Equipment list: Optimizing function, weight, and comfort instead of cost

This original equipment list post has been replaced by my final equipment list and a section on what changed.  Check out the new list here:

Final Equipment List



————————————Original Post Below ——————————–



I’m combining a minimalist mentality with an ultralight backpacking gear outlook. I’ve based my purchases on three criteria: function, weight, and comfort. I won’t say that cost isn’t a factor, simply that it isn’t the primary factor.


All my stuff. Should just barely fit into 2x60L bags + trunk bag
All my stuff. Should just barely fit into 2x60L bags + trunk bag


The Important Stuff

Easyracer Ti-Rush Recumbent Bike
Axiom Randonneur 60L Panniers
Axiom Randonneur 12L Trunk
Hennesey Explorer Ultralite Asym Zip Hammock (w/4 repel rings & 2 carabiners)
Katabatic Chisos 40°F – 850fp Quilt Sleeping Bag

Tools & Parts

Frame Pump
Patch Kit
2 steel core Tire Levers
1 extra 26” tube
2 extra 20” tube
multitool-bike tool
Spoke wrench
Chain lube
3x zip ties
2x extra spokes
2x extra master chain links

Bike Accessories & Safety Equipment

front/back blinking lights
Reflective triangle
Rearview mirror
Cycle computer
water bottle
water bladder
Relevate Mountain Feed Bag
Adventure Cycling Map “Case”
waterproof 1-handed iPhone mount

Food & Shelter

Food storage bag
Jetboil + 1 can fuel + lighter
Mountain Hardware Tent (I’ve got to decide on this vs the Hammock)
ThermaRest Big Agnes Sleeping Pad
Pillow bag
Water purification tablets


Lil bit O’ Cash
Credit Card
accessory battery (phone,speaker,or kindle)
speaker + attachment cable
cables & chargers
Toiletries (toothbrush,floss,razor, inhaler,hotel size shampoo,TP)
First Aid Kit
Camera (bag,mini-tripod,charger)
12 ACA TransAm maps


3x clothes (socks, shirts, etc)
biking shorts
running shorts
rain jacket
rain pants
rain booties
pack towel
lounging zip-pants
lounging shirt
flip flops

Reasoning on Big Ticket Items:

Bike ($6,000) By far the most expensive aspect of the trip. I’m riding across the country, and I want to SEE it. I don’t want to be staring at the shoulder of the road for three months. So, I want a recumbent.

Secondarily, On century rides, I’ve always been sore in the shoulders, butt and wrists. Most journals report that this goes away as the body adapts to touring. Recumbent riders consistently report more comfort in the backside, lower back, and wrists. A little extra effort is required for hill climbs. However, on the flats, with a fairing, they are typically less wind resistant. In terms of effort, a recumbent is a wash… or close enough that it doesn’t really matter. Having said that, short wheelbase recumbent bikes have some challenges with stability on steep climbs and downhills. They also have a longer learning curve. I’ve went with a long wheel base for better stability and more comfortable ride.

The final choice was the Easyracer Gold Rush. I opted for the Titanium version as I’ve always preferred titanium to steel, aluminum, or carbon on racing bikes. It has a “softer” feel, and is extremely lightweight. Here’s the link: I justify the cost because it replaces a car for me, and I plan on using it for touring and commuting for the next decade.

Bags ($400) I picked the Arkel Randonneur line because they are waterproof. They are superior to the Ortlieb rollers in that they are easier to access. The clips are a lot less time consuming than rolling. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but getting into those bags dozens of times a day it adds up. I also like that the 60L bags have a rear external waterproof pouch. These are good spots for emergency tools, first aid kit, and toiletries.

In addition to the panniers, I have the 12L trunk, which is also waterproof. It has a main pocket and 3 externals. Finally, I have a behind the seat bag. The bag was designed for an older model of the Ti-Rush seat, and so I wasn’t able to mount as normal. I installed two grommets and tied it to the vertical seat posts. This is where I’m going to put my water and food, even though it isn’t waterproof. Putting the food in a waterproof enclosure with tents or clothes is a bad idea. Without any room to breathe, the food makes everything stink.

Housing ($850) = Tent, Sleeping Bag, Air Mattress combination. Hammocks are ideal for bike touring because they take a small footprint, can be used on uneven ground, and take less time to setup. Further, it is easy to setup the rainfly in “ready” mode and easily pulled over the hammock if rain starts. This allows for good visibility while lying there. This reduces my anxiety while stealth camping. I like being able to see if anything is approaching me. Also, I enjoy swinging beneath the open sky as I fall to sleep.

I use the Hennesey expedition ultralight as the best combination of strength/weight. The asymmetrical shape and overall design minimizes the “banana” effect common to a hammock with less structure. At 6’2” I can comfortably sleep on my back or side with knees slightly bent in this hammock.

For an air mattress, the only way to go is the Big Agnes primaloft inflatable. Very light. Very durable (Over 100 nights, with no leaks.) Good thermal insulation.

Quilt bags have no back and no hood. Mine is the Katabatic Chisos. Using a couple of short cords across the open back, this slips over the sleeping mattress to create a single unit.

Published by Mike Evans

Founder of Founded GrubHub in 2004. Rode my bike across the US. Wrote a sci-fi novel.

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