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What to pack for self supported tour

Old 01-22-13, 04:16 PM
  #1  
john426
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What to pack for self supported tour

I am planning on taking my first real self-supported bike/camping trip in Ontario this early summer. I have done other bike trips, but they were either credit card or a part of a planned tour with SAG vehicle. I will be going by myself so I will do no cooking (too much to carry). What do I need to pack for clothes, tools and camping gear? How many panniers will I need? In the past I have tended to pack too much. Sorry if this has been asked and answered before.

John
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Old 01-22-13, 04:43 PM
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I packed almost nothing and was not upset once. It depends on if you want to eat at nice restaurants, be dressed around new people, etc.

I embraced the biking lifestyle and lived out of essentially two outfits of clothing. Here's my packing list:

Ultralight Touring


If I were to add say, two regular outfits to this kit, I would add two Ortlieb-size panniers. The way it is, I fit everything in a small Jandd frame bag and a single Medium-sized Sea to Summit eVent compression sack.

I would bring a warmer sleeping bag if I were going earlier in the year, too. I did not bring the 20 sleeping bag and I did not miss it. This is from August.

Here's me and my bike:

2012 Northeast Bike Tour (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts) by Max Roman, on Flickr

Last edited by mdilthey; 01-22-13 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 01-22-13, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by john426
I am planning on taking my first real self-supported bike/camping trip in Ontario this early summer. I have done other bike trips, but they were either credit card or a part of a planned tour with SAG vehicle. I will be going by myself so I will do no cooking (too much to carry). What do I need to pack for clothes, tools and camping gear? How many panniers will I need? In the past I have tended to pack too much. Sorry if this has been asked and answered before.
You can get by with surprisingly little if you pack very carefully. Depending on how little/much you carry you might go with no panniers, two small panniers, or more. I have been happy with just some light weight stuff sacks on my last couple tours including a San Diego to Sarasota tour.

Different strokes, but I would recommend that you still take at least minimal cooking gear. My cooking and eating kit can go as little as 9.4 ounces (plus some fuel). I find it well worth the minimal weight.

The link in my signature will lead to my journals and a couple articles that I wrote. The journals have info on my tours where I started carrying 45 pounds or more and range to recent ones where I carried as little as 11 pounds of gear including cooking and camping stuff. There is an article on ultralight touring and one on frugal touring.
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Old 01-22-13, 08:12 PM
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There are heaps and heaps of threads about this ... have a read through some of what's already been posted. Read the Tips and Tricks sticky thread in particular.
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Old 01-22-13, 08:14 PM
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And also, if you click on my website: www.machka.net and look for Packing List in the sidebar on the left, that'll give you some ideas.


Packing List: https://www.machka.net/articles/packinglist.htm

Last edited by Machka; 01-22-13 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 01-22-13, 09:39 PM
  #6  
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I have nowhere near the experience that the folks above have, but what I found out on my first tour this year was that you need to plan for where you want to be and dress accordingly. I was riding to visit my son, and was expecting to spend several days in Chicago.

What I found was that I could have got by with two sets of cycling clothes (I took three), some pants that zipped off above the knee and two shirts I could wear to museums, restaurants, etc. If you don't plan to go to restaurants, you don't need to dress up for them. I also had a tent, sleeping bag and a couple of penny stoves to heat water for oatmeal and coffee in the morning. Theoretically, I could have heated up some noodles or rice in the evening.

Bring some baby wipes or moist towelettes to wipe the grime off, an extra tube, basic repair tools and you are good to go! Sounds like a fun trip.
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Old 01-23-13, 02:20 AM
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CGOAB has more lists..
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Old 01-23-13, 05:41 AM
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As does the MEC website:
https://www.mec.ca/AST/ContentPrimary...Checklists.jsp
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Old 01-23-13, 06:54 AM
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What you pack and need is a very personal thing; one tourist's essential is another's waste of space. So go on youtube and look for gear lists so you can gauge the range. Make a list and then think if you really need each item, people often pack too many clothes. Then assemble your gear and go out for an overnight trip to test things out. To complement the other links and lists already given here is mine.

https://wheelsofchance.org/2012/12/25/gear-list/
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Old 01-23-13, 08:00 AM
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Coming up with the perfect packing list is a neverending task. I still modify mine after each tour, even after all these years. There are also some modifications that are specific to the area I'll be touring in, season, etc.

You can learn a lot from looking at others' lists, but eventually you'll probably make one specific to your individual needs. I think that's part of the fun.

Advice on specific items is too big of a topic. However, I have some simple advice that I think is valid: Put together a list that you think is pretty good. Go on a short tour. Bring a notebook and pencil. While you're "out there" write down thoughts on your list: what you brought that was a good choice, what you didn't bring that you wish you had, and what you brought that you could have left home. I find that I have more insight while I'm on tour than I do when I'm home trying to remember these details. "Shakedown tours" are a good idea if you don't have a lot of experience, for lots of reasons.
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Old 01-23-13, 09:55 AM
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I reccomend wearing all cycling gear and then challenging restaurants and museums to kick you out... gotta keep the tan lines razor-sharp.
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Old 01-23-13, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey
I reccomend wearing all cycling gear and then challenging restaurants and museums to kick you out... gotta keep the tan lines razor-sharp.
It wouldn't occur to me that they might kick me out. I know that has never happened to me. It may help that I typically don't go into too many fancy places on tour, but I have somewhat rarely eaten in pretty nice restaurants in my bike clothes.
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Old 01-23-13, 02:03 PM
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I think one of the key things is how close you will be to towns throughout the route, and how much will be in the middle of nowhere.

Generally, if you will always be within a few miles of a town you can get away with few tools/spares and carrying only little bits of food. If you go into the wilderness for days at a time, then you will get weighed down.
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Old 01-23-13, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey
gotta keep the tan lines razor-sharp.
^^^^^^^Nice!!!
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Old 01-23-13, 04:40 PM
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It's interesting you're considering going stoveless. I just did that on a solo X-C trip and it worked out great for me. Good luck and I hope it works out for you, too. That decision alone could get rid of one front pannier, at least it did for me.

On that trip, I used two rear panniers and nothing else, not even a handlebar bag, and just a foam sleeping pad on the top of the rack. I cycled through and camped in fresh snow in the Cascades, and I was comfortable in those conditions. One way to minimize your clothing bulk; you should be able to wear everything you pack at the same time. It's OK to bring two of everything, but they should work together as layers. For instance, I only carried one pair of shorts, but I also had a pair of light hiking trousers, some very light long underwear, and some rain pants. I could wear the hiking trousers with a long sleeve jersey at a nice restaurant or walking around town without looking like an alien. I could wear them all together on the wet, freezing 20-mile long descents in the Cascades. I could wear the rain pants on a laundry day. Or I could wash one item at a time in sinks along the way, and just "wear it dry" on a warm day.

If you do pack fewer than four panniers, you'll be in the minority out there.
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Old 01-23-13, 10:56 PM
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Eastern Canada has some pretty notorious tourist attractions in spring and early summer - black flies, mosquitoes and no-see-'ems. If you'll be camping skip any ideas about hammocks or simple tarp shelters. You'll need a fully enclosed tent with extremely fine mesh screening - not the typical screen door variety.

Rather that starting with a list of 'stuff' - I'd suggest you start with a detailed list of specific destinations and objectives and priorities. Then work backwards and figure out what you need to support those. You can check yourself against someone elses list - just don't assume YOU'LL need it cause its on someone elses list.
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Old 01-24-13, 03:36 PM
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Thanks everybody for your great suggestions. My last two bike trips I packed way too much and the lists are a good place for me to start. I should have mentioned that I will be taking a 20" tire folder so my bike can not take as much as much as a regular bike. I am trying to get it down to two panniers. I plan on eating out for meals and just carry snacks. I am trying to drop the tent, but there is so much pretty camping in Ontario! I plan on bringing a tent with very small screen mesh. John
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Old 01-27-13, 10:43 AM
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What you might need can be affected by potential weather conditions where you will be riding. The southern U.S. in early summer? You can skip chilly weather gear. In contrast, we had temps of 40 and lower several nights in early summer in Montana, AB and B.C. during two separate tours.
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Old 01-29-13, 04:45 PM
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Bicycle touring Pro has some great info on bicycle touring. You can find all kinds of info on his site bicycletouringpro.com/.../jim-dirlams-complete-bicycle-touring-gear...
This is a list of everything you could think of carrying on a tour. You could use it as a base and edited as needed.
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