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Author Topic: How much weight to bring?  (Read 1734 times)
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PocketRocket
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« on: July 25, 2010, 01:48:38 PM »
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Hi! This is my first post in this Forum. The information found here is impressive! As a new cyclo-camper, getting ready to ride about 1800 knm in the Maritime Provinces, I am wondering how much to bring and specifically, how much weight to carry/pull?
I've toured before, but did the B&B route. This time, my husband and I are camping. We both ride recumbent Trikes (mine is a Catrike Pocket) and can ride 70-80 km easily with maybe 25 pounds in our panniers. But for the longer ride, the temptation for us is to bring everything but the kitchen sink!
I tend to prefer riding very light... while my husband wants to bring foldable camping chairs! We have some fundament differences, and I would like some advice!?  Huh
 Huh
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onrbikes
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 06:39:53 PM »
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You must have too much stamina if you want folding chairs.
Take as little as possible. Best replace the chairs with snack foods like chocolate as you'll be eating non stop.
Take the cooker, utensils, bed matts, tent. The true essentials.
Because you'll be going in a pretty civilized area you can always buy stuff to get out of trouble.
Its a relatively short ride so won't need any spare parts like tires and fancy tools.
We've done some tours and carried about 10kg each. Makes for fast and easy riding

crazyguyonabike is another good site for the area you're riding

ATB
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PocketRocket
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 06:28:13 AM »
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Thanks for your input, Fred. What about electronic equipment? Does anyone bring GPS's, iPods, iPads? How do you charge these while camping?
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tony
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 12:26:55 PM »
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To answer your question, a good rule of thumb is to try to not carry more than half of your weight. This advice was given to me when I fist started touring and I found it to be a good one. Especially when you first start to travel by bicycle. Pass that limit and you might find it too difficult and discouraging.

 I am not sure I would agree with you Fred - although I usually do Smiley
Some people need to travel as light as possible but some others like to carry more "luxury" items to be comfortable. I know a guy who traveled 3 years with 30 lb and Clade herve finished his 14 year trip with 200 lb of stuff on his bike (not including him!). It is really up to you. I think the age might make a differenece too. Perhaps the older you get the more comfort you need. For me, a comfortable place to seat is part of the essentials. I used to carry a folding chair but since Therm-A-rest came up with the trekker chair this is what I use. PocketRocket if you are carryning a pad I would highly recommend one of these therm-a-rest seat. here is a thread where we talked about it: http://cyclocampingforum.com/index.php?topic=105.0

If you are planning to camp a lot but without an inflatable pad and especially if you're having back problem I would get a folding chair. Personnally I didn't mind carrying 2 extra pound. For me it was worth it. However I would not recommend to get a stool (I tried but I found it useless, I think they are only good when you have a camping car, table etc) for me the point is to be able to rest you back.

Here are the choices from Therm-A-Rest: http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/seating/fast-and-light-seating/category
I think Pacific Outdoor Equipment also have a model.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 01:41:25 PM by Stephane » Logged
PocketRocket
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 05:48:19 AM »
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Thanks Tony, the thermarest trekker chair is a good idea. So, if I weigh 130 pounds, I should not carry more than 65 pounds. That does not include the weight of my trike, right?
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tony
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 07:47:03 AM »
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Yes, this is correct. You should also consider the Compack chair from therm-a-rest, I am not sure about the differences but it is even lighter.
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petervanglabbeek
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 06:36:47 AM »
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I am very much in favor of traveling light. No more than 20kg is my rule. No more than 35kg for a couple (sharing tent, stove and tools).
Luxury items might add to comfort when you use them, most of the time they are making the cycling less comfortable. Think about how many hours you will be on the bike, carrying the extra weight and how many ours you will actually use the extra stuff. Also extra weight will be an extra burden to your bike and body, the same body you want to rest sitting on your chair. To me it is a contradiction.
When you are touring in western countries, you will find lots of benches and pick nick tables to have a good seat. Or sit against a tree or wall. However the best way to rest your back is to lay flat on your back with your knees up. Do lots of stretches.
You will be very happy traveling light when you hit the big climbs or short steep hills.
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Peter van Glabbeek
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2010, 12:34:43 PM »
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I knew Peter was going to reply to that one! Just so everyone knows, I met Peter in Bangkok, he was coming from Tibet as I was heading that way. Peter crossed Tibet and SE Asia with one single t-shirt! When laundry day came, he washed it and wore it wet until it dried.

I am in favor of carrying extra comfort with me, so Peter and I have different opinions on the subject (which doesn't happen very often, right, Peter?). I believe that your body gets adjusted to whatever you carry. I carried up to 90lb of luggage during my tour around the world, and yes, hills were difficult at first, but they became easier and easier to the point where they were not painful anymore and I actually enjoyed them.  My muscle mass just adjusted. No matter what you carry, your body gets used to it. A good anecdote supporting this is the story of one of my friends who hit the road forgetting one of his rear panniers after breaking up camp. He biked 2 hours before realizing that he was riding with 25% less weight. A difference of 15 lb. and he didn't feel it!

Tony mentioned Claude and Francoise Herve (I read their book, too Smiley), Claude had 100 kg. of luggage on his bike (the most I ever heard of) by the end of their 14-year long journey and they were covering good distance, too. Of course he didn't start that way, but as they went along, he felt like he needed extra comfort and took the luxury to carry whatever they wanted, and his body adjusted.  Of course, you don't want to go too crazy and I think that carrying 50% of your weight rule is actually a very good one. I also believe that a good touring bike should be able to handle 80 lb. just as well as 40lb. With all that extra load I carried, I ended up changing one pair of pedals, one rim, one derailleur, one tire, and a couple of chains during my entire 5-year trip - that's it!

I have a good story about the chair. A friend of mine joined us for a few weeks when we were in Thailand (shortly after I met you, Peter). He brought with him one of those low-folding chairs! It weighed 2 lb. and and was not very storage-friendly on a bicycle. We got to use it while he was with us and we really liked it. So when it was time for him to fly back home and he didn't want to carry it back with him, we hesitated, but decided to keep the chair. We were so glad to have it that we carried that chair with us for the next 2 1/2 years of our journey halfway around the globe. You can't lean against a tree or a wall and be as comfortable as if you were in a chair - no way. Benches are nice but how often do you find a camping spot with a bench? Peter is right - stretching is king - but a nice seat is so wonderful during breaks or while camping that in my opinion, it is worth the extra 2 lbs. However, CycloCamping.com now carries the Therm-a-Rest compack chair, which is much lighter and almost as comfortable.

Do you think this is worth 2 lb.?    ... Smiley




« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 12:53:50 PM by Stephane » Logged

petervanglabbeek
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2010, 03:56:06 PM »
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I agree that we don't agree on this subject, Stephane. Smiley
I am sure that your body till some point gets used to the weight you carry. This only if you don't ruin your knees before that (3 people I know) or your back (2 other people I know). And then still a lighter packed cyclist will still be faster, so more comfortable, uphill. Why do you think that professional racing cyclists have 5kg bikes and are very skinny?
During my trips I met so many people who complained about the hills (and I tell you, we live in a hilly world), which i understood when i looked at their luggage. Many were jealous looking at me, jumping potholes and big stones with my loaded bike, lifting it over fences or carrying it to the 5th floor of a hotel without taking panniers of, etc.
Of course it is an extra strain on bike and body to carry extra weight. And in my opinion most extra stuff that people take is not luxury related, but spare parts. (of course the subject of this discussion was a chair, but i still would like to make my point.) I even met somebody who had so many spare parts with her, that she was almost sure her rack would brake, so she took a spare rack as well! i am sure you get my point by now. Still I will give one more example. I met a guy who carried about 60kg. He cycled with a brace for his back. He had a spare part for everything, even 2 sleeping back liners, 2 mattresses, 3 extra tires everything. So he broke his front rack 6 times in the few months we traveled together (and this was a special designed rack with double thickness steel tubing). Of course he didn't carry a spare rack (nor a spare back).
I am not an ultra light traveler. My friend Cameron cycled 6 months across Tibet with only 8kg of luggage, i had at least double. I do like my book, my music, a roomy tent, a good stove. I just feel it is really unnecessary for cyclists to get injured or to dislike all hills.
The half your weight rule is a tricky one for unfit starters, you have to start really carefully. I would say 1/3 of your weight is better. Your bike will be heavier when you have to carry lots of food or water later in your trip, but then your body is adjusted already.
Peter
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Peter van Glabbeek
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 04:31:42 PM »
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I love the extra rack story! Excellent. No, of course you need some common sense and carry useful gear. The only spare part that I carry which was useless was a spare Schwalbe tire because I didn't know they will last that long. Otherwise I carried a couple spare tubes, spokes and brake/derailleur cables - that's it. But those are not what I call luxury items. Luxury items would be a chair, a pillow, a liner (I can't sleep without a decent pillow), a larger tent, books, guides, I like to have the map for the next place I'm going, Mp3 player, speakers, a reflex camera, a couple lenses, a tripod, a large pot and pans because I like to cook (and eat), spices, extra clothing so I can go out in cities, a shower bag, a pair of hiking boots etc. (biciclown would add a hammock Smiley) those are all things that I use almost every day and I won't go without them but they add up weight-wise.

The 1/2-of-your-weight rule is obviously not an absolute one. Sure it is better if you can go with only 1/3 of your weight but what I think Tony meant is to not go heavier than that because then it is getting really uncomfortable and you have much more chance to get knee or back injury. And yes you're right it is common enough that people should be careful about it.

By the way how is the sleeping bag working out for you?
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PocketRocket
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2010, 05:13:49 PM »
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Very interesting to read about the differences of opinions. So, I have been on the road for three weeks,most of the days being cycling days except for four beach days!
I'm carrying about 1/3 of my weight, and so is my husband. Yes, the hills are hard, but that's also because we are on recumbent trikes.
We have used the chairs only once, mostly because the weather is dry and we don't spend much time in the tent. In two weeks, upon our return, we'll review our equipment list and see what needs to be pared down.
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MelissaDaisy99
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 02:27:51 AM »
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I would not recommend to get a stool (I tried but I found it useless, I think they are only good when you have a camping car, table etc) for me the point is to be able to rest you back.
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woollypigs
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2011, 02:50:39 PM »
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I got this advice years ago when I was just about to do the InterRail around Europe. Put everything you think you need on your bed and then remove half of that, then start packing.

We do like comfort, so our beds are heavier than others and we just got a bigger tent too.

On our tour of New Zealand we were much fitter on the very steep hills on Banks Peninsular at the end of our tour than when we climbed Porters Pass five weeks earlier. 
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biciclown
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2011, 03:00:22 AM »
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You know me. My bike weights 75 kgs with all the stuff. I can carry it. I am happy so no problem. But if you cannot is stupid to do it. And some important thing: the road will tell you the real packing list
safe journey alvaro the biciclown heading to 100000 kms
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