The focus of this weekend's Cooloola micro-adventure was meant to be figuring out which gearing, ways to carry stuff, tyre pressures and pedals would be most suited to upcoming longer adventures. But as is usually the case, 'gear testing' was just an excuse to be there.
Still, some valuable lessons were learnt (early days yet though). Gearing: This is tricky, at low tide on hard packed sand even fatbikes can pick up some decent speed. But, these things are freakin heavy! Even the slightest rise with a loaded bike needs little gears. At the moment we are running a 1x10 setup with a 22t front ring and a 11-36 cassette. This seems to be a reasonable compromise between cruising speed on hard sand - if your not in a hurry - and a super low gear for climbing and soft sand. It also saves weight and means less parts to clog with sand and salt.
Brakes: Just one on the front seems to be adequate. Again, one less part to be destroyed by sand and salt.
Pedals/Shoes: For bike trips that involve hiking and/or hike-a-bike sections, pedal and shoe choice becomes something of a dilemma. After this weekend I think I'll look for a bike shoe that is ok to walk in. Nearly 20 years of riding clipless seems to have made being attached almost essential..or maybe I just need more practice with flats.
Packing: I figure approaching bikepacking with a backpacking mindset makes a lot of sense. Simply choose the lightest available items that actually work and don't take anything that isn't absolutely necessary. The real question is how and more so where to pack the load. On the weekend I used a 13l dry sack for a seat bag, a large Revelate Tangle bag in the frame and a small Revelate Pocket with 13l dry sack on the bars along with an Osprey Talon 33 pack. On the second day I ditched the seat bag and carried almost everything in the pack, probably the best option if there is lots of pushing and carrying. For longer trips I'll probably end up with a full size frame bag and a Revelate Viscacha seat bag as well as Salsa Anything cages.