There’s no doubt — TD racers obsess over their gear. I’ve been accused of being more fond of collecting gear than actually riding my bike, and there may be some truth to that statement. Every ounce does matter because it does add up. Not only the weight matters, but also the size (or the packability) matters.
Although my 2015 gear was better, lighter, and smaller than 2013, it was still too much stuff. During the last few weeks at home, I decided I needed to re-evaluate my gear while my 2015 attempt was still fresh in my mind. I thought of several improvements and I’m describing them here — it’s a good example of the obsession I’m talking about.
The first picture is of the “old stuff I replaced. Patagonia down-filled jacket. ThermaRest NeoAir sleeping pad. Sea-to-Summit waterproof stuff sack (for my off-bike clothes). Inflatable pillow.
The second picture is of the “new” gear which replaced the old. Mont-Bell down-filled jacket with hood. Klymit Inertia X-Lite sleeping pad. Klymit X-Pillow (inflatable). HMG cuben-fiber waterproof stuff sack.
The differences are small, but significant. My “old” stuff weighs 1 pound 12 ounces. The new stuff comes in lighter at only 15 ounces! That’s 13 ounces lighter (remember, a pound is 16 ounces)! Not only are the new items lighter, but they are also more packable. They pack down to half the size of the old gear.
This is just an example of the scrutiny which goes into every piece of gear you decide to bring with you. Every gram counts and every bit of space counts. Less weight = less energy and/or faster pace. More space = more room to carry food and water.