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Tips, advice, suggestions on loading my bike..

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Tips, advice, suggestions on loading my bike..

Old 09-27-11, 07:33 PM
  #1  
zzOtherlandzz
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Tips, advice, suggestions on loading my bike..

As some of you know I've been posting a bit here in the touring forum for the past few months trying to learn as much as I can before I head out on my first mini tour. I think I have everything I need to go. Now I just need to figure out the best way to pack the stuff on the bike.

I just got my new panniers this afternoon and was messing around a bit trying to figure out how to load the bike. I'm really not sure of the best way to load the sleeping mat & tent. Should I load them long wise on the back rack or crosswise? The big bag on the back has the tent, sleeping mat and 2 days change of close in it. If I load them crosswise, it will make it harder to get in the panniers without unhooking stuff. If I load it long wise is it sticking too far out from the back of the bike? The mat it almost the exact same length as my handlebars with the ergon grips on them. On the front rack (don't have panniers for the front yet) I think I'll carry the sleeping bag and another small'ish stuff sack. Or I could put the tent up front with the sleeping bag, to help balance the load a little more.

1: Do I buy some type of bungee cords to hold stuff down? Or some kind of straps with buckles or just tie the stuff down with string?

Thanks.... Jay..
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Old 09-27-11, 08:29 PM
  #2  
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I put my tent and sleeping bag in the rear panniers.
The tent poles get rolled up inside the sleeping pad and get strapped across the top of the rear panniers.
Strapping the sleeping pad/tent poles with bungee cords makes the very easy to take off to get inside the panniers.
It works for me,you will have to try out differant ways and see what works for you.

Also I tour with front panniers for cooking equipment and food.This ballances the load out for me.
If you don't intend to carry front panniers it might me better to put your tent and sleeping pad on the front rack somehow.

Your best bet is to try different ways of packing on short 1 to 3 hour test trips to see what works best for you.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:12 PM
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That's an awfully big bag, I would try to get the clothes out of there, and separate the other stuff into two smaller packages. I load my top of rack stuff horizontally, but it's a lot less wide than yours. I don't like it sticking out past the panniers much.

I like the nylon straps with fastex buckles way better than bungies, b/c you can really cinch them down as tight as you need to, bungees don't have enough of a range, and tend to spring loose.
this kind of thing (comes in many sizes):http://www.rei.com/product/813835/re...release-buckle

Get the front bags and then decide. Look at pictures of other people's loads for ideas. crazyguyonabike has a lot, and the fully loaded touring gallery http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded

also - your rear bags look pretty small, like front bags. if you put those in front and get slightly bigger ones in back, you can get more stuff inside the bags and have less strapped outside.

also - consider re-thinking how you pack the tent & pad - they don't have to be rolled/folded up the way they came from the store, there might be a way to pack differently that makes them an easier shape to deal with. keep experimenting, you'll figure out something that works.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:13 PM
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adding - here's what mine looks like
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Old 09-28-11, 02:48 AM
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The only thing on top of my rack are tent, sleeping bag and mat. On non-cooking summer tours, all of this can be put inside the panniers. I find it easier to pack these separately rather than use a single stuff sac.
I need clothing to stuff into the pannier corners and to pad out hard objects to prevent damage to the pannier fabric. If you are carrying clothes on top of your rack, you are carrying too much clothing.
I lash the top load using old bike inner tubes (700c x 25-28 is the best size). This is more versatile than a bungie and more secure than rope. Two tubes are sufficient for a load but you can use more.
Heavy items hanging off the back of the rack can affect the balance and steering. Its OK to hand sleeping matts out back but tents are too much weight.
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Old 09-28-11, 05:10 AM
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I strap the tent sideways on the rear rack and put everything else in smallish front panniers (when in the past I carried more I used 4 panniers). For the tent two webbing straps are sufficient anywhere from 1/2" to 3/4" wide straps are fine. If your pad is the kind that doesn't deflate and pack small it can go on the rear rack too.

That looks like a lot of stuff, I am guessing that you must be taking way more than you need.
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Old 09-28-11, 05:11 AM
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my god thats the biggest bag i've ever seen , get rid of it pronto. what you need is compression sacks put all your cloths in them and compress them to the size of an apple.the tent lives on the rear rack length ways.
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Old 09-28-11, 05:33 AM
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Go with velcro straps instead of bungees. Infinitely adjustable. No fear of "putting your eye out" if they slip when pulling tight. Less of a nightmare when you ride off without one attached and it falls into your drivetrain. And lastly, bungees seem to have a restless spirit, they must not like to be tied down. Ever notice how many you see laying beside the road?
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Old 09-28-11, 05:39 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
The only thing on top of my rack are tent, sleeping bag and mat. On non-cooking summer tours, all of this can be put inside the panniers. I find it easier to pack these separately rather than use a single stuff sac.
I need clothing to stuff into the pannier corners and to pad out hard objects to prevent damage to the pannier fabric. If you are carrying clothes on top of your rack, you are carrying too much clothing.
I lash the top load using old bike inner tubes (700c x 25-28 is the best size). This is more versatile than a bungie and more secure than rope. Two tubes are sufficient for a load but you can use more.
Heavy items hanging off the back of the rack can affect the balance and steering. Its OK to hand sleeping matts out back but tents are too much weight.
I like the idea of using old inner tubes for lashing. How do you do that? Do you pull them tight and then tie them in a knot or what?
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Old 09-28-11, 06:13 AM
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That looks like a load. I'm betting too that you are carrying a bunch of stuff you will never use and if nothing else make note of that fact for future trips when it comes time to pack. I found you can over analyze your trip which leads, I think, to packing excessive stuff. Really try and stick to the basics (tent, bag, pad, riding clothes) then things like snacks, first aid, toiletries, then pick one or two things that are light enough in weight but would provide some extended comfort like maybe an Ascent chair.

If you are bringing camera equipment then you have to do the same thing there and if it's a cooking tour then you have to do the same thing but always try to keep it basic and simple. When I pack with cooking in mind, its an alcohol stove, bottle of HEET, Ti folding spoon, MSR Titan pot and a few days worth of food. You may need more and thats okay to a point but always try to stay with just the basics.
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Old 09-28-11, 06:13 AM
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Yeah the bag does look huge, It is the pad that is so big though. I haven't really packed anything yet. I was just trying to figure out how to load the PAD, tent, and sleeping bag. Pad=BIG .... After reading someplace on here that if your a side sleeper (which I am big time) you might want a wider pad. I bought this one.. ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad "long" The width of the pad is actually the length of it in the bag. The stuff sack that came with the pad would not keep the water out & the only one long enough to hold the pad was BIG around. Big enough to put the tent into also. Which is why it looks so huge. I think if I just put the pad down the center of the back rack and put the tent and sleeping bag up front it might not be so bad. I can't really afford to ditch the pad and get another one right now. I'm getting close to the limit I can spend and still go on the ride. Down the road that's another story. I went with the smallish bags on the back because I was worried about heal clearance on the mountain bike. Lots of clearance with these though. Again I have NO experience here just going by what I read. Well that's not totally true.... I put a basket on the back of my other mountain bike once... and my heels hit it until I cut and bent the front of the basket... LOL

Not going to do any cooking this time around though. So no stove and cooking stuff. Not really in the budget for now.

At this point I'm a little bummed but... I'll figure it out.... I HOPE....

Thanks all......

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Old 09-28-11, 06:22 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
That's an awfully big bag, I would try to get the clothes out of there, and separate the other stuff into two smaller packages. I load my top of rack stuff horizontally, but it's a lot less wide than yours. I don't like it sticking out past the panniers much.

I like the nylon straps with fastex buckles way better than bungies, b/c you can really cinch them down as tight as you need to, bungees don't have enough of a range, and tend to spring loose.
this kind of thing (comes in many sizes):http://www.rei.com/product/813835/re...release-buckle

Get the front bags and then decide. Look at pictures of other people's loads for ideas. crazyguyonabike has a lot, and the fully loaded touring gallery http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded

also - your rear bags look pretty small, like front bags. if you put those in front and get slightly bigger ones in back, you can get more stuff inside the bags and have less strapped outside.

also - consider re-thinking how you pack the tent & pad - they don't have to be rolled/folded up the way they came from the store, there might be a way to pack differently that makes them an easier shape to deal with. keep experimenting, you'll figure out something that works.
I do like the idea of those straps..... Cinch and buckle them. And like somebody else mentioned here .... I do see a LOT of bungee cords lying on the side of the road while out riding. I wonder if Home Depot has anything like these... I have a gift card for there LOL

The tent rolls up pretty small.... Just looks huge because I put it in the bag with the mat....

I think I looked at 30 or 40 pages of posts on the "picture of your loaded bike" thread on here...

There is a pair of these on craigslist near me, almost new it says and they do look good in the photos.... I've emailed the seller waiting for a reply. They look like they would leave me with enough heel clearance on the mountain bike..... http://www.bikebagshop.com/ortlieb-b...us-p-1010.html

Thanks for the input...
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Old 09-28-11, 06:28 AM
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I usually stuff the tent in the saddle bag and attach the sleeping pad outside. This is what I carryand it ends up looking like this



Marc
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Old 09-28-11, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
I usually stuff the tent in the saddle bag and attach the sleeping pad outside. This is what I carryand it ends up looking like this

Marc
Thanks for the link... very informative. Side note I grew up in Michigan (Whitelake, Waterford area mostly), moved to Florida bout 10 years ago.

Pictures of the pad and tent NOT in huge bag... Doesn't look quite as bad anyway. I guess If i just put the pad on long wise on the rack it might be ok. It would stick out a bit but there really is no weight to the part that sticks out. I have to get some straps today or something to tie the load down. I think the tent and sleeping bag up front would be good. The way I have the tent packed right now has the rain fly in the bag along with the poles and the foot. Once I get some straps I might try loading things separate. Still learning...

Thanks ..... Jay....

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Old 09-28-11, 09:54 AM
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Inner tubes tie with a simple knot (you just cut out the valve and use them in lengths). You can wind them around to stabilise in both directions and loop through handles to secure. I rode for 8 weeks with the same tubes and they were fine even over very rough tracks.
You can stuff towels and drying laundry under the rubber to dry en-route. It looks a bit scruffy and you need to beware of dirty and dust or they end up needing another wash.
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Old 09-28-11, 12:37 PM
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Can you exchange that pad? It's really huge and heavy (I looked it up). Your pillow and feet don't need to be on the pad, and unless you are a really big person, you probably can get away with a regular length & width pad.

If not, try folding it in half lengthwise before rolling it up or folding it in squares instead of rolling - keep experimenting until you find a shape that works. I keep my thermarest, sleeping bag and down jacket in teh big yellow stuff sack you see on the back of my bike - the thermarest I fold lengthwise then fold into squares, not roll, and it sits flat on the bottom of the stuff sack.

Also, don't be afraid to use trash compactor bags instead of fancy waterproof stuff sacks. they cost more than regular trash bags but are super durable, huge, and you can cut off what you don't need. And when they wear out you just buy a new box at the grocery store. I've been using the same trash compactor bags for a few years of touring.
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Old 09-28-11, 01:24 PM
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There are insulated air mattress pads .. Exped makes some , packs oodles smaller.

Generally, low front racks for the heavy dense stuff ,
rear and rack top for the clothes and bulky stuff..

webbing straps and buckles are the best thing to tie things down..
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Old 09-28-11, 03:24 PM
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When you get fronts....like this^^^ Heavy stuff (sleeping bags,tents water) up front and low.Actually,you want heavy stuff as low and as close to the middle of the bike as possible,front and rear.

Until then,heavy stuff as low and as far forward as you can.Put you rear bag across the rack,part of the "as far forward" thinking.

Much better in the second pictures.....tent or sleeping bag forward of the pad.

Any way to strap your tent or sleeping bag under/to your handlebars,maybe? Move some weight forward and give you some breathing room in back?

I've found that I like D-rings and poly straps for tying things down......1 size fits all,no stretch,no slip,no rot,cheap,you can connect them together,you can have a 20ft one if you want,you can hang your bicycle from it,you can use it hold your cluster when removing it from a hub,my girlfriend likes them.....

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Old 09-28-11, 03:59 PM
  #19  
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Have you used this pad already? Can you return it and get an inflatable pad? My Thermarest pad, down sleeping bag and a pillow fit in one of my front panniers. The tent goes on the back.

For strapping things down I use flat bungees or the nylon straps.
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Old 09-28-11, 06:53 PM
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valygrl.... Thanks for the trash compactor bag Idea..... I'll for sure check into that..... As for folding the sleeping pad I thought of that, but will it mess up the "self inflating" pad? Ohhh and I kind of like those straps that you linked too. Gonna have to check those out some more.

lucille ...... I'm not sure If I can return it or not... I haven't used it though.. Other than putting it in the tent, when I set the tent up in the living room.. I bought it from steepandcheap.com ... It's more big than heavy... but yep heavier that a lot of other pads. I for sure don't need the length though. I bought it because I read someplace on here that if your a "side sleeper" you might want a wider pad. And of course wider meant longer also... as well as 3/4inch thicker. But not a real costly mistake I think I paid $26 for it....

Booger1 & fietsbob ..... Thanks for the loading tips also..

Everybody else thanks too.... Hopefully here in the next couple of days I can load everything up and go for a test ride.. I was kind of waiting for the stupid love bugs to BE GONE! NOT fun riding in them.. When I do get it loaded up i'll post a couple pictures... Also trying to score those Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus Panniers off of Craigslist... If I can then i'll movie the lone peak ones I have on there now to the front...

Anyway... Thanks again everybody...

Jay.......
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Old 09-29-11, 08:10 AM
  #21  
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If you get a set of Bike Packer Pluses, combined with those Lone Peak's, you should have more space than you know what to do with unless, as someone suggested, you are packing way more than you will ever need/use.

Look at this:



Then read the portion of this that lists what I carried:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=104966&v=5c

Because we had a decent chance of encountering cold, nasty weather, we had to be prepared. Everything on that list except for what I am wearing and the tent, camera, allen wrench set, sleeping bag, plastic tarp, flip flops and bungee cords are inside those four panniers. Keep in mind that I am 6'2" and about 215 lbs. with a size 12 shoe, so my apparel takes up more space than some other peoples'.

See how unstuffed those rear Bike Packers are? They never came close to being stuffed even when we added groceries on top of everything. If I had the inclination to, I am pretty sure I could have re-arranged gear in the rears in such a manner that I would have been able to fit my long Cat's Meow bag into one of the rears.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:13 AM
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It's really up to you. If you like the pad you have and find it comfortable, keep it. Personally I would try to return it and get the inflatable one. It will cost you more than $26, but it's something that you will have for many years of touring. I find getting something better (which is usually more expensive) saves you money in the long run, as you don't end up replacing it.
Remember that for many people "camping" means loading up the car and driving to the site. When you're picking things for bicycle touring, you have to be more selective about size and weight.

I'm still working on minimizing how much stuff I take on tour, usually it's too much, but at least the gear is small and light and I don't need to replace it to achieve a smaller load. I just need to take less things...
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Old 09-29-11, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
If you get a set of Bike Packer Pluses, combined with those Lone Peak's, you should have more space than you know what to do with unless, as someone suggested, you are packing way more than you will ever need/use.

Look at this:

Then read the portion of this that lists what I carried:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=104966&v=5c

Because we had a decent chance of encountering cold, nasty weather, we had to be prepared. Everything on that list except for what I am wearing and the tent, camera, allen wrench set, sleeping bag, plastic tarp, flip flops and bungee cords are inside those four panniers. Keep in mind that I am 6'2" and about 215 lbs. with a size 12 shoe, so my apparel takes up more space than some other peoples'.

See how unstuffed those rear Bike Packers are? They never came close to being stuffed even when we added groceries on top of everything. If I had the inclination to, I am pretty sure I could have re-arranged gear in the rears in such a manner that I would have been able to fit my long Cat's Meow bag into one of the rears.
Thanks for the info.... I think my list is looking pretty good based on your list and others I have looked at... I hope soon I can take a shakedown run to the state park and stay a night and come back.

I'm not really sure I need front panniers for this trip, but If I can score the ones on craigslist I'll get them anyway ... Here is my list so far... (first time actually writing it down, so far I have just been putting stuff in a box that I want to take with me.. LOL)

Like you I have a Sierra Designs 2 person 3 season tent.. Mine is a Zeta 2 though.. Got it cheap on geartrade.com never used. With fly & foot.
Cheap sleeping bag bought at Goodwill LOL .... Hey it was new and will do for this first trip where the temps will be pretty moderate.
Small air pillow
Sleeping mat (HUGE) <sigh>
camp towel
stuff for the bathroom use ... shampoo
can opener & spork ... (for my first trip no cooking stuff... maybe in the future if this is something I want to do again)..
snacks and munchies for on the road... And MAYBE some kind of pop top can of something just in case.. Stew or soup or something.
small drink pack things walmart version of crystal light ...
I always carry (even when just riding my mountain bike or road bike) a kitchen towel for wiping sweat or whatever when out riding.
Small netbook (I think i'm going to take it but not sure).
Camera .. 20 buck digital I bought used ... takes good pictures though and its small.
Small Garmin GPS (wont leave it on, only use it if i happen to get lost or need to find someplace to eat or something).
Cell phone
iPod .. Maybe ..
LED flash light & a couple of the LED lights that hook on to bill of a baseball cap.
Tool pouch ... alen keys, spoke wrench, small screw drivers, 10mm wrench, small needle nose pliers, zip ties, electrical & duct tape rolled on a piece of pencil, a few extra bolts and nuts, knife, loop of para cord, ohh tire levers & patch kit, pump (on bike), lighter (sounds like a lot of stuff.. but fits in a pretty small bag I got for the dollar store). couple pair of latex gloves for the greasy work. some handy wipes or whatever they are called. I have other tools & actually know how to use them, but not going to take them on this trip. I'll be within a 2hr drive from my house if I need rescued LOL)
Small first aide kit.. with some insect spray.
Paperback book

Pair of light weight shower shoes ... The SPD's I have now are actually not too bad for walking in.
2 maybe 3 pair bike shorts.
As per a suggestion on here I got 3 wicking T-Shirts from Walmart.. I'm NOT a tall guy but I'm not skinny either so my clothes take room too.
1 regular t-shirt & shorts
3 underwear
couple of pairs of socks
bike gloves of course
some kind of long sleeve shirt ..... I really NOT a long sleeve guy... but might be a couple of chilly mornings by the time I go in a couple of weeks. (open ended there wait for the love bugs to be gone and a good stretch of weather)
rain poncho (just in case that stretch of weather does not work out... this is Florida... can rain at any time).
sun glasses
helmet
extra tube
combination bike like

That's all I can think of off the top of my head... (didn't actually go look in the box of stuff)...

Jay.....
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Old 09-29-11, 09:58 AM
  #24  
zzOtherlandzz
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Originally Posted by lucille View Post
It's really up to you. If you like the pad you have and find it comfortable, keep it. Personally I would try to return it and get the inflatable one. It will cost you more than $26, but it's something that you will have for many years of touring. I find getting something better (which is usually more expensive) saves you money in the long run, as you don't end up replacing it.
Remember that for many people "camping" means loading up the car and driving to the site. When you're picking things for bicycle touring, you have to be more selective about size and weight.

I'm still working on minimizing how much stuff I take on tour, usually it's too much, but at least the gear is small and light and I don't need to replace it to achieve a smaller load. I just need to take less things...
I've about spent all I can spend on this trip..... (especially if I do end up getting those panniers off of craigslist). So I will probably just use the mat this time.. And If I like touring .... Next time maybe i'll get another pad & a good sleeping bag. And the extra stuff I will use to con friends into going with me Hahahah... Hey it could happen.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:05 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by zzOtherlandzz View Post
I've about spent all I can spend on this trip..... (especially if I do end up getting those panniers off of craigslist). So I will probably just use the mat this time.. And If I like touring .... Next time maybe i'll get another pad & a good sleeping bag. And the extra stuff I will use to con friends into going with me Hahahah... Hey it could happen.

Sounds like a plan. Enjoy your tour!
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