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  1. #1
    imi
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    Outside-the-box lightweight

    Mostly curious and to learn another trick or two

    Any "different" ways of saving weight?

    I don't mean "tarp instead of tent", or "32 spokes instead of 36", rather novel, even unique things you pack (or don't) to save weight.

    I'll start: i replaced my towel with a Buff...

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You riding in the Buff?

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    No tent, hammock. Small stove, no fork. Less clothes. Buy beer at end of day, don't carry all day. Cold or wet won't make up for a lighter ride. I like to be somewhat comfortable, YRMV.

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    On Sunday I found a plastic utensil in the parking lot of a Whole Foods. It has a spoon on one end and a fork on the other. Think I will take that on my next trip.

    I try to pay with change first.

    I almost always carry a book with me. At the end of each night I tear out the pages I have read. Trey riding around Andalucía with a copy of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and you will understand how this can be a serious weight saver.

    I ditched the cotton towel years ago for a small PackTowl. Don't bother with deodorant.

    Definitely never carry adult beverages longer than absolutely necessary. If the closest liquor store in far from where I will be camping (In PA, you can only buy wine and liquor at state-run stores which are few and far between in Pennsyltucky) I will buy bourbon in a plastic bottle.

  5. #5
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    You riding in the Buff?
    Haha! Haven't heard that expression in donkey's years!

    Actually I found a new (for me) way of using a Buff when washing. I was freezing cold this winter in southern portugal and spain. You put the Buff on as a neckscarf, splash your face with water, then pull the Buff back up over your face. Voilá, dry face and no wet shirt... I almost think I should be awarded a Nobel prize for that, huh?

  6. #6
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    I took apart a multitool with a chainbreaker and just kept the chainbreaker. Smaller and lighter than the similar Parktool offerings, etc.

    I stow spare cables in my handlebars. Just pop out the bar ends and thread them in there looped a couple of times. They stay put and are there when I need them.

    Ditched the racks, full framebags are easier to ride with, have a better capacity/weight ratio, and are safer (no load shifting or rack failure).

    A dollar bill works as a boot for a slashed tire.

    Cork bartape protects my driveside chainstay instead of a heavy neoprene sleeve.

    Peanut Butter is high in calories and fits in a bottle cage. Soft bottles in framebags stay cold longer.

    Stickers make your bike look junkier, and protect the frame from scratches and scuffs.

    Shimano sells the pins with an extra installation peg attached so you can use a chainbreaker to replace pins if you don't have a quicklink, or if your quicklink breaks. The pins weigh less than a pea.

    Ditch the camp shoes. Ditch the camp chair. Ditch the clothesline. Ditch the groundsheet. Ditch the magnesium firestarter. Ditch the mini tripod. Ditch the bowl, cup, mug, pan, and plate. Ditch the stuff sacks. Ditch the spare anything, except tubes.

    Have your wheels trued before you leave and during your tour, or learn to true them yourself. Ditch the spare spokes.

    T-shirts are lighter than bike jerseys.

    3M Safety Glasses are lighter than sunglasses and protect from kicked up rocks on the road.
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  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    No idea of what ever a Buff is, Over there..


    Item: called a "Pack Towel" over here .. " Polyester/nylon microfiber blend Fabric absorbs 4 times its weight in water
    and continues to absorb even when wet; plus, it's easy to wring out the majority of absorbed water for quick drying"

  8. #8
    imi
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    Outside-the-box lightweight

    Mdlithy: Blinking fantastic! Thank You !
    You are a genius, Sir/Ma'm
    Got any more?

    Fietsbob: hah! We got our lines crossed there: this is a Buff:
    http://www.buffwear.com/buff-adult-headwear/original-buff
    "In the buff" is an expression for being nude, at least in London where I grew up. Is it in the usa as well?

    That was what I meant, a Buff is smaller and lighter than a micro towel and is multi purpose...
    Last edited by imi; 07-08-15 at 12:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    I took apart a multitool with a chainbreaker and just kept the chainbreaker. Smaller and lighter than the similar Parktool offerings, etc.
    Did the same years back. The chain breaker has a pedal wrench as well. Unfortunately, the 'breaker broke when I tried to install a new KMC chain on my bike build.

    I had read the chain has heavy-duty pins and found the 'breaker wasn't up to the task.

  10. #10
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    " Mdilthey" No bowl, cup plate? Using a stove? I'm a fan of coffee and oatmeal in the am.

  11. #11
    imi
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    Outside-the-box lightweight

    Mdlithey: Are you the one who mixes hot porridge with instant coffee in the pot and eats it with their fingers?

    No mug, no bowl, no cutlery...

    I'm going to try this tomorrow morning, and will report back!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    I almost always carry a book with me. At the end of each night I tear out the pages I have read. Trey riding around Andalucía with a copy of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and you will understand how this can be a serious weight saver..
    I love the idea of touring a couple of days behind you and finding a book strewn across the country.

    My books are on my phone, so that's my weight-saving tip. To maintain my phone, I then carry a charger, cable, and a battery. Probably heavier than most books.

    My headlight is a flashlight on a Twofish mount. So when I get to camp, I have a flashlight. The flashlight expands to become a lantern, so when I get into my tent, it becomes a lantern. But then most headlights can double as a flashlight, and a lantern isn't that necessary, so maybe not such a weight-saver.

    Last trip I used my frisbee for a plate. But then most folks don't feel the need to travel with a frisbee. Unhelpful.

    I have a rain poncho that can also serve as a tarp for my hammock. But then you can't leave the hammock up if you want to wear the poncho. So I also carry a tarp.

    So all my "weight saving" tips are really just excuses to carry more gear. I guess this is why I'm still filling two back-roller classics.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    I love the idea of touring a couple of days behind you and finding a book strewn across the country.
    Except that I often toss the pages into the campfire, although during my recent trip in the Black Hills I only made one fire, so most of "On the Road" that I read went in the dumpster.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Writer, adventurist, Nicholas Crane In preparation for the Journey to the Centre of the Earth , sawed off tooth brush handles ..
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Crane

  15. #15
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    A blanket instead of a sleeping bag. With a sleeping pad, the extra fabric under you is wasted material/weight. I have a Thermarest Tech Blanket for winter camping and a thinner, homemade blanket for summer use.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  16. #16
    imi
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    Outside-the-box lightweight

    Rob_E: Yes, a frisbee is a fantastic piece of gear: 175 grams: a plate and pot lid, you can sit on one on wet ground, or as a hat/umbrella... and is a great way to pick up girls "hey, you wanna play?"
    Last edited by imi; 07-08-15 at 02:46 PM.

  17. #17
    Garlic
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    If the main purpose of your trip is to ride a bicycle as much of the day as possible, it's easy (and very cheap) to go light. Just bring the few things that support the biking. My load includes a 1.5 pound Tarptent with no ground sheet, a six ounce pad, a quilt, a bandanna and a scrap of motel soap, an extra jersey and a rain jacket, and no stove--just a cup and spoon.

    If you'd rather be on a camping trip and just want to bicycle a few hours each day, then bring more stuff to make the camping nicer. If you're a bird watcher, frisbee freak, photographer, journalist/blogger, bring the gear. Pick the type of trip you want and pack for it.

  18. #18
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    I found it useful to weigh all your stuff independently, and list them heaviest to lightest. Then concentrate on how or what to loose weight at the top of your list. I like what you said about 36 vs 32 spokes, I mean really people; who worry about the extra weight of 8 spokes??? (can they really be serious?). It reminds me of reading about someone who drilled holes in their plastic toothbrush handle.

  19. #19
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    I had a thin wetsuit top for surfing that was lighter and packed smaller than all my jackets a while back. I would just put that thing on when it started raining if it started to get cold. I normally don't even bother with rain gear unless the temperatures are going to get really low.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    Mdlithy: Blinking fantastic! Thank You !
    You are a genius, Sir/Ma'm
    Got any more?
    Sir. There's a beard in my profile pic, but I do have a feminine side so there are also pretty pink flowers.

    Fietsbob knows what a buff is, he's just being funny. We have that expression in the states, too.

    Jeez, ok, I'll give it a try... Let's see...


    Some big weight savers for me were fleece mittens from ZPacks and a thin fleece half-zip top from Patagonia. I find, combined with rain mitts and a raincoat, those two items totaling less than 8oz together take me straight down into the low 30's temperature-wise. The fleece top is soft and fluffy, and I use it as a pillow every night. No extra pillow needed, plenty of emergency warmth, and both items keep working when wet. And so, so durable, it's fleece, it cannot die.

    If you're in an area with lots of bike shops, your emergency tube can be several sizes smaller than your tire size. It'll inflate to make up the difference and, while it won't last forever, it will last for a while until you can get a larger tube.

    A 32mm or smaller cyclocross race tire with a folding bead, high TPI and thin, supple sidewalls will roll up to the size of an apple. Makes a much more efficient spare tire in areas that warrant a spare tire than having a big fat Marathon. You can strap two rolled tires, stacked, in a Salsa Anything Cage. Just replace with a burly tire at the next bike shop.

    If your rack bolt keeps vibrating out, loop a piece of string around the thread right where it meets the bolt-head and soak it in superglue.

    A few zipties can replace the standard Ortlieb hardware for at least 600 miles without fail, in my experience.

    Dryer lint mixed with petroleum jelly is an amazing firestarter. Your wife/girlfriend won't notice the absence of either.

    Take a piece of dry birchbark and strip it with your fingers into very small strands. You can pack hundreds of small birchbark "hairs" in a film canister for firestarting.

    Pare down your first aid kit by thinking about the injuries you're likely to sustain. I got rid of all insect sting reliever because I can just deal with a bee-sting. I don't need more than a couple of small bandages because most small cuts and scrapes can just be left alone. Any large cut will need two things; wound closure strips and an ace bandage. Neosporin prevents infection. So, that's basically my whole kit- just large-wound stuff, neosporin, and painkillers. Maybe there's a couple of antihistamines too...

    A small pair of locking pliers like the Leatherman Charge can replace all of your individual crescent wrenches. Since they lock to the bolt-head, the size can vary and you can still put down as much torque as you would with a regular wrench (grip strength alone is not enough most of the time, so normal pliers won't work).

    Coat your tubes in baby powder (corn starch) before installing them to reduce the chance of a pinch flat.

    Cut down any excess straps and melt the ends with a lighter to prevent fraying to save a small amount of weight. Not much, but if you do this to ten straps you're looking at more ounces than a titanium pot.

    Reynolds Turkey-cooking "Oven Bags" are lighter than trash bags and more durable than regular zip-locks. They make perfect pannier liners.

    Baby wipes are excellent for touring, and for every other day out of the year. Toilet paper is barbaric by comparison.

    Spare spokes (I don't carry them, but some do) can be taped to the inside of a chainstay.

    Laminate a photocopy of your passport, driver's license, and social security card and slip it into your bike's seat tube, or better yet, top tube. It can be used to identify your bike in case a thief steals it and files off the serial number. It can also get you out of an international jam if you lose your passport.

    Body Wrappers Ripstop Pants are a fantastic wind and bug pant, weigh like 4 ounces, and they cost $20. I got a Size Large and it fits me great, 32/32. Great replacement to carrying long pants in the summer for bugs.

    Same vein, a windshirt makes a great bug shirt. Tight nylon weaves make it harder for them to suck your blood... muah ah ah.

    Sea to Summit drybags are not waterproof. They're rainproof, but I went river rafting and my Ultra-sil bag leaked like a sieve. Just a funny tip that popped into my head.

    Your local hardware store sells 3M ear plugs with a connecting wire that fit into an included carrying case the size of a lip balm, for light sleepers.

    Place your sleeping pad on top of grass, sand, or pine nettles for extra comfort. A foam pad can sit on top of flat Hemlock or Spruce branches for more warmth in winter and spring. Using good campsite selection makes just as much of a difference in comfort as getting a plus 1-inch pad. I carry a tiny X-small 3-4 length pad and nothing else, and spend an extra 5 minutes prepping the place I lay down in the first place.

    Heat a sewing needle with a lighter to kill bacteria before using it to lance a blister. Put a single hole in the blister, then drain it, apply neosporin, and bandage it. Don't rip the skin off, unless you want an infection.

    If your achilles tendon or knees hurt, make sure you do frequent stretches. Go to a local yoga class and politely ask the instructor after class for a few stretches useful for those specific areas, and do them at every rest stop. Prevention is way more effective than kinesio tape, braces, or powering through pain.

    Don't ride desperately for the next food/rest stop. Remind yourself to appreciate the empty stretches of highway for all of their positive qualities.

    This is what my UL bike looked like when I toured 1,500 miles in 2012. I carry more now... I need to learn from past Max.







    I'll try and think of more things I'm doing. Isn't there a tips and tricks thread around here somewhere...?
    Last edited by mdilthey; 07-08-15 at 07:39 PM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Oh, shoot! Forgot a great one. A tennis ball canister fits in a bottle cage and can be used to carry anything.
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  22. #22
    Clark W. Griswold
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    Best tip on the planet unless you are already a skinny lightweight, hit the gym, eat more kale (add to smoothies or soups) and get proper sleep. Your weight can be some of the most unneeded and most practical to get rid of.

    Ultralight sil-nylon drybags usually aren't submersible or heavily waterproofed. They are great as packliners or for rain but the heavier duty Big River drybags (or similar) will handle more abuse.

    Your best bet is to lay everything you are carrying out and that way you know what you are carrying and can take stuff out easily. If you pack like I do sometimes and just throw things in you will likely take more than you need. That being said it doesn't hurt to be comfortable. UL is fine for some but some people take it to extremes and may not really need to.

    Powdered peanut butter is way lighter than the normal jarred stuff and if you can find water you can mix it up easily. It doesn't have the extra oil (if you are trying to cut back on the fat) and tastes great. Dehydrating your own meals in a Excalibur (or other system though Excalibur is the top end one and does a better job) is a good way to go as well. You control what goes in and can easily put the food in whatever containers you like.
    Quote Originally Posted by jhess74 View Post
    just flip it over to fixed and forget about brakes. check out the documentary "premium rush" for more info.

  23. #23
    imi
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    Outside-the-box lightweight

    I couldn't bring mysef to make porridge mixed with instant coffee powder this morning... I will try to summon up the necessary courage tomorrow.

  24. #24
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    If I had to eat and drink all my food and liquids from a single cup/bowl while using a spork, I would find a more enjoyable way to spend vacations. For those of you that travel ultra light weight, I am glad your enjoy it, but I prefer carrying a bit more weight.


    20IMGP1142.jpg

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Really a Weight weenie, but want a (plastic) glass of wine? You can find screw cap single serving wine bottles,
    and card board Box packaging.

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