Solo Bikepacker

Bikepacking Brands I Trust

Welcome to my page Brands I Trust.

First thing to get clear is I am not saying ever product they make is amazing or even works. What I am saying is certain product they made as no companies out there makes ever bit of gear perfect.. that why i mix and match brands thing like Bike bag dude for me he make the best Bikepacking frame bag on the planet  he also makes stem bags but Jpaks in good old USA i feel makes a better stem bags ..  or Alpkit make the best most compact 3 season sleeping  but they sell a complete range of Bikepacking cooksets but Toak tiuime cooking pots are much better  or sea to summit make best pillows but bigness or thermorest make best air pads.gear  in. You get the point.. As i say each brand  makes some thing really good but not everthing  that whY you see i mix and match different brands on my bike .. yEAH IT WOULD BE GREAT IF ONE BRAND SUPPPLIEDV all the gear would make life simple… but a bit boring….

About The Cnoc Outdoors Company

Cnoc Outdoors is a tiny backpacking company in its third year. CNOC is about creating amazing gear that everyone wants, but no one makes. They bring the best solutions to the outdoors adventure. Back in the spring of 2016, Gilad Nachmani, the founder went on one of his many trips to the Scottish Highlands and came up with the great idea. A simple, light water collecting Bladder that would survive for years and years. It also would work with his Sawyer Squeeze. After lots of development, a successful campaign on Kickstarter, the Vecto was born.

My Personal Experiences.

Like most people, I picked up a mini sawyer brilliant piece of gear that came with a small bladder bag. If you ever tried to use that bladder in the actual world, you know it is useless. I learned that the first time trying it, it takes too long to fill in a stream the hole just being too small. Or you try to submerge it to fill it faster, the water pressure surround the bag won’t let you fill it to the max. Now if you fill from a tap your fine, I think that’s how Sawyer team tested that bag in their lab. But where are you going to find a tap in the middle of nowhere?


I looked at bladder bags that would solve any problem. True to Cnoc promise I can fill it to the top in seconds and in 3 years the Vector bag never leaked. it’s a tough design and built to last. I’m going to order one more of their products they just released this year once they’re back in stock.. It’s a food bag I use for storing my spices. I let you guys know how it turns out once I tested it in the actual world. But it looks like the same material as they use in my other bladder bags, the Vector, and with being over 3 years old, it’s never had a problem.

Where To Buy?

You can buy directly from their  website. But if you use Amazon, The Amazons Affiliates Links and way for you to help me. If you click a text link, I get a small commission. I think it’s 2%. it does not affect your check out price. Basically, the company eats that commission as a part of their Marketing sales budget. Cheer’s guys, for the support.

Use Discount Code & Save

No Discount Code N/A Buying direct best use amazon link where you can find some deals.

About The Gear Aid Company.

Our mission is to get more people outside — Whether you’re camping, fishing or hunting, you encounter times where you need to fix your gear. When your gear shows wear, we teach people how to keep their expensive gear in like new condition. There by increasing performance, saving money, and consuming less. Our products maximize the use of every piece of Bikepacking gear you own. Because we believe gear should last.

 

Whether your adventure is Bikepacking around the world or weekend adventures. Gear Aid, we make sure your expensive gear lasts longer for your adventure.

My Personal Experiences.

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of money on gear. I try to keep it in excellent condition, but general wear and tear happens. I noticed after 4 years my shower pass rain gear wasn’t keeping me as dry as it used to. With a bit of research, I knew it was time to restore my gear to its formal glory.. There are a few companies out there that offer dwr water proofing. You got to wash it with this stuff, then wash it with this stuff, then put in into a tumble dryer. Which makes the chemical work. The problem is,  I don’t have a dryer. I read that with Gear Aid you can wash at home and hang to dry.  Then just spray on the dwr to make it 100% waterproof again.

 

I ordered a few things from them: shipping was easy and treatment was even more easy. I took my rain gear out for a test in the heavy Vietnam monsoon season. My shower pass jacket and rain pants keep me 100% dry again, like new. As I write this, I saw they have down restoration and even tent repair kits. So I am going to retreat all my gear and sleeping bags during winter. I do a review soon. 

Where To Buy?

You can buy directly from there website. But if you use Amazon, The Amazons Affiliates Links and way for you to help me. If you click a link, I get a small commission It’s 2%, it does not affect your price. Basically, the company eats that commission as a part of their Marketing sales budget. Cheer’s guys, for the support.

Use Discount Code & Save

Discount Code N/A. Plus, they’re so inexpensive you feel bad asking for discount for 20 dollars you can restore many of Bikepacking gear that will last for years.

About The Free Parable Company.

Free Parable was founded in 2007 at Kaohsiung Taiwan. You know that country where all the big bicycle brands get their bikes made. All the staff are passionate cyclists, that’s what makes a great company. For new ideas for the Bikepacking and cycle touring community. The Free Parable Company first and only company in Kaohsiung to have all employees commuting to work by bicycle. There are too many so called “Stupid High Tech” designs in the world.  They focus on getting “back to basic” in every detail.  All of Dom’s products follow a motto, “Smart, but Low Tech”.

My Personal Experiences.

For most pieces of Bikepacking gear I own, I do a lot of research and spend a lot of time trying to find a solution. Like the problem I was having with my carbon fork and had just zip-tied the cage. As I do many setups and I travel a lot, I had to cut the ties to remove the cages for different setups.

 

The gorilla cage by Free Parable was a solution easy to connect. And I even did a video on the setup. Brilliant solution for adding front bags to a carbon fork that doesn’t have eyelets. What I like is just unclipping gorilla cage II and taking into the tent at night very easy.

 

 

I tell you how cool these guys are at The Free Parable Company. In 2020 I lost 3 of my Dom bags; Air Asia airlines suck. So I ordered again from them as I have been using their Dom Gorilla bags for over 3 years. They are still 100% waterproof and never even faded in the strong sun in Vietnam. The Best Bikepacking front fork dry bags on the market for sure. I even ordered their new cooler dry bags. It was a perfect solution that I had been looking for for years. On how to keep my beer cold and a cooler bag to store meat for my one-pot meals.  

 

When I ordered I wasn’t sure if it would arrive. Many bike parts I ordered for my build where still stuck in their countries. COVID-19 has put a strain on all shipping, but it arrived in less than a week.

 

 

They contacted me to check if everything was good. I replied that the extra bags and cooler bag were perfect and worked great. I mentioned how good their shipping was as I had a problem for months looking for fat bike parts and shipping hadn’t arrived. But from their Company in Taiwan they arrived fast in 7 days. They offered to look for a fat bike company that was based in Taiwan to help me get my bike built completed. Thanks guys at Free Parable is more than just a bike company. They’re a part of the cyclist community.

Where To Buy?

You can buy directly from their amazon webpage. Use Amazon, The Amazons Affiliates Links and way for you to help me. If you click a text link. I get a small commission I think it’s 2%: It does not affect your price. Basically, the company eats that commission as a part of their Marketing sales budget. Cheer’s guys for the support

Use Discount Code & Save

Discount Code N/A Plus they’re so inexpensive, you feel bad asking discount for a cool peace of kit that lasts for years. 

About The Everysight Company.

These guys at Everysight are nuts, love them.. imagine developing AR products for fighter jet pilots in Israel. That’s what these guys do heads up helmet display you see in future jets fighter planes. Well, for over 25 years they have been doing this and they’re good at it. So what’s when the everysight team combine their mountain bike and race cycling hobby with what they do best. 


In 2015, the team was on their usual weekend mountain bike ride. The founder said, why can’t we put that military tech into a pair of sunglasses for cycling? Wouldn’t that be bad ass full heads up display of the trail. Map gps speed heart rate etc to hell with it put in a camera with voice activation. That’s how Everysight company was born. Crazy Mountain bikers and racers that are tech nerds that design head-up displays for fighter pilots. And took their know how and put it into a pair of glasses called the Rapture.

My Personal Experiences.

To be honest, guys, I just have not much luck with GPS units or the patience. Over, the years from wahoo element bolt where I couldn’t update the route once I started the ride. Got taken down to too many dead ends. Even took me to a graveyard once, now that’s a real dead end. The Garmin which wasn’t simple to use. Too many up and down menus to get what I wanted compared to my phone app. Even Bryton sport Rider 450 which kept locking up on me. Had to wait 32 hours till battery died to reboot it; that was a pain in the ass. I use my iPhone in a Quadlock case and mount with motion x. Which has never let me down. I download the maps free, then just follow.

 

The issue with it is, I got to keep looking down and checking every so often, hard to see in the heavy rain. Once I left it on my bike for 2 mins and by the time I came back from the shop, the phone was long gone. Lesson learned the expensive way. I ride with my prescription sun glasses while listening to music on those hill climbs mainly hard rock. And record videos with my Action Cam of the ride and navigate with the phone app.

 

So, when I saw the Everysight Raptor on one Facebook cyclist group, I thought it was just a concept design idea, but when I found out they really were selling them, I had to have it. Best decision ever, even though they’re not cheap but they replace a lot of products that you normally take on a ride and help you gather data to improve your performance.

 

Besides being a very cool-looking design and its heads up display features for navigation and tracking ride metrics, the Raptor can also take photos, record videos, and send to your Instagram account. I even store 30 gigs of music on them. I’ve been using the Raptor on my rides ever since 2018. It’s easy to use and it can be completely independent. I don’t even need to turn on my phone as Raptor has its own OS system. I do a detail review soon, guys. It’s well worth the investment; the review tile will be Bad ASS. 

Where To Buy?

Buy directly from their website where you can sign up for a free account on their site and store all your GPX files for easy transfer to your new Raptor glasses.

Use Discount Code & Save

No Discount Code N/A. Check out from there website they’re always doing specials.

About The Surviveware Company

Janco and Amanda, the founders of Surviveware, met while traveling the globe. They are true experienced Backpackers. After thousands of miles traveling around the world in some amazing places, they settled in the state of Virginia. My question: Why? lol, well, to start their own company, The Surviveware. They learned a lot from their adventures, Surviveware is where remote Adventure meets preparedness! An accident happens in seconds, when you least expect it.

 

That’s why it is important to be ready. Survive ware products take the stressful thinking out of a critical situation. Their First Aid Kits are well designed to cover any emergency situations. The Survive ware First Aid Kits have been used in many expeditions, including Everest. Trusted by climbers, coaches, backpackers, EMTs, paramedics and military personnel for years, and now Bikepacking world.

My Personal Experiences.

For years I only carried a DIY first aid kit. One I put together myself and placed it inside one of my bike dude garage bags. I believed I had enough knowledge and experience to put a good DIY first kit together. I was 12 years old when I took my first aid class while doing The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. I have been taking first aid classes every 2 years since. From when I was in the British Army doing Battle injuries, First Aid scenarios training to working with foster kids in good old USA to becoming a dive instructor. First Aid courses have always been a part of my life. 


While on one of my Bikepacking Adventures while riding along a 100 mile dusty, boring road where cars love to drive too damn close, you got a lot of time to think.  I’m always thinking how to improve my gear list harder lately, as it is close to perfection. I started playing out different scenarios over and over in my head.  Like what would happen if a car hit me in the middle of nowhere. Specially in Australia got to say some real asshole drivers out there. Get off the road you dick, buy a car asshole etc. my bike cost more than your car.

Think About It

If a car ever hit me and knocked me unconscious and laying bleeding from my head, if the driver stopped, how could they help? Even if he knew first aid, he wouldn’t know where to find my first aid kit. As it gets packed away somewhere hidden on my bike. I decided to have my first aid on the outside of my bike for any future Bikepacking expeditions. Where anyone can clearly see it and if something happens, they can at least try to help. Even if I got hurt from a fall on the trail. I wanted the First Aid Kit easy and fast access, so it makes sense to have one on the outside.


I started looking for just a Bright waterproof first aid bag. There are a few companies out. But when I came across Surviveware Company there First Aid Waterproof Bag and had a look at contents. Even with all my 38 years of first aid training, theirs covered 50% more than mine DIY bag. Surviveware is well thought-out, I mean they thought of everything. Better yet, the bags of choice were compact enough for ultralight adventure. Now I keep the bag on the outside of my Bikepacking setup. I had no falls since getting the first kit.  I’m confident that if something happened, I would survive. Soon I do a review so stay tuned.

Where To Buy?

You can buy from Amazon with my affiliate link, which helps the site improve. Or you can buy directly from their website. They usually have some promotion going on but the first aid kits are good priced starting $30 dollars. You can’t beat that. Even if they don’t, you’re still saving as Surviveware First AID kits will save your life.


Use Discount Code & Save

No discount code, no worries. I reach out to them and see if they have one. Like “SoloBikepacker” and I added here with a direct link to their site. Stay tuned guys for a detailed review in my gear review blog coming soon.

About The Heat Company

Since 1994 they have been equipping expeditions, alpine tours and mountaineers and winning contracts for the military. Their gloves have already been successfully on Mount Everest, K2, in Siberia, at the South Pole and in Canada’s far north. And their “Customers” have tested their products and taken The Heat Company® to the coldest and most beautiful areas of the world. True to the motto: Born In The Alps!

My Personal Experiences.

One thing you understand is the cold wet hands while winter riding is miserable special in sub-zero conditions. I first looked at puggy that cover over your handlebars. But realized that once off your bike I would still need another pair of gloves. Especially since my hands would freeze setting up the tent. Another pair means more weight and bulk. The other issue with Handle bar Mitts like Cobrafist by 45Nrth is that they’re great for touring if short time but not if you’re planning a world tour and you need to carry all your gear. Yes, I know many people ship stuff from home when they get into colder climates but my setup is about being prepared all the time. 


Perfect example that the weather can change fast: Like when we were Bikepacking in Lao in February, the weather was normal. I mean I could sleep in a sheet. But in the mountain it really dropped, and it was close to freezing so I always carry all my Gear with me for those situations with changing weather. 


When I was shopping for gloves, I came across the heat 3  which where designed for the military with the highest quality materials. You know if they had a contract for military then these gloves would not be cheap if selling to public. But you also know there would be no expenses spared on design. At the time the price was over $225 as I bought them when they first come out. Yeah, even at that price they’re worth it. But lucky for you, you can find them easily for $120 on amazon now days. I’ll do complete detail reviews soon, so stay tuned and you’ll find the review on my Gear reviews page.

Where To Buy?

You can buy directly from their website. But if you use Amazon, The Amazons Affiliates Links and way for you to help me. If you click a Blue text link, I get a small commission. I think it 2% which does not affect your check out price ever. Basically, the company eats that commission as a part of their marketing sales budget. Cheer’s guys for the support.

Use Discount Code & Save

No Discount Code N/A Buying best use amazon link you can find some deals

About Bike Bag Dude Company.

Kedan and Kathy Griffin make custom Bike Frame Bags for any bike and any extreme Bikepacking adventure! Frame bags are their speciality. Sail making techniques bought to the Bikepacking world by Kedan The Bike Bag Dude.


You can choose from a variety of main bag colours and linings to create Ultra Light bags to your own specifications. Attention to detail is critical, and that is where Kedan tailoring background comes into play. Every stitch matters, and when you see his custom bags that last for years and years, you understand why there’re no completion to have a handmade custom.

My Personal Experiences.

In 2012, I was just discovering Bikepacking, a rookie and was planning my first adventure through the Ho Chi Minh trail Solo to help rase money for a charity. I found Kedan Bike Bag Dude on Facebook, a small Cottage Company based in Newcastle, Australia. I reached out to Revelate Designs- Jpaks and Bike Bag Dude.


Bike Bag Dude got back to me first. Back then he was just starting out and was happy to help by sponsoring me a custom waterproof frame bag. 8 years later, the frame bag is still perfect as the day I got it. Have you ever packed so much stuff into the bag that you think the thing it’s going to explode? Well, no problem with the zippers or anything like that. He builds gear that tough lasts. The only time I would ever need to change that custom frame bag  was when I had to change my bike frame.


Over the years I bought other bags like his top tube garage bag and a new half frame bag for my race setup. Even now my girlfriend’s new bike build just completed. We ordered and payed for her set of Bikepacking Bags from BBD of course custom colour for her Bamboo Fat bike.


Even though I have a few other bags in my gear shed like Woho X-Touring Frame Bag and Geosmina and Apidura etc from factory companies, there is no comparison to having a custom frame bag by Bike Bag Dude. Lets just say, I was lucky to find him all those years ago as my first Bikepacking frame bag.

Great Company

I was cycling from Gold Coast to Melbourne and was passing through the area in Newcastle. I reached out to say hello, and he got back to me quickly. So I stopped by his Aussie home; he put me up for a few days over Christmas beers, BBQ and a couch to crash on. He is also a superb cook and his kids, way cool, very polite; good job Kathy. Fantastic Aussie hospitality. 


He even restitched the seat post bag from a factory company that had failed after just 800 km. I dumped that bag after the other side strap failed 400 km later. Trust me, if he made seat post bags I would buy them. Maybe some day he will and for sure it’ll be the best seat post bag out there.

Where To Buy?

The Bikepacking frame bags are all custom from colours and sizes and materials and waterproof, even stitching colours you can choose. You contact him through his Facebook and send him a paper template of your frame size so he maximizes every mm of your frame. Tell him what colours even down to the stitching colour and how many YKK zippers you want. 


Turn around is about 2 weeks depending how busy he is, as he does a lot of work for hard core Bikepackers who do races like The Iditarod Trail. The 2 week turn around is worth the wait as you’re going to have the bag for years and years. He ships all over the world.


Use Discount Code & Save

Sorry guys, No discount code, no worries. Just tell him Mark Solo Bikepacker sent you. The guy that drunk all his beer in the fridge, maybe he gives you a free BBD t-shirt and Vegemite. Don’t forget the price is in Australian Dollars and the Australian Dollar is weak. You get good exchange again with your currency like US Dollar, Euro or good old English Pound.

About The Io Merino Company

Many people haven’t heard of ioMerino , I hadn’t. Even though they are in Business over 140 years, ioMerino is actually a part of one of Australia’s most famous wool families. Some brands may be more well known than ioMerrino, spending their time marketing, while ioMerino spend their time re-inventing the wool industry and coming up with a new idea for the outdoors. 


They don’t just buy the wool and knit design wear for any adventure, they raised the sheep, cleaned it, spun it, knitted it… you name it, the Michell family has done it. I love the quote from their website. “We’re not a business who randomly tried to make Merino clothing because the hamburger industry was too competitive, or because we couldn’t afford to start an airline. Wool’s our thing”.


They’re developing their own fabrics that are better than anything else out there by making an absolute must-have range of clothes that will get you through your adventures.

My Personal Experiences.

I was looking for a solution to a problem I have been using compression wear by a well know Australian brand for 5 years. Whatever your thoughts are on compression wear, does it work or not? For me I really feel the difference in how quickly I recover after a long days riding and I get to camp spot and start cooking one-pot meals. Once I ate dinner, I change into my compression wear to sleep in basically my camp apparel. Which comprises of long leggings and long sleeve, if cold my montbell 4oz down jacket. You feel great in the morning with your legs feeling fully recovered and ready for another day on the bike.

 

The only problem I was having with this compression apparel setup was that the feel on my skin felt cold and clammy. I know I was going do winter trips and I needed a merino wool baser layer, but I didn’t want to give up my u2x compression wear. That would mean I would end up carrying base layer and compression wear. In 2018 I found ioMerino who had just designed compression wear made of merino wool. Wow, this way I could get rid of my u2x and have a base layers that was also a compression wear saving me weight and money

Where To Buy?

I bought direct from their website and they ship international no problems.

Use Discount Code & Save

Yes, Discount Code I shared a post of their new mernio wool compression apparel when I got mine on my Facebook page. They contacted me asking if I liked a discount code for any of my readers. So when you’re at checkout put in the discount code and see how much you save. Discount Code is bikepack. I used the code just lately when I replaced all my cycling socks that would stink after a day’s ride. with ioMerino wool socks; now I change them after 2 weeks lol.

About The Infinity Bike Seat Company.

Dr. Vince Marcel is a chiropractor, inventor and lifelong cycling enthusiast. Whether training for a triathlon, or on a weekend ride with his clan. He continues to look for fresh ways to make the ride more comfortable. In 2012, a training injury “gave him the time” to work on his invention: an extraordinarily comfortable bicycle seat. Years in the making, the Infinity Seat has now allowed thousands of cyclists to focus on the Ride. 


The Infinity Seat completely relieves sit-bone pressure and protects your sensitive perineum/pubic-bone area. Forget the thick padded bike short! The Infinity Seat design provides optimum comfort, so no need for padded shorts ever or chaff cream.

My Personal Experiences.

This was my last bike upgrade the truth is it should have been my first upgrade. In 2016, my friend asked if I had won the lottery while drinking in my house. You know those ‘what if’ drunk questions. What bike would I buy? I said I wouldn’t I got my dream bike. He then said come on, there’s got to be something I would change on the beast. I got thinking after he left that every part on my full carbon Fatbike works well except one thing. 


After riding over 50 km my ass is sore, sometimes red raw even with padding and chaff cream. I suffer specially long Bikepacking rides on the trails. I posted a comment on bicycle touring Facebook groups and got the usual answer. Get a brooks saddle, get the brooks, etc.  But I had already decided never to buy a Brook for a few reasons:


When I did one of my first tours from Singapore to Vietnam years ago, I traveled with 2 girls cyclists who had over 20000 kms between them. Both toured from the UK to Singapore. I was using the seat that came with my bike, I wore padded shorts and used chaff cream. The girls knew I had the chaff cream as they watched me pack my Bikepacking setup. Every morning first thing they did not say good morning or Hi Mark, but they asked for the chaff cream. Think about them both had brooks saddles well broken in and supposed to be the best. But they still needed the chaff cream, so I knew it wasn’t as good as everyone says it is.


 Also, years later I met so many cyclists touring that stayed at my home in Nha Trang through warm shower as I was a host. Many used brooks saddles, and the steel had failed and broke all in the same place.  3 years ago I heard from an admin of a Bikepacking group. He said Brooks had changed the steel and was buying from China. So I knew then that saddle wasn’t for me, especially my weight being 96kgs. 

In the Facebook comments, one person had commented and said Infinity Seat. Just one comment then it got over 40 likes. I never heard of the Infinity Seat so I checked out their website. The cost was over 300 dollars. I can’t justify that. Then I started thinking, what’s the point in spending a small fortune on a bike when just after just 50km bikepacking ride, your ass is hurting? 


So I took the chance and ordered the Infinity Seat which had a money-back guarantee.

My new Infinity Seat arrive in just 2 weeks to Vietnam. It took me about 1 hour of positioning the seat, riding it, testing it, repositioning, etc. What can I say? Day one pure comfort, day 2 no padding shorts, day three no chaff cream? I only use Johnson & Johnson talc powder. Ever since then over 3 years ago I can ride all day average 130 to 180 km never sore. Should have bought the Infinity Seat the first day 


I got my bike. It’s funny building my new bike in 2020 before I even know what frame I wanted. I had already ordered the Infinity Seat first. Guys, just buy it, you’ll be happy. I will do detail review on it in my gear blogs later. Not just about what I think about the Infinity Seat, but what my friends think of the Infinity Seat. I recommended it to them. Some interesting stories, including my girlfriend that borrowed my Infinity Seat for her fatbike build and never gave it back.

Where To Buy?

You can buy directly from there website.

Use Discount Code & Save

Discount Code is BIKEPACK use it and seen how much you save at check out. I know it not cheap but it is 100% worth it. Every serious Bikepacker or long distance cyclist should own one..