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What More do I Need for Short Excursions?

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What More do I Need for Short Excursions?

Old 03-18-20, 10:53 AM
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m2244
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What More do I Need for Short Excursions?

Hello,

I've read some of the posts here on this site but would like to ask a couple of specific question.

I'm currently in the military (lately I've been questioning if that's a good fit for my personality), I have about 5 years left. One day I'd like to do some bike touring, lasting weeks to months perhaps. In the meantime I'd like to get a feel for it around my current location. I have a good deal of lightweight camping equipment I'd like to use for it.

Last year I bought a Felt Breed gravel bike in order to try to help me maintain my fitness level for the military PT test since I can't run as much as I could a few years ago due to injuries. Anyway, here are my questions:

1. Is my bike, pictured below, a good choice for touring in the short term? I might upgrade a few years down the road but for now I assume it's a good choice?

2. What brands and models would you recommend for side bags?

Thank you very much!

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Old 03-18-20, 11:10 AM
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the lack of brazeons will make it hard to racks so I suggest the best way to maximize what you can carry is with front and rear bags (carradice style) and a frame pack with a long top tube pack. I will post photos when I find them
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Old 03-18-20, 11:22 AM
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example: carradice nelson saddle bag
https://www.benscycle.com/Carradice-...oaArJVEALw_wcB

teardrop handlebar bag
https://www.bagsxbird.com/product-page/teardrop

Revelate frame bag
https://www.revelatedesigns.com/inde.../fullframebags

Jpacks top tube bag
Top Tube Storage ? JPaks LLC
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Old 03-18-20, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
the lack of brazeons will make it hard to racks so I suggest the best way to maximize what you can carry is with front and rear bags (carradice style) and a frame pack with a long top tube pack. I will post photos when I find them
Thinking about adding packs to my bike there's a voice in my head saying "it's already hard enough for your old ass to pedal up these VT hills".

These things look cool, looking forward to doing a few overnighters.

Anyway, thank you very much for your help!
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Old 03-18-20, 03:25 PM
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For the Nelson saddle bag, the long flap version has more overflow space if you buy more groceries than you planned.

You are military, you have camping gear, you know how it works. Put all your stuff in a box, measure the amount of space consumed, convert that to liters, then you know how much capacity your bags have to hold.

Do you have a GPS? Some of us rely on them for navigation, some use paper maps and compass, it is personal preference.

If you are going to tour for weeks to months, the amount of stuff you carry will vary a lot on how light weight you want to camp, which in part is dependent on the weather. I think most people would prefer to use at least one set of rear panniers with a capacity of 40 liters for the pair, plus a few other smaller bags, but those panniers need a rack.
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Old 03-18-20, 03:36 PM
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It may be possible to get a rear rack on the bike by clamping the vertical uprights and a bracket mounted to the seat post to anchor the horizontal braces of the rack. I have a Tubus rear rack that has adjustable bar horizontal braces that would be able to extend quite a bit to position a rack. There may be some options there.

It would make sense to me to at least have a rear rack on the bike. On top of that - getting your load down on the sides of the rack to drop your center of gravity would be very wise. When I started doing long day trips I started with a backpack on the top of my rack. It was hard to ride that way. Then I switched to dry sacks - the kind that are used kayaking - and dropped them off the sides. It made all the difference in the world in handling, even though all the gear was on the back.

Bikepacking techniques as mentioned before with the frame bag etc might better suit your style, though.

You gots lotsa options. What ever route you go - get out, ride, and enjoy!
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Old 03-19-20, 06:54 AM
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This is a pretty good article on Saddle Bags - no need for racks

https://bikepacking.com/gear/saddleb...-rolltop-bags/
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Old 03-19-20, 07:56 AM
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you maybe can forego the rear rack altogether.
assume you'll be on paved surfaces, not on narrow trails or single track.
consider a front low-rider with front bags (or the smallest rear bags).
combine that with a triangle frame pack and a small saddle pack.

if not comfortable mounting a lowrider to a carbon fork, you can
pick up a steel fork on ebay (even if only for touring).

you may have trouble finding a suitable (cheap) thru axle fork,
but then you might want to switch from 24-spoke wheels to
something a little more robust. (24 or 28?)

32/48 - 11/34 gearing? my knees would not like that with
any sort of load in the hills.
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Old 03-19-20, 05:02 PM
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I am very happy with my Oveja Negra Frame bag and probably would more of their product in the future but currently do not need another seat bag and I have my Swift Industries Ozette Rando Bag at the front (at least one one bike) and love that (and it looks like they partnered with Oveja Negra for some bags as well which is awesome)

My current seat bag is the Topeak Backloader 16L and it has been just fine (and it looks like they have improved it since I got it). Though part of me would rather have a full waterproof bag but so far I don't really need it at this time. I also picked up a full size Salsa frame bag for my Salsa Timberjack Ti (as in made for the model and size) as it was on a deep closeout sale and for no other really good reason. I figure I could do some bike packing on my MTB at some point so why not just have it around.

I do like my rack and bag set up for touring (Arkel GT-54s and custom made Dry Bag front panniers with Arkel hardware) and it is nice to be able to really load up but I love having the frame bag set up for shorter stuff and commuting (as I don't need to carry laptop or shoes or really much more than a shirt and pants and maybe a few small items)
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Old 03-19-20, 06:42 PM
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If you have concerns about pedaling your bike around the hills of VT, I suggest you start by investigating changing your gearing and riding for fitness until you can easily climb VT hills unloaded. Stronger wheels with a higher spoke count may also be needed, especially in the rear, where most of your weight will be carried. If the cost estimates for these two changes become significant, it may be wiser to simply buy a touring bike. I have put thousands of miles on my Surly Long Haul Trucker, but there are lots of touring bike options available.

There are plenty of good suggestions for ways to pack and carry your gear regardless of the bike you choose. When I first started touring in 2013, I found a website for ultra lightweight touring and I suggest that you start with this philosophy: The less stuff you carry, the lighter your bike and the easier it will be to pedal. Evaluate every item you intend to take. Ask yourself the question: "Do I absolutely need this?" Recognize that unless you're touring in some desolate off-road areas, you can usually find plenty of supplies along the way and if you have a major mechanical, there are plenty of cars and trucks traveling on your route that will carry you and your bike to the next town. I actually had someone drive me and my bike to a campground and return the next morning with tools and hardware to fix a broken rack mount.

Bike touring is an amazing experience.
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Old 03-22-20, 01:40 PM
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Ride with GPS can be a good resource for routes from little local loops to epics. Groton State Park has some nice gravel trails and is part of the Cross Vermont Trail which runs from Burlington to Wells River, mostly on flattish roads and trails. I would agree with the advice about robust (think 'nobust') wheels, and gearing down to ~19" considering the real radius with tires.
Good luck
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