What’s better than riding mountain bikes with 12 friends? Going on an overnight bikepacking adventure on beautiful backcountry trails, that’s what!
Bikepacking is the off-road version of bike touring where you travel with all the gear you need to eat, camp, and take care of yourself strapped to your mountain bike. It’s certainly enticing, but also intimidating. That’s why Liv US field representative Casey Wytaske teamed up Gladys Bikes, a Portland, OR-based Liv retailer, Northwest Trail Alliance, Fernweh Food Company and Gritchelle Photography to host a fun and informative bikepacking trip. In addition to the trip itself, Gladys Bikes provided two Bikepacking 101 Clinics in store to help the nine bikepacking newbies get prepared.
On May 18, 13 excited participants headed out into the Columbia River Gorge Wilderness (and into typical Pacific Northwest cold and rainy conditions) to learn from experienced guides and bikepackers – and to have a lot of fun.
After a successful trip, here’s some of the gear the participants wouldn’t want to do without:
23 years of MTB experience
“Tent, dry socks, down jacket, and my waterproof Liv soft shell jacket. I am a finicky camper. If I am not comfortable, I am not having a good time. I am not a princess but I do know I have basic needs that others do not. Anyhow, it was cold, wet and rainy - not normal camping conditions for me. So I needed to stay dry in order to stay warm = good times.”
Biking since her training wheels were removed at 5 or 6, experienced bikepacker
“I'd say it's a tie between the seat post bag I had and the Voile straps. The bag held so much including my sleeping bag, all of my clothes and camp stove gear. I technically could have gone without the straps, but they provided extra insurance keeping the pack nice and tight. I love how sturdy and versatile they are.”
9 years of MTB, gravel, and touring experience
“Wool socks. Feet don’t get stinky, and they breathe well in the heat and keep toes warm in the cold.”
1 year of MTB experience
“Dehydrated camp food! It's for survival!”
Cyclocross racer and big on bike touring (her first overnight trip was a 3-month solo ride from Portland to the Mexico border – since she has toured Baja, Cuba, and southern Italy)
“Good food! I'm all about #RideAllDayEatWhatIWant. Snacks, beer, snacks, whiskey, potato chips, snacks, and Fernweh Food Company meals! You need to nourish your body and enjoy what you're eating. It's all a part of the experience for me. Second to good food is lip balm! It helps protect your lips for wind burn and sunburn!”
16 years of MTB experience
“Due to the rain and wind we encountered, the single most important item was my tent!”
A few years of MTB experience, new to bikepacking
“Well, with good packing tips from Casey, I brought JUST enough gear and used everything that I carried! But I think the most useful item was the Voile straps. I used them to pack and secure my gear, then to shift things around as needed (as I used up items in my bags, but also as I learned how to pack better!!) I felt much safer and more stable on the loaded bike once everything was strapped down.”
Has been road cycling since college, done a bike touring trip or two, and discovered mountain biking after moving to Ashland – also works at United Bicycle Institute (UBI)
“Specifically on this trip (so excluding my normal MTB get-up and the awesome Liv Pique, that I got to ride), I'd have to say that it is a tie between the Voile straps that were provided and chemical hand warmers. I have a tiny bit of extra space in my Gore gloves that allowed me to stuff hand warmers into the back of my gloves, so it wouldn't impact my grip on the bars! I have incredibly cold hands that lose circulation pretty easily (the back of your hand has a ton of superficial veins!), and given that the way back was mostly downhill and there was still snow near the campground, I couldn't believe how warm my fingers were when we got back to the Liv van.”
6 years of MTB experience
“A bandana. The thing is magical. Here’s just a few ways to use it; bug mask, sweat band, smog filter, sun protection, bandage, a strap to tie things down, trail marker, handkerchief, cooling rag, potholder… I could go on forever.”