- Buyer's Guide
For Tim Wiggins, cycling is a way of life. From mountain biking to road cycling and bike touring, he has embraced them all with equal relish. September 2016 marked his hardest multi-day ride to date, an epic bikepacking adventure through France and Spain. Such a long-distance journey required self-sufficiency, but restricted packing space meant serious thought and planning was required for deciding what and how to carry. So we asked Tim to show us how it's done with his bike touring packing list. And for extra advice, information and inspiration, check out Tim's informative blog Life In The Saddle.
The Coasts and Cols Tour
The idea for the ‘Coasts and Cols’ tour came from a map, and a love of mountains and coastlines. The national map of France pinned to my office wall seeded the idea of exploration, challenge and travel.
The route would take in the best roads of the Spanish Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees mountain range, and the west coast of France. Totalling 1,900km and 28,000 metres of climbing - over 9.5 riding days. The ride would be a serious test of mind, body and kit.
"The route would take in the best roads of the Spanish Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees mountain range, and the west coast of France. Totalling 1,900km and 28,000 metres of climbing - over 9.5 riding days."
View the full route, including the list of 'Cols Conquered' here.
Any bike-touring trip that features a serious amount of mountain climbing, as well as a big daily distance quota, requires lightweight, durable and reliable kit. I selected my carry based on what would keep me comfortable, safe, and performing well day after day.
"Any bike-touring trip that features a serious amount of mountain climbing, as well as a big daily distance quota, requires lightweight, durable and reliable kit."
The Bike - Kona Private Jake
The Kona Private Jake is a cyclocross bike, which doubles up as a commuting bike for me, and also serves as a superb touring bike. Featuring disc brakes, wide-ranging gear, and a robust frame and wheel-set, it was the perfect ride for the mammoth mission. View my Bike Profile: Kona Private Jake blog post here.
The aim with my luggage setup was to provide a balanced and lightweight carry, which would handle well on the ascents and descents in the mountains. As a result, I went for two small front panniers, a handlebar bag, a small frame bag, and a bike-packing seat pack.
- Front Panniers: Arkel Orca 25 fully waterproof panniers (reviewed here)
- Front Pannier Rack: Thule Tour Rack (reviewed here)
- Handlebar Bag: Arkel Bags (reviewed here)
- Seat pack: Restrap Bags (reviewed here)
- Dry Bags for Storage/Division: Overboard Bags (reviewed here)
The highlight of this collection was the Arkel Panniers and Restrap Seatpack. Both these items use fully waterproof roll-top closures, and were superb at keeping the rain out in the Pyrenees.
"The aim with my luggage setup was to provide a balanced and lightweight carry, which would handle well on the ascents and descents in the mountains."
This is the kit that I wore on the bike. I used every single piece of it throughout the trip, and all of it performed very well.
- POC Octal Helmet (reviewed here)
- POC Do Blade Sunglasses (reviewed here)
- GripGrab Cycling Cap
- GripGrab EasyRider Mitts
- GripGrab Cloudburst Full Finger Gloves
- GripGrab High Cut Summer Socks (black) x 2
- GripGrab Light Arm Warmers
- Castelli Mesh Base Layer x 2
- Castelli Superleggera RS Jersey
- Castelli Climber's Jersey
- Castelli Fawesome 2 Gilet
- Team Wiggle dhb Bib Shorts
- Gore Bike Wear Oxygen Bib Shorts+
- Gore Bike Wear Oxygen 2.0 GORE-TEX Jacket (reviewed here)
- Sidi Dragon 4 SRS MTB Shoes
I'd have a job to pick a highlight from this selection, as all of it performed without fault. To read more about my kit advice for bikepacking head here.
"I went for two small front panniers, a handlebar bag, a small frame bag, and a bike-packing seat pack."
For wearing in the evenings, and on my one rest day of the tour - these items were a welcome break from Lycra. This casual clothing was selected because it is light, fast drying, and warm.
- GripGrab Podium Beanie
- Primal Europe AireSpan Tee
- Kathmandu Ultralight Down Jacket
- Adidas Terrex Shorts
- CEP Compression Tights or X-BIONIC Leg Warmers
- CEP Compression Outdoor Socks (reviewed here)
- Flip Flops
Without a doubt, the highlight of this kit was the Kathmandu down jacket which provided warmth and comfort in the cold mountain evenings.
"This casual clothing was selected because it is light, fast drying, and warm."
My camping kit was chosen because of its light weight, durability and comfort provision. It is important to ensure that you get a good night's sleep on multi-day trips like this, so I opted for a tent and sleeping mat, rather than a bivvy bag. Most of the products come from the great new Outdoors Range at Wiggle.
- Kathmandu Lansan 2 Ultralight Tent
- Nordisk Ven 2.5 Sleeping Mat
- Mountain Hardwear HyperLamina Spark Sleeping Bag
- Petzl Tikka RXP Head Torch
- Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System
- Nordisk Titanium Cutlery Set
- Nordisk Titanium Insulated Mug
- Lifeventure SoftFibre Trek Towel
- Baby Wipes, Scouring pad, Washing-up liquid and Toilet Roll
The highlights from this section were the Nordisk Ven 2.5 Sleeping Mat and Jetboil MiniMo stove. The ¾ length sleeping mat is super lightweight and packable, but provided a comfortable night's sleep every night. The Jetboil stove is compact, but a great cooking tool for tasty evening grub.
"My camping kit was chosen because of its light weight, durability and comfort provision. It is important to ensure that you get a good night's sleep on multi-day trips like this, so I opted for a tent and sleeping mat, rather than a bivvy bag."
A mini tool kit, to keep me rolling throughout the 1900 kilometres of the 'Coasts and Cols' Tour.
- LifeLine Inner Tubes x 2
- Spare Tubeless Sealant
- Tubeless Repair Kit
- Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV Pump (with gauge)
- Lezyne CRV 20 Multi-tool
- Lezyne Patch Kit and Levers
- Spare Tyre
- Zip Ties, Gorilla Tape and Insulation Tape
- Black Mamba Workshop Gloves (reviewed here)
- SRAM Quick-links x 2
- Spare Spokes
- Spare Gear Cable Inner
- Spare Pedal Cleats
- Spare Brake Pads
- LifeLine Chain Lube
Extras and gadgets. These are items that every touring cyclist should include in their carry:
- Lezyne Macro Drive Front Light
- See.Sense ICON Rear Light (reviewed here)
- Wahoo ELEMNT Bike Computer (reviewed here)
- Notstrøm Power Bank (reviewed here)
- Leatherman Charge Titanium Multi-tool (reviewed here)
- Wiggle 800ml Water Bottle
- 24Bottles 1 litre Stainless Water Bottle (reviewed here)
- Monkii Bottle Cage (reviewed here)
- Lifesystems Adventurer First Aid Kit [Plus Extras: Antibiotics, Sportique Road Rash Cream, Anti-Inflammatory Cream]
- Maps and Book
- Lezyne Caddy Sack for passport and documents
The highlight from this collection was the Wahoo ELEMNT bike computer. This little unit kept me on-track and pedalling happily throughout the tour.
Read my blog post on 'Top Tips for Bikepacking Food' for more details on my meals and food carry. Here are some of my staples though: