The focus in the OP on the effects of weight on time are a little myopic. The value of time, affected by changes in speed, are only a small part of the equation.
Really, it comes down to what you have to spend as an alternative to the weight. For example, if you don't bring cooking gear, you have to buy prepared food, which is more expensive. No tent or sleeping bag means you're paying for sleeping accommodations (or not, if you find free lodging). Extra tools, water, food, all require a risk analysis. Whether or not you make an extra 10 miles is hugely subjective.
With water too, there are "usually" frequent sources available. But I don't like to go knock on a strangers door to get water. I prefer to stock up at convenience stores, gas stations, etc. If I'll be away from towns that calls for some planning.
My real point is not the specific numbers. It's that knowing the actual impact of weight on speed helps me make intelligent decisions.
I have a two-part guideline when it comes to water and long distance cycling ...
1) I carry 2 bottles. If one bottle is getting close to empty and an opportunity to fill up comes along, I take it.
2) Based on the calculation that I may need one 750 ml bottle every 1.5 hours, my 2 litres of water could last me 4 hours. If it is hot, windy, or if there is a possibility my next water source may be more than 4 hours away, I buy an additional bottle of water.
I don't care about weight and speed in those situations. It's more important to have the water.
And I usually camp in designated campgrounds ... although I have done a little bit of stealth camping, I don't particularly enjoy it. When you camp in a designated campground there is usually water available.
If you're stealth camping, you may have to make some additional plans.
Another perspective on this I see is that while we can significantly control weight, it has so much less influence than wind, which we have little control over. Playing with the http://bikecalculator.com/ I see I can pedal my 120 lb. bicycle + gear at 16.91 mph in zero headwind on flat ground. Shave off 20 pounds and my speed marginally increases to 17.08 mph. But then add 10 mph of headwind and the speed drops to 11.81 mph!
So big changes in weight have little impact on speed. Big changes in wind have a huge impact on speed. The wind is often variable and difficult to plan on with any reliability. So changes in wind can have a huge impact on your timeline while changes in weight, not so much.
My priority is sleeping well...I carry as much weight as necessary to make it so....but when I carry a lot of weight, I'm dog tired at the end of the day and can sleep on a rock in a rainstorm
thus the paradox
Again, it comes down to what you prefer, certainly not for anyone else to say.
ps, about your 80lbs of stuff, Im curious, have you put up your list before? I ask simply from wondering that if in summer touring weather, how your stuff is probably 35lbs or more heavier than my stuff.
Yes, it is definitely a matter of personal preference. I prefer to have a dedicated e-reader for reading books and manuals (it only uses power when flipping pages). I prefer a dedicated camera and so on, and I also prefer a dedicated phone, so that the phone's battery isn't dead if I need to make a call, want to take some photos or read a book. And I don't want to continuously have to think of the battery tradeoffs (i.e. if I read X amount of minutes, take X amount of pictures, will I be able to make a phone call. And vice versa, of course).
Since I was recently reminded of my Golite Hex with an Oookworks inner tent that was forgotten in cupboard, I will take that the next couple of times I go touring. The reason I had forgotten about it was that it is a right ***** to set up on beaches, and when touring in a row boat, you see a lot of beaches.
Otherwise, I have been very happy with Hilleberg Akto and Soulo tent. I have an Exped 9 LX (i.e. long and wide) Downmat, and an Alpkit 650 down sleeping bag, if it matters for comparison. Hell, I have been considering the Allak tent for a while, because it has two entrances which can be opened for air, while you are protected from midges and mosquitos in the innertent. Also a preference, but I have found that double wall tents are warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and I don't have to close up the tent to be protected from midges and mosquitos. That is yet another area where I am very hesitant to compromise too much.
With that said, I realise that the 9cm thick downmat is mostly overkill, since I won't be sleeping on the beaches in winter when bike touring, so I am considering something slightly thinner, but perhaps with less insulation. THe same goes for the sleeping bag: Although light, it might be prudent to get an even lighter one dedicated to summer touring.
Edit: Btw, you have never felt tired untill you have tried rowing in choppy seas with a headwind for ten hours straight while trying to keep an average speed of 8 knots, and then having to carry your stuff up on the beach, followed by carrying a 30kg row boat up the beach too, lol.
Last edited by SmallFront; 12-22-13 at 09:14 AM.
Hilleberg make excellent tents. I've found the single walled Tarptent Contrail to be very comfortable. It has mesh doors so you can close it up to keep midges out and still have good ventilation. It isn't as sturdy as the Hilleberg tents, but it is sturdy enough for 3 season bike touring. I use a Montbell bag http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2321139 and a Thermarest NeoAir mat. Again, these are not capable of dealing with extreme conditions, but i find them to be just right for my trips.Otherwise, I have been very happy with Hilleberg Akto and Soulo tent. I have an Exped 9 LX (i.e. long and wide) Downmat, and an Alpkit 650 down sleeping bag, if it matters for comparison. Hell, I have been considering the Allak tent for a while, because it has two entrances which can be opened for air, while you are protected from midges and mosquitos in the innertent. Also a preference, but I have found that double wall tents are warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and I don't have to close up the tent to be protected from midges and mosquitos. That is yet another area where I am very hesitant to compromise too much.
I look at it the opposite way. I look at the "cost" of taking extra stuff that isn't necessary. It isn't only or even mainly about weight vs speed. There is also the fun of riding a lightly loaded bike, the pleasure of not having to dig through more junk than necessary, and the joy of having a carefully thought out list that includes everything that you need and very little else.
Oh yeah, and just the simplicity of living with a very minimal number of items. Isn't that simplicity one of the reasons we bike tour? I know that it is for me.
That said there are times when an extra item is worth the costs. I, will for example, take my fly rod on my 2014 tour of Idaho dirt roads and trails. That said my base weight including bags, but not food or water will still be 15 pounds or less.
Lighter is better but then at camp a friend breaks out a folding chair and sits comfortably enjoying a fine beverage whilst I sit on the cold damp ground sipping from a plastic bottle and all the while I'm thinking "damn him"
In the bike shop we calculated the cost per pound of a new Trek Madone , weighing the actual bike.
Interesting thread. I am just starting bike touring, after years as a hiker, so my thoughts are not yet tested on the bike. However:
1) OP, looking at weight only seems wrong on a bike, where bulk means more air resistance. Hiking it was all weight concerned, as bulk didn't matter. But on the bike, if it enlarges your profile, it costs you energy.
2) Half your weight may make sense for you skinny Minnie's, but at 205 lbs naked, no way am I launching a trip with 102 lbs of ill gotten booty beneath me. Yes, big guys make more power, but hills cost more, and no way would I add that.
3) People talk about ultralight packing like it is horribly minimal, and you will have no comforts. Matchka nailed her answer regarding items having multiple uses. Part of the fun for me was searching for great items on clearance that were lighter than I had, and brought in additional uses. My pot is also my pillow, which works great for side sleepers.
4) There is no universal math that can determine "cost" as you define it. Without knowing goals and values, you can't determine worth. I am planning my first tour for the spring, shooting for 800-1000 miles in 1 week. A lb will probably mean more to me than it does to you.
5) On water, at least in most of the US, get a water filter. Roads cross streams, and almost always make decent rest stops. Carry less filter more. From hiking, I always started trips with one full liter and two empties, and would fill up before clearing tree line, with the purpose of having enough til I got back.
Originally Posted by Westley
5) On water, at least in most of the US, get a water filter. Roads cross streams, and almost always make decent rest stops. Carry less filter more. From hiking, I always started trips with one full liter and two empties, and would fill up before clearing tree line, with the purpose of having enough til I got back.[/QUOTE]
I'd ditch the filter and grab a Steri-pen. A fraction of the weight and bulk, and easier to use to boot. No pumping, no backflushing, just 30 seconds of gentle swirling. True, it is one more electronic thing to keep track of, but batteries last an absurdly long time, so it's not much of a concern.
I think there's a false dichotomy between light weight and uncomfortable. My sleeping kit has gotten progressively lighter and more comfortable. Switching from an old closed cell foam pad to a new NeoAir dropped weight and gave me substantially better sleep. There's really no way I would go back, although I do miss how cheap and hard wearing closed cell foam is. Same with my quilt, the same weight got me a warmer sleeping system that's quite a bit more flexible. On warm nights I can open it up and share with my partner, on colder nights, I can wrap myself up. Drafts aren't an issue, and I'm not a particularly still sleeper, but I did go for a very wide quilt because of that.
But I'm not trying to go the same speed as an unloaded bicycle. I'm ready to slow down. That's not very practical if it means slowing down to less than four miles an hour. But for most of my ride that is not called for.
I also enjoy an unloaded bicycle more. But I like my stuff too. Or I like the emotional feeling of more security in having contingencies covered. All these things inflate my pack. But just like everybody, there comes a point where too much is too much. Whether the bicycle is slower or not en-route, I want to do stuff like maneuver the cycle around in a lot or into and out of buildings or (God forbit) up stairs.
My emphasis with this thread has been to evaluate the mathematical impact of weight on speed. Some people seem to think I also want to use that information alone when deciding what to pack with me. That would not be correct at all.
walter, certainly for colder weather like you mention is going to require more clothing and such, no doubt about it. What the extra stuff is, and how much it weighs is the "devil is in the details" aspect isnt it? Specific people have diff comfort levels, some "stuff" is lighter than others, and still very versatile with layering etc. You can have stuff like a stool or chair, candle lanterns, more heavy cooking stuff...whatever, so there is certainly no "set" list of what works for everyone.
bottom line for me is like what Machka said, after a certain point of weight, I know from experience that my fun factor is going to be less, and it will take more effort over the day. Basically I choose things for their versatility and given from where I have toured (not out in the middle of nowhere) I can afford not to have all kinds of repair stuff and things that add up. I also have always been pretty minimalist for camera etc, simply having a laptop and more chargers for more electronics will add in weight, so I havent toured with that stuff, or even a full size camera (even in film days).
As you say, doing 100-130miles per day, sure heck a lb will mean more for you than me doing 60 miles.
I figure all in all, people who have done backpacking or other self propelled outdoor stuff, have a much better idea of what is "horribly minimal", my best friend never camped and so for him, its impossible to think of going somewhere without a giant suitcase of stuff.
Not to mention outdoor people probably appreciate more the effort of schlepping more "stuff", or perhaps to put it a diff way, appreciate more the benefit of schlepping less stuff.
Last edited by mm718; 12-22-13 at 04:46 PM.