Bikepacking Setup Tips

Bikepacking Setup Tips

For bikepackers, setting up your bike properly is essential.

Giulia, a true Abruzzese, started exploring the sparsely populated mountains of her region thanks to bikepacking, where she developed a boundless passion for the outdoors. The desire to explore far away and untouched places made her choose the bicycle as her preferred method of travelling while connecting with nature.


The keywords in bikepacking are ‘minimalism’ and ‘essential’, which is also one of the things that separates it from classic cycling tourism. Keeping the bike light on mountain trails means being able to tackle the most technical sections, steep gradients and any obstacle you may come across in a more agile manner. Over the years, two main 'setups' have been defined: the Overnight Setup for the classic two-day trip and the Expedition Setup for a multi-day trip.


Overnight Setup


The Overnight Setup is mainly used in the summer, when you travel with less gear and there is no need to sleep in a tent. The setup which Giulia uses on her Kona Unit X and Sutra LTD for two-day outings is made up of the Selle San Marco Handlebar Bag 2L, the Frame Bag 3L, the Saddle Bag 7L and the Top Tube Bag on the horizontal tube.


With this minimal setup, she packs all she needs for spending the night out. Experience has taught her that lightweight, space-saving products play a key role in the quest for a minimalist setup. The combination of a lightweight and compact mattress and sleeping bag allows her to not only save weight but also to make the most of the bag choice. This approach to downsizing and only bringing the essentials is vital to bikepacking. We need to be able to give up many of the comforts we have at home and simplify everything.


In the Handlebar Bag 2L, which is strapped to the handlebars, she usually stores the small items she needs to take on the fly: homemade energy bars, a sandwich for lunch, dried fruit, a pocket knife, wipes, multitool and front light.


In the Frame Bag 3L, she keeps all she needs to eat. There is an MSR cooker and gas cartridge, a collapsible plate, a titanium spoon, two bags of dehydrated food for dinner and breakfast, a mini repair kit and a first aid kit.


In the Saddle Bag 7L, she stores her overnight clothing and the equipment she uses for setting up camp: a light sleeping bag, superlight mattress, puff jacket, merino socks, toothbrush and solid toothpaste. Finally, she carries her phone, sun cream and bandana in the Top Tube Bag.


Expedition Setup


The Expedition Setup obviously has a different 'bulk' to the Overnight Setup, but it was still designed with a minimal concept in mind. When travelling for several days by bike and crossing areas with little or no human activity, you have to be able to rely only on yourself and your own strength. This means carrying spare parts on your bike that would perhaps not be needed on a two-day trip. No one wants to find themselves in a remote area with a broken gear cable and without the tools to fix it. The weight and bulk compared to the Overnight Setup are mainly because of the tent and the greater amount of food. The adoption of three Anything Cages, two of which are positioned on the fork and one under the downtube, allowed Giulia to considerably increase the load capacity of her Unit X.


The Expedition Setup includes the Frame Bag 6L, Top Tube Bag and Saddle Bag 13L from Selle San Marco, as well as the Tendril 10.7 Waterproof bags, two Buds and the Node Adventure from Miss Grape. In the two Trunk 6 Waterproofs she usually carries all her food: breakfasts, lunches and dinners (homemade dehydrated food).

In the front, the Tendril 10.7 Waterproof bag carries the sleeping bag and clothing for the night. In the two Buds, located on the handlebars, she carries a water bottle in one and energy bars, dried fruit and various snacks in the other. Phone, sun cream and bandana are placed in the Node Adventure, while in the rear-mounted Top Tube Bag Selle San Marco has stowed the bike repair kit, an inner tube, the tent/mattress repair kit, and the multitool.


In the Frame Bag 6L, on the other hand, she carries the windbreaker, the MSR cooker and gas cartridge, collapsible plate, titanium cup and spoon, collapsible coffee filter, first-aid kit, power bank, mini photo kit, GoPro and attachments, and extra batteries. The Saddle Bag 13L stores her jacket, mattress, inflatable pillow, additional clothing and beauty case.