An Ultralight Bikepacking Gear List for Cold Weather: Light, Comfy, and Cozy (Pick 3)
In this kit breakdown, Logan runs through the compact, ultralight bikepacking gear list for cold weather that he’s cultivated for weekend singletrack rides and overnighters on a hardtail. Find the full gear list here…
One of the things that first hooked me into mountain biking was the objective and recognition of progression. I came into it as an out-of-shape, desk-bound graphic designer and slowly but surely found my lungs and legs. As I started to gain fitness, I became addicted to honing my technique, pushing how long I could ride, and extending how far into the remote forests of the Appalachian Mountains I pedaled. There were a lot of different factors that kept me engaged and I enjoyed constantly learning from failures and successes, and overdoing it.
Congruently, that same process drew me into bikepacking. There were many facets and types of routes that inspired me to continue perfecting my kit and level of preparation, and there were different styles of gear and bikes that kept me engaged. I was always learning and improving. I started writing about my experiences with bikes, gear, and kit lists some 12 years ago with a similar impetus.
There are a few types of pack lists I’ve obsessed over and tried to perfect throughout those years. One of which is a svelte singletrack-ready kit for overnighter/weekend rides in fluctuating, colder weather. It’s tricky as you need to have the right gear to be comfortable and cozy, yet it’s also important to not overpack. The X factor is maintaining a light and compact enough setup to keep the bike as it should be: quick and nimble. I feel like I have this pretty dialed with the kit listed here—the one I used in my 2024 Transition TransAM review—and since we always get questions about how all of our gear fits in such small bags, I thought I’d share it.
With everything included, the dry weight of this pack list, including bags, was 12.2 pounds (5.5 kg)—the Transition TransAm shown here weighed 33.05 pounds without pedals (and the OneUp Composite pedals weigh about 355 grams). I was also able to carry two meals and two 12-ounce cans in this bag setup and could easily carry more food in the handlebar roll or by using a stuffable backpack or accessory bags, such as a top tube bag, stem bags, or the Revelate Joey. This isn’t a weight weenie kit, either; it includes a camp chair, a luxuriously wide oversized sleeping pad, and two pillows. Find the full list of gear below with notes.
The bag setup I used in this kit is about as minimal as you can get without going into ultra-race mode. It’s based on the ol’ seat pack/frame bag/handlebar roll triumvirate, and nixes any frivolous accessory bags, aside from the Rogue Panda Bismarck Bottle Bucket is used primarily for carrying a water bottle. The only thing not shown in this photo is the Rat King Cradle. This same kit could be put together with any harness or roll bag.
- Revelate Rifter Frame Bag (Large)
- Rat King Cradle (handlebars) with Mountain Laurel Designs Ultra X 100 Dry Bag (Medium)
- Restrap Race Saddle Bag
- Rogue Panda Bismarck Bottle Bucket
My sleep system for this setup remained fairly lightweight by using a minimal Enlightened Equipment Revelation 32° quilt and the svelte Durston X Mid Pro 1, which still offers a palatial interior space compared to many other one-person tents I’ve used. Otherwise, the wide sleeping pad and two pillows might be considered excess and are part of the comfort factor. I accented my relatively worn out quilt by layering up with down pants and a down jacket. That being said, I still got a little cold in the wee hours of the morning when temps hovered around 20°F (-7°C). I run a bit cold, and I imagine most people would have been more than cozy with this system. In hindsight I would’ve subbed in my 20° quilt and been quite toasty; and with this layered approach, that would have kept me cozy even if temps dropped down to 12 or 15°F. If at one point in the trip you’re not wearing everything you packed, you brought too much.
- Durston X Mid Pro 1 Tent
- 2x Durston Z-Flick Tent Pole
- Nemo Tensor Insulated (Regular length, Wide)
- Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt (32°)
- Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow
- Hyperlite Stuff Pillow
Clothing and Layers
The clothing I brought is pretty much a reiteration of our Six-pack layering method based on temperature forecasts around freezing. I was wearing a long-sleeve merino top and a breathable Search and State Field Shirt flannel and had a wind-breaker/rain shell as backup with a down jacket for camp and a cold morning rollout.
- Gore Passion Shorts (wearing)
- Smartwool long-sleeve Merino 150 shirt (wearing)
- Smartwool Merino Briefs (wearing)
- Defeet Woolie Boolie Socks (wearing)
- Search and State Field Shirt (wearing)
- Shimano GF800 GTX shoes (wearing)
- Montbell Down Anorak
- Timmermade Down Pants
- 7mesh Northwoods Windshell (didn’t need to use)
- DeFeet Duragloves Wool
Cooking and Water
The Vargo BOT 700 is the mainstay of this cooking kit, which nests the Trangia spirit burner, a lighter, and windscreen wrapped in a foam can coozie to prevent rattling. A small medical vile was also nested in the BOT and held enough alcohol for a second cook (the Trangia was filled for the the first boil. The spork and lightweight folding knife went in the cotton bag that held a few other items listed in the Everything Else section below. I brought a single bottle for water duties as there were plenty of spots to filter using my trusty Katadyn BeFree.
- Vargo BOT 700
- Trangia Spirit Burner Stove
- Vargo Aluminum Windscreen
- Snowpeak titanium spork
- Coozie (to Next Trangia and windscreen)
- Alcohol in medical receptacle
- Katadyn Befree Water Filter in Silnylon bag
- 1x 700ml water bottle
Here’s a list of everything else in this kit. The main thing to consider is the slimmed down repair kit. I wasn’t too far from home so I would have beefed this up for a more risky ride with a spare tube/lever and spare brake pads. Also, note that I brought a camp chair and two 12-ounce beers. Ditch those luxuries and there’s plenty of room for additional food.
- Helinox Chair Zero
- 2x can coozie (for two beers)
- OneUp pump + EDC tool, tire plugger/plugs, chain breaker, and spare quick links
- Several winds of duct tape
- 1x Bottle Stan’s sealant
- Needle and thread
- Cotton bag (for accessories listed below)
- Rock Sock bear line system
- Vargo Titanium Trowel
- Black Diamond Revolt 350 headlamp (in sunglasses bag for protection)
- Lightweight pocket knife
- Toilet Paper
- Toothbrush, powder, IBU, etc.
- Spare Surly strap
Obviously there are some expensive items in this kit that kept the weight low. I have the privilege of being able to get a lot of this gear on discount or through reviews. However, if you’re looking to assimilate a comparable pack list on a budget, there are a lot of things that could be substituted or left out. You could make your own frame bag or stove, use a makeshift tarp instead of the fancy tent, hack together a handlebar harness or roll, or go in a slightly different direction with layering.
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