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  1. #1
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    what do you take on a tour.

    I am about to go on my first non-supported tour. Will do tent camping. It will be about a six day tour, about 400 miles. The tour will be Big Sur area of California in mid--September.
    Are there suggested lists of what you might need? About how many pounds, how many panniers do you take. For that short period of time, I think maybe 25 pounds and two panniers, plus sleeping accessories on the rack. My tent is 5 pounds, sleeping bag is 3. There will be five of us on the tour.

  2. #2
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    There is little difference between a weeks camping tour and a longer one. You still seem to end up taking all the stuff you need.
    If you are in a group, it helps to share things, and use the biggest tent you can. Big tents have a better volume/weight ratio than smaller models, eg 2 3-person tents instead of 3 2-person tents.
    Do you need to cook ? Save a lot of weight and hassle by eating uncooked food, and getting your main meals at restaraunts. Unlike foot travellers, you can easily travel 5 miles for a meal in the evening.

    Before you go, pack everything you think you are going to need in your bags. Test it out in the back garden, sleeping in the tents, using your kit. Try a few bike rides with loaded bikes to make sure they are stable. With a full camping load, it helps to spread the load onto front panniers, but for a week, you may be able to make do with rear only.

    Check out some of the "ultra-light" camping websites.

  3. #3
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Michael W offers sound advice once again. I also put in a cooler bag so I can keep fruit that I pick up along the way without having it go off on a hot day. Another thing about touring, don't wait until your water bottles run out to refill them.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bubba's Avatar
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    Take a credit card.

    There are things that money can't buy. For things you forget, there's Mastercard.

    Enjoy!

    P.S. The things you forget are some of the things that will make the trip memorable.
    Bubba

  5. #5
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    Go to a big drug store and buy anything and everything that can give you creature comforts, like lotions for blisters, sun block, insect bite stuff, advil, waterless hand cleaner,mouth wash, shampoo, antacids if you need them, etc. Get some small jars or vials so you take just what you need, because if you have to buy any of this stuff on the road it will be way too much, and expensive. But leave the performance enhancing substances at home

  6. #6
    Senior Member neguypdx's Avatar
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    Check out this site for a simple equipment list. www.crazyguyonabike.com

    It is a pretty inclusive list of some of the essentials on a tour. Mind you, this guy was travelling across the US, but for emergency sake, I would still think you would need quite a few of these things including tools.
    Joe Price
    Portland, Oregon

  7. #7
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    Its worth reading up on the philosophy and technique of ultra-light camping at
    http://www.monmouth.com/~mconnick/

    For cyclists, its important to consider your repair kit, which can get heavy. You need enough to get you out of trouble, but does every rider in your group need a headset spanner?
    On a longer ride, you have to face the possibility of an on-the-road divorce from your travelling partners, so you need more self-reliance, but for a weeks tour, it pays to combine your kit.

  8. #8
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    I agree that combining your repair kit is a sound idea , but you'd be well advised to all take your own puncture repair kits, pumps, spare cables and set of hex keys. This allows you to make your own adjustment more quickly and repair punctures should one occur whilst you are a distance behind your friends.
    Take a pen knife if you can - they are invaluable.
    I bring plenty of spare spokes just in case. They are very light so their weight is not really an issue and on a recent tour my friend had 15 spokes break on his brand new bike.
    You can cook quite adequately with one of those stoves that screws into the top of a gas cannister and then unscrews when your done leaving it sealed. This is fairly light and doesn't take up too much space, neither does a bowl, mug and cutlery.
    I find that one or two large plastic drinks containers are essential. They can easily be strapped to your rack along with roll mat and tent and provide and extra source of water- 1.5 litres in your bidons is not really that much.

    Obviously the above is just advice the main thing is tour how you want to.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bubba's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Niall
    I bring plenty of spare spokes just in case. They are very light so their weight is not really an issue and on a recent tour my friend had 15 spokes break on his brand new bike.
    Excellent advice. I had spoke problems on a tour and ended up using electrical tape to attach a handful of spare spokes to the frame.

    There should be a law against kids making minimum wage stringing wheels together!
    Bubba

  10. #10
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Of course, with all the other great advice you will get, be sure to bring extra spokes. You can tape them to one of your seat stays.

    Also, bring a good first-aid kit. I like to make my own to be sure it is specific to the types of injuries common to bicyclists. That means getting some good topical pain relief spray or ointment and road-rash specific bandages.

    Shopko sells disinfectant wipes in individual single-use packets. I have used these quite a bit. They clean and sterilize the wound.

    By the way, this may sound weird, but one of the best road rash bandages you can get is a thin but large feminine napkin. They are clean, convenient, absorb a lot of blood, and are wide enough to cover a bad road-rash wound.

    Also, a small bottle of the convenient "no-water needed" hand cleaning gel is very useful. You might chose this over the towelettes if space/weight is a big concern.
    Mike

  11. #11
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    Ultra light

    I am not an experienced bike tourer but am a very experienced back packer. I always marvel at how loaded down a lot of self supported bike tourers are. I just did a week long trip on the Oregon coast with my wife and we had everything we needed and then some in two rear 3000 cubic inch panniers each. Her panniers were at less than two thirds capacity and she was carrying the cooking kit. I had one of those new Big Agnes 2 pound two person tents, a neo air pad and an REI sub kilo down bag all in one pannier with room to spare. The tie down buckle straps were at the shortest setting! We were perfectly comfortable with that sleeping set up. Bear in mind we have roughed it with bivys and tarp tents high in the Sierras. I had one guy say someone told him to take a tent big enough to put the bike in to do repairs - for one guy! You have to be kidding me. He said is load total was 75 lbs. I was carrying considerably more than my wife and i was in at 22 pounds for both loaded panniers. I even took extras like "town clothes", binoculars, an extra saddle i was trying out, running shoes, shower flip flops, swim suit and goggles and a pretty complete repair kit. We did not bring a computer. We had all of what we considered essentials like toiletries, camp clothes etc - my wife had a down jacket and full medical kit even.

    After doing this trip i am more incredulous than ever at those mega loads i am seeing. What in the world are you guys carrying that you need to be loaded down like some kind of Asian bike mule going to market? I think a lot of tourers would be wise to do a few back packing trips to pare down the weight and bulk. Biking is much easier to carry loads of course, like sea kayaking. I remember once sea kayaking with a very experienced sea kayaker\forest service wilderness ranger where he pulled out a large melon on day three. Needless to say that is not something you would do on a backpacking trip unless you were training for the NFL or something.

    We kept seeing tourer after tourer with the giant loads coming down the Oregon coast on 101. There are towns every thirty miles with grocery stores, restaurants, hardware stores, hotels for emergencies or really bad weather. My neophyte bike touring advice is to do some backpacking and put the loads on a diet. Speaking of diet we felt like the whole deal was very luxurious because we could be eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday unlike backpacking.

  12. #12
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Out there View Post
    What in the world are you guys carrying that you need to be loaded down like some kind of Asian bike mule going to market?
    If I am camping, I carry a frame that converts my thermarest into a chair.

    I carry two cooking pots as the meals I cook require it.

    I carry 3 sets of biking shorts as I need the variety to keep comfortable.

    I carry a comfortable pair of off-bike shoes because Teva's create painful blisters.

    I carry two pairs of quick dry underwear because 1 gets dirty after while.

    I carry rain pants as an extra layer in case it gets cold and to stay dry in a downpour.

    I carry an iPad to hold extra photos and to pass the time.

    I carry an iPhone to listen to music and audio books, call my wife, and for emergencies.

    Bike touring is neither a race nor a weight contest. If you like to ride with a minimum amount of weight, knock yourself out. I have other priorities. In my experience, more weight doesn't cause much problem on the flats. It is only going uphill that I feel it but that is why I have low gears on my bike.

    Here is my default packing list:

    Tent
    Sleeping Bag
    Sleeping Pad
    Synch Strap
    2 bungee Cords
    Pillow
    Headlamp
    Thermarest Chair
    Rope

    Stove
    Cozy
    Wind Screen
    Cutting Board
    Pots
    Wooden Spoon
    Plastic Utensils
    Sponge
    Leatherman Juice 2

    3 Bike Shorts
    3 Bike Shirts (2 wool, one for off-bike)
    2 Headsweats
    2 Pair Gloves
    Reflective Vest
    2 Pair wool socks
    Biking Shoes
    Leg Warmers
    Rain Jacket
    Rain Pants

    1 Pair pants
    Green Cotton Overshirt (W)
    2 pair underwear
    Walking Shoes
    Hat
    Camptowel
    Black long sleeve undershirt
    2 Hankerchiefs
    1 Kerchief with Bug Repellant

    Front Bike Bag
    Chamois Butter
    Sunscreen
    Patch Kit
    2 Tubes
    Zipties
    1 Pen with Duct Tape
    1 roll electrician's tape
    1 rear flashing light
    Handy wipes
    Small Writing pad
    Cards to hand out
    Reading Glasses
    Puzzle Book

    S&S Coupler wrench
    2 aluminum tire levers
    1 Spoke wrench
    1 Multi-tool
    1 Speed Lever for tires
    1 bolt wrench
    1 brake cable
    1 gear cable
    Nuts and Bolts
    Fiber Fix Spokes
    Hyper *******
    Extra Spokes
    Tire Boots
    extra chain links and pins
    Tri flow Oil
    Q-tips
    Rag
    Latex Gloves

    4 Panniers
    Bike Pump
    Helmet
    Mirror
    Sunglasses (W)
    Camelback
    Metal fuel bottle
    Plastic Water bottle
    Cable and lock (key on Camelback)

    Toiletries
    Insect Repellent
    Maps
    Wallet

    iPhone
    Charger
    Camera with Clean Memory Chip
    Last edited by raybo; 09-09-11 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Added packing list
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  13. #13
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    My gear list from a recent tour where some bad weather was possible but never ended up materializing:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=104966&v=5c


    Had we left a week earlier, we would have had wet days in the 40s.

  14. #14
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
    I am about to go on my first non-supported tour. Will do tent camping. It will be about a six day tour, about 400 miles.
    Well, how did it go? Sure hope you weren`t planning to fly anywhere that week. Any plans for a big 10th anniversary ride to celebrate your first tour?

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I wonder how many times this question has been asked and answered in the 10 years since this one was first posted.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Well, how did it go? Sure hope you weren`t planning to fly anywhere that week. Any plans for a big 10th anniversary ride to celebrate your first tour?
    Wow..... didn't even notice that until you made the comment..... This is one OLD thread!! LOL
    Last edited by zzOtherlandzz; 09-09-11 at 11:38 PM.
    "If you see me walking, my bike is busted!!"
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  17. #17
    Has opinion, will express
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    I think congratulations are in order for MichaelW getting to 10 year' membership of BikeForums and still offering up really useful advice, and to ChrisL for surviving (literally) well over 11 years!
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzOtherlandzz View Post
    Wow..... didn't even notice that until you made the comment..... This is one OLD thread!! LOL
    Ok..... Out of the blue... I actually remembered my passward to my OLD bike forums account.... (that i forgot until JUST NOW)... This one. Not quite 10 years on here though.. LOL
    If i'm walking my bike is busted.

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