What do we carry with us when we ride? No two cyclist’s gear lists are exactly the same and for that matter most riders have multiple gear configurations that vary with the season, route, the type of ride or even personal mood. In my experience those of us who ride a lot develop what I will call “go-to kits”. These kits are generally self-contained and are ready to grab at a moments notice allowing for minimal ride prep. resulting in more time spent in the saddle.
I have always been intrigued by what gear others carry and why. I occasionally stumble upon discussions and sometimes pictures addressing this topic. I find this type of information invaluable as I refine my own kits over time. I also feel these types of gear discussions provide interesting insight into an aspect of everyday cycling that is often overlooked. No one wants to be stranded on a dark highway shoulder on their commute home because of a broken chain or left shivering high on a mountain pass because of inadequate clothing. It is to avoid these scenarios that we all put at least some thought into what we carry. For me this is one small element that helps make up the fun of the cycling experience. So without further rambling here is the first installment of “What are you carrying?”
This is my “go-to kit” for most of my commuting which usually involves some sort of lengthening of the ride home. I also use this configuration for longer off-road rides in backcountry areas. Everything is carried in an Osprey Stratos 24 pack. I have found it to be very stable and perfectly suited for riding. I chose the 24 liter size over the 18 liter version so as to be able to fit clothes and other bulky items that I usually have to carry on my commute. I think the Stratos 18 would have been better suited for most of my rides but the 24 just adds to the pack’s versatility without adding much weight. A wealth of compression straps keep the pack stable even when nearly empty.
Osprey’s Air Core back panel creates a gap between the back and the pack allowing for good air flow. The zip mesh pockets on the waist belt are great and allow me to keep food easily accessible for on the fly fueling. In the past few years Osprey has started incorporating stretch fabric pockets into their packs. These are really sweet. The Stratos 24 has a large one on the back panel which I usually keep a wind shell in. It also has two side stretch pockets which work well for bottles, food or glasses and can easily be accessed while moving. This pack works well for my purposes and I frequently use it for non bike related activities as well. This one is a keeper.
The following image depicts the items that I always keep in this pack. Obviously the tube changes based on which bike I am riding and I sometimes carry a bigger pump when weight is not really a concern. Not pictured are a set of arm warmers and a wind shell that generally live in the outer stretch pockets. During the rainy season I always have a pair of rain pants in the main compartment. Clothing, food and water are added depending on the ride.
This base kit has served me well and I have used it on all types of rides from my short daily commute to a W.R.I.A.D ride. Versatility is key for me and this setup is exactly that.
Hopefully someone will glean some useful info from this write-up. I would love to feature other’s setups in the future. Let Velo Exploration know what you are carrying and we’ll post it up here.