Each bikepacking adventure is unique and many factors dictate what you pack. The desert always requires skillful planning. Water can be tough to find, and if you do, needs to be filtered, so be prepaired to call all the water to intend to need and refill as you pass through a town. Additionally, depending on the time of year, flash flooding needs to be taken into consideration. Stay aware and be safe during storms.
From nose to tail, here are the bags and essentials I like for a 2-3 day desert trip.
Bootlegger Fork Bags x 2: Great for storing extra water, including a 32 ounce Nalgene. Forks are an ideal spot to haul an additional 64 ounces of water. One can be for extra water and the other for boiling.
Front End Loader and Lunchbox: A Front Loader is a harness designed to hold a dry bag, with sleeping bag, pad, and inflatable pillow fitting into the dry bag. These are items that, if possible, should be removed at camp.
Lunchbox: Designed to wrap around the Front End Loader and dry bag to keep everything tightly secured. In addition to stability, it is amazing for quickly accessing items like snacks, gel blocks, instant coffee, bic lighter, electrolyte hydration powders or tablets, and titanium. spork, toilet paper and/or wet wipes, dog poop bags, etc. A lot fits in here. Idea is to keep it fairly light. Heavy items like tools tend to bounce around, especially with a rigid front fork. This can damage other items in the bag.
Chuckbucket: One or two can fit on either side of the stem. It can be a spot to hold more water, with easy access, since a frame bag restricts water bottle cage use. A bottom side cage on the down tube tends to get debris/dirt/mud from the front tire. Adding a wide cargo cage and nylon straps for another Nalgene can be a good call. Again, nothing wrong with carrying more water. Be prepared to carry 4-5 liters of water.
Snack Pack Large (or Extra Large): This top tube bag is mounted up at the head tube/steerer tube for easy. Mobile charger, charging cords, beef jerky, pop tarts, sunscreen, thin gloves, etc. It can be interchangeable with a Lunchbox or another Snack Pack. Grab anything quickly during a pit stop or confidently use one hand while still riding.
Snack Pack Small: Top tube bag mounts up against the seat post. Ride snacks go in here nicely. Feel free to play around with the two Snack Packs and Lunchbox to see which items you prefer in each. The small snack pack doubles as a waste receptacle to separate wrappers and other small trash items.
Bodega Full Frame Bag: The largest storage space bag. It can vary in terms of volume depending on your height. If you ride a small bike, then storage is limited. If tall, then you have an ample amount of room. Generally the food pantry, such as dehydrated meals for dinner or breakfast. Also perfect for Leave No Trace, pack it in, pack it out, behavior practices. You can shove dog poop bags for trash in this compartment. Another great item to store here is a water filter, or a soft sided water bladder
Gearjammer Seat Bag: Large volume storage for clothing. Getting in and out of it can take time. Best to minimize how much you dig around in it during the day. For a quick desert trip, bring one extra pair of wool socks, layers. or depending on season, long underwear, puffy jacket, and beanie. Non clothing items that can fit here include a bivy and stove. If you prefer not to throw a sleeping bag on the ground, the bivy gives extra insulation, rain/wind protection, and security. Also good for clipping a lightweight plastic camp mug for a cup of coffee in the morning.
Other Bikepacking Items that you can make space for. Or not...
Oveja Negra Bikepacking Bags are hand made in Salida, Colorado. They are bomber bags and perfect for a day out, or a bucket list global trip