Greg Villalobos took his KTM 450 EXC on a 10 day, 1200 mile adventure through northern Europe following the Trans Euro Trail. He traveled as light as possible. Here's how he packed it all on his bike.
KRIEGA OS-6 ADVENTURE PACK
I use an unconventional setup on the front of the bike, mounting luggage in front of the headlight. I do this because I want to maximise the use of space around the bike and I have Vision X Solstice lights fitted to the side of my forks which provide better illumination than the standard KTM headlight.
For this trip I had a Kriega OS 6 mounted up front. It’s very easy to attach and fits my DJI Spark drone case perfectly. I make sure not to put too much weight in there and it doesn’t vibrate or loosen at all when riding. I also kept my Zendure Power Pack in there which was easy to charge off a USB socket mounted on the handlebars without compromising the water proof closing.
KRIEGA OS-BASE + OS-12 ADVENTURE PACKS
I’ve been interested in the Kriega OS Base for a while so this was a good opportunity to give it a proper test. In the past I think some of the criticism of the Kriega US gear on enduro bikes is that it wobbles around a bit too much when the going gets rough. I was hoping that this base would address that.
In theory the OS base is easy to fit. In practice it is easy, but I added some tweaks to make it a little more secure. Wobble tends to come from the upward motion as luggage doesn’t have any anchor points in the plastics above the rear wheel. To counter this I drilled two small holes and used cable ties to attach my OS base very securely to my plastics. I also added an extra cam strap across my seat to give it a little more triangulation and stability. I think these mods worked well as with the OS 12’s attached I didn’t notice any wobble and the whole system felt very secure. I made sure to put the heaviest luggage in the bag over the exhaust as that was the sturdiest side and would prevent any movement towards the wheel.
The OS bags are a little fiddly to attach, but once they are on they are very secure. Whilst you could take them off if you wanted to (to go into a hotel for example) I think they are better left on the bike. The bags have a robust outer that survived all my efforts to lay the bike on the side, and removable waterproof linings which you could pull out if you wanted to (and therefore leave the bags attached to the bike). Something no one comments on is the fact that the waterproof liners are white, simple but actually very handy at helping reflect light into the bag when you are looking for something.
We rode through rain and heavy Belgian mud and the bags stayed 100% waterproof, keeping the muck out.
In my left pannier I kept my sleeping bag, bivvi bag and hi-vis vest (required by French law).
In my right pannier I kept my emergency spare bike parts (thankfully not needed), wash bag, clothes and waterproof trousers and jacket once the rain ceased.
GIANT LOOP ROGUE DRY BAG
Kriega don’t do a roll top bag, which for this kind of lightweight riding is pretty handy. I used my Giant Loop Rogue bag which has a capacity of 17 litres and can open at both ends. It’s pretty bomb proof and a great size for slinging across the top of the OS bags without taking up too much room. I was still able to swing my leg over the bike and not do the ’step through’, some achievement for someone vertically challenged!
Where possible I tend to stuff gear rather than roll it as I find a stuffed item such as a tent will find its way into gaps easier than a rolled one. There was very little room for anything else other than the items mentioned.
I used Kriega cam straps to mount the roll top bag as well as my Gitzo tripod. They are expensive considering they are just straps but boy do they work. When pulled tight the gear didn’t shift one bit. I also used a couple of bungee cords on the bag that gave me a quick way to stash gear that I needed quick access to.
GIANT LOOP ZIGZAG HANDLEBAR BAG
This bag was a total winner for me. I’ve had one for ages and never really used it until now. It straps onto your handlebar and gives you quick access to smaller items up front. I added some cable ties to secure it and it didn’t budge at all during the trip. I kept a Leatherman Crunch, Motion Pro Trail Tool, cable ties and sunglasses in there. These were used on an almost daily basis for one reason or another and it kept the flow of the trip not having to dive into luggage every time a bolt needed tightened. Big thumbs up.
KRIEGA R-15 BACKPACK
This is my everyday trail riding rucksack. It’s great, bombproof, comfortable and just the right size. For this TET trip I used it for my Panasonic GH5 camera, waterproof jacket and trousers as well as a 1.5ltr hydration pack.
In addition, I also mounted a Kriega US 5 to it that housed all my various camera chargers/adapters. I wanted to keep my camera on me so I could jump off the bike, run up a hill and then get the camera out for the shot. It’s also handy having the chargers on you so that you can ’borrow’ electricity whenever you stop at a cafe.
However, if I were to do the trip again I would seriously consider not using a rucksack, or at the most just a small hydration pack. On the odd time that I did ride without the pack, round a campsite or for a photo I was pretty amazed at how light and comfortable I felt. I think this is one of the big mistakes I made on this trip and that if I’d kept the weight off my back I would have been far more comfortable and less tired. I didn’t want to use a tank bag as I feel it all gets a bit claustrophobic especially for a smaller rider, however perhaps this is a price worth paying next time.
EVERYTHING I SHOULD HAVE LEFT BEHIND
I thought I'd done a good job of packing light, but it turns out I could have gone lighter. The trainers were my biggest disappointment as they took up so much room. They got wet on the first morning walking in the dew and stayed wet. I just used my boots instead. Flip flops would have been better. Oh, and the lock, not necessary for a group of 5 as someone's always with the bikes. If I was riding solo I would probably take it just for peace of mind if I'm off being a tourist for the day.
WATCH GREG'S TET ADVENTURE...