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Bike tour UL list
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Courtney Waal
(d0rqums) - F
Bike tour UL list on 04/15/2009 13:54:15 MDT Print View

As much as I love backpacking, I'm mainly a bike tourer since I don't own a car and this is how I get places that I want to go to. I've been working on making a 'perfect' set of gear for a while, and have been tweaking the list every few months. This is mainly for summer/fall touring, with some colder weather options listed as optional.

It comes out to about 13.6 pounds of packed stuff, including bags and bottles but not the bike, helmet, or the clothes I'm wearing. I've academically wanted to get the weight below 10 pounds for a while, but given that this is the stuff I'm happy with I'll leave it be for now. I mainly posted this as a resource for others and to see if anyone had an opinion, but I'm still quite pleased with the kit. Some weight concessions I made:

1. I live in Boston and the idea of touring without a mini-U-lock gives me the shakes.
2. Packed size matters a LOT. It's the difference between being able to use the tail bag and handlebar bag instead of a rack, since any more size makes the extra support necessary. For hiking, I'm perfectly happy to sleep on a foam pad. For biking, I want the one that packs up the smallest. I know the Neo-Air just came out but I'm probably going to keep using the BA insulated mummy for a while for the bike. I'm a belly sleeper and the insulation is what made this win out over the clearview, though I may have to try one anyway.
3. A tarp/bivy combo doesn't get the job done in a lot of 'kampground' sorts of places that are accessible from the roads. I ended up with a Nemo Gogo which is heavy, but packs in a nice ball with no poles.
4. I like to be able to get off the bike and walk around a few places along the way. For this, I've caved to girliness and included a wrap skirt and some nice squishy shoes (Fivefingers). The lock also helps here.
5. I have teeny girly arm muscles and the heavy Road Morph pump is the only one I can get the tires up to pressure with.

Here it is packed up last summer on the bike, though with a terrible handlebar bag:

Dolce tour packing

And here's the Google spreadsheet:

Edited by d0rqums on 04/15/2009 13:59:44 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Bike tour UL list on 04/15/2009 14:06:42 MDT Print View

Consider a CO2 inflator for an easy, high pressure post-flat ride. Until you find towns with bike shops and floor pumps, you'll be riding soft. You will also minimize ripping out your presta valves from all the hand pumping.

Also consider sealant tubes at +4 ounces total that would go a long way to negating most flats, and providing uninterrupted riding days.

Edit: after looking at your gear list I didn't see any Chamois Butter. Either you've got a tried and tested butt, or you're mighty brave.

How long did it take to get your Carousel Designs bag?

Edited by greg23 on 04/15/2009 14:10:51 MDT.

Courtney Waal
(d0rqums) - F
Re: Re: Bike tour UL list on 04/15/2009 14:11:16 MDT Print View

C02 is okay for day rides, but I don't want to rely on it for multi-day rides or sitting on the side of the road and trying to find the hole by filling up the tube and searching around. The Road Morph actually has a little hose that goes to the valve, so it's much harder to be a klutz and break the valve stem off. I can get my tires to 120 PSI with it and not swear too much. There's a story about my breakup with C02 along a back road in Maine while the sun was setting, but that's for another time.

Sealant tubes are worth looking into. The bag is from Carousel, good catch! It's really beautiful work. I ordered it during the summer so it took some months to get it.

Also, chamois butter doesn't seem to make a bit of difference in my posterior situation. I gave up on it a while back and have enjoyed having a non-slimy butt.

Edited by d0rqums on 04/15/2009 14:14:01 MDT.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"Bike tour UL list" on 04/15/2009 14:12:58 MDT Print View

Courtney, awesome. Do you have more pictures? Riding coast to coast on my single speed has always been on my short list. If I was twins I could get alot more done. Ali Pictures pictures pictures :)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: "Bike tour UL list" on 04/15/2009 14:22:48 MDT Print View

I used to do quite a bit of ultra-distance cycling...I think staying away from CO2 is a good idea. On a long distance trip running out of air during any leg could be a disaster. The ride on which you figure 4 bottles will be enough will be the ride that you get 5 flats...I've been there.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: "Bike tour UL list" on 04/15/2009 14:52:44 MDT Print View

I agree that CO2 by itself is quite a gamble. And sometimes hard to find while on the road. But with a hand pump as backup, it's hard to beat.

That said, I agree that Cortney' choice of a Road Morph with a T-handle and hosed filler-head is a solid choice.

nathan matthews
(nathanm) - F

Locale: Bay Area
handlebar bag on 05/23/2009 22:00:10 MDT Print View

I did a short four day tour on highway one in California last summer, with a similar list. I couldn't figure out a good way to rig a handlebar bag around my cables. How is yours attached? Is it hanging off of areo bars or something? I gave up, and made do with a small volume of stuff off on a seatpost rack, mostly by leaving behind some of the things that I'd need on a longer trip/being prepared to bail if the weather turned bad.

On a similar question, I've been drooling over the CDW bags, and how do you like yours? Is it something you're able to access during the day, or do you find that you pack things you won't need in it, and use the handlebar bag for easy access?

Courtney Waal
(d0rqums) - F
Re: "handlebar bag" on 05/26/2009 15:50:35 MDT Print View

The one in the picture is just attached to the aero bars with its velcro straps. They're somewhat twisted and I worried about it ripping during a ride but it's still holding up. Now I'm using an eVent bottom compression sack on the handlebars with some buckle straps and though it's a pain in the butt to get into, it's about as solid as can be. I can whack the bag pretty hard and it just doesn't move. My handlebars are pretty narrow so the aero bars make a nice place to attach junk, and while they're not necessary for the compression sack I do have the option of hanging it from them. I don't have any problems with the brakes hitting the bag as long as I don't stuff it full. Here's a link from where a guy did the same thing on a mountain bike:,210.0.html

As for the CDW bag, I love mine. It can be a pain in the butt to get into, though, and you have to make super sure that it's not going to droop and hit the rear wheel. I use fenders so I have some protection from the bag hitting the wheel. You can mitigate this issue by packing things you only need in camp and keeping hard items either up front or packed in the tail bag in such a way that they can't slip through to the bottom and cause trouble. My camp stuff fills the bag anyway. Bag droop may not be much of a concern if you're taller than me and have more seat-wheel clearance, which is likely.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Bike tour UL list on 05/27/2009 09:08:19 MDT Print View


Thanks so much for sharing this gear list with us. I've been researching ultralight bike packing lately as I'm finally going to be taking my daily bicycle commuting practice and applying it some weekend trips this summer.

I haven't found a niche community as specific to UL bicycling (as BPL is to backpacking). The Ultralight Bikepacking Yahoo group comes close and Crazy Guy on a Bike has some good stuff but a lot of these riders don't really care about weight.

Your list is definitive and comes from someone who is concerned about the weight and volume of their gear. I want to be doing multi-day tours without the use of panniers. Period.

Would you be willing to share that list with me as a spreadsheet (or access to the Google Doc)? You don't have private messages set-up here on BPL or I'd ask you off-list.

Allison Sayre
(TeamAlli) - F

Locale: PNW
Single speed? on 05/29/2009 23:20:45 MDT Print View

Coast to coast on a single speed? As my bike-salesman uncle would say, "we have gears these days"

Ian Corfe
(IanC2C2C) - F
Super Impressive bike kit list! on 06/17/2009 14:22:05 MDT Print View

Super impressed with the list - I've been doing similar with an MTB setup, but only so far weighed my sleeping kit. Comes in at 2642g but then I'm 6'2" and it was done on the cheap as far as possible! It also includes the dry sac they're rolled into. Looking at your list it seems that is the heaviest 'section' so it probably makes sense for me to try to lose weight from there first - especially as the items are some of the heaviest individual items too. I reckon I can comfortably save 1kg and actually increase performance/ comfort - a better R rated but lighter sleeping mat, a bivi bag with a bug net and fully stormproof closure instead of just folding the material of the hood of mine around itself, and a down rather than synthetic sleeping bag that should go down to lower temps than the old one. All involves money of course...

Anyway great set up and super detailed weighing job!


Jay Well
(jwell) - F

Locale: Willamette Valley
Re: Bike Tour UL List on 06/17/2009 18:20:28 MDT Print View

Great list. Thanks for turning me on to Carousel Design Works, somehow through all my internet wander I never found them.

Couple of Questions:

I noticed on your list that you have no stove. Do you just get all your meals along the way? No cook? What do you do about those times where there are long stretches of nothing? I know when I am on a tour I consume mass quantities of everything.

You are pretty tightly packed. What do you do for on the bike nourishment? What do you pack, how many and where do you put it for easy access?

Also approximately what size is your tail bag?