The Itasca Lakenights is a new yet-to-be-published bikepacking route in Minnesota. The Nxrth scouted it with some friends this summer and will be publishing it exclusively for Patrons soon. Here we're highlighting Josh Kowaleski's bike and gear setup to highlight some awesome gear that worked well on this forthcoming route.
Josh Kowaleski's Lux-Packed Dingle Speed Salsa
Bike: 2015 Salsa Blackborow DS set up with 29X3.0 WTB Rangers
Gearing: 30x16 High Range and 26X20 Low Range
Rack: Salsa Alternator Rack for Fat-Bike
Packs: Cedaero Frame Pack, Tank Top LD, and Custom Panniers
I feel like I had the perfect bike for this loop! I'm a huge fan of singlespeeds with big tires. The 29x3.0 Rangers roll fast on the gravel and floated extremely well in the very loose sand that we encountered. The simplified drivetrain left me worry-free as we rolled through some of the tall grass on the ATV trails.
I packed a luxurious, vacation-minded setup for this scouting loop and brought all of the creature comforts. With that in mind, I feel like this loop should be rolled that way! Pack the fun stuff and relax by the lake! Some of those luxuries are, a cribbage board and cards, a fly rod and flies, a full cutting board, and a variety of snacks. Perhaps next time I'd add in a frisbee or maybe even split up a slackline set up with someone.
I typically bring more down to add into a layering system, with the temps we had this trip I'd lighten the load and cut the bulk a bit by leaving some of those pieces that I didn't use at home.