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  1. #1
    Randonneur in Training B.Alive's Avatar
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    Gear advice for my first tour.

    I'm hoping to make the trip from Pittsburgh to DC on the GAP and C&O trails this fall. Since this will be my fist tour, I don't have any gear except my bike!!! (A 2010 Jamis Coda Sport)

    The trip will take place if I can amass the equipment needed before I have the time carved out. So far, here's what I've come up with: (I plan on camping to save $$)

    Bold items still need to be purchased

    1. Trailer (purchased used from friend-just need to go pick it up)
    2. Tent and Ground Cloth (looking at Eureka Forte SQ 2 at Campmor)
    3. Sleeping Pad (Purchased)
    4. Sleeping Bag (may need new one depending on total weight of the rest of items)
    5. Camp stove (looking at the MSR Pocket Rocket)
    6. Cookware (Looking at GSI Pinnacle Soloist which has pot, cup, and spoon)
    7. 2 tubes for bike, 1 tube for trailer
    8. Tire Patch kit
    9. Multi tool which has tire levers, spoke wrench, and chain tool
    10. Personal Hygiene items
    11. 1 Extra Cycling Kit (will wash by hand one kit every day-so 1 on me and 1 packed)
    12. Crocs or gym shoes
    13. Jacket
    14. 1 pair of long pants
    15. 1 long sleeve shirt (wicking for on and off bike)
    16. Rain Gear
    17. Cell Phone and Charger
    18. Battery Powered USB charger
    19. Bike light
    20. Head Lamp
    21. Camp/Backpack Axe
    22. Pocket Knife
    23. Towel
    24. Laundry Detergent for clothes
    25. Chamois Creme
    26. Small soft sided cooler for grocery runs
    27. 4 Water bottles
    28. Some food (I have Celiac disease and have to eat gluten free. This may be a challenge.)

    I'm sure I'm missing something and have items I don't need. Any suggestions would be great!!!!
    ---
    Ride on,
    Brad

    2010 Jamis Coda Sport

    My first bike tour could be this fall! Pittsburgh to DC October 2011???

  2. #2
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Alive View Post
    I'm hoping to make the trip from Pittsburgh to DC on the GAP and C&O trails this fall. Since this will be my fist tour, I don't have any gear except my bike!!! (A 2010 Jamis Coda Sport)

    The trip will take place if I can amass the equipment needed before I have the time carved out. So far, here's what I've come up with: (I plan on camping to save $$)

    Bold items still need to be purchased

    1. Trailer (purchased used from friend-just need to go pick it up)
    2. Tent and Ground Cloth (looking at Eureka Forte SQ 2 at Campmor)
    3. Sleeping Pad (Purchased)
    4. Sleeping Bag (may need new one depending on total weight of the rest of items)
    5. Camp stove (looking at the MSR Pocket Rocket)
    6. Cookware (Looking at GSI Pinnacle Soloist which has pot, cup, and spoon)
    7. 2 tubes for bike, 1 tube for trailer
    8. Tire Patch kit
    9. Multi tool which has tire levers, spoke wrench, and chain tool
    10. Personal Hygiene items
    11. 1 Extra Cycling Kit (will wash by hand one kit every day-so 1 on me and 1 packed)
    12. Crocs or gym shoes
    13. Jacket
    14. 1 pair of long pants
    15. 1 long sleeve shirt (wicking for on and off bike)
    16. Rain Gear
    17. Cell Phone and Charger
    18. Battery Powered USB charger
    19. Bike light
    20. Head Lamp
    21. Camp/Backpack Axe
    22. Pocket Knife
    23. Towel
    24. Laundry Detergent for clothes
    25. Chamois Creme
    26. Small soft sided cooler for grocery runs
    27. 4 Water bottles
    28. Some food (I have Celiac disease and have to eat gluten free. This may be a challenge.)

    I'm sure I'm missing something and have items I don't need. Any suggestions would be great!!!!

    Camp Ax: Since you'll have a stove, why bring one?
    Head Lamp + Bike Light: If you can buy/fabricate a bike mount for your headlamp, you'll save some weight and space. :-)
    4 water bottles seems excessive: I've never been on those routes, but IIRC, you're never really far from civilization and resupply resources

    Additional items:
    Maps
    Lock
    I prefer to have a separate set of sleeping clothes ( tee + boxers )
    Lighter
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  3. #3
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    You don't need chamois cream. You don't need more than one pair of shoes. If you're a clipless user, mountain bike shoes will suffice. You don't need more than one type of detergent, bar soap will work for your body, cookware, and clothing. I can vouch for the GSI Soloist, it's a great pot. You don't need a soft sided cooler. You need a seperate set of sleeping clothes, such as a shirt and a pair of boxers. You need some type of off bike clothing, normally a regular pair of shorts. You can use some beach shorts for this purpose and have them double as swimming trunks. You need to have enough socks so you can have a clean pair each day.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  4. #4
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan View Post
    You don't need chamois cream. You don't need more than one pair of shoes. If you're a clipless user, mountain bike shoes will suffice. You don't need more than one type of detergent, bar soap will work for your body, cookware, and clothing. I can vouch for the GSI Soloist, it's a great pot. You don't need a soft sided cooler. You need a seperate set of sleeping clothes, such as a shirt and a pair of boxers. You need some type of off bike clothing, normally a regular pair of shorts. You can use some beach shorts for this purpose and have them double as swimming trunks. You need to have enough socks so you can have a clean pair each day.
    Regarding shoes: All of my tours last summer were using SPD sandals. So no need for socks, very walkable, and perfectly usable in dry or wet weather.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Alive View Post
    1. Trailer (purchased used from friend-just need to go pick it up)
    How many wheels? There was a thread or two a while back cautioning against two-wheeled trailers on the C&O.

  6. #6
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    Since you're in a place with plenty of trees, check out a hammock instead of a tent. It's without a doubt the most comfortable way to camp. Not quite as comfy as a bed (though some like it more) but in a completely different league than the ground in terms of comfort and how well you sleep.

    I have a Grand Trunk Ultralight Skeeter Beeter which has a bug net integrated and all you need to add is a tarp for rain/wind cover. I'd get a pretty big one that can give you a little "porch" area and a place to stow your bike in case of overnight rain as well. Hammockforums.net has lots of people that can tell you all about hammocking. The hammock I have cost 60 bucks new, weighs like 20 ounces, and is fantastic except for the stock suspension, which will do, but you'll want to upgrade it if you find you like it and want to continue.

    You still need a sleeping pad and sleeping bag in a hammock, for insulation, although hammock nerds usually replace it with a "top quilt" (the ultralight answer to sleeping bag which has no bottom, since the bottom does you no good anyway) and an "underquilt" to keep you warm from below by covering the hammock from the outside. A sleeping mat under you does the same thing, but, and I know as I've used one, it can be real annoying to try and keep it from shifting out under you.

    As for the other stuff, hard to go wrong, just buy reputable brands and products with good reviews. Unless you're trying to go light or ultralight (worth thinking about) it's hard to make a real bad purchase.

  7. #7
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Get it all together and go for an overnight test tour.

    Cancel the axe.
    Add three pair of socks.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  8. #8
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I would get a saw instead of an ax. I'll tell you what happened to one of my friends. He was out in the boundary waters and a tree fell on top of him and landed on his pack. He was basically pinned underneath the tree with just enough breathing room to grab his saw. Slowly he sawed away at the trunk until he got out. He said he would never have been able to do it with an ax.

    Never camp near dead trees. We call these widowmakers.

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    3. Sleeping Pad (Purchased) - Depending on your budget... Thermarest NeoAir (nice, but $$$) or Thermarest Prolite Plus (nice enough)
    4. Sleeping Bag (may need new one depending on total weight of the rest of items) - The North Face Cat's Meow is a very nice bag if you like synthetic
    5. Camp stove (looking at the MSR Pocket Rocket) - The Pocket Rocket is a nice stove. That said I usually use a home made pepsi can alcohol stove because fuel is much easier to find in much of the US. That may not be an issue for you though depending on where you plan to tour in the future.
    13. Jacket - I usually just take a pile sweater and use the rain jacket over it if it is cold. Lately I have started taking a down vest that is used mostly as a pillow, but if it is unexpectedly cold... I think I paid something like $30 for it from Cabelas.
    16. Rain Gear - I like the cheapish coated nylon ones that come in a little stuff sack. I think mine is Sierra Designs.
    21. Camp/Backpack Axe - Seriously? That is one item that I have never even considered.
    24. Laundry Detergent for clothes - I usually take only one kind of soap and use it for body, dishes, and laundry. I have used on different trips, camp suds, dr bronners, and baby shampoo. All worked OK.
    25. Chamois Creme - Never felt the to take this need myself.
    26. Small soft sided cooler for grocery runs - Personally I'd skip this one.
    27. 4 Water bottles - I typically take two on the frame and where necessary carry additional water in recycled gatorade bottles in the pannier. I just stop and fill the bike bottles once in a while. Be aware that some of the pumps on the C&O have absolutely awful tasting water and others are OK.

  10. #10
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    Cooking stuff: salt, pepper, herbs, spices, flexi cutting board/prep surface, olive oil. Smallest wooden spoon.
    Cooler: I prefer a minimalist backpack (no padding) for grocery runs and luggage over-spill.
    Insect repellant.
    First aid kit (cuts, grazes, infections) with small scissors/tweezers.
    Pocket knife: is it big enough for food prep, does it have can/bottle openers, screwdrivers etc.
    Length of ducktape, few zip ties, 5-10m parachord, chain powerlink.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    +1 on losing the axe and the cooler.

    Laundry detergent? What are you going to be washing during such a relatively short trip? We just got back from 9 days of riding in Montana. Washed the bilke clothes in showers (and once in a river) with Camp Suds, which you can do dishes, wash your body and even brush your teeth with. (Don't take the enitre bottle. Put what you think you will need a small, plastic bottle.) Didn't wash the off-bike stuff.

    +1 on the cooking stuff noted directly above if you like to prepare elaborate meals.

    No short pants? What if you get a warm fall day? Suggest a pair of convertible pants. The kind with the legs that zip off. Kill two birds with one stone.

    If you will using potentially skeevy showers, a cheap-o pair of flip flops come in handy and weigh next to nothing. Strap them under the bungees that hold your tent to the rack.

    +1 on the Cat's Meow. Worked great on my recent tour. TR ProLite 3 (or whatever the modern equivalent is these days) is also nice.

  12. #12
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    For the sleeping pad, I'm a fan of the old style closed cell foam pads. They cost a fraction of a new inflatable pad and weigh less to boot.

  13. #13
    Randonneur in Training B.Alive's Avatar
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    Thanks folks!

    I'm actually going to change out my road pedals to SPD this weekend. Looking at Shimano A-530 for the dual side. Probably going to get a pair of stiff soled Shimano M077 shoes (if they feel good) to go with them.

    So scrap the camp ax! Crocs can double as flip flops in the shower. Add maps/itinerary, lock, sleep/off bike clothes, don't know how I missed socks, my Go Lite pack in place of cooler, duct tape, zip ties, cord, and multi use soap!

    Great advice!!!
    ---
    Ride on,
    Brad

    2010 Jamis Coda Sport

    My first bike tour could be this fall! Pittsburgh to DC October 2011???

  14. #14
    train safe buelito's Avatar
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    I have done the C&O and have friends who have done the whole thing from Pittsburg to DC... not sure why you need a map. From what I have heard, once at the trail head, it is very difficult to 'get lost'... You definitely don't need a map on the C&O-- just follow the path downstream

    train safe-
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  15. #15
    Randonneur in Training B.Alive's Avatar
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    Well, not really a map. More of a "where the campgrounds are" kind of a thing.
    ---
    Ride on,
    Brad

    2010 Jamis Coda Sport

    My first bike tour could be this fall! Pittsburgh to DC October 2011???

  16. #16
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    I will sell you my Pocket Rocket stove. I want something that doesn't sound like a jet engine. I'm also tired of fuel cannisters. I may get a Trangia or a multi-fuel stove. Compare the Pocket Rocket with some other stoves before you buy.

  17. #17
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buelito View Post
    I have done the C&O and have friends who have done the whole thing from Pittsburg to DC... not sure why you need a map. From what I have heard, once at the trail head, it is very difficult to 'get lost'... You definitely don't need a map on the C&O-- just follow the path downstream

    train safe-
    Not particularly for the trail itself, but sometimes stuff happens and an area map is useful for being able to tell 911 where you're waiting for the ambulance with your broken leg. ;-)
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    Not particularly for the trail itself, but sometimes stuff happens and an area map is useful for being able to tell 911 where you're waiting for the ambulance with your broken leg. ;-)
    Also useful in deour situation and if you othwerise need/want to leave the trail for one reason or another.

  19. #19
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Alive View Post
    Well, not really a map. More of a "where the campgrounds are" kind of a thing.
    Go to ATAtrail.org and you can get maps of the GAP. Bike Washington has a detailed C & O site complete with maps.

    I think you mentioned you were considering 60 mile days. Starting in McKeesport that breaks down to:

    Night 1: Confluence (Outflow Campground)

    Night 2: Cumberland (either ride to the first hiker biker site outside town or camp at the YMCA.)

    Night 3: Hancock area (one of the hiker/biker sites.)

    Night 4. Harpers Ferry area (one of the hiker/biker sites or the city-run campground in Brunswick.)

  20. #20
    Randonneur in Training B.Alive's Avatar
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    Awesome Neil!!!

    Those are the points I planned on staying, I've loosely researched the campgrounds. This is a HUGE help!!!

    So, there are free sites in the Cumberland, Hancock, and Harpers Ferry area? Wonder if there's a truck stop near by for showers?

    Wish you could make the trip with me.
    ---
    Ride on,
    Brad

    2010 Jamis Coda Sport

    My first bike tour could be this fall! Pittsburgh to DC October 2011???

  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Alive View Post
    Awesome Neil!!!

    Those are the points I planned on staying, I've loosely researched the campgrounds. This is a HUGE help!!!

    So, there are free sites in the Cumberland, Hancock, and Harpers Ferry area? Wonder if there's a truck stop near by for showers?

    Wish you could make the trip with me.
    The first hiker/biker is, IIRC, about five miles past Cumberland. Train noise is allegedly a problem along the trails and particularly near Cumberland. Bring earplugs. No showers near any of the hiker/biker sites, but there should be a cistern pump and a chemical toilet.

    BTW, the YMCA camping was cheap, and you can use the gym and showers across the street.

  22. #22
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spike57 View Post
    I will sell you my Pocket Rocket stove. I want something that doesn't sound like a jet engine. I'm also tired of fuel cannisters. I may get a Trangia or a multi-fuel stove. Compare the Pocket Rocket with some other stoves before you buy.
    Multi-fuel stoves weigh a good bit more, and then you have extra fuel bottles to deal with, and while alcohol stoves are light (for short trips) and quite, they really limit you to forms of cooking that only involve boiling water. I'm rather a fan of canister stoves, so long as you are in a place where canisters are easy to come by.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Spudd's Avatar
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    Sorry to butt in on your thread, but can folks tell me why you're so anti-cooler? We're leaving for a month long tour in a week or so and were planning to bring a small soft-sided cooler for putting fruits/frozen dinners/etc in. (Will be touring in Sweden, where a common feature of campgrounds is a communal microwave.)

  24. #24
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudd View Post
    Sorry to butt in on your thread, but can folks tell me why you're so anti-cooler? We're leaving for a month long tour in a week or so and were planning to bring a small soft-sided cooler for putting fruits/frozen dinners/etc in. (Will be touring in Sweden, where a common feature of campgrounds is a communal microwave.)
    Well, a small soft-side cooler might make sense for your trip. On the C&O/Gap trails, it makes no sense because the OP won't have any of those facilities available.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  25. #25
    Senior Member jeneralist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.Alive View Post
    Well, not really a map. More of a "where the campgrounds are" kind of a thing.
    Pick up the official trailbook before you leave. (http://www.atatrail.org/trailbook.cfm) It tells you where the towns and campgrounds are, has ads from local restaurants, and (perhaps most importantly) explains how to find mile marker zero in DC.

    Another suggestion: replacement spokes. I rode the trail on a hybrid bike without any trouble, but one night at a campsite on the C&O I ran into a couple on road bikes. Two of his spokes had snapped, and they had a horrid time finding replacements. I carry a kevlar spoke just in case (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/t...ing.html#spoke). I've never had to use it <knocks wood> so I can't give you a review based on personal experience -- but I've heard good things about them.
    - Jeneralist

    See video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv4CrEEg_N4 to see me in the Outrageous Outfit Challenge for the MS Society; or go straight to http://goo.gl/bALZDg to donate

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