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Old 09-22-08, 09:10 PM   #1
knucklehead
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first solo LD camping trip

i've been getting a hankering recently to take a couple days off work and just ride north for a while, sleeping where i can and enjoying that freedom we all crave with the rubber side down and the wind in our faces. i posted this in the long distance cycling thread and got a suggestion to post it here instead.

a bit about me...
i'm an experienced cyclist who's been riding just about every day since i was 7 or 8. (i'm 35.) as i went through my pre-teen and teen years, i was into bmx and street riding. as i got older, i got into road cycling. i experimented for many years on a hybrid road/bmx bike that i built specifically for riding in the city. (i live in san francisco.) then about 7 years ago, i went back to one speed, this time on a fixed-gear. (yes, i run a brake.) i still enjoy long road rides, whether fixed or geared, and i've done many centuries. this past summer i completed the AIDS/lifecycle -- 545 miles, sf to la, 7 days. i build and maintain all my own bikes, and have a couple restorations and lowriders that i've either built or am building currently.

so the physical and mental exertion is not going to be foreign to me, nor is on-the-road maintenance. however, carrying gear will be. i'd really REALLY like to keep my gear down to a minimum, so starting small, i was wondering what you all might recommend for, say, a 3-day trip? day and a half out, day a half back.

i have not mapped this trip yet, so i can't give you terrain details or anything like that, but that's all for later. what would you reco strictly for gear? obviously, a well-rated mummy bag, some dr. bronner's, waterwaterwater, and a toothbrush/paste. ha!

it's likely that i would take this little journey fixed, too, so anyone who's done that before should give me anything you can think of that i should know.

thanks in advance!
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Old 09-22-08, 09:18 PM   #2
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If I were to do something like this, as I've considered doing an over-nighter on the fixed gear a few years back, it would be a credit card tour.......unless your route is pretty much pancake flat.
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Old 09-22-08, 09:55 PM   #3
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I suggest you read this

http://www.adventurecycling.org/reso...rsen_S240s.pdf

then visit my site: http://epicureancyclist.blogspot.com

seriously though....read GP's piece on S24Os...

for food I can recommend hard cheese and cured meat (parmesian regianno, salami, sopretto)...packs down light and condense...doesn't need refrigeration either...i've lasted 3 days just on that...

during the summer I dont carry a sleeping bag, just a cloth sleep sack...

thermarest pad is a plus

i like to pack a folding camp chair

lots of wool
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Old 09-22-08, 10:24 PM   #4
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There are some lists and ideas for keeping your weight down here.


I did it, gear is under 20lbs

I've toured single speed (not fixed) with 2 freewheels, one on either side of the hub.
It's nice to have a bail out gear.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:07 AM   #5
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On a few of my earliest tours I just brought a sleeping bag and foam mat, plus a few clothes, a pump, tire irons, and a spare tube. I'd buy food at grocery stores along the way. I wouldn't cook. I'd eat something like a can of tuna and a banana for dinner if I was out in the woods. It was kind of fun.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:29 PM   #6
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I think low weight, low cost per day and comfort are a balancing act - you can get any two at the cost of the other one.

When you add trip duration into the mix, I usually choose:

short trip: weight = low, comfort - medium-high , cost/day = high (credit card tour, stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, carry minimal clothes & almost no food)

long trip: weight = high, cost/day = low, comfort = medium-high (camp in campgrounds, cook, carry lots of clothes for all contingencies, carry music, maps, book, chair)

I have never managed to sacrifice the comfort on my trips - it's important to me. But if you want, you can get low cost and low weight by being a very minimalist camper, eat out of grocery stores and not restaurants, carry minimal clothes, go dirty a lot (no showers, few changes of clothes)

there are hostels at Pigeon Point, Santa Cruz and Monterey, you could put together a lovely tour if you go south, and not have to camp. Or you can camp at Santa Cruz, BIg Basin, Aptos, Monterey, Big Sur (several places), Pinnacles National Monument... I did something a lot like this, but in the other direction:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...nd&context=all

and it was fantastic. Don't ride nacamiento road on a fixie, though - really steep.

You can find a million gear lists on crazyguyonabike.

Have fun!!!
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Old 09-23-08, 12:36 PM   #7
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I think low weight, low cost per day and comfort are a balancing act - you can get any two at the cost of the other one.
I don't quite agree. With some initial capital outlay on good equipment it's possible to be comfortable on a long trip with an equipment weight in the 20lb range and not spending a lot of money. However, as I fast approach my half century, for one or two week tours, I must admit that I'm starting to default to the credit card approach as that warm shower in a comfortable room is so nice.
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Old 09-23-08, 02:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by xcapekey View Post
i like to pack a folding camp chair
Which one? I'm in the market.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:24 AM   #9
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If I were to do something like this, as I've considered doing an over-nighter on the fixed gear a few years back, it would be a credit card tour.......unless your route is pretty much pancake flat.
thanks, roadfix. yeah, i'm definitely bringing a cc in case of complete bail-out, but i've ridden some significant climbs fixed (marin headlands, alpine dam, etc.), so i'm HOPING it doesn't come to that.

note : HOPING. haha!

thanks again!
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Old 09-24-08, 11:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by xcapekey View Post
I suggest you read this

http://www.adventurecycling.org/reso...rsen_S240s.pdf

then visit my site: http://epicureancyclist.blogspot.com

seriously though....read GP's piece on S24Os...

for food I can recommend hard cheese and cured meat (parmesian regianno, salami, sopretto)...packs down light and condense...doesn't need refrigeration either...i've lasted 3 days just on that...

during the summer I dont carry a sleeping bag, just a cloth sleep sack...

thermarest pad is a plus

i like to pack a folding camp chair

lots of wool
wow, THANKS, xcapekey! all of this was really helpful. i especially like the s24o article, because it inspired me to do just that in order to get a feel for all this touring business. (sort of how i did lifecycle geared to get a feel for doing it fixed.) i'm definitely going to give an s24o a shot. there's tons of nice little campgrounds up north that i could reserve a spot at for one night and come back the next day. so awesome.

additionally, i liked your blog, because it showed me a handful of ultra-mini food prep tools, which will undoubtedly become necessary for me to know my way around.

again, i really appreciate your thorough attention to my plight.

thanks again.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
There are some lists and ideas for keeping your weight down here.


I did it, gear is under 20lbs

I've toured single speed (not fixed) with 2 freewheels, one on either side of the hub.
It's nice to have a bail out gear.
thanks, nun! yes, i'm going to drop a freewheel on the other side, just in case. i don't wanna blow out my knees, having fun. hahaha!!!

thanks for the list ideas! i'm on it!

i've also been looking at the carradice nelson, so i was especially glad to see your testament to it's usefulness.

thanks again!
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Old 09-24-08, 11:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
On a few of my earliest tours I just brought a sleeping bag and foam mat, plus a few clothes, a pump, tire irons, and a spare tube. I'd buy food at grocery stores along the way. I wouldn't cook. I'd eat something like a can of tuna and a banana for dinner if I was out in the woods. It was kind of fun.
thanks bigbluetoe. this is what i hope to graduate to. but for the first one, and likely the first FEW of these little tours, i'm gonna need to overpack before i know what to skip.

thanks again!
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Old 09-24-08, 11:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
I think low weight, low cost per day and comfort are a balancing act - you can get any two at the cost of the other one.

When you add trip duration into the mix, I usually choose:

short trip: weight = low, comfort - medium-high , cost/day = high (credit card tour, stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, carry minimal clothes & almost no food)

long trip: weight = high, cost/day = low, comfort = medium-high (camp in campgrounds, cook, carry lots of clothes for all contingencies, carry music, maps, book, chair)

I have never managed to sacrifice the comfort on my trips - it's important to me. But if you want, you can get low cost and low weight by being a very minimalist camper, eat out of grocery stores and not restaurants, carry minimal clothes, go dirty a lot (no showers, few changes of clothes)

there are hostels at Pigeon Point, Santa Cruz and Monterey, you could put together a lovely tour if you go south, and not have to camp. Or you can camp at Santa Cruz, BIg Basin, Aptos, Monterey, Big Sur (several places), Pinnacles National Monument... I did something a lot like this, but in the other direction:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...nd&context=all

and it was fantastic. Don't ride nacamiento road on a fixie, though - really steep.

You can find a million gear lists on crazyguyonabike.

Have fun!!!
this was a wonderfully insightful post, valygrl, and i appreciate it. i'm very much of a list-maker (aka OCD), and these varying considerations based on primary goal are right up my alley.

i'll make sure and take your nacamiento advice -- as i told nun above, i'm NOT looking to blow out my knees. i just wanna get away from it all for a minute.

the southern route sounds like a definite future plan for me, and the crazyguyonabike link was really helpful, so thanks!
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Old 09-24-08, 08:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by knucklehead View Post
thanks, nun! yes, i'm going to drop a freewheel on the other side, just in case. i don't wanna blow out my knees, having fun. hahaha!!!

thanks for the list ideas! i'm on it!

i've also been looking at the carradice nelson, so i was especially glad to see your testament to it's usefulness.

thanks again!
The Nelson Longflap is a great bag to get you to think about your load and what to take.
I combine it with a handlebar bad and find that I can carry everything I need

Check out this blog of an ultralight single speed tour

http://pompinos.blogspot.com/

If you are looking for cooking equipment the Trangia alcohol stove is hard to beat
as is the cookwear on

http://www.antigravitygear.com

Sleeping quilts

http://www.jacksrbetter.com

tents

http://www.tarptent.com

clothing

http://www.smartwool.com
http://www.marmot.com
http://www.rapha.cc

The Rapha stuff is outrageously expensive but it's all nice stuff. It's cheaper to buy wool tops from
Smartwool. I use the Smartwool long sleeve zip Ts. But the Rapha fixed and touring shorts are
excellent

Last edited by nun; 09-24-08 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 09-26-08, 12:13 PM   #15
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If you are looking for cooking equipment the Trangia alcohol stove is hard to beat
as is the cookwear on

http://www.antigravitygear.com

tents

http://www.tarptent.com

clothing

http://www.smartwool.com
http://www.marmot.com
http://www.rapha.cc

The Rapha stuff is outrageously expensive but it's all nice stuff. It's cheaper to buy wool tops from
Smartwool. I use the Smartwool long sleeve zip Ts. But the Rapha fixed and touring shorts are
excellent
WOW! the tarptent and antigravity gear links are exceptional, nun, thank you so much.

i agree that the rapha clothing is exorbitantly, in fact, PROHIBITIVELY expensive. i found their site a year or so ago and thought, "beautiful. also, yeahright." but merino is the best, and something i "discovered" only recently, on the AIDS life/cycle. i got a portland cyclewear wool jersey on the suggestion of a friend and found it to be the most exceptional piece of bike clothing i'd ever purchased. it's cool in the warm, it's warm in the cool, and in some magical sheep trick -- it doesn't start to stink till 3 or 4 wears, with proper airing. i was completely floored.

by way of a thank-you for all of your links, i direct you to swiftwick socks -- available in merino or olefin, built with arch support and ankle compression, a padded footbed, and ... wait for it ... UNBRANDED AT THE ANKLE. http://www.swiftwick.com/08/

again, thank you.
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Old 09-26-08, 03:22 PM   #16
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WOW! the tarptent and antigravity gear links are exceptional, nun, thank you so much.

i agree that the rapha clothing is exorbitantly, in fact, PROHIBITIVELY expensive. i found their site a year or so ago and thought, "beautiful. also, yeahright." but merino is the best, and something i "discovered" only recently, on the AIDS life/cycle. i got a portland cyclewear wool jersey on the suggestion of a friend and found it to be the most exceptional piece of bike clothing i'd ever purchased. it's cool in the warm, it's warm in the cool, and in some magical sheep trick -- it doesn't start to stink till 3 or 4 wears, with proper airing. i was completely floored.

by way of a thank-you for all of your links, i direct you to swiftwick socks -- available in merino or olefin, built with arch support and ankle compression, a padded footbed, and ... wait for it ... UNBRANDED AT THE ANKLE. http://www.swiftwick.com/08/

again, thank you.
I have a Portland jersey and it's nice, but the Smartwool T-shirts are even nicer and wash better.
They come in 3 different weights so you can wear one year round. You can machine wash them on the warm cycle many times, although I always just hang them up to dry. Smartwool does some cycling shirts with rear pockets, but I just use the regular T-shirts as they look less weired off the bike.

I got a pair of the Rapha Fixed Shorts as a Christmas present last year, the 3/4 length knickers, and they are the best bit of cycling wear I have. I wear them in all but the hottest of temps. Great fabric, 4 good pockets and very well made

Last edited by nun; 09-26-08 at 03:31 PM.
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