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Old 09-24-07, 06:59 PM   #1
Machka 
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Do you weigh your gear?

When you are packing for a tour, do you weigh your gear?

I know of some people who get kitchen scales and weigh everything that goes into the bag individually, and then tally up the whole lot. In one person's case, it was extremely important to do this because he had a very tight baggage limit on the airline he was flying with. He really had to travel light!

I pack everything ... remove quite a bit of it because I realize I'm carrying way too much ... settle on the precise items I want to bring and figure I've got a reasonably high chance of using ... and then weigh each packed pannier or bag.

In my case, I need the total weight for bicycle + bags to be under 70 lbs, or I won't get it up any hills. So for me, weighing the lot is an important part of packing.



EDIT: I'd actually really like to figure out a way to get it all under 60 lbs (bicycle + gear) so that hauling in and out of hostels, trains, and planes is an easier task. But .... it isn't easy getting rid of that last 10 lbs.

Last edited by Machka; 09-25-07 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 09-24-07, 07:24 PM   #2
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I try to keep it under 160 pounds of gear Machka.

I don't actually weigh anything, but realize the value in keeping it as light as possible. After every trip, I do an analysis of - what could I have left behind? and adjust the next trip accordingly.

The heaviest single part of my gear is usually the food. I pack along way too much in the way of food. Everything else is just whisper light, maybe about 20-25 pounds of stuff for summer touring.

sometimes, when I pack the lawnchair and a set of Telemark skis, boots and poles, it adds a little to the base weight.
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Old 09-24-07, 07:38 PM   #3
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Different ways on different trips. I usually don't worry too much about overall weight. I pretty much pack the same stuff every time. The bike is usually always with in 4-5# of the same weight when loaded, winter tours are usually on the heavier end. Every now and again I will weigh individual pieces of equipment to see if the new gadget that I am considering is a real improvement in weight saving vs functionality or me just wanting to get a new toy I haven't flown out for a tour with a bike in over 25 years...

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Old 09-24-07, 09:16 PM   #4
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The only time my luggage has ever been weighed was check-in at the airport. I've never bothered since then. Having done a few tours, I'm in something of a routine with regards to the things that I feel the need to take along, those I can leave behind, and those I can just pick up at my destination. If that puts me over some arbitrary baggage limit, I'll either pay the excess baggage charges, or simply fly with someone else.
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Old 09-24-07, 09:44 PM   #5
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I'll fess up to doing it. It was an eye opener for me to see how stuff adds up and how swapping things or omitting things can help.
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Old 09-24-07, 09:47 PM   #6
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Yes, in order to keep the pannier weights even and the ratio between front and rear.
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Old 09-24-07, 11:36 PM   #7
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Last week, just for fun, I weighed myself and my loaded bike on a truck weigh scale. The problem is these scales round to the nearest 20 kilograms. That doesn't tell me much.

So far, I haven't weighed my gear before a trip, but I might try it some time in winter as I plan for next year's tours. I like to think I'm traveling fairly light, but weighing will give me a more accurate picture. Once I know my weights, I can decide what I don't need.

There are some things that are necessities, others that are optional and some that can be reworked. But I can't make many changes to my weight until I know what I have to work with.
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Old 09-25-07, 12:41 AM   #8
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We only weigh our stuff when needed, that is, when we are flying somehere and want to know if
we are keeping inside the limits.
for the rest? nah. we just take what's needed, or at least, what we think is needed.
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Old 09-25-07, 12:51 AM   #9
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Yes and yes again.
I need to know...
My bike is to heavy
my gear is to heavy
I'm not to heavy but maybe if I was lighter it'd help
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Old 09-25-07, 07:16 AM   #10
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Yes, and I think it's very insightful.

It's easy to obsess about saving 1 pound in a tent or sleeping back, but then bringing a book or a huge multi-tool you won't need half of makes up for much much more than the difference.
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Old 09-25-07, 07:37 AM   #11
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Na I just take what I need, and usually when I come back I dont think I could have done without this or that. But I have started weighing things recently and found eg My candel latern holder was a skewer 18" long, I weighed it it came to 57 grms, I then replaced it with a bamboo one which weighed only 1 g. That train of thought has now made me review my kit. What can I replace it with but much lighter and when I get stuck I look at my self and say well there are a few kgs that can come off there.
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Old 09-25-07, 07:39 AM   #12
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I don't weigh my gear. I take what I need, and it weighs what it weighs.

After having toured for ten years, I was curious about how much my gear weighed, so at the end of the tour I weighed it, and it came to 38 pounds without food and fuel.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:10 AM   #13
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I don't want to know.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:27 AM   #14
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I weighed mine before a recent tour. I was trying really hard to go light, since it was short tour (but mountain conditions), and I left out a whole bunch of stuff I usually take. It came out way heavier than i expected - bike + gear = 77, bike = 32, gear in panniers = 45. Wow. That's too much. Some of my other tours must have been at least 10 pounds MORE!

I am trying to make it lighter.

I was really worked hauling all that junk over the 4800 feet of elevation gain on my first day.
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Old 09-25-07, 09:17 AM   #15
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First time, yes. After that, no.
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Old 09-25-07, 10:39 AM   #16
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I weighed mine before a recent tour. I was trying really hard to go light, since it was short tour (but mountain conditions), and I left out a whole bunch of stuff I usually take. It came out way heavier than i expected - bike + gear = 77, bike = 32, gear in panniers = 45. Wow. That's too much. Some of my other tours must have been at least 10 pounds MORE!

I am trying to make it lighter.

I was really worked hauling all that junk over the 4800 feet of elevation gain on my first day.
When I went to Europe the first time, my bicycle + gear weighed a little over 90 lbs. My bicycle is 27 lbs, so my gear came in a bit above 65 lbs. That was HEAVY!! And very hard to haul around. I ended up leaving quite a bit of it at someone's house and it was mailed home to me later.

So when I headed to Australia I toned it down to about 55 lbs ... but within the first few days, my cycling partner and I went through all my stuff, and left 10 lbs of it behind at someone's house (and I picked it up at the end of the trip) ... I was down to about 45 lbs. During that exercise, the kitchen scales came out, and I was floored by the weight of some of the stuff I brought. They were just little items ... but when they were all added up ..... I also mailed home another 5 lbs or so later on, but that was mainly all the stuff you end up collecting along the way (brochures, maps, etc.).

Now I'm running somewhere between about 40 and 43 lbs of gear ... and I'm still thinking that's too much! But I'm running out of ideas of what to get rid of.
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Old 09-25-07, 12:39 PM   #17
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I use bathroom scales to weigh my bike and racks (27lbs) and then load up my bike and weigh everything together (48lbs). I'm concerned with the weight of individual items, but don't own a scale of sufficient resolution to weigh them.
However, the heaviest thing I carry is still my gut.
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Old 09-25-07, 02:56 PM   #18
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No I've never weighed in. However a few times while passing some weigh stations that were closed. I have pulled onto the scales in fun and they did show our weight. It was alot less stressfull then when I am pulling a truck in for real.
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Old 09-25-07, 04:28 PM   #19
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I don't weigh every single item, but I do like to know how much my stuff sacks or individual containers weigh. I find that it's a good reality check, because I was throwing in a lot of heavy little things that I carry around town all the time and never think about.

As far as getting down to 30 pounds of gear, use smaller panniers. Having a visual reference of what will fit on the bike is usually what gets me to think the most about what to remove. I just had a look at your website's packing list and you've got a lot that looks trimmable in there. Definitely focus on what you can use for multiple things and what you can do without. If you post your current packing list here we can pick it apart for you.

Have a look-see at the ultralightbiking group on yahoo groups, since we do the weight weenie bit for you! It does get easier- I just took a mini-tour a few weeks ago where I was camping at a fiber crafts workshop and I carried less than 25 pounds total, including some knitting projects, drop spindles, and a huge set of handcards. It made things like getting on and off the train with the loaded bike SO much easier when all I had to manage was the bike and two panniers.
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Old 09-25-07, 07:48 PM   #20
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As far as getting down to 30 pounds of gear, use smaller panniers. Having a visual reference of what will fit on the bike is usually what gets me to think the most about what to remove. I just had a look at your website's packing list and you've got a lot that looks trimmable in there. Definitely focus on what you can use for multiple things and what you can do without. If you post your current packing list here we can pick it apart for you.
My panniers are quite small - 40 Litres. And I definitely don't take everything on that packing list ... it is sort of an idea list of all the possible things I could take on a tour.

I know I could bring fewer toiletries than I do. And next time I'm not bringing a skirt. I'll post my packing list for my Europe tour when I finish writing the story of the tour.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:24 PM   #21
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If a find an opportunity to weigh my stuff before, during, or after a trip, then I do. Otherwise, no.

Some folks learn from their experiences and bring less on successive tours. I guess I am not one of those people. On my first extended credit card tour I carried 19 pounds of gear, but on my most recent tour, I found myself with almost 29 pounds!

I cannot account for the ten pound difference. In fact, on that first trip I had three short-sleeved shirts plus one long-sleeved shirt, while this time I had only two short-sleeve shirts and zero long-sleeved shirts. I have had virtually identical panniers on each trip. Maybe one of my new T-shirts is lined with lead!
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Old 09-25-07, 08:32 PM   #22
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Gotta weigh it, my revolver is much lighter than my Semi-Auto,,,,,,,,
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Old 09-25-07, 08:39 PM   #23
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If you want to see people who are weight junkies who measure every gram, look at Appalachian Trail hikers. They will even cut off the tabs on shirts and cut down a toothbrush to save a few grams.

With bicycling, weight is important but having the right gear you need is much more so. If you focus too much on weight, there's a chance you might leave out something that you'll need later or when you break down.

But on the otherhand, the good thing about bike touring is you can buy gear or dump gear easily as you go.
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