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What not to skimp on for a bike touring trip?

Old 08-12-18, 01:07 PM
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What not to skimp on for a bike touring trip?

Hey guys, I'm planning on biking from my parents' home in Ohio to my home north of Boston.
I've decided on my 900 mile route. On 7 out of the 10 days I'll be sleeping outside.
My longest previous trip was 600 miles over 4 days (with lodging on each night.)

I need:
- Luggage racks and backpacking bags.
- Single Person Tent.
- Sleeping mat. (Do I need a sleeping bag?)
- Some type of USB recharging system to charge my electronics while I ride. (any suggestions?)
- Do I need anything else aside from my normal? (Tools, Lights, Rain Gilet, Change of kit / muggle clothes, good pair of legs).

I don't want to spend more money than I have to, but I'm planning on doing more of these rides in the future. I'm working myself up for a cross country tour.

Which items can I be cheap with?
Which items should I spend a little extra on?
Any tips are appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 08-12-18, 02:19 PM
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Depends on what one means by skimp. I don't think a person NEEDS anything ultra expensive to do a basic bike tour but there are some things that should be "reliable" so the experience doesn't become a series of negatives.

Good tires help so that you arent fixing flats all the time. A tent that won't break, leak or rip apart in wind is nice. Clothing designed to be quick drying and perhaps less stinky helps.

For sleeping bags and mats I would be ok with bulk if it saved weight. To get light and small begins to cost a lot and isn't really needed for normal touring.

Rain can also play havoc with moral on a tour so good rain gear or some sort of plan to dry off is important.

Personally, The greatest comfort is having a tent that is easy to set up, warm dry clothes to change into and a comfortable bag/mat to rest in. You can undergo a lot of hardship if you know you have that to depend on each day.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-12-18 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 08-12-18, 02:22 PM
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It is real simple. Don't skimp on the things that make you happy.

For me that is off bike clothes and shoes I carry. When camping a 2 person tent for one and a campsite with running water shower and toilet. Preferably a new by resturant.

For others what makes them happy is ultra light. The bike clothes they are wearing and maybe a just tarp or no shelter at all. Some don't bring s sleeping bag and just a light blnaket.


Basically do what works for you. If bringing the kitchen sink is going to be what makes you happy then bring it along as long as you don't mind hauling it.

I would say depending on time of year the essential is rain gear, a food tent and sleeping back.

Before setting out on your grand journey do a weekend trip. You will learn a lot of what to take and waht to leave behind.
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Old 08-12-18, 03:25 PM
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Sleep system

As noted above, a tent that goes up quickly and keeps out the weather. A small one person, Hilleberg Enan, works for me, but others need more room. Figure out what your needs are. Do you need a bag? Don't know. What will the temps be at night? 60 or below? If so, you probably need a bag. As for expense, I'm using a Hammock Gear Burrow Econo quilt. $150 for 40, which is not bad at all. It's down, and if you choose to go with that you have to make sure you stay dry. Over the decades I done hundreds of nights canoeing, backpacking, bike touring and winter camping. I've used nothing but down and I've never been wet, but you have to make a real commitment to staying dry.
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Old 08-12-18, 04:31 PM
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I guess my starting point would be to determine if touring is something you will continue to do. If so, I would not skimp. The stuff you buy will last a long time. I would buy Ortlieb bags and Tubus rakes. Our Eureka tent, mid-price- has worked well for us for many yerars. I like the pockets in the tent. Sleeping mats are now light and small. The same is true of pillows. Many people will stuff clothes in a sack. I prefer a pillow. I think the advice you received above for bathrooms and showers at campsites will be appreciated. As well as quick drying clothes that can be washed out and dry either overnight or the next day on the back of your bike. At many campsites, you will be able to find electricity either by asking another camper or the bathroom. You can also pay for a site with electric but it is expensive. I do not have a recommendation for chargers. Make sure your bike is working well and also as mentioned above, good tires. We have been very fortunate with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. The thing that I take along that maybe a bit unusual is a chamber pot. I am likely a bit older than you so you may not have the same concerns for late night relief. But, it sure beats getting our of the tent.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 08-12-18, 04:48 PM
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Are you able to borrow any items for your Ohio to Boston ride?

Where I wouldn't skimp is making sure the bike is in mechanically good condition and guarding against common failures e.g. tires vs flats.

For many of the other things - I'd eventually want a good tent/sleeping bag/pad combination. However, there are some tradeoffs there and what one person finds good isn't necessarily the same choice someone else makes.

So if you aren't 100% sure, my inclination would be to eventually to get something good there on the cross country trip. However, just for riding to Boston, I might be more inclined to use a borrowed/temporary solution and use it to help determine you preferences for the later trips.
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Old 08-12-18, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Panza
Hey guys, I'm planning on biking from my parents' home in Ohio to my home north of Boston.
I've decided on my 900 mile route. On 7 out of the 10 days I'll be sleeping outside.
My longest previous trip was 600 miles over 4 days (with lodging on each night.)

I need:
- Luggage racks and backpacking bags.
- Single Person Tent.
- Sleeping mat. (Do I need a sleeping bag?)
- Some type of USB recharging system to charge my electronics while I ride. (any suggestions?)
- Do I need anything else aside from my normal? (Tools, Lights, Rain Gilet, Change of kit / muggle clothes, good pair of legs).

I don't want to spend more money than I have to, but I'm planning on doing more of these rides in the future. I'm working myself up for a cross country tour.

Which items can I be cheap with?
Which items should I spend a little extra on?
Any tips are appreciated! Thanks!
If you've done 150 miles/day (not camping) and are shooting for 90 miles/day (camping), well that sounds like pretty serious riding to me. Only person I've seen discuss 1k miles in 10 days was running (IIRC) a base weight (before food/water) of 28 lbs (bike, bags and gear) in a bikepacking set-up which is as aero as you can get and works with roadie bikes. You don't need to be that light/aero, but with that kind of mileage... it sure will make things easier.

You can do it cheaply, albeit less comfortably, or expensively and more comfortably - world is your oyster. Unfortunately, with camping gear, it really boils down to trial and error to see what works best for you. What's your budget range?
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Old 08-12-18, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by reppans


If you've done 150 miles/day (not camping) and are shooting for 90 miles/day (camping), well that sounds like pretty serious riding to me. Only person I've seen discuss 1k miles in 10 days was running (IIRC) a base weight (before food/water) of 28 lbs (bike, bags and gear) in a bikepacking set-up which is as aero as you can get and works with roadie bikes. You don't need to be that light/aero, but with that kind of mileage... it sure will make things easier.

You can do it cheaply, albeit less comfortably, or expensively and more comfortably - world is your oyster. Unfortunately, with camping gear, it really boils down to trial and error to see what works best for you. What's your budget range?
Yikes. I did not do the math. Yeah 90 miles a day for 10 days straight, across Pennsylvania? That is a bit much. OP could take the Erie Canal route that would not be too bad but still. a lot of miles.
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Old 08-12-18, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker
It is real simple. Don't skimp on the things that make you happy. For me that is off bike clothes and shoes I carry.
Before setting out on your grand journey do a weekend trip. You will learn a lot of what to take and what to leave behind.
Thanks Spin.
Real solid down to earth stuff. I'll bring my favorite pair of off the bike clothes. : )!
For a warm up spin, I'm planning on a 2 day trip from Massachusetts to Canada for Tim Horton's and back. 400 miles over 2 days.

Originally Posted by revcp
As noted above, a tent that goes up quickly and keeps out the weather. A small one person, Hilleberg Enan... Hammock Gear Burrow Econo quilt. $150 for 40, which is not bad at all. It's down, and if you choose to go with that you have to make sure you stay dry. I've used nothing but down and I've never been wet, but you have to make a real commitment to staying dry.
Thanks Rev,
Almost every double century I've done ends up soaking wet, no matter how many changes of clothes I bring. I'm going to take your advice and go with a down sleeping bag and aim to stay as dry as possible.

Originally Posted by debade
I guess my starting point would be to determine if touring is something you will continue to do. If so,
Enjoy your trip.
Thanks Debade,
This year I've stepped away from racing and I decided I wanted to ride my bike for fun more. There are a few memorable rides in my decade of cycling have been climbing challenging mountains and traveling with my friends on multi-day trips. It made me think, maybe instead of week long training camps twice a year, I could better use my money to travel to different places and see new things.

Originally Posted by mev
Where I wouldn't skimp is making sure the bike is in mechanically good condition and guarding against common failures e.g. tires vs flats.
For many of the other things - I'd eventually want a good tent/sleeping bag/pad combination.
Thanks Mev,
It seems like Tent/Bag/Pad are the items I should definitely NOT skimp on because a good dry night's rest really makes or breaks the next day.

Originally Posted by reppans
Only person I've seen discuss 1k miles in 10 days was running (IIRC) a base weight (before food/water) of 28 lbs (bike, bags and gear) in a bikepacking set-up which is as aero as you can get and works with roadie bikes. You don't need to be that light/aero, but with that kind of mileage... it sure will make things easier. What's your budget range?
Thanks Rep,
My budget for bike packing gear is $1000 and my base bike will the Pinarlelo. It's about 16lbs without bags on 28mm tires. I'm seriously considering clip-on aero bars for the bike because (I need a Triathlon bike) I'm young enough (30) that the aero position doesn't bother me and the aero benefits will outweigh the gravity tax (pun intended).

You make me want to aim for 1000 miles in 10 days.


Appreciate the feedback. I read everything (even though I abridged all the responses). It gives me a great sense of direction on where to go and what to do to work up to my goals.
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Old 08-12-18, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Panza
Thanks Spin.
Real solid down to earth stuff. I'll bring my favorite pair of off the bike clothes. : )!
For a warm up spin, I'm planning on a 2 day trip from Massachusetts to Canada for Tim Horton's and back. 400 miles over 2 days.

.
Wow you know how to live.
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Old 08-12-18, 06:36 PM
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Theres your answer

Ill also add good tires that are flat resistant and relatively fast.

Originally Posted by Happy Feet
Depends on what one means by skimp. I don't think a person NEEDS anything ultra expensive to do a basic bike tour but there are some things that should be "reliable" so the experience doesn't become a series of negatives.

Good tires help so that you arent fixing flats all the time. A tent that won't break, leak or rip apart in wind is nice. Clothing designed to be quick drying and perhaps less stinky helps.

For sleeping bags and mats I would be ok with bulk if it saved weight. To get light and small begins to cost a lot and isn't really needed for normal touring.

Rain can also play havoc with moral on a tour so good rain gear or some sort of plan to dry off is important.

The greatest comfort is having a tent that is easy to set up, warm dry clothes to change into and a comfortable bag/mat to rest in. You can undergo a lot of hardship if you know you have that to depend on each day.
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Old 08-12-18, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by raria
Ill also add good tires that are flat resistant and relatively fast.
I'm really enjoying how grippy Continental GP 4-Seasons and how well they function in the rain and wet! I'm going to bring a spare for sure.
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Old 08-12-18, 07:56 PM
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A grand is a decent mid-range UL budget, I think my gravel bike set-up will cost ~$800 for all the camping gear and three bikepacking bags (just need the HB bag) but a few items where nabbed on good sales.... at full retail it's probably ~$1150? To give you a reasonably comfy-for-me example at retail:

- Relevate ~25-30L/3lbs bikepacking system (seat, frame, handlebar bags) ~$400
- UL backpacking gear ~10L/5lbs, shelter, bedding, kitchen, water processing - clicky ~$750
- Spare clothing, rain gear, gadgets ~10L/5lbs, personal/existing.
- Tools, tube, pump, cheap lock ~1L/2lbs, personal/existing.

Total base volume/weight before food/water ~21L/15lbs + 16lbs bike = 31 lbs.


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Old 08-12-18, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Panza
I'm really enjoying how grippy Continental GP 4-Seasons and how well they function in the rain and wet! I'm going to bring a spare for sure.
if both tires are in good shape, and you have a reasonable ability to look and not run over crap that causes flats, forgo the spare. extra weight and space.
Ive really only carried a spare when touring in latin america, and even then I didnt even get a flat.
all my other tours over nearly 30 years ive never carried a spare tire, buuuuut made sure the tires were in good shape and use the old noggin and eyes to not abuse the tires running over junk.

just some other internet guys opinion.
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Old 08-12-18, 08:28 PM
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First thing I'd sort out is what racks/bags can fit comfortably & not mess up carbon frame tubes & parts, 'cause the Pinarello is a nice bike. Then you know how much luggage volume you can tote. With your fitness & light bike I think the weight itself of your luggage isn't crucial but some of the fancier lighter stuff packs up more compact. Aero bars can be handy for mounting electronics & strapping luggage beneath. I like a rain jacket & pants even though they're not esp aero; good for morning warmups if it's chilly, don't soak up a lot of dirt etc. With light use of electronics perhaps a battery pack and/or staying 1 night at electrical hookup campsite might be enough?
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Old 08-12-18, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by reppans
A grand is a decent mid-range UL budget, I think my gravel bike set-up will cost ~$800 for all the camping gear and three bikepacking bags (just need the HB bag) but a few items where nabbed on good sales.... at full retail it's probably ~$1150? To give you a reasonably comfy-for-me example at retail:
Total base volume/weight before food/water ~21L/15lbs + 16lbs bike = 31 lbs.
Wow, nice collage. I'm going to have to build up my repertoire of ultra-light backpacking gear...
Luckily for me, since I'll be cycling on paved roads, Im planning on stopping in at a lot of local restaurants, diners, and pubs when I can. I don't know if they'll appreciate my odor, but I'll pack a bar of deodorant. When I
Originally Posted by djb
all my other tours over nearly 30 years ive never carried a spare tire, buuuuut made sure the tires were in good shape and use the old noggin and eyes to not abuse the tires running over junk.

just some other internet guys opinion.
In my group of friends, we always carry a few spares tire between us. Turned into a habit I guess. This year we actually did need one and I had one on hand. Someone's tire bubbled up and burst.

Originally Posted by DropBarFan
First thing I'd sort out is what racks/bags can fit comfortably & not mess up carbon frame tubes & parts, 'cause the Pinarello is a nice bike. Then you know how much luggage volume you can tote. With your fitness & light bike I think the weight itself of your luggage isn't crucial but some of the fancier lighter stuff packs up more compact. Aero bars can be handy for mounting electronics & strapping luggage beneath. I like a rain jacket & pants even though they're not esp aero; good for morning warmups if it's chilly, don't soak up a lot of dirt etc. With light use of electronics perhaps a battery pack and/or staying 1 night at electrical hookup campsite might be enough?
Clothing wise, I'd like a nice PVC/Plastic hard shell. Every company out there seems to be moving towards "breathable", but after enough downpour "breathable" just becomes soaking wet. I keep experimenting with jackets and I haven't quite found "the one" yet ... until then. I just ride wet and change my kit after the rain stops.



I ended up going with Tailfin Pannier rack and an Apidura handlebar bag. I know this isn't the most "aero" option, but panniers don't upset the balance of the bike when riding and a handlebar bag is real convenient for taking photos, phone access, and routing my battery pack to charge the Garmin.

What I've been doing for my traveling rides is, I always rest near a YMCA so I can have a fresh shower and relax while charging my goods.

I'll take a picture of my set up when it's ready and take pictures of what I'm packing (with weights!). I have my bike set up for the Mt. Washington Rd. climb race right now.

Should I take Dura-Ace C24 or Zipp 404 for the journey? The route To/From Springfield Ohio to Lowell Massachusetts is mostly flat aside from one mountain in the Appalachians.
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Old 08-12-18, 09:52 PM
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nevermind














...

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Old 08-13-18, 03:22 AM
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From your initial question of "do I need a sleeping bag", it gives the impression that you haven't camped before, so as others have suggested, do an over nighter to get an idea what you are comfortable with ( or uncomfortable with) for a given temperature range, and just be realistic of what temps you could get on the trip.

Re tires, I've toured on 28 slicks a lot, going back to the start of kevlar flat protection back in the early 90s, and recently for many years have ridden on gatorskins, tougher than grand prixs. Honestly you'd be better off with a tougher tire , but again, this is up to you and what experience you
have riding different tires .
Have fun trying out different packing lists and what fits in your bags.
Don't forget, as someone mentioned, to use common sense with taping properly friction points on your bike for the bags. You can't undo the sanding away of a nice frame from a strap moving back and forth a lot. Bikepacking sites will have good suggestions of what tapes work best.

When are you planning to do this again?
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Old 08-13-18, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Panza
Hey guys, I'm planning on biking from my parents' home in Ohio to my home north of Boston.
I've decided on my 900 mile route. On 7 out of the 10 days I'll be sleeping outside.
My longest previous trip was 600 miles over 4 days (with lodging on each night.)

I need:
- Luggage racks and backpacking bags.
- Single Person Tent.
- Sleeping mat. (Do I need a sleeping bag?)
- Some type of USB recharging system to charge my electronics while I ride. (any suggestions?)
- Do I need anything else aside from my normal? (Tools, Lights, Rain Gilet, Change of kit / muggle clothes, good pair of legs).

I don't want to spend more money than I have to, but I'm planning on doing more of these rides in the future. I'm working myself up for a cross country tour.

Which items can I be cheap with?
Which items should I spend a little extra on?
Any tips are appreciated! Thanks!
Are you looking to bring a stove to heat water? I have a Snowpeak titanium stove that I bought from REI last year and used on one 3 night weekend tour. I'll never use it again. If your interested PM me.
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Old 08-13-18, 05:06 AM
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I don't use anything to charge while riding since I can find enough outlets for what I need. As for the other items, I wouldn't skimp on any of them. And yes. You should bring a sleeping bag. When I crossed the country we had several campfires in mid-August.
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Old 08-13-18, 05:55 AM
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Curious what you do for bike security when inside eating meals, or the Y to clean up? I mean that's an awful nice rig you got there.
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Old 08-13-18, 07:33 AM
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I'd spend the money on a nice tent, especially if trying to bikepack and doybly so if any rain were in the forecast. Make sure you try out your sleeping pad a few nights before leaving, mine worked fine on the trial outing but blew up after three nights of use. Sleeping bag depends on the temps and your personal tolerances, remember summer nights in northern US can still dip down into the 50s and 40s, but you can likely get away with a fleece or such blanket.

For electronics, I find I can go a few days on a 15000mah battery pack. It sounds like you have a couple days of hotels in there you can recharge it overnight.

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Old 08-13-18, 08:34 AM
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Your going to load up a 16 lb carbon bike? Hmmm, ok. Racks? Just frame bags? You're finding flat in W MA? Going through PA, uhh. good luck with that.
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Old 08-13-18, 08:40 AM
  #24  
djb
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hadnt cottoned onto to the Tailfin decision. I rode beside someone with one here in Montreal earlier this summer and in real life it looks as nice as when I first saw it on the net when it was announced. Light, aeroish (for panniers) system. I have some very light similar panniers made by Arkel, Dry-Lites, and are probably similar to the Tailfin panniers--ie, use common sense about packing any hard or specifically sharp objects that could damage the material, so wrap anything like this in clothes or whatever.

In any case, again I would recommend looking at backpacking gear sites to get an idea of stuff, and if you do take off bike clothes, go with light and compactable stuff as much as possible.
There are all kinds of really light tents out there, but at a price of course. Good ones like Big Agnes or MSR or whatever 1 person tents will weigh just over a kg, or 2.5 lbs lets say, and cost a good 400 bucks. Take a peek at Tarptent models, super light simple tents with meshing are lighter and in the 250$ range ish.
Same with campmats and sleeping bags, there are all kinds of light ones, but like with all this stuff, its a balancing act of "how much money to spend" vs " how much weight to save"
re cooking gear--if you eliminate this, it will save space and weight, and usually one can buy stuff at grocery stores, Subway outlets etc, but then do take into account having physical space to store stuff, even if just for the ride from store to campground. If you have raced, then you know the routine of proper eating and sleep and the effects on riding if you dont, even if you are 30.
Dont forget even a simple coil lock to discourage an opportunistic theft, so thats a bit of weight also. Coil locks are handy to be able to lock bike to a nearby tree, or picnic bench or a pipe outside a store or whatever.

are you a "always have your Garmin on" rider? or a gps always on? Then those battery packs are useful. We got a 15 or 20k milliamp one for a reasonable price this summer for a trip we did, and they work well, just some more weight though.
On bike tours, Ive always washed my bike clothes, bike shorts, jersey and socks, in the shower at end of riding day. Nearly always dry the next day, especially if "towelled out" properly (the roll in a sausage technique) but have always taken two bike shorts with me, but could get away with one perhaps, and certainly only one jersey, but I take two (layer them if cold)
Again, you've ridden a lot so you should know what works for you and how to wash and dry stuff. Just remember that leaving damp clothes out overnight can get more wet from dew in early morning, so dry as much as you can before bedtime, then usually bring it in tent.
Your priority is long miles per day and speed, so keeping your load down will make it more enjoyable.

as for wheels, I cant imagine it will make a diff really. Your rider weight and load weight will probably be within norms for both no? Unless you are a big guy.

re rain gear. It all comes down to temps you'll encounter. Riding in rain when its cool is kinda crappy, if its hot summer its another thing. but we are already mid aug, so who knows what you could get.
ps, Ive ridden from Montreal to Boston, so more north, but Im sure you'll have as nice riding areas, especially the further east you get. Pretty area as you know.
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Old 08-13-18, 09:23 AM
  #25  
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Ortlieb City rollers instead of classics. Axiom makes nice affordable racks. REI branded backpack tents are outstanding values. I’ve gone with a fleece blanket but it takes nearly the space of my compressed down bag and you can find down bags marked down this time of year. For USB, an external battery gets me 2 charges. Skip the solar, take a double USB brick charger and charge everything when you can. We usually take a 15ft household cord so we can get power in our tent some places and charge 4X at once. Find a couple hostels on your route and check if they have laundry machines. You’ll thank me later for a dry, comfortable night and clean clothes.
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