Author Topic: Tents and panniers  (Read 4428 times)

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Offline ray b

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2022, 12:41:28 pm »
Weight is the enemy of speed, not distance. 
(Agree wholeheartedly with your comments, but I'll add the reminder that weight is also a mechanical stress that should be factored into frame and component choice to avoid failure. Many a trip has been shortened because someone does not know when to stop adding luggage to their lightweight racer or commuter.)
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline froze

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2022, 06:12:09 pm »
It would be extremely helpful if you tell us how much you want to spend on a tent, and how much for the panniers.  Otherwise, I could show you a tent that weighs a pound but will cost you $1,200!  But maybe you can afford that, or maybe not, you need to let us know what you budgeted for each thing.

As far as leaving the panniers on the bike, mine easily clips on and off so I take them and put them under the vestibule of my tent, even though mine are extremely waterproof, I don't want critters trying to get access into my panniers either.  You rode the bike with food in those panniers, even though you removed the food, the smell is still inside the panniers, they could tear open the bag to gain access for what they hope will be a free meal.

I think Ortlieb makes really good panniers, but I opted for Axiom Monsoon Oceanweave 45 liter (23 liter each) bags, I think they are about the same quality as the Ortliebs but at the time I got these they were $125 cheaper for a pair than the Ortliebs were, I think I paid $145 on sale, and I've had mine now for 3 years and have no wear on them.  Axiom raised their prices but I haven't compared them to Orlieb today.  I know the Axiom bags are very waterproof, because I had to ride in a downpouring rain, this was hard and a lot of rain, so much rain that a river I had to cross the road was closed because it had breached the bridge.  Nothing inside those panniers even got remotely damp not alone wet, and at the time that happened I hadn't bought the optional rainflies.  The reason I got the rainflies was due to the bags are black, I wanted something that would stand out, so these are a neon yellow color, plus they would protect the bag from dirt and wear.  Some bags you have to be careful about considering because they could weigh 4 pounds like Banjo Brothers and Thule bags, whereas my Axioms are half that weight.   There are some other brands to consider as well, like Arkel Orca 45 but probably the most expensive one on the market.  If cost is an issue, and you want something a bit less expensive then you can't do better for the price than the Burley Pannier set found at REI for just $90 for the pair, but these are more for the front since they are only 11 liters each; unless you use 4 and put 2 on the front and 2 on the rear.  Another budget pannier for the rear is the Crosso Dry Pannier at around $80 for the pair, with a huge 30 liter each capacity, and they are waterproof!  Made in Poland, not China as some would assume for the price.

Tent wise.  The best is maybe the Hilleberg Enan solo tent, it weighs 2 pounds 10 ounces but cost $680, but for the cost you get very long life.  You can get a lighter tent for less, the Nemo Hornet Elite Osmo is only 1 pound 10 ounces, and it cost around $500.  Now if you're thinking someone has to be nuts to spend that kind of money for tent, then take a look at the REI Co-op Passage 1, this only weighs 4 pounds 10 ounces but cost under $100.   That's what you pay for, the more you pay the lighter it gets, like anything in this camping biking world.  As with panniers, there are other great tents as well, I only mentioned a few.  By the way, with tents you have to spray the tent with waterproofing spray every season, and reseal the seams, I would do it as soon as you get the tent before your first outing, just to be extra safe.

If you're going to be in bear country, you may want to hang your panniers, along with food about 100 yards from your tent, instead of keeping them inside the tent area.  Yes, that is correct, 100 yards!  and 15 to 20 feet up.  Also, you cook all your food 100 yards from the tent.  I've seen diagrams of a triangle, where you cook your food is 100 yards from not only your tent but also from where you will store the food.  Also, you put your tent upwind from the cooking area and food storage.  Seems excessive but bears can be excessive.  Some people suggest only 200 feet away, fine, you decide how nervous you want to be near a bear, but most people recommend the 100 yard thing.  Of course, if you're going to be in bear country you may want to take bear spray.

Offline CrepitusCritch

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2022, 01:21:38 pm »
Weight is the enemy of speed, not distance.  If the TransAm takes an extra week, so what?

I sort of agree.
If I can get an extended visa I won’t be too concerned by the time it takes me to cross the country. I will be 53 y/o next May and what does bother me is that I won’t be able to cycle up and over the hills if I carry too much weight. It may be an unfounded fear but the hills do concern me after reading journals of the trans-am.

Offline froze

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2022, 03:36:02 pm »
If I had unlimited funds, I would buy the lightest camping gear and bicycle I could for touring or bike camping, while being careful not to sacrifice durability of course.  While weight is an enemy of speed, it drags you down, i.e., tires you out the more miles you put on in a day even at a slower pace that most bike campers ride at.

So, no, weight does count for something when bike camping, which is why a lot of people do ultralight camping these days, but I prefer a bit more comfort level than what ultralight will provide.

You do have to be careful because as the weight goes down, so does the long-term reliability generally, while the prices go up. You have to find a happy medium, along with keeping your budget happy.

The crazy thing is, if you go to cheap on bicycle and the components, you could have reliability issues, but while breaking down is a huge hassle when bike camping most bike shops carry low to mid end parts so getting you up and going again usually isn't a problem.  However, if you get a real expensive touring bike and for some reason a boutique high end component breaks no bike shop is going to have a specialized part made custom by some small guy like Paul, so you'll have to wait around in town a few days for the part to come in; this can even be true of high end component from say Shimano, small shops in medium to small towns are not going to have the high end stuff in stock; but if you stay with middle to low middle components you will be fine should something break.  Even tires, while it's fine to go with a high-quality, long-lasting touring tire from Schwalbe for example, getting that same tire as a replacement could be tough, so you might have to settle on a lessor tire, but at least you're on the road fast enough without any hassles.  I would rather start a road trip on a set of high quality touring tires and hope they last till the end, and if not, I know that the new lessor quality tire won't have as far to go to finish the trip.  If you ever do have to replace a high quality tire with lessor tire, move the high quality tire to the rear and put the lessor tire on the front.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 09:16:20 pm by froze »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2022, 04:20:24 pm »
Weight is the enemy of speed, not distance. 
(Agree wholeheartedly with your comments, but I'll add the reminder that weight is also a mechanical stress that should be factored into frame and component choice to avoid failure. Many a trip has been shortened because someone does not know when to stop adding luggage to their lightweight racer or commuter.)
I have my doubts on this being a major reason for shortened trips.  I know of more trips shortened because the rider gave out under the strain of hauling a heavy load over the mountains or hills.

BTW, I don't get why there is this assumption that the whole reason folks travel light is speed.  Personally, I find the main benefit to be the pleasant ride.  Speed is a bonus.

To be sure there is a balance of enough things for comfort in camp, a light enough load for comfort when riding, and of course fitness to manage the combination.  We all find a balance that suits us.

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #35 on: August 04, 2022, 07:50:33 pm »
Agree that speed is not my major focus.  Zooming past a place is not being there.  A light, pleasant load can make the trip more pleasant, even if you stop every 25 miles.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2022, 09:39:21 am »
While weight is an enemy of speed, it drags you down, i.e., tires you out the more miles you put on in a day even at a slower pace that most bike campers ride at.

While I agree with the general points being made one point to note that I think is important is that there are a whole lot of people touring on bikes that have never looked at a forum like this nor posted on one. According to conventional online wisdom many of them are doing it all wrong!

A kind of "groupthink" can develop on online fora and like most things online it may not be representative of the "real world". I have no idea what a normal pace of a bike tourist is. And frankly, I don't really care.

Personally, I think the heaviest loads we carry are the ones between our ears, most especially when we are starting out and it's a whole new world. Depending on perspective that can be exciting or full of anxiety. A bit of experience can help us find a balance and discover our own preferences and gives us confidence.

A bit of weight might slow us down but confidence keeps the pedals turning.





Offline staehpj1

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2022, 10:07:07 am »
Agree that speed is not my major focus.  Zooming past a place is not being there.  A light, pleasant load can make the trip more pleasant, even if you stop every 25 miles.
One thing that I realize from talking to other riders and comparing notes about our experiences is that how much folks take in the experience has little to do with how many miles they ride in a day, how fast they ride, or how much they carry.  You can ride short mileage and miss out on meeting the local folks, not really take in the experience, and wind up sitting around in camp.  You can also ride long mileage and still squeeze in a lot of experiences any way.

I know that even on my very longest mileage day I can think back on a lot of memories of the terrain, the people, the local food, the wildlife, and the weather along the way.  It was one 142 mile day at the end of an 11 day tour, but when I think back on it it seems like there was a weeks worth of memories in that one day.

Offline CrepitusCritch

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2022, 10:44:00 am »
That’s great advice. I’m the type who tends to want to get my head down and get to the next destination and like you say probably then sit around in camp and do it all again the next day. Eat, sleep, repeat sort of thing.
I’ll definitely make the effort to make some amazing memories on this once in a lifetime tour.
Regarding gear and weight what was your experience on this particular tour did you travel heavy, ultralight or somewhere in between and do you wish you had done things differently? Also the question I am still banging my head with is - did you or would you recommend (or not) carrying a stove and cooking gear or buy food on the go?
I’m getting some amazing advice and everything else seems to be falling into place except whether to take on the trans-am my almost 1kg Trangia 27 because I love it (on short tours anyway), buy a lighter cook set or leave it out altogether. Like the previous writer states there’s a lot of advice on these forums and sometimes (particularly for someone very indecisive as me) can leave one’s head spinning 😐


Offline LouMelini

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2022, 11:28:44 am »
CrepitusCritch: I have about 25,000 miles of bike touring and nearly 4,000 backpacking, more than !/2 with my wife Julie. No matter what stove, fuel system, tent, sleep system, light or heavy weight or somewhere in between did I wish I had done things differently. Every trip was in some way unique and memorable. That is why I keep doing more trips. If you love your Trangia 27 then use it. Using a lighter cook set or no cook set brings a different experience, nothing good or bad. On one trip Julie and I did, she did not want to take a stove in order to experience German food, our only overseas tour. I did not like German food but the bike tour was still memorable and I ignore the the issue of the stove. You will not make a right or wrong answer, just experience a different style of your bike tour.

Offline ray b

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2022, 11:42:18 am »
I'm amazed you stayed with the thread this long.

If you have unlimited funds, you buy the best and lightest stuff you can find. That give you the opportunity to fall in love all over again with different equipment.

If you are like most of us, however, there is a trade-off between buying the best equipment and having enough money to enjoy the trip. There's an old saw in 2 wheel-travel - take half as much stuff and twice as much money.

(Not clear the Trangia is that heavy - especially compared to the weight of fuel and cook pots.)

That said, if you love the Trangia - take it and save the money you'd spend for something lighter for things, like a nice afternoon lunch at the South Park Saloon about 6 miles shy of the top of Hoosier pass, to replace those extra calories you expend getting that extra pound or so up the hill.

And as noted, if you decide after the first big hill that you don't really need it or love it as much as you thought, you can always send it home via the post office.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 11:46:22 am by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2022, 12:11:31 pm »
FWIW, I always take some kind of means of cooking/heating food.  Even when counting grams I find it worth it.  My pop can stove with potstand, windscreen, pot, lighter, and spork can come in at under 6 ounces.  Add a few ounces of alcohol and I have a minimal setup.  So I figure there is never a need to go without a means to heat or cook entirely.  I can add more weight depending on the trip and what stove or pots I want to use, but there are other reasonably light options in my bag of tricks.

I'd say to consider what you value and decide, but I wouldn't go entirley without myself.

Offline froze

Re: Tents and panniers
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2022, 09:55:01 pm »
I'm no expert with this stuff, doubt if I'll ever become an expert.  Anyway, there are a lot of ways to cook on a tour, or not cook.  I prefer to take a stove and cook pot, and then I have the option to cook or not.  I had a cheap $13 stove but the flame was too pointed and burned food in the center no matter how much I turned it down, so I got a Soto Windmaster; while that stove was sort of expensive I made up for it by buying a Walmart Ozark Trail 5 piece stainless mess kit, which cost me $8, but I only use the pan and lid, I don't use the pot, the lid, or the plastic cup; the weird thing is I had to drill a hole in the pan lid because they didn't put a handle on it so you could remove the lid when it was hot, so I took the knob off the pot lid handle and put it on the pan lid.  The mess kit is light.

Speaking of weird stuff, I'm sure some of you have stainless pots, now I haven't tried this on aluminum or titanium pots because I don't have any.  Here's the thing, sometimes you cook and you burn stuff, and you scrub till your knuckles bleed and the burnt stuff won't come off, so what to do?  First you take Dawn for Dishes and put some in the pot, then take a stainless-steel pot scrubber and get off as much as you can; next fill the pot half full of water and pour in a 1/2 cup of Oxy Clean, stir it a bit, then bring it to a rolling boil, put the lid on and turn off the heat, let it set for about an hour.  Take the lid off and it should be good as new.  Will this stunt work on AL or TI pots? Like I said, I don't know, but I don't see why it wouldn't.