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  1. #1
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    mind helping me pick out some gear?

    well, let me first let you guys know what my touring plans are so that you know what i want out of my gear. i plan on taking hopefully a full year to tour through europe starting in the summer (amount of time depends on the amount of money i have by then...). anyway, i planning on staying in the southern, warmer regions over the winter so i don't really have to deal with snow. otherwise i'm just gonna pretty much go wherever my heart takes me.

    okay, first off looking at panniers, I've decided on either the arkel or the ortliebs. The ortliebs look great to me because they're waterproof, but that's about the only reasoning i've got. so, can anyone convince me more solidly in either direction? next, where's the best/cheapest online place to buy these guys?

    next, i need to get a tent and sleeping bag. i have absolutely no idea what i'm doing in this regard. i've never bought either before and i have absolutely no idea what's really good and what's not. i'm just gonna be solo touring, so i don't need to worry about more than myself.

    stove for cooking? what do you guys use? again, i really have no experience in this department. all my previous camping trips have involved canoeing, and space isn't quite the same concern there.

  2. #2
    Knox Gardner
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    I'll let everyone else give you some gear tips, I've got pretty much lower end REI stuff that's held up fine and I pack to0 much as it is...

    I will give you my two cents on a stove: GET THIS IN EUROPE. I like the canister stoves for ease of use. I have an MSR Pocket Rocket. I like it. However, it appears that in Western Europe anyhow (where I spent my time), there are very popular canisters available most everywhere and at the camping grounds called Blu gaz. I had my MSR canister stove becuase an Austrian friend said the canisters were everywhere, but he had no idea what he was talking about. I could find them, but only in big cities with rock climbing or specialty stores. It was a real pain.

    You might very well get away from the stove anyhow or at least minimize your cooking gear as it is. Even on my budget and camping most days (70+ camping nights), I mainly ate picnic foods and sandwiches...Ah! for French picnic food!!! I used my stove to boil water for coffee, that is pretty much it. And that was Western Europe. I would suspect that in Eastern Europe, I'd stop eating picnic foods and try to actually eat in more restaurants. I just like trying all the food.

    Good luck!

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

  3. #3
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    I would recommend against using canister stoves anywhere really. As the above poster stated it is hard to find the canisters. Instead try a white gas stove or a homemade alcohol stove (plans are here (or search google): http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/index.html). For sleeping bag and tent I've had good success with REI's stuff, its generally well made and inexpensive compared to other fancy brands.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by knoxg
    I'll let everyone else give you some gear tips, I've got pretty much lower end REI stuff that's held up fine and I pack to0 much as it is...

    I will give you my two cents on a stove: GET THIS IN EUROPE. I like the canister stoves for ease of use. I have an MSR Pocket Rocket. I like it. However, it appears that in Western Europe anyhow (where I spent my time), there are very popular canisters available most everywhere and at the camping grounds called Blu gaz. I had my MSR canister stove becuase an Austrian friend said the canisters were everywhere, but he had no idea what he was talking about. I could find them, but only in big cities with rock climbing or specialty stores. It was a real pain.

    You might very well get away from the stove anyhow or at least minimize your cooking gear as it is. Even on my budget and camping most days (70+ camping nights), I mainly ate picnic foods and sandwiches...Ah! for French picnic food!!! I used my stove to boil water for coffee, that is pretty much it. And that was Western Europe. I would suspect that in Eastern Europe, I'd stop eating picnic foods and try to actually eat in more restaurants. I just like trying all the food.

    Good luck!

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

    hmm, i never even thought about going stoveless. i don't drink coffee... that sounds pretty fantastic. about how much would you imagine you spent per day on food doing that?

  5. #5
    Knox Gardner
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    Moving forward, I'll probably go with a different stove. I also have an MSR whisperlite but honestly, I am kind of stupid when buying white gas. I mean, it seems end up with more fuel than you need for a fuel bottle and then you also have to carry a half empty can of fuel. Which is why I like canisters. However, even in Nova Scotia these canisters were a real pain to find. I'm checking out dbuzi123 links, becuase something as simple as fuel is a real pain. I will definitely not take a canister stove out of the country again.

    I think I have average 30-40$ a day while touring. I almost always stay in an "official camping". In Europe the majority of the campings have a decent canteen. It is a little crazy and unexpected if you are used to Western US camping. I generally eat oatmeal and coffee in camp early. I then stop somewhere for my "second breakfast": as much food as I can eat!, and then after that, it's picnic food, espresso, beer, tic tacs, wine, picnics, coffee...sometimes if I am close to city or youth hostel, I might have more official dinner in town. I would really cook in the evening only becuase I wanted hot food or I wanted hot food that was my own cooking. Admittedly, if you are super picky about eating you should have a stove.

    I've only done two long tours. Last summer in Europe and this year from Boston to Newfoundland and back. Both tours I spent about the same amount of money by day. Camping was way more expensive in America/Canada, food was equivalent, but I spent more money on maps and siteseeing in Europe. This year, I'm planning on a 3-4 month XC USA trip and will take about 4000$ for it.

    You're welcome to email for specifics questions re budget or destination.

    I'll add as aside, I as Seattlite and spoiled Northwesterner when I started my serious touring, I found the campground of France barbaric, but once I got used to European standards of camping, looked back on the discos in the French campground blaring europ disco with great nostaliga!

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Dude, you've asked some age-old questions here. There's a lot of right answers depending on what you like and what your budget is.

    Here's my take and I'll try really hard to put myself in your shoes, though you haven't defined many variables such as your camping style, thoughts on security or how much you can spend on gear.

    Panniers: I have both Arkels and Ortleibs. If you can handle the packing style get the Ortleibs. From REI I suppose since their price is pretty much fixed. Ortleibs are lighter and don't look as valuable.

    Tent and Sleeping Bag: Wow there are a bazillion options here. Go to URL]http://search.bikelist.org/[/URL]
    and search the message subject only on the touring list for "tent" and "sleeping bag". How much money do you want to spend here? I say anything from Hilleberg for the tent and a warm weather bag from Western Mountaineering but there goes $900. Otherwise there are some good choices across many brands.

    Stove: If I'm going to be out for a year across Europe then I'd want a stove and one that could burn varied fuel. I carry a MSR Dragonfly. It's not light but can even burn automobile gas with no problem and cooks fast. A lot of sports/camping stores will fill your fuel bottle with white gas so you don't have to buy in bulk.

    A year is a long time to live with your gear. Do a lot of reading and look inward to see if you can tell what you'll like.

    Here's a place you can read what people like you and me say about tents, bags and stoves:
    Outdoor Review
    Pick tent or whatever and then click on "by rating" to sort the best liked to the top. Which will look like this: All Tents
    If you find 10 people that rate something highly then it might be worth looking into. The fake reviews are usually pretty easy to spot.

    Have fun!

    Ron
    South Ogden, Utah
    http://miles2go.crazyguyonabike.com
    http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/



    Quote Originally Posted by mr bill
    well, let me first let you guys know what my touring plans are so that you know what i want out of my gear. i plan on taking hopefully a full year to tour through europe starting in the summer (amount of time depends on the amount of money i have by then...). anyway, i planning on staying in the southern, warmer regions over the winter so i don't really have to deal with snow. otherwise i'm just gonna pretty much go wherever my heart takes me.

    okay, first off looking at panniers, I've decided on either the arkel or the ortliebs. The ortliebs look great to me because they're waterproof, but that's about the only reasoning i've got. so, can anyone convince me more solidly in either direction? next, where's the best/cheapest online place to buy these guys?

    next, i need to get a tent and sleeping bag. i have absolutely no idea what i'm doing in this regard. i've never bought either before and i have absolutely no idea what's really good and what's not. i'm just gonna be solo touring, so i don't need to worry about more than myself.

    stove for cooking? what do you guys use? again, i really have no experience in this department. all my previous camping trips have involved canoeing, and space isn't quite the same concern there.

  7. #7
    nun
    nun is offline
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    Check out a tarptent

    www.tarptent.com

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