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  1. #1
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    how heavy is heavy (loaded touring)

    hi all
    what is a safe weight to carry on rear,ok i have just tubus rear rack and ortlieb backpacker plus panniers,my tent is straped to top of rack ,now the panniers are full no room left the cloths seem to take up all the room everything else is small,i haven't weighed them yet but there not overly heavy so thats what i want to know how heavy is heavy before i start running into problems i weigh 11 stone 7pounds i ride thorn sherpa ,sun rhyno wheels600, marathon plus tyres.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't like to travel with a load that weighs more than half my body weight ... including the weight of the bicycle.

    I have travelled with heavier loads, and it is a real slog for me ... more work than fun. But when I keep the bicycle+gear under half my body weight, it's a much nicer tour.

  3. #3
    nun
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    You have a sturdy rig there and at 11 stone 7 (161 lbs for the Americans on here) you are pretty light so the bike could probably take a 100lbs more. However, I think you are asking the question from the wrong perspective. You should be asking how light is a light load. In my experience anything over 50lbs of gear (not including the bike) is just stupid and people haven't thought about their gear in any sensible manner. Some thought should get you to between 30 and 40lbs, a bit more radical approach and some ultralight gear will get you to below 30lbs and you are at the hardcore ultralight end of things if you can go sub 20lbs on an unsupported tour.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    You have a sturdy rig there and at 11 stone 7 (161 lbs for the Americans on here) you are pretty light so the bike could probably take a 100lbs more. However, I think you are asking the question from the wrong perspective. You should be asking how light is a light load. In my experience anything over 50lbs of gear (not including the bike) is just stupid and people haven't thought about their gear in any sensible manner. Some thought should get you to between 30 and 40lbs, a bit more radical approach and some ultralight gear will get you to below 30lbs and you are at the hardcore ultralight end of things if you can go sub 20lbs on an unsupported tour.
    Oh, come on now, no need to call me or anyone else stupid for reasons of over packing, maybe other things but not luggage.

    It sounds like you are a light rider on a strong bike, carry what you want, the more you carry the slower you go, that's the only penalty. I kind of like Machka's 1/2 your body weight rule of thumb, seems to make sense.

    Shakedown rides, over nighter's should help you decide for youself what heavy or too heavy is. Generally speaking, lighter can not be a bad thing, but should not be the end goal on a bike, maybe for hiking but not a bike.

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    thanks machka /nun ,ok then im well under the weight ive just this moment weighed my loaded panniers 14lb in each now i still have more cloths to pack but not much.nun i bought all all the best gear i could like exped dowm mat/alpkit down sleeping bag/akto tent all this gear packs pretty small (with pratice)and not much weight im finding cloths take up most of the weight and room but i think ill need all iv'e packed .anyhow thanks for all the help .

  6. #6
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    25 lbs is pretty much a normal load. 40 lbs. I feel weighted down.
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  7. #7
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw View Post
    Oh, come on now, no need to call me or anyone else stupid for reasons of over packing, maybe other things but not luggage.
    Sorry, maybe I was being a bit provocative there. Touring is a very personal thing, and personally I don't know how people with really loaded bikes (you know, front and rear panniers, handlebar bag and more stuff piled on the rear rack), enjoy touring, but if that's the way they like to go so be it.

    Antokelly it sounds as if you have a really good setup. You have a good bike and top notch equipment and carrying between 30 and 40lbs puts you on the lighter side of touring loads.

  8. #8
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    nun just on the subject of buying the best gear ,my son came back from france he went with a friend to see the alp du huez stage slept on the mountain the night before in a cheap tent and cheap sleeping bag he said he nearly froze to death,so there a lot to be said for good gear i did offer him my bag and mat but he taught he new better.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    There's no one answer for how much to carry - each tourer has to solve that problem for him/herself. There are things that I wouldn't want to do without - I wouldn't enjoy the tour. I met a guy this summer who didn't bring a sleeping pad or pillow. I couldn't do that; I'd be miserable. But he was happy to not carry the weight.

    On my recent tour I carried about 60 lbs., for a total weight of about 290 - 200 for me, 30 pounds for my LHT with racks and fenders, and 60 lbs. of stuff, including the Ortlieb Classic Rollers panniers and Ortlieb handlebar bag.

    There were 3 or 4 small items I could have done without. I may be able to cut 5 lbs. off of that for my next tour by various strategies, but that will be about it.

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    thanks big blue toe where did that guy sleep wow? well i packed my panniers a hundred times just to make sure i dident overpack or underpack ,so i think i have all that i need but getting out there and trying all the gear out will soon tell me if iv'e missed anything or not .

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    On one of my first tours I didn't bring a sleeping pad. I had one tiny, light sleeping bag and a pillow, and that was it. It was doable, but not very comfortable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    thanks big blue toe where did that guy sleep wow? well i packed my panniers a hundred times just to make sure i dident overpack or underpack ,so i think i have all that i need but getting out there and trying all the gear out will soon tell me if iv'e missed anything or not .
    I make a complete list of everything I take on an actual tour. At the end, I look at what was used and not used and missing, and then I rethink and revise the list for the next time.

  13. #13
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    I find that bike touring and Mountaineering are very much in tune with each other. I seem to use the exact same items.... from my tent to my down bag to my thermarest and so forth. The stove and basic stuff is the same as well. The only real difference for me is that I don't have to carry a weeks worth of food at a time or a weeks worth of fuel. When I'm touring I get to eat like a king in comparison.

    My list of items to pack is so similar that it's quite funny.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    I find that bike touring and Mountaineering are very much in tune with each other. I seem to use the exact same items.... from my tent to my down bag to my thermarest and so forth. The stove and basic stuff is the same as well. The only real difference for me is that I don't have to carry a weeks worth of food at a time or a weeks worth of fuel. When I'm touring I get to eat like a king in comparison.

    My list of items to pack is so similar that it's quite funny.

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    What do you do with the spare tubes and tire levers in the mtns?....j/k...
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    I make a complete list of everything I take on an actual tour. At the end, I look at what was used and not used and missing, and then I rethink and revise the list for the next time.
    I do the same thing. By now, the base packing list is almost automatic, although there's always room to refine it.

    I got back from a short four-day excursion yesterday. I could have left a couple of tools, a frying pan, a bottle of sunscreen (since I had two) and a few other items. If I wanted to go a lot lighter, I would have left the camping gear and taken motels each night, but camping is part of my cycle touring experience. If I try to go through my gear item by item, I could replace some things with smaller and lighter versions, but the weight savings would hardly be worth the money I'd spend.
    Life is good.

  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    30 pounds including the bags would be fairly normal load for me, but I have carried more. Much more than that is a hassle and not worth the discomfort of hauling it. I try to pack light, but there are a few "luxury" items that I find worthwhile (a small but real pillow for one). I don't get how people carry 50, 60 or more pounds of stuff "to be comfortable". To me the balance between a fairly light load while riding and reasonable comfort while sleeping is the key to comfort on tour. That said whatever works for you is the right answer.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post
    What do you do with the spare tubes and tire levers in the mtns?....j/k...
    Never mind that. How about the rope, rack, axe(s), and crampons on the bike?

    I'd hate to carry my mountaineering load on my bike. Not that I really like it on my back either, but it's gotta be done. Harder to cut weight when your life is depending on some of the heaviest gear.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    thanks big blue toe where did that guy sleep wow? well i packed my panniers a hundred times just to make sure i dident overpack or underpack ,so i think i have all that i need but getting out there and trying all the gear out will soon tell me if iv'e missed anything or not .
    He had a single-wall tent and the lightest sleeping bag he could find (he said he got cold some nights.) He said lots of times he just slept in his sleeping bag on the ground somewhere in the woods - no campground fee.

  19. #19
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    I'm packing right now for a 12 day tour, leaving out my door in a couple days.

    I like the 50% of your weight rule, but I only weigh 110! My bike (LHT) is 30lbs, plus weight of panniers (4 Jandd panniers). My SO weighs 200, but he doesn't want to pack heavy either. He is pulling a Bob trailer with his Crosscheck.

    I did a 5 day backpack trip in March so I am keeping in mind what I took on that. I went out with 35lbs (my target was 30lbs, but I didn't want to skimp on food too much.)

    We plan on climbing big passes in SW Colorado, so we may be making some hard decisions on what to take at the last minute.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eofelis View Post
    I'm packing right now for a 12 day tour, leaving out my door in a couple days.

    I like the 50% of your weight rule, but I only weigh 110! My bike (LHT) is 30lbs, plus weight of panniers (4 Jandd panniers). My SO weighs 200, but he doesn't want to pack heavy either. He is pulling a Bob trailer with his Crosscheck.

    I did a 5 day backpack trip in March so I am keeping in mind what I took on that. I went out with 35lbs (my target was 30lbs, but I didn't want to skimp on food too much.)

    We plan on climbing big passes in SW Colorado, so we may be making some hard decisions on what to take at the last minute.
    That sounds do-able. Half your body weight is 55 pounds minus 30 for the LHT leaves 25. You don't need to carry food so dropping the 5 days worth of food probably gets you down to the 25 pounds or at least close. Let the SO carry the tent if you have to.

    The half body weight thing is a good rule of thumb to calculate a maximum, but only that. Someone exactly like you, but with 20 pounds more fat obviously can't automatically carry another 10 pounds. My point is to not obsess if the rule doesn't work. If you get down to 25 you will be fine, if you wind up at 30 it won't be the end of the world.

    BTW: Don't hesitate to mail stuff home if you decide you took too much. Also if one of you is a lot stronger on the climbs, redistribute some of the community gear, AFTER you have pared down your load to the minimum.

  21. #21
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Update on our packing progress:

    My SO with his Surly Crosscheck and a Bob trailer has his bike at 43lbs with his small panniers (tools and day stuff) and 32 lbs for the dry bag to go in the Bob, plus the weight of the trailer. 89lbs total without water. He weighs 210, and he's ok with this load.

    My bike is 31 lbs. My front panniers are 11lbs total. I'm still packing my rear panniers, but they feel light.

    We are staying at a friends house the second night and can stash stuff there if we want to jettison it.
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  22. #22
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    eofelis.im not been smart here but why pack stuff you not going to use or sure of useing ,when i started planning what to take i decided im going to need tool's just in case i need them, stove for cooking pots and pan ,mug /tea/coffee/and cleaning gear,then some cloths to wear on and off the bike,sleeping is down to my tent sleeping bag and mat ,i reckon ive packed all i need and maby a bit more but im sure i wont be mailing thing home so what have you packed that's,, emm maby i might need that ,if you know what i mean.

  23. #23
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    I will bow to Machka's rule of 1/2 your body weight. I had not thought about it much until I saw a posting of her rule a couple of years ago. Now I have weighed everything and found that her rule rules. I also am a firm believer that tourers carry way too much stuff. If your clothes take up all the room in your panniers, you have way too many clothes. Reduce the clothes pile by 1/2 and begin again.
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  24. #24
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    lighthorse thats what i've done (a hundred times) i still have loads of cloths for both on and off the bike everybody's packing list will be different but not by much ,i bet cloths are the big issue with most people certainly was with me.

  25. #25
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    For all those '40 lbs is too much' people - is that food and water included? And is that for a 4-season tour? That is our real killer. Right now we are carrying winter gear we won't use for quite a while but nowhere to leave it either and shipping is really expensive. If we were on a fair-weather tour then we'd easily be a lot lighter but weight is the price of our extended, go-everywhere, do-everything tour.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

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