Author Topic: Overall weight for touring  (Read 3759 times)

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Offline otomola

Overall weight for touring
« on: May 24, 2012, 07:55:12 am »
I have been looking at posts on this site, as well as crazyguyonabike.com, in order to obtain info on how much weight (bike/gear/water/food) is carried on a cross country tour. I am looking at it from two points of view. One is - what is the weight of an "average" self supported tour, and the other is what can the bike support safely (I weigh 152 pounds). I see that individuals occassionally address this issue, and depending on their tour attitudes and needs, I have read blogs where total weights are reported in the range from 40 pounds up to 115 pounds.

I realize there is no average or "typical" weight, as what people think is important to bring varies. But I am trying to get a sense of what to expect long term and answer the question - am I bringing too much/can I bring more?

I am riding a Surly and with my racks/panniers/handlebar bag it comes to about 42 pounds. After I get the bike loaded, including two 28 ounce water bottles, it is at about 70 pounds. I have been riding it comfortably at this weight. To experiment, I added a few textbooks and extra water bottles and did some riding at 83 pounds. The bike handled okay, but not as "nimble" as at 70 pounds. I went slower uphills, but for four hour test rides overall average speed was very similar, in the 14-15 mph range at both weights.

The main thing I noticed at 83 pounds is the bike feels very heavy when maneuvering it around while not riding it, just pushing it around, moving it onto a sidewalk, etc. And it feels a little different when standing up when going up hills, though totally stable.

Background: I am riding CT to Washington, have a ten week window of time, plan on riding 75 miles per day with ten rest days (no riding), which would actually let me cover the ~3800 miles in about nine weeks. Have been riding 750 miles per month last three months training.

So I wondereded if anyone had thoughts/comments on this. I wondered if the difference between 70 pounds and 83 pounds, or in those ranges, seemed to matter much in your experiences or planning. I'd like to add more weight, like bring a laptop in particular, but am hesitant to do so as I feel I might regret the extra pounds down the road.

Thanks for any feedback!

Tom

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 09:02:40 am »
So your load is about 30-35 pounds?  (Most people include the panniers in "load" weight, so I'm assuming yours weigh on the order of 5 pounds.)  And you're comfortable with your bike and that load?

Go ride.

Seriously, we tend to work ourselves into a tizzy over relatively minor stuff when we're not out riding our bicycles.  If there's something you really need, or really, really, really want to add to the load, go ahead.  I note you've not said what would add 13 pounds to your load, except books and extra water.  Forget the textbooks, or see if you can get them on a light Kindle, notebook, or similar if you need to study for something like a licensing exam.  Check the route ahead, and take extra water on the days when you might need it; across most of the east and midwest you'll have small towns or convenience stores spaced so you only need water for 2-3 hours of riding.

It's not really about how much you can carry -- unless you want to make the Adventure Cycling blog for "heaviest bike weighed this year!"

Offline indyfabz

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 09:48:11 am »
What pdlamb said, except that my guess is that you added the text books and water solely to test the bike with additional weight. The first time I rode with any load I carried phone books just to get a feel before I loaded up the bike with the stuff I would take on tour.

If you are comfortable with the load, go for it. Don't let anyone tell you what you should and should not take. On my first tour (x-country and more), I carried probably 15 lbs. of camera equipment, if not more. I am sure it made me work harder, but I never once regretted having the stuff. Today, I carry a small cutting board and small Santoku knife because I like to cook more elaborate meals. Some people like to fish and thus take along fishing equipment.  And I never weigh my load. While sometimes I am curious about the weight, in the end it doesn't matter. The key question is whether I am comfortable carrying what I have.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 11:18:56 am »
I have toured with a variety of different loads.  I did my first TA with about 40 pounds of gear and panniers.  I wouldn't consider taking more than that myself.  In fact I probably would never take that much again.

As I streamlined my gear lists I found touring more and more pleasant.  I am currently carrying just under 15 pounds of gear including the dry bags I use in place of panniers.  I missed none of the stuff I trimmed from the list on my recent San Diego to Sarasota tour.  I find the simplicity of a well tailored and minimal gear list to actually be quite pleasant and liberating.  Comfort has not been sacrificed.

That said I have met folks who carried 150 pounds of stuff and were happy with their choices.

If interested in some tips on packing the minimum to meet your comfort needs check put my article at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Ultralight
Quite a few people with a variety of packing styles have told me they found it helpful.

Offline otomola

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2012, 08:29:41 am »
indyfabz and pdlamb thanks for your comments "If you are comfortable with the load, go for it" and "And you're comfortable with your bike and that load? Go ride."

That sums it up and gets me away from over thinking it.

staehpj1: I had seen your article a while back and it's really good to look at it again. Your perspective is inspiring in it's simplicity, one of those less is more things.
 
One result of this post is I am examining more carefully items I bring. I think one issue is I have more room in my panniers than I need, Arkel T-28s front and T-42s rear. I know I don't need to fill them but it's tempting to say "oh look I have room for this". I have a week before I leave and already overnight I cut out several pounds with the thought "if I find I need it I can buy it on the road."

Thanks again and enjoy your day!

Tom

Offline Eastman


Offline bogiesan

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2012, 10:49:20 am »
Running a long wheel base recumbent that's basically 40 pounds out of the box, plus fairing and racks more like 50, I would use all of my ultralight backpacking experience to cut my load w-a-y down. If you start to reduce ounces, one at a time, you quickly find you've lost a few pounds of stuff and then you can really begin to assess your equipment more objectively.Got a 7# tent?Maybe you can borrow a 4 pounder. 6# sleeping bag? Consider investing in a new technology 3 pounder supplemented with an extra layer of clothing that also provides an additional function. The heavy items can only reduced by spending money. Other stuff requires courage to leave behind. If you're carrying ten pounds of electronics and you're not saying to yourself, "these are supremely massive luxuries," you're missing a huge part of bicycle touring; but that's only my retrogrouch opinion.

As you have found on this forum and on crazyguy, at first, one takes what one wants. Eventually your mass rises or falls and settles out to fit your needs and abilities. Your panniers have extra room? Get smaller bags.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline otomola

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2012, 04:12:36 pm »
Bogiesan,

Thanks for comments/feedback. I've re-thought some of my accessories, like ditching the laptop as an example, and the simpler picture is like this:

Bike w/fenders and racks: 32.6 pounds
With panniers and handlebar bag: 40.8 pounds
With tent, sleeping bag and pad: 46.8 pounds
With "everything else" (well almost everything): 60.4 pounds

I have to add a few more things, but no more than another 3 pounds, so I'll be under 65 pounds, except of course then there is water and food to add as needed.

On another note, I am wondering what a "typical" averge rate of speed is for  a trip. Obviosuly if there is a large degree of uphill/downhill  and/or elevation gain/loss, or a day of headwinds/tailwinds, it will vary.

I have been doing 3-5 hour out-and-back rides (at 65 pounds total weight, about 600 feet elevation changes per hour over slight grades) and have averaged 14-15 mph, which is above the average I had planned when I started thinking about this trip. I figure I'd try to average 12 mph and ride 6-8 hours per day, with ample breaks tossed in between 2 hours riding "shifts". I think trying to maintain 14-15 daily might be unrealistic.

Wondering if 12 mph seems reasonable based on peoples' experiences

Tom

Offline John Nelson

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2012, 04:37:43 pm »
"600 feet elevation changes per hour" fits my definition of "flat".

I'd say 12 MPH is typical. If you consider the range of 10 MPH to 14 MPH average, you probably include 90% of fully-loaded touring cyclists. I tend to average a bit higher average speeds as the trip goes on, and of course higher speeds in flatter areas. On my east-to-west TransAm, I averaged 2.2 MPH faster in Kansas than I did in Virginia and Kentucky.

Offline otomola

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2012, 05:05:48 pm »
Hi John,

Yea, 600 feet per hour feels fairly flat, but used it as a reference point. It would be great to average 12 mph. Thanks for the feedback!

Offline surlyboy

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2012, 07:39:15 pm »
  I'm new to this forum and new to touring and regular commuting.  Anyway, I just bought a tent from REI (the Passage 2). It weighs in at 4lbs, 14oz. I know there are lighter tents but this one has plenty of room. My question is does this seem to be too heavy? Thanks.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2012, 09:13:14 pm »
That's fine for a 2-person tent. There are lighter ones, but they are more expensive and some say not as durable. Your tent is not excessively heavy, and is similar to what my tent weighs. Note that the weight you quoted is the "minimum trail weight". Your actual weight will be more because you will likely want to take the stuff sack and stakes, and because most manufacturers lie a bit about weight. Weigh it on an accurate scale to find out (if you want).

Offline bogiesan

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2012, 09:40:55 am »
As a member of REI for almost forty years, I was appalled when the co-op's promotional people started fibbing about weights. It was a major change in ethics, a response to the silliness of the marketplace.
"Trail weight" is marketing-speech for "we are lying to you, no one would ever pack just this much tent." Four pounds-14 ounces is five pounds. Add the stuff they're deliberately not telling you about and that tent is more like 6 pounds- 8 ounces.

Welcome to the forum, surlyboy, and good luck with your new enthusiasm. Start a new thread if you have specific questions.

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2012, 09:58:35 am »
"Trail weight" is marketing-speech for "we are lying to you, no one would ever pack just this much tent." Four pounds-14 ounces is five pounds. Add the stuff they're deliberately not telling you about and that tent is more like 6 pounds- 8 ounces.

Packaged weight is listed at 5 pounds 5 ounces.  Are you adding a 1-pound poncho in case the fly leaks?  I don't think I've ever added anything (except maybe rain or dew) to any tent I've carried beyond what the manufacturer shipped.

To surlyboy's question, John Nelson said it well.  It's not too heavy and it's not stupid-light, you should do well with it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Overall weight for touring
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2012, 10:24:53 am »
"Trail weight" is marketing-speech for "we are lying to you, no one would ever pack just this much tent." Four pounds-14 ounces is five pounds. Add the stuff they're deliberately not telling you about and that tent is more like 6 pounds- 8 ounces.

Packaged weight is listed at 5 pounds 5 ounces.  Are you adding a 1-pound poncho in case the fly leaks?  I don't think I've ever added anything (except maybe rain or dew) to any tent I've carried beyond what the manufacturer shipped.

To surlyboy's question, John Nelson said it well.  It's not too heavy and it's not stupid-light, you should do well with it.
+1
I have always found REI listed weights to be pretty close to the actual product.  Additionally in some cases they include more than I actually carry.  They are likely to include full complement of steel stakes and guide lines.  I personally swap out the stakes for MSR needle stakes and usually carry fewer than the full complement.  I might also leave some or all of the stuff sacks at home.  I do not use a ground sheet or footprint.  What else would you add that they aren't telling you about?

So bottom line, I am often carrying less than their listed "minimum trail weight".

I do not ever use my tents in the "fly / footprint pitch" mode so I ignore that listed weight option.  That said some folks do so I don't see that as misleading.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 10:27:48 am by staehpj1 »