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They’ say you can’t learn from other peoples mistakes … but ‘They’ haven’t spent a night shivering on a wet hillside inside a summer sleeping bag in November! We say, knowledge weighs nothing, so read on.

If you are going to be doing long, multi-day trips raise your handlebars to get some weight off your hands. Your XC race position won’t cut it for 12+ hour days in the saddle. I speak from the experience of numb fingers during and after my first bikepacking race.
Alan Goldsmith

Put your ‘dry’ kit in 1 bag, and put your tarp / tent in a fairly easily accessed spot. That way, when you arrive at your bivi spot you can put the tarp up, then get under it, out of the weather and deal with the dry stuff, keep it dry and get on with getting warm.
Dave Kane

Well it looked okay on the map!


99% of the time in the UK there’s no need to carry more than 1L of water. Each litre weighs 1kg, that could easily be the same weight as your shelter and sleeping bag.

Bear Bones

All weighs less than a litre of water.

Invest in a warm sleeping bag and save money elsewhere … it’s miserable being cold all night.
Kevin Cunniffe

You don’t have to go far for adventure. Local pootles can be as fun as going half way around the world.
Matthew Cockerham

If you’re using a gas stove with small pot supports and you want to make your mug more stable, then bend a piece of metal wire into a circle about the same size as the base of the mug. Sit the wire on the pot supports and then the mug on top. This way the mug wont slip off any of the legs. Mike Clarke
Shiny ti is nice, but the local pound shop is great for finding all the stuff a tramp might need (gloves, mugs, lights, special brew).
Matthew Cockerham

Ear-plugs for when your balloons burst.

Buy some scales and embrace your inner geek. You might be surprised how much everything really weighs.
Bear Bones

For your first trip, stay close to home just in case it all goes wrong.
Kevin Cunniffe

Tree cover for winter bivi’s, open high ground for summer.
Taylor

Pack a little – ride a lot!


For racing, minimising stopped time is essential. Plan and pack so that you can do as much as possible , e.g. eating, while still on the bike.
Ian Barrington

Remember … you’re the scariest thing in the woods at night.
Bear Bones

Nothing to be scared of.

On a basic ‘first trip’ level I’d say don’t fuss about what you take, ‘if in doubt leave it out’ is good advice, as is take whatever you need to feel happy. Just focus on weight distribution. Keep it as low and central as you can, pack things based on weight or density. Packing for best organisation is good but if you’re not racing there’s no rush anyway. Large tail-wagging saddle bags or 4kg+ bar rolls don’t make for fun handling off-road and if the bike isn’t fun to ride anymore why bother? 
James Olsen

Ear-plugs!
Taylor

Go touring in the Scottish Highlands, it’s not as hilly as you think…..at least it doesn’t have to be.
Alan Goldsmith

Just don’t take too much or you’ll risk making your bike rubbish to ride.
Dave Kane

Don’t wait until you actually need your gear before you try it – practice with it first.
Bear Bones

Open invitations for rides are open to everyone. If you think you’re too fat/old/slow, don’t worry so are we.
Matthew Cockerham

Practice in the bath at home.

Just because there’s a bridleway marked on a map doesn’t mean theres one on the ground. Geograph/Google earth is your friend.
Taylor

Use your down gillet or primaloft jacket etc as a bag-filler. Wearing insulating layers in the bag seems the natural thing to do if it’s cold but it stops the bag lofting, so just use something to fill the air space, use it like a wrap or baffle around your neck and upper body to keep warm air in without sealing yourself into the bag and getting constricted. 
James Olsen

I like to have my GPS showing me total time and moving time (and overall average and moving average). The trick is to keep both as close together as possible, as once there’s a gap you’ll never get it back!
Ian Barrington

You’re never lost, you just might not know where you are.
Matthew Cockerham

Remove the phrase ‘just in case’ from vocabulary. If you pack something ‘just in case’ you’re taking too much.
Bear Bones

See … Scotland’s flat.

Homemade Custard deserts don’t work!
Matt Harvey

Don’t be scared to ask for advice on the forum, no matter how stupid you think the question is.
Taylor

Thanks to Alan, Kevin, Chew, Ian, Taylor, Dave, Mike, Matt and James.





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