Rethinking: Gear Placement

by Andy Amick on October 17, 2018

in Bikepacking, Gear

In the beginning, I packed my sleep system on the handlebars because it did not fit anywhere else.

Bianchi CUSS bikepacking

From that first day, I always packed my gear this way. Sleep system on the handlebar, clothes in the seat bag, food and water in the frame bag.

Until now….

Swapping the sleep system to the seat bag and clothes to the handlebar bag makes more sense.


1. The primary reason is ease of packing. I use the sleeping gear once a day, and the seat bag is the least accessible bag on the bike. So it makes sense to put the least used gear in the least accessible bag. My sleeping pad may get moved into the frame bag as part of this change. I’m still trying to figure out that one piece.

2. On a bikepacking trip, I change clothing items several times per day. My jacket gets stowed after the morning sun makes an appearance. My arm warmers and long gloves get packed away when the sun rises higher in the sky. During an afternoon thunderstorm, I pull out my rain jacket before storing it when the rain stops. And finally, my down jacket gets unpacked in the evening while setting up and sitting around camp.

With this many transitions, using the rolls-down closures on a handlebar bag without dismounting the bike is much easier and more efficient. With my clothing in the seat bag, I am forced to get off the bike and adjust multiple straps.

3. Storing gear differently also affects weight distribution. The seat bag remains the same weight during the day because I never access it while on the go. The front-end weight changes throughout the day. However, it is lightest at the beginning and end of long days in the saddle. A lighter front-end helps with technical riding and lifting the front tire over rocks on hike-a-bike sections. (Participating in the Colorado Trail Race keeps percolating in my mind, and I know there will be a lot of hike-a-bike)

None of these changes make me a faster rider. Hopefully, they make me a more efficient bikepacker. Worst case, it’s a failed experiment.



About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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