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Ultralight Evangelism.

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Ultralight Evangelism.

Old 11-08-13, 01:52 PM
  #826  
rodar y rodar
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Kitchen change

I`m going to ramble a bit about a new kitchen experiment. If you aren`t sure what my point is, don`t worry- I`m not quite sure either

Since most of my trips are only a few days, and often with few or no services enroute, I normally carry most or all of my food right from the start. It`s just easier that way. My tried and true kitchen is good for boiling water, but the pot has a seam along the bottom which would be impossible to clean, so I never cook in it. Along with the pot, I carry a small Rubbermaid container with cap that serves as soaker as well as bowl.

The problem is that I occasionally take longer trips (a week is long by my standards), where it makes more sense to shop along the way. Shopping for a boil only diet is kind of tough, so I changed a few things to make simple cooking feasible. The main change was from my 1.5 cup (350ml) home made pot to a GSI 0.6l (2+ cups) pot that`s 65g heavier. But I can eat directly from the pot, so get most of that back (62g) by leaving the sealed bowl. In addition to the pot change, I added a small cutting board (1/8 plexiglass, roughly 4" x 5.5"), knife with 3" folding blade, and a P-38. I tried this new method on a recent one week tour around the Puget Sound and pretty much liked it, but it has drawbacks. I think I`ll continue to use my "old" kitchen for most weekends and keep working at a cook-friendly setup for anything thre-days and up. This time, I carried some of my old standard boiled water stuff (oatmeal, Necafe, instant rice, instant taters) and stopped daily for fresh veggies, usually adding lentils and chicken stock to make soups. I also bought a can of raviolis one day, which I normally wouldn`t do even though I could.

My observations: Obviously a little more weight for the cooking setup, volume as pretty much a wash. Nice to add variety- three days worth of my old method is all I can take. Cooking lentils takes a lot of fuel. I did a boil-soak-boil thing and still probably used 2 to 3 times more fuel than I would have with my old method. Next time I`ll be thinking more about pastas than lentils. I missed the separate bowl because I couldn`t heat for coffee or tea while the pot was otherwise in use and because I have to use a glove to hold it while eating if it`s still hot. For a REALLY long trip (like 3 weeks!), maybe add a light bowl/lid (sour cream container) for soaking? I wouldn`t trust it in my bag, but it should do the trick in camp. The particular season and area where I was riding was perfect for daily dose of fresh and tasty goodies- I won`t be able to count on convenient roadside stands everywhere, will have to resort to supermarkets and general stores. For a mega tour (month or more), how the heck do I get pasta, lentils, chicken stock, instant coffee without having to buy a week or wore worth at a time anyway? Will have to wait and see if I ever ride that kind of trip, I guess.

Total weight of my boil kitchen (not including fuel) is 262g/9.2 oz
Total for cook kitchen (no fuel) is 351g/12.4oz

Breakdown, in grams:
small "boil only" pot + windscreen; 109
Rubbermaid bowl; 62

GSI pot + larger windscreen; 174
Opinel #6 knife; 27
cutting board; 53
P-38 (wrapped in paper sheath); 6

Then the stuff that goes with either kitchen:
Catfood stove + fuel measure: 11
plastic cup; 39
plastic spoon; 11
cotton glove (pot handling duty); 30 (wow!)

Last edited by rodar y rodar; 11-08-13 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 11-08-13, 02:15 PM
  #827  
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yeah i would be overnighter or 2 maybe 3 days tourer 7 days would be rare for me also.
cooking for me would be small gas stove although i do have a fantastic petrol stove optimus spear 3 i think its called excellent piece of kit. where was i oh yes cooking well it would come down to heating up a tin of soup or beans couple slices bread gallons of tea/coffee.so far i havent done any lightweight camping /touring still building up the kit.so far i have Carradice Camper Saddlebag super c barbag on the way,tent well cant afford to change the one i have Mountain
Hardware spear gt2, great tent bulky but i'll have to make it do.exped lite matt ordered down quilt ordered,now i just have to be very clever on what cloths to take more of keep warm than anything else if it rains i have wet gear.
i'm anything but a seasoned camper so going the tarp route would not be for me i like to be well sheltered from the weather,warm and dry is my plan sleeping in a bus shelter no thanks,so it's all down to a very clever well thought out packing list.

my optimus stove.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNSCi...eature=related

Last edited by antokelly; 11-08-13 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 11-10-13, 08:07 PM
  #828  
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four fat bikes (all pugsleys) for an overnight 54+ mile adventure.
1 rider, an accomplished endurance MTB racer traveled ultralight+
2 of us were dialing in kit we hope to use on future exploration / adventure rides (i have much cold weather work to do...)
1 grabbed everything he had and came along.


Frosty Fall Fat Bikepacking by mbeganyi, on Flickr


Frosty Fall Fat Bikepacking by mbeganyi, on Flickr


all good fun.
(there's nothing light about ultralight when you are on a puglsey - but when you end up pushing your bike over the green mountains, carrying it across streams balanced on boulders, lifting it over blow down - you start to think about every little thing you are carrying...)
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Old 11-10-13, 08:42 PM
  #829  
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fun trip. Hope it wasnt too cold, especially for sleeping. Ya, as you say, schlepping the big over stuff and all is really different than pedaling along paved roads. For me, having an extra five pounds or whatever, lets say from 20, up to 25 or 30 isnt really a deal breaker. Sure, a little slower but all in all its not a real difference. This summer riding to Boston I had at least 10lbs more than the other fellow (I had tent, cooking stuff, first aid stuff, various doo dads etc) but still climbed as fast or faster.
Doing what you guys did with the carrying aspect. those 5 lbs would kill me, being a slight fellow and not strong at all arms wise.
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Old 12-05-13, 07:42 PM
  #830  
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Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
it seems that every tour is different.

different times of the year
different weather patterns to deal with
a variety of logistical options
distances
caloric demand, etc..

however I will say this much
that once you learn to be able to be self sufficient in the dirt, pavement is much easier.

easier in that logistics are that much easier to locate.

and there simply are not gradients on the pavement that are so common to mountain biking.

I finished a quick jaunt down the west coast
I honestly don't recall 1 hill coming down the coast. there are a few climbs, but climbing is just part of riding. I've become very comfortable climbing.
(a few months ago, I did a ride from Lahina, to Paia, then up Haleakala and back to Lahina, thats over 10k ft in one hill)
where I met/crossed paths during multiple days, a group of young adults all on LHT's, and all with at least 4 panniers.

wow, their camp scene every night was nothing short of impressive!
massive dinners, a lot of food, stoves, cookware, groceries, etc...
I simply marveled.

it was as if a scene from being home with friends.

the Hunter 29er, even shod in a fresh set of 2.1" Nanos was capable of +15mph av on the pave.
most days, I'd do a loop somewhere thru the dirt, exploring areas that were new to me, then eventually landing at the next camp.

some days I'd feel bad, when I'd see the group ahead, while closing the gap at over 20mph.
the difference is simply just amazing.

obviously the key here is to simply not carry too much.

it would be even that much faster if adopted to a road bike.

I've had thoughts of using my CAAD10.

from my experiences with the Oregon and Cali coasts
the road bike would be a very doable option
especially in light of the abundant amenities, especially in Oregon.

however, the 29er shod in the likes of Nano's, gives you the very real option of riding mtb trails, fire roads until your hearts content
at times I've thought of perhaps an LHT with frame bags and the likes of Schwalbe Marathon Extremes

while I still have a set of OMM racks and panniers
I admit that they are stashed away somewhere.
I never use them.
I can't get over what logic seems to pervade by using metal to hold something up, then hanging bags off of center line of the bike.
in my opinion its crazy, and to waste frame space on water bottles?
even crazier. the bike is a rack.
Which brand of packs do you use?
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Old 12-06-13, 01:35 AM
  #831  
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
Every trip at least once. Really. But "constant" was hyperbole for sure, sorry. I guess I just resent bringing stuff that serves only to bail others out of trouble. Hence the dilemma.

I don't want to make anybody mad, but contempt should not be heaped on those who carefully evaluate the pros and cons for themselves and make choices different from the herd.
I see this a lot on the UL backpacking forums. It's an old debate for sure because on the AT they run into the same hikers day after day. I don't much expect to run into other tourers out there on the road unless I'm touring with them which is rare though I may share a campsite or run into someone going my way and ride them for a day or so.

It's hard to avoid the hyperbole really. An issue like how light is to light is a deply personal issue. These issues are at the forefront of everyone's mind and no matter how experienced we are a lot of our gear decisions are based on a gut or at best a somewhat rationalized play of odds where we're not going to have perfect data.

A good example is how the weather affects gear decisions.

We could carry for example a perfectly free standing four season tent at all times and there are many who do. However for shorter trips in summer months it might seem like overkill. Likewise it might seem silly to carry a double wall tent with complete bug net for winter camping.

My gear changes pretty drastically for the seasons. I don't pack a tent based on the worst case scenario either. For example on a recent tour of the great divide taking the entire month of september I only took a 6x9 tarp. I theorized and have praciticed for eventualities where if the weather goes to hell in a hand bag I can improvise a shelter with downed wood and extra insulation against snow with pine bows.

I can even double up some of my day kit, like a down jacket to add extra warmth at night. I was riding fast and hard aiming for 100 miles a day and in hindsight I can see how pushing for time and gear definitely were causing me to compromise comfort. I'll probably pad my decisions a little better next time I'm in the rockies in the fall by bringing a full winter tent for just a few ounces and a little bulk more. Especially since I'm not really happy until I seek our and find some adverse weather that seems to take my trips off the map and into new and adventurous scenarios that challenge me.

Same thing with an insulated sleeping matt / down air matt. I can see that having the confidence in my gear against snow and cold weather would have allowed me to enjoy riding longer hours into the night over mountain passes without fear of getting stuck camping in foul weather on them. This little extra confidence could have made a huge difference in both my enjoyment and my mileage. More gear meaning more miles and more comfort. That's exactly the sort of win win I'm looking for. I know therefore I went too light.

Indeed, I think it is the BULK we pay for more then the few extra ounces. In off road touring especially, but in on road touring as well. Gear must not only be light but must pack down smaller to better handling.


Mechanical skills and tools are another example where it's hard to decide how far to take it. I'm a bike mechanic so I can and have done amazing things with surprisingly few tools. I'm very, very aquainted with what my kit can and can't do. I can rebuild a hub trailside and cary a spare cone for my wheels, but that's more because the newer XT cones are not necessarily in stock at every bike shop, otherwise I would rely on outside help. I can and have replaced cables trailside, respoked, trued and retensioned wheels, singlespeeded bikes after breaking derailleurs, rebuilt pedals by the side of the trail, most of these things multiple times. oh... the things I have done and all quite happily because I consider breaking stuff and thus fixing it to be a fundamental part of touring.

For everything I've been able to fix though there are always a few that I can't fix trailside no matter what kit I carry. For example I have broken pedal axles twice. While I switched brands to the legendary Time ATAC and have since had no problems in the realm of possibility this can happen again and is a perfect example where I can't carry the tools or parts to fix it. Obviously I'm not going to carry a spare set of pedals for this rare an eventuality. Instead I rely on experience and improvisation to find the quickest solution. Lucky for me in one pedal break I was immediately seen by a couple with a pickup who saw it happen, stopped immediately and offered me a lift into town only five miles away where luck would have it there was an open bike shop. The other I found I was again within 10 miles of a shop and somehow mirraculously it was all down hill.

Luck/ no luck / bad luck. You just can't account for every eventuality in your kit. You should not though chronically be needing to borrow gear or improvise workarounds. For example I never want to rely on or expect to catch a ride with strangers nice as they are on very rare occasions. Nor do I want to be hacking and slashing my way down the divide tearing pine boughs off trees every night to add to depth of my sleep / shelter kit. That's an emergency only option.

At some point no matter how much I carry I'm going to hit that point where I need something outside of what I'm carrying. Wheels will be broken where a spoke or two won't fix it. Frames will crack.

Speaking of frames cracking. I hate to say it, but I might have pushed my luck to far riding titanium on my divide ride this last september. I cracked the frame and had to have another mailed in. If it would have been steel it might have been easily weldable saving a few days time. Still. Nothing I could have carried would have fixed the problem. It definitely overshadowed the trip costing me five total down days and a lot of money.

The point is odds cannot be calculated based on one piece of statistical data. Chances are I will never crack the titanium frame again. Indeed I've never broken another frame while touring. And who's to say if a steel frame would have broken that it would have been so catasrophic it wouldn't have been weldable anyway? I'm just lucky I wasn't injured. Which when I think about it was far more statistically likely then debating the odds on weather I should be riding steel or titanium. I just want something that's not going to get me badly hurt when it does fail.

This is why hyperbole is so hard to avoid. In the end even the most experienced among us weigh our decisions based on our gut. This does not mean we should strive to quantify our decisions, nor that we should give in to dogma / hyperbole. We should remain gentlemanlike as we pursue it though. And this debate has and I've learned from it. Thankyou.
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Old 12-06-13, 05:16 PM
  #832  
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Originally Posted by karungguni View Post
Which brand of packs do you use?
Porcelian Rocket
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Old 12-06-13, 05:19 PM
  #833  
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Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
Porcelian Rocket
Thanks. As I got further in the thread I figured it out. I have done San Huts twice (2004 and 2008). Hit me up if you want any info.
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Old 12-07-13, 12:52 AM
  #834  
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Excellent thread. Lots of good reading/advice/opinion, although it seems to be only the voice of maybe half a dozen individuals!

For me UL has always been the lofty goal, never fully attained, but always sought after. Why carry more than we need, whether it's mountaineering or bikepacking? And 'need' is a concept always to be scrutinized; one can be surprised! Geeking out on gear is fun and in the minimalist way not terribly expensive compared to other sports.

Here's pic of my kid from a 4 day trip this last fall:

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Old 12-08-13, 04:35 PM
  #835  
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Any suggesting for off the bike footwear to save packing space?
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Old 12-09-13, 06:17 AM
  #836  
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Originally Posted by karungguni View Post
Any suggesting for off the bike footwear to save packing space?
One solution is to only wear your bike shoes. I find that I can get by with only my Sidi Giaus if I do not plan any serious hiking. Serious meaning more than a few miles or difficult terrain.

There are a lot of good choices for off bike shoes if you do want/need them. I have used minimalist running shoes and also like my Cushe "slippers". I think the Cushe slippers are my current favorite. They are very light and don't mind being smashed in a pannier, and I can hike in them.
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Old 09-21-14, 07:52 AM
  #837  
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Update on my kit: I still have some room for improvement.

Bikepacking Kit Notes Silver Lake Fall 2014
Kit notes (no food or water included in weights)

Fargo naked with Revo and Redeye lights, dyno wheel, etc. 29#

Fargo 35.2# with GPS, hydro hose, Revo, Redeye, Lezyne pump and frame bags notes below


Front harness and rear saddle bag 14#

Front bag 8#
Sleeping pad, sleeping bag, pillow!, personal stuff, water purification, toiletries, headlamp, showers pass crossover tucked into harness (need to change this - lost it after this photo)

Rear bag 6#
Tarptent Contrail, cook kit (Snow Peak 700 pot, double wall mug, fuel canister, Gigapower stove, matches, silicone bowl, Ti spark, bear line, carabiner, stuff sack), camp clothes (MUSA knickers, boxers for camp, Patagonia puffy jacket).

On bike frame bags, feed bag, gas tank and jerry can 6.2#
Frame bag
Arm warmers, gloves, folding camp saw, knife, Fenix LD22 vest and woolie, tent pole, tent stakes, spare tube, empty bladder, sawyer mini inline with hydro bladder

Jerry can with tools, multitool with pliers, 1 brake, 1 shift cable (tucked into sides of bag stiffener), der hanger, patch kit, fiber spoke, tire levers, spare master link

Feedbag with hand sanitizer (no food for weights, but generally my road food goes here)

Gas tank with Canon G12 camera and batteries (4aa and 4aaa)

Total Kit without food / water 20.2#
Total rig without food / water 49.2#

On person - wallet, cellphone, SPOT tracker, cycling cap


Kit can drop by 1-2 pounds with sleeping pad and bag changes. Clothing was minimal, but we were expecting temps in the 30s, so extra woolie, knickers, and Patagonia puff were a must for off bike. Long fingered gloves were a luxury on this trip.

Small changes can help - headlamp can stay home if I get a headstrap for the Fenix light for camp use. No need to bring water drops and the Sawyer in VT - but the boys didn't have purification stuff so I carried those too.

Folding saw could have stayed home, its heavy and takes up space - but we wanted a fire... didn't need it - but I've used it 3/4 times I carry it.

Canon G12 can be upgrade to something smaller. The spare batteries generally stay in my gas tank bag and get swapped into the SPOT and GPS during normal riding.

I generally carry a battery backup for the iPhone / GPS. Didn't carry it this time and leached off of Greg's. Would have been out of power on the phone in the morning had he not had his (need to rig the USBwerk to the Fargo....!)

The pillow was pure luxury! Normally that stays home.



Jones Bar on the Fargo by mbeganyi, on Flickr



Fargo on Chandler Ridge by mbeganyi, on Flickr
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Old 09-21-14, 08:01 AM
  #838  
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And nun - no backpack!
Can extend the carry capacity by using my anything cages. Pretty happy with this setup. Will try it on the Indy Fab late fall.
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Old 09-21-14, 10:58 AM
  #839  
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I recently spent 8 days riding with a friend along a portion of the Pacific Coast route. Since I normally tour with my wife and a 2-person tent, I thought it'd be fun to experiment with a tarp and bivy, as my friend would be using his own tent. On this trip we also decided not to cook. With access to so many grocery stores along the way, we could easily rely on fresh food. As a result, I was able to significantly reduce the bulk and weight on the gear I brought. My base weight (not including clothes worn, food, or water) was about 13lbs. Although we only spent 8 days on the road, I could have used this exact setup for the entire Pacific Coast route or any long distance route for that matter in warm, dry temperatures. For a 3-season setup, I could probably keep the base weight below 15lbs without much effort.

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Old 09-21-14, 08:19 PM
  #840  
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doesnt look lightweight, but in reality all the stuff on the bike was between 20 and 25lbs, closer to 20lbs when I weighed myself holding the blue panniers, black arkel jobees and the drybag. Realistically when you figure the two racks probably are a few pounds, maybe between 2 and 3, so I guess 25lbs is not far off.
Total bike weight about 55lbs

This was for last weekend north of Montreal, so had warmer clothing plus a slew of extra stuff--was expecting rain so had long wool gloves (dishwashing gloves to go with them), extra wool socks, toque, fleece neckup, some old cross country ski gloves I use all the time for cool weather riding, and a whole rain gear kit including a somewhat heavy Showers Pass rain jacket, plus rain pants and booties.

Glad I had the extra clothes as I needed most of it and would have been even more miserable with less so no regrets there. Had a much warmer sleeping bag than usual but did use a mini Trangia alcohol stove and one wee alum pot, that worked well for making pasta and coffee , soup, all of which I had packed in with my clothes in the Arkel Dry-Lites. (stove in front panniers along with coffee mug and whatnot, the old codura panniers tougher for this stuff and was being careful using the Dry-Lites for the first time on a trip.

The Ortlieb drybag seems like overkill, but it was a combination of wanting to keep the down sleeping bag and tent really dry in anticipation of rain and perhaps the necessity of a second night out wild camping. Plus, I got the drybag a while back and hadnt used it for a bike trip so figured I might as well use it and see how it works.
I could have eliminated the front bags and rack, but it would have been a tight fit with all on the back, so I wanted more free space for sticking in groceries bought in the town before looking for a camping spot, plus again, didnt want to risk stuffing stuff into the lightweight Arkels and risk damaging them. In the end was the right decision cuz the front panniers had lots of room for a litre of juice, the filled up 1.5l nalgene for the nights supper and breakfast, plus a plastic packet of 6 muffins.
Plus the weight balance was nicer front/back, thinking it might be better for riding on a stone dust/fine gravel trail, and anyway, the bike just felt more balanced without it all on the back.

In summer temps, less clothes and lighter sleeping bag would take a few pounds off, I could probably go with a much lighter rain jacket, and most likely would be able to ditch the front panniers and rack. So realistically it could be 20lbs and I'd still be ok for sleeping comfort. The tent is a 2 person MSR which is probably 4.5 lbs, not superlight but then its what I have now, but realize that there are numerous 1 person tents out there at about 3 lbs.

I made a list of everything I took and it will be fun to reduce it next summer with warmer temps.

This was first time using an alcohol stove and was very happy with the mini trangia, bigger than what you guys take cuz I had the small pot and stove holder thingee, but still fairly light even though I took a plastic mug also (wanted to have oatmeal in pot and coffee in the mug)

gotta admit, enjoyed having less stuff than usual, even though I kinda treated this two dayer as a test for clothes in cold rainy temps, so did have some overlap and duplication going on with clothes.
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Old 09-22-14, 07:56 AM
  #841  
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My current touring setup.

- Surly Krampus w/ 29 x 3" tires and Rohloff
- Porcelain Rocket bike bags
- 28L Camelbak pack

I haven't weighed my gear, but it's good for 3 season travel in Canada. I would take the same stuff on a 1 week tour or a 2 month trip.

I'm working on lightening my bike and gear over this winter as my trips are involving more and more challenging terrain that requires man handling the bike and gear up and down over mtns on marginal trails.

Last trip I ended up loaning out some critical spares to other riders with a lot more gear than me. I often tour solo so I get it done with what I have.

Ultimately it's not how much stuff you have it's what you brought combined with testing/maintaining your gear and planning your trip that equals success.

Interestingly when I look back at my 4 panniers and tent on the rear rack days I'm no less comfortable and I have no less fun. In fact I like riding my bike more since it retains some maneuverability compared to the boat like handling of a classic fully loaded touring bike.

I'm also able to cover more and varied ground making things possible that weren't with a ton more gear.

The one challenge with taking less is figuring out what "I" really need. I still have a tent in my bags. A tarp/bivy would be lighter, but I appreciate my bug free cocoon and storm ready shelter.

There are always folks with less gear. Don't just copy their lists as you may find you need different items to keep smiling.

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safe riding - Vik
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