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Preparing to Tour

Old 08-16-13, 07:39 AM
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Preparing to Tour

I have been road biking, mountain biking, commuting by bike, bike building and restoring for 3 years now and decided that I really want to get into touring, I love camping and often go on day trips with my bike around the area but it is time to take it a little further and do a solo bike tour. So this winter I am building up my first touring bike by adding racks, bags, new saddle, bar tape etc. to one of my favourite vintage bikes and am planning my first trip for next spring.

My question to you is, what is your favourite essential gear (favourite tent or bag or stove etc.) and what is your favourite non-essential/luxury item?
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Old 08-16-13, 08:00 AM
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Essential touring - bicycle that fits and a Brooks saddle
Essential camping - comfy sleeping arrangement (mattress, sleeping bag, pillows, sarong)

Luxury - camera and notebook (laptop). I take photos and download them onto the laptop.


It's hard to pick just one thing. I've got to be comfortable on the bicycle during the day, and I've got to get a good night's sleep.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:09 AM
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With experience, I've parred my gear down to basic essentials, not counting electronics. I do second Machka's choices, in my case a recumbent and a Neoair pad. Close third would be my stuff sack pillow. While riding, an mp3 has become a welcomed luxury.
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Old 08-16-13, 09:35 AM
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I picked my gear for N Europe 3 season use and it is all well proven but not ultralight. I have some lighter weight bits for summer, eg lighter bag. Pick for the worst condition you expect but not much more.
Hilleberg Akto tent
Mammut Kompakt 3 season bag

Trangia 27 stove.
Kuhn Rikon yellow paring knife in plastic sheath + flexi cutting board

Essential gear: mini tripod. Woolly hat.
Luxury gear: mini thumb-operated pepper grinder.
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Old 08-16-13, 10:06 AM
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Probably the most essential item is an open attitude to your bike and your tour. Maybe your route doesn't look too adventurous or the bike doesn't look like the ones you see posted but as long as you are comfortable and can sleep at night then you are on your way.
There is no need to have the Ultra LHT or Brooks if your equipment works for you and your budget. If you can keep smiling after miles of rainy weather then you know that you have the right stuff.
Better get off my soap box here....
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Old 08-16-13, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by redbike72
Probably the most essential item is an open attitude to your bike and your tour. Maybe your route doesn't look too adventurous or the bike doesn't look like the ones you see posted but as long as you are comfortable and can sleep at night then you are on your way.
There is no need to have the Ultra LHT or Brooks if your equipment works for you and your budget. If you can keep smiling after miles of rainy weather then you know that you have the right stuff.
Better get off my soap box here....
Well said.....but...... I can't go shopping for a open attitude and read reviews and hunt down prices and unwrap it when it comes in the mail and play with it in my yard and install it on my bike and figure out where to pack it and...and... and.... lol
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Old 08-16-13, 11:18 AM
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Luxury=5" Santoku knife and small cutting board. I cook elaborate meals. Those things make it easier to do so for me.

Just bought a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL 2 tent for my upcoming trip in early September. Looking forward to cutting 1.75 lbs. off my MSR Hubba Hubba.

My first tour was a x-country tour. I had never camped before. I asked a friend of mine who had done some touring what pieces of equipment I would be sorry to overlook. She suggested a warm hat and a good flashlight. She was right, although you can leave the hat behind when touring in consitently warm climates. I started in in Seattle in late and crossed the North Cascades Highway on day 6. It was very chilly, and it snowed.
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Old 08-16-13, 02:27 PM
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For my purposes the essential item would be the Montbell UL Thermawrap parka. The non-essential item would have to be my Kindle.
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Old 08-16-13, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by kwmcd
Well said.....but...... I can't go shopping for a open attitude and read reviews and hunt down prices and unwrap it when it comes in the mail and play with it in my yard and install it on my bike and figure out where to pack it and...and... and.... lol
Yup, I see what you are driving at.
I thought perhaps you might want to try a trip with your existing gear rather than getting all loaded up prior to the actual departure.

So far there have been some excellent suggestions. Good luck with the search!
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Old 08-16-13, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by redbike72
Yup, I see what you are driving at.
I thought perhaps you might want to try a trip with your existing gear rather than getting all loaded up prior to the actual departure.

So far there have been some excellent suggestions. Good luck with the search!
Thanks
Problem is I don't have a lot of existing gear that is light enough to tour with. When we go camping we usually have a utility trailer full of stuff behind our truck. My only tent is a 12 person tent that measures 9ft by 12ft, my stove is a bbq, our cookware is cast iron etc etc.

I am looking at getting new gear that i can take on hiking, canoeing, and biking trips. I enjoy all these things but right now i just do day trips centred around where my wife and I are camping. I would like to expand and be able to go self supporting trips not dependant on a main camp site.

I thought asking on here what some peoples favourites are would be a fun way to start, maybe even get some ideas for gear I never thought to bring
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Old 08-16-13, 08:37 PM
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I'm prepping for my first tour. Have not been camping since high school, the stone ages. Anyway a good site to look is crazyguyonabike and just look at the journals and forums there. Most people will post pictures and full lists of all their gear. It's a great site to read about real people on real tours all over the world. I love it.

My online name is the same over there. My tour BTW will be full camping but van supported so I'll be going a little large on my tent but the rest will be light. Will be taking my nice and light carbon road bike. If I really like it I plan to get a full touring bike and equip it. I'm looking forward to it.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/?o=1

good luck,
Richard
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Old 08-16-13, 09:13 PM
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I really like my Ortlieb panniers. Everything goes in ziplocs or compression sacks and into the Ortliebs. I also like my Serfas 250 lumen light. Bags that you can get on and off the bike easily are wonderful.

My favorite non-essential item is my Ortlieb panniers. I could use something cheaper, or make some cat litter panniers, but I like the big yellow bags.

I use an old 2-man Eureka tent and a cheap sleeping bag from Target. I'll upgrade to a lighter, more compressible sleeping bag for my next trip, and would love to get a Hubba Hubba if I could count on myself to actually camp.
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Old 08-17-13, 11:52 PM
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Today a friend of mine who's been doing some high mileage tours in Canada and Alaska told me that his favorite essential item is an umbrella. He said they're great for waiting out short rainstorms, but even better for riding with a tailwind.
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Old 08-18-13, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Simon Cowbell
Today a friend of mine who's been doing some high mileage tours in Canada and Alaska told me that his favorite essential item is an umbrella. He said they're great for waiting out short rainstorms, but even better for riding with a tailwind.
I carry a poncho for that purpose.
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Old 08-18-13, 03:59 PM
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small quality radio.
thermarest pillow.
ortlieb panniers.
swiss army knife.
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Old 08-18-13, 04:33 PM
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Haunt the light weight Back packing gear sites , you need new stuff if ..

to take your bags off the bike and bring them into the tent a 2 person works for one. a 3 person for 2.


L like one piece hoop tents when it's windy , because they are put together on the ground .. then last stake pops it up.

Freestanding tents with a separate rain fly are a bit more a PIA, as the wind wants to blow it out of your hands .
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Old 08-19-13, 10:04 AM
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You may want to try an lightweight overnight tour soon to check see how you like it. You can really get stuff on a budget if you can plan on warm weather. I did one last weekend here in Socal where I can count on no rain and temps staying above 55 F.

I took:

Backpacking hammock from Campmor: $20
Car windshield screen pad for insulation, from dollar store: $1
Fleece sleeping bag: $10
Emergency mylar blanket for a ground cloth (unused): $3
Pop can aluminum alcohol stove cookset with pot: $10 (optional)
shorts, tee shirt, socks, thermal tee-shirt: already had them

All this and some other optional goodies fit into a $9 book backpack from Walmart, plus a $4 homemade handlebar bag, and strapped atop an inexpensive rear rack. The pack could do double duty if you ever wanted to do some day hiking.

Just want to point out that you could do this cheap setup and roll out on any bike to get a taste of touring; no need to buy hundreds of dollars of gear and build up a bomb-proof expedition bike first.

I'd have to say my hammock is my favorite essential piece of gear, with the alcohol stoves coming in second.

A seven-inch tablet is my favorite luxury, I have one with a microSD slot so I can view the videos from my action camera and upload them, plus all its internet and entertainment value (movies and ebooks), plus the offline maps I've loaded (OSMand and Maps with Me).

Last edited by stevepusser; 08-19-13 at 10:29 PM.
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