top of page

the GEAR 

If I had two things to say about gear in general: remember the kind of trip you're doing (what roads you'll be on, which country, etc.) and that it's always worth spending a bit extra money to get quality stuff on a long trip. You'll be grateful during you're ride since the idea is to have fun and not struggle. 

Here's a third tip: keep things light. Weight is your worst enemy after headwinds (can't do much about that). Backpacking gear is very technological and advanced due to hiking popularity, have a look at what they use. 

the BIKE 

This is the gear I had when crossing Canada. I was doing traditional road touring and never went off-road. I had a Surly Long Haul Trucker which is a great bike for this purpose - never had any mechanical issue over 9600km. It's also a very simple steel bike that you can fix with a set of allen key. They last for a lifetime.  

You'll hear a lot of debate about steel, aluminum and carbon fram debate. Steel (chromalloy usually) is heavier but very solid and naturally chock absorbent. In remote locations, it means also easy welding. On the other hand aluminum is lighter and more expansive (the good alloys). I've never met anyone riding with carbon that is much more expansive, but I do know that more and more people race the GDMBR with carbon gravel bikes. However, a small stress fracture often not noticeable can lead total fracture. Titanium seems to be the holy grail: it's light and unbreakable, but also a lot more expansive.

You'll see a lot of aluminum, titanium and steel bike with carbon fork. It seems to help a lot on corners making you gain speed. It's also stiffer o vertical axes but more malleable on the perpendicular axe and makes the whole bike a bit lighter. 

Surly Long Haul Trucker 

Schwallbe Marathon Plus  

Brooks B17 

Garmin Edge520 Plus

SPD Pedals

4 Ortileb Classic 12.5 L  

Insulated Camelbak




It's hard to get lost, on roads, and tradition touring is very different from bike-packing regarding this issue. However, as soon as you get to a bigger town having a GPS you can rely on is great. If you like numbers, it will provide stats and save your route. All this can be done with a phone. However, the GPS tends to save your battery's phone, is waterproof and can be connected with other devices like power and RPM reader - again, if you like numbers. It also keeps your phone out of the sun.


I used the Garmin 520Plus, which I highly recommend over the 520 simply because you can save whole maps and synchronize the route with your phone (520, you have to download small maps constantly). It's not too expansive; the battery lasts 8-10h and good quality. The connector's durability was, for me, the downside. 


I used to plan my routes; I used Komoot, which is lovely to see altitude variations and choose scenic roads. However, if you're looking for food or camping, Google Maps is the best. 

For bike-packing navigation, Gaia GPS seems very handful!



If you intend to sleep mostly outdoors,  camping gear is an investment and an excellent opportunity to save weight. Sleep is the key to cycling with a smile, regardless of the conditions.

I had a one-person tent North Face O2, about 850g and waterproof. I was thrilled with it, and the only downside: was not freestanding. After a long riding day, it's a real pain to struggle with stakes on hard ground. 

The sleeping bag should be chosen according to your location. I had a 965g summer Marmot NanoWave 50 SR  sleeping bag,, which wasn't a good idea. While on the northern shore of the lake, superior temperature went below freezing point, and I too. I wake up at 4h00 to fight the cold. So I bought a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor liner that adds a 10-15˚C in practice. Best purchase and easy washing! 

A sleeping mattress is another big thing. I had a self-inflating but didn't like it. Now I'm looking for an ultralight air mattress. 



the LIST  

- Surly Long Haul Trucker 

- SPD pedals 

- Garmin Edge520 Plus 

- iPhone 8 

- OnGuard lock 

- Mudguards

- UnderArmour FPS 50 long sleeve  

- Schwalbe Marathon Plus 

- Bear Repellent Frontiersman Xtra Ours 10 m (325 g)





During the journey I realized how some equipment can make a huge difference for your comfort and the appreciation of the trip. Here are some things I wished I had: 

- Disk breaks

- Dynamo 

- Camera 

- Proper clothing (merino Icebreaker) 

- Free-standing tent 

- GPS tracker (bikepacking)

Also: internal gear hub and drone. 

bottom of page