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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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Old 19 Nov 2007
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Why not a back-pack?

Hi all,
I'm a newbie on this site and pick up my new pride and joy (06 Yamaha TTR250) Wednesday.
After all the research and dredging all the available websites it was down to that or a Suzuki DRZ 250. Smaller machines have a peculiar appeal.
So my first question:
Given the popularity of small adventure style bikes and the availability of light weight clothing, tents, sleeping bags etc Why do people not use a back-pack to store all their gear?
Given the TTR is small I will be looking at a bumbag (tools etc) a small rear dry sack and a waterproof back-pack.
Given all that I still have to try and pack it all in...and yes I would like to be self sufficient and carry cooking gear.
Travelling small and light in Oz is a real option. Also intend to carry fishing gear (another passion of mine)
No trips planned as yet as I need to get the bike (and myself) prepared.
Oh yeah, the GPS is purchased and ready to be wired up, as is the auxiliary 12v power supply.

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Old 19 Nov 2007
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I travelled around Asia with a backpack strapped to the rear of the bike, it worked great but I was only carrying 20 litres and no Camping equipment.

Sounds like you will be carrying more, if the weight builds up you need to carry it as low as possible.

Pack everything and go for a few test rides, see how it feels. Hard luggage gives added security but you can always arrive at your destination and keep your backpack with you or dump it in the hotel then go off exploring. When you stop for food keep the bike in sight.
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Old 19 Nov 2007
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Hi there
I assume you mean a pack on your back....
I can think of several reasons backpacks aren't used often.
You are raising the center of gravity and making you and the bike more unstable.
You will be putting much more strain on your back muscles, and your arms.
If you fell off, the extra weight would add to your mass, and perhaps cause you more injury, and more damage to the equipment in the backpack.You say you would carry cooking equipment, I wouldn't fancy landing on my back on top of a stove.
Traveling in any hot weather would make your back sweaty, and cause chaffing and sores where the shoulder straps rubbed.
I guess few other travelers use backpacks for the same reasons.
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Old 19 Nov 2007
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cheap and light traveling

cheap and light traveling gear is exacty righy... less is more...
considering a max weight pack of 20Kg may 25Kg incl 9L. of water strapped to a parcel carrier on a 250cc to 650cc class Enduro bike is perfect. A Rucksack of 34L. to 45L. will do just fine.

I use one of this water tight £30 as 34L. army style rucksack (one main compartment with two added side pockets) "strapped flat" on the parcel carrier that is extended by one of this "Turatech parcel-carrier ally plates" on my KTM LC4, a bumbag for my personal stuff like camera and small tools, a 3L. Camelback on my Back and a 6L. MSR water sack straped some where else. The rucksack contains a "Shimano exage ax stc mini telescopic spinning rod 2.1m" incl a small box-4x5inch for all that fishing hooks, Basha, cooking gear, food like sugar, tea, oil and dry stuff is stored in "platypus" folding bottles, one bottle of all purpose liquid soap for all your needs like "washing up, bath/shower, helping tyres on to the wheel", and the best of all, it even fit a Hennessy-hammock that way there is no need for a tent or sleeping mat, no pegs or poles are needed, bugs and mossies can't get you either at night. The sleeping bag is strapped on top of the rucksack. That way it will give free movement riding off road with ease let you have all the movements you need like standing up on the pegs and drifting not even noticing the gear you carrying, and you need less fuel, being more air-dynamically compare to this big chunky ally coffins.
Tyre tools like long leaver and air pump are wrapped water tight in a peace of old rear tyre tube and cable tied to the rear frame.

Now the benefit of having a small pack is that "if" and that can happened easily, "if" you come of your bike or it just falling over some how, there would be no damage to your gear, no dent in your expensive pannier boxes any more and easy to pick up again. Specially riding in the heat and sand it will make a big difference being on a "small-foot-print" without getting exhausted instantly or need to rely on a helping hand. Nor do you need to alter any suspension setup just use the std. as you would ride as normal for a quick spin....
If you worried about security... just take every thing off the bike at ones and park your bike bare naked over night if you rest in a small hotel or hostel... the rucksack with 25Kg is easy to carry on your back if not riding like any other backpacker would run around, that way you travel light and easy. I would not even think about riding and having a big rucksack on my back, rather let my bike carrying the load just fixed by a few straps... but consider extending the parcel carrier a bit to prevent the rucksack from sliding and wiggling around.

I guess many people believe they have to carry more than they a actual need at the end.... and I mean "think about what you really NEED" forget your "toys" let the toys at home and reduce every thing to your essentials only and you find that this 20-25Kg rule for your pack is just right.
Well there is one exception to that rule.. "depending on your trip and where you want to go and how long"... a fishing rod is not needed in the desert but very handy in Scandinavia for getting some extra food supplies....

On the other hand... the "Outdoor-live-style-shops" make us believe that we need all this fancy crap, a special item for some special purpose and have to travel styled up to impress other travelers and pose with all that adventures gear.... wonder why so many travelers get robbed and hit by reality for exact that reason.... well... that way it keeps the economy flow of rich countries up and running I presume...

The trouble is that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.

Last edited by spooky; 19 Nov 2007 at 16:11.
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Old 19 Nov 2007
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Backpack will do fine, especially for Oz.

Bill's right, you do need more strength as you'll be supporting more weight, but overall I think control improves because the bike becomes more managable. For explanation of this opinion, consider that standing up on the pegs increases control, even though the CoG of the bike-rider system is now higher.

Depends mostly on what sort of riding you want to do, alloy panniers and packing everything on the bike favours a more long-distance, border-crossing, foreign city, less off-road approach. Carrying a backpack with most of your camping gear in it favours a more off-road, wilderness approach.

I met a man in Warburton who rode the CSR unsupported, on a TTR600. He was carrying all his camping gear and food on his back, a good 30 or 40 kg, and a bumbag tool roll. All he had strapped to the bike was fuel, water, a tent and his sleeping bag (fuel and water strapped low on the sides and the bulky, but light, tent and bag on top).
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Old 19 Nov 2007
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Years ago when first getting into travel I too thought carrying stuff in a backpack on my back might be handy. After trying it I soon discarded the idea as totally impractical and very uncomfortable. After a short while the constant pressure , pinching and chafing,bouncing around of the load get to be torture.Not to mention the irritation of sweat trapped under the rubbing clothes.Then the part about having to unload it every time you stop, securing it to the bike ..
Best to just tie the backpack to the bike in the first place. Or hoqw about packing all your less frequently used supplies in a waterproof bag or wrap and tieing the backpack on top of that so you can uitlize the various pockets and compartments for the items you need to access frquently. Just leave the tent out of all the packing so it can air out.
http://advrider.com/index.php?thread....207964/page-5 then scroll down to post #93
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Old 19 Nov 2007
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Thumbs up backpack on bike good, on back bad!

Hi Julian. I made the mistake of carrying a loaded backpack on my back for a long trip only once! It was a long pack so when I sat down, the top was higher than my head, and acted as a wind-sock. At the end of the day, my arms were about 15cm longer....

Truely, if you use a backpack (and plenty of people have) lay it down on the back of the bike either across or in line if it fits that way, to get the weight lower. It DOES need to be low. I have used the excellent Hallmark (now Ventura) pack frames on many of my bikes, and even then, how well you get the heavy stuff low makes a noticeable difference to the handling. If you ride very far off tarmac, you WILL be standing a lot on the footpegs. The extra 20-25kgs will tire you out, and reduce your ability to throw your body around to get over the really knarley stuff. The other advantage of having the pack strapped to the back is that you have something to lean back against.

Even with a pack, I would be looking out for a cheap set of second hand fabric throw-over panniers on Ebay. They work find and really do protect the bike in an "off" without taking your leg with them. I have three sets, picked up for bugger all over the years that I am always lending to new bike travelers.

But the main thing is that you get out there and do it. No matter how you plan it or pack it, someone has done it before the same way and succeeded.

Kind regards

Nigel in NZ
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with . -- 2200 BC Egyptian inscription
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Old 19 Nov 2007
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A backpack on the back of the bike is fine. I used it in the past too.
The disadvantage (in my opinion) of all soft luggage is that it can not easy be locked like alu paniers or even a plastic topcase. It is a safe idea that your stuff is not taken away to easy when you are in a restaurant or shop or sightseing a nice town.
If someone realy wants it, it is hard to stop them but I make it less easy so I hope they pick an easier victim.
(When you are chased by a tiger, you don't have to outrun the tiger, just the other guy)
Jan Krijtenburg

My bikes are a Honda GoldWing GL1200 and a Harley-Davidson FXD Dyna Super Glide

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Old 19 Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by jkrijt View Post
(When you are chased by a tiger, you don't have to outrun the tiger, just the other guy)
I like this one!


... and Nelly The Elephant packed the trunk and said goodbye to the circus...

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Old 19 Nov 2007
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Try it ...

I toured once from Sydney to Adelaide using a backpack on a 250 trail bike .. I've not repeated that test since.

Consider a fall onto the backpack .. you'll want the contants to be soft, not lumpy with hard bits like cooking gear, food, pens, boooks etc etc. Eitehr that or hard but flat .. I know TK uses a pelican case inside a back pack for his camera gear ..

---- The alternative is soft throw over panniers .. Andy Strapz have a good reputation.
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 20 Nov 2007
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To make it short...

....strapping the pack to your back is the most incovenient thing you can do.

4 years ago I went on a 2000 km touring to Mt Fuji (Japan). Tell ya, it (I ???) was hazardous!! Like others already said, you are too much "top^loaded", causing balance problems and much more. Strapping the backpack on the seat works fine, but again, for a couple of $$$ you can get appropriate packs to strap to your bike. To see what my "backpack-experience" looked like - why not check out this: Mt. Fuji Motorcycle Touring
Klaus D. Orth
A German in Japan
1992 Honda TA
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Old 20 Nov 2007
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Cheers Guys...

Well, i guess the other alternative is the following:
Sealine 40/50L dry bag strapped to the rear seat.
Waterproof Back-pack for valuables, camera, GPS, phone, wallet, papers etc. Makes sight seeing easier.
Tool Roll/Bumbag for tools etc. Tyre levers would be strapped to bike somewhere

Have been minimilist camping before and enjoy the freedom it brings.
Other Items are:
2 person 3 season tent 2kg with poles
Small Tarp
Sleeping mat
Palm sleeping bag
If it gets cold just wear more clohes to bed.
Cooking and eating gear is really basic and I would love to get some of that titanium gear but bloody expensive.
All I need now is some room for the fishing gear:
Travel Rod 3 piece
2500 Spinning reel
Small? selection of plastics, jig heads and lures.

Good thing about Oz and NZ is that you are never really to far from the madding crowd...mind you that brings its own issues and remote area camping/riding is what I like about all this best.

On some of my travels with work I have come across some magic spots that may as well be on Mars but are really not that far off the beaten track.


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Old 20 Nov 2007
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probably no need but

apart from all that is stated ,if you go down with a back back you loose the ability to roll and you will be face planted with that monster on your back , a def no, no safety wise
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Old 21 Nov 2007
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I{m currently using a backpack only to carry my computer. It sucks and i hate it! At less than 5kg. i only last half as long, my shoulders get really sore. I{m up to 800mg of Ibuprofin a day! I sugest loading all your stuff on the bike, not your back.
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Old 21 Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by ttrkiwi View Post
Hi all,
I'm a newbie on this site and pick up my new pride and joy (06 Yamaha TTR250) Wednesday.
After all the research and dredging all the available websites it was down to that or a Suzuki DRZ 250. Smaller machines have a peculiar appeal.
So my first question:
Given the popularity of small adventure style bikes and the availability of light weight clothing, tents, sleeping bags etc Why do people not use a back-pack to store all their gear?

I used it and had no problems...I put the heavier stuff in my saddlebags and the bulkier stuff in the backpack...strapped it down with crating straps BMW uses to tie down their bikes when shipped from factory...they're free at dealers and can hold down close to 250kgs each...guaranteed...I did it...not a big issue...keep the weight low and as close to center(between the wheels) as possible...


93 BMW K75s
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