Bikepacking Setup - Pro Tips


Bikepacking that is!

Now that the Swift Campout's global call has been issued, it's time to talk bikepacking set-up with Kisbow's Tim Bateman.

Among his many talents, Tim has over 20 years of experience guiding multi-day bike tours; most notably 14 seasons of them at Western Spirit Cycling in Moab. Tim's days are fueled by coffee, pizza and a passion for all things bike related. When he is not burrowed into problem solving on the production floor, he can usually be found daydreaming about where to go on the next bike adventure or what bike is needed to add to his collection. 

When it comes to packing for a trip, Tim has seen and done it all! 

1. Which bike are you riding & why?

I have two set-ups currenty:
Drop bar - custom steel Bystickel Allroad with Bruce Gordon (RIP Bruce) lowrider rack and front panniers. With this bike I blend traditional touring with bikepacking.

Flat bar - Vicious Cycles Motivator with sweep bar (in a previous life was my primary MTB bike set up single speed), a Surly fork with all the braze ons, paired with mini front rack and generator front hub. This is more of a bikepacking setup now.

2. What’s your cockpit look like & what do you keep up there?

Comfort is key! Find a bar that you really like AND fits you. But don't forget grips or bar tape is a crucial part of the handlebar equation. A more upright position allows you to look around more and more comfortably.

Definitely find a saddle that you really like. One that "disappears" underneath you ideally. Don't break in a new saddle on a long adventure (I've tried this and it's really not advisable. haha!).

Tire choice is a pretty important component and can adapt your bike to whatever type terrain you are riding. It can be a "make or break" part of bike set up. The last thing you want to worry about in the middle of nowhere is a flat tire (especially running out of tubes! — This actually happened to me in Alaska and luckily some tourists in a Prius stopped and gave us an extra tube).

Try to keep a lot weight off the handlebar because it affects the handling
of the bike.

3. What are your top recommendations for anyone who is new to bike-camping?

DO NOT FORGET TO LOOK AROUND!!! It's why you're out there and there is no way better to experience nature (in my opinion) than from a bike seat.

Make a list - and check it 3-4 times. Decide what you can't live without and what is crucial to your outing/well-being to narrow it down.

You don't need the best, lightest, newest equipment to get started. It's easy to get bogged down in the gear aspect, but the reality is it's about the experience!

Get your bike tuned up before your trip!