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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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Packing - Do you really need all that stuff??

I was glancing through photos of people setting off for their trips like this one:



(sorry Matt). And I just wondered, what on earth all that stuff was on that bike? And I've seen plenty more equally fully packed. I've come from a backpacking/cycle touring background and I can carry everything I need for a month or so in one 60 litre rucksack. Ok so biking gear can be bulkier but the bulky bits tend to be worn. I'm wondering, am I fortunate to be able to pack light, or am I missing something bulky that bikers need and I don't?

I ask this as a total novice to packing and going for anything more than an overnight trip, but I'm intrigued.
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  #2  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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i agree - some bikes look way overloaded BUT there are some things i need on the bike but don't need when i'm backpacking ...like the oil, chain lube, spares, tools, jerry ...ok, you might need them for cycling, but i find all cycle spares and lubes etc are a heck of a lot smaller than motorbike ones.

Also depends if you're camping & cooking - that stuff takes up a lot of space.

Think you would have enjoyed Dave Lomax's controversial presentation at the UK HU meet 'Overweight, Underprepared' ...that guy can get by with just one small holdall ...no creature comforts on his 'holiday'!
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  #3  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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i agree man, just packing myself (not literally because that would be foolish) and having a hard time. really tempted to go pete fonda style, just me and the bike hmmmmm.....
and even avoiding roaring petrol prices:

sorry, really sorry.
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  #4  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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Looks like a Lot but...

Here's pics of my 'load' on a recent two week trip....looks a bit big, but here's what's in it....

Tank Panniers (Dual Star)- 2 x 2 liter water bags -

Tank Bag (Dual Star)- maps, headlight (reading at night), Extra Fleece jacket, waterproof gloves, ear plugs, camera, neck warmer (cold fall mornings), book(s), tire pump, pressure gauge, latex gloves

Duffle (North Face Basecamp 90 l) - tent gear (Marmot Swallow 2 tent, poles, pegs, footprint), sleeping bag (+20f), eXped 9 DLX Air mat (this is the BEST), stove fuel - large format gazetteer maps in plastic case on top

Left pannier (GIVI T421's soft)- stove, nesting pot, tire tools/repair patches, two spare tubes, two plastic flat 'bits and pieces' tool trays (fuses, sockets etc), toiletries bag

Right Pannier - clothes (3 socks, 2 undies, 1 t shirt, 1 light sweater, 1 pair jeans, swimsuit, light towel), BBQ/Fire starter, multitool, sometimes quilted lining from jacket or pants, and because I'm older, the (I kinda question mentioning this...but)...the nalgene pee bottle - you don't have to get dressed at night you know...

My sense is whether 2 weeks or 2 months, pretty much everything is needed. In the recent trip, weather permitted not needing the extra fleece jacket - also didn't need tubes or tools but...used the camp gear each night, stove, fuel, reading material, camera, etc. Had one laundry session.

Planning to stay in hostels or motel/hotel or pensions would significantly reduce load....however, camping can be cheap - accommodation costs for 2 weeks with camping gear were - free, free, $39 (motel), free, free, free, free $12 (state park with shower), free, free, free, $18 (National Forest site), free, home. MeThinks the tent's worth loading up the bike....

(Pics are from Alvord Desert Playa area, near Fields, in southern Oregon...)

Would be interested in hering any ideas on things I could do to reduce the kit....
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  #5  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STG06 View Post
Here's pics of my 'load' on a recent two week trip....looks a bit big, but here's what's in it....

Tank Panniers (Dual Star)- 2 x 2 liter water bags -

Tank Bag (Dual Star)- maps, headlight (reading at night), Extra Fleece jacket, waterproof gloves, ear plugs, camera, neck warmer (cold fall mornings), book(s), tire pump, pressure gauge, latex gloves

Duffle (North Face Basecamp 90 l) - tent gear (Marmot Swallow 2 tent, poles, pegs, footprint), sleeping bag (+20f), eXped 9 DLX Air mat (this is the BEST), stove fuel - large format gazetteer maps in plastic case on top

Left pannier (GIVI T421's soft)- stove, nesting pot, tire tools/repair patches, two spare tubes, two plastic flat 'bits and pieces' tool trays (fuses, sockets etc), toiletries bag

Right Pannier - clothes (3 socks, 2 undies, 1 t shirt, 1 light sweater, 1 pair jeans, swimsuit, light towel), BBQ/Fire starter, multitool, sometimes quilted lining from jacket or pants, and because I'm older, the (I kinda question mentioning this...but)...the nalgene pee bottle - you don't have to get dressed at night you know...

My sense is whether 2 weeks or 2 months, pretty much everything is needed. In the recent trip, weather permitted not needing the extra fleece jacket - also didn't need tubes or tools but...used the camp gear each night, stove, fuel, reading material, camera, etc. Had one laundry session.

Planning to stay in hostels or motel/hotel or pensions would significantly reduce load....however, camping can be cheap - accommodation costs for 2 weeks with camping gear were - free, free, $39 (motel), free, free, free, free $12 (state park with shower), free, free, free, $18 (National Forest site), free, home. MeThinks the tent's worth loading up the bike....

(Pics are from Alvord Desert Playa area, near Fields, in southern Oregon...)

Would be interested in hering any ideas on things I could do to reduce the kit....
Well, you could probably lose the tank panniers/water bags and the tank bag, and just use a camelbak (3 litre) for water and stash the bits and bobs in your other luggage/jacket pockets/camelbak stowage pocket?

Also, most people get by with just a single (front) tube, saves a bit more space in one of those panniers. You might also be able to condense the contents of your plastic 'bits and pieces' trays - how many fuses/bolts/connectors do you need to get you to a town/shop? A jetboil can combine the cooker/pans and fuel (a small cylinder lasts a long time), while CO2 cannisters can replace a tyre pump - this is all bulky stuff...

I managed to get my small (freestanding) two man tent (no need for the footprint), thermarest and sleeping bag into a 35 litre rollbag along with my jetboil, rather than the 90 litre North Face duffle you have (although your camping kit sounds a very nice set-up)...

This fall I'm heading back to the desert states, but will forgo the camping kit for a credit card and my GPS motel directory... I have a 31 litre Ortlieb bag for clothes, a 5 litre tool pack on the bike for tools and tubes, and a 3 litre camelback with 15 litre expanding stowage for maps, gloves and a spare fleece.

Who knows, next time I might take even less?!

xxx
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  #6  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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I like to carry my stuff as low as possible, this is for a year:
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  #7  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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Too Much ??

Jenny....thanks for the notes on reducing kit....I have been interested in how many people seem to carry a back pack...camelback or other....I did that for a while but found the extra weight reduced comfortable time on the seat...

Now I don't carry anything on 'me' except clothes with empty pockets except for passport, wallet, sunglasses....I feel lighter and less 'driven' into the seat....hence the extra pack space on the bike...

I could lose some weight I know, but in the meantime.....

I do agree with you on only one tube....except it always seems to be the rear that goes nd I've never been fully confident of fitting the larger front to the rear...also agree on the jet boil, smaller tent etc....but... don't want to buy yet more gear when the existing stuff seems to work OK....

in carrying 'bits and pieces', I've found many occasion when I haven't actually needed the stuff, but someone else on the road is short and I've been able to supply a fix...which adds to the shared experience....just yesterday in fact I stopped to help a cyclist who had a flat and no pump....I did....things worked out...

And, lastly, I do envy those of you who can still sleep comfortably on a thermarest....alas, after hitting 50 I just had to upgrade.....or resign myself to the motel/hostel thing....the eXped is the absolute best option I've found....air mat with down inside....

Always interesting hear others perspective on things.....Do enjoy your time in the southern desert country....check out the Alvord if you're in the vicinity....

Stephen
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  #8  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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Mat?

Ali...your pic seems to suggest you're OK with a rather 'thin' mat to lay on....or is that a secret 'blow up' ridin suit....???
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  #9  
Old 17 Sep 2008
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Hi Stephen - I agree with you about a backpack - I used a 30 litre pack last year for all my clothes, and like you say, it weighs you down after a while and can make you feel like a pack horse.

I have a Camelbak Blowfish now, and it really is excellent - nice and slender, but with 3 litres of water and a decent (expandable) carrying capacity for odds and ends - a fleece/jacket or maps, food etc. a great 'day pack'.

I also wear an Alpinestars 'Venture' enduro jacket most of time on the bike (in good weather at least!) - it is nice and lightweight with loads of little pockets for odds and sods such as passport/papers etc. like you say... plus has zip-off sleeves and a large stowage pocket in the back (primarily for the sleeves) which is great for maps and spare gloves etc.) I also take a small hi-quality Fuji pocket camera which lives in a Lowepro bag on my jacket belt or in a pocket.

Totally agree with you about the spares too - to paraphrase one of your more popular Presidents - ask not what your traveler can do for you, but what you can do for your (fellow) traveler... It's what makes life on the road so rewarding x

Personally I'd still try to get rid of the luggage on your tank/between your knees though, but agree that when you have good camping kit that works for you, it seems silly to change...

As for the Alvord, a return to Oregon is certainly one of my plans this year!

xxx
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  #10  
Old 18 Sep 2008
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Traveling light is an art, IMO. Unless you are French,

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 18:31.
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  #11  
Old 18 Sep 2008
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Oddly enough

I live in France, although I'm not French, but I know a few French bikers, I shall have to ask them the art of packing light.

Obviously the rides I've done so far could hardly be classed as adventures, apart from one small spot about 25 mins away from me I'm never out of mobile phone coverage and never more than a few miles from a town where I can probably get spares (except on a Sunday and Monday). And I'm only in one clilate zone (although Brittany can throw sun at you one minute and freezing winds and rain the next). But I'm very interested in the pack-light principle especially as I'm only on a 125 - admittedly quite a large one so there's space if not power.

So thanks to all of you who've posted the things you carry with you, it's fascinating to see the things I'd probably forget. Now I'm off to make a pile.
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Old 18 Sep 2008
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two up for a year, camping gear included.

two up for a year, camping gear included. and by the end of the trip, we could have fit half-a-dozen bottles of wine. with our keep-warm gear on, that is...

pack light, live better. cheers,
andy (and emily)
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Old 18 Sep 2008
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Spain tour, travelling light
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Old 29 Sep 2008
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Yeah. Everybody always says less is better. Theyre right. Too bad they are always wrong when you are actually packing
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  #15  
Old 29 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desert dweller View Post
two up for a year, camping gear included. and by the end of the trip, we could have fit half-a-dozen bottles of wine. with our keep-warm gear on, that is...

pack light, live better. cheers,
andy (and emily)
Packing light? I reckon traveling with an articulated truck..even for a year would hardly be concidered "light" ( though it has it's merits)
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