The Big 3 of bikepacking gear – sleeping bag, shelter, and frame bags – are oft discussed. As are the navigation and safety gadgets that bikepackers like to use. But little things that can make a bikepack trip all the more enjoyable are often overlooked. Below are some of my favorite unnecessary but useful bikepacking add-ons.
As a bonus, all of these add-ons can be used on normal day rides.*
*If you use the Buckshot, make sure your riding buddies like your taste in music. Otherwise, it may not matter since you’ll be riding solo all the time.
Turn the Divide Basin into a Disco
The OT Buckshot Bluetooth speaker is rugged, it’s light, and the sound quality is good enough. Earbuds can be uncomfortable (and unsafe) after hours on the bike. The Buckshot fits in a jersey pocket, small frame bag, or can be mounted on the bike. I’ve ridden many miles with mine and it’s a solid accessory. Also, it’s (I hope) a good bear deterrent. Crank up the jams, and (again, hopefully) scare those grizzlies deeper into the trees.
Up: Rugged, waterproof, light, 24 hour battery life
Down: One more thing to keep charged on the trail. Needs line of sight with your phone for best results.
Watts. But Not From You
More and more of the things we carry on the trail need to be recharged. Like the OT Buckshot. GPS units, lights, and smartphones are power hungry too. I looked around at a few different battery banks, and finally settled on the Anker PowerCore 5000. It’s tube-shaped design makes it an easy fit into a top tube bag, map pocket, or even a jersey pocket. At 5000 mAh, it’s got enough juice to charge a smartphone or a few high-capacity batteries like the Fenix 18650s that I use in my primary light. Even if you’re using a dynamo system, this little battery bank is a solid backup choice.
Up: Inexpensive, light, powerful.
Down: When it’s out of juice, you’re out of juice. Also, one more thing to keep charged.
Locked and Loaded
The Hiplok Z Lok is a heavy duty, reusable zip tie. It weighs 20g. It tucks away into your bags and is forgotten about until you need to lock your bike up while you go into that gas station or grocery store. I’ve used the lock. It works. But don’t lose the key. Seriously. Don’t lose the key. The locks come in a few different colors, and they ship in pairs. But only 1 key is included. For 2 locks. I don’t understand that.
If you’re worried about bike security on the trail, get the Z lok.
Up: Prevents grab-n-go theft at the Grab-N-Go. Light, easy to use.
Down: Only includes 1 key. Short, so finding a place to lock up can be a challenge.
So there you go. 3 inexpensive, solid add-ons for your bikepacking kit. I use each of these items and they’ve all made time out on the trail better. I’ll have all 3 of these things in Banff in 2018, just like I did in 2017.
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