Want to tackle a backcountry bike-rafting combo adventure? Here’s your gear checklist to get your thrills while staying safe and comfortable.
1. Specialized Fatboy Comp Carbon
This is anything but sluggish, proving light and nimble on dirt roads, with a slack-enough geometry to handle steep, rocky descents. The frame is more than capable of stashing a full assortment of bags, making it an ideal hauler for multi-day trips that require lots of food and water. Most important, the 3.8-inch tires float through sand traps that would snag skinnier tires.
2. Watershed McKenzie Dry Bag
Fully waterproof, this dry bag keeps crucial gear protected while on the water and houses 10.5 liters of storage that snaps to the handlebars while biking.
3. Revelate Designs Ripio Frame Bag
This triangular bag fits perfectly in the bike’s frame to provide eight liters of storage, perfect for extra water. Also, hard-earned beer. Stretchy Cordura panels allow overstuffing without busting the zippers.
The low weight (and low bulk) of packrafts opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
4. HydraPak Seeker 4L
This totable water bag molds into empty caryall spaces (thanks, silicone), helping to carry enough water deep into the desert backcountry.
[$22–$28, from 2 to 4 liters; hydrapak.com]
5. Alpacka Caribou Bikeraft
No pool toy, the Caribou is built from ballistic nylon, but rolls up to the size of a Big Gulp at a stashable 4.75 pounds (cram in a pack or strap to bike handlebars). Once inflated, front tie-down loops help rig necessities (like the bike) while zipper access into the raft’s tubes provide waterproof storage. The new Caribou shaves a pound off the Classic, while providing a more stable platform for carrying your bike. This is a must for bike-rafting.
[From $795; alpackaraft.com]
6. Freefly Bamboo Crossover Hoody
Under the brutal sun, give thanks to a sun-shielding layer. This Bamboo Crossover Hoody has UPF 50 protection and a hood that stretches over a helmet.
7. Eddyline Crank Yanker IPA
About that limited space: This IPA delivered big taste and reward for day’s end, at 7 percent ABV in a 16-ounce tallboy can. Because there’s always room for beer.
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