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How heavy is what you carry? Did I overdo it?

Old 09-07-22, 09:48 AM
  #51  
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Hiking is a useful analogy but does not translate directly to cycling. With a pack you're carrying all the weight on your own muscles. On the bike you're carrying the weight on some rolling wheels. Cycling on the flat, the extra weight is not perceivable. Climbing is the only thing that is affected.

Someone mentioned a 20-25% of body weight limit for hiking packs. Most of my hiking is done as part of technical climbing so I use a 33% of body weight limit. That's 55lb max pack weight for me. This translates pretty well to the approximate luggage weight for a long haul bike tour. If you're touring in a rich developed country, you can save some of that weight by carrying less spare parts and tools. If you're ok with stinking like a hobo, then you can save some more weight by carrying less clothes. If you're ok with eating uncooked food like the homeless, then you can save weight by cutting down on cooking gear. You can go lighter and lighter and sacrifice as much as you wish. Eventually you can get down to almost no weight as long as you are satisfied with living like a wild animal. It depends on your personality.

Or you could just carry a credit card, ride a 14lb bike with zero luggage and stay in hotels every night.

It's all personal preference. As long as you are in a rich developed country, you can do whatever you want with no consequences. When you get caught with your pants down you can always get a bail out. If you try the same thing in some other remote part of the world, you may be in trouble.
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Old 09-07-22, 09:55 AM
  #52  
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For those who have difficulty imagining overpacking, this
on my feed. Enough gear to fill two Ortlieb front panniers, two back rollers, one 49L dry bag, a large handlebar bag and a small top-tube bag. (at the end of the video, there's a link to
). While very well made, well intentioned and liked by lots of viewers, the amount of stuff carried reminds me of these pictures
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Old 09-07-22, 10:53 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
For those who have difficulty imagining overpacking, this interesting video appeared on my feed. Enough gear to fill two Ortlieb front panniers, two back rollers, one 49L dry bag, a large handlebar bag and a small top-tube bag. (at the end of the video, there's a link to another video from her cycling companion). While very well made, well intentioned and liked by lots of viewers, the amount of stuff carried reminds me of these pictures
I see nothing unreasonable in those videos. So how are the items illustrated in the videos overpacking? What would you tell them chuck away?
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Old 09-08-22, 07:30 AM
  #54  
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elcruxio I am not criticising -- they are at one end of the spectrum (more than 100L). My months long kit fits inside 25L and I met trans-am bikepackers carrying less than that.

This being said, (1) there is no mention of a storage system for food & water. Puzzling. (2) what looks excessive: a Woolpower mid-layer (29oz, incredibly large packed size); two down jackets (Rab Microlight + Rab Positron); a 3 outlet power strip and a USB cables kit requiring a large storage bag (my cable system is the size of a pencil).

Their kit lists (here and there) are exhaustive and certainly worth considering. Personally, I think that this is too much stuff and there are several large/heavy items for which smaller/lighter alternatives might be considered. In another video the guy makes the point that the (loaded) bike is too heavy to push on muddy roads.
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Old 09-08-22, 07:58 AM
  #55  
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as often what comes to my mind with these discussions, and what I often mention, is that its common to already own a,b or c item that is heavier or bulkier than other options, but we just keep using them because we have them and sometimes budget comes into play.

I wouldn't mind having a tent a few pounds lighter than my two person tent, or a warmer sleeping bag that weighs half of my bag and is smaller, but the stuff I have works and in life there are always things in life that are higher up on the priority of spending money on, so budgeting can very much come into play.

I'll probably get lighter and more compact things at some point, but being fairly caught up in family stuff with older parents, I'm not heading off on any exciting trips right now anyway, so if I'm able to do anything in the near future, I'll just be using the stuff I have and a few extra pounds it will be.

In general though, even though I have some heavier and bulkier stuff, I am pretty good due to experience keeping the overall volume and weight down, but this does only come from experience and experimenting-- and hopefully mr corlew will be able to be able to look at his stuff and reduce it for next time.
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Old 09-08-22, 11:32 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
elcruxio I am not criticising -- they are at one end of the spectrum (more than 100L). My months long kit fits inside 25L and I met trans-am bikepackers carrying less than that.

This being said, (1) there is no mention of a storage system for food & water. Puzzling. (2) what looks excessive: a Woolpower mid-layer (29oz, incredibly large packed size); two down jackets (Rab Microlight + Rab Positron); a 3 outlet power strip and a USB cables kit requiring a large storage bag (my cable system is the size of a pencil).

Their kit lists (here and there) are exhaustive and certainly worth considering. Personally, I think that this is too much stuff and there are several large/heavy items for which smaller/lighter alternatives might be considered. In another video the guy makes the point that the (loaded) bike is too heavy to push on muddy roads.
For not criticising you seem to be doing a lot of criticising.

For the amount of electronics they're carrying AND wild camping it's reasonable to be able to get as much amperage from a socket as possible whenever possible. One way to achieve that is using several powerful chargers at once (multiport usb charging hubs typically have a fairly low amperage per cable when all ports are in use).

two down jackets isn't all that peculiar when living on a bike for long durations. It could either be a clothing rotation reason (keep one dry while other is in use) or a break jacket / staying warm jacket combo or both.

As to the woolpower. I understood they were going to scandinavia and iceland. I'm assuming their timetable would put them there around autumn and perhaps even winter. Of course you must know this as you state your criticisms in such a certain manner, but if you go live outdoors in scandinavia during autumn and winter months with just down to keep you warm (let alone just one down jacket) you'll either freeze to death or you'll get incredibly lucky with the weather. Down doesn't do anything once it gets wet. A thick wool layer with a rainshell on top will keep you alive in sub freezing rain. It's no wonder thick wool is so popular around here.

So sure, they could ditch the down jacket(s) but then they'd need even thicker wool which would then be even heavier and pack even larger.
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Old 09-09-22, 08:29 AM
  #57  
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elcruxio hmmm.... this
from Iohan Gueoguiev (rest in peace) appeared on my recommendation list yesterday. AFAIK he's not published his packing list but I'd say that he rides with 50L of gear or so, including a cam and drone. I very much doubt that he carries 6 pairs of underwear, two down jackets and a 3 outlet power strip (among other things). Different type of touring.

I would never even dream of doing what he's done. But it shows that one can do amazing trips on much less gear that what others carry,

And let me restate that I am not trying to denigrate other approaches, I was merely trying to show what 100L+ of gears may include.
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Old 09-09-22, 09:51 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
as often what comes to my mind with these discussions, and what I often mention, is that its common to already own a,b or c item that is heavier or bulkier than other options, but we just keep using them because we have them and sometimes budget comes into pay.
Exactly. I just finished riding 2800 miles to Alaska with my 5.5 lb, 50 year old, 2 person Sierra Designs tent and a Z-fold mattress much to the amusement of others in the group. They even claimed to have seen my gear on display at the Museum of the North in Fairbanks. Performed flawlessly for 60 days. Meanwhile, two others replaced their tents en route while others complained of moisture in theirs and several replaced, or fought with leaky mattresses. I keep looking but it looks like I would have to spend $6-700 to save 2-3 lbs for fragile/cramped gear. My decision not to is obviously different than what some others decide. I'm much more inclined to spend unnecessarily on expensive bike gear than expensive camping gear.
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Old 09-11-22, 07:17 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Or you could just carry a credit card, ride a 14lb bike with zero luggage and stay in hotels every night.
In actual practice I have found that the folks I have met who stay in motels every night tend to carry a lot of clothing and other stuff. They typically carry more than the ultralight campers. Nothing wrong with that by the way. They are likely to have different priorities and want to have nice clothes for off bike activities that most of them are more likely to indulge in IME.

That isn't to say that some theorhetical or even actual credit card tourists might be focused on the riding and carry nothing much and just ride motel to motel carrying a credit card and a toothbrush. I haven't met any though. To be fair they may have ridden by me unnoticed since thet'd look like day riders.

On the OP's original questions... What do I carry? A very minimal load of ultralight backbacking type gear, typically anywhere from 9-15 pounds base weight. Did they over do it? It would be too much to suit me these days. I have packed pretty heavy with 4 panniers and gear on top of the rear rack in my early tours though. Is it too much for you? That depends. Would you enjoy a lighter load? Could you get to said lighter load without impacting your enjoyment of the trip?

The comment in this thread about whether it was about the camping or the riding was interesting. I had never though of it that way before. That is worth some thought. There can be another twist though. Some may actually enjoy the challenge of the minimalist aspects of UL camping. I know that even at home in some aspects of life I tend to enjoy simplifying things. The simplicty of minimal choices is one of the things I enjoyed about touring right from the start even when carrying a lot. Going full minimalist mayes it more so. For some that may be a good thing for others it may be decidedly unpleasant.
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Old 09-11-22, 07:53 AM
  #60  
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I've always toured light, but it was never intentional and it's what I've been told, not a self-assessment. My tours never included front panniers except once and I hated them during that tour. 2 pairs of clothing, 1 bike pants, wind jacket, MSR stove/tank and boy Scout cooking unit (pre-amazon/ebay), rain gear, around camp shoes, toiletries... Just the necessities. Handlebar bag was always full with stuff. Then I had my 3lb sleeping bag, Wal-Mart roll pad, tent was probably 3-4 lbs (1 person tent as I bike solo), tarp and that's it. The weight on it... 8lbs each pannier, 9ish lbs on camping gear, more than 5 on the handlebar bag. 30 in total, as I recall.
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Old 09-11-22, 11:21 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
In actual practice I have found that the folks I have met who stay in motels every night tend to carry a lot of clothing and other stuff. They typically carry more than the ultralight campers. Nothing wrong with that by the way. They are likely to have different priorities and want to have nice clothes for off bike activities that most of them are more likely to indulge in IME.
Apparently I'm not typical. I did a tour in Wisconsin and Minnesota last month with 8 days of riding and 7 nights in motels. My bike plus gear (including the waistpack) came in at 56 pounds. I would not have wanted to pedal more weight up any hills than this. I spent a lot of time looking over my packing list and trimmed off what I felt was unnecessary. Worked out fine as the only things I didn't use were my fleece headband and silk glove liners. Temperatures stayed between 59 degrees and 82 degrees (2 days of some rain) but I knew from past experiences that colder weather is possible in August. I own a fleece that I had to purchase during a trip to southern Wisconsin in mid-August due to weather shifts.

There wasn't anything extra that I wished I had brought along. But again, I was riding in areas where services weren't that far away (Madison, Reedsburg, Sparta, Winona MN, Preston MN, Onalaska, Sparta, Reedsburg, Madison. 582 miles of riding with longest day being 106 miles.

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Old 09-11-22, 02:20 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
Apparently I'm not typical. I did a tour in Wisconsin and Minnesota last month with 8 days of riding and 7 nights in motels. My bike plus gear (including the waistpack) came in at 56 pounds. I would not have wanted to pedal more weight up any hills than this. I spent a lot of time looking over my packing list and trimmed off what I felt was unnecessary. Worked out fine as the only things I didn't use were my fleece headband and silk glove liners. Temperatures stayed between 59 degrees and 82 degrees (2 days of some rain) but I knew from past experiences that colder weather is possible in August. I own a fleece that I had to purchase during a trip to southern Wisconsin in mid-August due to weather shifts.
Looks and sounds like a nice functional setup. That said, It sounds like it more or less illustrates my point that while it is possible to credit card camp with a lot less folks mostly don't. Your load is more than many ultralight camping setups that might be used in similar or worse weather conditions. I've generally not found it hard to get my bike and all my gear in a soft case that weighed under 50# total and be fine for a multiweek camping and cooking trip with chilly nights (frequent frost at night and maybe a colder night here or there) and cool days.

FWIW, when I used an older 1990 vintage road bike on the Southern Tier the total bike and gear was 38 pounds dry weight. I have had my gear and my mountain bike all in a soft case and checked it as a checked bag at under 50# and that was with some heavier gear than I use these days. I think that I later had the same mountain bike and full camping gear at 33# for a subsequent trip.

I have also toured with as much as 60# of gear early in my touring career. I'd estimate the total loaded bike probably hit 90#. I quickly decided that I preferred to carry less though and gradually trimmed from there.

I have not credit card toured and do not know what I'd wind up carrying. I'd probably carry more clothing and toiletries and likely another pair of shoes. So I might wind up carrying as much as I camp with, not sure. On the other hand, if the plan was just to ride all day every day, I might just take the clothes on my back, a wind shirt and wind pants, and one poly sweater and/or a puffy sweater.
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Old 09-11-22, 02:42 PM
  #63  
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staehpj1 No doubt I could cut down some weight if I was willing to part with the spare tire I carry. But after this experience that I posted about back in 2018 (Carry extra tire?) I'm willing to pay the weight penalty to avoid a recurrence.
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Old 09-11-22, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
staehpj1 No doubt I could cut down some weight if I was willing to part with the spare tire I carry. But after this experience that I posted about back in 2018 (Carry extra tire?) I'm willing to pay the weight penalty to avoid a recurrence.
Sounds like you are happy with what you are carrying and you are not exactly weighed down with a big burden. You could probably cut quite a bit if really motivated to, but if you are happy with how it is there may be no point. We each carry what works for us. It sounds like you put a good bit of thought into what you carry and enjoy what you do.
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Old 09-11-22, 02:57 PM
  #65  
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staehpj1 I had such a great time last month even with getting completely drenched coming back into Madison that I'm planning out my next tour for 2023! I'd love to do another tour this fall but this working for a living (professor & pre-health advisor) puts limitations on my ability to get away for more than a couple days at a time during the semester.
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Old 09-11-22, 03:36 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
staehpj1 No doubt I could cut down some weight if I was willing to part with the spare tire I carry. But after this experience that I posted about back in 2018 (Carry extra tire?) I'm willing to pay the weight penalty to avoid a recurrence.
I would suspect from my long experience from using Gatorskins, is that you'll find them rather reliable. Damaging tires really comes down to being able to notice stuff and not rub up against things, and touch wood, touch wood, they are generally pretty rare with road riding.

one real positive thing about your setup is how narrow it is, not having panniers has a noticeable effect on speed in the over 25kph area, from my experience anyway, so this makes for a more efficient ride.
This aspect of keeping a load much smaller is a real factor, and one I appreciate as its just fun to be able to ride faster with the same output---that said, I don't mind riding with more stuff, its just a different sort of experience--one that Mr CC here very markedly noticed from being a roadie, but thats normal.
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Old 09-11-22, 03:42 PM
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My total weight was around 120 lbs both tours. And that's all hoteling it. LOL. I take about all the same luggage stuff as on a car trip.
Around home I do 120 mile rides with the weight 73 or 78 lbs. Yah the bike is made crash proof and I carry a lot of tools. I took a cable cutter as well.
I could cut back on the spare bolts and stuff. Just the 2 locks and chain is 5 lbs. My 2 plastic bins are 6 lbs. Heavy cape, gloves, earmuffs, electric shaver, chargers, I-pad, 1 or 2 phones, heavy Pentax camera always hanging on my neck. I'm not changing much.
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Old 09-13-22, 02:27 PM
  #68  
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Instead of chairs, even if you prefer a tent, and can depend on enough trees or poles around your camp, you could use one of those very light and inexpensive backpacking hammocks. When you hang one with a lot of arc, you can sit crosswise in them and they make very nice sling chairs--but don't get so comfy that you fall asleep when you still have camp chores to do. (speaking from experience here)
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Old 09-14-22, 10:11 AM
  #69  
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Here's a perfect example, of why sometimes you just say the heck with the weight. I'm gonna steal Homer's line about donuts, and say, "Mmm, grapes. Is there anything they can't do?". 😁
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Old 09-17-22, 03:36 PM
  #70  
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I just did a tour and my gear with weighed in at about 50lbs . Wishing i could go lighter. One thing that was an extra was a Helinox chair. I will always bring that chair. So nice to have a seat on breaks and at camp.
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Old 09-17-22, 04:41 PM
  #71  
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This was heavy enough that I did not want to weigh it, preferred to stay ignorant.



But weeks later when most of the food had been eaten, the blue drybag was gone, the duffle on top of the rear rack only held my hiking shoes.

I never saw snow, but I had the clothing that I would need if it slipped below freezing for a few days.

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Old 09-17-22, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Hiking is a useful analogy but does not translate directly to cycling. With a pack you're carrying all the weight on your own muscles. On the bike you're carrying the weight on some rolling wheels. Cycling on the flat, the extra weight is not perceivable. Climbing is the only thing that is affected.

Someone mentioned a 20-25% of body weight limit for hiking packs. Most of my hiking is done as part of technical climbing so I use a 33% of body weight limit. That's 55lb max pack weight for me. ...
I got home a couple days ago from two weeks of backpacking. After a re-supply, I had 5.0 kg of food, pack without food or water was 16.1 kg. Water at 1.5 kg. And I weigh about 80 kg. Thus, pack started a hair over the 25 percent of body weight level when you include food and water.

I met a lot of through hikers that really were packed minimal. I hiked for one day with a guy that had hiked the AT. His pack weighed 20 pounds, he would pick it up with one hand and put his other arm through the shoulder strap as if it was filled with styrofoam. Had a custom trekking pole tent. His rain coat was shaped like him with a backpack, I am not kidding, his raincoat had a bulge in the back that fit around his backpack almost perfectly. But, he was re-supplying from grocery stores and not from mailed packets of food, thus he was not trying to calculate caloric needs, etc. He tried to catch up on calories on his trips to town for re-supply.

My food was running about 2 pounds per day, but I had intended to lose some weight on the trip so a mild caloric deficit was ok with me, it was only two weeks.
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Old 09-17-22, 05:14 PM
  #73  
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My wife and I camp-toured on our tandem. The total weight we added to the bike was 44 lbs. without food or water. That's everything for the two of us, starting with a naked bike with bottle cages weighing 36 lbs. Of course a couple can travel much lighter than the total for two separate individuals. We mostly camped, buying food as we went, and stayed at indoor lodging usually every 3rd or 4th day, where we showered and laundered. We had gear for summer rain and going out on the town in civvies.

Most of our gear was the same stuff we take on our 10 day backpacks in the mountains, minus the packs and heavy rain gear, and plus the civvies and bike rain gear. We went to REI and Feathered Friends many years ago and spent a whole bunch of money on light sleeping and tenting. We use a 3-person double wall tent so we can bring everything except the bike into the tent when it rains. If you want to drop weight, try looking at Big Agnes and their bikepacking tents and down bags with built in pocket for an ultralight Thermarest. If you're a couple, see Feathered Friends and get a double down bag zipped to a Toucan. We have a Seedhouse SL3, ordinary backpacking tent. Yeah, so basically to go lighter, you spend money, but only the once. This stuff lasts almost forever.

We don't carry a lot of tools, just what's necessary for normal bike tune-up and light repairs. Spares are mostly what we take on every bike ride: spare cables, brake shoes, chain oil, spare tire, spare tubes, patch and boot kits. We only toured in the usual fairly civilized settings in the US and Europe.

We put everything made of fabric into waterproof compression sacks. The tent (could be wet) went into a plastic bag which went into a compression sack followed by our sleeping bag. We each had a compression sack for clothes and one for both of our dirty clothes. The problem isn't just weight, it's volume. More volume = more weight to hold it all.

Besides keeping the weight down, we paid some attention to aero, since that's a tandem's strong point. I'm not a particularly strong rider and my wife puts out about 1/2 my watts so we didn't have a lot of power. We could cruise all day on the flat at 18mph because it's a tandem, though our low climbing gear had to be a 26 X 34. We tried to tour only on asphalt, though in Europe we did some brick and dirt following bike routes. We had fairly fast tires, 28mm @ 115 lbs. We never had a flat, just a lot of fun.
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Old 09-19-22, 07:40 AM
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On my most recent trip, bike and geared weighed circa 19kgs not including water (3 litre hydration bladder in the frame pack). If I had an extra 700+ to spend, I probably could have shed another kilo, maybe 2 by getting a lighter weight tent (1.2kgs) and probably a few other bits. If I took my bivvy as opposed to tent, I would have saved another 500 grams. But I wanted the luxury of my tent.
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Old 09-19-22, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I got home a couple days ago from two weeks of backpacking. After a re-supply, I had 5.0 kg of food, pack without food or water was 16.1 kg. Water at 1.5 kg. And I weigh about 80 kg. Thus, pack started a hair over the 25 percent of body weight level when you include food and water.

I met a lot of through hikers that really were packed minimal. I hiked for one day with a guy that had hiked the AT. His pack weighed 20 pounds, he would pick it up with one hand and put his other arm through the shoulder strap as if it was filled with styrofoam. Had a custom trekking pole tent. His rain coat was shaped like him with a backpack, I am not kidding, his raincoat had a bulge in the back that fit around his backpack almost perfectly. But, he was re-supplying from grocery stores and not from mailed packets of food, thus he was not trying to calculate caloric needs, etc. He tried to catch up on calories on his trips to town for re-supply.

My food was running about 2 pounds per day, but I had intended to lose some weight on the trip so a mild caloric deficit was ok with me, it was only two weeks.
Fat is 9 calories per gram while carbs are only 4. I read a book about arctic sledding where they made their own "fat cakes" as provisions. They also didn't bring any other type of food apart from the cakes, because "without variation there is no disappointment".

They had a no litter rule so they couldn't throw away their used tea bags. They found that the bags froze into ice cubes and added a lot of weight to their sleds, so they would dry their used tea bags inside their hats each night.
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