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How much should I carry?

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How much should I carry?

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Old 08-01-12, 10:06 PM
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IFLUX23
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How much should I carry?

I am going for a 2 week touring, but I am planning to go carrying a backpack instead of pannier bags.

The reason is because I just destroyed my rack (it got bent badly on the screw hole) yesterday when my friend in my dormitory accidentally fell on it (I have CX bike so I usually keep the pannier off), and I realized yesterday that the bicycle tire I had reserved for touring got accidentally thrown away in my dormitory. The honest feeling is that since I am 3rd grade College Student for Applied Science and Technology where it's quite busy and the only time I really have is this year's summer vacation. I just don't feel like buying a new rack and tires just for the touring that I will only be able to do it once.
In Japan, there are a lot of youth hotels and "rider houses", which are ultra cheap motels usually costing no more than $8 a night, around so I wouldn't really have to think about sleeping outside. So although it would be a pricey trip, I thought it would be fine.


The problem is, I am not really sure what to pack my backpack with. (I will be carrying a small handlebar bag though and of course saddle bag).
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Old 08-01-12, 10:34 PM
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alexaschwanden
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The less you have the better.
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Old 08-02-12, 01:27 AM
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MichaelW
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Rack-free hostel cycling is quite do-able.
Put the heavier stuff in your bar and saddle bag. can you lash a larger stuff sack under your saddle?
Dont carry spare footwear. If you really have to, take flip flops.
Take lightweight stuff and little of it. Put everything in a pile, pull out anything you can do without. Make sure items serve double duty, eg sleeping and spare clothing.
Carry small amounts of toiletries and a small towel if needed.
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Old 08-02-12, 03:16 AM
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Have you ridden with a backpack before? If not, do some experimenting. Fill it with some stuff and go for a relatively lengthy ride. You don't want to get out there toward the end of your first day of your tour, and regret the decision to carry so much stuff in your backpack.

Where are you cycling in Japan?
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Old 08-02-12, 06:25 AM
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antokelly
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buy a new rack even a fairly cheap one will be better that back pain, you know it makes sense.
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Old 08-02-12, 07:04 AM
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Rowan
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Actually, make the guy who damaged the rack in the first place buy a new one. It would be the honorable thing for him to do.
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Old 08-02-12, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Actually, make the guy who damaged the rack in the first place buy a new one. It would be the honorable thing for him to do.
+1
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Old 08-02-12, 11:49 AM
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In my opinion a backpack for more than 10 minutes is a miserable replacement for a rear rack. Get a new one. Fast.
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Old 08-02-12, 12:11 PM
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I agree with all who advised NOT to use a backpack. I did it once and I almost never toured again, until someone gave me a pannier as a gift. Since then, touring is a pleasure. A backpack makes you sweat like crazy, throws off your balance on the bike, and can cause back problems at the end of the first day.

If you lived nearby, I'd give you a rack that I have lying around. THAT's how much I don't want you to tour with a backpack!
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Old 08-02-12, 12:51 PM
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I used a backpack (a 10 ounce REI Flash 18) for some of my southern tier ride. I really liked it, but I never had much weight in it and it wasn't hot out.

If you can pack real light it should be fine as long as you are talking about a small, light, and comfortable pack. You say you are not camping so the load can be very light. Just for fun I took my U/L camping list and removed the camping stuff. It came in at 8 pounds 5 ounces even with a lot of optional stuff like a GPS, a bigger camera and extra lens, and a pair of trail running shoes.

So if you pack light and put heavier stuff in the handlebar bar and saddle bar bag you should be able to keep the backpack below 5 pounds. At that weight I bet you will find it fine.

I actually think that you could probably get by with just a handlebar bag, a little tool wedge and no other bag if you are moteling it and do not expect cold weather.

If you want to carry a (relatively) lot of stuff then put on a rack or get a real big saddle bag. Nashbar has a rack on sale for $12.99 and a few others for under $20. For what you are carrying any of them would work.

Last edited by staehpj1; 08-02-12 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 08-02-12, 01:36 PM
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There are way too many variable here to offer accurate advice. The missing links concern what the OP really wants or needs to take on this trip.

Weather could be a significant factor with the rain Japan and other parts of the region have been receiving of late, and that influences the need for wet-weather protection.

Then there is the matter of distances between rider houses or hostels and how much on-bike food or snacks might be needed. Is there a camera to be taken? How comfortable is the OP in wearing the same clothes a couple or more days in a row? What size is the backpack and how much is to go in it?

How often has the OP used a backpack in everyday riding. so there is some idea of how the shoulder straps might dig in after an hour or so?

If the OP is young as is implied, then there is a natural resilience there, and if the OP's desire to do this tour is stronger than what really should only be minor discomfort along the way... well, why not go do the tour?

staehpj's posts and articles on lightweight touring really are worth reading for the OP. The use of stuff sacks or dry bags and attaching them to the bike with straps is certainly worthy of thought.

And the OP might just try removing hisrack, putting a metal tube over the end that has been bent, and gently bending the bit back so it is straight again. I've done this with one aluminium tube rack (a Topeak) and it was OK, although I expect its useful life to be shortened. If the foot of the rack does break in the careful process of bending it back, the OP is no worse off than he thinks he is at present.

(I've found that aluminium, when bent once, might tolerate being bent back into shape, but that's about the limit -- any more bending, such as beyond the original position or backwards and forwards, usually results in a final break.)
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Old 08-02-12, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by lhendrick View Post
In my opinion a backpack for more than 10 minutes is a miserable replacement for a rear rack. Get a new one. Fast.
I found that in my case carrying a backpack helps to figure out how well does the bike fit. If I'm able to carry a 6-8 kilos backpack for hundred kilometers of road riding and not to have problems with the lower back, then the fit is really good.
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Old 08-02-12, 02:00 PM
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rack and tires are always a solid investment
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Old 08-03-12, 02:47 AM
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IFLUX23
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Thanks for the advice people.


But I still can't feel like buying a new rack that I'll only use once, pannier bag that I would probably only use once, along with the fact that my touring 700x33 tire (yes, it's 33, not 32. Pretty rare) got thrown away, I just don't want to load my bike.

But taking you people's advice, I decided that I will not carry a backpack. I'll try touring with larger saddle bag and small handlebar bag.



Now I want to make a check list here, what am I missing, or what should I omit?

Saddle Bag:
-Spare Tube (one or two?)
-Puncture repair kit (patch, glue, sandpaper, tire levers)
-Multi Tools

Handlebar Bag:
-First Aid kit
-A Pair of clothes during stay
-Wallet (+money)
-Cellphone (+charger)
-Powerbar
-Maps

On the Bike:
-Small air pumps
-Watter Bottle
-Cycle Computer
-Lights (front and rear)


Anything else?
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Old 08-03-12, 06:24 AM
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Rowan
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Two spare tubes are always nice, but one will be fine if you have a repair kit with a tube of glue that's still liquid.

I have very rarely used a first aid kit on a tour. I am carrying one now, and am considering ditching it.

If you think you can get by on that, fine.

What do you intend to cover yourself with when sleeping? And what about wet weather protection?

And from our recent experience in Japan, insect repellant is absolutely essentiial. I still have lumps on my legs from the attacks at Lake Shikotsuko and Tomanokai on Hokkaido.

Last edited by Rowan; 08-03-12 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 08-03-12, 07:00 AM
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Off the top of my head... some people carry these even when lightweight touring, others don't.
Shoes for off-bike
Small lock/lightweight chain
Personal hygiene items (shaving gear, comb, soap..)
Fenders(big ?)
Emergency contact info --- in English/Japanese (found the Japanese version useful when I was on Okinawa)
Sunscreen/arm coolers
Sunglasses
Hemet?
Mirror - on helmet/bike?
Butt creme
Spare batteries (then again, in Japan there are lots of convenience stores but a ready at hand spare pair for the lights can't hurt)

Consider one/more(?) of these to augment your bag setup... Cheap on eBay. I find them flexible enough to move from bike to bike easily... 1 for bike emergency stuff, 1 for wallet, first aid and camera stuff (leaves room in handlebar bag for other stuff in your case.

Last edited by drmweaver2; 08-03-12 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 08-04-12, 12:01 PM
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Why do you think you will use the rack and panniers only once? You don't plan on doing another tour ever? What about a day ride and packing some food and a jacket in cooler weather? What about going to get some groceries on the bike?

Like Rowan said, get the friend to replace your rack, buy a set of decent panniers and you will use them for a long time.
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Old 08-04-12, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by IFLUX23 View Post
Thanks for the advice people.


But I still can't feel like buying a new rack that I'll only use once, pannier bag that I would probably only use once, along with the fact that my touring 700x33 tire (yes, it's 33, not 32. Pretty rare) got thrown away, I just don't want to load my bike.

But taking you people's advice, I decided that I will not carry a backpack. I'll try touring with larger saddle bag and small handlebar bag.



Now I want to make a check list here, what am I missing, or what should I omit?

Saddle Bag:
-Spare Tube (one or two?)
-Puncture repair kit (patch, glue, sandpaper, tire levers)
-Multi Tools

Handlebar Bag:
-First Aid kit
-A Pair of clothes during stay
-Wallet (+money)
-Cellphone (+charger)
-Powerbar
-Maps

On the Bike:
-Small air pumps
-Watter Bottle
-Cycle Computer
-Lights (front and rear)


Anything else?
What are you going to wash yourself with? Do you shave? Do you brush your teeth? Comb your hair?
Don't you want to take any photos or take notes?
Do you going to know exactly what roads to take?
Do you plan wearing the same bike clothes day after day or do you have some way to making sure they are dry after washing?
Do you care about exposure to the sun?
What is the weather like? Are you certain it will always be warm? Dry?
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