How Much Will My Touring Gear Weigh?
My Touring Gear Lined Up and Ready to Pack?
I just got back from my first overnight ride of the year and it reminded me of how hard it is to pack for a bicycle tour. Of course, that's why we do a shake down overnight before any major tour, we forget things. This year it was towels. But luckily, I was at a campground where the owner knows me and he lent me a towel. I got distracted while packing and just forgot them even thought they were on my list. I also couldn't find my reading light even thought I had packed it. I've changed the location so it will be easier to find at night.
Packing for a self contained bicycle tour is a test of your planning skills and discipline. The general rule is that you will take too much and forget some critical items. That's why I have been honing my list over the years. I used to bring way too many clothes and things I didn't really need.
On my first tour I forgot my tent poles. This was an expensive mistake. My son brought the poles to Jackman, Maine from Dover, NH but I had to pay for his night in Quebec City.
Over the years, I have trimmed the volume and weight of my gear down by going to a 40 degree down sleeping bad, a Big Agnes inflatable pad, and a North Face Tent. I had a smaller tent and sleeping pad for a while, but now I've added back some weight and size but the comfort is worth it. Sleeping well is very important.
Here my current equipment list: Slipstream Touring Gear List (revised 6/18/2006)
This packs out at 43 pounds including the panniers and straps but does not include water or food. The breakdown goes like this:
Tent with a tire around it plus pegs, poles, towel, and ground cloth – 9 #
Left Pannier, tools, and clothing – 18 #
Right Pannier, sleeping bag, mattress, etc. – 17 #
Total Weight – 43 #
You can easily take 2 to 3 pounds off of the tent weight. I use a North Face 23 that has very big vestibules. The North Face Cayonlands is about half the pack size and weight but not free standing.
I also use the biggest Big Angnes Insulated Pad (25 X 78 X 2.5) that weighs 2 pounds and packs the size of a coffee can. A smaller pad is not for me but if it is for you you can cut that size and weight in half.
The first day of riding with full gear is always a surprise, you speed drops and hills feel a lot steeper. By the second and third day, your legs are telling you this is not the fun you expected. But after that, you forget about the additional weight and an amazing feeling of freedom settles in.
By the second week you are zipping up hills that you never thought you'd be able to climb and you don't even notice the gear on the bike. You are now in a world that is far from you're everyday world. It is quieter and self contained. You're only concerns are where is the next food and water, where will you spend the night, and will there be a warm shower.