In preparation for this year’s Great Equinox Campout, to give folks an idea of what and how to pack, we asked some of our most trusted bike-camping allies what they’re riding, what they’re bringing with them, and how they’re packing it. We’re stoked to present the first installment of “What’s In Your Kit?” featuring Swift Campout sponsor Six Moon Designs customer experience manager Graham Hodge.
What bike are you riding & why? I ride an All-City Electric Queen most of the time. I’ve run through the gambit of bikes and settled on the Electric Queen for most of my bikepacking trips in the PNW after some rough weekends on my Rivendell Clem Smith Jr. The EQ handles singletrack like a dream and is still efficient enough on gravel for me.
What’s your preferred bag setup? Racks? No racks? The Electric Queen is limited on mounting points, but I’ve found that running soft bags is easier when switching back and forth between my bikes since I use some of my bags for commuting on the Clem.
What’s your cockpit look like & what do you keep up there? I typically run two stem/feed bags that I sew myself and a long flap bag in the front. I keep water bottles, snacks, a trowel, a camera, and paraphernalia in the stem bags. Basically things I need to access quickly and often. I use to use a top tube tank bag for a while, but haven’t been on a long trip in a while and don’t really need it. The long flap bags are a little out of my current DIY wheelhouse so I’ve been trying out a few different ones. I’m currently using a standard-sized Bags by Bird Goldback. I’ve got a size-large Ron’s Bikes / Swift Fabio’s Chest on order and am excited about the extra packable room. I tend to used the Goldback side pockets for layers, extra snacks, and a camera if I have too much in my stem bags.
What’s your packing strategy for weight distribution & ease of access? I tend to keep the bulk of the water and food weight in the center inside my frame bag while putting clothes and my Six Moon Designs tent in the seat post bag. My sleeping bag, water filter, tent poles, and other misc items go in the front bag. I’ve tried mixing things up a bit, and can carry extra water in the front bag when needed, but find this way of distributing everything keeps the bike nimble for optimal shredding.
How about on-route nutrition? Are you a camp gourmet, or a Keep-It-Simple-Stupid type? Got any secret tips for us? I KISS a lot. I’ll pick up a burrito or hoagie to pack in when I can just to avoid having to wait on dinner to cook. I’ll bring my Vargo Bot and stove on almost every trip for coffee though. I used to bring grounds and an aero-press almost no matter what the trip entailed, but since trying Voile instant coffee and a few other brands, I’ve ditched the fresh stuff for gourmet instant coffee. On more demanding trips I carry Nuun electrolyte tabs and a protein meal mix for recovery.
What’s the one absolutely essential piece of gear in your bike-camping kit, & why? I’d honestly have to say my stem bags. They not only allow, but encourage, me to stay fueled throughout the day with snacks and water. Maybe it’s my own personal struggle, but I tend to get tunnel vision when water or food isn’t as accessible, and knocking out miles and riding becomes more important to me than hydrating and eating. I tend to enjoy the ride a lot more when I can easily reach those things.
What is your favorite Swift piece & why? I waited too long to order the 2020 Zeitgeist bags, but you better believe I’ll be snagging one or two of those once they’re available again. Molly has been wanting to switch from the basket/rack combo and I’m thinking about ditching the standard seat post bag for a Zeitgeist just for the packability and accessibility when riding throughout the day.