Patagon, a Film by Montanus
Patagón, a new film by Montanus, recounts their bike and packraft exploration into a remote corner of southern Patagonia. There, between the Austral Andes and huge glacial lakes, the traditional Argentine culture of the gaucho survives. Watch the film and learn about the gear they brought along…
Patagonia is one of the few places on Earth that can truly be called the edge of the world. Its endless and arid steppe, the wonderfully jagged peaks of the Andes, the massive freshwater basins with their incredible colors, the awesome glaciers carving deep impressions of the Cordillera, the extreme weather conditions, and the incessant, exhausting wind make Patagonia a place that conveys a profound feeling that can’t be experienced anywhere else.
In physical terms, Patagonia is a thin and lonely stretch of the South American continent molded by the turbulent intersection of two oceans. It’s a place at the far end of the southern hemisphere where medieval minds imagined sea monsters and other fantastic creatures. “Patagón” is the name by which Ferdinand Magellan referred to the natives of this region. Their namesake was the “Gran Patagón,” an enormous, wild creature that he read about in a chivalric novel of his time. In his eyes, the people who lived here were giants. Dressed in animal skins and subsisting on a raw meat diet, they appeared as such.
Patagonia is still a wild creature. Here, guanacos, pumas, Andean condors, flamingoes, crested caracaras, and other unique species share this boundless land with the gauchos, proud guardians of an ancient, rural culture. Almost five centuries after the voyage of the Portuguese explorer, the “Tierra de Gigantes” is alive and well, as is the call of its wild lands, fueling the desire for exploration of one of the most beautiful and remote corners of the planet.
Here is a list and photo essay of the gear we used for the trip:
We pedaled two Salsa Woodsmoke 27.5+ bikes through Patagonia, agile rigs with a great load capacity thanks to the main triangle’s generous dimensions. This feature was fundamental to transporting equipment and supplies because our handlebars were occupied by our packrafts. Both bikes were equipped with Formula Selva 27.5+ forks with Cura brakes, Stan’s BARON MK3 wheelsets, 3″ Vittoria Bomboloni tires, OneUp Components flat pedals, and Ergon SMC-4 Comp Gel saddles and GA3 and GX1 grips. Also, we used the E-thirteen TRS+ seatpost, a completely mechanical offering with four fixed positions, a feature that allowed us to adjust saddle sag during descents so that our saddles didn’t touch our rear tires.
Our collective camping equipment consists of a MSR Freelite 2 Ultralight tent, two NeoAir Xlite mattresses, two Antares HD sleeping bags from Therm-a-Rest, and headlamps. We used the MSR Trail Shot, a super light and compact water filter, to drink directly from rivers and glacial lakes, and to refill our Camelbak Chute Mag 1L bottles. Cooking equipment consisted of a MSR MicroRocket canister stove, a stainless pot, Titan Tool Spoons, and MSR Titanium cups. We also brought some ready-to-eat food and energy bar seeds from Adventure Food, tea and coffee, candy, chocolate, biscuits, peanuts, and dried fruit.
We each carried a Kokopelli ROGUE Packraft with a spraydeck and Tizip for storage and to keep our backpacks other stuff out of the elements. The Rogue kit includes an inflatable seat cushion, a kayak style backhand, inflation bag, and premium sprayskirt (although we didn’t bring it to Patagonia). Other packraft gear included a Kokopelli Packraft 4-Piece Break Down Paddle, Buoy Boy, an inflatable vest from Anfibio Packrafting Gear, waterproof overgloves, and Crocs Swiftwater. We also used special neoprene wading socks by Oxeego to keep our feet dry and warm in the glacial waters.
Bags and Packing
On the bike, we each used a Salsa EXP Series frame bag designed specifically for the Woodsmoke to maximize available space in the main triangle. All the other bags are by Revelate Designs. The super tough Handlebar Harness was used in tandem with our BarYak Expedition SL systems and each carried a packraft and the two central pieces of the paddles. We carried our cameras and batteries in the Yakataga pocket, a completely waterproof handlebar bag that integrates with the harness. It kept our electronics safe during multiple river crossings, heavy rains, and on the raft. We often used its shoulder strap to keep the Yakataga in front of us for easy camera access as well. Mountain feedbags, Mag-Tanks and Jerrycans helped us to store additional food, a 1L bottle, repair kit, GoPro, and other paraphernalia. The Terrapin System has allowed us to quickly unload the 100% waterproof seatbag during our frequent switches from bike to packraft and vice versa. We mounted a B-RAD medium strap from Wolf Tooth on the BarYak Expedition SL, which permitted us to have the MSR water filter in a handy position. We used Explorer Pro 30L backpacks from EVOC to carry the paddles and the packraft gear, and EVOC Bike Travel Bag XL carriers (specifically designed to haul plus/fat bikes) to transport the bikes via airplane.
Based on the extreme and changing weather conditions, we decided to use on-the-bike clothing and specific outer wear from Montura. Our clothing list included the Steel Pro Jack (Gore-Tex jacket), Sprint Cover Pants (lightweight, compressible overtrousers) during severe weather conditions and on the packraft, and the Selce t-shirt and Basalto Bermuda on the bike when the conditions were fair. When the weather got cold, we included a Genesis Light Hoody Jacket. In the footwear department, we used Montura YARU Tekno GTX, a light and waterproof boot with a Vibram sole. Head protection comes from 661 (EVO AM Patrol Helmet w/Mips) and gloves from EVOC. To round out the kit, we each packed a buff, technical underwear, Oxeego merino socks, and Adidas Zonyk Aereo Pro Vario.
Repair and First Aid
Our repair kit consisted of two steerer tube EDC Tool Systems and an EDC pump from OneUp Components, Tubolito 27.5+ tubes, and spare parts such as shifter cables, quick links, and brake pads. We also packed specific repair kits for tubeless tires, packrafts, mattresses, and Tubolito tubes. To complete the repair kit list, we included reusable zip ties, cords, chain and suspension lube, Tizip lube, and a Leatherman Juice XE6 multi-tool.
For first aid and such, we brought mosquito repellent cream, sunscreen and lip balm, and the EVOC First Aid Kit, which includes: insulating first aid blanket, disposable gloves, first aid wound, adhesive plasters, triangular bandage for stabilizing arms and shoulders, compression bandage to take care of cuts and lacerations, first aid dressing pack, elastic bandage, scissors, tweezers, pencil, and paper slips.
As far as filming equipment and electronics, we used a Sirui tripod with a CS head, two Sony RX10 cameras, the Mark II with 24-200 f/2.8 lens (the same camera used to film Tramontana), and the Mark III with 24-600mm f/2.4-4 lens, 11 batteries for each camera, and 512GB of total card storage. The kit also includes a Phottix Aion remote controller, two GoPro Hero 5 cameras with 6 batteries each, two chest harnesses, and two adjustable large tube mounts. To navigate, we used Suunto Spartan Ultra GPS watches and a Suunto MC-2 Mirror Compass.