Weekend bikepacking is all about challenging how light you can get away with, but without putting yourself in danger if something does go wrong.
For example one cooking pan will work as a pan, plate, bowl and mug. A buff is a hat or neck warmer. One set of spare dry warm clothes is enough to wear in evening and sleep in. The essential safety kit you need will vary depending on where you’re going, but I will focus on my kit for the wetter climate of Scotland.
Bike bags I take for weekend bivvy camping trip in Scotland
Large Apidura Saddle Pack 17litres
Large Apidura Bar Bag 17litres
Large Apidura Frame bag 6litres
Accessory pocket 5litres
The saddle pack
1. Spare dry thermal legs and thermal top plus a buff preferably all merino to hold warmth when wet.
2. Inflatable tube style roll mat e.g. Therma-rest neo-air, Decathalon Forclaz, or Alpkit numo, are what I’ve used.
3. A bivvy bag weighing about 400gms (mine is Terra Nova Gore Tex). My Tera Nova Laser 1 tent weighs 900gms so fits in if needed.
4. A fleece top rather than down jacket. When it’s going to be wet a fleece holds up better than a down jacket in the damp.
5. Spare dry socks for the evening, essential.
The Bar Bag
1. Down sleeping bag inside a dry bag. Mountain Hardwear Phantom. If your sleeping bag doesn’t fit get another one it’s too big and heavy!
2. Pan – Titanium Snow Peak, stove MSR Pocket Rocket, spork and gas can all fitting inside the pan, squeezed in after the sleeping bag. Pad the stove with a sock as it rattles loads! I love my MSR Dragonfly but it’s too big for trips like this.
To aid packing the sleeping bag, open both ends of the bar bag to let air escape and it slides in easier.
The Frame bag
No structure needed here so put food in that will be used up and other bits that can’t be squashed as much.
1. At least one spare tube, Puncture repair kit
2. Bike Spares:
Small pump, chain oil, multi tool (with chain tool) and/or pen knife, spare chain link, bike lights if riding long days.
3. Snacks in here also for easy access.
4. All my food that can’t fit in saddle pack.
5. First aid kit – Tape, dressing pad, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, plasters
6. Bits n pieces:
Head torch, compass, Cash + bankcard, lighter, map, phone,
Waterproof jacket and trousers. If forescast is clear I would take just a jacket and squeeze it in the saddle pack, but rarely the case in Scotland so I clip this accessory pack on the bar bag!
That’s all I take for an overnight camping trip, anything else weighs you down.
Packing kit for super light overnight Bothy or mountain hut Trip
Apidura 9 litre Dry Bar Bag
Apidura 9 litre Dry Saddle pack
Large Apidura Frame bag 6litres
For weekend Hostel or bothy trips I use the smallest size dry Apidura bar and saddle bags and I totally love them. No liners needed as they are 100% sealed, just put clothes directly inside. I even dropped them in a river to test and they were all dry inside!
1. Sleeping bag
2. Roll mat compressed directly into bar bag. (Open both ends to let air out when packing)
2. Any clothes extra can squeeze in from the saddle pack.
No cooking gear taken just a cold meal packed, could fit stove and pan in accessory pocket clipped on the front if needed.
Frame pack taken for the same food and bike spares as discussed above:
With no bivvy bag or roll mat in this set up, I use the smaller dry pack for clothes only as per my list above and I squeeze in waterproofs too. By cramming them in and the thicker material of the dry pack also allows good structure for the pack without a air mat or bivvy bag.
Any questions on kit the lists let me know. The key is going light but not dangerously light. You need emergency dry clothes and essentials like map and compass but throw out that poncho.