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the dead reckoning starter pack

the dead reckoning starter pack

12/16/2016 | As Seen on the World-Famous Carryology

Loading and unloading a bike every day for days and days and days, in challenging environments and ever-shifting weather is, you know, a thing. You can do it right. You can do it wrong. It’s never perfect. And for some it’s a form of entertainment and sport in and of itself.

the dead reckoning starter pack

Two years ago Yonder Journal—a quasi non-fictional study of contemporary recreation, 1000% of the time—was commissioned to study and document the art of bikepacking in the form of a project called Dead Reckoning. In the pursuit of our study we’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the world; pedaling and pushing through the high Andes of Bolivia, the storm-wracked mountains of New Zealand, the dry desolation of the Eastern High Sierra, the bear-flushed alpine meadows of British Columbia, the long hot expanses of Australia, et cetera, et cetera.

 

And while it has mostly been a series of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it’s also been a brutal-at-times learning curve in regards to the art of packing. Loading and unloading a bike every day for days and days and days, in challenging environments and ever-shifting weather is, you know, a thing. You can do it right. You can do it wrong. It’s never perfect. And for some it’s a form of entertainment and sport in and of itself. Whatever it is or isn’t, we’ve tried a lot and learned a lot and for better or worse we have what passes for a system.

That’s what this is, really, the anatomy of our system. However, before we get started please know this: this list is biased, incomplete, fluid and skewed towards Adventure in the pursuit of WCJ (World Class Journalism).”- YJ
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Leica M Typ 262 with a Mettle Speed Strap

We’ve been professionally documenting bike rides for too long. First there was the Rapha Continental: support vehicle(s), the back door thrown open, standing on the roof of a moving 15-pass, Town and Country side doors open, sitting halfway (or 80%) through the passenger side window of a friend's shitbucket and shooting around dude’s bent antenna. Most of that was shot on a pair of Hasselblads. And a Nikon 35Ti, and a Leica M6. And sometimes a Canon 1D Mk1 with various L-series lenses. That lasted for about three years. Then Brovet: no support vehicle, we carried everything in/on our bikes. Cameras, film, all of it. That was primarily shot on a pair of Mamiya 7 IIs. We broke a lot of those cameras. Also, film is heavy as shit. And bulky. Also, the lack of autofocus is a thing. And seriously, we broke so many of those cameras. That lasted for about four years. Which brings us to Dead Reckoning, which was, until recently, almost exclusively shot on a 5DmkIII with a 24-70 zoom lens because it’s basically a great camera with which you can basically do everything. But it’s also heavy as shit. And bulky. Which is why we’ve spent at least 200 hours and thousands of dollars trying to figure out the right rack and bag system for that camera. In the end we finally found it, it’s a stock Pelican case mounted to the front of the bike over the front tire on a super expensive and seriously custom rack made by this dude. It’s great. Easy(ish) access, totally weatherproof and durable—in fact it’s kinda mind-blowing how perfect a solution that set-up is. In fact, the only thing more mind-blowing is a Leica M Typ 262 with a 50mm lens. Okay sure, it doesn't have autofocus. But maybe who cares? What it is is half the weight and bulk of a DSLR. And because you can carry it on your person, you get all the super valuable packing space under and around the handlebars back. Also, it’s not perfect, but the Mettle Speed Strap is pretty close. Zoom lenses are cool but not necessary. Rangefinding is rad.
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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Pack

There is SO MUCH packing in bikepacking. Also, bikepacking locations are, generally-speaking, remote and inclement. With that in mind, a super tiny, amazing lightweight stuff sack that doubles as a day-pack-purse-laundry-bag-tote-ziploc-haversack is invaluable. Use it as a waterproof stuff sack inside one of your many not-so-waterproof bike mounted bags, or as day pack on a hike to a volcanic glacier, or as a hat. You do you.
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Mission Workshop Hauser

We hate riding with backpacks. HATE. IT. If we can, we avoid it. Which is about 50% of the time, which means the other 50% of the time we need to ride with a backpack, and there is only one backpack to chose: the Mission Workshop Hauser. Trust us, we’ve been wearing Camelbaks since like, 1991. Which means we have 25+ years experience testing/wearing thousands and thousands of different types of hydration backpacks. The Hauser is BY FAR the best. Especially if you care about comfort, support, simplicity, performance, aesthetics and quality. Also, you can put a full bladder in an already maxed-out Hauser without any problems. Every time. No struggle. It just goes right in. Also, cool colors.
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MSR Whisperlite International

Not much to say, it’s like an MSR Whisperlite that burns every form of liquid fuel known (and unknown) to man. Sewage, sweat, liquified footwear, diesel, vodka, etc., it burns all of that. If you’re headed to South America or Georgia (, The Republic of) or anywhere else in the world that’s not Western AF, then you need this.
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Mission Workshop Orion

Imagine an Arc'teryx jacket that fits and works even better than an Arc'teryx jacket and doesn't have that stupid dinosaur logo on it. Voila! The Orion. Cool colors. Lightweight, and it’s super waterproof. Also it’s been tested in Bolivia at 17k feet in a tropical high-speed snow storm.
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Specialized SWAT Bibs

As far as we can tell Specialized doesn't even like this product. It’s almost as if they hide it from the world, which is a shame because it’s a genuine, bona fide game changer. In a nutshell we’re talking about cargo (bib)shorts here. They’re comfortable and they’re durable. And while Specialized (softly) recommends they be used in conjunction with “modesty” overshorts, that’s totally unnecessary. Pockets on the side. Pockets in the back. It’s basically like adding a set of candy bar holsters to your get-up.
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Specialized Adventure Bike, Sequoia Edition

You basically have two options when it comes to choosing a bikepacking bike format: Mountain Bike or Road Bike. Which is to say, flat bar or drop bar. One is more rugged, the other is more efficient. Plenty of brands/companies make frames that can go both ways but eventually, no matter what you do, you have to chose between one of those two handlebar formats. Assuming you chose the drop bar format, the Specialized Sequoia is the single greatest bike in the universe. Essentially everything about it as been fully considered with regards to bikepacking. It’s the rootinest, tootinest, shrednest, packenst, single-track handlinest, load bearinest bike we’ve ever ridden. Also, cool colors.
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Outlier Wool Program

Merino wool socks and shirts are a requirement for traveling. If you don’t know that, shame on you, you should know this stuff. Seriously. STOP NOT using merino wool socks and shirts for travel. And if you know that then you know that, congrats. Outlier makes the best socks and shirts ever ever ever ever ever. We’re not these kinda sheep so we can’t tell you why exactly, but we do have a body and our body tells us that every time we wear Outlier products we feel great. Also, quality, durability and aesthetics.
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Mission Workshop Traverse XC

We don’t like Mountain Bike Clothing because it’s hideous and if it works better than regular clothes and/or road cycling clothes, you could have fooled us. Seriously, Mountain bike fashion is an embarrassment to the world. But these Traverse shorts are the right fabric and the right length, and they have a pretty nice waistband program. Also, you can’t tell they’re made for cycling. I mean, maybe you can but the average person can’t—which is a good thing. And they work good. Also, this kinda overshort that doubles as a reg short, swimming short, pajama short, modesty short, party short, dinner short, summer short, short-short, etc., is pretty invaluable while bikepacking.
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Porcelain Rocket Frame Bag and Seat Bag

All bikepacking bags require some kinda compromise when it comes to openings, attachment systems, weight, closure techniques, etc. None of them are perfect because it’s scientifically impossible to make perfect bikepacking bags in 2016. (That will change in the future but don't hold your breath.) For now the reality is velcro and zippers. But don’t fret, just go to Porcelain Rocket’s website and buy a FULL SUITE of bags as per your needs and bike type. Sure, look at Revelate and some of the other even-more-cottage brands if you need to satisfy your curiosity but then, like we said, Porcelain Rocket.
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Yanco X Yonder Cuben Fiber Travel Collection

Cuben Fiber is lightweight, durable, virtually waterproof and technical AF. Plus it makes a a cool noise when you touch it. Yanco is a Los Angeles-based cottage dude-brand with years of small bag making experience. Also Yanco the human is pretty cool. For example he runs ultramarathons, his daughter is adorable and he used to skateboard. We (Yonder) travel for work A LOT. If it’s one thing we understand it’s managing small, stupid, expensive, important, necessary shit across a wide variety of environments like international airports, alpine tents, the stratosphere (Bolivia), Italian jails, grizzly encounters, etc. That’s why we beta-made this small collection of travel bags: small pouch (iPhone), larger pouch (misc.), a musette and finally a passport/tradeshow badge holder. Available VERY SOON, exclusively on this website.
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Petzl ZIPKA

It’s the smallest, easiest, most reliable headlamp available. Also, one word: retractable headband.
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A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

This book is big and heavy and somewhat complicated to read because the story is told from the POV of like six different Jamaicans over the course of two decades. So clearly it’s the perfect reading material to bring on a lightweight death march. And in case you’re wondering, yes, reading is mandatory.

*Yes we know that this isn't Marlon's book. But this one is also big and complicated and by a foreign author. It's a struggle.
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Mountain House Turkey Tetrazzini

Foraging and cooking is literally a waste of time with little to no reward. Trust us, we’ve seen it go bad so many times. Also, you have to deal with shopping and portioning and (in emerging nations) bucket protein. Do yourself a favor, bring delicious/pre-made/lightweight/dependable/packable food. And Mountain Home Turkey Tetrazzini is the pinnacle of DPLDP food.
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Condiments for the Soul

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. You can doing anything and go anywhere confidently with these seven items in your “personal essentials” kit: 1) Tabasco 2) Xanax 3) Pepto Bismol 4) Toothpaste 5) Handy wipes 6) Snow Peak spork and 7) Stumptown Coffee.
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Specialized Airnet

Helmets are stupid when you’re bikepacking but this is the least stupid helmet for bikepacking. We almost enjoy wearing it. Also it looks great, which because all helmets are legally required to work good, is all that really matters.
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Specialized Recon

Durable, sexy and sleek. The best adventure clipless shoes ever made. Maybe not as much “party” as Nike Poobahs but whatever, solid black is the new party, just ask goth kids and New York City. Also these shoes last 47 times as long as Nike Poobahs ever did. Also, we have it on good authority that when America sends Navy SEALs to Alpha Centauri to explore the planet by bike as part of the Corps of Discovery III, they will be outfitted in Recons.
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Down Kit

Like merino wool, down is a must when it comes to travel and high-adventure. How much and which kinda down comes down to your specific seasonal and elevational needs. Here are our favorites by category: sleeping bag = Mountain Hardwear Phantom 28, booties = Western Mountaineering, jacket = Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, vest = Giro New Road, pants = Montbell Tec Down.
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Crocs

Recreational non-performance footwear that performs is a must. These are cheap, light, flame retardant, comfortable, easy to put on and take off, sexy and they float. Also they’re so normcore AF they’re “cool” iffin' that matters to you. Also, cool colors.
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Sea to Summit eVent Compression Sacks

We've tried them all (okay that’s not true, but we’ve tried A LOT) and these are 10000% the best. They really are waterproof, like for reals, and they last a long time. Also when bike-packing, a small, nearly-magical waterproof purse for all the things that HAVE TO STAY DRY is invaluable.
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Snow Peak Fal 2

This tent is lightweight and simple but most importantly it can be built from the inside out. There may be better tents on the market, like empirically speaking, but we don’t care because one of these literally saved our lives in a mid-summer arctic monsoon on the Huxley River in New Zealand.
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Poler Coastal Floppy Arrowhead Hat

It’s a baseball hat made out of technical fabric that dries fast and doesn't get fucked-up when you put it in a washing machine. So yeah, get one.
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Bandana

It's a respirator, it's a fashion accessory, it's a hat, it’s a bib, it's a towel and it’s a unit of cotton—which in the technical fabric dominated climate we currently live in, is like having a little piece of heaven on demand.
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Kettle Chips

1) Buy your favorite flavor. 2) Put a small hole in the bag near the top to let the air out. 3) Smash the chips down (inside the bag). 4) Roll the chip bag up into as tight a roll as possible. 5) Put a rubber band around it. 6) Hide it from yourself in one of your Porcelain Rocket bags, or maybe in the bottom of your Hauser. 7) Break it out when you’re bonked-hungry AND kinda moody about missing your mom or your wife or your country or whatever.
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