Mountain Bike Without A Backpack And Hydration Pack

By Artur Ciesielski | Challanges

When riding in the Phoenix Mountain, near my home, I tend to not event take a water bottle and not tools. I like to ride with minimal stuff. It’s no different when I go trail running. Of course, I can walk the few miles home if I have to, so the risk is small.

On longer trips, mostly, on mountain biking trips I wear a hydration backpack; even though it’s comfortable, I have never liked wearing one, especially when it gets warm.

For an upcoming trip to Moab, I set about putting together a small kit to do just that, have everything I need for a 4-7 hour ride, yet not wear a backpack. I still want the bike fast and nimble.

The initial set up.

Revelate Designs Jerrycan and Tangle frame bag (small), a seat bag, and side load holders for two water bottles. Seems like a lot of space to put stuff. At this point, I just set it up and put it all on the bike.

My main concern is the fit of two tall water bottles; I’m not sure how and if they will fit.

The sideload water bottle holder may get changed out. Possibly one of them for one that is adjustable and able to hold a bottle with a larger diameter. Either way, it’s going to be a tight fit.

ibis tranny 29 with revelate design packs

Ibis Tranny 29 with Revelate Designs top tube packs.

I took the bike out like you see it plus some tools and two 24 ounce water bottles for a 2 hour ride yesterday and all worked out well. Everything stayed put, even on jumps, and the bike felt just as nimble.

The final set up.

The final set up that I used over 5 days in Moab included just a change in one bottle holder – an unnecessary change. I was attempting to use a larger bottle, but it was simply too big.

The frame bag held my phone, food, small items, pump and had lots of space left over for other items.

On the first ride I had 72 ounces of water. That was too much. I ended up taking 2 24 ounce water bottles. This was plenty for a 2-4 hour ride in 87-degree F. weather.

tranny set up

The final set up.

This worked out really well. I liked not having a pack, especially because it was so warm. And it allowed me to be more nimble, not having to worry about the bag jumping on my back or shifting on the rough trails in Moab. My bike handled the same as if it was bare.

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