Off to the Chic Chocs
Today I head off for my 3 weeks of bikepacking in the Chic Choc mountains on the Salsa Ti Mukluk. The weather continues to be extremely crazy this year necessitating packing for a temperature range of 0 to 50! That is an incredible swing which really stresses out my packing setup. Thanks to Scott of Porcelain Rocket, I have a custom built mission control bag that is built around a 15L OR dry bag. This is larger than Scott's standard setup and is key to carrying my extra winter gear.
Yesterday in northern Maine we had rain, snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures which made for a good final dry run (no pun intended) of all my kit. What I discovered is that almost everything is perfect other than my rain pants. What a lousy time to figure out that what I have is just not going to work. On the drive to my drop off point today I am just going to search out a pair of cheap 'Dry Duck' style pants. Something that will keep me dry even if they don't breathe. I will wait for another day to get something more suitable for the long term.
The other change I have been playing with is water storage. In general I really dislike riding with a backpack, tending to only use the silnylon Sea to Summit bag for food overflow. I love this little bag because when not in use it stuffs down to a size smaller than the palm of your hand. With my current setup I planned on using this for overflow and put my hydration bladder in my frame bag. However, I am definitely not liking this setup so I believe I will switch over to my Deuter speed bag which I will use as a hydration backpack and then use the frame bag for over flow food storage. The goal being to not overload the backpack, something that I find incredibly easy to do if not careful. It is the law of storage -- Any free space you have will quickly be filled with some form of kit no matter how good your initial intentions were. I think this is why I love the bikepacking methodology so much, it really forces you to pair down your kit. None the less, I will give the backpack a try and hope to not overload it.
With the addition of some cheap form of rain gear I should be all set. The new front bag is holding all of my clothes and camp kit. The two new Porcelain Rocket Anything Cage bags are holding my tarp and hammock. The frame bag will have overload food and tools. The Booster Rocket Seat Pack will hold my food and stove kit. Not knowing how easy it will be to find food, I am starting out with a 5 day supply until I get a feel for resupply spots. Five days is pushing it for storage, but thanks to that new Mission Control bag, I think I will be in good shape.
Ready to roll, I am super excited about this first winter bikepacking trip on the Mukluk. Pictures and updates will be available when I find cell signal and I will provide a complete trip write up after I get back. Now for a bit of snow and cooler weather and all will be good.