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I did the TransAm without a stove last summer, and I have to admit that subsisting for days at a stretch on nothing but granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches did get me down a little. I rode for a while with some folks who had stoves, and it was a particularly miserable experience to be the only person gnawing on trail mix while everyone else was eating hot soup.
how much am I looking to support on the rear racks? Is is worth the price to pay for a nice rack or am I better off putting than money into the bike somewhere else?
Speaking of, are these ( http://www.rei.com/product/833203/seattle-sports-titan-1500-panniers-pair-special-buy ) panniers suitable? I've been looking at the Ortlieb Classics and while they hold a little more they are also significantly pricier.
Well we will see. I have fallen for the 2013 Salsa Vaya 3. After being in contact with bike stores - it looks like this bike was all sold out from Salsa in November 2012.