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  1. #1
    duh-river foe
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    Ultralight (ish) packing list - please critique!

    My touring plans have been derailed for the time being caring for my sick kitty, but all this time at home has allowed me to fuss over my packing list for an un-supported trip. I'd like to do a few weekend trips around the New England area and a 2 week trip somewhere out west later this summer. Part of my aim in touring isn't necessarily to be biking the whole time, but rather to make good time to a nice destination and then bum around town for a few days. I like being able to quickly remove everything from my bike - I really don't like a bunch of little things tied together.

    I'm really aiming to tour without a rack. I have decent Ortlieb panniers (front and back rollers), but I have a rear bag on order from Carousel and am planning to sew up a handlebar bag to carry the rest. As it is, everything fits into a 3.5L handlebar bag and the set of front rollers (25L) with quite a bit of room to spare. A rough test (shoving it all into various bags that I know the size of) shows my kit to be roughly 20L and about 13 pounds. I'd like to reduce this somewhat, but am not quite sure where to take it from. I'd forego the inflatable torso pad before the foam one, and the knitting project is non-negotiable I've measured the weight of a lot of items on my kitchen scale, and guessed at the volume of some of the things that are packed together using some stuff sacks.

    I haven't included cooking equipment because I really don't enjoy cooking while on the road. I'm fine with a jar of peanut butter and some apples and if I really want hot food I can find a restaurant. I'm also taking into consideration what I can carry on or check on an airplane, just in case I fly out for my longer tour.

    Please help me optimize my packing list! Here's the link: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...N52XiZiZN4BqBg

  2. #2
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Your list is excellent and not only because it looks like mine. Jeff @ Carousel makes some great bags for UL bikepacking.

    The poncho/tarp does not leave much of a margin for heavy rainy windy weather at least when I used the Equinox. Your size or lack of it may make it work for you. Nor does it provide protection in buggy conditions. Consider adding a headnet.

    Did I miss the poles to support the poncho/tarp? Or you can use the bike [upside down] as the tarp support and ditch the lock and its almost 2 pounds.

  3. #3
    duh-river foe
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    Thanks! I'm pretty small and have weathered nasty storms under the poncho. The bivy has a Quantum top and is more breathable than waterproof, but it keeps spray off really well. It also has a zippered mesh net on the head.

    I also do the upside down bike with a couple of lines at different angles to support the tarp when there isn't a tree around. It's not /ideal/, but it does get the job done. I'm not sure about ditching the lock entirely, but I might buy a lighter cable lock. I like to make a destination of a cool city or town for my tours and I like to be able to use the bike around there - I'm not ready to go lock-less.

  4. #4
    nun
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    Nice List!

    You have a lot of electronics, you might consider something like an iPhone as that will combine all the functions you need. I assume you're using the Nokia 810 for web access and emails. I've used both the Nokia and the itouch and the itouch is nicer, I even got to like the itouch's soft keypad.

    Given the volume and weight of your gear you might consider using a handlebar bag and a saddlebag like the Carradice Nelson Longflap.

    I use a mini-Ulock and a cable lock around town, but on tour I just use the cable lock
    Last edited by nun; 05-21-08 at 11:05 PM.

  5. #5
    This is Shangri La MTBMaven's Avatar
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    How do you plan to recharge batteries? Or are you going to buy new ones? Maybe a solar charger?

    Really nice UL pack list. I love the use of BMW and Nunatak products!
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  6. #6
    Senior Member pluc's Avatar
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    Two sleeping pads? I am the only one sleeping with just a sleeping bag these days?

  7. #7
    duh-river foe
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    I can trim over a pound and a half by dumping the n810 and the inflatable sleeping pad. I had planned to take the n810 for work since it allows me to use SSH and google docs, but I'll just have to keep work from following me. I guess I'm also paranoid about sleeping cold and just need to get over it since a 32 degree sleeping quilt and the 1/8" foam pad should be plenty adequate for summer trips. Now the only thing that needs to charge sometimes is my phone, and I imagine I can swing outlet use every 2-3 days while eating at a restaurant or something. I won't cry too much if my phone doesn't work.

    Now I estimate that I need another pound and a half to reach my goal. I'm still not ready to part with my lock, I AM from Boston, after all! Maybe it's a good excuse to find a lighter tarp like the BMW small nano tarp. The poncho function is pretty useless for biking.

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    Sure, leave all the electronics out and you'll be lighter and happier. Disposable 35mm cameras are available everywhere, are lighter than digital cameras, and free you from charging batteries. Mail them off for processing and buy another camera as necessary.

    You don't need a headlight if you have a headlamp.

    I'd part with one of your spare tubes -- the odds of shredding two tubes before hitting a bike shop-sized town are pretty small (I'm assuming you're a careful and competent tire patcher and won't shred them yourself!). Extra chain links? Chains just don't break down often enough to justify them, even if you weren't going ultralight. You could also lose the spare cables, since they almost never fail so catastrophically that you can't limp into town.

    Two water bottles is enough; leave out the extra bottle for extra water. If it's a hot day with a long stretch between towns, buy a bottle of water at a convenience store and then get rid of it when your water needs return to normal.

    No need for a towel if you have a bandanna.

    I'd bring two pairs of bike shorts and leave the running shorts at home.

    It's a really good list -- hard to come up with these quibbles!

  9. #9
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    I don't tour with a sleeping pad at all, unless the weather is really cold. So I think two is absolute overkill. Maybe you have a sensitive back, but I'd avoid the second pad unless you can't function without it.

    I'd also skip the tarp. This might come in handy on a really long tour, where you might expect to have several rest days. Or if you are going to be spending a lot more time in your campsite than you are in the saddle. But you mentioned that you want to be spending time in towns. Why bring the tarp to weather rainstorms in camp when you could just as easily sit in a coffee shop or bar?

    As for the tablet and keyboard... if I want to check my email on the road I'll just hop into a library along the way. But you may have a specific reason that you would need to be in touch at all times. That seems like an easy way to trim some weight, though.

    I think it's good idea to carry 2, if not three spare tubes.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  10. #10
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
    I don't tour with a sleeping pad at all, unless the weather is really cold. So I think two is absolute overkill. Maybe you have a sensitive back, but I'd avoid the second pad unless you can't function without it.

    .
    As the OP is using a quilt they need a sleeping pad. Even in summer sleeping on the ground can be cold using a quilt.

    Reducing the amount of electronics you carry is an easy way to reduce weight. Also your bags themselves are often heavy so by going to a saddlebag and a handlebar bag you are doing the right thing. I don't think you need the tire, you have tire boots and a folding tire is quite heavy. Are the chain links you mention, SRAM powerlinks? If so I'd keep them as they are very light and vital if the one on your chain breaks. If another link goes it's easy to remove it and remake the chain, just don't use the big ring and big cassette combos that you shouldn't be using anyway.

    My gear and bags are pegged at 19lbs, but my Contrail Tarptent weighs 1.5lbs and I use a Big Agnes pad and a mini-Trangia stove. Funny my kit seems a bit luxurious compared to the OP's minimalist approach.
    Last edited by nun; 05-23-08 at 12:44 PM.

  11. #11
    40 yrs bike touring
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    For more space during bad weather consider the Gatewood Cape[11oz] or its netting enhanced cousin the Wild Oasis [13oz] instead of the poncho/tarp. A pole[1.8oz] and a few more stakes needed. I have found this combo avoids the tarp reconfiguration problem late at night when the wind shifts during a rainstorm. yet it remains a small package.

    http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=45

    http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=48

  12. #12
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I use a Big Agnes pad...
    Is that the big agnes air core mattress? I bought one last summer and absolutely loved it when backpacking in the Wind River Range. I never intended to use it for bicycle touring, but the thing is so light that I was considering adding it to my touring gear. But after using it about twenty times, the thing stopped holding air. I went on a little two night car camping trip with some friends a few weeks ago, and I couldn't get the thing to stay inflated for more than a half hour, let alone the whole night. I couldn't figure out why it was leaking. As far as I could tell, I was tightening the valve down as much as it could be tightened, and there were no obvious holes in the fabric that could have been patched, nor was there any audible sound of leaking air. Luckily REI has an excellent return policy. I used the refunded money to put towards a bivy sack which will shave a pound and a half off the weight of the one man tent I normally use for bicycle touring.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I would never leave the ultralight silnylon tarp that doubles as a poncho at home- that's one of the most valuable pieces of equipment on 8bit's list. And the Ulock? Keep it. Security.

    The list overall is hella light. Did I see a warm cap on the list? My single most important piece of cold weather gear is a warm hat. Gore's N2S Windstopper is a great skullcap material - compact, warm, windproof, and weather resistant.

    My only other advice would be to keep some space or carrying capacity for snacks and whatever- a musette bag or something like that if your bags are so stuffed you can't pack a bag lunch in there.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 05-25-08 at 02:38 PM.

  14. #14
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
    Is that the big agnes air core mattress? I bought one last summer and absolutely loved it when backpacking in the Wind River Range. I never intended to use it for bicycle touring, but the thing is so light that I was considering adding it to my touring gear. But after using it about twenty times, the thing stopped holding air. I went on a little two night car camping trip with some friends a few weeks ago, and I couldn't get the thing to stay inflated for more than a half hour, let alone the whole night. I couldn't figure out why it was leaking. As far as I could tell, I was tightening the valve down as much as it could be tightened, and there were no obvious holes in the fabric that could have been patched, nor was there any audible sound of leaking air. Luckily REI has an excellent return policy. I used the refunded money to put towards a bivy sack which will shave a pound and a half off the weight of the one man tent I normally use for bicycle touring.
    Yes its a Big Agnes Air Core, I've used in on maybe 30 nights since I bought it and haven't had any issues. Its a bit heavier than the Thermarest I used before, but it packs smaller and is far more comfortable. Its great combined with the quilt I use.

  15. #15
    Avoid trauma Lake_Tom's Avatar
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    How can I get that data as an Excel .xls file? My cut and paste attempts did not come out well.
    (and I am still dreaming of finding titanium pliers, wrenches, and hex wrenches)
    I smell the spring in the smoky wind.

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    Hi 8bit,
    Your packing list is very similar to my own. I was inspired to weigh all my gear from a 9 day 680 mile tour I just completed on the pacific coast. I've already posted pictures of this loaded rig in the photos thread. Any recommendations I could give would be on my list. Hope it helps.

    7.2 lb base weight:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...vrR5__PgbLGbYw
    Last edited by ling_jd; 06-04-08 at 06:31 AM.

  17. #17
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    Ditch the electronics. It really wasn't that long ago that nobody had cell phones and people managed to tour safely all of the time. That being said, I brought a laptop on my last tour and don't regret it. But this is an ultra-light list!

    Extra chain links should be swapped for an extra SRAM powerlink.

    Get rid of pencil and pen.

    You won't need the water bladder unless you'll be touring in the desert.

    Bring only one ground pad.

    Bring a lighter lock. Many times you can safely stash your bike if you ask politely.

    You can use your rain jacket and your other tops to stay warm. The extra REI jacket is redundant.

    I'd ditch the razor. Let's face it, sweaty, stinky cyclist aren't going to be attractive. No need to worry about an extra bit of body hair. It completes the look

    I dislike sporks so I'd recommend a simple plastic spoon instead.

    Why bring a lighter if you won't be cooking food or bringing a stove?

    Don't need an extra tire unless you're on a long adventure. The tubes, boot and patch kit are sufficient.

  18. #18
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    How about one of these in place of your two mats:

    Exped Downmat

    They're lighter than thermarest, pack smaller, inflate larger, and are down filled for insulation. Fantastic bit of kit.

  19. #19
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by ling_jd View Post
    Hi 8bit,
    Your packing list is very similar to my own. I was inspired to weigh all my gear from a 9 day 680 mile tour I just completed on the pacific coast. I've already posted pictures of this loaded rig in the photos thread. Any recommendations I could give would be on my list. Hope it helps.

    7.2 lb base weight:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...vrR5__PgbLGbYw
    Great list, I particularly like that you made some ultralight panniers. I have a couple of comments, I'd loose
    the folding tire and replace it with some tire boots, I see that you have discovered Smartwater bottles.
    On tour I carry 2 x 1litre Smart waterbottles in my regular cages.

  20. #20
    This is Shangri La MTBMaven's Avatar
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    RE smartwater bottles...what cage are you using? and are you using the original top or a sport top on the bottle?
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  21. #21
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBMaven View Post
    RE smartwater bottles...what cage are you using? and are you using the original top or a sport top on the bottle?
    I'm not the OP, but the Smartwater bottles fit in regular cages and the sport tops on the smaller Smart water bottles fit on the 1 litre size. Its a cheap way of carrying 2 litres without having to buy larger cages. I've been using that same two 1 litre Smartwater bottles for over a year.

  22. #22
    This is Shangri La MTBMaven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I'm not the OP, but the Smartwater bottles fit in regular cages and the sport tops on the smaller Smart water bottles fit on the 1 litre size. Its a cheap way of carrying 2 litres without having to buy larger cages. I've been using that same two 1 litre Smartwater bottles for over a year.
    Terrific, this it VERY helpful! Thanks so much. Sorry to for the off topic posts 8Bit. Ultralight critique may now recommence.
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

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