Author Topic: Tents and panniers  (Read 3498 times)

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Offline CrepitusCritch

Tents and panniers
« on: July 04, 2022, 09:28:58 am »
I am in the very early stages of planning a cross country transamerica east to west cycle trip starting in May next year. I need some new equipment including a tent. What I’m wondering from those that have done the transam is do most people leave their panniers on the bike at night whilst camping (I have ortlieb’s with the security cables so can lock to the rack) or do you recommend putting them in the tent with you? The reason I ask is I was looking at a smaller one man tent (lighter) but there isn’t much room for gear. Or I go for a slightly heavier 2-man but can keep my stuff with me at night.
The other dilemma - do I take my trangia 27 stove? I like cooking my own food, esp. to keep the cost of the tour down - but it weighs in at almost 1kg with the kettle, cutting disc etc. Any advice gratefully received… Carl.

Online staehpj1

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2022, 10:00:23 am »
I am in the very early stages of planning a cross country transamerica east to west cycle trip starting in May next year. I need some new equipment including a tent. What I’m wondering from those that have done the transam is do most people leave their panniers on the bike at night whilst camping (I have ortlieb’s with the security cables so can lock to the rack) or do you recommend putting them in the tent with you? The reason I ask is I was looking at a smaller one man tent (lighter) but there isn’t much room for gear. Or I go for a slightly heavier 2-man but can keep my stuff with me at night.
The other dilemma - do I take my trangia 27 stove? I like cooking my own food, esp. to keep the cost of the tour down - but it weighs in at almost 1kg with the kettle, cutting disc etc. Any advice gratefully received… Carl.
I have always left the panniers on the bike with most of my stuff in them.  I have used a one man tent and could fit my gear packed tightly around me if I wanted, but wasn't inclined to.    If I wanted to I could also put some stuff under the rain fly.  I have done that while backpacking.  On more revent trips I have used a bivy and tarp.  I have used unconventional packing styles at times with no panniers so the gear was loose or in stuff sacks along side me under the tarp sometimes.

Cooking...  I always take some kind of stove even when i go ultralight.  Even when my base gear weight was down to 9# for one trip I still had a pop can alcohol stove.  Not sure what kind of wind screen, stand, and pots you use with your Trangia burner, but if you think 1 kg is too much there are lots of options for light weight cooking setups.  How heavy is your overall gear setup?  One kg doesn't sound like a lot for in a fully loaded setup.  For light or UL, you may want to look into other lighter setups.  How elaborate your cooking is will factor as well.  One pot cooking will require a minimal setup.  Fancier cooking, more.

Offline ray b

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2022, 10:30:13 am »
Plenty of other threads also address your questions. Lots of opinions.

 New materials for tents can give you a self- supporting, 2-man,  with short poles appropriate for bike packing at under 2 pounds. Big Agnes makes some popular stuff.. I have an old Mountain Hardware ultralight - 2 that's held up to more use than older heavier moutaineering gear. To further save weight, I don't use a footprint; I'm careful where I set up.

 During the summer, my cook kit starts at 0. I build from there depending on my mood. Last summer I was out for 8 weeks without a stove. Tuna from foil packets, beans from the can, and a few spices make for pretty good meals. And no cooking required for peanut butter and honey sandwiches...If it helps I have 3 stoves to choose from depending on what fuel I plan to use.. Going without a stove also means going without fuel which solves a lot of logistical issues. If taking a stove on the trans-am, i'd take butane if not cooking daily; I'd take a gas stove if I was packing  coffee beans and a grinder for daily use.., a whole other thread.

Lots of great panniers out.there. I'll simplify and note, I zip tie my waterproof panners to the rack. I carry plenty of extra ties for episodic repairs, maintenance, and cleaning. My gear stays with the bike (and out of the tent).
« Last Edit: July 04, 2022, 10:42:52 am by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2022, 11:18:31 am »
I am in the very early stages of planning a cross country transamerica east to west cycle trip starting in May next year. I need some new equipment including a tent. What I’m wondering from those that have done the transam is do most people leave their panniers on the bike at night whilst camping (I have ortlieb’s with the security cables so can lock to the rack) or do you recommend putting them in the tent with you? The reason I ask is I was looking at a smaller one man tent (lighter) but there isn’t much room for gear. Or I go for a slightly heavier 2-man but can keep my stuff with me at night.

Sometimes two, four or none of my panniers stay in the bike. It depends. On security, or on weather mainly. A storm dumping down in the morning might make you glad you had something to eat, drink, read or wear.

I'd look at your dilemma a different way.
Is the tent going to be comfortable for sleeping in nightly (or nearly nightly) for about three months? Some of those one man tents can be pretty claustrophobic! OK for a night or two every now and then but for longer? I'm not so sure.


The other dilemma - do I take my trangia 27 stove? I like cooking my own food, esp. to keep the cost of the tour down - but it weighs in at almost 1kg with the kettle, cutting disc etc. Any advice gratefully received… Carl.

I love my Trangia! To hell with the weight - it works. You have the time to pare off a bit of weight - do you need the kettle? Will one bowl be enough? The cutting board?
On the other hand, presumably you're familiar with it, know what you can do with it and can expect it to give you lots of pleasure along the way.
(If you're really obsessed about weight don't think of the weight of the alcohol! :) )

I'm going to go off on a slight tangent here because both your questions seem to give weight a ..... How can I say this?.... A certain weight. :)

When it comes to weight it's an objective thing - One tent weighs more or less than another. But what the tent provides is more subjective - comfort, security. Less easy to compare.
There's also how you plan to use it.
For example, a requirement for me was to be able to cook in the porch of my tent with sufficient shelter if needed. For someone else that may not be important.

Ditto the Trangia. Are there lighter systems? Yes. But don't discount the subjective comfort of firing up your stove on a dark, wet night knowing that it's just going to work.

I guess what I'm trying to express is that each item has a job that you want it to do. There's not a whole lot of point being lighter but discovering that your gear doesn't do the job you want it to do.

Good luck!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2022, 01:07:18 pm »
I leave my panniers on the bike overnight. It’s just simpler.

If you like cooking, take the stove. But if you don’t care about cooking, you don’t really need it.

Online DonKahn1

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2022, 01:25:07 pm »
I did a 3 and a half month tour in the U.S. last summer and used the Triangia 27.  Really loved it and it was easy to get heet as fuel for the stove.  I used front and rear panniers, but am considering lightening up on my next long tour, maybe rear panniers and anything racks/bags on the front.  So, I am trying to lighten (and reduce the bulk) of the Trangia.  Looking at something like this (https://www.fireboxstove.com/made-in-the-usa/3-inch-folding-firebox-nano) and just bringing the trangia stove, plus small pot and lid.  I figure it is the windscreen system on the Trangia 27 that adds a lot of the weight and bulk.  I am generally using the stove only for coffee in the morning and usually cooking some type easy meal at night (rice a roni, mac and cheese, etc).

Offline jamawani

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2022, 03:01:25 pm »
Please, please, please -
Do not bring food into your tent and definitely do not eat in your tent.
If you will be doing the TransAm, then you will be in bear country.
You many not smell the tuna 5 weeks from now, but bears certainly will.
(Humans have the worst noses of nearly all mammals.)

In fact, raccoons are more of a problem than bears.
And they are all over the U.S.
The will rip thru your tent to get to food.
Learn to hang your food/cooking panniers.
Always keep food in the same panniers.
Never mix food, clothes, and definitely sleeping bag.

I doubt anyone is going to steal your panniers.
Especially if there is a stinky t-shirt on top.
I have toured for 40 years and have never had anything taken.

I stand corrected - -
One night a raven unzipped my hanging pannier
and had pulled the loaf of bread out to share with his friends.
I was upset at first, but you have to give him credit.

Have a great trip!  Jama
« Last Edit: July 04, 2022, 03:04:24 pm by jamawani »

Offline LouMelini

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2022, 06:01:45 pm »
I use a 2-person tent when alone, 3-person when traveling with my wife (We did the TransAmerica in 2018). The extra room is luxurious and the weight penalty is not much. I leave my panniers on my bike. I have Ortlieb security cables, but I rarely use them. A stove is a must for me. My set-up is a bit lighter than your set-up, but for a TransAmerica ride you will enjoy the additions. Good advice posted by the other contributors to your question. You will add or deduct stuff during the course of the ride and make it your set-up that works for you.

Offline CrepitusCritch

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2022, 05:53:24 am »
Thank you for all of the great advice - much appreciated.
The two man tent does appeal as it will give more room/ comfort and the weight difference I suppose is negligible. The two man I have been looking at is also free standing opposed to the one man which requires pegging out. I feel this might be advantageous if I was to pitch under the cover of a shelter occasionally.
I will ponder then Trangia set up. I do love it and maybe I could cut the weight a little if I omit the kettle and use a lighter chopping mat instead of the multidisc. I like also the idea of DonKahn1’s of taking the trangia pots and maybe a lighter stove/windshield.
I’ve looked at lighter stoves and pots and infact own a pocket rocket but don’t feel you I cook anything decent with it as it’s like a pin-point blow lamp. Food for thought though.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2022, 08:35:37 am »
Yeah.  If you like to cook your own food for whatever reason, like I do, I think you would regret not taking the tools that allow you to cook as you like.

Personally, I take a liquid fuel stove (MSR Dragonfly or Optimus Nova, depending on the length of the trip) and fuel bottle, two aluminum pots with lid, a small, light cutting board, small, light paring knife, collapsible bowl and cup, titanium spork, folding spatula, folding pot strainer, small vial of olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper flakes, P-51 can opener, "key chain" bottle opener, Bodum Travel Press combination French Press/mug and the all-important collapsible cork screw. All of that fits inside an Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus pannier with room to spare.

I shop for fresh food and cook at home for myself virtually every night.  While on the road, I like to come up with tasty and nutritious meals at the end of the day, although that is not always possible.  My week-long tour of Vermont last month featured a dinner of pasta with canned chili and mushroom because the only market around the campground was not that well stocked.  But it was still better than something like processed Beefaroni.  Sometimes you have to get creative.  I learned that during my first tour, which was ACA's unsupported Northern Tier, where participants took turns cooking for a 10 other people.

BTW...I cannot rave enough about Sea to Summit's collapsible bowl and cup.  They are light and nest inside each other. Maybe 1/2" deep when collapsed, which means they take up little space.

As for tents, don't discount a semi-free standing tent.  I have a Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 2.  To get the full floor space, you have to steak it out, but it does stand up on its own without steaks.  During my Vermont trip I set it up without the fly inside lean-tos every night except the final night on the road.  Perfectly fine, especially since I did not have to bring panniers inside for weather or security reasons.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2022, 08:41:40 am by BikeliciousBabe »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2022, 08:44:29 am »
I view my Ortliebs on my bike as the trunk of my car.  They're waterproof, so they can stay on the bike.

The exception, as noted, is in bear country.  Most of the campgrounds on the TransAm in bear country are west of the plains, and most of those have bear lockers.  Use them.  For the exceptions without bear lockers, hang'em high!

For ease of getting dressed or undressed, or latent claustrophobia, or reading or writing in bad mosquito areas, or mosquitoes biting through tents on warm nights, I think the correct tent sizing is n+1, where n is the number of people who'll be sleeping in it.

Online staehpj1

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2022, 09:02:11 am »
I view my Ortliebs on my bike as the trunk of my car.  They're waterproof, so they can stay on the bike.

The exception, as noted, is in bear country.  Most of the campgrounds on the TransAm in bear country are west of the plains, and most of those have bear lockers.  Use them.  For the exceptions without bear lockers, hang'em high!

FWIW, I have generally left panniers on the bike even in bear country.  I remove food and toiletries and put those in the bear locker (or hang them if appropriate).  Many places there just wasn't room in the bear lockers so I never got in the habit of putting panniers in them.  Since I have gone UL it is easier though with no panniers and not much gear overall.

For sure food and toiletries do not go in the tent in any case.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2022, 04:37:21 pm »
Please, please, please -
Do not bring food into your tent and definitely do not eat in your tent.

I think that may be directed at me?
I was trying to make a point to the OP on the importance (as I see it) of thinking about utility first, then weight.
I used myself as an example

I can see how my paragraph can be misunderstood.

In the same vein though, a Trans Am is what? About three months? I'd expect a tent to last longer than three months so no harm to consider post TeanscAm use too.

Online staehpj1

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2022, 05:18:25 pm »
Please, please, please -
Do not bring food into your tent and definitely do not eat in your tent.

I think that may be directed at me?
I was trying to make a point to the OP on the importance (as I see it) of thinking about utility first, then weight.
I used myself as an example

I can see how my paragraph can be misunderstood.

In the same vein though, a Trans Am is what? About three months? I'd expect a tent to last longer than three months so no harm to consider post TeanscAm use too.
It varies what lengths people go to to keep tents from smelling like food.  Some won't even wear clothing they have cooked or eaten in the tent at night.  I keep food and scented products out of the tent, but don't worry about my clothing having pocked up food odors.  I know that is a risk, but figure you draw tie line somewhere.  I follow the same rules when not in bear country so as not to wind up with a tent that smells like food.  That is that food and toiletries just never go in the tent.

Offline ray b

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2022, 06:16:43 pm »
...Some won't even wear clothing they have cooked or eaten in the tent at night.  I keep food and scented products out of the tent, but don't worry about my clothing having pocked up food odors.  I know that is a risk, but figure you draw tie line somewhere. 
I'm probably more of a slob than you, when throwing down the calories after a long day.... :)

(Everyone's different.)

(Parenthetical note: All depends on estimated risk. If I'm in the middle of large brown bear/grizzly country, I'll often not only throw my shirt into the bear bag/container, but also use the extra daylight of summer to put in a few more miles before I  wash up and hit the hay. When solo camping in remote areas that seem high risk, the bike - and panniers - are usually a good 50 meters distant. The food bag (bait?) goes 100 meters or more. Not too many areas of the country warrant that kind of caution.)
“A good man always knows his limitations.”