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Time it takes to pack for a tour

Old 04-18-13, 02:57 PM
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Time it takes to pack for a tour

It seems that every time S&S couplers are discussed on this site, the "problem" of packing time comes up. That is, someone points out how much time and effort it is to break the bike down and get it into its box.

I leave tomorrow for a 9-day tour in Southwest Texas and have been busy packing everything into 2 airline-sized cases. I am carrying camping gear, cooking gear, and the other stuff I always carry (first aid kit, clothes, repairs and spares, etc). I spent far more time collecting my gear and massaging it into its suitcase then I did breaking down the bike and packing it.

The bike took its usual 2 hours of slow methodical disassembly, oiling, and wrapping before inserting the pieces, puzzle-like, into its case. I don't mind this effort as it is clear what has to be done and I know it all fits in.

The gear was much more of a bother. First of all, I had to collect it all in one place before I could begin packing it into the case. This always takes longer than expected as finding things and collecting *everything* that needs to be packed is time-consuming. Then, different arrangements of the various pieces into the case takes a couple of tries. By the end, it is clear that not everything will fit into the case and I need to decide what I can carry onto the plane. It took 3+ hours to get this accomplished.

In the end, I have two full cases, a carry-on rear pannier stuffed with my tent (no poles or rain fly), sleeping bag, and sleeping mat and my camelbak "personal item" carry-on containing my toiletries, iPhone, iPad, lunch, reflector vest, camera, and other last minute do-dads.

All in all, it took about 6 hours to finish the packing job.
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Old 04-18-13, 05:28 PM
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I take 3-4 days to get fully packed and that's touring in my own country. Mainly because I enjoy the process and go through my packing like furnishing a house (accomadation/kitchen/transport) etc.

So enjoy it, it's all part of the experience.
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Old 04-18-13, 05:45 PM
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I put all my gear in a pile and spend a few hours pulling stuff out and putting it back again until I'm not sure I need everything. Once its done I pack my panniers in a way that is pretty standard by now.
I put the bits of cut up foam pipe on my bike frame, roll up the large polythene bag and keep my ducktape and swiss army knife handy. At the airport it takes about 20 mins to seal up the bike for a flight.
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Old 04-18-13, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo
All in all, it took about 6 hours to finish the packing job.
If you do a second time it won't take that long.
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Old 04-18-13, 06:39 PM
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A few hours, but I don't have a take apart bike
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Old 04-18-13, 08:30 PM
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4 hours is avg for me if packing up the bike. Hour for the bike, 3 for the gear, an hour of which is pondering what clothing and food to include. Lots of running around gathering stuff up. I should have a room dedicated to nothing but touring gear.

Have fun in BB Raybo.
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Old 04-18-13, 10:37 PM
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I am retired, so I start packing weeks in advance.

After I have packed everything, then I weigh it. Then I decide how many pounds I really want to bring and therefore how many pounds I have to remove. Then I unpack, sort gear, take some stuff out, substitute some lighter stuff, etc. That takes more time.

If you do not have a luggage scale, you should get one. I usually try to get each checked item 2 pounds lighter than the airline limit, excess weight goes into my carryon.

My packing goes much quicker if I have not misplaced any critical items. Probably two thirds of my time is spent looking for something that I have not seen for a year or more.
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Old 04-18-13, 11:55 PM
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Time it takes to pack for a tour

I am always packed. 5 minutes to load the bike and be on the road. Maybe half an hour to pack in cardboard box and be ready to leave for the airport.
I have a closet with extra travelling gear, warmer sleeping bag, winter clothes etc, so my basic gear can quickly be adapted depending on climate and destination.

The first thing I do when returning from a tour is wash my clothes, replenish dispensables and repack.
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Old 04-19-13, 03:10 AM
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We've been able to break down a full-sized bicycle, without S&S couplings, and pack it in a box in about 45 minutes.

And as for all the other stuff, that can be thrown together in an hour or two ... it helps that we remain partially packed for a trip at all times. For several years now, we've gone somewhere at least once a month.

Because I still haven't fully unpacked from our RTW trip, I could probably be ready to head for the airport in under 2 hours.
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Old 04-19-13, 04:51 AM
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Bike aside, which I understand takes some time with S&S, but 4 hrs. for everything else? I can have it all together in about 1.5 hr. max. Yes. That includes camping gear, extensive cooking gear (including things like olive oil and soap) and clothes. And I mean packed in the panniers or, in the case of tent and bag, stuffed and ready to be strapped on the bike or loaded in the car.
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Old 04-19-13, 05:51 AM
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Takes me about 30 minutes to put my non-ss coupler bike into a regular old bike box.
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Old 04-19-13, 08:42 AM
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if you're gonna do a poll, you might wanna specify packing time only. some of us like to
spend loads of time making and re-arranging small piles of stuff. subtract that and....

pack a standard bike into a cardboard box: max 45 minutes.

partially deflate tires. remove front wheel. place 6"-ish section of pvc in fork legs, and secure
with the front skewer. lower the seat (or remove it if a large frame). remove pedals. remove
h-bar from stem and zip-tie to front tube and top tube. put bike in box. put front wheel in
box with sheet of cardboard between wheel and frame. zip-tie wheel to top tube and seat tube.
add some foam padding. use mucho duck tape to seal shut.

pack your clothes and other gear in your carry on: max 15 minutes.

put heavy stuff in bottom. put lighter stuff at top. zip the zipper. done.
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Old 04-19-13, 10:00 AM
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My record for getting my bike packed for a flight was in the pre-TSA days when I rolled up to the Las Vegas airport towing my suitcase/trailer behind my folding Bike Friday 20 minutes before my flight time. It was close, but I did get checked in and on board in time.
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Old 04-19-13, 10:23 AM
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My last tour was my first experiment in lightweight bike touring. No stove, simple tarptent, no electronics--it was a fast packing job. I adapted the style from years of lightweight backpacking with tried and true equipment, so there was no fussing around--just added some tools, a lock, and spare parts. Everything fit in two rear panniers--one in the bike box, one carry-on. Nice and simple.
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Old 04-19-13, 11:21 AM
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I could pack all the gear in 10-15 minutes. It is all in one place and I have an exact list, so very few decisions while packing. It also helps that I carry a pretty minimal set of cooking and camping gear and minimal clothing for the conditions.

For the bike itself it depends on how I am packing it. Using the soft case I could probably pack it in 15 minutes if I had to. Using a box it would vary on whether I already had a box and packing materials on hand.

Bottom line... If I had to, I could be ready for even a long tour in well under an hour, bike gear and all. That said, since I don't generally have to rush I typically take longer.
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Old 04-19-13, 01:11 PM
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Just to be honest, I didn't spend all that time packing gear. I haven't done a camping/cooking tour in over a year and much of that time was spent locating stuff. What's more, the garage, where I did the packing, is two floors below my bedroom, where much of the gear I was looking for was located.

I set aside a whole day to get this task done and I wasn't in any hurry. I also am flying with more stuff than fits into the case I am takng so had to repack it several times and even then had to take gear stuffed in a pannier as a carry on.

The point of my post was to contrast the time it took me to pack my bike versus the rest of my gear. It is good to know how others organize their gear, as well.
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Old 04-19-13, 01:17 PM
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Everything for touring goes in one trunk.....takes 15 minutes to install on the bike....I don't have too take my bike apart.
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Old 04-19-13, 05:23 PM
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If the mood strikes... out the door and down the road in under half an hour. If the bike has to be boxed another half an hour. Anything not needed gets sent home via the USPS pretty quickly.

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Old 04-19-13, 08:57 PM
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I'd say current record is around 1 hour 15 minutes from fully set up to disassembled for flying purposes. I don't really know how long it would take me to gather all my gear and such, but I don't imagine that long as most of my possessions are packed away in my 2 main panniers already
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Old 04-20-13, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo
It is good to know how others organize their gear, as well.
It is interesting.

Because we cycle frequently, and travel quite regularly, and have done for years, pretty much everything is in a constant state of being ready to roll.
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Old 04-20-13, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
It is interesting.

Because we cycle frequently, and travel quite regularly, and have done for years, pretty much everything is in a constant state of being ready to roll.
This is me

I have all of my stuff organized. I can walk out to my storage shed with panniers in hand and pick what I need off the shelf and drop it in. I do the same thing with my suitcase for my regular travels, I have a pretty set mental list of what I am going to need, in it goes and out the door I go. I travel a lot for my job so it comes as a second nature to me.

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