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Old 09-29-08, 06:54 AM   #1
m_yates
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first short tour: packing suggestions?

I am planning a short overnight tour this weekend. It will be my first. I own a touring bike and have put nearly 1900 miles on it commuting this summer, so I am comfortable and confident in the bike. I have a rear rack and rear panniers. I plan on one overnight camping stop. I have:

1. Tent
2. Ground cover
3. Sleeping bag
4. Sleeping pad
5. Two water bottles/cages
6. Spare tube + patch kit
7. Bike lock
8. Spare batteries for lights + flashlight
9. Multi-tool for repairs
10. Clothes

My main question is about food. From other camping/backpacking trips I own a backpacking stove. I'm thinking that for such a short trip, I may be better off just bring cold food, rather than the stove and white fuel. I'll be riding ~120 miles over the weekend and will pass through some towns. I could even probably eat some meals at restaurants. I want to pack a light as possible. Anyone have food suggestions or anything else I should watch out for?
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Old 09-29-08, 07:17 AM   #2
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I'll be riding ~120 miles over the weekend and will pass through some towns. I could even probably eat some meals at restaurants. I want to pack a light as possible. Anyone have food suggestions or anything else I should watch out for?
I tend to cook/carry breakfast and dinner, and have lunch/coffee as a socializing event on my tours. Breakfast can be yogurt; or bran cereal, which is heavier and packs well; or eggs, which I can carry and cook successfully. French bread stores well and makes a nice breakfast addition with its carbo hit.

For dinner, on such a short trip, hard to say. Mac and Cheese and a can of pork n' beans are easy to fix. Or you can pick up a sausage and some veggies (onion, potato, tomato) and fry them all together and let them simmer down to a stew.

NOw it is true you might not want to cook on such a short trip. So breakfast can be yogurt and/or cereal. For dinner, i find that so many convenience stores and Subways offer great sandwiches/subs for $5.00. I get the footlong and devour it for dinner.

Pick up the dinner items near the end of the day so ya don't carry them all day long.

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Old 09-29-08, 04:37 PM   #3
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you will def. save weight if you eat out instead of bringing the stove. For me questions like this always come down to how much money do I want to spend? Also if you are camping someplace you can have a fire you can cook with the fire, a friend of mine would just put unopened cans of beans near the fire until they were warm on the outside then open them. Instant hot beans. this works unless it rains.

also are you a coffee addict? waking up on a cool morning with a warm breakfeast and hot coffee is kind of nice after sleeping outside.

hardboiled eggs. Hardboiled eggs offer quick energy packed into a small container their cheap too. I also like to make my own energy breads. They are simple quick breads with oats, flax flour, dried fruit and nuts. Cheaper then cliff bars and I have more control over their taste.

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 09-29-08, 04:40 PM   #4
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For me, even on a single-nighter, part of the fun is cooking some food over a stove. I would definitely take the stove.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:07 PM   #5
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I did a camping trip this weekend. I brought along a stove and was glad I did because the hot tea was a great refreshment. However, if it's your first trip and you are still trying to figure out weight and organizing everything and trying to get your tent sent up after a long day in the saddle, maybe you should take a pass on the stove for the first trip. Carry a small thermos and fill up at a gas station.

Also, I'm not sure where you live, but I left with temps near 80 F, but was very glad that I brought along a winter base layer and a jacket. It gets cold at night around here.
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Old 09-29-08, 10:11 PM   #6
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Where is your trip? Are you the type who has to have hot meals? Do you get cold easily? Is rain in the forecast? If yes to either of these questions, you might lean towards bringing it.

Otherwise, I'd leave it at home. Bring enough calories for the usual refueling, plus enough (a meal's worth?) in case you break down for longer than you expect. Include chocolate or something else with sugar in it in case you get hypothermic. If you're able, eat enough food at camp in the AM on day to get you to the next town, splurge on a hot breakfast, and pedal home.

Besides, you should keep some spare room in the panniers, in case of an emergency, such as you pass by a bakery that sells too-good-to-pass-up-cookies and need to buy some to eat later in the day.

Once you have the load and calorie requirements for the short trip figured out, you can build up for a longer trip, to try out the stove + food.
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Old 09-30-08, 02:27 AM   #7
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I suggest when you are out there think about all the weight you hauled along with you.

of course you need to be comfortable or have a purpose (hauling camera gear).

Look towards a raw diet Beef Jerky, apricots, oats, trail mix, carrots, lettuce and the famous P&J flour tortillas. I lived off this and more heavy raw foods for 83 days and yes restaurants helped a small portion. Mainly protein when there was a restaurant around.

Have fun!

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Old 09-30-08, 05:10 AM   #8
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For me, I need my coffee. So for a weekender, I might bring a stove and some instant coffee teabags. It shouldn't be that much weight.
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Old 09-30-08, 05:47 AM   #9
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For a 2-3 day trip where you want to bring the minimum, I'd eat out and only carry energy bars, maybe some powder for energy drinks.

I would also ditch the ground cloth, unless your tent floor is shot. I also like to bring a little radio, so I can check the news when I'm breaking camp.
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Old 09-30-08, 08:43 AM   #10
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For my needs and tastes, bringing a stove is the way to go. I use it for cooking dinner, making coffee, and making first breakfast in the morning.

I'm always hungry on a bike trip. I often can't make it through the night without a 2 am snack, and I can't pack all my stuff up in the morning and ride to a restaurant on an empty stomach. I also don't like to get back on my bike once I arrive at a campsite for the night.

I carry coffee, oatmeal packets, something to munch on for a 2 am snack, and buy something for dinner at the last store possible before reaching my campsite. I cook dinner in camp. Once I get off my bike and unpack, I'm very loathe to get back on it to ride to a restaurant. My two most common dinners are a can of chili and salad-in-a-bag, and chicken/ramen soup with salad-in-a-bag. I don't make big pasta dinners because I'm diabetic and too much pasta is bad for me.

I get up in the morning, brew some coffee, and start packing. I make some oatmeal, which fills my tummy enough to get all packed and ride a few miles. I find a restaurant where I can buy second breakfast. Lunch is either in a restaurant or I buy a sandwich at a deli.

I use this same routine, even on overnight tours. Years ago I didn't bring a stove and ate tuna out of a can, beef jerkey, apples and bananas, raw broccoli, etc. You can do that and survive just fine.

You'll be okay whichever plan you follow, as long as you take into account how much your appetite will grow on a bike tour. Make sure you have plenty of food!
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Old 09-30-08, 10:01 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of the good advice. The trip is along the western portion of the Erie Canal. It is through a lot of farmland, but towns aren't spread that far apart in this part of the country. The weather forecast is calling for a low temperature of ~43 degrees the night I am camping. The high temperatures over the weekend will be around 60. I'm going to have to bring some layers of clothes. I'm a little concerned about packing enough clothes to stay warm at night, but it is not going to be brutally cold. 60 degrees during the day is actually about perfect for me for biking.

Although it would be nice to wake up to a warm pot of oatmeal and hot coffee, I think I am going to leave the stove and fuel. I discovered that the place I am camping has free hot showers and there is a diner less than 1 mile away. I should have everything together today and will try test-loading up my bike tomorrow. My plan is to take some pre-made mac and cheese + tuna for dinner, and lots of high energy snacks as suggested here. Lunch and breakfast will be eaten out. The campsite is free, so I shouldn't be spending much for this excursion.

I'm excited about giving this a try. Hopefully I'll like it and be able to take a little longer tour next season.
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Old 10-06-08, 06:07 AM   #12
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I completed the trip this weekend. Thanks for the advice. The food worked out fine, and my gear worked well too. I posted a journal at crazy guy on a bike: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/4327
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Old 10-06-08, 06:32 AM   #13
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It looks like you had fun. Are you hooked now?
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Old 10-06-08, 06:40 AM   #14
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I completed the trip this weekend. Thanks for the advice. The food worked out fine, and my gear worked well too. I posted a journal at crazy guy on a bike: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/4327
Very nice report. I'll have to do that trip sometime. Thanks for making me consider another tour!
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Old 10-06-08, 06:44 AM   #15
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Along with the hard boiled eggs, cheese travels well without refrigeration, and a loaf of french bread helps make you breakfast and supper. Along with a can of beans, hot or cold, and you are all set for the overnight. Don't forget the salt! It's really nice to eat supper and breakfast in the campsite, even if you pick up a Sub on the way during late afternoon.

p.s. Most farmers will let you pitch your tent in the yard, if you ask, and might even invite you to supper or breakfast.....
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Old 10-06-08, 09:39 AM   #16
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It looks like you had fun. Are you hooked now?
I am kind of hooked, and now want more bike stuff. I really would like a lighter tent, front rack, and clothes. My plan is to complete the rest of the Erie Canal next summer. It should be possible in 4-5 days of bike travel. I'll have to keep commuting by bike to save gas money for more bike stuff.

The touring trip was fun. The scenery was pretty, and it was peaceful with lots of wildlife in the most rural sections. It is a great feeling traveling along on your own power and knowing that you have everything needed to stay warm, dry, and fed. I've backpacked the Grand Canyon before. Bike touring reminds me of backpacking, except you can cover a lot more ground. I told my wife that it would be great to bike tour as a family, but my children will need to be a lot older.
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Old 10-07-08, 03:41 PM   #17
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Medina Falls? I didn't know there was a village in New York named after me.
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Old 10-08-08, 06:12 AM   #18
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Medina Falls? I didn't know there was a village in New York named after me.
Except around here they pronounce it "mah-DINE-uh".

I had never seen the web site you linked. It describes the falls as "not very pleasing to the eye". The funniest part of the web page is "The water flowing over the falls looks dirty from the canal towpath above, and a trip down to the creek bed below confirms it. Litter is everywhere, and where there aren't bottles and socks, the water leaves behind a smelly grime that coats everything." I think the web page author was having a bad day when visiting the falls. That is not how it looked to me. It was clean and the setting was very pretty.
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Old 10-08-08, 10:04 AM   #19
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That looks like a fun trip m_yates! I'm planning one for next spring that'll mostly be off-road.

As for clothes, I suggest going to the local Goodwill store and buying a set of merino wool layers. I have a pair of wool trousers cut off below the knee, a wool sweater, and a wool pendelton-type shirt. Total cost was less than $15. Then, I just bought a wool t-shirt for about $50. This is also my set up for regular backpacking trips into the backcountry, btw. The wool wicks away sweat from your skin, but still insulates against cold. It also is cooler than cotton in hot temperatures. It's resistant to damp and mist. And, it won't smell. I don't like the synthetic stuff at all and am switching over to wool even for my morning runs, but that's just my opinion.

My regular backcountry tent should work fine, but I'm keeping my eye open for a solo bivy tent.
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Old 10-08-08, 11:37 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by m_yates View Post
I am planning a short overnight tour this weekend. It will be my first. I own a touring bike and have put nearly 1900 miles on it commuting this summer, so I am comfortable and confident in the bike. I have a rear rack and rear panniers. I plan on one overnight camping stop. I have:

1. Tent
2. Ground cover
3. Sleeping bag
4. Sleeping pad
5. Two water bottles/cages
6. Spare tube + patch kit
7. Bike lock
8. Spare batteries for lights + flashlight
9. Multi-tool for repairs
10. Clothes

My main question is about food. From other camping/backpacking trips I own a backpacking stove. I'm thinking that for such a short trip, I may be better off just bring cold food, rather than the stove and white fuel. I'll be riding ~120 miles over the weekend and will pass through some towns. I could even probably eat some meals at restaurants. I want to pack a light as possible. Anyone have food suggestions or anything else I should watch out for?
For a weekend trip I'd just eat in restaurants and have cold food in camp. For longer I like stuff like couscous and dried soups because they are lightweight and cook quickly. For a gear list here's
a link to mine. For a short trip you can probably cut out some of the clothes.

I did it, gear is under 20lbs
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Old 10-08-08, 01:16 PM   #21
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I am kind of hooked, and now want more bike stuff. I really would like a lighter tent, front rack, and clothes. My plan is to complete the rest of the Erie Canal next summer. It should be possible in 4-5 days of bike travel. I'll have to keep commuting by bike to save gas money for more bike stuff.

The touring trip was fun. The scenery was pretty, and it was peaceful with lots of wildlife in the most rural sections. It is a great feeling traveling along on your own power and knowing that you have everything needed to stay warm, dry, and fed. I've backpacked the Grand Canyon before. Bike touring reminds me of backpacking, except you can cover a lot more ground. I told my wife that it would be great to bike tour as a family, but my children will need to be a lot older.
Yea one mode away from bieng a pedestrian, only you can carry more stuff

great job.
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