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Old 09-18-12, 09:30 AM   #1
BigAura
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18 Pounds of Comfort

Over the years I've honed my gear list to what suits me. I've done some lightweight weekend bike camping trips and been fine with less gear and front panniers only. But when I do long tours (6-12 weeks) I'm back to my Long Haul Trucker, four panniers, and some comfort items. These are items that I realize I could live without, and have. That said, I use and enjoy these items and I've never felt burdened by carrying them. I do concede I that travel a little less each day because of the additional 18 pounds.

Here's my comfort list with additional weight in ounces.

- Large Tent +25 : instead of my solo tent
- Fleece Pillowcase +2.5 : instead of using a stuff sack
- Foam Sit pad +1.4 : could live without but nice to have

- Water Filter: + 6.3 : instead of purification caps
- Fork, Spoon & Knife +1.3 : instead of spork
- French Press Mug +7.4 : fresh coffee whenever!
- Large 1.5L cook pot +6.2 : instead of .7L mug type pot
- Canister stove set +6.6 : instead of alcohol stove set

- Fleece Layer +18.5 : comfy camp-wear, but bulky and I never wear all my layers at once

Extra Clothes I could live without & for more likelihood of having a clean/dry item
- Extra pair of wool socks +2.2
- Extra pair underwear +4.2
- Extra pair padded shorts +4.9

- Stuff Sacks for organization +2.4 : could live without but nice to have
- Hyperjuice Lithium Battery +9 : could use my cell phone less
- eTrex GPS +7.1 : could use paper or cell phone instead
- notebook & pencil +1.5 : could use cell phone

I also have have tendency to carry too much food including bulky/fresh food. I'm not including it in the weight measures but it is another comfort I carry. Cutting down on extra/bulky food and eliminating/reducing the above gear I could eliminate my front panniers.

- Front Panniers +47 : to carry my comfort items
- Front Rack: +17 : for front panniers

I've toured using a lightweight aluminum frame/carbon fork bike (Specialized Tri-cross) and could do so again, but I prefer the comport of my rocking solid Long Haul Trucker with fat tires, sprung saddle, and upright seating position.

- Bicycle +118 : LHT instead of lightweight cross bike

TOTAL COMFORT WEIGHT = 18 pounds

Supplemental information about my “touring style”
  • My tours are on paved and unpaved roads and I particularity enjoy back-county exploration.
  • I camp virtually 100% of the time with the vast majority wild camping.
  • I've used hotels or Warmshowers, but primarily at the beginning or end of a tour that includes travel.
  • I cook the majority of my meals, but do use some restaurants too
  • Although my bike+all gear+supplies weigh 80 pounds, my low gearing allows me to pedal any paved mountain road without pushing.

Anyone else have comfort items?

Last edited by BigAura; 09-18-12 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:05 AM   #2
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- Extra pair padded shorts +4.9
What kind of padded short weigh that little? I am pretty sure mine weigh at least 12 ounces and I think they are actually a bit more.

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Anyone else have comfort items?
Yep, I have never seen anyone touring who didn't. Even my < 7 pound list (which I have never used as is) has some not strictly necessary "comfort items". Those items include:
  • Inflatable pillow +3 oz.
  • Tarp in addition to just bivy 8.5 oz. or in addition to micro tarp and bivy +2.5 oz.
  • Phone and charger +6.8 oz.
  • Lock +5 oz.
  • It could be argued that the cooking and eating kit is a comfort item +9.4 oz.

Then there are other items that I might add on a trip by trip basis. Those include:
  • Cup +2.4 oz.
  • Zip off leg pants +12 oz.
  • Rain Pants +7.5 oz.
  • Trail running shoes +1 lb. 1 oz.
  • GPS +5 oz.
  • Camera and associated stuff, anywhere from +4 oz. to +2.5 pounds
  • Water bladder +1.4 oz
  • Water filter +3 oz.

Edit:
I forgot to mention that I also may take a tent again at some point in the future depending on expected weather conditions. I think the tent weighs a little over a pound more than the bivy and tarp.

Last edited by staehpj1; 09-18-12 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 09-18-12, 11:36 AM   #3
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I have lots of comfort items.

- Netbook + sleeve and a/c adapter
- Paperback book
- REI Trekker Chair
- Garmin GPS
- DSLR Camera
- Thermarest pillow
- Thermarest Prolite pad
- 2 person tent
- Sweatpants/Sweatshirt
- New Trent iCruiser battery pack
- Cell phone

I used to carry a single burner stove with a 16 oz. propane canister, but recently switched to an Esbit alcohol stove with Heet, which is a little slower to boil water but works fine for my purposes. This, and other minor changes that elude me now, dropped the departure weight (bike and all gear including food and water) on my last tour to 85 pounds, as opposed to 93 pounds on the previous tour. The bike alone (minus panniers and water bottles but with racks, fenders, etc.) weighs 33 pounds.
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Old 09-18-12, 11:48 AM   #4
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I bring along a few pounds of charcoal and lighter fluid to get a campfire going quickly for cooking. Hamburgers, hot dogs, smores. Hard to keep the buns from getting squashed, though.
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Old 09-18-12, 12:44 PM   #5
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My comfort item is an Exped 7 LW (long and wide). Love the thick matress to sleep on the side, but also to have my arms and legs/feet "hanging" off the mat when sleepng on my belly. The width doesn't make me feel like I'm gonna fall off a cliff everytime I roll. I wanted a regular length at first (why do they always make wide mat also long?) but I like the extra length. I can put my pillow on the mat instead of off it. The bigger surface also makes it easier to keep the sleeping bag on the mat when the tent floor is damp. I love it!

I also bring quite a bit of photo gear, but that's more hobby than comfort. I did switch from SLR to mirroless m43.
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Old 09-18-12, 12:55 PM   #6
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Hey - Thanks for the lists... Its always interesting to see what others have figured out for a ride... Its amazing how similar we all are in fact...
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Old 09-18-12, 12:55 PM   #7
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What kind of padded short weigh that little? I am pretty sure mine weigh at least 12 ounces and I think they are actually a bit more.
Nishiki padded "liner" shorts. I only wear them under my mountain bike shorts. They are economical, light, comfortable, and dry fast too.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:14 PM   #8
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Nishiki padded "liner" shorts. I only wear them under my mountain bike shorts. They are economical, light, comfortable, and dry fast too.
Thanks. That makes sense since they are a liner and probably also have less thick of a pad than the PI shorts that I use.

I am not especially partial to MTB shorts or liners myself, but I can see how they could be just the ticket for some folks. My preference may be habit more than anything else, but I will probably stick with regular road shorts.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:23 PM   #9
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I bring along a few pounds of charcoal and lighter fluid to get a campfire going quickly for cooking. Hamburgers, hot dogs, smores. Hard to keep the buns from getting squashed, though.
We did the charcoal thing on the Trans America, but we just bought the small match light charcoal package for one use and bought it late in the day. Three of us were splitting the load and the food and grilled hot dogs and grilled corn on the cob were a nice change of pace. The store we bought the stuff from gave use some sheets of foil and a few pats of butter for the corn. We probably carried the extra stuff less that 20 miles though.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:39 PM   #10
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We did the charcoal thing on the Trans America, but we just bought the small match light charcoal package for one use and bought it late in the day. Three of us were splitting the load and the food and grilled hot dogs and grilled corn on the cob were a nice change of pace. The store we bought the stuff from gave use some sheets of foil and a few pats of butter for the corn. We probably carried the extra stuff less that 20 miles though.
I use Al foil for my stove's windscreen. I'll now include a few extra feet of the stuff for cooking stuff in the fire.......its folds down small and is minimal weight. FYI corn cooks really well in the husk if you put it on a stone close to the fire.
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Old 09-18-12, 10:26 PM   #11
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FYI corn cooks really well in the husk if you put it on a stone close to the fire.
a friend showed us that a few years ago on a canoe trip, he soaked them in water a bit first before putting them on a grate over the fire. We've put them right in the fire or close to it, and even with the husks burning all to heck, the corn was rather good. The kids got a kick out of putting corn in a fire like that. I must admit I was skeptical, as I thought it would get all burned inside, but it didnt.
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Old 09-19-12, 07:12 AM   #12
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a friend showed us that a few years ago on a canoe trip, he soaked them in water a bit first before putting them on a grate over the fire. We've put them right in the fire or close to it, and even with the husks burning all to heck, the corn was rather good. The kids got a kick out of putting corn in a fire like that. I must admit I was skeptical, as I thought it would get all burned inside, but it didnt.
soak it for an hour or so, place on rack or coals. good stuff!
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Old 09-19-12, 07:42 AM   #13
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Anyone else have comfort items?
A fifth of good single malt. +26.5
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Old 09-19-12, 02:59 PM   #14
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A fifth of good single malt. +26.5
I looked into bike trailers for pulling my bike touring kit.
Finally chose an Airstream and Chevy Suburban.
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Old 09-19-12, 07:16 PM   #15
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I looked into bike trailers for pulling my bike touring kit.
Finally chose an Airstream and Chevy Suburban.
I dunno. Sounds like a lot of dead weight to tow behind the bike. I would get rid of the Suburban and just go with the Airstream.
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Old 09-20-12, 09:05 AM   #16
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My comfort items?

Proper knife for cooking
1 litre pot with lid and 10" deep frying pan
1 man tent that I can sit up in.

Always carrying a lot of food, partly for variety, also due to something being on sale..... 7 kg of misc vegetables for 3 dollars anyone? 4 jars of pasta sauce for 4 dollars? 3 dollar bottle of decent wine? All at the same time.

Entertainment:
Macbook Air 11"
Canon 60D with a couple lenses

This is my evil and the sole reason I have front panniers. These items weigh more than my base weight (computer, camera stuff plus panniers to hold them). I'd love to get rid of them, but I really enjoy photography. Will replace the camera someday with a 4/3 someday in later future.

Mind you, I don't give too much a damn about my bike weight. I'm a super slow rider even when you put me on a lightweight racing bike.

Last edited by SparkyGA; 09-20-12 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 09-20-12, 10:22 AM   #17
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I gues my whole kitchen setup is "comfort" since I know it could be left behind if I were willing to skip coffee until the next gas station.

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We did the charcoal thing on the Trans America, but we just bought the small match light charcoal package for one use and bought it late in the day.
Charcoal briquettes? They`re available in single use packaging?
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Old 09-20-12, 10:41 AM   #18
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Charcoal briquettes? They`re available in single use packaging?
I think it was the "Kingsford® BBQ Bag® Single Use Charcoal Briquets" that we used. I think the bag was three pounds and was plenty to cook for the three of us. No lighter needed you just light the bag. They probably aren't a very good value, but we were looking for a change of pace.
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Old 09-20-12, 11:26 AM   #19
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A fifth of good single malt. +26.5
I have a local tour planned where I'm carrying a case of beer. It'll be worth it though.
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Old 09-20-12, 11:43 AM   #20
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I have a local tour planned where I'm carrying a case of beer. It'll be worth it though.
I have to say that it boggles my mind that someone would do that. Is there some reason that you need to do so as opposed to buying a beer or two here and there along the way?
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Old 09-20-12, 12:07 PM   #21
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I have a local tour planned where I'm carrying a case of beer. It'll be worth it though.
I have to say that it boggles my mind that someone would do that. Is there some reason that you need to do so as opposed to buying a beer or two here and there along the way?
It's the ice that will be a killer!

Seriously, why not? I carry two cases of beer in my Bob trailer on a regular basis.
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Old 09-20-12, 08:44 PM   #22
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I have to say that it boggles my mind that someone would do that. Is there some reason that you need to do so as opposed to buying a beer or two here and there along the way?
not a beer drinker, I see. Off-road, overnighter with beer drinking friends. Riding back is going to be the problem
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Old 09-23-12, 03:16 AM   #23
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I've never really considered "comfort gear" as extraneous stuff. I always thought of it as needed equipment that can be changed or deleted depending on the circumstances. A pillow can be an essential need for a bad neck or fleece jacket and pants or a water filter can be an essential piece of my equipment list rather than a comfort item. A pair of flip-flops can be a need if you have feet that need air or an extra tarp for bike protection or a radio for news/entertainment.

I feel a little embarrassed because most of the equipment lists I see here are must haves for me. I am a cross-over from the backpacking crowd, that may have an influence on me regarding gear. I am also a weight weenie compared to my friends who carry some absolutely ridiculous stuff, nobody on these cycling boards would even dare to dream of. I see some pretty reasonable "comfort gear" here, hope I don't have to reevaluate my stuff.
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Old 09-23-12, 08:00 AM   #24
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I've never really considered "comfort gear" as extraneous stuff. I always thought of it as needed equipment that can be changed or deleted depending on the circumstances. A pillow can be an essential need for a bad neck or fleece jacket and pants or a water filter can be an essential piece of my equipment list rather than a comfort item. A pair of flip-flops can be a need if you have feet that need air or an extra tarp for bike protection or a radio for news/entertainment.

I feel a little embarrassed because most of the equipment lists I see here are must haves for me. I am a cross-over from the backpacking crowd, that may have an influence on me regarding gear. I am also a weight weenie compared to my friends who carry some absolutely ridiculous stuff, nobody on these cycling boards would even dare to dream of. I see some pretty reasonable "comfort gear" here, hope I don't have to reevaluate my stuff.
FWIW, the lists I see here are all a small part of the must have list people I met on the ST used. I think many of them had over 100 pounds of stuff. It must not have been a problem for them as they seemed happy. It doesn't appeal to me though.
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