What do you do when all of a sudden you have two days off work and you want an adventure immediately? You call Chris "RouteMaster" Tank and he delivers. No car? No reservations? Its January? You want a mix of road, gravel, and maybe a touch of singletrack? Glorious sunsets, views, and of course stops for Virginia Country Ham sandwiches at all the old country stores? We got you.
This was also my first time testing out a "bikepacking" set up. The bikepacking set-up is noteable as an slight departure from the century-old concept of biketouring mostly for two reasons: 1) the ultra-light nature of the kit you bring and 2) a style of pack (handlebar, frame, & seat) that works well on mountain bikes. I could see this set-up being lighter and more stable enough for the multi-day wilderness mountain bike rides I'm planning for the year. However, classic touring panniers and handlebar bags are waaaay easier to get things into and out of (which you do a lot as you eat and change layers on a tour). They also keep weight lower on the bike, which increases balance. I'm looking forward to using this bikepacking set-up on singletrack and staying minimal on tours...but I also still think panniers and a classic handlebar bag are the best choice for roads - gravel or pavé. I think the only reason you'd want a "bikepacking" set-up for a road bike is if your bike couldn't accept a rear rack...and I'd never advise anyone that isn't a semi-pro racer to buy a bike you can't put a rack on because I am have utilitarian retro grouch tendencies.