Jul 12, 2015 at 12:59 am #1330668
It's been a long time since I got all the gear out and did the spread sheet exercise. I used the service available at LighterPack.com and had some fun with that. See http://lighterpack.com/r/dc69a
I listed my UL summer setup, using Arkel Dry Lites panniers and an OR Peak Bagger waterproof backpack on the rear rack and a smallish Novara handlebar bag. That gives me 58 liters of pack space, which will work just fine.
I don't like the typical bikepacking bag system using seat bag/frame/bag and handlebar roll. I like the stability, low center of gravity and space provided by panniers and a rear rack. I can add a small front rack and a waterproof bag for a bedroll if I need more space or want to go with a smaller bag on the top of the rear rack. I have a tough little 15 liter dry bag that fits perfectly there. I got the Arkel Dry Lites last week and need to load 'em up and get some photos posted here.
My bag selection is pointed at doing a hybrid bike/hike trip. I could use the Exped Summit 25 liter in place of the OR Peak Bagger. I would probably go with a pair of trekking poles on a hiking trip and they would replace the tent pole, still adding another 17 ounces.
My electronics section is an anchor and can certainly be tweaked. I could used the phone GPS function less and leave the
Tools add up too, but this is a mechanical beastie. I elected to go with the Leatherman Skeletool to get a good pair of pliers in the mix and it has a knife blade big enough to let me leave my usual 3.5" folding knife at home. It has interchangeable driver bits too. I have a Topeak folding multi-tool with 7 bits, but it works for me to just bubber band a few Allen keys with a couple tire levers to supplement the Leatherman. I about fell over when I threw that 7 ounce inner tube on the scale. OUCH!
Lighting includes the bike lights and a monster Petzl MYO XP for actual back roads night riding. It looks out of whack for a SUL hiking rig, but I think it makes sense for a bike. The headlamp can be used like a flashlight in camp too.
This is a summer list, especially on the sleep insulation side. A 32F mummy bag would add another pound. I could probably get by without the puffy vest and long johns for summer stuff. I like long johns under rain pants and both would supplement the light quilt.
If anyone has a breakdown on seat pack/frame pack/handlebar roll weights and volumes, I would love to see the comparison.Jul 12, 2015 at 8:40 am #2214125Nathan MeyersonBPL Member
Dang, those dry-lites are 18oz/pair? I had no idea they were so heavy.
There truly don't seem to be any ultralight panniers or bikepacking bags out. Nearly every framebag/pannier/handlebar bag I've seen in person has been way overbuilt and unneccessarily heavy.
Incredible with the over saturation of bikepacking gear makers that people aren't making truly ultralight bags. My own bags made from Xpac x21 and Cuben have held up great and I can't see a need for anything more robust.
About the list, it looks legit for a varied terrain, long distance bike/hike. What are your weather/distance/terrain considerations?
Are you hiking long distances in to camp or just doing day hikes?
Could you get away with a lighter/smaller volume pack?
Lighter weight spare tubes are available. A patch kit is always worth it.
You mention not liking traditional backpacking bags, but have you tried a frame bag that still leaves room for water bottles? I use a hybrid cuben version and it weight 3.1oz. More volume than a small handlebar bag.
I'm planning an Oregon coast tour in early August. Hoping to fit my whole kit in a pair of front panniers I made (sub 10oz). This will be a road tour, but the same kit is what I use for bikepacking (minus water filter and a pannier-pack conversion harness)Jul 12, 2015 at 10:49 am #2214158
Bike bags do take a beating, but no manufacturer that I have seen follows anything like the construction and durability of the better UL pack makers. Bike bags tend to have many widgets, pockets, etc— and the fabrics are much heavier. In the same vein, most touring gear lists are way heavy, much like traditional backpacking, and starting the same death spiral of heavier packs for heavier gear— the typical 4 panniers plus trunk and handlbar bag. What DO they putvin there??? Although I dont use the seat and frame bags of typical bikepackers, those compact bags elicit some very Spartan gear lists. If there's no room, it ain't going!
I expected less robust materials as I never put hands on the Dry Lites before buying them on eBay. They are 2 ounces over the advertised weight, but may that doesn't include the dowels used in the suspension? So they are tougher than I thought. The additional 2oz doesn't bother me.
Can I use a smaller, lighter pack? We're at 9oz/25 liters here, so the only significant change would be a waterproof Cuben stuff sack, or a silnylon one. The idea of using a pack is for hybrid trips. I own it too :)
I'm running 26×2.10 tires, so the tubes are huge. I haven't got into tube weights/durabily yet, but I doubt it would change more than a couple ounces.
There are all kinds of places on this list to shave weight: electronics, tools, sit pad, stainless water bottle, clothing, bivy, first aid kit, chemicals over filter, and so on.
Im used to some other tactics with hiking, like ONE bag, poncho rain gear, no tools/parts, much lighter headlamp and spares, so there were some "gear list shocks" on this one. The principles are the same: take only what you will use, seek the lightest alternatives, and multi-use, have a tightly coordinated clothing system. Compromise rules!
My packing tactic is to use the panniers for clothing, shelter, sleep gear, and whatever hardware I dont need right at hand, leaving food, water, kitchen and extra water in the top bag with the sleep pad lashed on somewhere. Glasses, phone, camera, sunscreen, maps and lighting go up front in the handlebar bag. I'm going to do some trial runs on packing soon.Jul 12, 2015 at 11:20 am #2214163Nathan MeyersonBPL Member
It seems ideal to have all your heaviest things as low as possible. I'm not a fan personally of having water on top of a rack. Especially with technical riding off road it tends to throw the rear end around. If you aren't intending to use water bottle cages, why not? And how much water are you gonna hump from filter stop to filter stop? There is a art to finding balance between carrying enough water, and stopping too frequently to filter. When biking, you can cover more ground faster, and water sources may appear more frequently.
Here is my road tour load out minus food and water. Frame bag is 1/3 full and panniers are about 1/2 full. Plenty of room left for lots of fresh produce.
For bikepacking, I switch rigs and use a 26" MTB with a rear rack and full framebag. Nearly the same packing list, with the addition of a water filter, an esbit stove/pot and straps to turn pannier into a backpack(all additions less than 10oz).
I am also of the mind that a rear rack and lightweight panniers are preferable to a seat bag and handle bar bag. I really don't like weight on my handlebars, and panniers will keep the center of gravity much lower. Plus the added benefit that my pannier converts to a backpack makes it a win/win. AND the utility of having a rack is great for hauling any extra things you might find in your travels..
I do use a frame bag though, and I love the things to death. Even for commuting and errands around town, I love my frame bags.Jul 12, 2015 at 12:09 pm #2214176
Agreed on weight distribution. I have just one cage and hate the idea of montingvthrm on the forks two liters well packed and tied down the the rack will be fine.
The weight density of the other stuff isn't that great and there isn't much of it. Items like tools, spare batteries, the *€£¥% TUBE can go on the very bottom. If we were talking about 35 pounds, it would be a different ball game.
Update: I see that Maxxis offers a "fly weight" tube in 26×2.10 size that is 3.4oz/95g. The compromise is the 0.45mm thick walls.
As it is, I double-checked the tube on the scale and noticed that it was a Schraeder vlave tube and I needed Presta. That saved a headache down a dusty trail somewhere! The XLC brand Presta tube is "just" 6.2oz :)
On tools, I found the Park Tool MT-1 that has the Allen key sizes I want and more in a 1oz package for $10.
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