I don’t care about the equipment, I just want it to be perfect.
I care about the people and history and landscape and the culture of the places I visit. I want the gear to disappear when I use it in the sense that it’s so reliable, capable, comfortable (and fun) that I’m only ever in the experience.
Earlier this Spring, the amazing crew at Seven Cycles built for me a custom titanium fat bike that is that perfection. Unladen it flies and flicks like a fat bike shouldn’t be able to. Fully loaded it’s every confidence and forward charge. It does everything I want my expedition rig to do.
My first shakedown trip was to Alaska in March where I had a pile of fun. Last month I rode it in Kyrgyzstan in all contexts and conditions and hardly ever thought about it, though when I did, I remained amazed. Just as it should be. Thanks, Seven.
Frame: Seven Cycles Treeline SL (titanium, custom)
Fork: Whisky 9 Fat Fork 15mm thru axle
Headset: Chris King
Handlebar: Seven Cycles Ti Flat bar, 7º bend
Stem: Thompson x4
Seatpost: Thompson Elite
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
Grips: Ergon GX1
Crank: Race Face Next SL
Bottom Bracket: Rotor BSA 30 w/ steel angular contact bearing upgrade
Chainring: Race Face 28t
Chain: Shimano XT
Cassette: Shimano XT 11 speed 11-42
Shifter: Shimano XT
Derailleur: Shimano XT 11 speed shadow plus
Brakes: TRP Spyke mechanical
Levers: TRP Spyke
Front hub: SON 28 15 dyno
Read hub: Industry Nine Torch Classic
Rims: Surly Clownshoe
Tires: Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 4.0
Pedals: VP 001
—Revelate Designs bags, as always, including a custom zipperless frame bag.
—One Revelate and one Randi Jo Fab feed bag.
—Salsa anything cage and a King stainless cage attached with universal support bolt (“usb”) mount on the downtube.
—King stainless cage attached with usb mount to driveside seatstay.
—King stainless cage attached to stem with King Top Cap cage mount.
—The inner tube segment on the driveside fork blade holds the dynamo wire in place leading to a Sinewave Revolution usb (in the usual sense) port.
Every Last Thing
(A poem by Joe Cruz)
Short sleeved merino top
Light hiking boots
Inclement Weather Clothing
Hooded shell jacket
Gore-Tex Shell mittens
Merino liner gloves
Puff hooded jacket
1 pair padded undershorts
1 pair merino socks
Down quilt rated to -4C
Bug head net
Fuel bottle (we brought 2 MSR whisperlite international universal stoves between the four of us; I carried one of the bottles and a butane canister)
Titanium Pot + scrubby
Small soft flask for whiskey
SteriPen (usb charged)
Camera + dry bag
Second lens for camera
Spare memory cards
2 Spare batteries for camera
3 Spare batteries for GoPro
Passport + Travel paperwork
Mesh bag of toiletries: toothbrush, paste, floss, salt deodorant crystal, spare contact lens, saline solution micro bottle, fragment of soap, hand sanitizer, wet wipes
Mesh bag of meds: ibuprofen, zithromycin, cephalexin, benadryl allergy, immodium, dayquil sinus, steri strips, transparent dressing, antiseptic wipes, bandaids
Tools in small nylon sack: 4,5,6 Allen keys, torx key, chain tool, chainring bolt tool, stein hypercracker, 8mm socket (for the usb mounts, turn using #6 allen key), patch kit
Spares in plastic container: 2 brake pads, shifter cable, quick link, 6 zip ties
Camp mattress puncture kit
1 spare tube
Pump wrapped with duct tape
2 standard water bottles
1 extra large water bottle
This packing list is a minor evolution from the gear I brought to Norway last year. I used a new tent in the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 HV not because I have any complaints about my old excellent and spacious Tarptent, but because the BA packs smaller and can be packed separately from all the poles.
I don’t use a backpack. The setup and gear above allowed me to carry six days of food between resupply.
On future trips I’ll leave behind the titanium cup and the merino buff, as I just didn’t use these enough times. I’ll substitute tights back for the leg warmers and instead of the arm warmer + merino short sleeved shirt combo, I’ll bring a long sleeved merino top.