Packing for a Mountain Biking Tour through the South Chilcotins (ft. Tomas Gazdaj)
by Matt Gracie on Jun 10, 2022
There are few people with the same passion for wilderness mountain biking as RUX's own Tomas Gazdaj. Hailing from British Columbia's Coast Mountains, he's no stranger to running (or biking) amok through the wilderness with whatever grandiose adventure calls his name. Check out what he has to say about one of his most memorable biking trips through BC's South Chilcotin mountain range and get an insider look at how to pack for backcountry MTB adventures!
What an unreal location Tom, how did this trip all come together?
After biding our time for perfect conditions, we found a window between the weather last summer to explore some of the best single track mountain biking and grizzly bear dodging in the world! Just a few hours north of the RUX HQ sits a jewel known as the Southern Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park. Myself and 3 friends packed up the truck and made our way north. We parked the truck at Tyaughton lake where we hopped in a float plane and enjoyed some breathtaking Birdseye views. We got dropped off at Lorna lake with a friendly wave from Dale the float plane pilot, and enough whisky, chain lube and pad thai to keep us going for 5 days in the bush. We really had no plan other than being back at the pick up point in 5 days. It ended up being about 150km of peddling (and walking…lots of walking) through the worlds most incredible alpine ridges, meadows and forests laced with ribbons of single track.
It didn’t suck, you should go!
Wow, that's some serious back country! Were there any bits of gear that really proved invaluable for you?
Well besides my bike, definitely bear spray… Lots of Grizzlies!
Was there anything you left behind that threw a wrench in things?
Candy. I didn’t forget it, I just finished it before we got going.
Why do you use the gear/brands that you do on trips like this?
I try and bring as little as possible of gear that I trust. Last thing I want is to have something fail and be S.O.L. So I stick to gear that is simple and versatile. The RUX 70L is great for a trip like this because the access to the trail head is a long journey and you really don’t want to leave anything behind. So I just pack absolutely anything and everything that I might want to take in my RUX 70L. Then when we are doing our final gear count I can add or thin out my kit. Without the 70L there is a better chance I forget or compromise something. Not to mention it helps keep base camp from looking like a bomb went off when we eventually make it back.
Do you have any gear organizing pro tips you could share for people that want to go on a similar MTB expedition?
I am all about packing for frequency. Low use items tucked into corners and high use items in easy to see/reach places. But you gotta trade that with just making your pack comfortable and balanced as well. Some people prefer to put more weight in there bike bags but I like my bike light so I am ready for free ride time.
For you, what makes mountain biking such a big part of your life?
I'm a smiles per-mile kind of person and there are a lot of miles in a trip like this. So ample opportunity for smiles.
Check out Tom's packing list for this trip in the RUX App!