The Obligatory Great Divide Gear List

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By now, I am sure I got you hooked on the Great Divide trail and you've probably read up all you can about this trip. You're probably so excited for me that you, yes you, are considering a trip like this for yourself and that curiosity has led you to read about other adventurers who have made this same journey. 

Or, y'know if this is your first time visiting this site, ignore all that and just enjoy the ride (pun intended).

Regardless of how you landed here, it's a law that you are obligated to list out all of the items you are taking with you if you are going to traverse the Great Divide. And since I don't make the rules, I just follow them, it's my turn to share with you a long, bulleted list of gear that I find useful and you might as well if you're planning a spur-of-the-moment, long-term mountain biking trip. 

Without further ado, let's cycle through a few of these (see what I did there?).

Great Divide Gear Checklist

First things first, let's start with the bike.

Mountain Bike

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For this trip, I will be riding a Salsa Cutthroat. If you know nothing about biking (and I include myself in that group) this bike was literally designed for the Great Divide Trail. It even has a graphic of the trail imprinted on the underbelly of the frame. 

It was a stroke of luck that I found this bike. With bikes being as high in demand as used cars right now, I called multiple shops to find a Cutthroat or "Cutty" as the pros call it, and was even told at one point I should just plan to do this trip in 2024 because I wouldn't see a Salsa bike on the market until then. Fortunately, after calling enough shops, I ran into someone looking to sell a Cutthroat and it's been a dream to ride since. 

This bike is as light as a feather and is a monster on almost any type of terrain. It has plenty of spaces to hold gear and I have so many options when it comes to attaching bags, equipment, and tech to the bike. This bike was designed for this trail and I feel super confident that this will be my trusty steed to get me through the long haul. 

Repair Kit

While I would be happy to dive into a three-paragraph explanation of each of these items, I'll save everyone some time and just list out what I bringing to keep my bike up and running:

  • Multi-tool
  • Spare tubeless tire
  • Portable bike pump
  • Portable bike pump gauge
  • Spare spokes
  • Bike lube
  • Spare bike chain
  • Master chain link
  • Pliers
  • Spoke wrench
  • Patch kit
  • Screwdrivers (Philips and flat)
  • Spare brake pads

Camping Equipment

From tents to sleeping bags. Here is what my makeshift home will consist of for the next couple of months:

  • 2-person biking tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Foldable sleeping pad
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Tent footprint

Technology & Navigation

Source

Actor and role model, Patrick Star, once famously said, "We're not cavemen, we have technology." In alignment with his teaching, I have decided to bring along the following pieces of tech to aid me in my travels:

  • Portable charging block
  • Solar charging block
  • Bike GPS
  • iPhone
  • GPS tracking and SOS device (indigestible by bears, I checked)
  • Headlamp
  • Various USB cords
  • Compass
  • Great Divide Trail Map
  • Wireless headphones

Bike Bags & Storage

Wondering how I am getting all of this stuff around? Lots of Velcro straps and creatively-designed dry bags that's how:

  • Two rear bike panniers
  • Two front-wheel bike panniers
  • Handlebar bag 
  • Seat bag
  • Rear bag
  • Frame bag
  • Top frame bag
  • Dry bag (2x)

Cooking/Food

A growing boy has got to eat, and here's how I will do it:

  • Water filter pump
  • 3-liter Camelbak water bladder
  • Bear resistant sack for storage
  • Two 2-liter Nalgene bottles
  • REI water bottle
  • Reusable plastic spork
  • Fire starters
  • Foldable bowl
  • Water purification drops
  • Foldable cup
  • Jetboil

Clothes

I gotta find a way to work this out, I love that apartment. It's so cozy,  I'm ensconced in velvet." : r/seinfeld

"Clothing optional" wasn't so optional this time around. I have to be ready for everything from a snowy mountain trail to a barren desert road, so planning what I was going to wear was a bit of a conundrum. This video is about how the clothing conversation went. And, here's what we settled on: 

  • Light rain jacket
  • Gortex Patagonia jacket
  • Tee Shirts (2x)
  • Hiking Pants
  • Neck gator
  • Summer biking gloves
  • Winter biking gloves
  • Bandana
  • Shoe covers
  • Mountain bike shoes
  • Mountain bike shorts
  • Biking socks
  • Waterproof socks
  • Underwear (2x)
  • Leggings
  • Winter hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun sleeves
  • Backpacking towel

Toiletries 

I'm not saying this is the most exciting category in the world, but you can't deny all of these items are equally important in some way:

  • Biodegradable soap
  • Body Glide (IYKYK)
  • Foldable toothbrush + paste (also foldable)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Contact lenses
  • Eyeglasses

Miscellaneous Items

Is this my way of saying I ran out of categories? Yes. Are all of these items still important? No, but I am bringing them anyway.

  • Great Divide Cycling Book
  • Spare rags
  • Tons of Velcro straps
  • Foldable bike lock
  • Helmet
  • Waterproof matches
  • Whistle
  • Flint
  • First aid kit
  • Rope
  • Emergency blanket
  • Paracord and Carabiner (2x)
  • Bug net

So, what's next?

The next step is figuring out how the heck I am going to get all of this stuff to Banff (not to mention the stuff a inevitably forgot). I have a few ideas, but still not 100% sure how it's all going to work. Like the rest of this trip, excited to stumble my way through finding out. 

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