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Touring UL, how to do it?

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Old 12-01-15, 10:47 AM
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Touring UL, how to do it?

I know that I want to go lightweight. So what is you bicycle set up? your gear set up? What have you done to lighten up?
Please & Thank you.
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Old 12-01-15, 11:01 AM
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imi
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Touring UL, how to do it?

Light bike, light bags, light gear.

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Old 12-01-15, 11:06 AM
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Platform pedals
No fenders
Lighter tires
Down quilt
2 panniers only, pockets removed, no straps
Lightweight kitchen
Minimal stuff sacks
Minimal clothing
Lighter weight tent stakes
Lost 20 lbs of body weight


In the process of upgrading to lightweight handlebar bag
I may also try Arkel Dry Lite panniers

Last edited by mm718; 12-01-15 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 12-01-15, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
Platform pedals
no fenders
lighter tires
down quilt
2 panniers, pockets removed, no straps
minimal stuff sacks
Minimal clothing
Lighter weight tent stakes


In the process of upgrading to lightweight handlebar bag
I may also try Arkel Dry Lite panniers
What about the durability of the dry lite panniers, they are super light. And I'm going there about the platform pedals. Clipped in for me. I have yet to decide on fenders. I'm a slob in recovery, I need the stuff sacks to try to be a bit more organized.Ti stakes are pricy, not sure that I'm willing to go there for an oz or 2.
Thanks
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Old 12-01-15, 11:24 AM
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I use some rei ground hog stakes, maybe 6" and a thin triangle cross section design. Pretty light.
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Old 12-01-15, 11:28 AM
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Old 12-01-15, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
I know that I want to go lightweight. So what is you bicycle set up? your gear set up? What have you done to lighten up?
Please & Thank you.


There's the bike & cold weather setup for a mini-tour. Same setup I'd carry on a full tour except I'd bring a few more clothes and some more charging cables.

Top tube bag has snacks, phone, $$.

Water bottle pod held food and my repair kit.

Frame bag held a 20000mah battery and charging cables, food, and clothing accessories I want access to without getting out of the saddle, stuff like warm and cold weather gloves, headband etc.

Rear bag (revelate viscacha) is where I kept my shelter and additional cold weather layers I'd need at night. Tarp and hammock for this trip.

Some things that help me stay light:

-Low spoke count wheels with 25mm tires.
-Road bike not overbuilt for touring with loads heavier than I plan to ever bring.
-Frame bags instead of racks. Shaved at least a pound and a half just from ditching my old rear rack and bag for the viscacha.
-Single water bottle.
-No cooking gear, buy ready to eat food and eat while I ride, stop in a restaurant for a hot lunch or dinner once a day.
-Barebones repair kit. Spare tube, single tire lever, mini pump, three hex keys. Might make some nervous but its gotten me over 5k miles safely.
-When its cool enough bugs are no concern, hammock + tarp for a simple, lightweight shelter.
-Minimal clothing. Bring liquid soap and wash your clothes in sinks and under spigots as you travel.
-Bring minimal to no luxuries. For me those items are a bluetooth speaker, the smallest go pro model, and a super light bluetooth gaming controller so I can unwind with some NES/SNES/GBA/PS1/PS2 games if I want.
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Old 12-01-15, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
What about the durability of the dry lite panniers, they are super light. And I'm going there about the platform pedals. Clipped in for me. I have yet to decide on fenders. I'm a slob in recovery, I need the stuff sacks to try to be a bit more organized.Ti stakes are pricy, not sure that I'm willing to go there for an oz or 2.
Thanks
There's a thread here about the Dry Lites, which addresses durability. One person had an issue on the Great Divide but IIRC this was due to sewing problem that has since been fixed by Arkel. Also, I believe Arkel may have changed to a thicker fabric. I have an email into them and will post the info back to the Dry Lites thread when I get it. I think the general consensus is that they are strong enough for road touring if you are willing to pack in a way that sharp pokey items aren't exposed. The weight savings is huge, so it's a matter of do you want to be rough with your (heavier) panniers and not have to worry about it or do you want to take a little extra care with the Arkels and reap the weight savings.. I am usually in the former camp but would be willing to make the extra effort for the weight savings.

Zpacks has UL stuff sacks. Freezer bags are even better since you can find what you want more easily (e.g. tools and toiletries). Zpacks stakes might be inexpensive too, not sure. Sometimes you sort of have to upgrade because the stakes that come with tents are weak and heavy.

Last edited by mm718; 12-01-15 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 12-01-15, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Ti stakes are pricy, not sure that I'm willing to go there for an oz or 2.
Thanks
While I don't go UL, I have been cutting some weight here and there over the year, particularly in the area of my tent. The Big Agnes aluminum stakes that come with their SL and UL tents are very light. You might want to check their web site to see if you can purchase them separately. I just picked up the Fly Creek UL2. The packed weight, including 11 SL stakes, is listed at 2 lbs. 5 oz.
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Old 12-01-15, 01:58 PM
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Ok, maybe this will answer at least some of your questions:

99 Ultralight Bike Touring Lifehacks

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Old 12-01-15, 02:15 PM
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What is your definition of lightweight? What kind of bike do you have or are you looking for? Your budget?
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Old 12-01-15, 03:13 PM
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If you want to go lightweight I'd start by making a detailed gear list with weights.

Try to get your big 4 things (shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and cook set) to total less than 5 lbs.

Take fewer clothes

Try to avoid things like cast iron pans, SLR cameras, multiple electronic devices and guitars.

Use compression sacks to reduce volume.

Know your route. If you will be riding for weeks away from resupply you need to pack more food. If there are towns on the route there is no need to carry multiple cans of food and 2oz of shampoo can be replenished at the pharmacy "tester" section.

Last edited by nun; 12-01-15 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 12-01-15, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
Use compression sacks to reduce volume.
By itself, that is the kind of thing that adds weight, and work. It could be part of using a smaller rack or pannier set-up which might save weight. However compression sacks are heavier, and presumably this all starts with too much gear.

It is the general problem of featuring up.
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Old 12-01-15, 03:49 PM
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The main thing is to set your bike up for a trip to the barber, and then shoot a lot of photos with some trees in the background.

Seriously though here are 3 strategies that are simple and work:

- Learn about UL backpacking, there are some good books like Ray Jardine's, and if time is no object lots of forums. Main point as above is to get core gear down to a small number.

- leave behind categories, this hurts, but if it is only a few days or weeks, it isn't normally a biggie and may have experience value. So the first UL tour I did I left all cameras and cook gear. It is a lot easier and cheaper to simply go cold turkey, and I didn't miss either. Over time I got lighter gear, though I still don't bother with cooking as the best time for me to tour is during the harvest.

- If you are currently riding heavy, just cut your weight in half. If you carry 40-60 pounds 20-30 should not require any special gear to hit, and will give you a flavour of what is possible.

Get real about it. UL touring doesn't really make any sense other than for gear hogs and fantasists. Actually, I may be the only person here who is real about it here. I started in 05, and did it because I was under threat of a bypass. I finally had the heart attack this September. But UL allowed me to keep riding for a decade. Not having a whole toothbrush (I do) is better than having a heart attack. But aside from that I see no convincing benefit to UL. In backpacking where resupply can be days or weeks apart, and you carry the gear on your back, and you walk, it is life changing as I discovered as a healthy young guy in the 70s, back when we carried monster packs. In the Himalayas or on a 1 day ascent of El Cap it changes the whole calculation. Messner climbed Everest Solo by a new route, without oxygen or 100 porters with a pack with very little in it. That totally changes the world. There is nothing like that for most people to gain in cycling so you have to be careful what you buy into.

Another option might be self guided tour vs guided with support vehicles. In UL you really don't have to carry any more weight, but most people doing those trips have lots of other reasons for travelling in groups than pack weight.

Remember food and water aren't counted. And if you bike tour near services, they really may not add up.
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Old 12-01-15, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
If you want to go lightweight I'd start by making a detailed gear list with weights.

Try to get your big 4 things (shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and cook set) to total less than 5 lbs.

Take fewer clothes

Try to avoid things like cast iron pans, SLR cameras, multiple electronic devices and guitars.

Use compression sacks to reduce volume.

Know your route. If you will be riding for weeks away from resupply you need to pack more food. If there are towns on the route there is no need to carry multiple cans of food and 2oz of shampoo can be replenished at the pharmacy "tester" section.
The guitar?? notice my name is squeezebox , if anything it would be a button accordion, and that ain't gonna happen.
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Old 12-01-15, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
By itself, that is the kind of thing that adds weight, and work. It could be part of using a smaller rack or pannier set-up which might save weight. However compression sacks are heavier, and presumably this all starts with too much gear.

It is the general problem of featuring up.
A couple of compression sacks will add a few oz, but they are great for packing your tent fly and sleeping bag, which should be in their own bags anyway. Once those two things have been packed everything else can be arrange around them. Two compression sacks allow me to fit most of my gear into the 23 liter Carradice Camper.
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Old 12-01-15, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Ok, maybe this will answer at least some of your questions:

99 Ultralight Bike Touring Lifehacks

A very enjoyable read!
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Old 12-01-15, 04:24 PM
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revelate designs viscacha seat bag (pica if you'e really UL)
light weight down bag like this (get summer weight one if you're really UL)
tent like this or bivvy like this (if you're really UL)
sleeping pad like this (get the small if you're really UL)
toothbrush, phone, spare tire & repair kit

Ride the lightest bike you own at least 60 miles (100+ if you're really UL) camp-out one night and ride back.

Then you'll be able to evaluate if you need more.
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Old 12-01-15, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
The guitar?? notice my name is squeezebox , if anything it would be a button accordion, and that ain't gonna happen.
I picked up a harmonica for tours. It's pretty brutal sounding to others I'm sure, but I have fun with it
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Old 12-01-15, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Ride at least 60 miles (100+ if you're really UL) camp-out one night and ride back.

Then you'll be able to evaluate if you need more.
This x5. The most important thing you can do to prepare for a tour it to test out your load on an overnighter. Gives you a good idea of what works, what doesn't, if your packing method is ideal, etc. Experience is an amazing teacher.
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Old 12-01-15, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
This x5. The most important thing you can do to prepare for a tour it to test out your load on an overnighter. Gives you a good idea of what works, what doesn't, if your packing method is ideal, etc. Experience is an amazing teacher.
You could even go out for a day ride with your gear and then cook/sleep in the back yard .
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Old 12-01-15, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Ok, maybe this will answer at least some of your questions:

99 Ultralight Bike Touring Lifehacks

snip . . .
I've read this list before. It's nicely done and there is a lot of good ideas there.
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Old 12-01-15, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
A very enjoyable read!
Glad you like it! You all wrote it. Very few of these are my own ideas.
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Old 12-01-15, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
A couple of compression sacks will add a few oz, but they are great for packing your tent fly and sleeping bag, which should be in their own bags anyway. Once those two things have been packed everything else can be arrange around them. Two compression sacks allow me to fit most of my gear into the 23 liter Carradice Camper.
I agree. Bulk is the bane of the UL or L kit, more so when soft bags are used. Compression bags can be had pretty light these days... So 1 for sleeping bag, 1 for clothes... Etc. Can really help things fit nice and tidy.
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Old 12-01-15, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
By itself, that is the kind of thing that adds weight, and work. It could be part of using a smaller rack or pannier set-up which might save weight. However compression sacks are heavier, and presumably this all starts with too much gear.

It is the general problem of featuring up.
Sure, compression sacks have some weight, but when made out of sil-nylon, is it significant compared to the savings in volume?

Tent and rainfly(3-season) in blue bag, 25F synthetic bag in green bag, and thermarest in orange bag. Even with Thermarest Pro 4 (4 season) pad, and only counting my share of the tent; my sleeping gear is a little more than 5 lb., including compression sacks, tent poles and stakes. These could fit easily into one pannier with room to spare.


Other thoughts:
Fenders- I would not take a long tour without fenders. My wife and I encountered 35 days of rain a few years ago during a 3-month tour. We also rode in Alberta near Calgary right after the floods of 2013. To me fenders are worth the weight penalty. As you might guess I'm also a believer in good raingear.

Mud picked up by front fender on my wife's bike.


Note how much mud actually made it onto her bike's gear train.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-01-15 at 07:32 PM.
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