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self contained touring weights

Old 10-17-20, 09:20 AM
  #1  
balto charlie
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self contained touring weights

Just finished a 4 day ( was to be 5, cut short) self-contained tour. I was stunned how heavy everything was! Usually I lean towards ultra light touring, buying food as I need it. I packed 4.5 days of food, mostly homemade dehydrated meals, PB, bagel stuff. I also packed some warmer clothes as the temps were dropping into the mid 30's.

Those of you that usually ride self contained how heavy are your food and clothes. It seems we put a lot of effort into lightening our gear. My gear is light enough, bike is what it is (Miyata 1000) but the other stuff seems too heavy. Or maybe I am getting too old My total gear, clothes and food weight was 31 lbs.
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Old 10-17-20, 11:43 AM
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Funny you mentioned that. I'm heading out tomorrow for a week or two of touring down south. Just for fun I weighed all my gear including the panniers and front handle bar bag and came up right at 25 lbs. Now if it were going to be colder, I would be forced to carry more heavy clothing. If it were going to be more remote (which it won't) I would be carrying more food and cooking stuff. This is not an uncommon weight for me and my system works for me and probably not you. How staehpj1 cuts that down by half and travels across country, I have no idea.
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Old 10-17-20, 11:55 AM
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I am impressed that you both are that light. I likely would be significantly heavier than that. In summer I usually carry three liters of water at the beginning of the day, that is over six pounds by itself. But when it is this cool, I would probably only carry two liters of water, not three.

The weight of my Ortliebs and Tubus racks (front and rear) empty is close to 10 pounds.

So, right there I have half the weight that you have and I have not packed anything yet.
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Old 10-17-20, 01:21 PM
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To be fair, I did not count in my 25 lbs, 2 full water bottles nor my rear rack. It always comes down to choices and compromises. For several years I toured with a <3 lb tent but for only 1 additional pound, I get so much more tent and greater comfort. Yea, I own a really lightweight mattress but for an additional 8 ounces, I get a large full size mattress that is comfy and warmer. As I may have mentioned before, I tour with a fine fellow that always carries a foldable chair which I prefer not to carry, but yet I'm always envious when he pulls that thing out in the evening when we're sitting around a fire. Choices
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Old 10-17-20, 02:54 PM
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My self-contained summer touring pack, good to 30 degrees F, weighs less than 14 pounds. I'd need to add over a pound to take my 15F bag along. That includes packs, tools, spares, lock and lights, but not the rack which is never removed.

By comparison, my backpack (for long distance trails) weighs about eight pounds for the same conditions, so the bike almost doubles that weight, mainly because of the tools, spares, and lock. I carry an extra jersey for mountain descents.

If I'm riding unsupported, I carry two pounds of food per day, and as much water as conditions require, seldom more than three liters though I have capacity for five liters. But I often tour with little more than lunch and a sip of water, if I'm in civilization most of the day.

I've perfected a stoveless travel style over the years. That, along with using a single-wall shelter, was a big factor in weight and volume reduction, allowing me to travel without front packs.
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Old 10-17-20, 03:56 PM
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Was this on the GAP/C&O? If so, why pack anything but snacks to get you between stops? Itís not a wasteland of a route, at least the GAP portion isnít.

And I donít think a total weight of 31 lbs. is a lot.
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Old 10-17-20, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

The weight of my Ortliebs and Tubus racks (front and rear) empty is close to 10 pounds.

So, right there I have half the weight that you have and I have not packed anything yet.
You have me wondering whether the OPs 31 lbs. included the racks and bags. If so, 31 lbs. does not seem at all heavy compared to my load.
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Old 10-17-20, 04:03 PM
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Bike is 30, gear is 25-30, depends on temps n food supply available.
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Old 10-17-20, 05:39 PM
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this august I did a 5 day trip and I made an effort to cut down on stuff, and Im fairly certain that my four panniers, handlebar bag and tent came out to about 35lbs, which is pretty much the same as Ive always carried for this type of trip. My tent is a bit lighter at 4.5lbs vs back in the 90s with a 7lb tent, although when Ive toured with my wife, I take a newer 3 person tent which is back to the 7lbs.

I dunno, I find 30-35lbs to be my norm, and yes, a bit of food and extra water adds more, but thats life.
I know for my longer trips in other countries when I had spare this and spare that, more water etc, I was probably maybe 10lbs more.

I also dont really get how folks carry half of what I do, but I guess I do know--they are fine with less comforts and whatnot, and thats cool, I just still prefer the clothes, or my pillow, or a few more toiletry things etc.

so no, your kit isnt heavy at all. Its pretty average Id say, even light considereing you're saying thats with 4 days of food etc.......
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Old 10-17-20, 05:48 PM
  #10  
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and yes, you're probably getting old ;-)
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Old 10-17-20, 06:37 PM
  #11  
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Tourist in MSN weight does not include water nor rear rack. I don't have a front one, just strapped my tent to the bars
robow a chair, nice. One night while gazing at the stars I wished I had one, usually there were tables to sit at
andrewclaus stove free is not going to work, my love of coffee prevents it, plus I have a good handle on cooking
indyfabz included panniers. Also I didn't want to stop at stores and restaurants during Covid. While touring in W.Va recently I had far too many non mask wearers. I am a Covid wuss.
djb Yeah, probably age

FWIW: I think my biggest issue might have been bike choice. I used my ole Trek 990 mnt bike, converted to trail bike. I think the bike is good for casual riding and not longer distant tourers. Regardless my thighs feel the tour and I ride regularly. I hope to tour this November weather permitting and will ride with similar weight on my Miyata tourer and make a direct comparison. Maybe Ill include a chair My son has an uber lightweight one

Thanks all for your input
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Old 10-17-20, 07:35 PM
  #12  
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Balto, I get the whole not wanting to go into restaurants.
You shouldn't say wuss, you are being reasonable, informed, responsible. and considerate to others in society. Not to mention the only way to reduce the impact this has and to shorten the time to have things be more normal.
Up here we have been keeping the health system from being over whelmed by doing what is known to best contain this.

On my short trip this summer, while not going to restaurants, I knew I could easily and safely shop each day for groceries, as even in small rural towns, people were just as responsible as in my large city.
We know we have to work together in this.
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Old 10-17-20, 08:11 PM
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I ride with what I mostly need for tour on the bike I have, and I do take stuff to be comfortable, such as the stuff for morning coffee at camp. Perhaps I will not win the tour, but I will most certainly enjoy the ride and being outside in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 10-18-20, 01:12 AM
  #14  
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Doesn't sound like a lot of weight to be honest. But it was a shortish trip, so maybe you just weren't in fighting form when you began the trip?

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Old 10-18-20, 02:55 AM
  #15  
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I carry as little as possible, which is sometimes a heck of a lot

It always feels heavy for the first couple of days, but then you get your touring legs and donít think about it.
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Old 10-18-20, 03:13 AM
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Andrewclaus weights would seem to be ultralight. I am interested in what your evening no cook meals are and what your single wall shelter is?
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Old 10-18-20, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post

On my short trip this summer, while not going to restaurants, I knew I could easily and safely shop each day for groceries, as even in small rural towns, people were just as responsible as in my large city.
We know we have to work together in this.
On the flip side, one grocery store I shopped at in Everett, PA, last month had a sign on the door encouraging masks. (Required in the state.) But the sign also read that they would assume you have heath issues if youíre not wearing one. *wink wink* *nod nod* Appeared to be a good number of shoppers with health issues. Low frequency of mask wearing in the two stores I visited in Rockwood, which is on the GAP.
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Old 10-18-20, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
Just finished a 4 day ( was to be 5, cut short) self-contained tour. I was stunned how heavy everything was! Usually I lean towards ultra light touring, buying food as I need it. I packed 4.5 days of food, mostly homemade dehydrated meals, PB, bagel stuff. I also packed some warmer clothes as the temps were dropping into the mid 30's.

Those of you that usually ride self contained how heavy are your food and clothes. It seems we put a lot of effort into lightening our gear. My gear is light enough, bike is what it is (Miyata 1000) but the other stuff seems too heavy. Or maybe I am getting too old My total gear, clothes and food weight was 31 lbs.
Carrying food rather than restocking daily adds a lot. How much it adds will vary depending on your food choices. When you say dropping into the mid 30s are you talking about daytime temps or overnight lows? If overnight lows, that would not require any extra clothing or gear for me.

I have not done a trip that was close to what you propose, but your number doesn't sound unreasonable given how heavy food gets. Lets say we take my Southern Tier trip gear weight of 14#. That is a reasonable start since it was colder and I was packing light, but not my lightest. It sounds like you had 5 days of food. I always figured that food runs somewhere between 2-2.5# per day if packing like a backpacker (with 2# not being very achievable unless you have fall back plans like hiker boxes, catching fish, picking berries, starving, etc.). So lets assume 2.5# x 5 days = 12.5#. Add that to my 14# ST base and I'd be at 26.5#. I was in a UL hoop-less bivy with a tiny tarp and generally really light gear. I manage to sleep in a very nice 1 pound bag even down into the teens F. My gear was in sil-nylon stuff sacks and so on so. Basically it is all dialed in with weight in mind at every step of the way.

So you are talking about an additional 4.5#. Your food might take up some of that depending on your choices and I was making choices that not everyone would find acceptable. Your tent probably weighs more than my bivy and tarp and so on. Basically 31# sounds pretty reasonable for carrying 5 days of food and I doubt most folks manage to go that light with that many days of food even when backpacking.

FWIW, one of the reasons that I like bike touring is that I don't usually have to carry food for multiple days.
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Old 10-18-20, 06:22 AM
  #19  
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balto, some reasons for feeling things were too heavy other than you becoming an old geezer:
-as Imi said, its normal to feel this way, takes a while for the legs to get used to it
-your bike is from the late 80s, maybe early 90s, so its probably 6 or 7 speed, so the jumps can easily be bigger between shifts, so its harder on you (there's a reason 18 wheelers have close ratio many many geared transmissions) AND your chainrings on the crank are also likely to be too big overall. My first touring bike is from this era, so I know what I'm talking about-- 50/40/28 and 13-28
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Old 10-18-20, 07:44 AM
  #20  
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In the photo, that was the shortest tour I have done in over a decade, only five days and four nights. I carried the food and kitchen for two of us, but one day was restaurant food. When the photo was taken, most of the food had been eaten and I no longer needed a bag on top of the rear rack for food, the only bag on top of the rack was tent poles. Weather was cool enough that I ... looked like I look in the photo, long pants, cover over helmet, long finger gloves, rain jacket, etc. Thus packed warm gear for use in a chilly campsite, probably the kind of weather most of us in the northern part of USA have now in mid-Oct with potential to freeze at night, possible rain but snow unlikely, etc.

I made no real effort to pack light, but I never do. The bulges in the rear panniers suggest that I had enough excess room I could just dump stuff in and close them up without carefully packing them for efficient use of space. So, four panniers and handlebar bag, no big bag on top of the rear rack, the sum of volumes is probably around 70 liters not counting water bottles. From the photo I can see rain pants strapped on top of the left front pannier, but that is only a liter or so of volume outside the panniers.

I have no clue what the weight would be for the gear in this photo but I am sure that the four panniers, handlebar bag and all of the contents would sum to well over 30 pounds.



As a side note, when touring I always bring a tool bag that most would consider too heavy to carry. And the second day on this tour (before the photo was taken) I needed to use my cassette lock ring tool, fortunately I had it along with the wrench for it. Being only a five day trip, it is tempting to leave stuff like the tool bag out, but in this case I was fortunate that I brought the tools that I would want on a long duration tour where I need to be self sufficient. Otherwise I would have been stranded far away from a bike shop with an unrideable bike.
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Old 10-18-20, 07:48 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by BikeLite View Post
Andrewclaus weights would seem to be ultralight. I am interested in what your evening no cook meals are and what your single wall shelter is?
Yes, definitely in the UL range, molded by hiking the Triple Crown trails. My shelter is a Tarptent Contrail (obsolete, replaced by the Protrail). Traveling UL and no-cook pretty much redefines eating habits. I no longer think of "meals." I graze out of my pack (or get a cooked meal at a restaurant) whenever I'm not riding, at least every couple of hours. Often I don't need to eat any more when I stop to camp. (And that's a good habit in bear country, especially grizz.) I might grab a handful of nuts and raisins, or a tortilla, before securing my food.
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Old 10-18-20, 08:35 AM
  #22  
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Balto, Tourists photo and comments about space and whatnot pretty much mirrors my packing experience, although on my aug 5 dayish trip, I did make an effort to reduce stuff a bit here and there.
I think this amount of stuff is very very common, especially if not being totally obsessed with fitting everything super tight into a given amount of packing space (which bikepacking bags would tend to lean towards, partly cuz of actually litres available and also shape and numbers of actual containing structures, seatbags, handlebar bags, framebags or those small feedbags and gastanks etc.

On my trip, I could have maybe eliminated the front panniers, but it would have meant not having some things and / or having absolutely no extra space for a shopping trip and carrying food. At least one day I knew that the last grocery store was a good 30 or 40kms before the campground I was going to stay at, so bought supper/breakfast stuff and was glad to easily have the room for this, and also to be able to buy something like a container with some sticky buns in it, kinda bulky and rectangular, not heavy but easy still to stuff in one of my pannier tops.

like Tourist said, sometimes ease of use is worth it, both in packing stuff in, and having spare room if you want to carry bulky stuff to have for supper and or for breakfast the next day.
Example--this same day I carried supper and breakfast stuff all afternoon, I had a reasonably long day, I dunno, 100k probably, with the last of it on loose and rough downhill dirt roads, so I was tired when I got to the campground. There I met two cyclists, had only rear panniers, they were heading off on foot to a restaurant quite a few kms away on (which I generally dont feel like doing after a long day, walking more) I had no idea there was a local small resto sort of nearby, but I did know that stores were not around. In the morning, having my morning coffee, these guys were packing up to go find breakfast in the next town, and were very envious of both my coffee, yogurt with oats and the brioche that I was eating. One of the poor guys was..."where did you get that pastry.......?"
So for me, totally worth it to have schlepped my supper and breakfast stuff all that way, take it easy after my shower before supper, have a leisurely breakfast and to be able to just stuff it all in my panniers fairly easily.
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Old 10-18-20, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
...
I think this amount of stuff is very very common, especially if not being totally obsessed with fitting everything super tight into a given amount of packing space (which bikepacking bags would tend to lean towards, partly cuz of actually litres available and also shape and numbers of actual containing structures, seatbags, handlebar bags, framebags or those small feedbags and gastanks etc.

On my trip, I could have maybe eliminated the front panniers, but it would have meant not having some things and / or having absolutely no extra space for a shopping trip and carrying food.

... and was glad to easily have the room for this, and also to be able to buy something like a container with some sticky buns in it, kinda bulky and rectangular, not heavy but easy still to stuff in one of my pannier tops.

like Tourist said, sometimes ease of use is worth it, both in packing stuff in, and having spare room

...One of the poor guys was..."where did you get that pastry.......?"
....
Every bikepacker I have seen has worn a small backpack, something in the 15 to 20 liter range, which is slightly smaller than a pair of most front panniers. But I have never seen a person with four panniers wear a backpack. But you never see the backpack in the photo of the bike because the person holding the camera is wearing the pack.

I always plan for extra space, but some of my trips are over a week between grocery stores, so I probably need more contingency space than most people because of my choice of trips.

My last trip, I recall seeing some really delicious pastries in a large disposable clear plastic box shaped container, I had about a 25 liter dry bag on top of my rack that had enough space for that box of pastries. They tasted really good for about three days and the box was stiff enough that they did not get crushed.

Also on that trip, it was nice having that dry bag with that much excess volume so I did not have to squeeze down on the dozen eggs to get the drybag closed. Eggs lasted for several days too.

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Old 10-18-20, 09:58 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
FWIW: I think my biggest issue might have been bike choice. I used my ole Trek 990 mnt bike, converted to trail bike. I think the bike is good for casual riding and not longer distant tourers. Regardless my thighs feel the tour and I ride regularly. I hope to tour this November weather permitting and will ride with similar weight on my Miyata tourer and make a direct comparison...
Your gear weight seems reasonable. I ride a recent-drop-bar converted Trek 970(same frame as 990) bike for touring and find it a very comfortable and capable touring bike. I just weighed mine..the base bike (no racks, but with SPD pedals, 3.3lbs in tires, Brooks Imperial saddle..) comes in at just over 31 pounds. I don't think this is too out of the norm for a self-supported touring bike. My GF and I did a couple of tours in the last 2 months(about 500 miles total) and I carried about 36-37 lbs of gear. A bit heavy, but I was carrying much of the gear for both of us(all shelter, cooking, sleeping bags, plus clothes to 30 degrees, tools, spares.....and at one point a half gallon of chocolate milk .

It'll be interesting to hear how the Miyata 1000 compares with the same load. Tires can make a huge difference in how your bike (and you) feel. Good, easy rolling tires are great investment with or without a load. My 970 with an older, cheap set of tires(same width as my current tires, 2 inches) is an absolute slug to ride..not at all fun. With my current tires the bike rolls very easy and is a surprisingly fast bike...a real joy to ride, with or without a load.
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Old 10-18-20, 12:39 PM
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When I was making an effort to lighten my load for long-distance backpacking, I learned a couple of helpful phrases. One is, "Pack for a hiking (biking) trip, or pack for a camping trip. Your choice." For the former, the stuff you pack only supports the hiking (biking). The only reason you camp is to sleep. I can tell most touring cyclists enjoy camping, and that pretty much dictates the pack weight.

Another, to help with clothing choice, is that you should be able to wear everything you pack at one time, as part of a coordinated layering system.

This is not a dig at anyone's travel style, just an aid for those who are trying to go lighter and wonder how the hell it's done. The OP seemed to be a muted cry for help?
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