Bike Packing Denali NP on the Cheap

Phocal

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I will be bike packing the park road in Denali National Park from 6-11 May, which is before the summer season starts and before the busses start running. The plan is to ride the entire park road out/back for a total of 185 miles and 14,000 feet of elevation gain. This is one of those trips where I really want to have all my good lenses with me while at the same time being a trip where weight is going to major concern. I will need a way to charge the electronic devices I am bringing (Garmin Edge 530, Garmin InReach Mini, Garmin Vivoactive 4, iPhone 12 Pro Max) as well as my camera batteries.

To keep my electronics powered on the trip I will be using a Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC combined with the Goal Zero Nomad 20. I am pretty sure that the Sherpa will have enough juice for my trip but I want to be sure so I picked up the Nomad to help keep the Sherpa topped off. With 18 hours of daylight the Nomad should have no problem fully charging the Sherpa, even on an overcast day. The problem is both of the units weigh about 2lbs, so I am starting at 4lbs of weight before packing any camera gear.

11.4 lbs - The gear I want to bring: EM1X, 300/4, 150/2, 14-54, 7.5
7.3 lbs - Dropping the 150/2
4 lbs - The gear I am bringing: EM1X, 75-300, 12-50, 7.5

I could actually drop another pound of weight by swapping the X for my EM1 or EM5, but the extra abilities of the X make it worth bringing. One of the reasons I love shooting Olympus is how I can go from over 11 lbs of gear to only 4 lbs while still covering basically the same focal range (actually gaining focal range with the lighter setup).

I switched to Olympus from Canon to drop weight and even with me using the largest Olympus body and the larger lenses I am still significantly lighter than when I was shooting Canon. As everyone knows I am super anal about image quality and it is why I use the lenses I do. But even the lighter weight of my gear isn't light enough for extended backcountry trips, especially when I need to keep up with someone not carrying the extra weight. So my only options are to really suffer and bring my good lenses or switch to lighter lenses and lower my image quality.

This is going to be my first major trip of the year as well as a huge test for my upcoming trips. The first test is going to be if I can take lesser quality lenses and come back from an epic trip with photographs that I am satisfied with. I pretty confident that the 7.5 and 12-50 will provide me with images that I am satisfied with when it comes to landscape photographs, especially when using HHHR. Where I really question my choice is when it comes to the 75-300. I have tested this lens multiple times against my 300/4 (as well as my 50-200) and I know it isn't up to the same abilities. But I also know that when used within its limits the lens can perform well. The only way to really know is to make a trip like this and see what the outcome is.

The second test will be that of the Sherpa and Nomad. I have charged camera batteries using the Sherpa via the AC output as well as the DC output. I have taken the Sherpa and Nomad out in the yard and tested the recharge side of the two. So I have an idea of how they perform and can make educated guesses as to how they will work in the field. But it is going to take a multi-day trip to really see how all of it works together in the field. I will be keeping notes on battery levels during the day as well as before/after charging different devices. After this trip I should have a good idea of the capability of the two units and will help with planning my trips going forward.

Phocal
 

Phocal

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As I prep for this trip I will add to this the thread. Next up will be the packing of my trailer to see what I can fit into it, which will determine how much I have to carry on the bike.
 

Phocal

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A quick update...........

First photo is the cockpit area. The handlebar bag is a REI Link Handlebar Bag and will hold my EM1X with 75-300 attached for quick access for those bears on the side of the road. Will also throw some other stuff I may need while riding into it. The top tube bag is the REI Junction Top Tube Bag will be for my phone and any snacks that don't fit into my feed bag. May end up losing the top tube bag as I don't think I will need the additional room. The other two bags are Revelate Mountain Feedbags with one for my bear spray and the other for my riding snacks.

Second photo is the Revelate Jerrycan and will contain my MSR Trail Shot for easy access while riding.

Third photo is an Ortlieb Fork-Pack and contains all my bike repair items I will be bring, except the spare spokes that will be in the trailer.

Fourth photo (which shows I really need to dust) is the trailer I will be pulling. The trailer is probably 30 years old and has been on a ton of adventures over the years.
 

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demiro

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...The handlebar bag is a REI Link Handlebar Bag and will hold my EM1X with 75-300 attached for quick access for those bears on the side of the road. ... The other two bags are Revelate Mountain Feedbags with one for my bear spray and the other for my riding snacks...
If I ever see a brown bear while riding a bike I'll need a change of underwear, an Uber, and a nice sedative.
 

OldRex

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Have a sensational time and may all your days there be like this
15250708.JPG
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Phocal

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Finally decided on a method for mounting the Nomad 20 on my trailer. Since my 2nd/backup sleeping pad (NEMO Switchback) is bulky I figured I would put it to good use as a shock absorber for the solar panel. Initially I was trying to mount it using shock cord but that plan failed. So I picked up some of the REI Packmod Accessory Straps and used the shock cord to keep the pad from sliding out. Now I just need to hit up a few stores in search of a rubber grommet of the correct size so I can pass the charging cable into the trailer. This will allow me to charge the Sherpa 100AC while riding during the day and keep the trailer watertight.
 

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