What to pack? The format of the Ramble means you can leave some items at home, and bring more of what counts.
What takes up the most room on adventures and is often the heaviest? Food, water, and cooking supplies. Where do you have to make hard equipment decisions because of limited space? Usually, the comfort items. On the Ramble Ride, knowing what to pack is easy. We take care of all food and drinks: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. And since you can bring an 85L camp bag in addition to bike bags, go ahead and throw that comfy pillow in along with that warm jacket and extra socks. Focus on extras that will facilitate a good night’s sleep and battle chilly mornings. But don’t forget, it’s still adventure riding, so don’t be fooled because you have fantastic food and support at camp. Be prepared for a level of on-route self-sufficiency. That means having the proper equipment and clothing. Weather is always an issue in Colorado, and nearly every Ramble has some rain during the day. Even in July, an inch of snow isn’t out of the question in the mountains. Make sure your bike is ready: if you can’t do a common repair on the route, then you’ll be asking one of your new friends for help or waiting for help. Plus, nobody wants a ride-ending bike issue.
Packing on the bike.
Pack any personal items you’ll need (medications, sunscreen, cameras, phones, etc.). Bring layers for stops or weather. Pack a hat. Carry ride food. Be prepared for mechanicals and flats with a basic roadside kit.
The goal is to be self-sufficient enough to move from camp to camp with the ability to wait comfortably on the route if you had to. A word of advice here: pack light. We take the supported moniker seriously, so try to fit gear into your camp bag even if you want more challenges by carrying more of your gear on the bike.
For water, we recommend the equivalent of three large water bottles worth. How you do that is up to you: bottles, reservoirs, collapsible carriers, etc.
Packing off the bike.
Bring an 85-liter duffle of post-ride clothing/personal items. We suggest things like a heavier jacket for camp, clean and warm clothes for the end of the ride, and since there are no showers, bring wipes or other cleaning supplies. Several campgrounds are at lakes, so swimming is an option when warm, so bring a swimsuit and towel. An 85-liter bag is a good size, and many riders get all their camp clothing plus gear in the bags to lighten the load while riding. These items will be loaded each morning and transported to camp each day. There is no access to these bags during the ride, however, so plan accordingly. You’ll also need a mess kit which includes a plate or bowl, cup, and utensils.
Want to see it in a list?
- Tent. Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 is a favorite. HV is high volume meaning a little more room; UL is ultra-light for you gram counters. What some advice?…get the two-person; just a little heavier than the one person, but a lot more room.
- Sleeping bag. You’ll want at least a 30-degree bag, even in July and August. Down packs smaller, though synthetic, retain warmth better when damp. It’s about loft and trapping your body heat when it comes to sleeping bags. Big Agnes does have bags with treated down that retain loft, even when damp.
- Sleeping pad. Side sleeper? Stomach sleeper? Back sleeper? If you’re a side sleeper, go for something broader and thicker to manage the pressure points caused by your shoulders and hips. Stomach sleepers also benefit from a wider, thicker pad. Something like a 25″ wide Q-Core Deluxe is what you’re after. If you’re a die-hard back sleeper, you can get away with something not as thick and usually not as wide unless you move around (and then check out the bag/pad system that Big Agnes is known for). An Air Core Ultra is an excellent example of a great back sleeper pad. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on a pad, as a good night’s sleep is critical. Do your research and be honest about how you sleep.
- Ride kit. The Ramble isn’t the time to try to go without a chamois unless you’re used to it. A bib or short and some casual over-short is a popular choice. A more casual riding shirt or jersey gives you the benefit of performance materials and still keeps some of the useful cycling bits like rear pockets. But a flannel shirt is always good for style points. Don’t forget a riding jacket for the weather and gloves if you use them. Snow is always a possibility on the Ramble. We love epics.
- Cycling shoes. We’ve had folks ride these rides in everything from sandals to road shoes. Flats (non-clipped shoes and pedals) are becoming more popular on these rides, but our recommendation is to ride something made for cycling that has a stiffer sole. Hike-a-bike isn’t out of the question, so something like Shimano’s XC100 series is a great choice.
- Helmet. Bring one and wear it.
Bags. Or, as we say in bikepacking, the nitty-gritty.
Are you looking to cut to the chase? Get your bags from Ortlieb and get riding. Be realistic about your needs, and if you’d like to try before you buy, check out our rental gear. You might not need all the gear below for your adventure riding style, but our recommendations are below:
- Medium Seatpack. Perfect size for a Ramble and short trips. Easy access to grab an item fast.
- Frame Bag. If you’re using a reservoir, it goes in here. Plus all the other things you can’t be without.
- Handlebar Roll. A typical place for items you won’t need on the ride. Think sleeping kit. It comes in two sizes, and the small fits drop bars.
- Tube Bag. A smaller solution for essentials: camera, phone. A phone that is a camera. Sunscreen. Food. Essentials.
You can see the whole Ortlieb line here.
You get a camp bag on the Ramble that we’ll carry for you. Make it no bigger than 85L in size. You could wear your ride clothes all the time, but you’ll make more friends if you don’t. We’re all about making friends on the Ramble, so pack your camp bag with what you need to change and be comfortable. What is this? Well:
- long pants
- fresh undies
- clean shirt
- heavier jacket
- rain gear
You know what you need better than we do but focus on comfort and warmth.