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  1. #1
    Member justintime's Avatar
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    Newb looking for some advice

    I am looking to do my first week long tour across Missouri this June. Currently I don't have any touring specific gear, though I do have a good touring bike equipped with a rack.

    My questions are these:

    What is a good inexpensive set of panniers? It does rain some in Missouri in June so it could be possible that I may be riding in some rain. I don't have the option of moving the dates of my tour due to inclement weather, so some water resistance would be a plus. I know I could always wrap all my stuff in plastic bags inside the panniers; I am not against going this rout to save money.

    I will be camping outdoors along the way; what are some good options for sleeping outdoors? I need some sort of bedding and shelter but again, I don't want to spend a lot of money. I know that one can buy touring specific tents and sleeping bags that are small and lightweight, but I also know that these can be very expensive. Are there any good alternatives, or maybe some good inexpensive ones?

    What would your bring along for a week long tour in 60-80 degree weather?

    This is my first real tour and I'm not sure how much I will be touring in the future so I don't want to spend a bunch of money on gear that I may not use much. I'm just looking for some options that will get me through this tour semi-comfortably so I can get my feet wet and see if this is something I would like to get more in to doing in the future. If I knew someone who had some of this stuff I would just see about borrowing it but I don't, so that is not an option.

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    -justintime

  2. #2
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    Cheap and water proof, bucket panniers. There are lots of tutorials on how to make panniers with 5 gallon buckets. My friend used this kind of setup on a month long tour last year and was happy. Actually if you look at the last page of the loaded bike sticky you will see a bike with bucket panniers.

    As far as gear, it is more or less the same as backpacking gear, with the exception of some extra tools for the bike. Also you can carry a little bit more weight than backpacking, for some extra comfort items. Personally I am not a fan of buying the cheapest gear I can find because in the end it will be more expensive than just buying quality in the beginning. If you are not sure you will want to continue touring you could try renting some gear from an outdoor shop, such as REI. If you are a member of REI than the rentals aren't too expensive.

    As far as packing lists, I will not really list mine because you can find plenty of them on this site and on others. Plus, my packing list is currently changing as I am trying to carry only more essential gear. During my tour last summer I took a bit too much stuff.
    Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.

  3. #3
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.
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    Two links to making bucket panniers.

    Instead of camping, check couchsurfing.com or warmshowers.org for people who might host you (for free). You may still have to take camping gear, but you might get a bed every night!

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    I second the bucket panniers. They are cheap and easy to make. Flip them over and you have a stool and table.
    Two Wheels One Love

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Taking the tone of your question literally, and not arguing the philosophy behind it, do your shopping at Walmart online for inexpensive camping gear to stuff into the bucket panniers. Strap a foam sleeping pad to the rack top. It's all there. Skip the sleeping bag. For those temps, a flannel sheet or fleece blanket will suffice. Take a running suit along to wear at night if it gets a little chilly. Use a small stuff sack for clothing. It can double as a pillow.

    Should touring turn out to be a serious hobby, your experience with the cheap gear will help you decide how you want to upgrade.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  6. #6
    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    Hey, what are your start and end points?

    There's ample camping and several hostels on the Katy trail, plenty of inexpensive places to eat also.

    Bucket panniers are great, Go that route. Carry a tarp with rope and some extra clothes and you could skip a tent/bag. Skeeters might eat you alive, though.

    Shelter can be simple, everything else is for comfort really.
    You've got a bike, so you gotta move.

  7. #7
    Member justintime's Avatar
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    I am actually meeting up with some friends who are riding the TransAm trail. I am going to ride with them across Missouri.

    I have ridden the Katy Trail before, did the whole thing in three days. There are lots of good places to camp along it, that is true. I used a child's bike trailer to pull all of my and my wifes gear on that trip. I do not want to do that again. It has a spring mechanism between the trailer and the bike and I could feel it pulling back against me with every peddle stroke.

    I may try the bucket pannier route. I just don't want to end up messing up my bike with them, but it looks like many people have implemented them with success.

    I have read some things about people using Tyvek for different applications. Would this work well as a tarp to sleep under?

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