Topic

Getting ready for summer bike camping


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Off Piste Bikepacking & Bicycle Touring Getting ready for summer bike camping

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3396397
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I’ve been working on the bike lately. See the details at https://dalesjournal.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/getting-ready-for-summer-handlebars-racks-and-bags/

     

    Update: after getting out for a long ride this weekend, I found the Boomerang bars pitched me too far forward and lost my upright neck-comfortable stance. I returned to the previous setup with Origin8 Citi Classic bars that are “North Road” style with much more sweep and upright position. I’ve looked at dozens of bars and tried three or four. I found the Modolo Dumbo 3D bars that show promise, but they are expensive and must be ordered from Europe at about $85US plus shipping. The goal is an upright position and multiple hand positions for long rides.

    #3396405
    rubmybelly!
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    Looking good Dale! Road trips or backcountry?

    #3396408
    John S.
    BPL Member

    @jshann

    Nice rig Dale! How do you like the sigma computer? I really want a Bike Friday pocket llama.

    #3396412
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Doug, we’ve been doing a lot of rail trails and I plan to do some camping too. The Iron Horse Trail in Washington is one long state park and there are campsites along the way. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Horse_State_Park I can’t emphasize enough what a fantastic resource the rail trails are for biking, walking and equestrians.

    Another great local resource is island biking and camping in the San Juans, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. I really want to get some hybrid train/bus/ferry/bike/hike trips together.

     

    Thanks, John . The Sigma BC 5.12 is simple and works well. I did a search on “best bike computer” or the like and that one came up on several lists. I go it on eBay in a bundle with coin cell headlamp and tail light for less than the computer was selling for alone. I tried a wireless model, but my headlight caused interference, especially in blink mode. I could turn the headlight on and go 88 MPH!

    #3396421
    rubmybelly!
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    That looks like a pretty cool trail, thanks Dale.

    #3396441
    John S.
    BPL Member

    @jshann

    I rode the Katy Trail (another rails to trail) last June in the organized Missouri State Parks ride. It was hot but neat to see it. This next October I am thinking about riding it self supported. I’ll be reading over your gear list for bikepacking. You seem to get the best deals at Goodwill..lol.

    #3396443
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    The only place my gear list differs between hiking and biking is luggage, a few tools, and specialized clothing like helmet and padded shorts. All my UL hiking gear transfers readily to bikepacking.

    I see bike trekkers with four panniers, trunk bag, and handlebar bag and big ones at that, or all that and a trailer tio. Of course it is the equivalent of the hiker with a huge pack, but what on Earth are they hauling in all those bags? I see regular commuters with 4 panniers and that is a real mystery.

    On the other hand,  many bikepackers are as Spartan as the best SUL hikers. Bivy-only shelters seem to be very popular.

     

    #3396458
    IVO K
    BPL Member

    @joylesshusband

    Locale: PA lately

    Why would a bicycle tourer want their luggage to offer the same volume capacity as their backpack?

    When hiking, you may carry about 20+ liters of food, while touring (on roads of any sort) demands no more than 3 liters of food carried on a daily basis since you can replenish your food supplies every day.

    I have some experience in both backpacking and bicycle touring; the two bike luggage systems I use (a “light” and a “heavy” one) provide respectively 27 L and 57 L to cover both a short extended weekend type of trip and a longer touring trip.

    #3396469
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Some travel with a change of clothes and a credit card.

    My aim is to be as self supporting as I am while hiking and do hybrid bike and hike trips. There are hundreds of miles of forest service roads in Washington that could offer some great adventures. I’ve done some island camping trips and needed about the volume I have planned. I find that a bunch of small bags aren’t as efficient as a big one— the lumpy stuff takes over.

    There is a blog from a couple traveling through the Andes of fat bikes with typical frame/handlebar/seat bags. They have backcountry touring down to a fine art. They are some of the toughest travelers I have read about, pedaling 5000 meter passes on nearly non-existent roads and cattle tracks.

    See https://fatcycling.wordpress.com

    #3396633
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I just got a great blog update on the eastern portion of the Iron Horse Trail on the east side of the Columbia River that I didn’t know existed: https://2wheeltrails.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/iron-horse-east/

    The author has done an enormous amount of winter fat bike trekking in Washington Cascades with epic loops in the snow covered trails and roads. He’s tougher than me!

    #3398907
    Will Elliott
    BPL Member

    @elliott-will

    Locale: Juneau, AK

    Looks good. Why not electrical tape some Anything Cages to your fork and get the contents of those stuff sacks lower? I bought two of the Blackburn versions on eBay for $25 and am very pleased with them.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=salsa+anything+cage

    #3398910
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I can’t stand cages on the forks and tape is a terrible way to go. I think riding singletrack with stuff sticking out from your steering is foolish. Hook a cage on a rock or branch and you’ll be kissing dirt.

    The contents of the stuff sacks are some of the lighter items for volume, so it’s really not a big deal. I’m not riding single track, so there isn’t much tricky handling to do.

    If I wanted to get the weight lower, another pair of Arkel Dry Lites on the front would take of that. Those dry bags are 6oz each and out of harm’s way.

    The whole bikepacking bag trend is a little silly IMHO. If you have a full suspension and ride singletrack, the big cantilevered seat bags mack sense, but they are just fashion on a hard tail bike. Even the top plate on a rack is lower and capable of carrying far more weight with greater security and stability. If not riding singletrack the only case I can make against panniers is having them smack you in the calf when pushing the bike, “hike-a-bike” style.

    Likewise, handlebar bags are way up in the way, snarled in the control cables and capacity isn’t stellar. My front bag is aimed at sleeping bag and small inflatable pad. I do use that front rack for urban errand cargo too. The real negative is weight, but both racks equal the suspension fork I removed.

    But putting all that stuff on the front fork is dangerous and cumbersome. Off road vehicle racers do everything that can do eliminate unsprung weight and stowing gear on the lower part of a suspension for is really counter intuitive to those principles of physics. Why bikepackers would go to all the trouble to keep the rear wheel clear and then jury rig crap on the front fork is beyond me.

    I’m really sorry, but taping gear on a bike is really a farmer’s bailing wire fix. P-clamps, yeah; zip ties, okay for light stuff. But geez, electrical tape? I can just see it wobbling around and dumping on the trail or swiveling around and ending up in my spokes or brake rotor. Noooooooo. Even braze-ons are problematic on light frame tubing. That’s why Surly and others are going for three bolts over two, so the weight doesn’t rip the braze-ons right out of the frame.

    //exit rant mode.

     

     

    #3406862
    Nick Smolinske
    BPL Member

    @smo

    Locale: Rogue Panda Designs

    I see regular commuters with 4 panniers and that is a real mystery.

    I don’t find that mysterious at all – what do you do when you stop by the grocery store on your way home and your favorite brand of ice cream is on sale?

    #3408513
    Will Elliott
    BPL Member

    @elliott-will

    Locale: Juneau, AK

    Hi Dale,

    I’m sorry that your experiences camping and riding singletrack with a bikepacking setup have been disappointing. I don’t think one is better than the other; they’re just for very different uses. In the event that someone is reading this thread and torn between the two, here are some thoughts:

    I can’t stand cages on the forks and tape is a terrible way to go. I think riding singletrack with stuff sticking out from your steering is foolish. Hook a cage on a rock or branch and you’ll be kissing dirt.

    Tape is rad. It’s light and stays put. My cages are up pretty high. I would worry more about pedal strike from a low bottom bracket. I don’t notice them taking up more space than front panniers.

    The contents of the stuff sacks are some of the lighter items for volume, so it’s really not a big deal. I’m not riding single track, so there isn’t much tricky handling to do.

    If I wanted to get the weight lower, another pair of Arkel Dry Lites on the front would take of that. Those dry bags are 6oz each and out of harm’s way.

    Nice! Those sound great.

    The whole bikepacking bag trend is a little silly IMHO. If you have a full suspension and ride singletrack, the big cantilevered seat bags mack sense, but they are just fashion on a hard tail bike.

    See below.

    Even the top plate on a rack is lower and capable of carrying far more weight with greater security and stability. If not riding singletrack the only case I can make against panniers is having them smack you in the calf when pushing the bike, “hike-a-bike” style.

    Yes. This is why they exist. Also, it’s hard for me to ride single track with more weight than a bikepacking setup can accommodate.

    Likewise, handlebar bags are way up in the way, snarled in the control cables and capacity isn’t stellar.

    I haven’t experienced these problems on Jones bars or regular flat bars. I don’t need to carry a lot there.

    My front bag is aimed at sleeping bag and small inflatable pad. I do use that front rack for urban errand cargo too. The real negative is weight, but both racks equal the suspension fork I removed.

    I carry a sleeping bag and pad in my handlebar bag too. They make for a light load.

    But putting all that stuff on the front fork is dangerous and cumbersome. Off road vehicle racers do everything that can do eliminate unsprung weight and stowing gear on the lower part of a suspension for is really counter intuitive to those principles of physics.

    This is true! However, I’m bikepacking, and I have a rigid fork, so I haven’t had any issues.

    Why bikepackers would go to all the trouble to keep the rear wheel clear and then jury rig crap on the front fork is beyond me.

    The back is where you stand when pushing the bike. Perhaps there are people out there who bought into the style to look cool and wouldn’t mind pushing with rear panniers, or don’t have to push their bikes. They would probably be better off with panniers.

    I’m really sorry, but taping gear on a bike is really a farmer’s bailing wire fix.

    Bailing wire is cheap and awesome. That would work great too.

    P-clamps, yeah; zip ties, okay for light stuff. But geez, electrical tape? I can just see it wobbling around and dumping on the trail or swiveling around and ending up in my spokes or brake rotor. Noooooooo.

    I have not seen this. However, riders could get the tail end of the straps on their handlebar bags caught if they were careless.

    Even braze-ons are problematic on light frame tubing. That’s why Surly and others are going for three bolts over two, so the weight doesn’t rip the braze-ons right out of the frame.

    I carry puffy clothing and rain gear on the fork legs in rolltop stuff sacks. Heavy stuff goes in the framebag or under the downtime. I haven’t had any issues. I have buckled one steel frame at the end of the butting in the downtube, and broken a seatpost, so it’s not from a lack of trying.

    //exit rant mode.

    I agree that, just like an external frame pack carries heavy stuff well, a rack and panniers carry things well and conveniently— in almost all cases more rigidly and conveniently than bikepacking bags. Many of the objections proposed here, however, pertain to the suitability of bikepacking gear for carrying what sounds like heavy loads (e.g., ripping right out of the frame, above). I just don’t carry that much.

    I gave away my panniers because they were in the way for pushing my bike and the whole setup was heavy. Hopefully if someone is deciding between the two, threads like this one will help him or her decide which benefits are worth the costs.

     

    #3408775
    Matt Thyer
    BPL Member

    @feetforbrains

    Locale: Pacific North West

    “I see bike trekkers with four panniers, trunk bag, and handlebar bag and big ones at that, or all that and a trailer tio. Of course it is the equivalent of the hiker with a huge pack, but what on Earth are they hauling in all those bags?”

    Could be they are living off their bike. Having ridden extensively with bike packing and traditional touring gear I know that the former requires more frequent resupply and denies some aspects of self sufficient travel.

    #3408842
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    “Could be they are living off their bike.”

    I met one fellow in the San Juan Islands who was doing exactly that. He had four panniers, handlebar bag, a load on the rear rack top and a BOB trailer as well. But my thought is that an efficient touring kit shouldn’t require any more than a through hiking kit, except for the few tools and spares for the bike. Anyone touring in civilized areas has access to resources, so clothing and equipment can be replaced at whim. Food is easier than any through hiker would experience. To my estimation, a fancy setup might have a solar panel, a tablet computer, DSLR camera and perhaps a double layer tent, but I can’t see that the rest should be any different than a good UL hiking kit.

    On the flip side, I have been studying the gear lists of folk using the newer bikepacking luggage of handlebar roll, frame bag, seat pack and cargo cages, which usually comes to about 38 liters. Looking at those gear lists, they are typically weak on shelter and insulation. Most are “height of summer” weekend lists and wouldn’t hold muster for a a typical UL 3 season hiking list or support a through hiker.

    #3408866
    David T
    BPL Member

    @davetee

    I was going to respond to Dale, but I think Will answered it all.

    No need to say one style is better than another. I’ve got a rear rack and two sizes of panniers for my Ogre. I also have full Revelate Designs bag setup. If I’m in Death Valley and need 20L of water, I am forced to use the rack and panniers. Other times I remove the rack and use whatever bags I need to do what I want. (Water bottles on the forks and under the downtube are awesome!) Allows you to efficiently use the whole frame center with a frame bag. Or put the Tangle Bag and Viscacha on the road bike. Or whatever. Lots of ways to get it done. I do like a minimal front rack (e.g. Surly 8-Pack) on the front, which allows a drybag/tent/etc to be lashed to it, rather than up in the bars with all the cables.

    I can speak from experience that hike-a-biking for hours with panniers is less than ideal! And having LOTS of weight all in the back in panniers sure makes the bike flex and feel weird; much better in a frame bag in the middle of the bike.

    Also, Jones Loop bars rule; even contempling the Gnarwhal as a minimal aerobar if i ever do the GMDBR.

    #3408907
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    David, your hybrid approach makes sense. I totally agree that panniers can be in the way when pushing. That is why I stayed with the.Arkel Dry Lites with their low volume. If you have a rack, a 20 liter dry bag will fit on top, leaving the sides free and as much volume as most seat packs— and it won’t hit your tire.

    I’m liking that Surly 8-Pack rack a.lot.

    #3472017
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    That’s a nice rig Dale. Well thought out. I didn’t realize you were of the “cycling persuasion”. ;o) Your fenders remind me of my narrower German plastic fenders. They are clear plastic laminated over aluminum. I’ll be using narrower, road touring wheels/tires.

    I’m getting my old Cannondale touring bike ready for a trip this summer. I have old Cannondale rear panniers and am looking for some front panniers to put on my front Blackburn racks.

    A roll-top dry bag held on with bungies on top of the rear rack will hold my sleeping bag and down vest.  Also I’ll have to buy a small handlebar bag.

    With my UL backpacking gear I’ll be good to go. If I do 50 miles a day I’ll be surprised. I’m going around Lake Tahoe first then into California.

     

    #3472041
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Of course I’ve been fiddling with my set this winter. The Arkel Dry Lites are gone, replaced by some Lone Peak Sundance panniers which are still fairly small. I’m trying to stick with the panniers and a 20L Alpkit dry bag on top of the rack.

    With UL hiking gear, I really don’t need a lot more space than that. I picked up an Avenir handlebar bag at the Mountaineers’ Gear Grab and that is rather handy, but the urge to tinker is strong and I ordered a Topeak Fixer 3 handlebar bag bracket and I’m going to attempt mating that with a large dry box for a hard sided waterproof handlebar pack— think basket with a lid. I’ll post photos if I can pull it off.

    I still have the option of using the front rack, but I don’t think I’ll need it. I’m not doing long unsupported treks and almost any long rail trail in Washington passes through towns long the way, so I don’t need more than a couple days food supply.

    I hope to go as far as I can on the Iron Horse Trail and put together as many “hybrid” trips as I can. Hybrid, as in bike, hike, bus, ferry, and maybe a train too.

    In the mean time, I lost 20 pounds since January, I did a bearing repack on the rear axle, and replaced the pedals with MKS Lambda’s. Judging by our ride last Sunday, something increased my cruising speed 2-3mph :)

     

    #3472072
    John S.
    BPL Member

    @jshann

    Dale, did the Dry-Lites prove not durable?

    #3472079
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I didn’t like the Dry Lites attachment system at the top of the rack. It uses a system of Velcro straps that crosses the top deck and hooks both bags together. It interferes with using a trunk bag or lashing other items on top. It’s a rather clumsy arrangement.

    The bags are well made and durability really wasn’t an issue for me. If you are used to typical UL packs, they look more rugged. There is the “all dry storage quandary” and what to do with mixed loads of wet and dry gear. Using more conventional panniers I can use turkey roaster bags as liners as well as the Lone Peak rain covers. I can can also use a single Lone Peak bag where the Dry Lites are an all or none mounting proposition.

     

    Finally, I bought the pair of Lone Peaks super cheap and decided the sell the Dry Lites rather than attempt to adapt the mounting system and reduce the resale value.

     

    The Lone Peak bags use locking plastic hooks at the top and and bungee-hook at the bottom. My rack has upper and lower top rails, giving me all kinds of top deck options.  The bags weigh 18oz each with a rain cover.

    As with hiking, it’s really a matter of trimming things to a minimum as well as keeping the gear light. You see bike touring setups that are the exact equivalent of the massive overloaded backpack. If you understand UL hiking principles and have the gear already, switching to low volume light bike touring is easy. There’s no need for the typical 6 bag pannier/handlebar/trunk bag setup.

     

     

     

     

     

    #3472614
    Andrea C
    BPL Member

    @andreagattonero

    This year I’ll be cutting the bulk and weight by almost half of it.
    Not that I would carry loads before, having a total weight of bike+gear of 18kg maximum (the road single-speed was actually 15kg with all the gear and food), the previous Mtb setup would rely on 15lt front bag, 6lt frame bag and 12-15lt saddle pack. Say a total of around 35lt for gear and food, being self-sufficient for 3 days (let alone water resupply).

    I’ve been playing a bit, and I reckon I can easily do with a 5-6lt front bag (a DIY made with VX21 and is 150gr) plus a 10lt saddle pack (Alpkit, with DIY cradle for stability, goes for 170gr) and I should make a lightweight frame bag for the food, planning to have 5-6lt and around 100gr weight.
    I don’t see the point of having lots of bags and things strapped here and there: lots of redundancy in bags and straps, plus it’s not neat. It prefer to concentrate what I carry in less bags, this also gives the advantage of packing things easier or taking things away when staying in the tent overnight or going to see some place.

    The kit has been skimmed down to the minimum I would take, still having a proper tent (actually overkill for the summer, I could make an inner that is mesh only) and all the tolietries, cooking kit, etc.

    it’s 3050gr.

    This is the front bag I’ve made, nothing new but it’s minimal and robust, at 150gr is ok and better than a 95g one I’ve made with Silnylon that was too fragile.

    #3473749
    Will Elliott
    BPL Member

    @elliott-will

    Locale: Juneau, AK

    Awesome— Let’s see this DIY saddle holster!

    #3485931
    Andrea C
    BPL Member

    @andreagattonero

    Still on MK1, but already works well.
    Need to find better zipties, those are re-usable ones but still fiddly to open (though there isn’t frequent need to do so)

    The cradle stays above the saddle rails, so it holds the weight in a favourable way, the zipties are only to prevent it from moving

    I found it to not interfere with the tights

    There you go.
    Only one strap, yet very stable and does wobble very little in real use. The “tail-wag” is minimal, the ease of fitting/releasing the bag is exceptional.

     

    The combo is about 175gr which is not bad for a 10-112lt capacity that is also very stable.
    Of course, there are limitations on durability as the fabric is only 210D, but it’s ok for short trips. I may add some patches where the bag is most stressed.

    Also, working on a cradle with sewn-in buckles, got some ITW that are really nice but require precise drilling of the cradle.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Loading...