Author Topic: Loaded Weight  (Read 11916 times)

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Offline downtheroad

Loaded Weight
« on: September 14, 2006, 08:09:59 pm »
I plan to restart my one week cycle tour from Baltimore to western Maryland and back.  My first start was aborted after my old tent failed during a heavy rain the first night out.

I repacked and inventoried my bags in attempt to reduce the load weight.  Because of my route, I need to carry some food with me, hence I have about 5 lb. of food packed into the panniers. Still, my total load including a compact tripod is 59 lb.  This is not even close to Adventure Cycling suggested load weight of 35-45 lb., p91. 27th Edition, 2006.  I have packed less "stuff" than the article suggests.

My inventory is a follows:

Right Front Pannier  Ortlieb Front Roller Classic

1.   Orikaso Fold Flat Tableware  2 plates, 1 bowl, 1 cup
2.   Mess kit  GSI Bugaboo
3.   Food  prepared freezer bags of granola, cookies, Bisquick  1.5 lb.
4.   Route Maps  4 oz.
5.   Cliff Bars - 4
6.   Granola Bars - 8
7.   Olive oil  4 oz.
8.   Peanut Butter  18 oz. Plastic jar
9.   Dish towel
10.   Cooking spatula

Front Right Pannier Pocket

1.   Tire tube patch kits - 2
2.   Tire Talc  2 oz w/tin
3.   Small container machine screws and nuts
4.   Inner tubes - 2
5.   Small Mafac tool kit  circa 1982
6.   Allen wrenches assorted
7.   Tire pressure gauge
8.   Shop Rags  2

Weight RF Pannier w/pocket  11 lb.

Left Front Pannier  Ortlieb Front Roller Classic

1.   Peak 1 white gas stove  2 lb. 4 oz.
2.   Fuel Bottle  1 lb. 10 oz.
3.   Small Nylon Sack w/Msc. Items
a.   Matches
b.   AA Batteries  4
c.   AAA Batteries  4
d.   Opinel knife
e.   Swiss knife
f.   Vitamins, Band-aids, Ibuprofen tables

4.   Small nylon sack of toiletries
5.   Pancake syrup  4 oz. Bottle
6.   Plastic knives, forks, spoons  2 each
7.   Rain Pants
8.   Rain Anorak

Left Front Pannier Pocket

1.   Spare brake and F&R Deraileur cables
2.   Shop rag
3.   Toe clip strap
4.   Flashlight  Maglite; 2 AA batteries required
5.   Teflon Plus oil  4 oz.
6.   Tail Light  Cateye LED
7.   Head Light  Cateye LED
8.   Lg. Shower Caps for Brooks Leather saddle and cycling helmet

Left Front Pannier w/pocket  12.5 lb.

Right Rear Pannier  Ortlieb Rear Roller Classic

1.   Sleep pad  self-inflating ¾ length  1 lb. 2 oz.
2.   Freeze-dried raspberry crumble (treat)
3.   Light Flees cycling jacket
4.   Extra 1 qt. Ziploc freezer bags
5.   Small bag misc. items  electrical tape, Brooks proof hide, nylon tie-wraps
6.   Swim trucks - nylon
7.   Pair Underwear
8.   Cargo Trekking Shorts - nylon
9.   Long sleeve cycling jersey
10.   Polypropylene long sleeve tops  light weight fabric
11.   Bags pasta  2 X 4 oz.
12.   Aluminum Pot w/bail  < 1 qt.
13.   Bags of breakfast oatmeal in 1 qt. Freezer bags.  2 ea.
14.   Toilet paper  one roll
15.   Water bag.

Right Rear Pannier w/pocket - 9 lb

Left Rear Pannier  Ortlieb Rear Roller Classic

1.   Freeze-dried black beans and rice  1 pk.
2.   T-shirt  1
3.   Cycling jerseys  2
4.   Cycling tights  1
5.   Cycling shorts  3 pair
6.   Wool watch cap
7.   Nylon sack w/prepared meals  1.5 lb.
8.   Cycling soaks  3 pair
9.   Bandanas  2
10.   Med. Pack towels  2
11.   Wash cloth  1
12.   Powdered Milk  3.2 oz.
13.   Small red potatoes  4
14.   Fresh eggs  4
15.   Tea  4 oz. Loose tea
16.   Insect repellent

Left Rear Pannier  10 lb.

Rear Rack Pack  Ortlieb

1.   Tent  2-person  5.5 lb.
2.   Tent footprint cloth
3.   Sleeping bag
4.   Plastic bags  2 Lg.
5.   Nylon sack containing plastic garbage bags
6.   Cable bicycle lock
7.   Sun Screen  4 oz  hung from pack
8.   Sandals  hung from pack

Rear Rack Pack  12 lb.

Handlebar Bag  Ortlieb
1.   Camera  2 lb.
2.   Media cards
3.   IR filter
4.   ND filter
5.   Wallet  sm.
6.   Cell phone
7.   Camera battery charger
8.   Journal  small
9.   Map Case w/maps

Handlebar bag  3 lb.

Misc. Item

    1. Tripod  compact  1.5 lb.

Granted the Peak 1 stove is heavy at 2.25 lb and the camera weighs close to 2 lb.  Even if I leave out the food, purchase a lighter stove, don't carry the tripod and use a lighter camera, the load weight would be on the order of 50 lb.  After reading AC recommended list of clothing and equipment, etc.  I suspect the load weight of the items in the list would be on the order of 55-60 lb without food.

I image if you eat out all the time and stay in Motels, one could easily achieve a load weight of 35-45 lb.

I am interested in hearing from other touring cyclist who have weighed their gear before starting a tour.

See you on the Road,


Offline Badger

Loaded Weight
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2006, 12:34:18 am »
You might consider buying your food on the road, I read somewhere not to carry more then one day's food with you.  Unless you are really in the boonies you should be able to find stores.  I know what you are going through seems like when you take one item you feel you need three other things to go with it.  The best advice I have read is if you have toured before and you didn't use the stuff you brought on that trip leave it home.  Best of luck to you on your ride.  Jim

Offline valygrl

Loaded Weight
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2006, 03:51:17 am »
Ok, this is going to be brutal.  Sorry in advance.  My background is 10,000+ miles of loaded touring, more than 3/4 of it solo, all of it camping/cooking with occasional use of indoor accommodations.  My load is usually about 35lbs dry (no food/water) weight.  This includes the weight of the panniers (I use Arkel, which are heavier than Ortlieb). Sometimes I go heavier, if i need a water filter or bring my big stove, or if it's going to be cold and I need more clothes.

Dude.  You're overloaded.

1 pot, 1 spoon, 1 knife, 1 fork
0 spatulas, 0 plates/bowls, 0 dishtowels
1 cup
I bet you don't need a full fuel bottle for one week, just don't fill it all the way.

I guess you don't drink coffee.  Lucky you, you just saved a couple of pounds!

You forgot the tequila.

Even if your route is remote by US standards, just carry enough food to get you to the next food buying place, plus a little extra in case something goes wrong.

Don't carry pasta, bisquick, syrup, etc.  -- forget about cooking pancakes, potatoes, eggs - buy them in a diner.  Or buy that stuff 5 miles from where youre camping, don't carry them from home.  Only cook easy stuff that you can carry one meal at a time.  Again: Carry only enough food to get you to the next place you can buy food, plus one emergency meal - you can have PB&J for dinner if you have to.  You aren't going to Siberia, there's food everywhere.  Shop for food more than once a day.  Grocery stores with salad bars are great, you can get small amounts of a large variety.  If you have to eat out of convenience stores, it's a little less yummy, but there's usually mac & cheese, ragu, can of beans, tuna, etc.  This could be your excuse to have haagen-daaz for dinner.  

If you're cooking dinners, just bring olive oil, salt & pepper or other favorite spice in a little baggie.  I usually bring one "emergency dinner" which might be a small box of couscous and a packet of tuna, or a ready-made backpacking-style meal.  
One box of bars - granola or cliff, or cookies or pop tarts or m&ms& whatever works for you
One jar of pb, smallest size, one small pkg of bread-product (crackers, bagel, bread) you can buy bread one little dinner roll or bagel at a time.  

Ok, I admit it, sometimes I am carrying tomatos, avocado, crackers, cheese, salami, peanut butter, jelly, bread, granola bars, a pound of coffee, creamer, a couple of beers.... but not for more than a little while!  And only when I know there's no where to buy food for a long time.  Or if it's flat, then it doesn't matter.  
Too many rags - bring 1 bandanna, 0 shop rags, 0 dish towels.  
You do need chain lube. You don't need tire talc.
You do need a pump, you don't need a pressure gauge, use your thumb.
You don't need shift cables.
Fr a one week trip in a non-remote area, one tube is probably fine.  but if there aren't any bike shops on your route, go ahead with 2.

You don't need a water bag, if you need more water than the bottles on your bike, just buy a bottle of water at 7-11 and stuff it in your pannier.  Throw the bottle out (recycle) when you dont need it any more.

2 pairs of shorts & 2 pairs of socks, wash the ones you wore every night, hang them on your panniers the next day to dry while you ride.
ARe you sure you need the sandals?  How about a pair of superlight flipflops instead, or no extra shoes?
1 pack towel, 0 washclothes.  Dry the towel on the back of your rack every day too.

You might need a warm jacket if you are going to be hanging out at night outside your sleeping bag.  I use an old down jacket, I stuff it in with my sleeping bag.
You need long finger gloves and ear covering.

Consider getting a lighter tent and a lightweight modern bike multi-tool, and get rid of the allens and old tool set.  Did you just buy the 5.5lb tent?  You can get a good semi-cheap one from REI under 4 pounds.
Also consider a lightweight stove.  My snowpeak propane stove is smaller than a pack of cigarettes.
Why 2 knives? Why 2 sets of plastic silverware?
Do you need so many batteries?  Bring one set of spares of each crucial size.  You can get those at 7-11 too.
Lighter camera gear would be good.

No book?  No music?  

Have a great time with your tour, and learn a lot!

(edited to get rid of weird characters)

This message was edited by valygrl on 9-15-06 @ 8:19 AM

Offline JayH

Loaded Weight
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2006, 11:26:01 am »
Excellent advice all...

One thing that I use is I don't even bring 1 fork, spoon, or knife. For the knife, I have one in my multitool and I use a Snow Peak ti Spork so no separate fork and spoon and the Ti wont rust.


Offline litespeed

Loaded Weight
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2006, 04:28:34 pm »
Your load sounds plenty light to me. I have logged some 25,000 miles around the country. I don't carry any food or cooking gear and the total weight of my bicycle fully loaded was 78 lbs. at the end of my 5,000 mile tour out west this summer. If you're having tent problems you might consider sticking with North Face. I've always used their smallest model (Canyonlands and Particle 13) and never had any problems. Above all, don't skimp on equipment. Get the best.

Offline TheDaltonBoys

Loaded Weight
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2006, 06:27:28 pm »
In essence I agree w/valygirl...nice recapitulation with thoughts. I say this being a follower of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brother philosophy....better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. That said, whatever one (including me) takes, I'm the one that's got to haul it. Enjoy the Voyage...Mark of the Dalton Boys

Offline Peaks

Loaded Weight
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2006, 05:30:43 pm »
Just like backpacking, the way to reduce weight is to first, eliminate what you don't use.  Valgal's post has several good suggestions.

The second way to to reduce the weight of your big three (or four items).  Maybe you can't do much to reduce the empty weight of panniers.  But, what does the sleeping bag weigh?  Subsititute a 3 or 4 pound backpacking tent for the 5 1/2 pound tent.  Use a lighter sleeping pad.

If cooking for one, consider a homemake Pepsi can alcohol stove.  That will eliminate a couple of pounds real quick.

Offline OmahaNeb

Loaded Weight
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2006, 12:23:45 pm »
Adopt the attitude that your are going on an adventure.  From your gear list you are trying to maximize your cooking and eating experience rather than your riding experience.  For a week ride, how much wear and tear are you going to inflict on your bike.  Think out-of-the-box, think radically.  Think of ways not to use every item on your list, rather than think of ways to bing/use items you own.

Offline DaveB

Loaded Weight
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2006, 07:05:54 pm »
I image if you eat out all the time and stay in Motels, one could easily achieve a load weight of 35-45 lb.
Under these circumstances, I've typically had a loaded (panniers and contents) weight of under 20 pounds.  I wouldn't have a loaded weight as high as you mention if I included the weight of the bike.  You are carrying WAY too much.  

Online driftlessregion

Loaded Weight
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2006, 10:20:12 pm »
Every one has a opinion as you can see. Who knows if 59# is too much until you try it. I've ridden with folks who brought a laptop computer to plug in his camera that makes yours look mini. Another person brought a spare set of pedals and shoes! They rode mountains and never quit and had a blast. As for what to take, it is your experience and you know what is important to you. That said, what's with all the batteries and camera gear? I love camping and camp cooking so I take lots of cooking gear. That is my value and maybe yours, but if it isn't yours don't take all the stuff. 5.5# for a tent is OK if it is a very good tent. Lighter might mean smaller which doesn't work for someone 6'3" like me. I love a large vestibule.  My bag is only 2# which means I can take my 5# pad. Again my values. Are they yours? I take one flashlight only; it weighs next to nothing. Are you riding at night? Then why the front and rear lights? For a one week trip can you do without so many clothes?  I agree with the handwash (one day per short!)and dry on the bike. Friends of mine though wouldn't be caught dead with their laundry on the back of the bike. I don't take a lock-I don't let it out of my sight generally, and run my helmet straps through in the spokes and loosen the quick release hubs to make noise if someone tries to take it.
Well, there you go, another opinion. Go have fun and see what you don't need and then go again leaving some of it behind!

Offline downtheroad

Loaded Weight
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2006, 11:49:04 am »
Dear Touring Cyclists:

Thanks for your constructive suggestions.  The weight I reported in my initial post included the weight of the bags.  According to Ortlieb's specs, the bags weigh 11 lb with camera insert.  Therefore the equipment/clothing/food weighs 59 lb. - 11 lb or 48 lb total.

I completed my week tour of Western Maryland and the western section of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal tow path bicycle trail.  I had a wonderful time and met many touring cyclists on the C&O tow path.  Some were using motels along the way but most were camping at the numerous hike/biker campsites setup by our National Parks Service.  Ages ranged from late 20's to 75.

My route took me from Baltimore to the Catoctin Mountains, across the spine of the Appalachia at Burkittsville to Boonsborro, Antietam Battlefield, Shepherds Town, WV, and the C&O trail up to Cumberland, Maryland via Williamsport and Handcock. Total mileage was 240 miles.  Daily mileage ranged from 60 to 15 miles.  The highlight of the trip was meeting and camping with the bik4peace group in Hancock, MD - an interesting, wonderful, dynamic group of individuals.

Equipment weight for the trip 43 lb.  This included some prepared food for trip up the C&O Canal National Park.  Total weight including panniers and bags was 54 lb.

The Peak 1 stove is heavy but I have the stove, hence used it.  The number of fuel bottles was reduced to one.  The French Mafac bicycle tool kit is a classic and weights 6 oz and includes wrenches sized from 6 mm to 14mm, two larger wrenches, a spoke wrench and three tire irons in combination with three of the small wrenches.  I left out the three large wrenches not needed and reduce the weight to 3 oz.  All the machine screws on the bike are socket-head hence the assortment of Allen wrenches (3 oz) must stay.  I dropped the Brooks proof hide, lube oil and a few other items already.  The Orikaso flatware weighs about 3 oz.  The tent is perhaps a little heavy but was purchased on an as need and price basis to continue the trip.

The camera equipment and tripod stayed.  Photography is one my interests, hence I captured the trip in color, B&W, as well as Infrared.  Digital cameras and the computer Lightroom make this possible.  This was a weight penalty I was willing to accept.

Anna, I am impressed with 10,000 touring miles under your wheels.  That achievement requires dedication and time.  I rode from 1972 until 1992 when I stopped riding because I ran out of time - family, building a career and rebuilding a sailboat with my wife, who loves to sail.  I accumulated about 35,000 rode miles during this period including three self-contained trips across Oklahoma with the FreeWheel rally, and one tour across the Canadian Rockies in 1984.  I know my equipment load was much heavier for the Canadian trip and included a nice set of clothing for flying back home.  It was unacceptable to fly in shorts and t-shirts when pilots stuck their head out the cockpit and yelled, "Contact, Switch ON."

Because I am not as road hardened as you are, I rode accordingly and kept my average daily mileage between 30 and 50 miles, depending on terrain and destination.  Maryland is a small state and the wonderful state parks are close to each other but in hilly to mountainous regions of the state.   Many of the secondary roads follow old wagon and horse trails; the grades can sometimes be challenging - 8 to 10%.   In addition, I turned 60 the beginning of March of this year.  I rode about 1,400 miles including two weeks of training with The Load before starting my tour, hence the reason I am not a seasoned, as I would have like to have been before starting the tour. By the by, my birthday present to me this year was my first ride after a 14 year absence.

Regardless of how fast or slow I rode on my tour, the tour was the journey and not the destination, nor the miles made good.  I was treated well by the folks of Western Maryland and especially by Cindy and Bill, volunteer Rangers at Catoctin National Park.  To these wonderful people and the touring cyclists along the C&O trail, I say, Thank you.

Kind Regards,

Rod  :)

This message was edited by downtheroad on 9-25-06 @ 7:53 AM

Online driftlessregion

Loaded Weight
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2006, 12:06:55 am »
"Regardless of how fast or slow I rode on my tour, the tour was the journey and not the destination, nor the miles made good"


Offline valygrl

Loaded Weight
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2006, 12:15:19 am »
Hey Rod, I misread your original post, I thought you were asking for suggestions about paring down the weight.

My apologies.

I didn't mean to come off as all "I'm so rad" or anything, was just stating my experience so you would know I wasn't talking outta my... you know.

Anyway, I'm glad you had a great trip!  Sounds like your load weight wasn't an issue, and you had a great tour.

Have fun...


Offline biker_james

Loaded Weight
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2006, 10:33:37 am »
We do a three week tour every year, and a lot of weekend ones, and always pack way more than a lot of these people do. We do not take things that we know we won't use, but things that we feel that we will enjoy. I fhtat means carrying A BOTTLE OF WINE, AS WELL AS BALSAMIC VINGAR AND EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, to make a nice dinner, then so be it. We're happy.
The weight makes almost no difference if your bike is properly geared for touring. You may go a km or two slower uphill, thats all. If your concern is speed, I don't think you understand cycle touring at all.

Offline downtheroad

Loaded Weight
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2006, 11:34:40 am »
Dear Anna:

Your sugggestions were very helpful - thank you.  After I read your post, I started to think about ways to reduce the actual equipment/clothing/food weight. The first thing to go was the extra fuel bottle, extra tools, misc items, etc.  I also prepared several breakfasts and two dinners using ideas from the freezerbagcooking website.  This saved weight vs. carrying bulk food.  One can purchase food at specific points along the C&O trail but sometimes the location of the hiker/biker camp sites required that one carry some food.  While I was riding the road part of the tour, purchasing food was not a problem.

During my trip I met touring cyclist with loads that ranged from 20 lb to 60 lb.  The couple with the 20 lb load each, had toured across the U.S. and simply did not like to carry weight on the bicycle.  Although they were camping, their equipment and clothing was reduced to a bare minimum.  Regardless, the important aspect of touring is to enjoy the journey.

I would like to thank all who replied to my post.  The suggestions were helpful and much appreciated.  I learned valuable lessions on this trip and am thinking about ways to decrease the loaded weight but still takes the items I like and still savor the joy of life.

My lovely wife told me, "You are out there doing it."  In the end, if we want to be touring cyclists, we have to tour and not worry so much about numbers and the latest equipment. Speed and mileage are not as important to me as just touring and enjoying the moment.  Yes, on some of the steep grades I pushed the bike up the hill/mountain and on others I stopped to rest.  I call these stops, photo ops.

Thank You,

Kind Regards,

Rod  :)

P.S. Wine is the joy of life.  Depending on your state, Target, sells 2-glass soft packs (brickets) of wine, which would be well suited to touring. Perhaps not a premium wine, but then, I have never had a bad meal on the road.  They all seems to taste good.

This message was edited by downtheroad on 9-26-06 @ 7:45 AM