We get lots of questions from people regarding the bikes we’re riding and in particular our combination of panniers with more new-school Revelate Designs bikepacking kit. Here’s a breakdown of how we’re both set up for our Alaska to Patagonia tour, including a full gear list from each of us.
(Note, Jan 2019) Our Andes Gear List is more up to date than the list on this page, with a greater emphasis on weight savings and cold weather equipment.
Surly Ogre (29er), which was purchased as a standard build (second hand) that we made a few customisations to:
• Carbon seat post and Brooks B17 Standard saddle;
• Watson Cycles Revelation titanium handlebar with Ergon GP1 grips;
• 170mm cranks with 22, 32, 42 chainrings and 11-36 cassette;
• Son dynamo front hub paired to The Plug III USB charger (mounted on steerer) with Stans ZTR Arch EX rim;
• Tubus Cosmo stainless steel rear rack;
• Salsa Anything Cage HDs mounted on fork.
Surly Ogre (29er), purchased as a frame only from Universal Cycles in Portland, WA. The build was done by Web Cyclery in Bend, OR.
• Thomson Elite stem and seat post with Brooks B17 Narrow saddle;
• Watson Cycles Revelation titanium handlebar with Ergon GP1 grips,
• 175mm cranks with 22, 32, 42 chainrings and 11-36 cassette (no big ring since Quito);
• Stans ZTR Arch EX rims with Stans Neo hubs;
• Tubus Cosmo stainless steel rear rack;
• Salsa Anything Cage HDs mounted on fork
• We’re both using Shimano’s M785 Trail Pedal, which is great for extra foot support, without being too big.
From Deadhorse, AK to San Diego we both ran 2.35 – 2.4 inch tyres, except for the long highway section from Whitehorse to Banff, where we swapped to 1.5 inch slicks. The Great Divide riding surfaces are very variable, and we’ve concluded that if we were riding it again it we certainly wouldn’t want to run skinnier tyres. 2.35 inch has given enough volume to soften the bumps and allow us to carry speed over rougher sections of road, without creating the drag that a bigger volume tyre would have.
For the Baja Divide’s rough and sometimes sandy surfaces we used 3 inch tyres on the front and a 2.4 on the back, and have done ever since, through Mexico, Central America and South America.
How we carry the load
Our carrying capacity is comprised of small rear panniers each and Revelate Designs bike packing kit: the handlebar holds the Harness and Salty Roll which I use to carry my sleeping bag and some spare clothing. Hana’s contains our MSR Hubba Hubba tent. Integrated with the Harness are a pair of Mountain Feedbags. We carry water bottles, food and/or our bear spray cans in these – a great way to keep your bottle handy and easier than reaching down to the frame triangle. On the front of the Salty Roll we each mount a Pocket (now replaced with Egress)– for small items that need to be kept handy during the day.
On the frame we each have the Ranger frame bag. These have a velcro divider in the centre so you can split the bag into two compartments.
Under the seat I sometimes use the Terrapin harness and drybag (when we want to travel lighter) which I love for the fact that the fully waterproof bag can be removed from the harness and quickly thrown in the tent. Hana uses the Pika (as small bikes have less clearance).
Hana has relatively small Revelate Nano panniers, so she is uses a dry bag on the rack for her sleeping bag and food-overflow.
This is our ‘base’ long-distance touring gear. I.e. used for the majority of the ride from Deadhorse, AK to San Diego, CA. It proved to be a not-too-heavy load for the long climbs and rough and sometimes steep riding of the Great Divide. For the Baja Divide we cut the load right back and droped the laptop/hard drives, stove and extra clothes, before resuming a more normal load for the journey south through Mexico and Central America. Having a combination of panniers and Revelate bags gives us the flexibility to adapt our set up for the climate and to lighten up if need be for long technical/mountainous sections of the ride. Updated Andes Gear List (Oct 2018).
(*) denotes that the item is swapped seasonally – see list at bottom for specific winter gear.