As I started my central Asian section of the ride I really wanted to push lightweight touring even further and drop the panniers completely.
I have my Apidura bar bag, Apidura frame bag and I have now added the Apidura saddle pack. Sadly I failed and I also have two part filled panniers. I could take one but the bike would be out of balance and in the Kazakh and Uzbek desert I will need to carry up to 8l of water and a few days food so that is why they stay.
Here is a close up of the awesome Apidura saddle pack in action, so far I don’t have a bad word to say about it. Fits well, stays stable when riding and fits stuff in it like a tardis.
So bag by bag here is my current kit list for central Asia:
Apidura bar bag contains:
Sleeping Bag – Mountain Hardware phantom 15,
waterproof jacket and pants – Goretex paclite Berghaus,
Inflatable Pillow and 3 pairs of M&S cotton socks,
The Apidura frame bag contains:
Five spare tubes and three patch kits! They’re hard to find here!
Spork, penknife, nail scissors and multi tool from Topeak
Headlamp and rear light
Spare brake pads, spare G+B cables , bolts, chain links, spd cleat, spare spokes, spoke tool, tyre patches, tyre levers
Spare go pro and DSLR batteries
Spare food and toothbrush/paste squeezes in too!
Tent poles fit under the frame too
The Apidura saddle pack fits lots of bulky kit:
Tent – Terra Nova solar competition
sleeping matt -Decathalon Forclaz
Stove and titanium pan – MSR Dragonfly
Down jacket and fleece
Bike lock cable
The back panniers are quite empty:
The first one is empty bar a filter bottle then space for a water container
The second is also pretty empty:
Morvelo T Shirt, trekking trousers, pants and merino thermal
First aid kit
Spare bike liner shorts
Go pro mounts
Finally this is my normal riding kit, I now have just one Morvelo kit, its going to smell bad but it’s light!
I also have the same Ortleib camera bag on the bars for my DSLR and lens.
I really couldn’t decide whether I should just lose the panniers and squeeze it all in but being on my own the spare space is nice. After the Uzbek desert I will need warm clothing for the high mountains, so the water space will be used up with thermals. It also gives me a plan ‘b’ if a bag breaks in the middle of nowhere.
What changes did I make to the kit?
I swapped our 2.3kg 2 man tent for 900 gram solo tent. Carrying stove and first aid kit from marion add weight. No longer have the spare Morvelo kit nor spare T Shirt nor the Gillet. I have Marion’s epicly warm and lighter Mountain Hardware sleeping bag. The new sleeping mat is heavier than the Karrimor X Lite but it still holds air unlike the Karrimor! I lost the big camera tripod and some extra batteries, I also ditched the solar panel to save weight.
With Marion gone and no one to share kit with the weight I am carrying still feels pretty good, I have ditched kit but not sacrificed on safety as I head into some remote and unknown countries and landscapes. It is going to be an interesting adventure that’s for sure!!
Great article….can you remember what was the size of the Apidura saddle pack
Thanks, I used the largest bag size, the regular I think it’s called. I used the largest size for all the bags they make.
This may sound stupid – but can you possibly do a video showing how you get your stuff into the seat pack?
I am looking at the gear that is to go in and seeing everything in stuff sacks/compression bags and wondering how you manage to get it to sit nicely within the seat pack without lots of empty space?
You’re right that there is a certain technique I have developed for packing kit over the years of bike packing. The saddle bag must be pretty much full and ideally have something with structure inside. I like your video idea and I will put something together and on the blog!
However as a quick overview, put compactable clothes in first to fill the end of the wedge near the seat post as this needs to be full and solid, then put bivvy bag/tent and roll matt in as these add structure. I then slide clothes around these to fill it up so it doesn’t move about. Then close it and pull all straps as tight as they go.