UL bike touring/bikepacking
Oct 20, 2019 at 12:09 am #3614735HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Met a few bike tourers and bike packers, most with both front and rear tires carrying some gear. Today however, met a couple bike tourers with minimalistic set ups (basically rear panniers and a tent) with nothing on the front/handlebars save a small electronics mount.
Their idea is doubling the mileage that other long distance bike riders do typically; before elaborating, some others derailed the convo (including one distance rider who loaded a folding bike … ).
What are some ideas for a minimal bike touring or bikepacking set up?Oct 20, 2019 at 1:22 am #3614757HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Found only 1 blog post from 2014 outlining the basic idea behind a 2 pannier system ..
“Two panniers mean that you are forced to pack what is essential. That means clothes for on and off the bike, toiletries, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and some food. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Anything similar, preferably more a list with bike needs as well?Oct 23, 2019 at 3:13 pm #3615351Barbara TardiffBPL Member
@betardiffLocale: Vermont and California
I was a weight weenie cyclist long before I was an ultralight backpacker. I also like to keep a narrow profile on the bike for maneuverability and don’t like panniers for that reason. Plus I have a small bike, which adds to the challenge.
After a little experimentation I think I have dialed in an ultralight backpacking set-up–sleeping bag in an under seat bag, tent in a handlebar bag, sleeping pad, camp clothes, and other camp items like toiletries and battery chargers in small frame bag (allowing access to two water bottles in cages), stove and cooking stuff in a small bag that fits on top of the handle bar bag (also where I can carry an iPad). In the cockpit, I have a bento boxes in the front with snacks, a “jerrycan” in the back with repair supplies and miscellaneous, and a feedbag that I usually use for extra cycling layers–e.g. jacket, arm warmers, cap. Most of the bags are Revelate Designs. I was going to attach an image of my bike (before getting on ferry to ride and camp on Angel Island) however the file exceed the I MB limit–let me know if you would like to see a picture and I will email it off line.
BarbaraOct 24, 2019 at 11:31 pm #3615585STEPHEN SBPL Member
A deep dive into https://bikepacking.com/ will give you a lot of ideas.Oct 25, 2019 at 8:27 pm #3615722
Bicyclists are often more concerned about the volume than the weight and for good reason. Not only is their volume limited, but additional bulk means additional wind resistance. That might seem to push them towards down and I can certainly agree with down for a quilt, but not for clothing – it’s too important to wear clothing that dries as you wear it, whether it got wet from rain or sweat. Working in the backpacking store, the bicycle tourers always wanted the tents with the shortest pole sections to be able to fit them in their panniers.Oct 25, 2019 at 8:38 pm #3615729
Considering how much even a 10-mph headwind sucks (because that’s a 10 mph wind + 10 mph cycling speed = 20 mph of wind resistance), how about aerodynamic panniers? In bicycle racing, you can’t add accessories only for their aerodynamic effect, but touring isn’t racing. I’m imagining semi-hard-sided plastic panniers instead of nylon ones. They’d be completely watertight and could be vastly less drag – I’d estimate a Cd of 0.3 would be doable versus rectangular nylon bags with flaps and zippers must have Cd’s near 1.
I’m thinking of something like a kitty-litter pannier, but tear-drop in cross-section. Those empty kitty-litter containers are (well, the first one I grabbed out of my stash is) 11 ounces, 300 grams, and has a usable volume of 7″ x 11″ x 11″ = 3.7 gallons = 14 liters (for free). Or, for a pair:
28 liters, 22 ounces and still free.
A quick check of REI’s offerings finds (all specs for the pair):
22 liters, 33 ounces, $90;
30 liters, 59 ounces, $220;
40 liters, 67 ounces, $190;
42 liters, 78 ounces, $250;
So even if you doubled the weight of the original kitty-liter jug, it would compare favorably to commercial offerings. With a shroud added in front and fairings added behind (also from thin HPDE so it would be heat-welded and/or pop-riveted together) it could have a shape something like this (original container in blue, fairings in black):
which would also increase the useable volume by 50%.Oct 25, 2019 at 8:49 pm #3615734
Here’s a DIY article on kitty-litter / bucket panniers, but starting with less aerodynamic (and heavier) containers than I’d use: https://www.rei.com/blog/cycle/diy-make-your-own-bucket-bike-panniers
Although those buckets are larger volume and have ready-made easy access.
I was thinking of basing it on this kind of container:
which is lighter and more aerodynamic to start with. Cutting the bottom off of one could form a nested top for another and provide easy access to the contents.
Edited to add, in case it’s not obvious: the kitty litter containers are free if you dumpster-dive at the recycling station. I bring a broom stick with a utility hook screwed into it (although a coat hanger works, too) to snag the nicest ones without actually diving into the dumpster.Oct 27, 2019 at 9:38 am #3616016Will ElliottBPL Member
@elliott-willLocale: Juneau, AK
After years of racks, panniers, milk crate, bungies, 5 gal. bucket, etc etc, I now just use a revelate setup and am much happier. It carries skis. It goes through brush and across rivers. You can push your bike easier through snow and boulder fields, stairs, whatever. But, you start to approach everything in terms of narrow volume, to fit into the narrow bags. Like a wide shallow pot vs a tall narrow one. And, it’s more time consuming to unpack. I went caribou hunting last month on my bike and it was a pain to be frequently packing and unpacking each time I left the bike and hiked to look around. The bikepacking.com site is great, but they are bikers first and aren’t as wilderness oriented or evidence based as backpackinglight, in some cases. Have fun!Oct 27, 2019 at 4:54 pm #3616048Bob ShuffBPL Member
<p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m intrigued by the saddlebag Carridice style bags. PathLessPedaled just did a video comparing one to a roll bag on the front. The dry bag seat post might make more sense pushing the bike, but I think these bags with a flap opening are nice for the front.</p>Oct 27, 2019 at 5:25 pm #3616059Bob KernerBPL Member
Another vote for Bikepacking.com as a treasure trove of information. Some makers (Revelate comes to mind) now make mini-panniers. The advantage they offer is that they don’t protrude so far out from the frame and, because they are more compact, you won’t feel compelled to overpack. And they weigh a lot less than strapping litter containers to your bike!
One school of thought was that racks represent failure points if they crack/break in a remote area you’re screwed for attaching the panniers. Enter what have now become known as bike packing bags that attach directly to the frame and….bam…a new industry. I’ve had racks on various bikes for decades and, although I don’t ride abroad in ultra-harsh environments, I’ve never had a rack break. So some of this is urban legend and marketing hype. The good news is that you can try both and see what works. For overnighters, most can get by with a seat bag and either a frame bag or handlebar roll. If I were going for multiple days and needed to carry a lot of food, then a rack and panniers might be more attractive.
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