Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fake Bicycle Camping

Partially jealous and inspired by Apertome's Bike Camping S24O adventure, and partially just curious as to how much CRAP I could load onto The Twelve and into the new Axiom Panniers, I decided to do the logistics of my own S24O trip.

Now, you should all realize that I will likely never go on an S240 trip on my own. My wife loves camping too much to let me have all the fun without her. You've gotta love a girl that digs the outdoors. Also, you should realize that her and I will not be doing a couples' S24O this year due to the obvious medical concerns. This is entirely a "Pie In The Sky" deal. A practice in quick planning, packing and unpacking, for all intents and purposes.

The result?

Fully loaded, she weighs in at 67 pounds. The bike itself with the rack and lighting on it is 19 pounds. Therefore, I've managed to shoe-horn almost 50 pounds of stuff onto The Twelve. And it's still ridable. Actually, I've had more weight than this on the bike when getting groceries, but it was only ridden for a little more than a mile. Taking it for a spin in the parking lot, I think I could manage to get out to my favorite campground that's within riding distance without a problem. Hillsdale Lake, by the route I mapped out, is about 30 miles away.

Just how much do the panniers hold, and what all would I load into them? Let's do a Fritz Style Bag Audit. On the rack is just my bed roll: A sleeping bag and a small 2-person dome tent. I wish the tent poles were shorter.

In the non-drive side, There's a pair of propane tanks, a lantern, a portable burner, mess kit, utensils and other cookware. The clothing bundle contains a complete change of clothes with two spare pairs of socks and underwear wrapped in a hoodie, because my upper body's usually chilly when I get up in the morning.

In the drive-side pannier, there's my shoes, 3 Liters of water, two cans of soup, peanut butter, a tupper with two slices of bread, my bike multi-tool, bike lock, and gerber multi-tool with matches and a magnesium/flint fire starter.

While putting things away, I got to thinking how bright my DiNotte 200L is, even on its lowest setting. The second propane canister and the lantern could easily be replaced by packing some spare batteries for the DiNotte. This would shave 3 pounds or so off of my bike's weight, or (more likely) provide room for something else like a travel pillow, even though I don't require one when backpacking. It's also worth noting that my drive-side pannier wasn't loaded to capacity, either. There was sufficient room for the equivalent of one of those propane tanks left over in the drive side.

My edibles would likely be substantially different than this, but it's all I had in the cabinet at the time and it would likely be enough to get me there, back and through the night. I'd likely pick up some fresh fruit as well. Nourishment chosen wisely, I could get away without cooking at all, but it's one of the things I really savor about camping. There are a plethora of other options I could consider regarding logistics. I could trim down other stuff, too. This is how I'd roll the first time, though.

Who else has dreams of bike camping? What all would you pack? What do you think I'm missing?


Noah said...

I don't have any useful commentary/answers to your questions, but I really do hope you post the results/outcome of the trip here on your blog.

Noah said...

Oh duh -- you aren't actually going.

Anonymous said...

what did you forget?


MRMacrum said...

B.O.B. Trailers. Once I discovered them in the early 1990s, off road touring became a cinch. They work well for road also. I don't spend the time I used to touring, but when I did, a trailer was way better than the old pack it on the bike madness.

Noah said...

Kinda sucks, Jason. The park I want to go to doesn't allow any alcohol on the premises. There's a gas station along the way, though. I could imbibe liberally and then attempt to race the imminent inebriation. If successful, I would have my camp site set up just in time to really start feelin' the buzz.

Unknown said...

Last time I went cyclo-camping was ~140km round trip. Went alone and camped for 3 nights. Closest store (terrible convenient store) is roughly 30km round trip. Even fresh water is a 10km round trip (half of which is on a light trail). As such I was a little afraid of running out and brought this with me: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xsmurf/1064805233/

Along with a 2L camel back, and about 3L in bottles. I did have to refill. Next time I'm getting a purifying kit. Of course I had a 10oz of gin and managed to buy 4 cans of beers at the store before the entrance of the park.

That and a couple of utilities (garbage bags, the burner, utensils) pretty much takes the left side pannier. Drive side has a my clothes (warm and/or long, rain) hatchet, bike repair stuff (multi hex, tube, mini pump, tie wraps etc).

Not front panniers, but equalizing the load seems like the next step (no bosses on my fork).

Dan said...

I'm thinking that I'd like to pack some sort of computing device - maybe like your Jornada or one of those UPMC things - and look for a WiFi signal. Kind of negates the whole 'getting away from it all' vibe.

Apertome said...

It's fun to think about stuff like this. I think you could make do with less stuff.

- Depending on where you're going, you might not need that big bottle of water. The campground I was at had a water station so I only brought two water bottles.
- I'm pretty certain you could find lighter food to carry, but that stuff does look pretty good.
- Just bring one fuel canister, possibly. I didn't bring a stove but next time I'll be taking the alcohol stove that Sarah got for me. It's very small.
- I wished I had a lantern, even though I had some bright flashlights. I intended to do some writing, but found the light insufficient.

One thing Sarah and I have discussed doing is going camping together, but meeting there. I could ride my bike to the site, and she could drive. This way I wouldn't have to carry a bunch of junk, and we could camp together, but I'd still get to ride. Of course Memorial Day weekend we went camping and I started a ride from the campsite, which had the advantage of letting me ride in a new area.

You also might want to try riding more with the load. I found my trip the campsite 20 miles away was surprisingly hard.

Finally, don't forget: tooth brush/toothpaste. And BUG SPRAY. I forgot the bug spray, but I was surprisingly ok without it. Still, I'd bring some next time. And of course, don't forget your camera.

Noah said...

Apertome: Sunscreen and bug spray would be good, indeed! The camera case is already mounted on the stem. I never forget my camera.

Dan: There's no WiFi, but my cell phone gives me access to my e-mail, twitter, blogging and everything else I'd have a use for while at the lake. No sense dragging a lot of excess tech around with me.

Anonymous said...

I recommend ditching the lantern, and carrying a LED headlamp instead.

Newer headlamps with 1-3 watt LED's are awesome. They weigh much less than a lantern, can be used as a bicycle light in a pinch, and some have "diffusers" which makes them useful for reading and area lighting in a tent. I use the Petzl Tikka XP, and have been very satisfied with it.

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