Preparing for the Iditarod Trail invitational 2017

Packing for the Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI)

Photo of my 2015 bike - Photo credit to Revelate Designs.

There’s a lot that goes into packing for this type of bike ride and it is a very personal process. Before I go into the details there’s a couple of things that are worth mentioning.

First of all, it’s a process. You are never really done packing, you just run out of time, so you do the best that you can with what you’ve got.

It’s an exercise in assessing tolerable risk. Your definition of minimum gear could vary wildly from someone who has more or less experience than you, it also could vary depending on the anticipated conditions as race day approaches. You have to find your own balance here.

In order to pack right for yourself, you have to set goals for what you want to achieve. If you’re racing to go as fast as you possibly can (and hopefully win), you probably will sacrifice comfort to keep weight down. If it’s just about finishing, then the choices you make will tend toward staying comfortable on the trail, the sacrifice being weight and ultimately speed.

With that said, the following run down is the nuts and bolts of how I am packing for the ITI this year. My goal this year is to go as fast as possible, so I’m going to take as little as possible while still keeping within my comfort zone that I could survive on the trail if something goes wrong.

In the front roll:

Sleeping system:

Western Mountaineering Puma -25 degree

Lightweight bivy

ITI - Sleeping gear

In the seatpost bag:


Extra Wool Socks, extra liner gloves, spare wool bandana and buff - spare stuff to change out when the others get sweaty

OR Rain Jacket, REI Rain Pants, North Face Light Down Jacket - Layering options

OR Puffy Coat, Custom Puffy Pants, Mountain Hardware Puffy Gloves - for standing around

T-shirt and Underwear - for after the finish

ITI - Clothing

In the frame bag:

Esbit solid fuel stove with 12 fuel tablets, REI 1 liter titanium pot, matches and lighter - I like the simplicity of this setup and it has worked well for me in the extreme cold, and it all fits right into the pot

Two extra straps, duct tape and knife - you never know

10 spare Lithium AA batteries at all times

Hand warmers


Crank Brothers multi-tool – I like the Crank Bros tool with the chain breaker, it has everything that I need in an easy to use form. Not the lightest, but still my favorite.

Tubes x2 - I run tubeless so if it all goes wrong I want the option to put tubes in both wheels

Silica Tattico Pump – A bit heavy, but the high volume makes for way faster fill-ups. Also, it’s built well and easy to use with cold hands

Master link x2 – These are light and you never know

Spare derailleur hanger – Again this is a light piece and one that can be the difference between finishing and flying home on a bush plane.

Patch kit (the kind with vulcanizing glue, not the stick on type) – Insurance for the two tubes. The stick on patches don’t really work in the cold.

Dumonde Tech lube – Tiny sample size bottle so I can keep the chain from driving me crazy at 4am.

Spare valve cores x2 and little plastic valve core extractor – These seriously weigh nothing and can save you from having to put a tube in because your pump accidentally extracted one and deposited it in the deep snow.

ITI - Tools/cookingfood


Garmin eTrex 30

Spot Tracker

Thermometer (good to -40)

Revelate Mountain Feed Bag with 21oz Hydroflask

Revelate Gas Tank with Food

On me:

Black Diamond Ion headlamp that uses AA batteries

ID, credit card and cash

70oz Camelback


Phone, headphones and phone charger that uses AA batteries