Saturday, 21 June 2014

Rob's top tips for a good bikepacking set up- part 1

So, finally I have got round to writing my top tips and handy hints for a good bikepacking set up.  This has come about, I guess, as a result of the questions asked by many of our customers.

Over the years we each have developed our own systems, refined them and have gradually found what works for us.  With so many folks now wanting to get in on the game we are finding that things we take for granted aren't always obvious to someone who has bought some Revelate Designs gear for their first bikepacking trip (lucky buggers!).

Right then, first things first - bike packing humps your gear! And super fast if you don't think about what you are doing, especially if it’s wet and muddy.   Gritty mud (I like some of our granite stuff) gets into the fabric and turns it into sandpaper that a chippy would be proud of (not the fish type).  Every bump sands a bit more of that super duper pooper paint job you had specially applied by a paint pigmy.   It also humps the fabric and the poor zips you force close when covered in the brown stuff.  If you have sold the kid’s dog and your granny’s kidney to buy the dream rig that you polish lovingly after every ride, then you are going to be pretty gutted at the state of it after your first bikepacking trip.  Think about getting an adventure bike as a bike that you don't mind giving a beating to.   If you want to keep your bike mint then get some Tubus racks, Ortlieb panniers and go road touring in the Alps.  And don't get me started on what I think of carbon.   If you are happy to use your bikes as an adventure tool and look at loss of paint as a memento of happy trails, then read on.


Okay, that should have got rid of the polishers.  It’s not all bad news however- with a bit of care you can protect your steed.  Work out where the bags will rub on the frame and put something between the two if you want to give your gear the best chance.  For normal straps and bag contact points 'helicopter' tape is good and lets your frame’s colour shine through, but duct tape or insulation tape can work and gives you a bit more to spend on beer.  Hmmm beer.  Think about any sharp edges on your bike which could come in contact with your bags.  Seat post clamps and those funky metal head badges that all the cool kids have will rip through your investment in a single ride if you don't insulate them from the bags in some way.  And (recovering polishers will like this one) brush/wash the mud off the bags when you get back and clean n lube those zips - silicone spray works well.

Another thing we keep getting asked is how big the bags are in litres.  What are you lot carrying in them?  Ice cream will melt (some of the time) and if you fill them with beer it will leak out of the stitching holes and go flat.   Though we can tell you how many bottles of beer you can get in the bags. Andy is doing extensive research on this.

There is plenty of room for your stuff in a Revelate Designs setup.  If it doesn't fit, repack it making sure you don't leave space between stuff. Pack your frilly knickers in the gaps between round objects.  Iona is doing extensive research on this.  If it still doesn't fit - take less stuff, or get rid of that huge DofE sleeping bag and get one of our dinky Criterion sleeping bags and one of our funky Vango Force 10 helium carbon tents - remember: ' tarps for show, tents for a pro!'

That should get you thinking for a bit: I’ll do more specific tips on individual bags when I can summon the will to sit in front of the pc again.

Happy trails!

Presta = the devils work

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Alpackas on the number 34

With temperatures in Aviemore soaring to the mid twenties this afternoon, we retreated once again to the river Spey.

Today's outing was a chilled float down to Boat of Garten. A swift gin and tonic later and we were on the number 34 bus back home, Alpackas in packs.

Alpackas on the bus! Genius! Try doing that with your canadian canoe or hardshell kayak!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

It doesn't have to be gnarrr


After all the excitement and exertions of the Highland Trail 550 we decided something gentler was in order this morning.

So, as the early morning commuters were heading out of Aviemore, we packed our rafts and headed down to the river Spey- a mere stone's throw from the Backcountry Biking unit, but a whole world away.

This is where Alpackas packrafts really come in to their own- no travel, no car shuttle, no fuss. Just a wee wander and we were off down the river Spey with only the sand martins and ducks for company.

An hour or so later, we were making our way back through the local golf course, refreshed and ready for a day's work. Fabulous. 'Urban' rafting at it's finest. It really doesn't have to be gnarrr....all the time.