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  1. #1
    Ceci n'est pas un vélo. mtclifford's Avatar
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    What unnecessary comfort do you bring on tour with you?

    Just curious about this. I was packing for my trip along the GAP and C&O on Thursday and had whittled down my gear from my last tour. I dropped a lot of clothes, but the one thing I can't give up is my netbook. Yeah it weights 5 pounds and takes up space but since I suffer from insomnia it helps to keep my from going crazy if I wake up in the middle of the woods at 2am and can't get back to sleep.

    Just curious what other people bring along that they know is completely unnecessary but they wouldn't travel without.

  2. #2
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    All things are completely unnecessary except of money, passport, flight ticket and bike. I carry 40 kg unnecessary suff with me First aid kit, tools and spare parts are things that I even don't like to use on tour
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

  3. #3
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I carried about 30 pounds of stuff on my last tour and most of it wasn't necessary. A few of the unnecessary items were:
    1. Second set of bike clothes
    2. Camera
    3. Cellphone
    4. Palm sized internet tablet (N800 7 ounces)
    5. iPod Shuffle full of audio books
    6. Cooking gear
    7. Pillow
    8. Crocs

  4. #4
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I carried about 30 pounds of stuff on my last tour and most of it wasn't necessary. A few of the unnecessary items were:
    1. Second set of bike clothes
    I'm sure those that rode behind and downwind of you wouldn't see this one as unnecessary

  5. #5
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    The two biggest unnecessary things I bring are photo equipment (including tripod) and hiking shoes, although I'd be flotting in the sea if it weren't for the shoes. I could say the bike shoes are the unnecessary items. Photography is equally, if not more important than biking for me so I wouldn't travel without it.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  6. #6
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
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    A small laptop, at least on propose.

    As a fairly new tourer I always find I have unnecessary stuff. Every ride I reduce the stuff down.

  7. #7
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    All my comforts that I pack are necessary or else I wouldn't bring them

  8. #8
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I carry a couple of pounds of beads - along with needles and thread and such - in my panniers. But I'm a bead artist and that is what I do - so it is worth it to me! You can see my beadwork here: www.familyonbikes.org/beads
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  9. #9
    Senior Member yeamac's Avatar
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    Depends on if you want to define a necessity more broadly or more narrowly.

    Narrowly almost everything is unnecessary as Johny states above.

    More broadly, I'm with VT Speed, anything that you determine you need for your tour is a necessity. Multi-tool gives me peace of mind, even though I may not even use it (hopefully). Necessity. Camera is a necessity, because I am not going to tour and see all these neat things without recording the images to show people later. Laptop, for under a week tour I can do without and just write a journal when I get home. But if your laptop keeps you from going crazy while you have insomnia, I'd classify that as a necessity.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    It's only unnecessary if you don't use it I've used everything I carry at least once on all of my tours. That includes the overly stocked toolkit that I carry in my Camelbak. On my last trip, I even needed the spoke wrench to tweak a wheel that I foolishly built but didn't ride before touring
    Stuart Black
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  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR View Post
    All my comforts that I pack are necessary or else I wouldn't bring them
    +1

    But if we're talking luxuries here, over the years I've discovered I can tour without these items, but I prefer to tour with them:

    1) Three inflatable pillows, rather than just one or none

    2) Wool socks, the heavy and warm kind, not the little-bitty cycling socks

    I like to be warm and comfortable when I sleep!! If I have a bad night's sleep, I'll have a rough day cycling the next day.


    BTW - instead of a laptop on a tour, Rowan and I have used his pocketmail. It's a whole lot smaller and lighter!! We can type emails at any time of the day, and "mail" them whenever we get to a phone. If I want to type a journal, I can email the daily stories to myself to post on my website later using the pocketmail as well.

    And if I want to access the internet to check BF or whatever, I can do that at a library along the way.

  12. #12
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    In the lines of luxury: a small hip flask full of Single Malt Scotch. It's not a necessity, and the timing has to be just right. But on every tour, I've had at least one "perfect" night for it, usually by an open fire by a lake or river. I've finished a good meal, then have a cup of strong black tea with honey and a sip of Scotch. It never tastes better.

    --J
    Last edited by Juha; 09-16-09 at 01:39 AM.
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

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  13. #13
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    ...Single Malt Scotch. It's not a necessity...
    not so a bad choice Sometimes even necessary...
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

  14. #14
    It's true, man.
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    +1 on the Scotch.
    and maybe a cigar.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I carry a small Thermarest pillow. It's so much more comfortable than wadded up clothes in a stuff sack, and it weighs little.

    The other thing is coffee, a one-cup coffee funnel, filters, and a plastic travel mug. Sure, I could probably wait until I got on the road in the morning to stop and get a cup of coffee, but I wouldn't be as contented if I couldn't brew myself a cup whenever I want.

  16. #16
    Learning as I go.
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    a small pair of good binoculars and a bird book...

  17. #17
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    I carry a small Thermarest pillow. It's so much more comfortable than wadded up clothes in a stuff sack, and it weighs little..
    I've been battling with this one... I bought a new sleeping bag which came with a free present... a blow-uppable travel pillow which is so horribly comfortable that I'll take it with me next tour... gonna miss that aching neck in the mornings

  18. #18
    deep stuff brucewiley's Avatar
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    My candle lantern, it seems so soothing to read by or just have it on in my campsite at night.

  19. #19
    Senior Member huie's Avatar
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    I always bring five juggling balls with me. Doesn't help me out while cycling but it's a great way for me to clear my mind and pass the night away.

  20. #20
    One legged rider
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    I always bring a whole set of books, usually three or four. Ive always been a bookworm, and even though they are heavy as can be, I always carry them, usually some novel, some nonfiction science book or something, and some sort of nature manual like edible plants or tree guide or something like that. Backpacking too, I even carried them in Iraq and Afghanistan when I was in the army and people made fun of me for it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    To be honest, I barely take any luxuries at all with me. I took a netbook on my last tour, but that was so I could do work on the train to and from the start.

    Hmm, I'm seriously trying to think of anything unnecessary I bring... occasionally a thin book. Coffee bags maybe. I bring a compact camera, but I wouldn't call that a luxury.

    Oh...I guess the Exped Downmat 7 is a luxury, because I could definitely get by with a foam mat. But god dang it's comfortable

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by huie View Post
    I always bring five juggling balls with me.
    Kudos if you can juggle 5. Never got there myself. Plateaued at a shakey 4 ball shower and a few 5 ball multiplex patterns.

  23. #23
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I've always wanted a guitar with me but it's too bulky and heavy. I'm thinking of taking up the mandolin.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I carried about 30 pounds of stuff on my last tour and most of it wasn't necessary. A few of the unnecessary items were:
    1. Second set of bike clothes
    2. Camera
    3. Cellphone
    4. Palm sized internet tablet (N800 7 ounces)
    5. iPod Shuffle full of audio books
    6. Cooking gear
    7. Pillow
    8. Crocs
    I haven't toured since the early Sony Walkman era, but I consider my I-pod (or Walkman) a necessity and don't leave home without it. Pretty much the same for cell phone, and less the camera.

  25. #25
    afoot and lighthearted Boondock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    I've always wanted a guitar with me but it's too bulky and heavy. I'm thinking of taking up the mandolin.
    I bought a BOB trailer for touring just so I could bring my ukulele. A ukulele is tuned exactly like the first four strings of a guitar with a capo on the fifth fret. (so, all the chord forms are the same, a D chord on the guitar is a G chord on the uke so it's an easy transition for guitar players) A soprano uke is 20 inches long and in a soft gig bag, easily fits inside the Bob drybag if anybody was curious.

    Last edited by Boondock; 09-17-09 at 12:10 PM.

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