Biking Baja: A Gear List

Wild Confluence co-founder Luke Kantola gives insight into what he is packing as he rides down the coast of Baja California this fall. 

By Luke Kantola

Tonight I am leaving to meet a crew of seasoned bike travelers in LA. From there we will head South into Baja California on an entirely self-supported trip down the coast. Here is a look at what I'm taking with me:

A look at the bike all built up

No racks, no panniers... this style of bike touring is known as bikepacking. All of the bags are in-line with the frame of my bike, and help to keep stability and control of the bicycle at a maximum.

Surly Troll running 700x40mm cyclocross tires

The stripped down bike is lean and mean. I built up a Surly Troll frame (which is meant to run 26" mountain bike tires) with 29" cyclocross tires. The result is a bike that feels equally at home on gravel, single track, and pavement. Another upside to running a frame meant for 26" wheels is that I can more easily tour in places where 26" is still the standard wheel size ie: Central and South America. 

Here are all of my bags. Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Tripod bag, platypus 2-liter bladder, 750ml water bottle, top tube bag, seat bag, frame bag, and handlebar bag with added front pouch. That's it!

This framebag was one of my first sewing projects and is made with a bark tanned deer hide and waterproof zippers. 

Here's everything that goes into my frame bag:

  • Go Pro accessories
  • Go Pro Hero+4 Black
  • Road Morph pump
  • Black Diamond Spot headlamp
  • Custom sewn tool roll: Allen key set, chain tool, tire levers, various nuts and bolts, zip ties, etc.
  • Polycro ground sheet
  • Extra brake and shift cable
  • energy bars, lens blower, sunscreen, palo santo/white sage, hacky sack
  • Minolta 50 mm lens
  • Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums
  • Fleece Gloves
  • Spanish English Dictionary
  • Sigma 150-500mm lens

This handlebar bag is made from a roadkill raccoon salvaged from the side of the road. 

The front pouch carries more camera gear and my passport. Other quick access items inevitably get shoved in this space (mainly food)

  • Camera bag
  • Journal
  • 3 spare batteries
  • 10-stop Neutral Density Filter
  • Sony A7s w/ 28mm Minolta lens and polarizing filter
  • Passport
  • Bandana

Behind the front pouch sits a waterproof dryroll bag that keeps some electronics and clothes dry including:

  • Beanie
  • Arm sun protectors (I wear a short sleeve shirt always)
  • loose fitting pants
  • Ditty bag that includes: ibuprofen, toothbrush/paste, earplugs, Aquamira water treatment, spare batteries, gauze roll, tape.
  • Electronics bag: Handle grip for Sony A7s, various cables, lav mic, 5600mah usb battery
  • Long sleeve thermal layer
  • Bug headnet
  • Event rain shell

This is the quick access king. Food also inevitably gets shoved in here.

  • Phone
  • Benchmade 530 knife
  • Chapstick
  • Sansa Clip+ Mp3 player
  • Headphones
  • Wallet

My seat bag is full of my sleeping gear and a jacket.

  • 20-degree quilt
  • Light non waterproof bivy
  • Flash 18 backpack (for long stretches without food or water)
  • Dridown jacket
  • Size small ridgerest pad

The tripod and platypus 2-liter water bladder sit on either side of my fork in cages with straps.

There are a few items that didn't get pictured. While I am indeed not carrying a stove, here are some extra items that I am carrying:

  • 3-liter water bladder (my water capacity is just under 6 liters)
  • drybag
  • Collapsible bowl 

You may have noticed a lack of shelter on my list. Since the weather is expected to be very hot and dry I will not be carrying any shelter, but instead my travel companions and I will be sharing tents incase the weather gets bad. I prefer the stars on clear nights. 

That's all there is to it. Every little bit of extra space will get filled with delicious food.