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Gear List for Tour Divide 2013

Setup for Tour Divide 2013 (except knobby tires)

Setup for Tour Divide 2013 (except knobby tires)

My gear list for the for the 2013 Tour Divide is below. I did a quick calculation and, shockingly, the total price for all of this gear comes in around $7,000. Cha Ching! As someone said on the bikepacking forum, this is probably the most expensive “free” race. Factor in the transportation, 20+ days off from work, ~$100/day for food/batteries/stuff, and it sure feels that way.

The total dry weight (excludes water, food, and the weight of the clothes that I’ll be wearing regardless of weather)  comes in around 41lbs. A common benchmark for a reasonably light setup seems to be around 40lbs. I wish my setup was lighter, but I think it’s decent – given that I’m a Clydesdale and all of my gear is sized XL.

The photo shows my setup with slicks on the wheels. The reason is that I’m about to head off to do a long training ride in the Sierra Mountains. When I get back, I’ll throw on some Maxxis CrossMark 29×2.1 tires for the Tour Divide.

I finished the race in less than 21 days in 2010, so I didn’t make too many changes to my gear list and setup. The biggest difference is that, this time, I’m running a Rohloff hub, I switched to a rigid, carbon fork, and I’m using a GPS instead of bike computers with cue sheets.

Cockpit view

Cockpit view

I’m running the Rohloff because my Salsa Mamasita has major problems with chain suck and the mud along the route can wreak havoc on derailleurs. Unfortunately, this adds almost 2lbs to my bike, but it greatly reduces the risk of drive train problems.

I replaced my front shock with a Niner carbon fork in an effort to save some weight. In 2010, I rode about 90% of the route with my front shock locked in the rigid position. The chatter on the web says that these carbon forks do a great job of dampening the vibration on gravel/forest roads. I guess I’ll find out…


Bike Bags











Toiletries / Meds

  • Sunscreen (in travel bottle)
  • Chamois Butt’r (3 packs)
  • Chapstick
  • Bandages
  • Ibuprofen 400mg for pain
  • Zyrtec D for allergies
  • Ciprofloxacin for bacterial infection
  • Travel-size toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer


  • Cards: Credit, Bank, Health Insurance, License
  • Ziplock freezer bags (2) for random/messy food
  • Trash bag for covering sleeping bag
  • $80 in cash
20 Responses to Gear List for Tour Divide 2013
  1. Wayne
    November 20, 2014 | 9:15 am

    Thanks Forest! I started with the Torrentshell (after reading Kent Petersen’s recommendation — maybe it should’ve been called the “Turtleshell”?) and found it clammy when in cold rain right around freezing so I spent the big bucks for the Elite 2.1. Like you said, it’s a bit tighter fit and doesn’t drop much in front. It hasn’t rained here enough in cold conditions to give that top a real trial. On a whim, I added a used $20(!) Marmot Aegis jacket to an eBay order for something else and found the Aegis quite breathable and roomy — and it comes with a hood. The hood for the Elite cost me more than the used Aegis! Since that jacket was used I upped the watershedding capabilty on the shoulders and hood by spraying it with silicone and will test it next spring in the cold rain. I’m thinking of returning the Elite so I can spend the cash on other gear. All the best!

  2. Wayne
    November 16, 2014 | 12:37 pm

    Hey Forest! Great list. Any reason other than weight why you ditched your (2010) Showers Pass Elite jacket for a Patagonia Torrentshell in 2013? In a prolonged wet/cold situation like the 2014 TD which would you go with?
    Thanks again for the work you put into the site and gear list, not to mention the video.

    • Forest Baker
      November 18, 2014 | 3:28 pm

      Hi Wayne,

      I liked both jackets and I used them both for multiple bikepacking events. The main reason I even considered the Patagonia Torrentshell in 2013 was that it was given to me for free. So, at that point, I had a choice between the two jackets. The Torrentshell felt lighter, breathed just as well, and was waterproof. It was also a little bit more roomy for adding layers underneath, while still being form fitting enough. The Showers Pass jacket still worked well too, but, now, I take my Torrentshell with me.

      In prolonged wet/cold both would work, but the Showers Pass would probably be a little warmer. If you can, try on both. The fit is different.

      Hope that helps,


  3. Ashraf Kamel
    October 27, 2014 | 1:59 pm

    Hey Forest,
    How goes it? I was going to email you for your gear list, but stumbled upon it here. Just bought a Pivot Les and gearing up for the Highland Trail next May.

    • Forest Baker
      October 28, 2014 | 5:07 pm

      Wow! You are really serious about this. Kuddos to you man. I just read some ride reports from a few 2014 racers. It sounds like a tough course. Definitely be ready for wet weather.

      It sounds like there are “bothy” shelters along some parts of the route. I have no idea what those are, but they sound like a great place to sleep out of the rain. Downside is that you sleep next to a bunch of other riders/hikers.

      In January, we should do a ride in LA during GSK.

      • Ashraf Kamel
        October 28, 2014 | 5:38 pm

        January sounds good for a ride in LA. I’m fine with wet weather after living here for a while. Planning to do a few days in the Black Forest (no pun) and do Wales North to South in preparation. I’ll send you my gear list that I haven’t purchased yet when it’s done. Would be great to get your perspective.

  4. John Baker
    October 8, 2014 | 4:06 am

    Thanks for the great list. I’m planning on touring the upper 1/4 of the TD route late next June right before the full moon. I’m a decent rider and am training to make it a strong touring effort. However my adventure turns out, I’ll know what I’m up against if I opt to for a 2016 attempt at the whole thing. I love to climb so it might be a great time. Slow but great.

    Not all load outs will be the same but you’ve certainly given me and many others a good starting place.

    Now for the question. You said that your gear came out to around 41 pounds. Did that include the bike? I am certainly hoping that is the case.

    • Forest Baker
      October 12, 2014 | 10:38 pm

      Hi John,

      The section you plan to ride is awesome country. Plenty of climbing and will give you a good sense of the “full meal deal”.

      Yes, 41 pounds included my bike.

      Have a blast,


  5. Chase
    October 7, 2014 | 6:33 pm

    Hi! How did your Mamasita hold up? I’m contemplating riding the divide this year on one, but I’m a little worried about an aluminum frame. Did you ride it between the Divide races too?

    Thanks! ~ Chase

    • Forest Baker
      October 12, 2014 | 10:35 pm

      Hi Chase,

      My Mamasita held up fine. I’ve ridden the heck out of the frame (2 TD’s, CTR, AZT, etc.). I haven’t heard of any particular problems with aluminum frames. I wouldn’t worry about riding the TD on one.

      Best of luck,


  6. Scott
    December 3, 2013 | 8:53 pm

    Great list very inspiring.

    See you in Banff 2014


  7. Alex
    November 25, 2013 | 5:00 pm

    How did the Rohloff work for you? Would you recommend it for training and gravel races? I am currently working on a bike for gravel events such as Trans Iowa. I feel with the good possibility that weather can make courses like this so nasty, the Rohloff might be a good idea to assure a busted drivetrain isn’t an issue.

    • fbaker
      November 26, 2013 | 10:42 pm

      Hey Alex,

      I see a lot of pros AND cons to the Rohloff. For less technical trails, I love it. Although it is heavier (something like 1.5 to 2 lbs more than an XT setup), it eliminates any potential drive train blowups. Being a heavier rider, I’ve always been very hard on my drive trains.

      For gravel grinders like the TD, it’s great. For technical trails, like the AZT or the CTR, I don’t think it is a good way to go. In short, it isn’t great for situations that require quickly dialing in the right gear in order to clear a section. For example, dropping down a short hill and then quickly having to transition to climbing a short hill with a few rocks. It’s hard to explain, but the Rohloff gives you no feedback on which gear you are in until you pretty much have to commit to it. If you are in the wrong gear, you don’t really have time to adjust before you hit the uphill. Because of this, I often found myself having to dismount and walk lots of short sections that I could have cleared if I was able to get into the right gear in time.

      One other big thing to consider is the system that you will use to create chain tension. My first approach was to use a Philcentric bottom bracket. It was a really clean setup and, at first, it worked great. However, over time, the bottom bracket started having problems and I started snapping the small bolts that held the outside cups in place. I stopped at 3 shops during the TD to try and keep it together.

      After the TD, I replaced the Philcentric with a standard bottom bracket and installed a chain tensioner. Unfortunately, it required using a half-link in my chain. During the CTR, the half-link ended up freezing up and occasionally skipping.

      To avoid all of these problems, it would be best if you can get a frame that is setup for a Rohloff and has an ability to adjust the length of the drive train built into the rear dropouts.

      For my newest bike, I’ve gone back to a traditional drive train (with a derailleur).

      I hope this helps!

      • Alex
        December 3, 2013 | 6:05 am

        Thanks! That helped a lot. I appreciate it.

  8. Brad J
    September 12, 2013 | 9:06 am

    Fantastic list, helped me to refine my gear a tad. I’m looking forward to 2014 as my first run. Thanks for sharing!


    • fbaker
      September 12, 2013 | 10:29 am

      Brad – Glad my list was helpful.

      FYI – I ended up not using my 3L badder. Instead, I carried 2 (32oz) Gatorade bottles in my frame bag and had a 1L bladder rolled up as backup. There were a few stretches were I carried 3L of fluids, but most of the time, 2L was fine.

  9. Ashraf Kamel
    June 7, 2013 | 2:04 pm

    Sweet set up. I’m running an internal alfine hub on my commuter and love it.

    • fbaker
      June 7, 2013 | 6:27 pm

      Ash! Well, then you are just a few purchases away from joining me on the Tour Divide. And they’ve recently started a bikepacking race in England. No excuses now!

  10. Mike
    May 21, 2013 | 2:09 pm

    Thanks for putting this gear list out. I’ll be in Banff this June and have thought and re-thought my gear list a hundred times, but a list from a TD vet is priceless. I am wanting to use the Platypus hydration bag, but I am worried it will be too difficult to refill with the small opening. Was that a problem for you on your last trip? Thanks again.

    • fbaker
      May 28, 2013 | 12:20 am

      Hi Mike,

      Don’t worry about having the “perfect” gear list. You’ll find that you can pretty much make due with whatever you have. And you can adjust as you go.

      No, the small opening on the Platypus wasn’t a problem for me. You will not be able to put ice into it and all 3L bladders can be a little awkward to fill under a short sink (like in a bathroom).

      See you in Banff!

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