Thursday, December 26

This Changes Everything

Santa was good to me.  He brought me three Revelate Designs bags.  Now I’m destined to be a bikepacking fool.
What I asked for—and what I got—was a Tangle half-frame bag, a Gas Tank, and a Viscacha seat bag.  Oh, Santa, you jolly tub-o-lard!  I was thinking I’d get gifts that would sit unused in the Bike Cave for all the livelong year.  No, not at all.  I’ll risk divorce to put these bad boys to use!
Unfortunately I’ve now developed a slight addiction to bikepacking gear.  I. Need. More.
Well, for now I can actually get by with the gear I already have.  I loaded up the One Christmas afternoon and lashed my tent over the handlebar bag I’ve had for a few years now.  I stuffed sleeping bag in the Viscacha, put stove, pot and bike tools in the handlebar bag, put fuel and water purifier in the Tangle, and left the Gas Tank and remainder of the Tangle empty.  I put on my old Nalgene hydration backpack with some random odd things in it to simulate a load.  And then I cavorted merrily up and down the ridges behind my house.
I gotta say, even with only a partial Revelate compliment and half a full bikepacking load (no food, water, or clothes) the bike handled pretty darn good.  I had to man-handle it over a few large and recent blowdowns over the old logging roads and it wasn’t a big deal.  Hopping over downed branches and bikewhacking through ground-bound crowns was like fruitcake.
Bike-pack-a-whacking…I like it.  Combo of bushwhacking and bikepacking.  Bushpacking?  Bikebwacking?  Nah, bike-pack-a-whacking works for me; just like Hook-ed on Puh-honics.
Here’s the thing, I had originally decided to ask for the full catalog of Oveja Negra Threadworks gear.  ONT is based out of Leadville.  How could I not support them?  But then I decided I didn’t need so much bikepacking gear.  I’m a cubicle monkey with a family.  I don’t have time to do so much bikepacking.  I scrapped that idea, but threw the three Revelate bags on my Amazon wishlist.  I would have put the ONT bags on, but they didn’t show up on Amazon.  I figured I’d find other stuff before Christmas and the bags would go away.
Truth is I never found anything else I really wanted and the bags stayed on.  When I opened them on Christmas morn I was almost disappointed.  Well, in myself for not coming up with anything better.
Then I got caught up in the kids and their excitement, we went to Mamaw Lacy’s for second breakfast, and then retreated home with fully bellies and a sleep deficiency that is achievable only to parents of young girls who get kitchen playsets that need three hours of assembly before going under the tree.  Mandy napped.  But those bags danced in my short term memory like taunting elves.  Finally I trundled down to the Bike Cave and started slinging nylon, ratcheting Velcro, and jamming in the gear.  It didn’t take long before it looked like some Tour Divide racer had blundered off course and had landed in our humble abode.  
As I progressed in my ministrations I sent Dave L. photo updates via text.  His responses were:
“I’m really interested in that seat mount pack, can’t wait to check it out” and
“Cool!” and
“We got to get together soon” (in other words: I’m lusting after your gear) and finally
It might seem like I was taunting Dave.  Okay, I was taunting Dave.  It’s not like I just went out and bought all this cool new gear.  I had to wait for Santa to bring it to me.  And it’s actually taken me about three years to amass all the stuff I need to be able to do any kind of mountain bikepacking.  Darn that Mike Dion and his Ride the Divide!  Each Christmas I’ve asked for one or two more items that would eventually equate to a full complement of gear.  One year it was a one man tent, then it was a lighter sleeping bag, this year it was a bunch of frame bags.  
Next year I’m hoping I’ve gotten enough use out of the gear I have that I’ll want to round out my bikepacking kit with some Oveja Negra loot.  I won’t make the same mistake twice.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the Revelate bags are more than adequate.  After I get a few miles out of them I’ll give you a full review of them, but for now I am feeling the holiday cheer and wanting to spread the love a bit.  Got a birthday coming up too.
Of course now I live in a state where there is only one long trail and it’s hardly in an acceptable condition to travel far upon a bike.  That will change.  In the meantime I have my secret routes planned.  I know where I can go for my wild adventures.  I have my “five minute plan” should the opportunity arise for me to bolt out the door for a mini-adventure.
One unforeseen benefit to these new bags is that now I can use both of my non-touring road bikes for light touring.  I say light touring because the sporty-sport bikes probably can’t hold up to too much extra weight, especially since I’m maxing out their capacities with my winter fat stores.  But now I won’t have to jerry-rig a pannier rack to head off toward some transportation conference.  I can just Revelate there.


  1. Those guys make the frame bag for my Salsa :)

    1. Not here yet. Maybe this summer. Need a dropper seat post first so I don't die at ORAMM next summer.