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Ultra compact touring (vs ultra light)

Old 04-12-21, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
[... snip ...] my sleeping bag packs about softball sized. [... snip ...]
Could you please share a link? I have a Zpacks that comes in a stuff sack measuring 6 in x 12 in (15 cm x 30 cm). the size of a softball -- you meant a liner?
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Old 04-12-21, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Could you please share a link? I have a Zpacks that comes in a stuff sack measuring 6 in x 12 in (15 cm x 30 cm). the size of a softball -- you meant a liner?
It is a Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45. It weighs 1 pound 1 ounce I have used it way below the rated temperature (well down into the teens F with some clothing and in a bivy). I am probably exaggerating on the softball sized comment but not all that much. It is no longer in production though. I really love that bag.
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Old 04-14-21, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
[...snip...] I am probably exaggerating on the softball sized comment but not all that much. [...snip...]
Interesting -- Sea To Summit's Extreme liners DO pack the size of a soft-ball. In their blog they write "Providing you are dressed in dry base layer garments, in still air, you can expect a Reactor to work as a ‘stand-alone’ sleeping bag down to air temperatures of around 55°F/13°C and a Reactor Extreme will be comfortable down to around 50°F/10°C."

(My problem in that I am planning to travel across a region where the lows can approach the freezing point, on occasion. But I'll keep this in mind)
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Old 04-14-21, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Interesting -- Sea To Summit's Extreme liners DO pack the size of a soft-ball. In their blog they write "Providing you are dressed in dry base layer garments, in still air, you can expect a Reactor to work as a ‘stand-alone’ sleeping bag down to air temperatures of around 55°F/13°C and a Reactor Extreme will be comfortable down to around 50°F/10°C."

(My problem in that I am planning to travel across a region where the lows can approach the freezing point, on occasion. But I'll keep this in mind)
My Phantom 45 was fine for a mid Feb - mid Mar. Southern Tier where there was often frost over night and at least once dipped into the teens, I used it on many other occasions where there were freezing or a bit below overnight temperatures. I think I sleep warmer than most people though.

The Sea To Summit's Extreme liners are cheap, but not especially efficient weight to warmth when compared to a down bag. I could see using one in a really mild climate.

I have not tried one so I may be wrong, but I can't imagine it is anywhere near as warm as my down bag that only weighs three ounces more. To be fair it does cost hundreds of dollars less. It looks like it packs about the same size based on the dimensions on the manufacturers page.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:27 AM
  #30  
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There are a number of bags on the market that have numbers similar to the discontinued model that I use. The problem is that they cost a lot (think $400 give or take a bit if you want an approximately one pound bag that is good down to freezing and a bit below with some help from clothing and a tent or bivy). To me they are worth it, but may break the budget for some. If there is one item I'd splurge on it would be this one.
A good list of possible choices is at:
https://www.switchbacktravel.com/bes...-sleeping-bags

I have often enough woken up in the morning comfy but with frozen water bottles both when touring and when backpacking with that bag.
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Old 04-14-21, 01:43 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Interesting -- Sea To Summit's Extreme liners DO pack the size of a soft-ball. In their blog they write "Providing you are dressed in dry base layer garments, in still air, you can expect a Reactor to work as a ‘stand-alone’ sleeping bag down to air temperatures of around 55°F/13°C and a Reactor Extreme will be comfortable down to around 50°F/10°C."

(My problem in that I am planning to travel across a region where the lows can approach the freezing point, on occasion. But I'll keep this in mind)
I mentioned in post 3 above that I usually use a sleeping bag liner. I picked up that idea from a gal I used to work with, she commented that when camping far from showers a liner helps keep your sleeping bag much cleaner.

On warm nights it can be quite nice to start out sleeping in just the liner and as the night cools off, I slide more and more into the sleeping bag. But I would never suggest that a liner alone is good to 50 degrees (F)

Some people say that a liner adds a lot of warmth to a sleeping bag, I do not think it adds very much, if any. One of my liners is silk, the other is a microfiber. I bring the silk one on warmer trips.

I have a 40 degree (F) rated bag (down, Mountain Hardware Fairview) that is 920 grams without compression sack. And a 20 degree (F) rated bag (down, REI Sub-Kilo) that is 860 grams. The lighter bag with the colder rating has less girth, if I expect warm weather I take the heavier more roomy bag because it is not that much heavier and being slightly more roomy is more comfortable. Both these bags are roughly a decade old, I know the REI one is no longer made, not sure about the Fairview.
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Old 04-15-21, 10:01 AM
  #32  
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We seem to have similar kits. I have a silk liner and an Extreme S2S + a Zpacks bag.

My observation was that I've never travelled without a sleeping bag, whereas it might well be unnecessary (i.e. an Extreme liner would have been plenty warm). In fact, never even *occurred* to me that a sleeping bag is frequently overkill.
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Old 04-15-21, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
We seem to have similar kits. I have a silk liner and an Extreme S2S + a Zpacks bag.

My observation was that I've never travelled without a sleeping bag, whereas it might well be unnecessary (i.e. an Extreme liner would have been plenty warm). In fact, never even *occurred* to me that a sleeping bag is frequently overkill.
I have never toured, backpacked, or canoe camped without a sleeping bag. On any tour over a few nights I figure there is a chance it might get chilly especially if part of the tour is in the mountains or the desert anywhere I am likely to tour. Even when on tours with 110+ F heat in the desert we had some cold nights. Once we has 110 F one day and ice in the water bottles the next morning. I tend to think of a sleeping bag as something that always goes along. I may consider otherwise if I did real short tours where the weather was more predictable, but I almost never go less than ten days and prefer multi week or multi month tours and typically some portion is in the mountains.
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Old 04-16-21, 08:23 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
---

This is in the context of fully self supported, weeks-long solo trip where I want everything to fit inside 2 front rollers + food and probably tent tied to the rear rack.

This is pretty easy. If you want to reduce volume get rid of the panniers. One dry bag on rear rack, assuming your frame is big enough frame bag w room for water bottles. Small handlebar bag.
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Old 04-16-21, 09:30 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
This is pretty easy. [...snip...]
You may want to share your packing list, if this is easy for you.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:50 AM
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I was going to say it was easy for me too, but then I thought about the many revisions of my packing list between the time I carried 50 pounds of stuff in 4 panniers, handlebar bag, plus stuff on top of the rear rack and now with the very little that I carry these days.

It is easy now, but it took a while getting there for me. A number of years and hundreds or thousands of times going over packing lists. I won't post a packing list here, but do have a variety of them that document the evolution of my packing style in my journals and articles. See link in my signature line if interested.
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Old 04-16-21, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
See link in my signature line if interested.
[EDIT] staehpj1 a few questions. [/EDIT]

1. Yeah... bivy + tarp VS tent. My Duplex weight 539g and packs at a bit less than 4L. It looks like most bivy + tarp combos would pack very close to if not larger than this, and I dread rainy mornings in a bivy. What's your experience?
2. Toob is an interesting option. When on tour, you purchase the smallest toothpaste tube available, refill the Toob and discard the rest?
3. Your kitchen makes no mention of fuel. Alcohol? Mini Bic or striker (or something else?)
4. No mention either of a windscreen. Rocks and such instead?

[EDIT] and comments [/EDIT]

1. I find that my sleeping bag stuff sack packed with extra clothing makes a reasonable pillow.

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Old 04-16-21, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
You may want to share your packing list, if this is easy for you.
I misunderstood your initial post to mean you wanted to reduce your volume as much as possible not that you needed to reduce volume to two front panniers.
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Old 04-16-21, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
I misunderstood your initial post to mean you wanted to reduce your volume as much as possible not that you needed to reduce volume to two front panniers.
Compatible objectives. My kit *must* be less than 25L. Then, it becomes a trade-off between convenience and bulk. My current setup fits everything needed for solo unsupported (including a tent) inside those panniers, with food on the rear rack. I am reviewing systems to see what can be improved.
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Old 04-16-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Interesting list. Will get back to you with a few questions.
Feel free to ask. I will caution that I offer my lists more as a source of ideas for others than as something that will work as is for someone else. Everyone has different needs and tolerances. Even my own needs may vary depending on where I am going and what I expect from the trip experience.

That said, I have found that with some care and a gradual paring down I was able to get pretty comfortable touring with very little stuff. The same for backpacking. Some may be able to shortcut that and jump right to the minimalist approach. I didn't do that so I am not sure how hard that would be to do.

Some of the thing I routinely do now probably would have sounded kind of nutty to me when I started out.
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Old 04-16-21, 02:48 PM
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I've edited my previous post by inserting questions
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Old 04-17-21, 12:59 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Some may be able to shortcut that and jump right to the minimalist approach. ...
Some of the thing I routinely do now probably would have sounded kind of nutty to me when I started out.
I've been travelling and touring since the 70's. Through the years, my gear has continually evolved from being minimal: no tent, no pad, no stove, even no shoes at times (barefoot, plastic pedals) to the pile of gear I have at home now and can pack for whatever trip (summer overnighter to multi-month with wet, freezing nights etc.). I really enjoy all the packing and planning, decision making, and the fine tuning from experience.

My starting point though is "what is the minimum I can pack to be able to do what I want to on this tour?" Cold nights? Warm food? Play guitar?
Weight is never a problem, your legs get stronger but too little room to pack everything is much worse. I sleep cold and my sleeping system takes up much more room than many peoples (I prefer synthetic rather than down for both practical and ethical reasons). Stocking up at a supermarket to have a week's worth of food takes up a lot of space, as does water.

My view is that UL/UC does not replace a fully-loaded set up, it serves a different purpose.

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Old 04-17-21, 04:33 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
My view is that UL/UC does not replace a fully-loaded set up, it serves a different purpose.
That definitely can be true as long as the choices suit the needs of the person and the trip.

For what it is worth I have not ever cut the gear list to the point where I wasn't comfortable. I was always warm, well fed, and slept well.
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Old 04-17-21, 05:08 AM
  #44  
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It isn't entirely clear which list you are referring to there are ones in several trip reports from various points in the evolution of my packing style. I think there might also be more than one in the article, also probably not the latest thinking. I keep spreadsheets, and check items for what to take on a given trip so sharing them would only show what is checked at the moment. The following link shows selections that aren't from a tour, but are from a short backpacking trip that included some fly fishing. I use the same spreadsheet sometimes to pick stuff for tours though, so I am linking it in case it might clear up some questions. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
[EDIT] staehpj1 a few questions. [/EDIT]

1. Yeah... bivy + tarp VS tent. My Duplex weight 539g and packs at a bit less than 4L. It looks like most bivy + tarp combos would pack very close to if not larger than this, and I dread rainy mornings in a bivy. What's your experience?
I have a tarp pitched over the bivy, so no need to stay in the bivy in the morning unless the bugs are biting. Remember I am not talking about one of those hooped things that weighs a couple pounds or more, my bivy is just a few ounces and probably packs less than a liter. So the bivy and tarp together are still pretty minimal even with some cord and stakes. It is less than 2 liters depending on which bivy and tarp Back when I used the old REI bivy it was more. If I take the bug bivy and the smaller tarp it is less than a liter.
2. Toob is an interesting option. When on tour, you purchase the smallest toothpaste tube available, refill the Toob and discard the rest?
Yeah, I have done that. I have also just taken a small tube and made it last.
3. Your kitchen makes no mention of fuel. Alcohol? Mini Bic or striker (or something else?)
Not sure where you are looking it should show mini bic and a piece of craft foil for a windscreen is considered part of the stove setup. I do not list the alcohol as gear. I consider it a consumable. I do typically carry a 12 ounce bottle of yellow bottle heet.
4. No mention either of a windscreen. Rocks and such instead?
see above.

[EDIT] and comments [/EDIT]

1. I find that my sleeping bag stuff sack packed with extra clothing makes a reasonable pillow.
I have done that too but find the Exped Air Pillow (size M) worth the extra 3 ounces and essentially zero bulk (it packs in the same stuff sack with my sleeping pad so no extra volume). It is probably more comfortable than the pillow I sleep with at home.
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Old 04-17-21, 06:00 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I was always warm, well fed, and slept well.
Good grief! I do understand what you mean, but looking back on my travels, I definitely can't say the same!
Wouldn't change a minute of it though! Cheers!
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Old 04-17-21, 07:39 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
[EDIT] staehpj1 a few questions. [/EDIT]
...
2. Toob is an interesting option. When on tour, you purchase the smallest toothpaste tube available, refill the Toob and discard the rest?
....
I try to bring enough toothpaste, soap for sink laundry and camp cleanup, bar of soap for showers, and shampoo for the trip. If a month and a half, I bring more from home. But those are the only things where I bring more on a month plus trip than on a week long trip. Other stuff I buy along the way.

Toothpaste, at home I buy 6 oz tubes, when a tube gets down to about a couple weeks I put it in my camping gear. But on airplanes in my carry on bag I only bring the tiny travel size tubes my dental hygienist hands out.

I have some dietary issues, a lot of common foods that others can eat are troublesome for me. I might bring up to 10 days of food from home, stuff that I know I can eat. On a longer trip I try to make the stuff I know I can eat last longer instead of eating it all right away, start eating the locally bought stuff right away when I find something I can eat.

I was surprised in Iceland how many half empty olive oil bottles were on free shelves in campgrounds and hostels, I kept replenishing my little squeeze bottle. I suspect a lot of people bought a bottle upon arrival, and left the remainder when they flew home.
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Old 04-17-21, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I was surprised in Iceland how many half empty olive oil bottles were on free shelves in campgrounds and hostels, I kept replenishing my little squeeze bottle. I suspect a lot of people bought a bottle upon arrival, and left the remainder when they flew home.
I have not seen free shelves or boxes in campgrounds too often when bike touring. Now and then yes, but not all that often. When I have I found them helpful both for leaving things I didn't want to waste and for picking up things I could use. I wish there were more of them

When I have been backpacking, the hiker boxes were awesome many places. Some places a brave hiker could manage without packing or sending any food from home beyond what they started out with in the beginning. I have heard of folks successfully managing just that. The barrels on the John Muir Trail were well stocked enough that I think I could have probably done the whole trail forraging barrels if I had needed to. That was definitely the case when I was there at least as far as I got before I bailed due to forest fire smoke. I know that I sometimes have greatly enjoyed the variety of switching up and eating stuff someone else packed. Then again sometimes the reason it was in the box or barrel was because it was just plain nasty. Otoh, some of the European (French I think) freeze dried food that foreign visitors left was really delicious unlike most of the freeze dried stuff they sell here which I mostly won't eat unless I am starving. Also some people's home packed concoctions were really good. Sometimes I chatted folks up when they were putting stuff in the barrels so I got a good idea what things were.

Generally where the barrels were you could buy something if the barrels didn't pan out. Also the barrels would be empty some part of the day and fill up another so you'd need to be there at the right time.
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Old 04-17-21, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I have not seen free shelves or boxes in campgrounds too often when bike touring. Now and then yes, but not all that often. When I have I found them helpful both for leaving things I didn't want to waste and for picking up things I could use. I wish there were more of them

When I have been backpacking, the hiker boxes were awesome many places. Some places a brave hiker could manage without packing or sending any food from home beyond what they started out with in the beginning. I have heard of folks successfully managing just that. The barrels on the John Muir Trail were well stocked enough that I think I could have probably done the whole trail forraging barrels if I had needed to. That was definitely the case when I was there at least as far as I got before I bailed due to forest fire smoke. I know that I sometimes have greatly enjoyed the variety of switching up and eating stuff someone else packed. Then again sometimes the reason it was in the box or barrel was because it was just plain nasty. Otoh, some of the European (French I think) freeze dried food that foreign visitors left was really delicious unlike most of the freeze dried stuff they sell here which I mostly won't eat unless I am starving. Also some people's home packed concoctions were really good. Sometimes I chatted folks up when they were putting stuff in the barrels so I got a good idea what things were.

Generally where the barrels were you could buy something if the barrels didn't pan out. Also the barrels would be empty some part of the day and fill up another so you'd need to be there at the right time.
Iceland, almost everybody there in the campgrounds or hostels were either local or had flown there. And a lot of stuff you find on the free shelves was stuff they they could not or did not want to take home on a plane. I planned to mostly use liquid fuel stove, but just in case it was confiscated I also brought a tiny little butane mix type stove. There were so many half or one third full cannisters that I mostly used cannisters. Left about a half liter of coleman fuel on a shelf when I came home. I think it was the prevalence of flying that was the reason for the free shelves. One parking lot in a touristy area about an hour drive from Reykjavik had a mostly full cannister that someone apparently decided they were not going to use any more. So, I did.

Backpacking, Superior Hiking Trail in Northern Minnesota, summer 2019 I asked most of the through hikers I met what the max number of days of food they carried, most said about four or five. There were not that many post offices along the way, so a lot of small motels and other hospitality businesses are happy to serve as pickup points for packages of food that people leave with them to pick up later.

One couple said there were a few of their picked up packages had six days of food but they tried to stick with four or five. When I first started talking to them I was really surprised they were through hikers, they asked why I was surprised and I said they looked so "laundered". They explained a few months earlier they were in a Walmart and saw a great sale on shirts, only a few bucks each. So they decided that each of their food stores that they picked up along the trail would have one new shirt for each of them, and their new shirts had only been worn for a few hours at the time that I talked to them.
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Old 04-17-21, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Compatible objectives. My kit *must* be less than 25L. Then, it becomes a trade-off between convenience and bulk. My current setup fits everything needed for solo unsupported (including a tent) inside those panniers, with food on the rear rack. I am reviewing systems to see what can be improved.
If your panniers are the standard Frontrollers, not the city version, the strap that goes over the top is useful too. I usually strap my raingear on top of my Frontrollers, that way it is very handy if I suddenly need it. I also strap damp clothing there if it is hot and I do not want it to mildew in a hot pannier. Thus, your Frontloaders could be closer to 30 liters. That said, you might want to save those spots for overflow contingency later.

***

Tents, on my Maritimes tour, I met a gal from Halifax NS that was on her first tour. Solo, five days, two days from Halifax to Five Islands Provincial Park on Bay of Fundy where I met her, a day there and two days back home. She had a tiny little tent. It looked like a copy of a small Six Moons tent that I had seen before, when I say a copy I do not know if Six Moons was the first company to make a tent of that design, but that was the first one of that design I ever saw. Single trekking pole is used, tent does not come with poles.
https://www.sixmoondesigns.com/colle...schutes-bundle

She said she had seen it on-line, shipped from asia, total cost was under $100 CAD. I think it was Ebay but might have been a different site. This was the first time she had ever used it. She said it appeared to be well made and she was very happy with it. She was a lot shorter than me, so I am sure it fit her better, but I was intrigued so I took a few photos of her tent. She carried a trekking pole to pitch it.



It intrigued me enough that when I got home I bought one, but I went for white. I could not find the bargain that she got, I paid $128 USD. It appears to be well made, I also looked at several reviews on youtube and it had good remarks there.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-Person-Ou...-/383880160048

Without a pole, with some extra better stakes and with a piece of plastic for a footprint, mine weights 1125 grams.

I plan to try it out on a backpacking trip this year. It is a bit shorter than I would like, but I think it is doable.

My point is that there is almost an infinite range of shelters of different weights and packed volumes to choose from. Something like this is not much heavier than a bivy and gives you a chance to sit upright.

I would NOT recommend trying to buy a tent from Asia at this time for your trip, with supply chains being such a mess, the odds of getting it in time is nil.

For bike touring I use a tent that was designed to use two trekking poles to hold it up, I cut tent poles for it so that I do not need to carry trekking poles.
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Old 04-17-21, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
This is pretty easy. If you want to reduce volume get rid of the panniers. One dry bag on rear rack, assuming your frame is big enough frame bag w room for water bottles. Small handlebar bag.
Thats the way I roll but also use a small narrow dry bag attached to the top tube, usually for my clothes. I can't ride this way if I have to carry most of my food. I am thinking about a Revelate Design frame bag for food
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