Author Topic: Cutting Weight  (Read 4194 times)

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Offline ColoradoKid

Cutting Weight
« on: August 03, 2010, 07:10:27 pm »
Over the years, I've tried everything I can think of to lower the packing weight of the stuff I carry. Right now, I'm down to 35-45lbs. Is there a way to get lighter? (short of not shaving or not packing any soap, I'm unsure of where to cut next.

Offline jsieber

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 07:17:35 pm »
You can might be able to gather some ideas from this article by Aaron Teasdale:
http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/ultralight.cfm

Offline bogiesan

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 09:29:30 pm »
Research ultralight backpacking. Those whackos have been perfecting their techniques for decades; everything's been thought of for you.
On a bike, though, you can reduce your mass only to a certain point and then safety  becomes an issue. You need some spare parts and hefty tools that a through-hiker wouldn't think of carrying.

Additionally, you've got to a wee bit of math. Your total mass––you, bike, water, food, gear, clothing, tools, spares, everything--must be objectively measured before you begin going ultralight. Say your total moving mass at the moment is 250 pounds. Whittling away a whopping 10 pounds is a mere 4% reduction in your total mass! (240/250=96/100)
Those ten pounds don't gain you anything you can feel in your legs although, yes, there are more complex physics applications that will indicate every Newton saved in mass is a reduction in effort required to overcome gravity.
Now, lose thirty pounds? Maybe. (220/250=88/100 or 12%) But that kind of mass reduction means you will need a year to carefully create your new, lighter engine.

david boise ID

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

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 08:05:59 am »
Over the years, I've tried everything I can think of to lower the packing weight of the stuff I carry. Right now, I'm down to 35-45lbs. Is there a way to get lighter? (short of not shaving or not packing any soap, I'm unsure of where to cut next.
Hard to say since you don't say what items you are carrying now.  You also don't say what you include in you tally.  I count all gear and panniers, but no food or water since I don't carry much food most of the time and food and water vary widely throughout the day and day to day.  I find it fairly easy to get down to a bit over 30 pounds and could go lower if I really wanted to.

BTW: I don't count anything that is on the bike all the time, even when not on tour.  That stuff I include in bike weight (bike weight in my case is a bit under 30 pounds).

I may not be the best example since I am not really going ultralight, but my packing list from my last trip is at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=ax9Un&page_id=136456&v=Fi

I find the two biggest things are to:
1. Watch the weight of the larger items picking ones that are the lightest.
2. Watching what smaller items you choose to take.

Item 1 for me means that:
a. I take my cheap Nashbar waterproof pannier rather than something heavy like Arkel panniers. 
b. I take a lighter tent.
c. I take a lighter sleeping bag.
d. I use my light weight NeoAir sleeping pad (12 ounces)

Item 2 means that I look hard at each item and leave anything iffy home.  Additionally I mail stuff home if I find I am not using it.



Offline staehpj1

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2010, 08:13:25 am »
Additionally, you've got to a wee bit of math. Your total mass––you, bike, water, food, gear, clothing, tools, spares, everything--must be objectively measured before you begin going ultralight. Say your total moving mass at the moment is 250 pounds. Whittling away a whopping 10 pounds is a mere 4% reduction in your total mass! (240/250=96/100)
My experience definitely does not bear that out.  I can tell you that when I have mailed home even a few pounds of stuff the difference was very noticeable especially in the mountains.  Similarly when we redistributed gear between riders to help a weaker rider a few pounds was the difference between continuing and failing to continue.

Additionally I can say that losing body mass did not seem to offer a similar amount of advantage as lightening the gear load.

10 pounds of extra stuff would be a trip killer in the mountains for me.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 09:37:17 am by staehpj1 »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2010, 10:30:16 am »
Over the years, I've tried everything I can think of to lower the packing weight of the stuff I carry. Right now, I'm down to 35-45lbs. Is there a way to get lighter? (short of not shaving or not packing any soap, I'm unsure of where to cut next.

Are you trying to lighten the load for the sake of lightening the load?  If I can comfortably carry X I am not going to bother trying to get X-1 just because I can or because it might make things easier.

In any event, one approach is to not look to ditch any particular items but rather examine whether there are lighter alternatives.  Off-bike shoes is one place to start.  Crossing the country I took a very lightweight pair of slip-on "bo-bos" from Woolworth's.  They were noticeably lighter than the sandals I have taken on my last tours.  Years back I read an article that mentioned how some people will cut off the ends of their eating utensils and toothbrushes to save a few ounces yet pack denim jeans that weigh substantially more than synthetic pants with zip-off legs.  Towels can also vary greatly in weight, even at comparable sizes.  Since I don't want to replicate all the comforts of home when I tour I take a pretty small, thin towel to save space and weight.

You mention shaving.  If you carry shaving cream, do you have a full-sized can or one of those travel sizes?  Soap.  Do you carry bar soap and something to wash cooking gear?  If so, one bottle of Camp Suds or Dr. Bonner's will work for both and can also be used as shampoo.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2010, 11:37:13 am »
Take fewer clothes. One set of cycling clothes is enough. Rinse them out each evening, soak up all the moisture with your microfiber towel, and hang them up to dry. Hopefully they'll be dry by morning, but you can put them on even if not. One set of off-bike clothing is enough too. Take just enough clothes such that on the coldest day you'll have, you'll be wearing everything you brought simultaneously.

There are many radical approaches. But at some point, it gets ridiculous. As others have said, reduce weight until you get to something manageable and then quit.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2010, 12:07:10 pm »
Also check out Kent Peterson's blog (http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/).  He, along with Matthew Lee, have quite a bit of ultralight bike camping between them with a lot of tips about what does and doesn't work.
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cycle3man

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2010, 05:40:03 pm »
ColoradoKid,
I have found that 40lbs is a reasonable load for
loaded  camp out touring.

I suggest that you diet off 10lbs of body weight,
That is the equivalent to a load reduction of 25%.
                              cycle3man

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2010, 06:27:58 pm »
I suggest that you diet off 10lbs of body weight,
That is the equivalent to a load reduction of 25%.

Did I miss something here?  When did we determine that he was overweight?  Losing 10 pounds of body weight might be a bad thing if he is already lean.

Reductions in gear weight and changes in body weight both can be beneficial, but are entirely different things.   For one thing a reduction in gear weight is quick and easy; you make the choice, leave something home, and instantly your riding is easier.  Loss of bodyweight takes time to do and doesn't necessarily instantly make your riding easier.   For some of us a long term slow loss of weight might be a good thing.   Quick weight loss before a tour might leave you weaker.  On a long tour weight loss sometimes leaves me weaker and I struggle to maintain weight or at least keep it very slow even when I am overweight.

Additionally I notice a 10 pound change in gear weight a lot more than I notice a 10 pound change in body weight.

I find the "don't worry about what you carry just lose weight" comments to be a bit ludicrous.  It would make more sense to say, "in addition to watching gear weight, don't forget to watch body weight too".

Offline Jason

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2010, 08:52:35 pm »
Extreme, yes... but when you read over this, it seems to make sense:


http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.com/
singlespeed touring - life generally requires just one speed.

cycle3man

  • Guest
Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2010, 09:22:00 pm »
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
---------------------------------------
staehpj1   Reply #9
I find your response “over-the –top”
---I recommend psychiatric help---
------Keep on Spinnin’-----------------
--------------cycle3man  reply #8----
----------------------------------------
GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Offline TimTyler

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2010, 09:38:16 pm »
...when you read over this, it seems to make sense: ultralightcycling.blogspot.com/

I like this quote from that site regarding traveling without soap:

"I do like to shower or wash at the end of the ride,
but if there is no such possibility, it's no disaster:
I know the sweat will dry out in an hour,
leaving the dry, crisp layer of salt that I lick off

and replenish the electrolytes that were lost."


Ewwwww.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2010, 09:40:25 pm by TimTyler »
Tim

Offline tonythomson

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2010, 05:44:32 am »
I met a guy once so obsessed with weight he had cut his toothbrush handle down to an almost unusable stump, something for you to think about  ;)

Oh and cycle3man no need to be so rude - this is a great site where I find good discussion and polarised views on things but rarely does anyone start being so rude to each other, lets keep it that way or it will just go down hill like so many others.

Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Tourista829

Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2010, 08:02:55 am »
Tony here here on your above comment. Bravo! The Forum is a place to accelerate the learning curve, encourage, share knowledge, and point fellow cyclists in the right direction. For me it is about always focusing on the positive, giving back, helping cyclists, and saying thank you to the many cyclists I have met, over the years, that have helped me enjoy touring and enhance my life. We are truly fortunate that ACO provides this forum.