By Helena Kotala
Four gifts that current or aspiring bikepackers – or any cyclist who likes to camp or do long rides – will love.
Platypus SoftBottle – $9
Bikepackers have to get creative to save space wherever they can. One of the biggest wastes of space is the air in a bottle after the water is gone. Enter the Platypus SoftBottle, a flexible, packable water bottle that collapses to make more room as it empties. It’s also lighter than a hard water bottle and smaller for the same volume capacity while remaining durable and able to withstand the abuse of bouncing and rubbing in a frame bag. The SoftBottle is taste-free, even brand new, as well as BPA-, BPS- and phthalate-free. It comes in a 0.5 liter version for $8 or the one liter at $9. This simple and affordable gift is sure to see plenty of use from bikepackers and day cyclists alike.
Sawyer Mini Water Filter – $25
A lightweight, compact and effective water filter can mean the difference between traveling light or carrying liters and liters – or getting giardia or not. At just two ounces and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the Sawyer Mini checks all the boxes while easily packable for overnights or all day rides. The Mini comes with a collapsible pouch that can be used to drink from or as a vessel to grab water from a stream and then filter it into a standard bike water bottle. The Mini also can screw onto a threaded cap (the size of one on a regular soda bottle or a soft bottle like the Platypus) or attach inline on a hydration pack hose. This versatile water filtration option is a useful tool for anyone who spends long days or days on end on the bike.
Hip packs, fanny packs, or whatever you want to call them are making a comeback, and many bag makers out there are creating their own take on this classic piece of gear that people either love or love to hate. One of my favorites is the Hip Sack from Nittany Mountain Works, a brand new bag maker out of rural central Pennsylvania. The no-nonsense Hip Sack is made of durable Cordura nylon, includes a rear daisy chain for attaching your mug or a light and is perfectly sized for carrying your bike tools and essentials. It’s a great option when you have more than you can fit on your bike but not enough to fill a whole backpack, or just want to get weight off your back. The Hip Sack is non-bikey enough to wear around town and easily converts to an over-shoulder sling pack if you’re worried about looking cool. The best part? Colors are completely customizable when you order your Hip Sack online.
The UltraLight Insulated Mat from Sea to Summit is ideal for three season use, and even into winter for some climates. It’s laced with fabrics that reflect body heat and prevent cold from penetrating from the ground. The outside of the pad is made of lightweight, ripstop nylon. The UltraLight Insulated Mat weighs just 480 grams (regular size) and packs down to about the size of a one liter Nalgene. It comes with a stuff sack, self-adhesive patches for repairing punctures in the field and a spare one-way valve insert. It comes in four sizes – extra small, small, regular and large – so that you aren’t carrying around more pad than you need. Sea to Summit also makes the regular UltraLight pad for those who live in warmer climates or who aren’t planning on doing any cold-weather camping. Its balance between durability and packability make it a solid choice for any bikepacker.
Check out our other 2017 Gift Guide Topics:
Gifts for the Recreational Mountain Bike Parent
Gifts Made in America
Gifts for the Bag Hoarder
Trail Crew Gifts
Six Gifts for the Analog Artist on the Move