Bike packing gear for the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race
Bike packing gear Arizona Trail 300 – Take this list for what it is worth. On my April 2016 run of the Arizona Trail Race I rode 112 miles before tapping out due to a respiratory issue. My gear never failed me and I was happy with the bikepacking gear I took with me.
This post is setup as an inventory. I tell little about the trail or my time on the bike. This is just a list with some photos of the items I thought important enough to carry down the Arizona Trail.
There is always a fine line between an objects usefulness and its weight. Choose wisely. This is my list of gear I took on the Arizona Trail this year. Please comment below on any gear you would have left behind, or any bike packing gear you can’t live without.
When on the trail I can be tracked at the web address above.
The Ride - 2015 Camber 29"
Get some wheels man!
You can’t ride in a bike race without one and I chose a Specialized Camber FSR – she is a 2015 model. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bike-archive/2015/camber/camber-29/65381 is the site that will take you to all the nerdy specs.
I upgraded my pedals to “Bennies Platform Pedal” MXGRN ANO. These pedals have an unbelievable amount of traction. Just a warning to wear soccer shin guards, and upgrade your shoes before stepping up to the Bennies.
Beenies is French for jab you in the shins and make you bleed.
Medical & First Aid
The Medical Kit
Took an assortment of goods and packed them into a Pelican 1050 Micro Case Series water tight locking container. We made a run to Walgreen’s and grabbed items that would be useful on the trail. My oldest son Grason was very involved with my first aid kit. Thanks for helping out son. Glad you are on my team.
Here is what fit in the box:
- WoundSeal Powder – Single use x 4
- Krazy Glue
- Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Spray – .33oz
- Large Gauze Pad 4x4in 3 count
- Butterfly bandages – 10 count
- Alcohol Swab pouches
- Anti-Diarrhea – Loperamide 6 count
- Anti-Nausea – Ondansetron 4 count
- Pepto-Bismol 6 count
- Tooth Brush – Cut to fit in box
- Plackerd – floss pick
- Toms – .75oz toothpaste
- Thera Tears – 1oz bottle
- Travel needle and thread kit
In my bag I carry a 5oz bottle of Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen. I bought it at HEB and I’m now on my 2nd bottle. It has few harmful chemicals and works for me.
Essential oils were very important for me to carry.
I switched from my Specialized Hardrock to a new Camber a week before the race. This changed up a lot of my luggage and bags. I had planned on a rear rack, handlebar, triangle, and back bag. The new bike frame nixed the center bike triangle bag. So with loss of space I grabbed a pair 2 sea to summit bags from my local Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Packing gear for the Arizona Trail 300 mountain bike race
My back pack was a Kelty Basin 15 Hydration Pack. Its max space is 15L. The reservoir held 3 letters of liquid leaving me with 12L of space. I tried not to pack clothing and light weight gear in my back pack. I did this so there would be less of a load on my back and shoulders. I packed my water tablets and some food on my back.
After washing by pack I filled it up with water and it tasted like a backyard water hose. No one wants that. Sure it will jog a childhood memory, but nothing else good comes of it. I switched out my bladder with a Camelback Antidote 70oz / 3L reservoir. This did the trick. The removal straw was great for refilling the pack and getting me back on the trail.
Keeping it clean
Purification was done with Potable Aqua tablets. I also packed a 16oz bag with a Sawyer filter on it. The tablets take 30 minutes to bake the water and another 5 to neutralize the first tabs you dropped in the water. I broke out the Sawyer filter late in day 1 just to test it out and to bypass the 35 minute tablet wait time.
Next ride I will be connecting my Sawyer as on inline filter. I till tap in into my straw. I will still have to figure out how to get my electrolyte since the filter will knock them out.
On my frame I carried a standard water bottle. I bought it at my local bike shop called, The Pedal. This was full of nuts the entire race. I had planned on using it as dry food storage and as a backup for my camelback.
Some spots were green while others were brown, but I never passed up a chance to top off my water supply.
Yea I know slapping a compression bag on your front bar and wrapping it up with a bungee might not be the best way to pack your gear when riding but it worked good for me. The stuff sack on my back bike rack carried the gear the same way. The bottom end of the bag was tied to my seat post and the rest was tied with niteize tie downs. The open end was secured down and topped off with a bungee cord.
MY HANDLEBAR BAG WAS A SMALL COMPRESSION BAG FROM SEA TO SUMMIT:
Size Variation S
Length 7 in/
Height/Depth 16 in/
Weight 4.5 oz/128g
Volume 10 liter to 3.3 liter
On my back rack I could carry a bit more and went with a large compression bag from Sea to Summit:
Size Variation L
Length 9 in /
Height/Depth 20 in/
Weight 6.2 oz/175g
Volume 20 liter to 6.5 liter
Here is what I packed at the start of the race
Nuts & Seeds
- Pine nuts
Chocolate – 5 bars of 90% dark organic chocolate – 1200 calories per bar
Pop Tarts – 3 packs of berry goodness
A gluten free chocolate chip cookie
You can’t exactly pull over and pick up a power aid. I relied on Nuun electorate tablets. These tablets are great for hydration and keeping salt in your system. I also packed pink Himalayan salt.
I like my daily coffee, well lets say I like coffee daily. Its good stuff and caffeine is great for keeping you going. On road trips I travel with HEB’s Central Market Organics instant coffee. This give me the option to run in, buy a hot cup of water and make organic coffee on the run. It didn’t work so well on the trail. It seems that all the water is cold out there. I got in the habit or taking a pinch and holding in my mouth. Next, add a mouth full of water and make a mouth full of espresso. Thank you Mathew Lee for that tip.
Parts to keep going
I packed a lot of goodies for the ride. Figuring I was not a contender for a sub 5 day finish, I wanted to be safe and not sorry. I had been working on upgrading my hard tail Specialized Hardrock before the race. Some of the items set for the HR were:
- SRAM x5 rear shiftier
- Spair shift cable
- SRAM x7 derailleur
- Power link chain connector
Since I had the new Camber I just packed these goodies as spare parts for this years run. A mini took kit was also part of the pack.
I packed one spare tire, 3 spare tubes and one bottle of Stan’s NoTubes. My sewing kid also had a few feet of fishing line in it. I was planning to use this on any side gashes.
Gadgets and Gear
GoPro has made a name for itself in the video world, but have not been able to perfect audio. Thankfully they made cameras with mic inputs. I modified my GoPro case to accept an external lapel microphone. I packed 2 batteries made by Wasabi Power. The GoPro can be externally powered so when I was taping a hole for the mic I also tapped one for the USB connection. This allows the GoPro to be powered by one of my USB lithium ion battery packs.
I packed a lapel microphone to hook into the GoPro. I also packed a small Olympus audio recorder in my rucksack. WS-822 is the model. It uses one AAA battery that is rechargeable via usb. The lapel works great with this unit. I plan on recording long stretches of tail some with and some without video.
The Garmin was my heavy hitter for the trail. I also had my Samsung S4 loaded up with the trail notes, water reports and PDF copies of all my gear. The Arizona Trail site has an app for purchase that is very useful.
Make sure you download all the information in the app before heading out on the trail. Some spots have great reception but don’t plan on having any.
Old school mapping
I carried paper ques for the entire AZT300. This would list trail descriptions and where to turn. The Arizona Trail is different for hikers and mountain bikers.
Since water is a big concern I pack a hard copy of all the watering holes. This was up to the week accurate when printed. http://www.aztrail.org/watersources.php
For years I have been a subscriber to Spot GPS. For this race I upgraded to the Spot Gen3. This added one more outgoing message capacity. If you are ever going out in the world and need some safety you might want to look at getting one of these.
The entire race is tracked using GPS units like this. The spot is the most popular. To see the race as it happens please visit: http://trackleaders.com/news?prefix=aztr16
I tried to keep it simple. There is few options to plug in while on the trail. All of my bike lights take AA or AAA batteries. This included my head lamp mounted to my bicycle helmet.
I bought Anker 8 watt foldable solar charger. It has one usb connection and the capabilities to mount to your back pack and charge while you hike or ride.
My main charger pack was the Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger, The Smallest and Lightest 10000mAh External Battery, 10000mAh – Model: A1263 X000X6WKNR Ultra-Compact Fast-Charging-Technology Power Bank for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and More
I had two other lithium ion battery packs rated at 1000 mAh.
It was important to have charging capabilities because my life support devices depend upon it. GPS, SPOT Gps, and my phone all have micro USB connections and can be externally powered. My Sony pocket camera can also be powered and charged by usb.
It is true, you must wear clothing on the Arizona Trail. A rider must be prepared for hot days and cold desert nights. Once again a rider must balance between light and right.
Triumph Over Kids Cancer helped with clothing in a big way. Each year they host a lot of fund raising events. Each event is sport driven in some way. May is the golf scramble, then in September the Giddy Up race, and November a volleyball tournament. I was able to have a run at any left over attire from the TOKC head office.
Rain was not in the forecast, but I wanted to be prepared. I bought a set of frogg toggs from Academy Sports in Corpus Christi.
A down puffer coat was also a must have. They pack extremely small and are light weight. The one I ordered last minute from Amazon came in in true knock off no name fashion, with the zipper on the wrong side. So I’m set to ride in a woman’s coat.
Layering up is the way to go. My base setup is a pair of Specialized mountain bike shorts on top of boxer brief undies. I ride in a white long sleeve shirt so I don’t have to coat my arms in sun block.
For this race I purchased a Field & Stream hooded long sleeve shirt with thumb holes at the end of the sleeve.
The hood is a ninja variety. I can close up the mask and cover my entire face except for my eyes. This makes for a great wind break and keeps warmth where it needs to be.
When it gets cold I will toss on my long johns and keep the shorts on. My smart wool socks will also come out for cold weather riding. There will be a balance between riding and cooling. If you ride hard when its cold you will sweat and then it will start to evaporate and chill your body. My friends at TOKC gave me a few extra shirts to leave behind. This will lighten my load as I ride and have a desire for clean clothing. On warm days I will be riding in swift wick socks. In the past few years I have relied on Swift Wick socks for my running activities.
My bike was 5 days old 3 days before the race. Those 5 days I was completing my final training workouts and trying to break in the new Camber bike. Wednesday morning I dropped it by The Pedal bike shop for a last second tweak before hitting the road. A man approached me in the parking lot and wished me good luck. At the time I didn’t know who he was but was glad to learn it was Roger Brittain and it was great to have a fan before we left Corpus Christi.
Bike packing gear Arizona Trail 300
Thanks for reading. Once again, I only made the 112 mile mark. To me my bike packing gear seemed solid. The one thing I wish I had packed was a camp stove and a coffee cup. Hot morning oatmeal would have been an awesome way to start the day. If I was to go out and run it again on the same budget I had, I would do it exactly the same. If you have any questions please reach out. Derrick @ bigboxpro dot com