camping/bikepacking gear

Gear, tips, information about bicycle camping.
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camping/bikepacking gear

Postby Whacked » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:29 pm

My interest in a bike tour has been rekindled with the 'Poor Guy on a Bike' read.
Its something that I really want to do altho may have to wait a year.

So starting to plan gear purchases and DAMN if backpacking stuff is expensive
So far i've only scoped out REI but does anyone have any other places I can look at?
My little sister does annual backpacking trips with her friends so I can borrow some stuff.
Other things I can slowly purchase over time (rack, panniers)

Mostly looking at good (but cheap) backpacking style sleeping bags and tents.
I have a closet full of normal camping gear but they are just too bulky and heavy to strap on a bike, hence the backpacking type gear.
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby Whacked » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:37 pm

Oh yea, the ones I seen at walmart are much too narrow. 33" wide aint gonna cut it.
well, the width is OK its just the overall circumference is too small, never get it zipped up
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby squire366 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:55 am

What I normally try to do is go on retailer sites and find a particular product that I'm looking for and once I have the name of the product and manufacturer then I shoot over to eBay or Amazon.com to see if I can find it cheaper than the retailer. I normally find what I'm looking for that way and a lot cheaper than buying from the retailer.
Mongoose Deception
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby wa_desert_rat » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:51 am

Campmor is your god for quality camping gear at reasonable prices. Since I kayak camp and now plan to bicycle camp I can equip myself for both and not break the bank too badly.

Campmor has some Kelty down mummy bags for under $100. I realize that a lot of people don't like mummy bags but I'm converting simply because they shave off both weight and bulk. The one I bought - down to 20F and in standard length - packs into a stuff sack not much larger than a volleyball. While weight is not an issue in kayak-camping, bulk certainly is; and the same holds true for bike camping. I do plan to use a dry-bag for the kayak to ensure that the down sleeping bag stays dry. It's not a good idea to get one wet; especially salt-water wet.

Tent. I camped for years - and all through Europe - using an REI (I have an REI number just over 100,000) mountaineer tent that was not free standing but was super light. They quit making these about 25 years ago. But I prefer something free standing that I can open from the side... I'm too old to crawl in backwards. I'm not a fan of bivy-sacks unless I'm on a cliff face so I bought a nice little 2-man at Mountain Supply.

Pad. I bought a Big Agnes insulated air-core inflatable pad 72x20 for about $65 from Campmor. Unlike most pads that end up 20 or 24 inches wide when rolled up, this goes into a stuff sack about 8" in diameter and 10 inches long. This pad and the bag and the tent will fit easily on a seat-post-mounted bike rack.

Cooking. I have an Optimus 8R that uses naptha (white gas) that I have owned since my first European bike tour in 1972. It has never failed me, fuel is available everywhere (dry cleaners use it and in Europe most hardware stores carry it in bulk... they used to just give me a liter free). They are over $150 now but worth it for their simplicity. Self contained in their own box too.

Pots and Pans. When I'm camping I eat simply. Often it's just noodles and soups and sandwiches. (Peanut butter rocks!). I found a pair of nesting pots (more of a cup and a small pot, really) made by Optimus at Campmor for around $20. They have folding handles, are non-stick coated, light and not bulky. Perfect for boiling up water for CupONoodles or instant oatmeal or for tea/coffee.

By knowing (finally!) what I like on the trail/kayak/bike I have accumulated a solo camping setup that will fit easily bungee-corded to the bike rack with no panniers to worry about. There is a link on mtbr.com about making your own frame-bag and my wife has promised me she will do that but for now I'm going to carry food and water in a backpack (I'm thinking the Mule by Camelback) on the bike and in a drybag in the kayak. For weekend trips I won't need much in the way of extra clothing (at least on the bike).

We need a camping forum... I'll make one and maybe shift these over to it.

WDR
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby Whacked » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:48 pm

Campmor. thats the site I was thinking of but couldn't remember.
yea light weight is a must. none of my current camping gear fits that standard.

I plan on travelling light. MRE's for when I cant stop at a diner somewheres. I bookmarked a place that has a recipe to make your own energy snacks. Looks interesting 'cept for the peanut butter part (allergic).

What i'm thinking of so far:
Camelback Mule: bike related gear & repair.
first aid kit
ID

handle mounted pack
camera
snacks
sun block
batteries & chargers

rear rack
probably gonna go with panniers
cooking gear
food
clothes
bear spray (not worried about running into one in the day, but at night 'specially if I have to stealth camp...)
and bungie tie the sleeping pad, bag and tent to the top rack.

I'll also have to pick up a rear blinkie and a headlight. I'll be on twisty mountain roads so I want to be seen. I know from experience while driving that going from sunlight to shade reduces visibility.

man this is gonna get expensive fast.
lights alone will set me back $100+
disk compatible rack $45
handlebar pack & panniers $100+
and so on...

glad i'm starting now for next year. wouldn't be able to swing it this year otherwise
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby wa_desert_rat » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:17 pm

Whacked wrote:glad i'm starting now for next year. wouldn't be able to swing it this year otherwise


Yes it's a lot better spread over a year's time. For overnight or long weekend things aren't so complicated. I lived for a month on my ten-speed PX10E in Europe sleeping virtually every night in a town campground. I stayed in three youth hostels and each one was a disappointment (one, in Germany, locked everyone in two upstairs wings - one for males and one for females - at night. Locked in as we could not get out until they unlocked the doors!!!).

I've only done stealth camping in a kayak where it does seem much easier. My primary long-distance kayak is the color of bleached log so it blends in on a beach. We also have a series of watertrail camps along Puget Sound and into Canada. Nothing really like it for bicyclists, though. If you depend on campgrounds you'll be making some long distance days in the west.

WDR
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby Whacked » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:40 pm

I started plotting a route using mapsource.

My home elevation: 23ft
Highest point on trip: 8600ft

A LOT of up and down mountains
Monitor Pass
Carson Pass
Daggett Pass
Ebbetts Pass (optional but may skip for Sonora Pass)
Sonora Pass
Plus riding completely around Lake Tahoe

haven't finished plotting the course but a guessimate 400+ miles

I am no way shape or form physically ready to attempt that yet :)
might have to make the route shorter for a first attempt. Although I really do want to cross over the Sierra Nevada mtns
I'll be doing century rides this year. get my strength up and butt used to hours of being in the saddle.

Ohhh yea, may have to add brake upgrades. My fat ass plus packing gear may burn up the 160mm rotors coming down those mountains lol

Hmmm, maybe instead of leaving from my house I start from my sisters (~2700ft elev) and do Ebbetts and Sonora Pass as a first tour.
I have plenty of time to play around with routes and make a decision.
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby wa_desert_rat » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:05 pm

I've never managed to be "in shape" for a bike tour... I just sort of ease my way into it. It's harder on a weekend, obviously, but if you can take a week here or there and use that for a tour you will find that by the 3rd day you're in much better shape than when you started. I have always been surprised at how quickly it goes.

I have also found that the best riding is rolling hills not flat ground. My ideal training grounds would be a week in the Palouse area of SE Washington state and then hit the Wenatchee area for some climbs.

I don't think I'd do a long steep climb too early in a training regimen. For one thing, it would make me want to quit and just go home. :P

WDR
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby jamminfool » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:51 pm

Very cool plan, gotta give you all the respect in the world for just contemplating at trip like this! I've been considering a short jaunt in NJ within the 100-some-odd mile mark from my home, a weekend type trip (possibly longer) with my son...the loosely laid plan is to pack his bike with anything of weighty substance (hey, he's young and strong...lol) and pack the lighter stuff we may need on my bike. I was thinking of the Delaware Water Gap as a good destination...he's never been there and it's been at least 25 years since I have. Still need to work out the logistics of it all (as well as make sure both bikes - and me - are properly equipped and in trekking shape), but I would like to attempt it before summer's end. He's graduating high school this June, and I think this sort of trip would be a great experience for both of us!
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Re: camping/bikepacking gear

Postby Whacked » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:54 am

Planning is everything.
Depending on the terrain, a 100 mile trip can be ridden in a day or 3.
Definitely a long weekend trip.

I use Garmin Mapsource with Topo 2008 to sketch out my routes. that way I get a good idea of distance plus elevation.
The Tahoe trip is a little ambitious, so think i'll cut it down.
Start at my sisters and ride up Hwy 4 and back down 108
I'll still ride over Ebbetts, Monitor and Sonora Pass but the mileage will be around the 200 mark.
I can ride that in 2-3 days but may just take my fishing pole and make a week of it :)
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