Author Topic: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?  (Read 3628 times)

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Offline 5005miles

I understand this is an extremely open question and depends on a ton of variables (what kind of backpack, my size & weight, temperature outside, etc), but I am looking for advice from people that have gone a long distance (~100 miles) wearing some sort of backpack (on their backs).  It would only be for 1 or 2 days.

I've been touring for a while (x-country) with my Surly LHT and four panniers, but now would like to lighten the load a ton and get back on my road bike.  Just trying to see what's feasible.

I'll probably only be carrying the following (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain pants, rain jacket, a pair of jeans, 2 shirts, 2 underwear, wool shirt, 2 prs sox, 3.5 pound laptop & cord, phone, camera).

Am I in for a painful day &/or back problems?  Anybody out there do much riding with a backpack on?

Thanks for any input!
Michael

Offline dubovsmj

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 04:43:49 pm »
hey michael

i've recently started using the backpack method for the past few tours and find it to work very  well.... without being longwinded....i use an old/small camelback bag (that doesn't have the water bag in it) and use it to carry:  maps, canon camera, two nalgene bottles filled up, first aid kit, wallet, journal, pens, and snack foods. 

it took my back, shoulders, neck a bit to get used to, but i found that stopping to stretch out every now and again solved any issues...plus it reminded me to slow down and smell the roses. 

main reason i started backpack way was that my touring bike is my old racing bike, whcih obviously wasn't meant to have panniers bolted onto frame...so the seat post rack has a carry capactiy of 25lbs or so...so any unnecessary weight i can get off of seat post rack is less chance of it breaking at stem....

another great thing about backpack is that if i want to go wander off and explore i have all my valuables already on my back (wallet, camera, maps, etc)....so that saves time, in my opinion...

..ok...maybe that was a long winded.



Offline valygrl

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 09:17:12 pm »
Sounds really painful.  I can't speak from personal experience, but I've ridden with people carrying way less than that, and they hated it.

If you can spend a little money, you can put a light rear rack on your road bike and use one or both small panniers you already have.

Tubus Fly Rack (for road bikes)
http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS/Fly/FLY%20PAGE.htm

Quickrelease Rack Mounting Kit (if you don't have eyelets)
http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS/Fit%20Solutions/FIT%20SOLUTIONS%20PAGE.htm

I did this on my ti road bike for a short credit card tour, it worked great.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 09:43:15 pm »
I have ridden with a small "teardrop" shaped soft backpack, at times up to 80 miles in a day.  I would not, definitely not, carry sleeping bags, tents, et cetera in a pack.  I can carry up to maybe 15 pounds in one and be OK with it.  I just do this for winter or very sketchy weather.  On fair weather rides, I can fit all my needs for the day in the 3 jersey pockets.  Once in summer, I was riding over a mountain pass for about 90 miles and the prediction was for drizzle, so I had to take the small pack with food, fluids, raincoat, etc.  The weather report was wrong and it was a hot day--low to mid 80s.  The pack on the back became a real irritant--hot and sticky and very uncomfortable.  And this was with maybe, at most 15 pounds. 
For overnighters, I use a trailer and ride free of the weight on me or the bike itself.   
May the wind be at your back!

Offline dubovsmj

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2009, 03:09:49 am »
thanks for posting links valygrl
those racks would work perfect...have you had any issues with the hardware coming lose or getting bent out of shape?  regardless, they look like they'd make life a bit less stressful (for the seatpost rack, that is)....

Offline TCS

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2009, 05:48:52 am »
Another way to carry a light touring load on a race bike.  There are a number of vendors and several brackets made to attach the bag. 

A bicycle saddle is of course designed to carry weight, but you probably wouldn't want to do this with a flyweight magnesium and carbon saddle.

tcs
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline staehpj1

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 08:43:53 am »
I would pass on using a backpack for more than a few pounds if even that.

That said some off road tourists like them.

Offline valygrl

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2009, 09:19:38 pm »
You're welcome.  I didn't have any issues, but I also really didn't give it a very severe test, so I can't really answer meaningfully.  Only 4 days of riding in the rockies so far, with about 12 pounds of stuff on the bike.  The Fly rack is rated for something like 40 pounds.   

thanks for posting links valygrl
those racks would work perfect...have you had any issues with the hardware coming lose or getting bent out of shape?  regardless, they look like they'd make life a bit less stressful (for the seatpost rack, that is)....

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 09:50:48 am »
I haven't tried a backpack, but I cant imagine it being terribly comfortable. 
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 08:20:12 pm »
I haven't tried a backpack, but I cant imagine it being terribly comfortable. 
It's not to bad for a 30-40 mile winter ride with some essentials (15 lbs or so) but it's no fun in summer--the warmer the temperature, the heavier it seems to get!  It is truly amazing how much stuff you can fit in the jersey pockets, seat bag and, if necessary, seatpost mounted rack/bag.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline bogiesan

Re: how much weight in a backpack is comfortable for riding long distance?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 08:38:43 pm »
Two things to point out that may not be relevant to this discusssion:
1. My buddies who wear heavy reservoir/cargo systems often have a blinky light fastened to their backpacks. It's way up at the top and when they ride it mostly shines up into the air.
2. These things can get so bulky that they are aerodynamic bricks. Buddy of mine likes to get aero on long downhills but I finally had to show him a picture of his silly reality. When down in the drops, his backpack actually extended higher then his helmet does when riding in the drops but not crouched.
3. I still dont get the point of going weight weenie, reducing one's steed by a few pounds, if you're going to carry a hydration and cargo backpack.

My recumbent has all the carrying capacity I need. Nice backrest has lots of room.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent