A bike trip in Canada
Elroy is using the Kit L80 Aevon trailer, he tells us about his latest trip in Jasper National Park, Canada.
In August 2018, I joined some colleagues on a 3-day trip to the Fryatt Valley in Jasper National Park (Alberta, Canada). It is not always simple to travel in the backcountry with a young child so we had some discussion about the best way to travel and settled on bikepacking into the valley. They would take their two-wheeled chariot behind one of their bikes but with a child in the chariot it did not leave much room for all their gear. I am not a fan of carrying a big rucksack on my back when cycling. So I looked around for a bike trailer and after much online research, ordered the Aevon Kit L80 trailer. It was easy to fold up and fit into my car for the 4 hour drive to Jasper from my home. I could fit all my gear into the trailer, a fair amount of their gear and food for the dog.
I have read a lot about the debate between panniers vs. trailers for bike touring but for single-track backcountry bikepacking it is a no-brainer that this single wheel, seat post mounted trailer is the way to go. Panniers are just too wide on the trails.
Rear wheel hub-mounted trailers have a very big turning circle. We were all very surprised how well this trailer performed. You can mostly forget that it is there and just hit the trail. You do feel the weight on the uphill though! The kit L80 tracks beautifully behind the bike. You can choose the best line on rocky trails and the trailer wheel follows the line of the bike. That was not true for the two-wheeled chariot where you have to ride over an obstacle with the bike to avoid hitting it with one of the wheels of the chariot. The chariot overturned a number of times. Fortunately without injury to its occupant!
Most of the trail was single track that got very rocky and rooty in places. The trail is classified as a blue bike route in Canada.
I set the shock on the trailer to its second highest mounting position for ground clearance and never had a ground strike going over obstacles. The shock came pressurized to quite a high value and I reduced it according to the table in the instruction manual to fit the weight of the trailer. I did not really feel the trailer behind me when going over rough ground. Really a smooth ride!
I was very impressed as it was loaded way more than it would be if I just had my own gear in it.
We set off from the trail head near the Athabasca falls and followed the Athabasca River until turning into the stunning Fryatt valley. The bag that comes with the Kit L80 seems very durable
and was completely waterproof. We had several river crossings and I did not always have someone to lift the trailer up, so I sometimes just went right through with the water above the bottom of the trailer, hoping that my waterproof liner bags would keep my gear dry. Not a drop got into the bag though. On inspection afterwards I noticed the seams all seem to be heat welded and quite waterproof.
We arrived late at Lower Fryatt and had to cycle the last few kilometres in the dark with headlamps and set up camp in the dark. It rained quite hard during the night. Our food was hung up high in a bear hang to avoid attracting bears, but the trailer just stood out in the rain and again remained totally dry inside.
It was a great trail. I must say I caught a bit of the bikepacking bug and will definitely use this bike trailer on many more backcountry trails as well as hard surface tours where I can fit in more gear to make the trips more comfortable. It has more space than I think I will ever need with just my own gear.