Pack Like a Pro: How to Pack for a 10-Day Trip to the Mountains

By Martin Atanasov

In a previous article, we delved into the intricacies of packing for a bikepacking tour. However, as they say, practice makes perfect. So, what better way to illustrate my advice than to guide you through the process of packing for my own adventure on the renowned E3 route in Bulgaria, a journey that spans 10 to 12 days.

Trip characteristics

If you remember, before we start packing, we should consider seven factors that will determine our provisions. So, let’s go with the list:

How long will the trip be? – It’s 606 km (+ another 60 to the train station to get back home). Depending on the weather, it will take 10-12 days.

What will the weather be like? – That’s not quite certain at the time being, but usually in July, the weather is stable, sunny, and very hot. So that’s what I’m preparing for

Where will you sleep? – Since most of the trip is through mountain ridges and high mountain tops, we will sleep in huts.

Is there enough food and water on the way? – Food is generally plentiful, meaning there is a hut every 4-8 hours. Plus, if push comes to shove, there are plenty of opportunities to bail and go down. Water, on the other hand, is scarce, as some huts use reservoirs and are reluctant to share their water if you are not staying there. Thus, I’ll have to take a backpack and a camel water bag.

What is the terrain? – It’s highly diverse but mostly has singletracks and mountain paths. There are also some gravel roads and a bit of asphalt. The middle of the journey is high-mountain and even alpine terrain, so there will be some bike-carrying

What will be the average altitude? – The first 2 days, before we reach the ridge, the average altitude will be around 1200m. In the next 3 days, we will be at an average of about 2000m. After crossing the highest point, we will go down to about 1500m for two days. In the last 2 days, the average altitude will be around 500m. So, in general, I’m preparing for a 1500m average altitude.

How many people will you be? – There will be 2 of us, but this route is quite popular, and people are extremely friendly, so if push comes to shove, we can ask for assistance. Still, there is not much space for redistributing joint supplies like medicine and food.

My setup

Bikepacking setup

Bike – 13 kg

Handlebar Pack – 400g

  • A jersey – 110g
  • Ultra-light t-shirt – 20g
  • Shorts – 100g
  • 3 x underwear – 15g
  • One cycling short bib – 10g
  • Waterproof jacket – 250g
  • 3 x socks – 5g
  • Waterproof pants – 150g
  • Headlight – 75g

Seat Pack – 300g

  • Towel – 90g
  • Flip flops – 50g
  • Power bank – 260g
  • Food – 500g
  • Fork, spoon, and knife – 80g
  • Emergency blanket – 150 g
  • Wet wipes- 30g
  • Earplugs – 0g
  • Electrolytes – 20g
  • Medical supplies – 10g

Top tube pack – 150g

  • Smartphone – 200 gr
  • Wallet with money – 37g
  • Keys from home- 50g
  • Lighter – 2g
  • One inner tube – 156g
  • Lube – 20g
  • 3 CO2 tire inflators – 15 g
  • Pump – 100g
  • Sunscreen lotion – 100 g

Seatpost pack – 80g

  • Multitool – 95 g
  • Chain links and repair kit – 80g
  • Second inner tube – 156g.
  • Tire repair kit – 25g

Backpack – 30g

  • Camel water pack – 120g without the water/ 3 kg with it
  • Windproof jacket – 80g
  • Thermo blouse – 40g
  • Camp mug – 50g
  • Soap and shampoo – 40 g
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste – 50g

Jersey pockets

  • EpiPen -0g
  • Anti-dog spray – 100g.
  • Bars and magnesium sticks – 300g

Total – 20.596 kg. (7.6 kg without the bike)

So, how to pack

Packing like a pro takes time. You need to consider every gram and every aspect of your language and compromise only on what you can afford to leave behind. Bikepacking is not just a fancy way to spend your free days. It is a challenge to be self-sufficient and highly organized. You need to consider every aspect of your journey, how much food and water to take, what your pack configuration will be, and how to distribute your luggage to balance your bike. Most importantly, however, start playing Tetris. You will need it.