bc epic gear

The BC Epic 1000 was my first attempt at a bikepacking “race”. I had some loose goals in mind – ride at a pace that challenged me but that would allow me to finish the 1040 km course from Merritt to Fernie. Stop and smell the flowers once in awhile. Eat some Hawkins cheezies.

Given the self-supported nature of the ride, my gear took into account a wide spectrum of potential weather, unknown mileage each day so it was good to have a camping set-up, and some electronics for navigation. I tried to use what I already owned, so for the most part there wasn’t a huge financial outlay on new gear. Not sure if the extra $$ to save a kilo or two would have made a whole lot of difference to my slow-n-steady approach.





I used a Green Guru Gear Hauler saddle bag, which I was lucky to win at the first Canada Bikepack Summit back in the fall of 2016. It’s been a great bag that’s seen a few trips and was used for clothing (Patagonia Nano Air jacket, Patagonia Capilene thermal crew top, extra socks, 2nd pair of chamois), first aid/toiletries and rain gear (Patagonia Refugitive Jacket and Torrentshell Stretch Pants). A Delta elastic cargo net over the top was great for lashing down campsite shoes, a trucker hat and my windshirt. In the small zip pocket on top I had a cleaning brush, rag and chain lube.

The weather for my riding pace was pretty great…low 20’s and overcast/mixed cloud for the first few days and maybe only 4 hours of rain total. Apparently the folks at the fast end got quite a bit of wet weather. The last 2 days were hotter, into the low 30’s, but compared to past runnings of the Epic, much of the dreaded mid-30’s+ weather wasn’t a factor.



The Salsa-branded Revelate framebag came with my ex-rental Mukluk when I bought it and has held up well. The XL size is fairly cavernous. The small pocket carried: electronics (headlamp, spare batteries, 12000 MaH Pocket Juice battery pack, various USB charging cables), zip ties, and the bookmark from Ryan Correy’s celebration of life. In the main pocket: gore-Tex overgloves, Nemo Tensor air mattress, tent poles/pegs, spare tube, Sawyer Squeeze filter, purification tabs, Lezyne pump with duct tape/gorilla tape/electrical tape wrapped). This left about 1/3 free space for some food as well.

The Pocket Juice battery pack was essential for recharging an aging IPhone 5, which was my only navigation device (used the Ride With GPS app) and had an annoyingly short battery life that would decide to power off at around 20% power if I happened to take it out of airplane mode to check messages when I got to a town. Grrr.



I used a Revelate harness on the bars to carry a MEC Nano 25L drybag which was stuffed with a very old synthetic North Face sleeping bag, Nemo pillow/air mattress pump and a MEC Spark 2 tent because my head & feet touch the walls in the Spark 1 😦

I camped 5 of 6 nights. I’ve never tried a bivy bag but I think I like the psychological security of a tent, as well as a place to change clothes and get out of the bugs and weather. The Spark set up quick and was pretty light (1.6 kg).



Revelate Gas Tank: food, wallet. Revelate Jerry Can: multi tool, chain tool, tire levers, leatherman, small cable lock, wall plug for USB charging (not shown). Revelate Feedbag: Nuun tablets, toiletries, advil, voltaren, chamois butter, sunscreen, lip balm, whistle. Bedrock Tapeats: toque, fleece gloves, buff, bearspray, small camera (not shown), snacks. Patagonia Black Hole Cube: rigged up to attach to Revelate harness and used for food. Water: 1 x 1 litre, 2 x 750 ml. Extra food carrying in the small orange Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil 20L daypack, which lived clipped under my handlebars. This was a nice super-light option for extra cargo that I used a couple of times for some Subway foot-longs and bags of Belgian waffles.

Lights: Planet Bike Blaze 650, Planet Bike micro rear flasher.



Riding clothes: Sugoi or Patagonia Dirt Craft liner, Patagonia Dirt Craft outer short, Arc Teryx Phasic Sun Hoody, Pearl Izumi sun legs, Patagonia Houdini windshirt. Darn Tough Uncle Buck Socks. Giro Terraduro shoes – great, and pretty comfy on extended hike-a-bike. MET helmet. Hestra gloves.

Oh, and my dad’s c. 1982 official NHL® Hartford Whalers wristbands.

As a pale ginger-y fellow, the Sun Hoody and Sun Legs were my picks as an alternative to constantly re-applying sunscreen and keeping the legs a bit cleaner, and wicking moisture really well – loved these. I rode a lot with the loose-fitting hood on under my helmet to keep sun off the neck and ears.



The bike is an aluminum 2015 Salsa Mukluk 3, size XL, with a few mods: Jones H-bar with Ergon grips, Shimano PD-T8000 pedals, 2 extra bottle cages on the downtube attached with KingCage USB’s and a 29er wheelset (Easton Arc 35 rims with 29 x 2.6 Nobby Nic tires set up tubeless). Otherwise, pretty much stock. Naked, the bike weighs 29 lbs. It’s pretty comfortable and I didn’t have any arm/wrist/hand/shoulder/backside issues, even on a fairly rough trail tread for a lot of the route. The bike held up well and no mech issues to speak of aside from cleaning & lubing the drivetrain.

The 29 x 2.6 tires seemed to be a good option, stable, a bit of cushion (was running ~15 psi rear and 12 front), good traction. They aren’t the raciest tire on paved bits, but not bad. A day before I left for Merritt a friend showed me some 29 x 2.6 Vittoria Mezcal’s he’d just ordered…maybe a good option for down the road .

With 2.5 litres of water and a fair bit of food, I think I was weighing in around 58 lbs. A bit portly, but hey. I think I touched every bit of gear daily except for:

  • Pump (lazily neglected to go to a higher psi for paved bits)
  • First aid kit
  • 2nd pair of socks
  • Bear spray
  • Buff
  • Rain pants
  • Gore-Tex overgloves


thx jeff o for the riding photo at the top:)

2 thoughts on “bc epic gear

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