Author Topic: Inexpensive Touring Gear  (Read 9664 times)

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Offline joyosects

Inexpensive Touring Gear
« on: April 15, 2009, 11:17:41 am »
I've seen a few threads about this but nothing directly about this.  I'm doing the TransAmerica this summer. 

I have a bike, a helmet, and nothing else.  I have $500 left to spend on all my gear.  Where should I start and what should I get?  Panniers alone look like they're going to cost $250, and I don't have a tent, sleeping bag, biking clothing, shoes, or anything.  How can I keep this (relatively) inexpensive?

I'm a teacher, and I get my checks direct deposited into my account during the trip, so I'll be fine with food and lodging and everything, but it seems like there are so many supplies I need before the trip, and none of it is cheap.   


Offline staehpj1

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 12:20:30 pm »
Panniers for $250 is grose overkill in my mind.  The ATB Nashbar Panniers are listed as $19.99 right now and using the code "APRIL20" will get you another 20% off for a total of $15.99 before shipping ($6.99)  And that's for the pair!  2350 cubic inches, from Nashbar: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product..._200277_200350

I like the waterproof ones from Nashbar or Performance better though, 
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.cfm?SKU=23828&item=20-4786&slitrk=search&slisearch=true
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.cfm?SKU=23827&item=20-4785&slitrk=search&slisearch=true
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_172282_-1_16500_10000_16502
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_172248_-1___14003

I also like these:
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.cfm?SKU=23923&item=20-4781&slitrk=search&slisearch=true

Check for coupon codes for either place at:
http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=228
for additional 10-20% off most of the time.

For Racks I like the Blackburn EX-1 on the back and on the front the Nashbar or Performance clones of the Blackburn Lowrider.

Tents and sleeping bags can go fairly low budget too.  Eureka has some nice low end tents and Slumberjack has some decent low end sleeping bags.  I would buy a nice sleeping pad though.  I like Thermarest.

Between the three of us we used all this stuff on the Trans America and found it all quite adequate.   Check our journal for more ideas of cheaper gear at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007
See the packing lists and the "what worked and what didn't" section.

« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 12:24:25 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline bktourer1

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 05:06:05 pm »
Check out this link:


http://www.vwvagabonds.com/Bike/BikePanniers.html

   Ed            :)

Offline DaveB

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 10:01:02 pm »
Also check out Campmor (www.campmor.com).  They have a wide range of camping, backpacking and bicycle camping gear at very good prices. 

Particularly check their "Super Special Deals" area where name brand gear, but in last years colors, etc, are available at extremely attractive prices.  About two years ago I got a North Face 20 degree rated synthetic sleeping bag that weighs about 3 pounds for $70.from them.   

As noted Eureka and Coleman have low cost but serviceable tents suitable for bike camping use.   Second the recommendation for a good sleeping pad.  Thermarest is the best known name but they tend to be pricey.  Campmor has a house brand version that is slightly heavier but very serviceable and a lot less expensive. 

Offline dunedigger

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 10:12:52 pm »
You could always DIY. Simple, green, and extremly cheap. Check out this website, www.instructables.com They have a lot of good DIY projects instructing you how to build stuff, some things including panniers, trailers, camping gear, even bikes.

Offline valygrl

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 01:08:22 am »

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2009, 01:05:38 pm »
You could always DIY. Simple, green, and extremly cheap. Check out this website, www.instructables.com They have a lot of good DIY projects instructing you how to build stuff, some things including panniers, trailers, camping gear, even bikes.

Thats a cool website, I want to try some of those!
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline jimbeard

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2009, 03:50:27 pm »
Jim

Offline bogiesan

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2009, 01:08:51 pm »
You undertake this trip by weighing your desire for adventure against your ability to cope with the inevitable surprises. Camping equipment need not be expensive or particularly durable if you are comfortable with the idea that you may not always be warm or dry because of your choices. But you do not need to make any bad choices. You can spend many pleasant hours researching ultralight backpacking gear. Tens of thousands of devoted backpackers have already perfected this style of travel for you.

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

Offline DaveB

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2009, 09:28:49 pm »
There is one principle to keep in mind with almost any bicycle touring or camping gear:

Light, Cheap, Good

Pick any two.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2009, 11:54:00 am »
If you could guarantee trees on your route, you should consider a camping hammock instead of a tent.  I think these are in the $130-$150 range.  This is a about the price of a low end solo tent, and no Thermarest is needed.  I might try to go this route, but I upgraded my tent and mat last season.  The hammocks are strung between trees, and you enter from the bottom.  They looked really nice.  I thought REI carried them at one point.  Googling camping hammock should get you close.

There was a recent thread on cook stoves.  A home made alcohol stove is light and cheap.

I once listened to a lecture by a woman who had hiked the Appalachian Trail.  She had decided that hot meals were not worth trouble, and abandoned both her stove and cook set.  I am not sure that I would do that, but it is a very interesting concept.  This takes ultralight to a new level.

Good luck with your quest, and please post you final gear selection...
Danno

Offline staehpj1

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2009, 02:23:59 pm »
If you could guarantee trees on your route, you should consider a camping hammock instead of a tent.  I think these are in the $130-$150 range.  This is a about the price of a low end solo tent, and no Thermarest is needed.  I might try to go this route, but I upgraded my tent and mat last season.  The hammocks are strung between trees, and you enter from the bottom.  They looked really nice.  I thought REI carried them at one point.  Googling camping hammock should get you close.
Since the OP said they were doing the TA I would advise against the hammock.  There were a lot of places on the TA where I didn't see trees for days.  I think it was for good reason that the cyclists I met on the TA pretty much all were using tents.  I don't have anything against hammocks and would consider one myself, but on a route like the TA I consider it a poor choice.

Offline DaveB

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2009, 10:41:37 am »
If you could guarantee trees on your route, you should consider a camping hammock instead of a tent.
I've always wondered how functional these things really are.  You not only need trees, you need two trees the right distance apart, strong enough and with no obstructions between them. The ads always show an ideal set-up but how realistic are they?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2009, 11:11:05 am »
I always wondered about hammocks, so when on tour I would often take stock of whether or not the place I was staying would have worked out well for a hammock.  My observation was that for me and the places I have been there would have been a lot of places where it would have been a hassle and quite a few where it would have to have been used as an improvised bivy.  To do that I would have wanted a sleeping pad and if I have to carry that I lose some of the weight advantage.

Bottom line for me was that a hammock would have been impractical for the places I have toured and the sites that I chose to camp at while bike touring.

The other side of this is that I have backpacked in places where a hammock would be great.  I am thinking of some sections of Pennsylvania where there was nowhere to camp that wasn't rocky.  That was not the case even one night on the Trans America and there was not a single night I wished for a hammock there.  I expect the same on my upcoming tour from Kansas City to Santa FE.

Depending on how and where you tour your mileage may vary.  I can see a hammock being ideal in some terrain especially for stealth camping.  I see stealth camping as a last resort though, preferring to camp where no stealth is required.  I may wild camp but generally not in places where I need to hide, so it does not factor heavily in my gear choices.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2009, 01:35:31 pm »
I share many of staehpj1 feelings on hammocks.  The hammocks are pretty cool looking, so on my last tour I kept looking to see if one would have worked out.  I have "responsibilities", so I can't manage being on tour for longer than a week.  I have not bought a hammock yet, but I am enamored with them.

Has anyone ever slept in one?
Danno