I have always had a love for the great outdoors and anything that had to do with being off-road and in the woods. I don’t recall exactly when I heard about bikepacking, but I was intrigued. It was something that I was very interested in as I am always trying to figure out some sort of overlanding trip with the Jeep or multi-day kayaking trip or hiking trip. Essentially anything that involves sleeping in the woods overnight on my way from point A to point B via whatever mode of travel I happen to choose. Unfortunately, except for a three-day trip to North Carolina for Overland Expo East, I haven’t been able to put together anything of substance other than day trips here and there.
March in Florida is a crap-shoot at best regarding the weather. It can be 85°, or it can be 40°. You never really know what you’ll get until you get it. It’s also difficult to get a campsite unless you book it weeks in advance, but again, you take a chance with the weather when you book that far out. These types of excuses have a way of burning right through the best months in Florida before its transformation into the surface of the sun. Having said that, I decided to throw caution to the wind and reserve a site for the end of March.
My first bikepacking adventure will be very short to get an idea of how I can bikepack with the bike and gear I already own. My step-son Bobby was cool enough to let me borrow his Eno Double Nest hammock and in return, I agreed to purchase a Guardian Bug Net, which I will also take along for the trip. He used this setup while camping when he was home over Spring Break, so at least I know my sleeping arrangement should be trouble free. Only time will tell.
The original idea included a few friends and me, but one moved to North Carolina and the other is on call that weekend so I will be traveling solo. The plan is for me to leave the main trail head on a Saturday and ride roughly 25 miles off-road until I reach a campground far enough away to make it seem like a trip. I will then call the hammock home for the night and camp under the stars until morning when I will make the return ride back to the Jeep. Pretty straight forward and simple. No need for stoves or other cooking supplies and utensils considering it will only be for one night. I will get by with an ample supply of granola bars and other easy to fit items that do not require cooking.
One item I do need to purchase for the trip is a large under the seat bag that can hold the hammock and bug net as my Camelbak is approximately 20 years old and way too small for the additional gear. Aside from that, the list of items I will be bringing is as follows:
- Sleeping (hammock and bug net, hanging straps)
- Specialized EMT bicycle multi-tool
- Small knife
- Spare tube, patches, pump and tire levers (I run a tubeless setup, but this is in case of a catastrophic failure of the tubeless setup, I can always fall back on using a tube to get me home)
- Sunscreen, bug spray
- Small first aid kit
- Food (yes, I know this is redundant)
- Enough water to make the first leg of the trip (I can refill for the return trip in the morning)
- Change of clothes to sleep in
- Additional pair of socks
I’m sure there is more, but if you can think of anything I left out, please feel free to comment below and let me know what you think. “Part two” of this journey will be posted when I return, along with details and pictures throughout the weekend.
See you soon!