Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby RonK » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:18 am

A few years ago I stumbled cross the Great Southern Brevet, a backroads audax ride, and was so intrigued that I rode several stages of the route during my last tour. I had planned to ride more stages, but was intimidated by the weather (threatening snow) and the difficulties of getting over steep alpine country on a fully-loaded touring bike. I'm determined to return and ride these stages (and perhaps the entire brevet route), but have realised that bikepacking would be a better mode of travel for these places.

Always open to the possibilites, I'm been looking at ways to rationalise my touring load to fit into typical bikepacking systems. Here's a video of a bikepacking setup by Scott Felter, who makes the Porcelain Rocket bags.



There are a plethora of videos and bikepacking pages on the web now, with lots of different setup ideas.

I'm fairly confident that I can reduce my usual load sufficiently to fit into a bikepacking arrangement.
Last edited by RonK on Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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by BNA » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:58 am

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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby RonK » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:58 am

Uncle Just wrote:Interesting vid Ron although I kept watching the horizon for a wave or the tide to take all his gear and bike away. :)

Where did he mention that he kept his tools/spares, sleeping mat? There was room in the seat pack for a bit more as he said. I'd like to know with these setups how they handle in comparison to a conventionally loaded tourer on the flat or climbing. Better I suspect as the weight is less and centred. I do like those capacious underseat bags and they make the traditional Carradice seat bag look antiquated. Even my minimal Tubus fly rack and dry bag setup is redundant now after seeing these lighter weight seat bags with similar carrying capacity!


Hehe - well no doubt it's a minimalist approach but I don't think it has to be too extreme. And Scott is no mug - he's ridden the Canning Stock Route. He doesn't mention tools/spare and sleeping mat - maybe he doesn't use one? He doesn't mention tent poles either.

I think the logical place for tools and spares and other small but heavy stuff would be at the bottom corner of the frame bag. My tent, mat, sleeping bag and rain jacket should fit into the handlebar bag, leaving 14l of space in the seatbag for clothing. I don't usually carry much food, but it would easily fit in the frame bag along with my cookware, and additional clothing. And couple of fork mounted packs would carry any overflow.

Image

I'd probably carry water in a small backpack with a hydration blader, although I must say Scott's Wingnut Gear backpack looks interesting. Bike Radar reviewed the Adventure pack here. But it's probably a bit big for touring. The Enduro or even the Hyper may be a better choice.
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Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Wingnut » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:13 pm

Good to see a bikepacking thread...

I follow these bikepacking which I think are the best at the moment with some very handy tips and beautiful photos...

http://www.whileoutriding.com
http://www.bikegreaseandcoffee.com
http://www.pedalingnowhere.com
http://joecruz.wordpress.com

That've are a few other good ones about too...


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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Uncle Just » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:24 pm

Thanks Ron. I know I'm late to the party but it shows with a little lateral thinking how you can reduce a lot of unnecessary weight ie no heavy racks, and heavy panniers. Like many I went down the 4 pannier route with a heavy Surly but for many tours you just don't need all that. I think we've mentioned in another thread the guy on CGOAB who pared everything back and tours on a road bike but I think aesthetically and practically at least I prefer these new frame/seat and handlebar bags. You also want to be able to take one or two luxury items which a large frame bag may take.

Thanks for the links Wingnut.
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby RonK » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:49 pm

Uncle Just wrote:Thanks Ron. I know I'm late to the party but it shows with a little lateral thinking how you can reduce a lot of unnecessary weight ie no heavy racks, and heavy panniers.

No, you're not late at all - this discussion is just getting going.

It seems just a couple of years that I first heard about bikepacking and saw Relevate's products for the first time. Since then bikepacking has really taken off and bikepacking gear is readily available - there are even locals getting in on the act.
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Mugglechops » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:41 pm

I am thinking of getting into this myself. I have been doing a few long days trialing some cheap bags. Still need to work out some sleeping gear. Those links are good.

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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Wingnut » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:02 pm

Image

Some of my gear on prior to front and rear rack removal...waiting on a couple of bags still...


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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Mugglechops » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:45 am

Nice set up
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby RonK » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:56 am

If you prefer to buy locally try Bike Bag Dude.
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby RonK » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:34 pm

Noticed that Schwalbe have a new offering for 2014. Thunder Burt (where do they get these names) looks like it could be a nice combination of weight, speed and grip for bikepacking on mixed surfaces.

Lightning fast with Thunder Burt. The tire development goal was to combine the best of Racing Ralph and Furious Fred. At less than 400 g, the weight is almost exactly in the middle. With its many small lugs Thunder Burt is close on the heels of Racing Ralph regarding grip and in terms of rolling resistance he is even better than Furious Fred.

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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Wingnut » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:58 pm

I've notice that Wiggle aren't really carrying much in the way of the 26" Marathon's these days...other than the Mondial and the Smart Sam?
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Wingnut » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:44 am

Has anyone tried Schwalbe Smart SAMs ?
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby il padrone » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:26 am

Wingnut wrote:Image

Some of my gear on prior to front and rear rack removal...waiting on a couple of bags still...

Good lord! That sleeping pad :shock:

It may be fairly comfy but you do realise the huge penalty in bulk (on a necessarily space-conscious rig) that you are paying ?? My Exped Synmat would look like a film canster next to a Coke can in comparison.

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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Wingnut » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:31 am

Yeah I know it's bulky but while I like Exped tents I just don't trust their sleeping pads so I prefer the non inflatable type...
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby singlespeedscott » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:42 pm

Sleepy mats are for sooks. Just sleep on the ground like a dog. That's how I use to do it. :lol:
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby Wingnut » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:28 pm

Ahh the way of the dog...lol ;)
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby }SkOrPn--7 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:30 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:Sleepy mats are for sooks. Just sleep on the ground like a dog. That's how I use to do it. :lol:


Yeah this old grey haired pedalling hobo sook has gone past the suck it up and tough it out days and now relies on his creature comforts....... :D

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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby RonK » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:36 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:Sleepy mats are for sooks. Just sleep on the ground like a dog. That's how I use to do it. :lol:

Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, eat a clump of coal poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby cancan64 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:59 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:Sleepy mats are for sooks. Just sleep on the ground like a dog. That's how I use to do it. :lol:

I didn't bother with sleeping mats until I got caught in a cold snap in Germany...-12... the sleeping mats the next day
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby il padrone » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:44 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:Sleepy mats are for sooks. Just sleep on the ground like a dog. That's how I use to do it. :lol:

Oooh yaaah!

I didn't bother with sleeping mats. Just lie on the tent floor.......

Until the foam closed cell mat came along....... then that cold ache didn't creep in.

Until the Thermarest self-inflating mat came along.............. and then my hip didn't feel dislocated in the morning.

Until the Exped Synmat came along............ and then I didn't wake every hour to roll over and let my leg wake up.


Now I sleep flat on my back or on my side. And sleep right through the night. As good a sleep as in my bed at home. Soft, but I love it :P
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby singlespeedscott » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:04 pm

Hey, I was in my early twenties and the coldest I had to sleep in was -4
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby maxknott » Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:26 pm

il padrone, do you and the wife use the exped coupling kit for the mats????just getting gear sorted to take the new gf camping..
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby il padrone » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:57 pm

No. The two matts completely fill the tent floor very neatly and don't move about anywhere much. We're disorganised anyway - two different branded sleeping bags, hers is rectangular and mine is a tapered semi-mummy, so no chance of zipping them together.
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Re: Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby chillimagnum » Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:05 pm

I'm looking at a setup for a couple months without camping, so no sleeping or cooking equiptment required. I was thinking perhaps running front panniers and a full frame bag, or rear panniers and a full frame bag. Does anyone have a preference of using only front or only rear panniers for road touring? Main concern with a frame bag is losing the water bottles, as I want to be able to carry 3 - 4L of water (should be possible with the extra large cages). But then running front and rear panniers seems excessive space for this trip. I don't have the racks, or panniers or frame bag yet but need to order them soon.
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Bikepacking - an alternative way of touring...

Postby RonK » Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:15 pm

In my experience having all the load at one end or the other makes the bike unbalanced - unwieldy and awkward to handle.

The space provided by using 4 panniers is irrelevant. There is no requirement to fill all the available space.

What is more important is to distribute the load evenly. If it's really such a big issue for you, buy small panniers or use front panniers at both ends.

I suspect that the extra carrying capacity will be used more often than you think.

If you use a frame bag, why bother with panniers at all? I'd use either a full set of bikepacking bags - sweetroll, frame bag and saddle bag, or a full set of panniers

You could probably carry 1.5 litres of water under the down tube, and more on each fork leg.

You could also carry another 2-3 litres in a hydration pack.
Last edited by RonK on Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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