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HPG and Mountain Biking

an early Powerlite MTB

It's not something that we emphasize, but mountain biking has been a big part of Evan and Scot's life since the very early days of the pursuit. Evan got his first MTB in 1983 (a powerlite 3 bar 26 similar to above). Since then, thousands of miles of trails in all sorts of locations have been ridden including Barr Trail in 1989, McKenzie River Trail, Whole Enchilada, and the Loma to Dewey Bridge section of the Kokopelli trail. We've seen all the fads come and go - and come again - and have a pretty good idea of what has worked for us over the last 40 years of mountain biking. This page is a guide to some of our MTB gear.

HPG MTB setup 2023

Here is what today's setup looks like

Gear List

Bike Frame Bag

Evan put this together one weekend when he wanted a top tube bag that would hold a tube, tire pump, suspension pump, and bike tool. It wasn't intended to be an HPG production item, but once folks saw pictures they wanted it. The current version works equally well on top of or underneath the top tube. Folks have mounted them in other places as well. We like to have a bag on the bike dedicated to the "only for a bike" stuff rather than having those items in a pack. If we grab the pack for a hike instead, no reason to be carrying all the bike specific items as well. Then if they are in there and you take them out, did you remember to put them back in for the next bike ride?

Tarahumara Pack

Although it's often thought of as a hiking pack for which it works well, the Tarahumara was originally designed as that "just a few extra things" bag for mountain biking in the Bend Oregon area. We've tried various hip and lumbar bags over the years, as well as hanging a bunch of stuff off the bike itself and keep coming back to a compact center of the back pack. It works even better in conjunction with a Kit Bag on lifter straps. We set this pack up so that it is complete in and of itself without relying on supplemental items in a Kit Bag. Although primarily a dedicated MTB loadout, it's perfectly suited for a lightweight "throw on for a quick front country hike" pack. Contents:

  • Pocket Frame Sheet - a little extra structure is nice
  • Hydrapak Recon 1 liter bottles (x2) - bladders fail. We use bottles and these are nice slim bottles in a larger 1 qt size. On longer rides, we'll switch out for Nalgene 1.5qt Silo Water Bottles (x2).
  • Nature Reliance School 16oz Stainless Mug - nested on bottom of a Recon bottle for emergency heating of water and whatever else
  • OR Ferrosi Hoodie - if you're actually going to be wearing the coat while riding, the HPG Windcheater is a much more breathable and robust choice than the Ferrosi. Plus it has a hood that will go over a helmet. However, the Ferrosi is more packable as a "not planning to use but just in case" wind layer.
  • OR Helium Raincoat - a just in case rain and heavy wind layer
  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer - good exercise gets the bowels moving... just saying
  • Microfleece beanie for under the helmet
  • NAR CAT Tourniquet - These days we ride pretty cautiously, but accidents do happen and the kind of velocity induced accident that needs a TQ needs a real TQ RIGHT NOW. Particularly with the rise of the red bull and spandex crowd in the last 20 years of mountain biking, it's a lot more likely to run across another MTBer in need of trauma aid than it used to be.
  • NAR CAT TQ Holder - This threads very conveniently on the back of an HPG harness. It works even better if you remove the rear center triglide from the harness which is only used on the larger packs.
  • AMK UL Medical Kit .5 - We really like this as a "minimalist but covers most of the bases outside of trauma" first aid kit
  • HPG Tool Roll - Good for organizing small items inside of a pack. In this case:

Qahatika Water Bottle

It's hard to beat the Specialized 24oz Big Mouth for on the bike hydration. If you want one with some HPG flavor, we've got it. Or get the NRS one.

SAR Kit Bag - medium

Even though our packs are among the most comfortable and durable you can buy, we are still probably best known for our Kit Bags since 2010. Yes, they're designed for discreet concealed carry -- but they're handy for a whole lot more. We use these docked with lifter straps to the host pack to create a very stable "vest" that will stay put over the most aggressive DH lines without any diaphragm or waist impingement. All of our pocket and belt line stuff goes into the KB for riding. In addition, there is always a CAT TQ on the bottom. 2 TQs is overkill but remember that the pack is designed for use without a KB and this KB is also the same one that we wear on the river over a PFD so it also is geared for use without a pack. So it has the following items repeated from above plus a couple of others:

  • CAT TQ
  • CAT TQ Holder
  • ESEE Izula
  • Katadyn Water Purification Tabs
  • Fire Starting Kit
  • UST Signal Mirror
  • Quickclot Bleeding Control Dressing
  • Silva Mini Compass
  • Petzl Bindi headlamp
  • Fox 40 Micro Whistle


Other Resources

Here some other places you might go for MTB information and discussion: