Rob Britton has had a busy year. The 35- year- old Canadian spent the bulk of 2019 travelling the world competing for Rally UHC, his team since 2016. After spending most of October off the bike and getting some much needed rest, the time trial national champion is now ramping back up for the 2020 season. Britton takes an original approach to off-season training. In 2018, he prepared for worlds with a 1,700 km trip from Calgary to Port Renfrew, B.C. This past November, he flew to Japan for a nine-day bikepacking trip across the country. Here’s the gear he brought, how he packed and his most important bikepacking tips.
Pack for the climate
When choosing clothes, make sure you pack for the coldest theoretical weather. “If you’re going to ride in Spain in July, you probably don’t need an 850-fill down coat,” said Britton. “But if you’re rolling around B.C. in September, it’s probably a pretty damn good idea.”
Consider adding a few grams to your bags, in exchange for a warmer experience. “Japan was very nice, sunny and warm during the day but near freezing at night,” said Britton. “This requires a wide spectrum of clothing. In hindsight, I would have brought either a better insulated sleeping mat or colder rated bag.”
Be prepared for anything
When travelling in a new place, particularly if it’s remote, be certain of your route. “I’ve been left out in the cold because of some carelessness and thinking I knew the area well enough to not double-check my route,” said Britton.“Thankfully I was close enough to home but we came really close to setting up camp and going to sleep hungry.”
He recommends that bikepackers pack an emergency ready-to-eat meal. (“I haven’t had to use mine yet, but it’s a nice thing to know you have it just incase.”) As for other emergencies: “Gorilla glue, tape and a Leatherman, paired with a creative mind, can solve just about every problem,” he said.
Rob Britton’s packing list for nine days in Japan
Britton’s packing list for Japan is more or less the same gear he would use for any trip that lasts longer than two days in climates that range from 0 C to 25 C. The total weight of the gear comes to 13,856 g or 13.9 kg (30.5 lb.). Britton doesn’t have a strong opinion on what gear should go on which end of the bike, “I think it’s a bit of personal preference.” He said. Here is the breakdown of how he packed for his trip to Japan: