Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

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Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:59 pm

Hi all

Do people have some sort of 15-30L day pack that they use while on tour for groceries, hiking around on a day off etc?

I have a 24L Osprey Stratos which is basically a mini-hiking pack in terms of it's features and comfort that I am considering taking with me on tour as it will be great when exploring towns and trails on foot. It's also long and roomy enough to fit my 2-person tent, plus my Exped sleeping mattress and air pillow in it; so I can use it as a rack pack and put my sleeping/tent gear inside of it. The bag isn't waterproof but if I put it inside a large garbage bag and wrap it up nicely it should be fairly water resistant and pack down small, keeping the harness etc out of the way.

However the main downside is the weight. Due to the solid construction and rigid backing it weighs around 1.1kg, quite a bit considering it isn't an absolutely essential bit of kit (just highly desired) and I paid quite a bit of cash for a light weight tent and sleeping gear etc so I wouldn't get bogged down.

I've also looked at other options, such as the Alpkit Gourdon 20-25-30L models, Exped Cloudburst 15-25L models and Exped Torrent 30-40L models as they are much lighter and waterproof compared to my Osprey Stratos. However many of the smaller 20-25L bags are too short to fit the tent in nicely (they need to be at least 58cm long, preferably 60+cm) and they might be a bit too bulky to put in a 20L pannier bag as a drybag/daypack. The 30L Gourdon is long enough and only weighs 700g, however it is out of stock for the foreseeable future (and I leave to Europe in 4.5 weeks!). The Exped Torrent 40 is long enough at 62cm, however it weighs 950g which is only 150g lighter than my current pack, plus it would cost quite a bit to get hold of.

I've also thought about scrapping the idea of using a larger pack as a rackpack, and instead using them as a storage drybag inside my pannier e.g. the 15L Exped Cloudburst should be small enough to fit in my 20L pannier if I roll it down and squish it in to fit. That way when I am stopping somewhere for a rest day and want to go walk around town to buy food and see the sights I can empty out the contents of the 15L bag (large loose items like sleeping gear probably) and use the bag as a day pack. The 15L bag is only 280g and the 25L version is 300g, pretty light for the cargo they can carry! The 25L Cloudburst is currently on sale for $35, it's a fairly solid bag and I would be 100% sold if it were a few centimetres longer so I could use it as a rackpack to put my tent and other gear into, rather than having to stuff it into a 20L pannier bag.. I might be able to fit my sleeping mattress, pillow and some other larger, light weight items into it and mount it on top of the tent bag on the rack - however that might not hold in place too well.

I'll also need a fairly large (15+L) bag for my carry on luggage when I am flying, so I can load up as much weight as I can into my carry on. I was just going to use one of my Ortlieb pannier bags as a carry on bag as well as a shopping/day pack. However the shoulder straps and pannier bags, as handy as they are, aren't very comfortable to carry around for more than a few minutes. I am wanting to do some short hikes (5-10km) so a comfortable small/medium sized day pack with enough space for lunch, a water bottle, jacket etc would be handy to have on hand.

Thoughts?

As far as I can see I have four choices:

1. Take the Osprey Stratos 24L bag and use it as a rackpack for my tent and sleeping gear, as well as a day pack for general use and hikes. $0 but 1100g weight (and not waterproof without a cover).
2. Source a larger 30-40L drybag/rucksack that I can use as a rackpack for my gear, as well as a large daypack. ~$80-100 + shipping. 800-950g weight.
3. Get a smaller 15-25L drybag/rucksack and use it as either an internal storage bag within a pannier pag or a rackpack on top of my tent. ~$35. 250-300g weight.
4. Don't worry about a day pack. Just use a pannier bag (20L) and a bar bag (7L) for carry on luggage, use the bag bag with shoulder strap for a day pack for short hikes, albeit less comfortable and not able to carry as much gear. $0. 0g weight.
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by BNA » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:36 am

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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby il padrone » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:36 am

5th option.

What I have done for my longer tours is to take a North Peak collapsible day-pack, about 15-20L capacity and it folds up within one of its pockets to about 150mm x 100mm x 30mm, small enough to slip into my handlebar bag or a pannier pocket. It's not waterproof (although the fabrics are getting better - proofed sil-nylon?) but this has never been an issue for shopping, and if I use it on short walks I could just carry an Ortlieb pocket inside it for important valable items.

Mine is this one

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Last edited by il padrone on Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Aushiker » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:02 pm

Another option ... I have gone with a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry day pack. Packs down small and I mean small. We are talking fist size here. It is surprisingly comfortable with a bit of a load. Weighs in at 68 grams or thereabouts.

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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Tim » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:39 pm

I'm fairly certain that in my internet travels I've seen an Ortleib backpack harness system that clips directly to a pannier bag. Not sure where, but I'll have a look later.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Tim » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:41 pm

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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:25 pm



i've seen those, they look like one option. However I'm overly fussed about the prospect of having to empty out my larger 20L pannier bag every time i want to go to the shops or do a short walk.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby grasshopper » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:37 pm

I bought a light nylon backpack with internal and external pocket, then added some reflective at home. It packs into the internal pocket which keeps it tidy and fits in a jersey pocket. The pocket also has a plastic carabiner so I can hang it off stuff too. I think I got it in a luggage place somewhere, but I know it was only a few dollars. Use it a lot, even now.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby il padrone » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:50 pm

Aushiker wrote:Another option ... I have gone with a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry day pack. Packs down small and I mean small.

This is very good - a souped-up version of the North Peak pack I bought 3 years ago. You really only need a basic day pack for most cycle-tour ancilliary walking and shopping. A pack that can be slipped away in the pannier is very useful. For a number of years I had a larger regular day pack that I loaded my tent and sleeping mat into and strapped on the pannier rack. But it is not available for use while your load is on the bike, and I have found the Ortlieb drybag better for this task. The collapsible pack is available to use at any time. 'Horses for courses' is what I'm getting at.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Meditator » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:01 pm

Because i don't need to be lugging around any extra weight, i don't carry this type of bag at all. The only time i think such a thing would be at all necessary is if you wanted to dump your bike and panniers at your hotel and go off on a hike for a few days.

For days around town, i usually have a bag i can carry that is merely a soft cloth bag of some sort. My first bag was a backpack of the type that people would use in their own cities. It would have weighted about 200g. But in a place like india i wouldn't be comfortable walking around with my valuables on my back anyway.

I usually have to carry around a big camera in my bag, maybe a water bottle and otherwise jsut a few small things with my money belt around my waist I find this a good system.

For going on the plane, i take one pannier onboard. I usually have another bag that is somewhat full of bits too. Being a girl, we can get away iwth a bit extra usually. I also might have a jumper round my neck and wearing be wearing extra clothes and stuff. All in order to keep the under the allowable weight. I am certain that i have carried way more than the permitted 7kg on board a plane though.

If i had to carry cold weather clothes it would be impossible to even pretend to be under the permitted weight. Although now i am starting to leave things out of my kit that i have taken in the past or just bought new lower weight gear.

But one thing i know i don't want is an extra kilo of backpack i can manage ok without. There's no need to put your tent in a bag at all. Although if you were going to a rainy spot, then i would wrap it in a plastic bag before putting it in its sack. I don't even use a bar bag. It might be more handy to have one for your camera but they are expensive so i've never bought and just managed to make do quite well without.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:13 pm

Aushiker wrote:Another option ... I have gone with a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry day pack. Packs down small and I mean small. We are talking fist size here. It is surprisingly comfortable with a bit of a load. Weighs in at 68 grams or thereabouts.


I saw this while hunting for another bag. I like that it is so light and packs into a tiny bag (about the same size as my Exped pillow actually). However it doesn't have any back support so it would be pretty uncomfortable after only a while using it if you has a couple of Kg worth of stuff in there (e.g. camera, water bottle, lunch, jacket etc).

As this review points out:
To be sure, there are some big compromises with the minimal design: You can feel hard items pressing on your back through the fabric. The thin, unpadded shoulder straps are comfortable only up to a certain weight — maybe 20 pounds if you grit it. There is no hip belt or sternum strap.


Furthered here by this commenter:
I got the zipper version last year. Good size for sleeping bag storage. Shoulder straps bunch and cut into your pits. Fabric is relatively fragile in abrasion situations. Too expensive. It's not much more than a sack with straps.


The thing I liked about the Exped Cloudburst was that it did have a bit of back padding as well as decent shoulder straps so it would be a bit more comfortable to use. However this does come as a cost in weight being 270g heavier. Another downside is the price, the 20L Ultra-Sil Drypack will cost around $45, compared to $35 for the 25L Cloudburst.

I've been thinking about how I would use this bag at home, and I figured that I need a new waterproof and simple bag for when I go surfing as my current old school bag I have been using for the past few years has literally fallen apart and only has two zips in working condition (out of 10 originally). I think I'd prefer something a bit more durable too.

I guess there's always going to be a compromise.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby il padrone » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:17 pm

Meditator wrote:The only time i think such a thing would be at all necessary is if you wanted to dump your bike and panniers at your hotel and go off on a hike for a few days.

Seems to be at odds with OP's stated intentions. A 15-30L pack would not help you for a hike for a few days.

elStado wrote:Do people have some sort of 15-30L day pack that they use while on tour for groceries, hiking around on a day off etc?



Meditator wrote:But one thing i know i don't want is an extra kilo of backpack i can manage ok without.

Collapsible packs that have been suggested weigh much less than a kilo. Mine is ~200g, the one Andrew showed is 99g.

Meditator wrote:There's no need to put your tent in a bag at all. Although if you were going to a rainy spot, then i would wrap it in a plastic bag

There are several reasons I pack my tent (and some other gear) in a rack-top drybag - only one of which is to keep it dry (this is actually the least important reason).
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:34 pm

Meditator wrote:Because i don't need to be lugging around any extra weight, i don't carry this type of bag at all. The only time i think such a thing would be at all necessary is if you wanted to dump your bike and panniers at your hotel and go off on a hike for a few days.


I'll be travelling by bike around western Europe for about 4.5 weeks. I am not calling it 'cycle touring' as this seems to infer that I will only be cycling as my form of activity like many others do. Instead I want to be able to couch surf, stay with friends and other acquaintances for a day or two as I travel so I can spend some time off the bike and see how life works from an even slower pace. I love cycling and it will be a major part of my trip, but I don't want to be bound by the very vehicle that is supposed to free you.

For days around town, i usually have a bag i can carry that is merely a soft cloth bag of some sort. My first bag was a backpack of the type that people would use in their own cities. It would have weighted about 200g. But in a place like india i wouldn't be comfortable walking around with my valuables on my back anyway.


I'll mainly be in France so this isn't such an issue, especially in the countryside (definitely not in the larger cities though). Looking to start in wesatern Germany and cycle into Belgium then south through Luxembourg and into France. I've got a French mate studying in Marseilles who has told me that the area around that way is excellent for cycling, hiking and even the odd bit of surfing if I am lucky!

If i had to carry cold weather clothes it would be impossible to even pretend to be under the permitted weight. Although now i am starting to leave things out of my kit that i have taken in the past or just bought new lower weight gear.


Yeah cold weather gear makes life difficult. it's heavy and bulky. Even with expensive gear it's a challenge. Thankfully I'll be in the south-west of Europe in late summer / early autumn, so I am looking at mild, sunny days around 20 degrees C with low humidity. Perfect cycling weather! I'll still have some merino wool base layers on me as they weigh nothing and come in handy on cooler nights.

There's no need to put your tent in a bag at all. Although if you were going to a rainy spot, then i would wrap it in a plastic bag before putting it in its sack.


This is what I have done as the tent comes with a light-weight storage bag made out of waterproof material. However it is only closed by a draw string. Putting it in a garbage bag will help keep it protected from the elements and, to some extent, out of sight from thieves.

I don't even use a bar bag. It might be more handy to have one for your camera but they are expensive so i've never bought and just managed to make do quite well without.


I bought a Ortlieb Ultimate 5 bar bag. I am still not sure if I'll need it, but the idea of having a easy access bag for my valuables, snacks and a map attached on top sounded good. I've really spent way too much on bike and camping gear over the past 6 months, probably around $4500+ if I dared to add it all up (including a new bike). It's all good though, I don't mind investing in what I love doing. What's the point of having $$$ in your bank but never getting to enjoy it otherwise? Unfortunately this means that I am a typical ATGNI (all the gear, no idea). Need some real-time, hands on experience.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby silentbutdeadly » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:14 am

I've not long had a Mont Sentinel backpack which has proved ideal as a bike and day pack though biggish at 42L. Not cheap but an outstanding harness for cycling as it sits well off your back. The next model down is the Contour 35 which is smaller and has a less flash harness but also not as tall so it doesn't foul on your helmet as readily either when it is full...
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:05 am

I ended up getting the Exped Cloudburst 25l for reasons above. Good capacity, decent harness system and back padding, compact and fold down, 300 g weight (800 g less than my current 24L day pack) waterproof and reasonably durable too.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Meditator » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:22 am

I don't think your statement about touring cyclists just staying on their bikes is accurate. Most tourers i've ever met look at tourists sites too, people on long tours, need a decent rest now and then which could be up to a week.

I'm going to france next year. Won't be taking a backpack but if i decide i need one, i will get one there. NO point carrying more than is needed on the plane.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:35 am

Meditator wrote:I don't think your statement about touring cyclists just staying on their bikes is accurate. Most tourers i've ever met look at tourists sites too, people on long tours, need a decent rest now and then which could be up to a week.


That's just the general vibe I get. Especially when I read articles about not needing a lock/good lock for the bike while on tour as you are never away from the bike. As i said, I am travelling by bike, not "touring" so to speak.

I'm going to france next year. Won't be taking a backpack but if i decide i need one, i will get one there. NO point carrying more than is needed on the plane.


I know I'll need a day bag, i always need one when I am travelling and out and about. If you buy one as needed you'll end up paying full price and not have as many options. I'm also flying with Emirates, so no issues with luggage restrictions. My 25L day bag will be my carry on luggage as it'll be easy to keep it under 7KG and within the allowed size as it is a flexible bag. I'll also try to sneak on the 7L bar bag as a 'camera' or jacket bag.. it looks convincing enough. Should be able to get well over 7kg unless they weigh me. :)
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Meditator » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:05 pm

How many kilos of gear do you think you will end up carrying on your bike? I met someone yesterday who had 40kilos. He decided this was far too much. I am certain of it, especially since he's got a few very big and steep hills to get up but he decided this was a problem when just riding on slopes that one wouldn't even call a hill. And he had an expensive touring bike. In amongst that 40kilos was 10 kilos of food which he recognised was a complete mistake since there were shops everywhere.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:21 am

Meditator wrote:How many kilos of gear do you think you will end up carrying on your bike?


Not a lot. All my sleeping/camping gear is pretty light weight. Heaviest item after my tent is my Trangia which is around 800g. I'll be carrying around 4L of water which will be the heaviest part.

I'd say, including the weight of my four pannier bags, front bar bag and pannier racks around 13-15kg of stuff. Plus the bike which is around 14kg without the racks.

I'll have to weight it up once I have everything packed so I know what I'll need to jettison to ensure I stay under my limit. I'm also doing regular stuff for a month in Europe, so I'll be taking over another few kg worth of normal clothing ands gear that wont be coming with me when I am travelling by bike.

I'm not planning to take too much food. I'll mainly be eating from cafes and whatever I can get from a local grocery store. Dinners I'll usually cook myself and this will be a light weight and simple affair, e.g. cous-cous pre-mix with a bit of tuna or something. I'll just buy a couple of days food when I get the chance. I'm going to Europe, not on an expedition to Africa.

I met someone yesterday who had 40kilos. He decided this was far too much


Far, far too much!
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Meditator » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:25 pm

Why would you need to carry 4 litres of water in europe? I wouldn't carry more than one. There will be water everywhere.

But watch out the kilos build up very easily and very quickly. Pannier racks are usually included in the weight of the bike. I don't think you've got much chance of getting it all in under 15kg. But if that's what you are aiming for, or even 20, you should be fine.

I think the first trip i did to india without tent, sleeping bag or mat or cooking gear, big camera, or cold weather gear was at least 15kg. I didn't have to pay excess baggage but it was obvious even to the woman at the airline checkin that my carryon baggage was way over 7kg. I had 2 spare tubes, which you are not likely to have, not much in the way of tools, not much clothing, very few toiletries. I think my panniers weighed about 1kg each. I had two. Yep its very hard to keep the weight down so good luck.

I guess you are only taking a small camera and no laptop then. That's good cause they weigh a lot. Although i think its worth taking a big camera when i travel. But not if you are not a photography buff.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:03 pm

Meditator wrote:Why would you need to carry 4 litres of water in europe? I wouldn't carry more than one. There will be water everywhere.


True. I probably wont need 4L. I am just conditioned to always carry plenty of water as I grew up in the northern region of Australia.

I'll have two or three 800ml water bottles for drinking, and I was going to take another one or two 1L water bottled for cooking and general use. However I will only carry that extra water if I am going to be wild camping. If I have a camp site in mind obviously I wont need to haul any extra water there for washing/cooking etc. I'll also have a 500-800ml bottle of methylated spirits for cooking as apparently its hard to get in France and should be bought in larger amounts when the opportunity is given (some larger supermarkets sell it, but it isn't as common as in Australia or northern/central Europe).

But watch out the kilos build up very easily and very quickly. Pannier racks are usually included in the weight of the bike. I don't think you've got much chance of getting it all in under 15kg. But if that's what you are aiming for, or even 20, you should be fine.


All my gear is pretty lightweight. However as I haven't packaged it all together and weighed it I have no idea exactly how much it all weighs.

I think the first trip i did to india without tent, sleeping bag or mat or cooking gear, big camera, or cold weather gear was at least 15kg. I didn't have to pay excess baggage but it was obvious even to the woman at the airline checkin that my carryon baggage was way over 7kg. I had 2 spare tubes, which you are not likely to have, not much in the way of tools, not much clothing, very few toiletries. I think my panniers weighed about 1kg each. I had two. Yep its very hard to keep the weight down so good luck.

I guess you are only taking a small camera and no laptop then. That's good cause they weigh a lot. Although i think its worth taking a big camera when i travel. But not if you are not a photography buff.


No. Only a small digital camera and I am still deciding if I will bother taking it, I have my phone which is almost as good that I am taking anyway; one less thing to charge up. No computer on the bike, though I will be taking a Eee PC which weighs around 1.2kg with the charger with me on the plane. I'll be leaving that behind with the rest of my non-cycling gear in Germany and pick it up on the way back home.

No cold weather gear aside from a pair of tracksters for an overlayer on cold mornings, a lightweight merino wool base layer and a lightweight hooded jumper (might not bother with this either). I might take my short and/or long sleeve thick merino wool cycling jerseys for cooler days or for extra warmth on the camp site, however they weigh three times as much as my Ground Effect synthetics jerseys and also take longer to dry and get heavy from absorbing moisture, so I may not bother with them either. I'll be there in late Summer so it'll be fairly warm the whole time.

I'll be doing a test pack a week before I go and weighing everything to ensure that I am below my weight limit. Anything unnecessary will be jettisoned. I am no ultra-light tourer, I'm ok with hauling some extra gear so I don't have to totally rough it and I can be more self sufficient. However I am also pretty cut-throat about only taking things that are necessary, versatile and effective.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby il padrone » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:19 pm

elStado wrote:I'll also have a 500-800ml bottle of methylated spirits for cooking as apparently its hard to get in France and should be bought in larger amounts when the opportunity is given

Banned from carriage on airlines - even when empty your fuel bottle needs special treatment (see your airline's website). It may be worth buying a brand new one which will have no traces of fuel smells in it. Don't try to carry meths to Europe. It is available in certain places, but an even better option would be to buy a Camping Gaz stove when over there as the fuel canisters for these are readily available in every small supermarket and grocery store, especially in France.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Meditator » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:50 pm

It will probably only be cold when it rains. It depends where you are going but you probably should expect it to rain.

Have you been in europe before? Do you know what to expect from the weather? I can't remember where you said you were going. Was it france? South, north, mountains? Mountains of course will be very cold even in the day time they could be cold if its rainy.

I've been in europe but a very long time ago. I was only France in Autumn, England in spring and germany/scandinavia in summer.

For my trip to france regarding clothes i will probably take:
1-2 bike shorts for riding becuase i know they won't dry over night after washing.
1 cool shirt for riding (because i don't like to have the sun on my arms they will be long sleeved)
a heavyish fleece jacket which is windproof - good on the bike, good around camp but not too nice for smarter dressing
I might need a shawl for that. and definitely a scarf
In the event of rain, i am might be able to make do with my jacket but it hasn't got a hood. I will have a plastic bag on my helmet but would need a scarf round my neck if its cold. and this would help keep the rain out.
I probably should get waterproof pants.
gloves
beanie for nights
1 wool socks for riding on cold days
1=2 cotton socks for riding on hot days
1 wool socks for night time in my tent
2 wool thermal tops
1 cotton tights for bed and round camp
I haven't figured out my off bike clothes. IT will be tricky because of the cold weather.
Probably one lightweight dress (for hot weather)
1 pair lightweight casual trousers (for cold weather - i'll probably need another pair if i'm spending a week in paris though)
1 bra
2 undies
2 more tops/shirts
1 swimmers
1 pair runners to ride with
1 pair thongs
1 pair sandals to wear with dress
1 pair shorts

This is more clothes than i usually take.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:08 am

il padrone wrote:Banned from carriage on airlines - even when empty your fuel bottle needs special treatment (see your airline's website). It may be worth buying a brand new one which will have no traces of fuel smells in it. Don't try to carry meths to Europe. It is available in certain places, but an even better option would be to buy a Camping Gaz stove when over there as the fuel canisters for these are readily available in every small supermarket and grocery store, especially in France.


I am not taking any meths over on the plane. I'll just buy some from the supermarket in Germany before I leave. A 500ml bottle (on the downtube cage) should last me a couple of weeks if I am careful with it.

Yes Camping Gaz is easier to get in France, not so much in other countries. I've already got my Trangia and I know that meths can be bought at most larger stores in France (just not the smaller ones).

Meditator wrote:It will probably only be cold when it rains. It depends where you are going but you probably should expect it to rain.


It will rain for a few days. Average is around 8-10 days a month in September where I'll be. I'll have wet weather gear, which combined with my merino wool baselayers will help keep me warm and dry.

Have you been in europe before? Do you know what to expect from the weather? I can't remember where you said you were going. Was it france? South, north, mountains? Mountains of course will be very cold even in the day time they could be cold if its rainy.


Yes I've been over twice before, each time for ~7 weeks. I've been to more countries and locales than I can recall off the top of my head. However I haven't travelled there by bike, nor have I been to the east or southern regions of France (where I am planning to go) in September. The first time I went over was in December-January (freezing cold!), and the second time was in June-July (very hot in Spain and Italy, perfect in Switzerland and Germany!).

I'm thinking about heading west from Germany into Belgium then south though eastern France or Luxemboug from from there I'll meander through the central/east of France towards Millau and the Cevennes National Park region (it's extremely nice cycle touring country around here I have heard), from there I might go to Marseilles as I have a French mate who is studying there from late August onwards.

I have checked the weather averages for August and September for most of the major locations I am planning to visit. I am hoping for only a few wet days and temps around 20-25 degrees during the day and a min temps of around 10-15 degrees in the evening. The weather in the south-east of France (aside from the alp areas) is quite similar to Perth's weather in March-April which is the best weather of the year for cycling (cycling numbers in March are almost double that of July for Perth due to the weather effect). It's basically perfect weather to be travelling by bicycle. The weather in western and southern Germany in late July when I was there in 2010 was also extremely pleasant and mild the whole time. We only had three rainy days over two months travelling and that was in Holland.

Here's my current pack list for when I am travelling by bike (I am taking other stuff over too to use while I am in Germany for a month off the bike):

2x Ground Effect Zip-Tie long sleeve cycling jerseys (super lightweight and fast drying synthetic, does not get too smelly even after a couple of days between washes)
1x Short and/or long sleeve thick merino wool jersey (might not take this though, they are heavy, bulky and too warm if it is above 10-15 degrees)
1x Swim shorts (ultralight and compact, made from special hydrophobic material. Could only afford them as I snagged a pair half price)
1x Cotton t-shirt (for off the bike wear)
1x Lightweight long sleeve cotton t-shirt (off the bike, out on the town or cooler nights)
1x Cycling smart trousers (black; Rapha design - can be used on/off bike, a bit heavy and bulky though)
2x Civvies (cycling baggy shorts, can be worn off the bike no probs)
2x Padded underlayers (1x merino, 1x synthetic)
2x 150gsm merino wool boxer briefs (very comfortable for cycling, especially with a broken-in Brooks saddle)
2x Thin synthetic socks (black DeFeet Aireator High Top)
2x Medium merino socks (charcoal DeFeet Woolie Boolie 2 - 4" cuff)
1x 150gsm and/or 190gsm merino wool long sleeve base layer top (probably only need one)
1x Lightweight hooded jumper with full zip (for cooler evenings off the bike, might not bother with this though as merino base-layer + long sleeve shirt will be just as warm).
1x Ronhill 'trackster' pants (as an extra layer on cold days; these are compact, lightweight, warm, comfortable and dry quickly)
1x Rain jacket (Showers Pass Elite 2.0)
1x Rain pants (Ground Effect Helter Skelter 3/4 pants; just bought a pair tonight!)
1x Full finger cycling gloves (I wear these all year round in Perth, they are fine from 2 to 40 degrees C).
1x Buff multipurpose headband (can be used as a scarf, face mask, sun protector etc. Easy to wash, weighs nothing)
1x Cycle cap (might not need this, will see how the buff goes)
1x Shimano MT71 shoes (waterproof GoreTex lining generally negates the need for shoe covers unless it's really coming down, then I need a plastic bag+tape solution!)
1x Sanuk sidewalk surfers (these weigh nothing, fold down small and look/feel far better than crocs. Only downside is they can't be worn in the showers like thongs/crocs)

I've got this list on my Evernote app, so I update and modify it as I test different things out and decide what I want to take/leave behind. I don't think I am going to bother with the helmet, no need for where I am going (Europe) and how I am riding (slow and steady). However a helmet does work well to keep the rain and sun off my head (in combination with either plastic shower cap on top or a cycle cap/buff underneath), so I might take it for this reason alone. My helmet is super light weight too (Limar Pro 104 Ultralight: 180g).

All this (excluding the shoes and a pair of clothes which I'll be wearing) easily fits into a single 20L pannier bag. I haven't weighed it, but it shouldn't be much as it's all pretty lightweight apart from the Shimano shoes and the rain gear.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby Meditator » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:26 am

Those trousers are quite nice but boy, expensive! You must be loaded.

Also aren't you only going for 4-5 weeks. You're planning to cover a lot of territory. You won't see much, let alone do anything but ride your bike if that's your plan. Which seems the opposite of what you've been saying. I know europe is small but there's a lot to see and do in between places because of that you don't cover so much distance each day unless you choose to ignore that. How many kms are you planning to do each day?

Because i'm planning a 6 week trip and realise how limited my route has to be because of this, what you are suggesting just seems like something's wrong either what you are proposing or what i'm proposing to do. eg, currently my idea is to start in paris for one month, then if i have time go to brittany, normandy, down to the loire valley, then down to dordogne region, then into languedoc and hopefully visit montpellier. I'm even wondering if i have time to do brittany. I started off by trying to allow a week in each region and already i'm tight, so i might have to cut something. Given that i have to get from region to region, i can't see that i've got much room to move. But maybe i'm missing something. I mean i don't want to be riding 8 hours a day particularly. And certainly this won't be the case most days. I usually stop often to take pictures and investigate things of interest that i notice, even without stopping for the major sites.

Good that you've got a handle on european weather.

The risks of going barefoot in the shower are overrated though it is nice to have something on your feet. When i was in india on my first trip i had leather thongs that couldn't be worn in the shower. Never had a problem. And i have to tell you some of those guesthouses were pretty grungy. Once i had to make a huge fuss to get them to clean the room again. I felt bad afterwards though because it was a little boy who had to do the job and he clearly didn't have a clue about what he was doing. I tried to say just give me the scrubber and i will do it myself but the manager wouldn't have it. I wish i had given that little boy a tip cause i am sure he was really poor. Poor little bugger. But at the time i was so pissed off about the state of the room and of course i was not mad at the kid but really disgusted with the manager. It was the only place in town too i might add.

All this (excluding the shoes and a pair of clothes which I'll be wearing) easily fits into a single 20L pannier bag. I haven't weighed it, but it shouldn't be much as it's all pretty lightweight apart from the Shimano shoes and the rain gear.


Assume each item weighs 100g, then you've got absolute minimum for how much the total clothes will weigh.

Isn't it compulsory to wear a helmet in France.
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Re: Multipurpose day pack to use while touring?

Postby elStado » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:17 pm

Meditator wrote:Those trousers are quite nice but boy, expensive! You must be loaded.


Not quite. I got them on sale ($120 delivered, I've paid more for less). I do have plenty of disposable income though that I am happy to spend on what I enjoy in life. I am generally frugal and careful with my money and what I spend it on though. If I buy something I want it to last me a long time, give me a lot of enjoyment/use and be reliable. So I don't mind spending a bit extra for good quality gear as long as it represents good value in the long run. Rapha gear is very expensive, but it looks and feels great and is very versatile. I just wait for it to go on sale and then get what I need.

I don't drink/smoke/gamble or anything else that usually chews through the average Australian's disposable income. I also haven't owned a car for 5 years and live in a close proximity to places of work and study which allows me to quickly and easily cycle and/or take public transit anywhere I want to go. This lifestyle choice allows me to focus my income on keeping active and healthy, travelling and generally giving me the freedom to do whatever I want in life.

One of my pet hates is people I know who complain that they have no money and can't go on holidays, even though I see them spending hundreds every weekend going out second rate clubs just to get smashed and have an awful time (just to do it again the next weekend!). Total waste of a productive day and money. I have no time for people like this. It's a pity though as 90% of Australian's have no idea how to properly manage their finances. So instead of looking after themselves and being intelligent with money they blow it all and then expect handouts from the government or blame the government for making costs go up (like what I hear about the carbon tax and electricity prices in WA). It's infuriating that significant portion of my income goes to supporting these leaches who want to continue to subsidise motor vehicle infrastructure, electricity prices etc just so they can keep driving their V8 ute 60km to work everyday (or just 1500m down the road for a carton of beer and some smokes) and buy a new flat-screen TV every second year.

Also aren't you only going for 4-5 weeks. You're planning to cover a lot of territory. You won't see much, let alone do anything but ride your bike if that's your plan. Which seems the opposite of what you've been saying. I know europe is small but there's a lot to see and do in between places because of that you don't cover so much distance each day unless you choose to ignore that. How many kms are you planning to do each day?


Yep. I spent a few hours on Google maps the other day mapping it out. I calculated the distance (~1250km; avoiding main highways), then added 10% leeway distance (~1375km). Then I assumed 6 hours of riding per day (9 hours of sunlight per day on average) with an average of 12.5km/ph travel speed (I average about 20-25km/ph with a two 20L panniers full of heavy groceries) which gives me an average travel distance of 75km per day.

So 1375km dived by 75 means it will take around 18.5 days of pure cycling to do my planned trip. Even if I factor in two rest days per week to allow for stopovers in nice places or if I have any health issues, the trip should only take 24-25 days. I have around 30 days to play with, which gives me a few days at the end to chill out in Marseilles before flying back to Germany a few days before the date of my flight back to Australia. There is also a number of regional high speed trains that run in a similar direction to my planned route, so if I end up staying somewhere nice and need to make up time I'll just get on a train for a couple hundred km to catch up.

My biggest concern right now is the flight from Marseilles to Düsseldorf, it's a bit tricky and indirect already and will be made more difficult with a touring bicycle and all my gear to take on as well as baggage allowances aren't as generous on intercontinental flights as they are on long haul flights. I may end up having to train it back instead, which might be easier and cheaper in the end as it means I won't have to dismantle the bike (if I choose the right train that allows for bicycles).

Isn't it compulsory to wear a helmet in France.


You mad? Pretty much all of Europe (as well as the majority of the world) doesn't have any regulations or laws regarding helmet use for adult cyclists.

I think Spain does have some form of a requirement if you are cycling on regional roads, however you don't have to wear it if you're in town, or if it's a hot day, or if your riding up a hill, or if you're a 'professional' cyclist (who isn't?).. basically no one bothers to enforce it.
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