my tail bag as that is most noticeable wagging about when riding. Is this being done on a drop bar or mtb?
If was planning, I’d prob start by working out what I needed to take then buy bags in increments until you have enough space for everything you need. I reckon going for a fast n light setup you could prob do it on a frame bag, top tube bag and small bar bag. I actually really like small bar bags for daily use and not filling my pockets up with crap.
This is my small bag:
And this is me loaded up with excessive water since it was mid-drought, but in the end, I couldn’t use my Jetboil cos of said drought so had far too many bottles with me! Could easily leave the tail ones behind. This has hooped bivvy bag and sleeping bad so removing that I’d have lots of space and prob could lose the tail bag easily.
Another quick thought, go for a ride kitted up before the big trip to get an idea of the pace you’ll be going and if everything works. I found I’m slower even on pretty flat cycle paths so you might need to plan for longer days (so need more food/water) or an extra day.
I also found with the frame bag combined with me riding a small bike I couldn’t get water bottles out while moving as there wasn’t space. This was solved with side loading cages but needed a shakedown trip to realise this.
Great tips particularly with the water bottles! I’m on gravel bike hence drops
I’ve bought a Tailfin aeropack this summer for my Roubaix and was impressed by the quality which falls into engineering porn category. I take a little pleasure every time I take it on or off such good the mechanisms are.
I rode quite a bit on Portuguese countryside cobblestones and had zero rattling (of the pack, less sure about my teeth)
I would suggest the following:
- Small or Medium sized saddle pack.
- Stem Bag or Top Tube bag. Both give you easy access mid-ride.
- If necessary for more space, a medium size handlebar bag.
I like to balance the weight added to the front and back end. I run Apidura’s Expedition series but most options are fairly interchangeable.
What I wouldn’t run unless camping:
- A larger handlebar bag or large saddle pack.
- Frame bag. They just seem to get in the way of water bottles.
Sorry, I don’t have a photo of my set up other than fully loaded for camping.
As an aside, I think the B&B option is great if you are in areas there that’s an option.