Bikepacking Gear Garage: Prepping for an Epic Coast to Coast Ride

Ali Becker


After years of slogging around heavy, overloaded pannier bags on bikepacking trips, my partner Mathieu and I stumbled across the world of ultralight thru-hiking gear while looking for small, compressible, lightweight backpacks to stuff in the bottom of our pannier bags for additional overnight hikes on our multi-month bikepacking trips.

Since gleefully tumbling down the rabbit hole of UL cottage industry gear, we’ve been able to downsize our bikepacking bags and substantially lighten our loads, which has made bike traveling more enjoyable, while also allowing us to go further faster with more ease.

The mindset behind the ultralight world, which we interpret as "take less, do more" has led us to become more thoughtful about the quality, functionality, and overall experience of the gear that we choose to own, and helped us pair down the amount of items that we bring on our biking and hiking adventures.

But perhaps the richest, most rewarding part of the UL transition has been getting to know the makers, creators, and brilliant minds behind the cottage industry products that we’ve come to know and love. 

These friendships have helped us broaden our community, expand our chosen family, and become part of something bigger than ourselves - a network of dreamers, creators, and innovators who aim to add value to the lives of adventurers worldwide. 

It’s these values, gear priorities, and love for all things ultralight, that have led us to this upgraded gear list of adventure essentials that we will bring with us on our four month, 9000-mile bikepacking trip along the Great Northern Bikepacking Route starting in late May 2024. 

Sleep System


Since our sleep system is the biggest and bulkiest part of our bikepacking gear list, we’ve done our damndest to shrink it down to a super light setup, while still having ample space and comfort to enjoy four months of being together on the road, calling our tent our home day in and day out.

We chose the recently-launched Zpacks Free Zip 2P tent because it’s sub 2 lbs and feature rich. Like all shelters made of DCF, it’s highly water resistant, but it’s also freestanding so it can be pitched without needing stakes, has tons of head room, a peak vent to help navigate condensation, and lightweight poles that break down to 12”, which makes them short enough to fit into bikepacking frame bags, or strap snugly between the drops on our handlebars.



Our full sleep system: 
Zpacks Free Zip 2P Freestanding Tent
Enlightened Equipment Accomplice Quilt -  950 FP, 20F (-6C)
Thermarest NeoAir XLite NXT Sleeping Pad
Pillow Strap - Size Small



We have been cold soaking for the last few years, but for this trip, we’ve decided to add in a super small stove, the MSR PocketRocket® Deluxe, to boil water and cook up delicious dehydrated meals and tasty Golden Milk Lattes from Farm to Summit, as well as hard boil some eggs to keep our protein on point.

MSR PocketRocket® Deluxe
Vargo Outdoors Bot 1L titanium cooking pot
Fozzils Snapfold™ Bowlz Set
Sea to Summit Titanium Sporks
Opinel Knife No. 6 
Offlap TamaGo Egg Carrier
Hilltop Food Bag - Vivid Series 
Bear Line


I used to bring all sorts of lotions and hair potions along on my bikepacking trips, but over the years, I’ve been able to pair down to what I feel are my toiletry essentials.

Everything below fits into my bright pink Hartford Pack Pod Case, with the exception of my Trailbrush, which attaches to my titanium spork and lives in my food bag, as well as the Aloe Up sunscreen which rides up in my feed bags - so I’ll actually remember to put it on.

Trailbrush toothbrush
Huppy tooth tabs
Dental floss
Eyeglass cloth
Diva Cup menstrual cup
Aloe Up Sport SPF 30 Sunscreen
Dr. Bronner’s  Unscented Lip Chap
We also pack a Bogler Ultralight Trowel for backcountry bathroom breaks.



Hydration is super important for any outdoor adventure, and on this ride, we are really excited to finally be ditching plastic water bottles and using beautiful, high flow, stainless steel water bottles from Bivo, an awesome, carbon neutral company based out of Richmond, Vermont. 

While we often refill our water bottles from fast flowing, fresh water sources throughout the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta, water becomes sparse through parts of the prairies and contaminated in some areas, so filtering water becomes a must. 

We love gravity filtration systems for their ability to do large volumes of water while we snack, make dinner or go for a swim. 

Bivo Duo 3 x 25 oz - Non-Insulated Water Bottle with Dusty the Dirt Caps
Platypus 1.0L Soft Bottle™ (for long stretches with no water resupply) 
Platypus QuickDraw 3.0L Gravity System water filter




Having the proper layers for the plethora of different weather conditions that we’ll experience along the route makes it that much easier for me to embrace whatever comes my way. Since we’ll be leaving in mid-May, and wrapping up in October, we’ll need layers for all three seasons. We’ve experienced sweltering heat in the high mountains in May and then deep frost in the prairies in mid-July, so we’ll be carrying our insulating layers with us from start to finish. 

One of my favorite go-to layers to stay warm and comfortable on long bikepacking trips is my Torrid APEX Jacket from Enlightened Equipment. The synthetic insulation allows it to pack down super small, and putting it on at the end of a big day is like wearing a luxurious hug. 

This trip will be the first time I’ll be packing SPF protective layers for long days in the sun, like the Astroman Air Sun Hoodie from Outdoor Research. This is my attempt to be more sun smart after years of doing the opposite. 

Ali’s Clothing List

All of my gear gets rolled up and packed down neatly into two large Pack Pods from Six Moon Designs, with the exception of my EE Torrid jacket which fits into the bottom of my seat pack for end of the day use. 

This system keeps things organized, clean, and easy to pack and unpack. I put anything I might need to grab during the day at the back of the seat pack, or under my cargo net on my front handlebar roll for easy access.

Rain Gear 

Outdoor Research Women's Aspire II GORE-TEX Jacket 
Outdoor Research Women's Aspire GORE-TEX Pants
High Tail Designs DCF Rain Mitts 

Riding Layers

Outdoor Research Women's Zendo Short 
Outdoor Research Women's AstroMan Short Sleeve Sun Shirt 
Outdoor Research Women's Ferrosi Transit Pant 
Outdoor Research Women's AstroMan Air Sun Hoodie 
Outdoor Research Women's Ferrosi Anorak 
Zyia Active Access Sports Bra 
Icebreaker Women’s Merino Multisport Lite Micro Socks
Leatt 3.0 Flat Shoes 

Camp / Swim / Sleep Layers

Enlightened Equipment Women’s Torrid Jacket 
Goosefeet Gear Down Booties
Outdoor Research Women's Alpine Onset Merino 150 Crew
Outdoor Research Women's Alpine Onset Merino 150 Bottoms 
Zyia Active - Blinky Beach Bikini Top 
Zyia Active - Blinky Beach High Waisted Bikini Bottom
Ridge Merino Women's underwear


Leatt MTB Trail 3.0 Helmet
Parapack P-CAP Lite 
Whelk Merino Wool Beanie
Mons Royale Merino 150 Buff 
Mons Royale Merino Gloves
KITS Willa Sun Sunglasses
KITS Juniper Lift Off Glasses
Bedrock Sandals Cairn 3D Adventure Sandals


Mat's Clothing

All of Mat’s gear also gets rolled up and packed down neatly into two large Pack Pods from Six Moon Designs, with the exception of his EE Torrid jacket which fits into the bottom of his seat pack for end of the day use.

Rain Gear 

Outdoor Research Men's Stratoburst Stretch Rain Jacket
Outdoor Research Men's Stratoburst Stretch Rain Pants 

Riding Layers

Outdoor Research Men's Active Ice Spectrum Sun Tee 
Outdoor Research Men's Swift Lite Shorts 5" Inseam 
Outdoor Research Men's FreeWheel Long Sleeve Jersey
Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi Joggers
Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi Anorak
Outdoor Research Men's Astroman S/S Sun Shirt
Icebreaker Men’s Merino Multisport Lite Micro Socks
Leatt 2.0 Flat Shoes 

Camp / Swim / Sleep Layers

Enlightened Equipment Men’s Torrid Pullover
Goosefeet Gear Down Booties
Icebreaker Men's 200 Oasis Merino Long Sleeve Crew
Icebreaker Men’s 200 Oasis Merino Leggings
Ridge Merino Mens Ridge Boxer Briefs 2.0
PackTowl - Personal Size 


Leatt MTB Trail 3.0 Helmet
Parapack P-CAP
Icebreaker Merino 150 Buff
Outdoor Research Men's Alpine Onset Merino 150 Beanie
Outdoor Research FreeWheel Leather Palm Bike Gloves
KITS Otto Sun Sunglasses
KITS Otto Glasses
Bedrock Sandals Cairn 3D Adventure Sandals

Bikes, Bike Gear & Tools



We are super excited to be partnering with Canadian-based bike company, Panorama Cycles on the Great Northern Bikepacking Ride. We’ve chosen to ride their Taïga EXP 2, a beautiful, drop bar adventure bike, designed for long distance travel on unpaved terrain.

We chose the Taïga EXP 2 because of its off-road capabilities; its sturdy steel body, dampening carbon fork, and ample tire clearance as well as its abundance of mounting options for different bikepacking bag setups. The drop bars also provide lots of different options for hand positioning.

Panorama Cycles - 2024 Taïga EXP 2 - Small - 29” 
RedShift - Kitchen Sink Handlebar (Ali)
RedShift - Top Shelf Handlebar (Mat)
RedShift - ShockStop Suspension Stem
Hope Tech - Headset
Hope Tech - Seat Collar
RedShift - ShockStop Endurance Suspension Seatpost
Brooks - B17 Leather Saddle

Custom Wheels

We each have a set of custom wheels built up around Hope Tech’s high-performance, handmade Pro 5 hubs, which are meticulously crafted in Barnoldswick, England and are known for their durability, serviceability and smooth and consistent performance. 

Part of lowering our carbon footprint on the bikes is trying to prioritize parts and components that are designed and manufactured to last a long time, and be easily serviceable, so we can keep them rolling as long as we possibly can.

Mavic - XC 1025 Rims - 29” x 32 holes
Hope Tech - Pro 5 Hub
Maxxis - Recon Race tires - 29.5 x 2.3”
Orange Seal - Endurance Sealant
Reserve Wheels - Fillmore Tubeless Valves
Sapim - Race Spokes - 2.0mm
Brass Nipples


After much debate about going with a 1 x 12 speed or 2 x 11 speed drivetrain on this transcontinental bike odyssey, we selected to go with a 1 x 12 for a few reasons: 

While 2 x drivetrains have a wider gearing spectrum, a 1 x drivetrain is lighter, simpler and has less adjustments to make. With a 10 - 51T rear cassette and a 32T front chainring, we will have great gearing for big climbs, while still having a decent range of high gears for descents and long, flat stretches.

Shimano - M7100-12, Cassette 10 - 51T 
Shimano - GRS RX822, SGS - 12 Speed Derailleur 
Shimano - M7100 Chain
RaceFace - Team BSA Bottom Bracket
RaceFace - Aeffect 170mm Cranks w/32T chainring
Chromag - Synth Composite Pedals

Shifter & Brakes

We decided to test out Hope Technologies RX 4+ - 4 piston calipers on the GNBR to increase the stopping power on our fully loaded bikes, increase heat dissipation after big descents, and gain more precise braking control, which is great for feathering on technical descents or stopping quickly when needed. 

Shimano - GRX RX 610 Shifter/Brake
Hope Tech - RX 4+ Piston Calipers 
Hope Tech - 6 Bolt Floating Rotors
Galfer - Brake Pads


With so many awesome options for bikepacking bags on the market, it can be hard to narrow down the best ones for the job. Over the years, we’ve been so impressed by the quality craftsmanship, technical performance, innovation, dependability and aesthetics of Rockgeist’s Asheville-made bikepacking bags that they have become our go-to option.

Nothing beats riding without having to worry about your gear, having a streamlined set up that feels super solid, and getting to camp to find your clothes, bedding and electronics bone dry in your waterproof bags after a day of torrential downpour. 

Rockgeist - BarJam, Front Harness & Ultra PE DryBag
Rockgeist - 52HZ Waterproof Frame Bag - Mountain Tour - Small
Rockgeist - Horton Front Pouch
Rockgeist - Mr. Fusion Seat Pack w/ Waterproof 10L bag
Rockgeist - Honey Pot feed bags x 2 (Ali)
HMPL Candy Bags & Chicken Tramper shoulder pouch as phone holder (Mat)



GhostRider Equipment - Kermode 2.0 Bear Spray Holster
WideFoot - Cargo Mount
Voile Straps - 12”, 25” & 32”
Delta Cycle - Cargo Net

Bike Repair 


We go a bit overboard on the repair kit, because we like to know we have everything we need to repair anything that might pop up while we are off on remote stretches of the trail. Murphy’s Law, if you have it - you probably won’t need it.

We’ve been riding tubeless tires for the last few years, which allows us to ride with lower tire pressure for a more comfortable ride with greater traction. Riding tubeless has also greatly decreased the amount of flat tires we get while riding fully loaded, which is a win for any cyclist.

DynaPlug - Racer Pro Tubeless Repair Tool
Wolftooth - 8-bit Multi Tool
Tire repair kit - ParkTool patch kit, sewing needle and thread, tape 
Pedros - Tire Levers
Orange Seal - 2 oz sealant bottle
Spare tube 
OneUp Components - 70CC Pump
Pro Pressure Checker - Digital tire gauge

Safety, Lights & Electronics


Last but not least, staying safe is super important, so we rely heavily on Nitecore’s NB battery banks to keep all the important stuff topped up. We use one phone for navigation, and the other for capturing content and always have our GPS/SOS device fully charged should the need arise.

Our long lasting, USD rechargeable NiteCore NU25 headlamps have been a great addition to evening or night riding, are so light, packable and easy to use. They’ve become our go-to adventure lights. 

Samsung Note 10+ Smartphone
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Smartphone
First aid kit (bandages, gauze, alcohol swabs, painkillers, etc)
Garmin inReach Mini GPS/SOS Device & subscription
Nitecore NB10000 Battery Bank
Nitecore NB20000 Battery Bank
USB cords & charging block
SeaLine E-Case (to keep battery banks and cords dry)
Nitecore NU25 Headlamps
MagiShine - Allty 1000 Front Lights
MagiShine - Seemee 60 Rear Light
Sea to Summit Ultra-Fine Mesh Mosquito Head Net
Frontiersman Bear Spray
OttoLock Hexband Lock

After years of refining our pack list, we feel like we are getting pretty pared down in the gear garage, but as always, there will be tweaks and changes along the way. 

We’d love to hear what things make your adventure essentials list, and have you follow along on with our adventure on the Great Northern Bikepacking Route!



Ali Becker is a freelance writer and adventure storyteller who spends half the year backpacking and bikepacking and the other half sleeping in strangers' beds as a professional house sitter. She and her partner, Mathieu, share their ups and downs on their IG channel at @trip.longer and hope to inspire others to get outside, adventure in nature and find their own freedom. You can learn more about them here:

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