Oakley Sliver F
For bikepacking, striking out on a new route without shades is just not an option. If I'm going to spend eight hours on the bike, good shades are essential. And the more I do this, the priority for selecting gear is light weight and packability. You could argue that shades don't matter on the packability scale, since they're going to stay on your face or propped up on your helmet for a long, sweaty climb. But for travel as well, smaller is better, because at some point, they'll go in a jacket pocket or bag. Enter the Oakley Sliver F. The F stands for folding. Yes, I know all sunglasses have folding arms, but the Sliver folds twice and has a nice slim fit. I threw them on my digital scale and they came in at 23 grams. How do they do it? Making a legit pair of shades with high quality lenses that weigh just 23 grams. Well, if you look at the inside of the frames Oakley has gone and scooped out all the unnecessary material. From the outside they look like any other pair of casual shades. I think they look great. They have a clean 1960s vibe to them. Functionally, I love my Radarlock XLs. Aesthetically, I love my Frogskins, but the Sliver is getting to that sweet spot where I don't need to look like a roadie and I have lenses that are on par with the Radarlocks. I like where Oakley are headed with models like the Sliver F. Style and function in one package.
Gerber LST knives
We had been looking for a knife worth carrying on our bikepacking adventures and the Gerber LST stepped forward. The LST ticks all the boxes - it's lightweight, has a quality stainless steel blade with a locking mechanism. Most importantly it just has a good feel in your hand and is easy to use. As you may know, we've been trying to shine a light on local companies that make great gear and Gerber is exactly that. The small knife feels more like a pocket pen knife and comes in at a mere 16 grams. The blade is just long enough to cut my salami secchi. If you need a slightly longer blade, you may want to step to the large size, which comes in at 1.2 ounces on the scale. That knife's blade length is 2.63" and the closed length: 3.61." The large retails for $26 and the small goes for just $19.
Topeak Mini 18+
OK, while not as sexy as shades or blades, a good pocket folding tool should always be in your bag for rides long and short. For sure there are lighter multitools (the 18+ is 6.6 oz.), but I chose the Topeak Mini 18+ because Topeak makes great tools that don't fall apart and the Mini 18 has all the tools you'll need. Specifically, make sure you're getting a chain tool that works. Odds are that someone in your group will break a chain at some point and you'll need to remove the damaged links and add links or just shorten the chain to keep them pedaling forward. The chain tool on the Mini 18+ is removeable from the mail tool body to be used separately. Two more essential tools are the torx wrench for removing disc brake rotors and the 10mm wrench for pedals and Truativ cranks. Final bonus is a bottle opener for post-ride sodas. Essential.