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Touring terminology? Define loaded.

Old 12-30-10, 11:30 AM
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Touring terminology? Define loaded.

I've seen some terms thrown around. Obviously self supported and supported are self explanatory. But what, for instance, defines loaded touring? I do some backpacking as well, but I've always put emphasis on light gear. If I were going to do a shortish 3 day trip (which I'm hoping to do either in the next two weeks or after the semester) then I would picture my load to be maybe 20-25 pounds or so, less if I can buy a 1 person tent before then. Is this considered loaded? Is there a weight limit? Do some people do "ultralight" touring like people do ultralight backpacking?
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Old 12-30-10, 11:36 AM
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Yes, tons of people to ultralight touring. Use Google or do a search here on BF to find all kinds of info about it. Even though they are ultralight they are still loaded tourists IMHO. You may want to ask yourself what "unloaded" touring would mean? To me it sounds like a sag wagon which is not what the ultralight crowd does.
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Old 12-30-10, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
Yes, tons of people to ultralight touring. Use Google or do a search here on BF to find all kinds of info about it. Even though they are ultralight they are still loaded tourists IMHO. You may want to ask yourself what "unloaded" touring would mean? To me it sounds like a sag wagon which is not what the ultralight crowd does.
Yup. If you are carrying the stuff you need to ride, eat and sleep (independent of what your personal comfort level is), you are 'loaded' touring. If someone else is carrying all your stuff in a car, you are

1. not loaded
2. not touring
3. lazy

If you someone else is carrying all your stuff and they are not in a car, you are very, very, very lucky...or special
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Old 12-30-10, 11:48 AM
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I see, so basically loaded and self supported are more or less interchangeable. I only asked because I saw a pannier review where a guy griped that it wasn't designed for "loaded" touring, but I've been using the same panniers commuting and don't forsee any issue with doing a small tour. Just made me think the guy might be carrying too much weight for the bags.
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Old 12-30-10, 11:54 AM
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Self contained versus put costs of overnight lodging, meals on the Credit card,
[or break out the traveller's checks] and not have to carry that ..
somewhere in the middle try to find indoor lodging, but failing that
have a small light overnight bit of gear .. just in case there is no place,
when you want to sleep.
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Old 12-30-10, 12:58 PM
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"Loaded touring" can be defined as having more than two coffee nudges with breakfast. Wine at lunch also fulfills this criteria.
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Old 12-30-10, 01:54 PM
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^ win!
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Old 12-30-10, 02:58 PM
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a pint along the way with the locals is good , several if in Czechoslovakia..
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Old 12-30-10, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels
I see, so basically loaded and self supported are more or less interchangeable.
I don't consider self-supported and loaded to be the same. I consider "loaded" to mean that everything that is needed to eat, sleep, ride, etc is carried. Supported means you have a SAG wagon or such. So, if you are credit card touring, going from hotel to hotel, eating in restaurants, etc. then that would be self-supported, but not loaded.
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Old 12-30-10, 04:35 PM
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Reminds me of a discussion over at CG about 'What constitutes a tour.' In this tread, 'How many pounds make for a 'loaded' tour?' IDK.
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Old 12-30-10, 04:40 PM
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So, if I carry food for pretty much every meal, and then stop off for a burger on the way back, I lose my loaded tour status? Sounds kind of legalistic.
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Old 12-30-10, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou
I don't consider self-supported and loaded to be the same. I consider "loaded" to mean that everything that is needed to eat, sleep, ride, etc is carried. Supported means you have a SAG wagon or such. So, if you are credit card touring, going from hotel to hotel, eating in restaurants, etc. then that would be self-supported, but not loaded.
That's what I would call 'fully loaded'. Anything between that and a SAG would be 'loaded'.

It doesn't really matter what you call it at the end of the day, it's all 'cycletouring'.
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Old 12-30-10, 05:52 PM
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When I use the term "loaded" with bicycle touring, I always feel the need to include "the bike is loaded, not me". Yeah, self-supported and loaded is basically the same to me.
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Old 12-30-10, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
If someone else is carrying all your stuff, you are

1. not loaded
2. not touring
3. lazy
or #4. Mrs. Robow touring as usual
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Old 12-30-10, 06:45 PM
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loaded = self-supported = everything you need to: ride + eat + sleep for 48 hours or more.

Last edited by BigAura; 01-02-11 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 12-30-10, 06:47 PM
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I guess I disagree in that I think there are distinct differences between "self-supported", "loaded", and "supported" touring.

To me, self-supported is just that. You carry everything you need to ride multiple days/nights without any additional support (you are supported only by yourself) of any kind except having to buy groceries occasionally (not restaurants, even though they be be utilized so long as you could still cook). Loaded touring is the same except at least one component of being self-supported, i.e. I camp but don't cook, or I am credit card touring but carrying my clothes, etc. as I am by myself. Supported touring is something where all all your gear except items needed during the actual riding (flat kit, snack, camera, etc.) is carried/taken care of by someone else. Something like many of the cross-state rides like RAGBRAI, GOBA, FreeWheel, etc. would fall into this category.

I have done all types and consider all to be "touring". But what exactly is "touring"?
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Old 12-30-10, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker
That's what I would call 'fully loaded'. Anything between that and a SAG would be 'loaded'.

It doesn't really matter what you call it at the end of the day, it's all 'cycletouring'.
Fully loaded and partial loaded, sounds good to me.
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Old 12-30-10, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels
So, if I carry food for pretty much every meal, and then stop off for a burger on the way back, I lose my loaded tour status? Sounds kind of legalistic.
Yes it is, unfortunately, that's the way it is. If the self-supported fully loaded touring is important to you, then you need to be very careful and pay attention to details. I remember one time, my sunglasses somehow ended up in my buddy's handlebar bag. When I finally discovered this, I was devastated. I almost stopped right then and there to rent a car to bring me home.

In the end, I just lied to people and hope I never get caught. Like the people who say they rode across the country but neglect to mention the ride through the tunnel that bicycles are not allowed. It's a small lie, but one that is embarrassing when caught.
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Old 12-30-10, 09:10 PM
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I use "fully loaded" and "self-supported" interchangably. I mean when you carry your gear for camping and cooking.

I don't worry about someone else's definitions.

The balance between light weight and comfort is tricky. Light weight is to be highly desired, but so is comfort. I struggle with that constantly. I've got my list pretty much set, but there are still things I go back and forth on.

I bought the DVD about the Tour Divide race on the Great Divide route. The racers carry their own gear. They go very ultralight, but they carry a sleeping bag and a bivy sack.

I tend to carry a pretty big load compared to others I meet or read about.

Last edited by BigBlueToe; 12-31-10 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 12-30-10, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
a pint along the way with the locals is good , several if in Czechoslovakia..
Several pints with the locals makes it a loaded tour. If one becomes fully loaded, then they are nolonger self supporting. If one gets loaded everyday then it is a pub crawl, not a supported bicycle tour.
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Old 12-30-10, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels
So, if I carry food for pretty much every meal, and then stop off for a burger on the way back, I lose my loaded tour status? Sounds kind of legalistic.

[QUOTE=SweetLou;12005308]Yes it is, unfortunately, that's the way it is. END QUOTE

This legalism is absurd. When people go on 12 month 30,000 mile tour, of course they are going to occasionally eat a meal in a restaurant, or stay in a hotel, motel,... If they carried their needs for eating, sleeping and fixing their bike, it is a loaded tour.
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Old 12-30-10, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels
Is there a weight limit? Do some people do "ultralight" touring like people do ultralight backpacking?
Supported touring - SAG wagon support, you carry minimal gear
Credit card touring - you carry everything on the bike, but no camping equipment.
Loaded touring - you are carry everything including the big 4 camping gear.

You can do credit card and loaded touring in an ultralight way. I think of anything below 20lbs of gear as ultralight for loaded touring and under 15 or 10lbs for credit card touring as being ultralight.
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Old 12-30-10, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels
I see, so basically loaded and self supported are more or less interchangeable. I only asked because I saw a pannier review where a guy griped that it wasn't designed for "loaded" touring, but I've been using the same panniers commuting and don't forsee any issue with doing a small tour. Just made me think the guy might be carrying too much weight for the bags.
Loaded touring generally implies at least two panniers, possibly 4, and possibly also a trunk bag and handlebar bag. In other words, your bicycle is carrying a load in addition to your weight, and in addition to what you might carry when riding a century or randonneuring event. Your bicycle is ... loaded.
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Old 12-31-10, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Loaded touring generally implies at least two panniers, possibly 4, and possibly also a trunk bag and handlebar bag. In other words, your bicycle is carrying a load in addition to your weight, and in addition to what you might carry when riding a century or randonneuring event. Your bicycle is ... loaded.
-1, I disagree with this definition as it equates load with weight, I tend to equate load to the variety of items that you are carrying. There's a website

https://www.fullyloadedtouring.com/

that is for tourers who have panniers front and rear. It hosts pictures of touring bikes so is a good resource, but they require your bike to have 4 panniers. That's up to them, but they miss the folks who tour with 2 panniers, saddlebags or frame packs. The "less is more" lightweight approach to loaded (you carry everything including camping gear) touring is becoming increasingly popular and it's where you see the most interesting setups.
My gear and bags weigh 20lbs and I consider that fully loaded as I have everything I need, tent, pad, sleeping bag, cooking equipment clothes......etc
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Old 12-31-10, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Loaded touring generally implies at least two panniers, possibly 4, and possibly also a trunk bag and handlebar bag. In other words, your bicycle is carrying a load in addition to your weight, and in addition to what you might carry when riding a century or randonneuring event. Your bicycle is ... loaded.
Yep. Or the bike could have a handlebar bag, two rear panniers, and towing a Burley, or BOB trailer with most all the gear required for camping, cooking, and everything else needed to support oneself on tour (without necesarily using a credit card, or motel), and still qualify as fully loaded.
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