Rigs of the 2022 Klunk ‘n’ Float
Miles and friends tackled a comically challenging bikerafting trip last summer aboard heavy vintage mountain bikes. Find photos, their route, and a detailed look at each rig from the 2022 Klunk ‘n’ Float expedition here…
Klunk ‘n’ Float was a desperate attempt to end the summer on a high note. We had a rough idea of our route, which looped deep behind the Bunster Range North of Powell River, crossed Powell Lake to Goat Island, and linked back down to the lake via what would turn out to be a horrific bushwhack. It was relatively close to home, challenging, and I think I speak for the entire group when I say it was the most memorable trip of the year.
If there’s one thing I learned while reflecting on that trip, it’s that I value time spent with friends, late summer heat, and jumping off docks far more than what bike or bags I brought along. With that said, it’s hard to ignore just how ridiculous our bike setups were for our inaugural Klunk ‘n’ Float trip, so I figured it’d be worth snapping some additional photos and sharing all of their glory in one place.
In true Klunk ‘n’ Float style, I forgot to take many photos of our bikes during the trip. So, last week, I gathered our bikes and various bags to grab some shots. A couple of the bikes have been ridden somewhat regularly since our trip, the Miyata was stolen and recovered just a few weeks ago, and my beastly Kuwahara has been set up on a trainer upstairs while my arm is in a cast.
Dig into our 2022 Klunk ‘n’ Float setups below, including bag details and a rough idea of the gear we brought with us. I’d like to acknowledge the out-the-back paddle carrying technique, Justin’s DIY carbon top tube BB gun holster, and what might be the most wonderful assortment of klunk-packrafting rigs I’ve ever seen.
Miles’ 1984 Kuwahara/Apollo Shasta
At some point, Justin decided we should all ride vintage mountain bikes on the trip, and couldn’t come up with a good reason to say no. It didn’t take long to find my trusty Kuwahara Shasta from a local chap refurbishing old bikes. I think I paid $75, and it even came with the rear rack and some fenders that were removed for this trip. I think I rode it around four times at most before the trip, and besides swapping some slightly bigger tires, I didn’t do any pre-trip bike maintenance. The internet tells me it’s a 1984 Kuwahara/Apollo Shasta, based around a beautiful lugged 4130 Chromoly Steel frame, an elegantly raked out fork for off-road stability, a polished bullmoose bar, and what very well could be the original saddle. It’s heavy and dang comfortable to ride.
The Shasta is the epitome of a klunk-packrafting rig. I decided on my Porcelain Rocket Microwave Panniers (now made by Rockgeist) so I could easily unpack/repack during transitions between water and land. My Kokopelli packraft has a large zippered opening on the side where I stashed all of my gear while paddling, and the waterproof roll-top bags of the Microwave Panniers made this process pretty straightforward. The harness-style pannier also gave me a place to stash the blade ends of my four-piece paddle, and, to my surprise, they stayed put for most of the trip.
My packraft was strapped onto the deck of the rear rack with a couple of Austere straps, I used my go-to JPaks Footlong top tube bag up front for quick-access items and snacks, and an Outershell Handlebar Harness held my Revelate Designs dry bag full of additional gear. I didn’t take advantage of the frame’s massive front triangle and mounted a Widefoot Litre Cage + Nalgene alongside a standard bottle cage for my water.
Outer Shell Handlebar Harness
Gossamer Gear The Two
Red Rider BB gun
Paddle Sections x2
Garmin inReach Mini 2
Porcelain Rocket Microwave Panniers
Exped sleeping pad
Bear hang rope
Plastic Bowl + Spork
Kokopelli Rogue R-Deck Packraft
Paddle Sections x2
Outdoor Research Astroman Shirt
Chrome Madrona Shorts
Specialized Rime Flat Shoes
Rockgeist Big Dumpling Hip Pack
Canon 6D Camera
50mm F1.2 Lens
I was pleasantly surprised by how capable the Kuwahara was. I rambled down chunky doubletrack service roads that see lifted Tacoma’s far more often than bicycles, I dragged it for hours through thick brush, and besides not being able to shift into my smallest front ring and a few missing drivetrain teeth, the bike made it back to town only a little worse for wear.
Justin’s 1990 Nishiki Barbarian
Justin’s Nishiki Barbarian is truly something special. It gets the most attention out of the bunch, and for good reason. Complete with elevated chainstays, a promising blue-to-green fade paint job, and loads of room for funky-shaped frame bags, the Barbarian is Klunk ‘n’ Float’s unofficial mascot. Justin’s setup was impossibly heavy, but he goes to CrossFit regularly, so it didn’t phase him. It was cool to see my well-loved Porcelain Rocket frame bag earn a spot on the bike and the DIY Norco Range top tube BB gun holster has been an absolute gamechanger for pedal-powered target practice.
Ortlieb Handlebar Roll
Big Agnes Fly Creek 2p Bikepack Tent (no fly)
Big Agnes Torchlight sleeping bag
Big Agnes Insulated Q-core deluxe pad
Apidura Top Tube Bag
Apidura Stem Bag
Porcelain Rocket 52hz Frame Bag (small)
Extra BB gun ammo
Kokopelli Rogue Packraft
28L Arkel Pannier
Grayl water filter
Bags of macaroni and chilli
Bowl and spork
7mesh Farside short
7mesh Glidepath pant
7mesh Elevate Shirt
Giro Latch Shoes
EVOC hip pack
Full-sized socket wrench for bolt-on wheels and cranks
Spare 26″ tubes
Justin: The Nishiki Barbarian. One of the heaviest bikes on the trip, it suited the name “Barbarian.”
The first day of the adventure had one long fire road downhill and a rocky technical down to the ocean. The brakes were stock, including pads. The old cantilever and U-brake of the Barbarian were under gunned. They could not keep up with the terrain, rider weight, and the additional weight of candy, chilli, and macaroni that was filling my pannier. Four fingers on the extra-long brake levers could hardly keep up. But the trusty Barbarian got me down safely with huge smile on my face. The remainder of the first day on the bike was spent on rolling logging roads on our way to Olsen’s Landing. The Barbarian is a smooth-riding bike in these situations. I could clip along comfortably at our group’s pace. The shifting, it worked. It wasn’t great, but considering the cables and colour-matched housing were probably a decade old, it worked.
I could feel the swing of the pannier on the back of the bike as I dodged potholes, but the bike had a comfortable, smooth ride feel. Considering the lack of work put into the bike before the trip, it really had zero major problems. Bolts needed to be tightened on the pannier rack. It suffered one flat tire, but lets chalk that up to rider error. The detents on the seat post gave out a bit and required some occasional seat angle adjustment. For future trips, the only thing other than replacing the seat post that I would spend a bit more time on would be my accessory mounts. Ideally, the bolts stay tight! But, overall the Barbarian is now trusty friend, and will be used on every klunk trip from here on out. Zero modifications. No shake down rides. Off the couch!
Kristjan’s 1992 Miyata Elevation 300′
Unlike the rest of us, who had a few opportunities to ride our bikes around the block, Kristjan borrowed another friend’s bike for the trip. It was probably the nicest of the bunch, kitted out with SimWorks Super Yummy tires, a Velo Orange Klunker bar, ergo grips, and a fresh service. The Miyata is owned by our friend KP and was originally purchased by her father sometime in the late 90s. Last spring, Justin and I borrowed the bike from beside her house and gathered up some used parts to make it one of the classiest commuters around. The frame was two sizes too small for Kristjan, but thankfully, he’s not one to complain and made the most of his last-minute klunker rig.
Kristjan: My setup was conceived under a few principles: (1) Knowing that I would spend some days out in the hot sun that required a constant effort to help close out the day, and (2) cooler nights that consisted of lowered body temperatures from the inevitable fatigue, nights by the water, potential rain, and the presence of bugs while trying to eat delicious and hard-earned camp food.
I had a few daily essentials in my 7Mesh glidepath short and sleeveless Dharco tee. Those were meant for keeping me cool throughout the day. They breathed well and kept me relatively dry through long efforts under the sun. The key was the evening essentials in my 28L waterproof Arkel pannier. I kept my Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass summer bag (1c) compressed with my ultralight Therm-a-Rest pad ready to quickly unfold for the evening. I also had a few key items such as toilet paper, more food, and warmer clothing to make sure comfort was achieved after wearing clothing all day that smelt like work. I had packed some very light 7Mesh Glidepath pants with a Mckinley bamboo cotton long sleeve. The 7Mesh Pilot was always on hand for its effectiveness against the rain and also its weight savings and the obvious coverage against the relentless bugs. The Petzl Swift reactive lighting headlamp was a great asset when making multiple trips to and from where we slept and the shores of the lake we camped at and the road where we managed to find dry level ground to tent up.
Kokopelli Rogue-Lite Packraft
Randi Jo Fab Bartender Bags
Teriyaki pork jerky
Road Runner x Velo Orange Half Frame Wedge
Petzl Swift Headlamp
28L Arkel Pannier
Small Yeti tumbler mug
Plastic MEC bowl
Therm-a-Rest Ultralight pad
Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass Summer bag (1C)
Aqua Bound Paddle
Dharco sleeveless tee
7Mesh glidepath shorts and pants
7Mesh Copilot jacket
New balances trail runners
Mckinley Bamboo cotton long sleeve
The key pieces of clothing that saved my skin, literally, were my Glidepath pants that took the brunt of the descent to Powell Lake after bushwacking for hours trying to drag out 70-pound bikes to eventually dismantle them for one last long paddle. The pants were great for protection but were subject to several rips. They were also subject to abusive sweating to the point where they were no longer breathable. I believe extraordinary adventures can push our garments to extraordinary measures. This was one of them. I am happy to have worn them.
Nathan’s 1992 Specialized Stumpjumper
Nathan borrowed Justin’s iconic Specialized Stumpjumper for our trip. Its purple paint and red decals paired nicely with some of the most modern bags from my gear room. We kitted it out with a Jack the Rack supporting a Bags by Bird Piccolo bag, a Bags by Bird Better Half frame bag, Rockgeist top tube bag, and some dangerously slick commuter tires that somehow held up on some seriously nasty terrain. I’m pretty sure that’s the original saddle on there!
Bags by Bird Piccolo (Large) + Jack the Rack
Jet Boil Micro Mo + Fuel Canister
Rockgeist Cache XL
Power bank + cables
Bags by Bird Better Half (Large)
Double Stuff Oreo’s
Dry bag to cover hand
Sandwiches and macaroni
1.5L water bladder
Kokopelli Rogue Packraft
Roll of Gorilla Tape
Second hand swim trunks
7mesh foundation boxer brief
Saucony Peregrine trail runners
Nathan: Thanks to Justin, I was able to ride his deep purple Specialized Stumpjumper, which fit perfectly. Almost completely original parts aside from some grips with bar ends to help me find some comfortable positions for a hand that just had surgery a week prior. I could access all the rings on the front triple, however, I was in the smallest one 90% of the time. I had my two-piece paddle rolled into my packraft and sticking out the back of the rack. This was great while riding but resulted in quite the struggle when trying to bushwhack and hike-a-bike the heavy rig that was now nine feet long down a mountainside through dense brush.
2022 Klunk ‘n’ Float Route
The best part about our route was that a few days after we got back, one of the service roads we used was shut down for public vehicular traffic. I wouldn’t suggest anyone try to recreate this trip, mostly due to the bushwhack-a-bike down from Goat Island, but, all in all, it actually was quite a lovely loop. Getting so close to Desolation Sound, a popular paddling destination, was truly special. It was also my first time visiting Theodosia Inlet, riding bikes on Goat Island, and all of our first time failing at finding the “hiking trail” from Frog Pond down to Powell Lake. We’re already scheming the 2023 route, but until then, you can check out the inaugural route below.
The full story, “Klunk n Float,” was recently published in issue 09 of The Bikepacking Journal. If you’re a member of the Bikepacking Collective, be sure to dig in to get the full story. If you’re not yet a member and would like to read future stories from the Journal in the full glory of print, sign up here to never miss another issue.
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