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Bike packing volume myth?

Old 12-19-20, 08:43 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I think that they are not for everyone, but I suggest that it might be worth giving one a try if it seems like it might suit the needs of the trip, even for folks who think they will hate it. The chance of success goes up a lot with one of the smaller comfier models and a very light load.

On the ice water thing, yeah in 100* heat it was awesome. With a big camelback filled full of ice and then topped up with water the ice lasted all day. Of course that meant carrying the whole day's water from the start.
good comments, and I can very much appreciate the difference having a cold sip makes. My spirits would soar on some of my trips when a bomba (gas station) or a pulperia (depanneur or corner store) would appear and refridgerated drinks could be purchased.
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Old 12-19-20, 09:52 PM
  #27  
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The "more volume means more gear" argument comes with a lot of caveats. As time goes on I more appreciate a clean rig without a lot of danglies. Sometimes you see a bike packing rig that has minmal bags but a lot of stuff bungee'd and strapped on with various accessory bags. Personally I would prefer most contained inside bags.

This was a rig I took for two weeks from Calgary to Jasper. I chose a backpack on the rear rack as it was a biking/hiking trip.
Lac Des Arcs just east of Banff




This is the rig I usually take now that has everything for 3 season camping in western Canada.
Bike and gear waiting for the train to take me north so I can ride back again.
Ashcroft, BC Interior





And what I take if I am going light and fast
Yellowhead Pass just west of Jasper.





In the last two pics I have my 1 man tent in the HB bag, electronics, tools, food and assorted bits in the gas tank and frame bag. Sleeping bag, mat and clothes in the saddlebag. That only works if I am taking a summer bag and very minimal clothing. For unpredictable mountain weather or shoulder seasons I want a complete change of clothes, down jacket for emergency stops-chilling and a warmer sleeping bag. That's just too bulky (not necessarily heavy) for just a seat or saddle bag.

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Old 12-20-20, 05:41 AM
  #28  
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While you might get more liters of capacity with bike packing bags it would seem the shape of the bags might influence how many liters you can actually carry I know bag shape influences back pack capacity.
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Old 12-20-20, 07:23 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I did not expect to see a grocery store for at least a week and a half when I took the photo, and at that point had not seen one for six days, so this segment of this trip might be the heaviest I ever packed
A backpack is great for overflow capacity for a day or so with small loads and smaller amounts of baggage. I wouldn't use one or even consider it in the situation you are talking about here. I might carry a tiny one for side hikes though (with your load you wouldn't notice the 2.5 ounces of the sea 2 summit one). The advantages of wearing a backpack wouldn't really apply for your trip. You wouldn't be going into stores so taking your theft worthy items with you isn't a big deal. You'd need a much bigger backpack carrying more volume and weight than I'd want to ride with to make much difference with a load that size. The weight wouldn't be going down much in a day.

At this point in my life I don't think I will ever be willing to carry food and water in large amounts. I either figure out ways to do caches or skip that trip. I will probably miss out on some great trips, but there are plenty of others that meet my criteria. I might be a bit more likely to bend my rules on that for dirt/off road bike touring than for backpacking, but the older I get the less likely I am to want to be a pack mule.

Of course water is a far bigger problem than food since food can be as low as 2 pounds per day (more likely a bit more, but still) while water is going to be at least 8.4 pounds per day. For me weight is the concern. Adding volume may be inconvenient, but it isn't that big of a deal compared to carrying a lot of extra weight.
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Old 12-20-20, 09:13 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
A backpack is great for overflow capacity for a day or so with small loads and smaller amounts of baggage. I wouldn't use one or even consider it in the situation you are talking about here. I might carry a tiny one for side hikes though (with your load you wouldn't notice the 2.5 ounces of the sea 2 summit one)........................
Of course water is a far bigger problem than food since food can be as low as 2 pounds per day (more likely a bit more, but still) while water is going to be at least 8.4 pounds per day. For me weight is the concern. Adding volume may be inconvenient, but it isn't that big of a deal compared to carrying a lot of extra weight.
I too use a Sea to Summit backpack but only when leaving the last town for the day. I usually carry dinner, a beer or breakfast, some extra water if needed. Never for long though.

Water: I always carry a filter. Southern Utah, Nevada portions of New Mexico water can be a problem but one can usually find it somewhere in other areas.
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Old 12-20-20, 10:33 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

Those numbers donít tell the whole story, however. When it comes to putting all the stuff together, the traditional pannier system is far easier to deal with. There are only 4 panniers, a handlebar bag, tent, and sleeping bag to deal with.


If, for some reason you have to carry the bags somewhere...like the stupid circular stair at Harperís Ferry...it can be done in one trip. The handlebar bag goes over the shoulder, the tent under one arm, the sleeping bag under the other and each set of bags in each hand.


The bikepacking set up is far more involved. I did a trip (pre-Covid) in the Colorado Rockies that involved using a bus service my state has. I had to put the bike on th front of the bus and the driver made me take everything off the bike except the little gas tank. I had to carry the wedge bag, the seat bag, the harness, the two fork leg bags and the pocket system for the micropanniers (not in the pictures below). And I had to do it down a narrow bus aisle. They are difficult to carry because they donít fit together well and they are many different shapes and sizes.
Good comparison. I am a paddler as well as a cyclist and your comparison reminds me a bit of the differences when packing a canoe vs. a kayak for a trip. You end up with many more small bags in a kayak to be able to fit your gear into long narrow compartments through small hatches. I have started putting kayak gear into a big IKEA shopping bag to make it easy to minimize trips to the boat when loading and unloading, as the camp can be a ways away from the boat.

Your comparison makes me think of carrying a similar light Weight bag on backpacking trips. They are very light and small when folded, inexpensive, and can be strapped on the outside no matter the weather. It would not necessarily have to be the IKEA bag but one or two large lightweight nylon bags. It would keep your gear together on trips where you need to remove and transport gear away from the bike. Just a thought.
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Old 12-20-20, 10:37 AM
  #32  
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After a couple of days into a tour, even when fully loaded and freshly stocked with food and water, I donít think about the weight at all.
ĒIt doesnít get harder, you just get slowerĒ

I think if I fixated on the weight of everything and went down the ultralight rabbit hole, it might even make things harder, however counter intuitive that may sound.

After a couple of weeks my legs have got so much stronger that my average speed has increased a heck of a lot and I feel Iím bombing along and racing up mountains anyway.

Yes, objectively any added weight will slow you down, but at the end of the day you still get to where you are.
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Old 12-20-20, 10:42 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...
At this point in my life I don't think I will ever be willing to carry food and water in large amounts. I either figure out ways to do caches or skip that trip. I will probably miss out on some great trips, but there are plenty of others that meet my criteria. ....
We have been reading each others posts for several years, and it is pretty clear that in many ways we are complete opposites on just about everything when it comes to bike touring.

I have the tops of my drop bars maybe a half inch below the top of the saddle, you have described that you have yours in a racing position, as you are a former racer and prefer that position.

I still recall a few years ago you were describing your light for campsite use. The reason I still remember that is that I had bought the same one recently to put on my key chain in case I needed it to see where the lock was to put my key in when I got home from work. I was surprised that you use the same light for all purposes when bike touring.

The bike trip I am planning for this year (assuming that post-vaccinations means things open up) and the route we will be on likely means we can buy groceries every two or three days. I am thinking of doing that trip on my titanium bike since it would be a lighter weight trip. But I still expect to have four panniers.

The Sea to Summit backpack, I gave one to my sister to carry when she flies somewhere for a tourist trip, then if she sees some beads and trinkets that she needs to buy, she can buy it and have a means to carry it. But I still do not want to carry a backpack on my bike.

I am not complaining here, I am just reminding you that we have different preferences in bike touring, neither of it will ever convince the other to change. I do appreciate your posts.
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Old 12-20-20, 10:56 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by bikeaddiction1 View Post
Good comparison. I am a paddler as well as a cyclist and your comparison reminds me a bit of the differences when packing a canoe vs. a kayak for a trip. You end up with many more small bags in a kayak to be able to fit your gear into long narrow compartments through small hatches. I have started putting kayak gear into a big IKEA shopping bag to make it easy to minimize trips to the boat when loading and unloading, as the camp can be a ways away from the boat.
...
I use a medium sized mesh duffle bag for that on kayak trips. Mesh, so that any sand that gets in it falls out immediately. I have also used that as a carry on bag on Amtrak, the one in the photo that has red ends. That duffle was stored in the bottom of a pannier on my Pacific Coast bike trip, I rode Amtrak to and from the coast for that trip. That duffle is 340 grams. The photo is my carry on luggage at the end of my Pacific Coast trip for the three day trip on Amtrak (was supposed to be two days) to home.



I have a similar mesh duffle that is a bit larger, those two duffels on a kayak trip makes hauling my gear from shore to the tent site much easier.

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Old 12-20-20, 10:56 AM
  #35  
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With my off road rig I opted for two smaller front panniers in the rear and a HB roll/drybag up front.
These are all the same bags I use on my road bike so I don't need to buy two of everything and just mix and match modular style.
When I'm taking a bigger sleeping bag than can't be stored in the panniers I cargo net it to the rack.
If I want, I can also take a dry day pack. Sometimes, doing a side trip, I don't want full panniers but still want enough room for dry clothes or a down jacket. Bulk but not weight. Other times, I just cargo net a drybag to the rack.

Since these pics I've added a dropper post and cargo cage on the down tube for a 1.5L Naglene bottle. If I want to do some riding around camp it's very easy to drop the bags and go. The frame bag always stays on as it has tools, food and phone etc...














Last edited by Happy Feet; 12-20-20 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 12-20-20, 11:35 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
While you might get more liters of capacity with bike packing bags it would seem the shape of the bags might influence how many liters you can actually carry I know bag shape influences back pack capacity.
That is another thing that I donít really like about bikepacking. With panniers, I organized my bags by function. One side of the front panniers are loaded with cooking gear, one side with food and toiletries. The back panniers are packed with clothes but one side has clothes I donít need during the day and the other has stuff I might need during the day. When I get to camp, I only have to mostly unload the cooking gear bag and the food bag. The clothes bags just need to be opened and get out the things I need.

With bikepacking, I find I have to basically empty every single bag (and repack it) because some things fit in one place but not others. My cup might end up at the bottom of the seat bag under all my clothes because it wonít fit elsewhere but the kettle is in the wedge bag. My utensils bag is may be in the bag on the leg or in the micropanniers if Iím not carrying the leg bags. My stove is in one place and the fuel canister is in another. Thereís no organization and the location of the items may be moved around even on the same trip because of the full unpacking needed to set up camp.
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Old 12-20-20, 11:40 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
With my off road rig I opted for two smaller front panniers in the rear and a HB roll/drybag up front.
These are all the same bags I use on my road bike so I don't need to buy two of everything and just mix and match modular style.
When I'm taking a bigger sleeping bag than can't be stored in the panniers I cargo net it to the rack.
If I want, I can also take a dry day pack. Sometimes, doing a side trip, I don't want full panniers but still want enough room for dry clothes or a down jacket. Bulk but not weight. Other times, I just cargo net a drybag to the rack.

Since these pics I've added a dropper post and cargo cage on the down tube for a 1.5L Naglene bottle. If I want to do some riding around camp it's very easy to drop the bags and go. The frame bag always stays on as it has tools, food and phone etc...
Now that looks like fun! Around here the good areas are all either national park or wilderness, so cycling is limited. I wonder about climbing speed and if you can climb any faster than a backpacker, say 1000'/hr.? We're down to maybe 700'/hr. now. with 3-day packs. You're certainly a lot faster on the flat!
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Old 12-20-20, 12:51 PM
  #38  
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This thread reminded me of my touring setup in 1986 on a trip through the Andes of Ecuador.
Two small lowrider mounted panniers up front and a Gregory Day and Ĺ pack sitting up right on the rear rack strapped to the seat tube and saddle rails.

Ecuador 1986

Approaching highest point in Ecuador 21721 ft.Chimborazo. Camped at 5000 meter or approx.16500 feet in the snow.
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Old 12-20-20, 04:20 PM
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Our rig at an abandoned border crossing between Germany and the Czech Republic:


a closer look



Typical road on our tour. Originally wagon tracks between villages, paved by the Soviets for military use.




This is my illustration of volume = weight, which of course is only true if one restricts volume. All our gear for camp touring, including everything except the naked bike, fenders, bottles, and cages, weighed ~44 lbs. We could have been quite a bit lighter except that we camp in luxury: warm down double bag, 3 person tent, fancy stove and cook kit, all the niceties. We saved volume and weight by cutting back on town clothes. We had stuff we could wear to restaurants, but it was light. We had nice trail runners, a light backpack, and hiking clothes and we hiked some, but that stuff doubled as some of our town clothes.

Those panniers are of heavy ripstop, made in Seattle by a defunct shop, which is really too bad because they are fantastic, light and waterproof. We couldn't use front panniers even if we wanted to because of our carbon fork. On top of our Tubus rack is a compression sack containing our tent and sleeping bag, the bag in a plastic bag to keep the tent from getting it wet. We had two 1 liter bottles and two 24 oz, worked fine. That's our touring rear wheel with an Arai drum brake. Couldn't have done without it as many of the descents in Czechia were very steep - as were some of the climbs. Everything in the part of Czechia where we rode was either up or down - almost no flat, and the villages on those little roads are all on hilltops of course. Our low gear was 26 X 34 - we never walked.

We'd wanted to do this brewery to brewery solo tour for many years because I happen to speak a little Czech and lived in Germany near the Czech border for a couple years.

We also shrunk our backpacks when we did our re-outfit in 2010, which saved weight both on the pack and its contents.
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Old 12-20-20, 04:23 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by arctos View Post
This thread reminded me of my touring setup in 1986 on a trip through the Andes of Ecuador.
Two small lowrider mounted panniers up front and a Gregory Day and Ĺ pack sitting up right on the rear rack strapped to the seat tube and saddle rails.

Ecuador 1986

Approaching highest point in Ecuador 21721 ft.Chimborazo. Camped at 5000 meter or approx.16500 feet in the snow.
super cool arctos, I'd love to explore Columbia, ecuador one day. In 85 I had been living in central America and returned traveling on 89, bus train. 5000m that's a spicy meatball!!
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Old 12-20-20, 04:28 PM
  #41  
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CF feller, very cool too.
exploring the world on tow wheels is just so much damn fun ain't it? I miss a good adventure.
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Old 12-20-20, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
Water: I always carry a filter. Southern Utah, Nevada portions of New Mexico water can be a problem but one can usually find it somewhere in other areas.
It depends on what kind of tour you are doing I guess. Do you find you use it much for paved road touring? I have probably said all this before, but I have found that on many trips the filter was not really worth carrying (to me at least) because tap water was available multiple times per day. So back when I had a Sweetwater as my filter I stopped carrying it after mailing it home from the Trans America. Then on a trip in the Sierras I took it and it was wonderful to have ice cold water from the snow melt creeks. On the Southern Tier there was zero surface water to filter in the places where I'd like to have been able to use a filter.

If I were planning a dirt/off road tour where I'd be away from tap water I'd definitely carry one or really any time there would be water to filter rather than try to carry multiple days of water.

The one thing that has me more likely to carry one again on a more regular basis is the availability of such tiny light weight filters that only weigh a couple ounces.
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Old 12-20-20, 04:59 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I am not complaining here, I am just reminding you that we have different preferences in bike touring, neither of it will ever convince the other to change. I do appreciate your posts.
I appreciate your post's as well.

I try not to push my views too hard on others, but do feel I have something a bit unique to share in that I started out packing heavy and went through all the iterations to get from quite heavy to extremely light as a packing style. Most folks have experience in one or the other and tend to only see that one perspective. Some of my other ideas may just be weird I hope that as I have gotten further into geezer-dom I have become less of a zealot and better at providing relevant food for thought.
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Old 12-20-20, 06:39 PM
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staehpj1, you made me smile remembering how I started out

First tour 1989 Calgary to Vancouver

Packing up



On the road. This day I almost got heatstroke in the Okanagan Valley.
Check out the Tee Shirt! AIDS/HIV was the hot ticket pandemic that year.



Some Happy Feet!
My mom sewed me those padded cycling shorts from a paper pattern - the first I ever had.

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Old 12-20-20, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Now that looks like fun! Around here the good areas are all either national park or wilderness, so cycling is limited. I wonder about climbing speed and if you can climb any faster than a backpacker, say 1000'/hr.? We're down to maybe 700'/hr. now. with 3-day packs. You're certainly a lot faster on the flat!
Now that's a good question.

I think, at some point, a hiker going at a good clip can keep pace with, or pass a bike going up hill. Happens all the time on the access trail at our local MTB area. But cumulatively, a bike will make more distance or the same far easily. I have to say though, I calculate 1/2 the distance per day on it when planning than I would for my older converted mtb touring bike. Bearing in mind that I also calculate twice the distance I did on that when planning for my newer road oriented endurance bike. Roughly 50km / 100km / 200km respectively.

Plus, it's just so much darned fun.

This bike, while a little too fat for regular trails, gives me so much pleasure when the emphasis isn't on distance/speed. It's fun to ride and I'm not afraid to take any detour trail or obstacle if I choose. On last summers (2019) Gulf Island tour I linked a series of pavement and trails all across Gabriola and Salt Spring.
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Old 12-20-20, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Now that's a good question.

I think, at some point, a hiker going at a good clip can keep pace with, or pass a bike going up hill. Happens all the time on the access trail at our local MTB area. But cumulatively, a bike will make more distance or the same far easily. I have to say though, I calculate 1/2 the distance per day on it when planning than I would for my older converted mtb touring bike. Bearing in mind that I also calculate twice the distance I did on that when planning for my newer road oriented endurance bike. Roughly 50km / 100km / 200km respectively.

Plus, it's just so much darned fun.

This bike, while a little too fat for regular trails, gives me so much pleasure when the emphasis isn't on distance/speed. It's fun to ride and I'm not afraid to take any detour trail or obstacle if I choose. On last summers (2019) Gulf Island tour I linked a series of pavement and trails all across Gabriola and Salt Spring.
The steepest grades we encountered in the Gulf Islands were the roads from the ferry terminals. We stayed on the pavement. There is bike shop, not far from us on the Oregon Coast, that rents fat tire bikes. You almost have me convinced to try one
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Old 12-20-20, 08:04 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
The steepest grades we encountered in the Gulf Islands were the roads from the ferry terminals. We stayed on the pavement. There is bike shop, not far from us on the Oregon Coast, that rents fat tire bikes. You almost have me convinced to try one


Fastest speed on my fat bike so far (50kph) was on the descent to Fulford Harbour on Saltspring. The knobbies sounded like a swarm of angry bees chasing me.

If you rent one, try to do some trails with bumps or small rocks/logs to ride over. I tend to think of it as one of those rock crawler jeeps you see in Moab.
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Old 12-20-20, 08:14 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
It depends on what kind of tour you are doing I guess. Do you find you use it much for paved road touring? I have probably said all this before, but I have found that on many trips the filter was not really worth carrying (to me at least) because tap water was available multiple times per day. So back when I had a Sweetwater as my filter I stopped carrying it after mailing it home from the Trans America. Then on a trip in the Sierras I took it and it was wonderful to have ice cold water from the snow melt creeks. On the Southern Tier there was zero surface water to filter in the places where I'd like to have been able to use a filter.

If I were planning a dirt/off road tour where I'd be away from tap water I'd definitely carry one or really any time there would be water to filter rather than try to carry multiple days of water.

The one thing that has me more likely to carry one again on a more regular basis is the availability of such tiny light weight filters that only weigh a couple ounces.
I do not use the filter on all trips but find I like the options it lends me at times. Water management at times can be problematic.
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Old 12-20-20, 09:07 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
I too use a Sea to Summit backpack but only when leaving the last town for the day. I usually carry dinner, a beer or breakfast, some extra water if needed. Never for long though.

Water: I always carry a filter. Southern Utah, Nevada portions of New Mexico water can be a problem but one can usually find it somewhere in other areas.
I used to carry a filter backpacking. Now I use a Steripen. There are several models. I use the Adventurer. It's light and small enough to even carry on brevets. Stick it in a water bottle and stir. So simple. 3.8 oz. with batteries.

An interesting side note: My wife and I do a lot of hiking on the Washington portion of the PCT in September. That means that we see many thru-hikers and not only that, but they're the successful ones. Many of them quit treating or filtering water soon after they started, never got sick. So I don't know . . . Is that whole filter your water thing just marketing? Seized upon and publicized by the marketing community? That said, I treat water from lakes or which originates in lakes or nearby snowfields. I just dip from small mountain streams. I've been doing that for 58 years, but that's here, in the Olympics and Cascades.
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Old 12-21-20, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I used to carry a filter backpacking. Now I use a Steripen. There are several models. I use the Adventurer. It's light and small enough to even carry on brevets. Stick it in a water bottle and stir. So simple. 3.8 oz. with batteries.

An interesting side note: My wife and I do a lot of hiking on the Washington portion of the PCT in September. That means that we see many thru-hikers and not only that, but they're the successful ones. Many of them quit treating or filtering water soon after they started, never got sick. So I don't know . . . Is that whole filter your water thing just marketing? Seized upon and publicized by the marketing community? That said, I treat water from lakes or which originates in lakes or nearby snowfields. I just dip from small mountain streams. I've been doing that for 58 years, but that's here, in the Olympics and Cascades.
Yeah, I know guys who don't filter in much of the Sierras. It sounds like there are quite a few who do likewise in the Cascades and Olympics. I paddled tandem in a canoe down the St Johns river in Maine with a guy who just dipped a cup in the river to drink. In neither of those cases do I know of anyone getting sick. In the Sierras I only did it from springs where I could see the source. I do know a few folks who got giardia in the eastern US, at least one got it kayaking without intentionally drinking the water. Giardia can be really miserable and it can drag on for a long time. At least that is what my friends who have had it say.

I have always been intrigued by the steripen, but for some illogical reason can't bring myself to trust it. I should probably get over that. Also I like the idea of filter because it gets rid of particulates and in some cases improves the taste of the water. I've filtered water that looked pretty nasty (and I am guessing probably tasted nasty) and it wasn't bad after filtering. If you filter where the water is crystal clear that wouldn't be an issue, but for me that hasn't been the case

So, given that, I have to wonder,,, How do you steripen users manage with nasty water, the cloudy dirty stuff with tiny bit floating in it? Do you never need to filter nasty water. Do you keep it for a while in a container to let the sediment settle out? I have done the settling out in a bucket thing (before chemical treating or filtering) when canoe camping and it worked pretty well, but it rules out filling a bottle to use immediately. I'd expect that it kind of needs to be done in camp or during a pretty long break, because riding would likely keep it stirred up. Or does it still settle well enough while riding? On a canoe trip filtering a day's worth of water ahead of time is fine, but on a bike a full day of water is a lot to carry.
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