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2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated
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Martin Schroeder
(Mephistopheles) - F
2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/17/2011 18:33:58 MST Print View

Hello everyone,

First i'd like to introduce myself a bit. I'm a backpacker with 4 years and 80 coutries of travelexperience. In april I start to the next trip. It will be a round-the-world-trip with my girlfriend on a tandem bycicle.

So far i thought that my choice in euqipment was quite good concerning the weight. But the last 2 weeks I've been reading ultralightblogs and realized that there is lots of room for improvement. I hope that you have some good ideas to help me :)

One note: You have to consider that the equipment should survive for about 1000 days of consecutive use. I can't build a rainkilt out of cubenfiber or fill my toothpaste into 10ml bottles ;)

Here is the equipmentlist. If you have any questions I'm happy to answer them.


Edited by Mephistopheles on 01/17/2011 18:38:46 MST.

Martin Schroeder
(Mephistopheles) - F
Improvements on 01/17/2011 18:44:10 MST Print View

The improvements i found are:

Ortlieb Back roller Plus instead of classic.
-440 grams. But would cost me 250€.

One walled titanium cup instead of the double walled.
-60 grams. A few €, but no insulation anymore.

Blackburn bike pump instead of Fox bikepump.
-140 grams. Requires more pumping and has ne pressure gauge.

I can't give detailed weights for the clothing because not everything arrived yet. You will also notice the Diana Clothing/Luxury/Electronics/Toiletries. I haven'T had the cance yet to weight everything at her place. I just assumed that the total net. weight of her stuff is the same as mine, since we pretty much pack the same.

The heaviest items are the tent, the shoes, the netbook and the ortlieb bags. I have to explain my choices here a bit:

Tent: We choose a tent over a tarp because of insects/snakes. We neither want snakebites, scorpionstings nor malaria/degue/yellowfever.

Shoes: We need bikeshoes with spd-system. We also need shoes for different climatezones, so we decided to take sandals and boots, for warm weather and high humidity as well as rain, snow and mud. Sadly none of these two are lightweight, but these Shimano shoes are the only spd-sandals and only spd-goretex-boots on the market. We had no real choice. ;)

Netbook: We have sponsors and a webblog and need to do regular updates as part of our sponsorships. Therefore we are required to carry one of those. The EEE PC series is cheap, reliable and small. I used it on previous trips and it worked well enough for me.

Ortlieb bags: The heavy duty waterproof undestroyable bikepanier bags are the best on the market (in my opinion) and served me well on previous trips as well. They are not light, but the only protection for our gear, so i choose qualitiy over weight in this occasion.

Edited by Mephistopheles on 01/17/2011 18:53:11 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 00:21:57 MST Print View

"One note: You have to consider that the equipment should survive for about 1000 days of consecutive use. I can't build a rainkilt out of cubenfiber or fill my toothpaste into 10ml bottles ;)"

I don't get the logic. Yes, bring the hard-to-find spare parts with you by all means, but toothpaste and the like -- and clothing too -- do you plan NOT to be anywhere near a store for 1,000 days?

I didn't bike (so not completely the same) -- but I did a 7-month solo RTW trip using surface transportation only (i.e. no flying) and my total pack weight, including the pack, was about 11 pounds. Yes, you will have much, much longer stretches of desolation -- but I presume measured in days or perhaps a week or two -- and not at all in months or years? As an example, I really don't think you need 22 pounds of clothing -- 4 shirts, 3 trousers and 6 pairs of socks at any one given moment... Also, NiMH AA / AAA rechargeable batteries are widely available. Subjective, but I would also leave the electronic hair cutter at home. Getting haircuts around the world is a great experience -- and dirt cheap too -- outside of the US, western Europe and Japan.

Edited by ben2world on 01/18/2011 00:36:07 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 00:32:22 MST Print View

Ben has an excellent point. I'm sure you'll switch out some of your clothing before the 1000 days are up. Why not do some of the same with gear if it'll save a lot of weight.

Dylan Snodgrass

Locale: San Francisco, CA
2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 04:27:56 MST Print View

In no particular order a few things I wrote down at the end of my last extended bicycle tour.

Tent: Bigger and freestanding. Sometimes you wind up on concrete or in really awkward spots that do not have good stake points. More space when your tent bound due to storms, or country that's really windy is important. Getting away from the weather can be a valuable mental and physical break. Having some room to cook, play cards, stretch out, it's a good thing. Because you'll probably wind up poaching plenty of camp spots make sure the fly is green/brown. It makes the difference between peaceful night/mornings or a crowd of village kids with all sorts of questions.

Extra tires, spokes, chains, etc: You will need tires (at the very least) and murphy's law will have you in the worst place possible when a sidewall tears beyond repair. Also are you running 26" wheels or 700c? If 700c you might think about bringing a rim/spokes many parts of the world DO NOT have parts for 700c wheels. I know this sounds crazy but if your going deep country maybe have one for that leg of the journey. Plus a cassette remover for repairing drive side broken spokes.

Many parts of Asia you won't really need your tent or cooking gear. It's just easier and super cheap to eat/stay in towns/villages along the way. A largish tarp can be nice if you want to stop during afternoon rainstorms and your not near a town.

A foldable bucket for doing dishes, laundry, soaking your tired feet, etc. I think Ortlieb still makes one, we loved it.

A small tarp and sections of thin foam to sit on. Lunch breaks are better when you don't have to sit in the dirt and the pad makes it more comfortable.

Bombproof rain gear designed for cycling, it's expensive but in the northern climates worth its weight in gold. I see that your wearing cycling shoes so don't forget shoe covers! Oh ya! A cap with a good sized brim for when it's raining otherwise the rain pelts your eyes and you can't see

I could go on and on but this is getting boring. By far the most important is to listen to your partner, I'm sure you know this but I feel compelled to say it. The gear and cycling become second nature but surviving the ups and downs mentally while on the road can be tough. Since your on a bike and vulnerable you need each other.

One last thing and then I'll shut up. Cloths seemed to come and go with the country and terrain. For what ever reason it seems like the right stuff turns up at a market or... I don't know it just works out.

Bike are great and bicycle touring is the best way to travel. Have fun!

P.S. Are you hip to Warm Showers? If not prepare to be stoked! | Hospitality for touring cyclists

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 05:00:58 MST Print View

Can't comment on too much, but merino wool will improve your life. low smell, good performance. the 150g/m stuff is fine for warm weather. extended washing periods will reduce the amount of clothes you will need to carry.

Martin Schroeder
(Mephistopheles) - F
Thanks on 01/18/2011 09:10:04 MST Print View

Thanks for the suggestions.

@Benjamin Tang :
Well, I didn't mean to carry toothpaste for 1000 days ;) Just buying a 3.5oz pack and then only taking 1oz. with me and throw the rest away to save weight doens't work for us.

I don't want to change the clothing. It's 11 pounds per person. I did a 1 year round the world trip and a 1 year biketrip from germany to southafrica and always just used the cloth i took with me in the first place. The main difference between bus/train and biking is, that we are, like backpackers/trekkers 24h outside. Doens't matter if it's sunny, 100 fahrenheit or snow and 20 fahrenheit. We have several deserts, mountainranges and jungle on the trip. It's fair to assume that we'll meet almost every major climatetype.

I thought about taking only 1 set of bikeclothes and have the second one send to us, when the first one fails/worn out. that would save about 12-15oz.

Batteries: The 10 batteries are "just" whats in the electronics. i dont take 10 spares with me. all the devices i weighted are without batteries.

Haircutter:Yeah, i know. I put it under luxury, because I don't really need it. Since my time at the military I tend to shave everyday, trim my beard once a week and cut my hair once a month. Keeping everthing short and tidy ;)

@Eugene F. Leafty III : Nope, i really hope to avoid changing any gear on this trip :) Only if i find a better replacement.

@Dylan Snodgrass: We have a smaller tunnel tent that survives routher weather as a backup at home. Otherwise the Golite Eden is quite big, 2x apsis, 2x doors, you can sit in there without banging your head... one tent is green, one is sand. Although i never cooked or took food into the tent on my africatrip. thats a big no-go there.

We have the usual spare parts, but won't take extra tyres. The schwalbe marathon plus last about 8000-10000 miles. I hade 5 flats in 15000 miles with 2 sets of these, friends of mine had 2 sets on 21000 miles and only had 7 flats.

I'd love to leave my unused equipment like tent/cooking gear/cold weather clothing somewhere when i dont need it. I love the system you have on the trails in the US with postal drops that hold the package for you. But we can't do that in poorer countries. So far I tried that 2 times and both times the package was stolen/never arrived.

I had a 20l foldbucket with me, but i never used it...

Seat for lunchbreaks is one of the 20l ortlieb bags. I pack them that way, that one is full of clothing/stuff that doenst break.

Raingear we get sponsored by bergans, the shoes are gore-tex anyway, so no problem there :)

What do you mean by: P.S. Are you hip to Warm Showers? If not prepare to be stoked!
My english ins't that good that I know colloquial american english ^^

EDIT: ah... Never heard of the site, thanks again. I tried so far :)

THANKS for all the tips.

@David Wills : We have no merinowool so far. I only hear good things about it, but we dont have much room, i'm afraid. We have bikegear, raingear and one set trekkingstuff. I'm sure we can try to find some merinowool for the trekkiong cloths.

Thanks to everyone so far.

I just wanted to point out one thing again: The list is for 2 persons. So Clothing, Toiletries, Electronics and Luxury are double. Please keep that in mind :)

Edited by Mephistopheles on 01/18/2011 09:12:33 MST.

Dylan Snodgrass

Locale: San Francisco, CA
2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 12:46:14 MST Print View

Ah ah... your a cycle touring veteran this is good.

Warm Showers is a fantastic thing, we have met amazing people and made many friends through WM.

Since your on a tandem you might like this site for inspiration. Enjoy it!

One Tandem, One Camera, Twenty Thousand Miles Of Possibilities :: Take A Seat

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 14:05:12 MST Print View


I think that site will only be applicable if his girlfriend leaves partway through!

I saw the movie that he made about it, less than an hour long probably, and really quite interesting. A bit of trouble picking up people to bike with it seemed.

Something potentially constructive that I will add, shedding weight isn't the most important thing. For instance, if you can drop 3 lbs of kitchen kit, but then you and your girlfriend are constantly angry at how hard it is to cook (or who is cooking!) than it isn't worth it at all. The ultimate goal is enjoyment, will you enjoy easy cooking more than 3lbs less weight? hard to say...

Also, sending something ahead, cycling clothing?, just to save 12-15oz doesn't seem to fit into that balance, especially when you are only saving such a small fraction of total weight for the hassle of mailing it, etc. If you included more things with it as a mail-drop, that might make more sense.


Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 14:17:23 MST Print View

I suggest increasing your base weight, to include a lawnmower, so you can make money during your trip.


Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: on 01/18/2011 15:12:46 MST Print View

I can't comment too much either. I don't know about bike touring or how easy it is to count on mail internationally but I would consider 'bounce boxing' some of the things you will perhaps need at some point but aren't going to use every day. i.e. the extra toothpaste! or your hair clippers. Again, I don't know about the hassles of this internationally but in the US is pretty darn convenient.

Martin Schroeder
(Mephistopheles) - F
Thanks on 01/18/2011 17:35:49 MST Print View

Thanks for the link. Was a bit shocked to see that he took 4 years for the trip, but that was inclduing writing a book and the 1,5 years afterparty ^^

I prefer to work as a hairdresser, considering the haircutter i take with us, not as good as a lawnmower, but lighter :P

@Matthew Zion
I wans't talking about 'bounce boxing'. It's pretty impossible to do internationally. I meant: Leave the stuff at home, as a backup. If something breakes/lost/forgotten/stolen tell people at home to send it to a place where you can pick it up, an embassy or something.

I actually never met anyone doing 'bounce boxing', ever. Guess that's only in the backpacking culture of the USA.

Maybe i'm a bit wrong in an ultralight trekking forum. I incoroporated some ideas of ultralight backpacking, like the penny stove (i love it) and using more multifunctional stuff, building my own pieces of equipment. Right know i try to add a holding system for the camera to a bottlecap. Take a 1,5l bottle full of water, screw on special cap, add camera = instant tripod.

Fact is that we have 440pounds total. Me + Diana + 20-40pounds food/water + bike + 64 pounds equipment. So dropping oz. doesn't make a big difference, but taking a pound off will be noticed ;) I will also modify the bike and will probably get 10 pounds off it. Another big difference is, that it doesn't matter to us if our equipment is worn on the body or in a bag, since the weight of the bike doesn't change. If we take 2 pairs of 3pound boots, it's still 6 pounds more on the bike.

I was hoping for ideas like: You can use A as B and C and can leave D and E at home. Or: Company X builds wonderfull light Ys, so you can replace your Z with it.

Like i said, unfortunatly we can't use these little tricks to lower consumables or sending stuff ahead. Our schedule is losely based on months and countries to go to. We go with the seasons, trying to be prepared for most things.

Edited by Mephistopheles on 01/18/2011 17:44:04 MST.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 01/18/2011 18:54:46 MST Print View

shawn and ingrid hobba just completed (with their 9yr old daughter !) inuvik to the south end of all things.
they might have some good thoughts on this. very nice people the hobba's. 1.5 yrs it took.

Mercutio Stencil
(fuzz2050) - F
Bike Repairs on 02/05/2011 16:57:31 MST Print View

If I were to embark on this expedition, I would be carrying a lot more repair gear for the bike. At 3 years and thousands of miles, you are going to need to do quite a bit of maintenance while on the trail. You might get lucky, but you might get stranded somewhere in need of a cone wrench, or just some allen keys.

I would take enough tools to do most major repairs by yourself, as well as most consumables. At a minimum a full set of allen keys, a small adjustable wrench (for an older bike), tire levers (you really need those for taking off Marathons, cone wrenches (if your bike had adjustable bearings, or a bearing remover and spares if you have cartridge), a chain tool, and a spoke wrench that fits your bike. With those tools you should be able to limp to a bike shop from just about anywhere.

You would also need a few consumable bits, at least a good patch kit (which I see you have, I assume it includes glue), a few cables (tandem length brake and derailer cables can be hard to find), a few extra links of chain, maybe with one of those fancy chain fastening links that I can't remember the name of right now, and a tire boot. There are certainly some things I'm overlooking, but that's a decent place to start.

Jordan Clymer
(jordanclymer) - F

Locale: The Columbia Gorge
Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 02/16/2011 23:17:11 MST Print View

Having trouble posting the whole message. So here is the first part.

Alright, this list has LOADS of things you can cut down on. =D

First, "You will also notice the Diana Clothing/Luxury/Electronics/Toiletries. I haven'T had the cance yet to weight everything at her place. I just assumed that the total net. weight of her stuff is the same as mine, since we pretty much pack the same." why are you having two people carry the same items?!

Share the computer and toiletries for starters. Share a razor, toothbrush/paste, sunscreen, soap, a bigger towel.
Invest in a dry sack that you can use for waterproof storage, then turn inside out, and wash clothes/dishes in.
Dr. Bronners soap can replace all special soaps/cleaning solutions. Also have the cook towel double as the pot scrubber.
Do you really need a cook pot, and a cook pan?
Make the alcohol Everclear, it is a drinkable grain alcohol that can also clean wounds and be fuel. Baking soda is very multi-use.
Ditch the hair clippers and just get local haircuts when ever you reach civilization?

Edited by jordanclymer on 02/16/2011 23:23:01 MST.

Jordan Clymer
(jordanclymer) - F

Locale: The Columbia Gorge
Re: Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 02/16/2011 23:25:33 MST Print View

Part 2

It will save you a lot of weight to spend the money on quality clothes so you can carry less wardrobe.
Get rid of the weaker of your TWO rain jackets?
A pair of quality wool socks will do the job of ALL those socks, so buy better socks.
Get two pair of good merino wool thermal underwear (day/sleep pairs), and you can ditch the extra underwears and the long/fleece shirts.
Make sure the beenie is comfortable under the bike helmet. Nothing worse than choosing between safety and comfort. =)

Buy a quality android based smart phone (I recommend the Nexus S).
With it you'll get an mp3/games/movie player, working internet browser, kindle reader/store, high mega pixel camera, wifi/bluetooth/GSM, multi-time zone watch, compass, altimeter, accelerometer, medical guide, notebook, map/navigation, and GPS system. Plus a million other things in the application market it has.
You can then chuck out a load of kit and save a lot of weight (that model is fast at 1ghz and only 129 grams!).
I use one, a single charge will last me literally over a week with all the antennae turned off in standby most of the time.
Takes approx 7 hours to recharge on my very lightweight solar AA/usb charger (powerfilm).
Also, consider cutting back on the batteries. Remember you can always just switch pairs to whatever devices you are currently using, instead of packing them for every device!

I see a lot of bagging that could be removed.
Think about getting a couple aloksak bags for stuffing all the electronics, dust/moisture sensitive goods into. Try to consolidate bags and storage. Less mass (excess baggage) means less weight.

No first aid kit?! O_o
I also don't see a knife (multi-tools don't count).
Dajo makes a great light survival model. But it will need to be sharpened. Also comes with a swedish fire-steel, which is great as a backup/emergency fire starter. Bring coffee filters if your only water treatment is a steri-pen. =D

Extra/different bike parts and tools I'd be bringing.

Check that the multi-tool works on all parts of the bike. Nothing worse than finding out you are missing the right hex size you need to adjust things.
1 set of extra tires to share, also remember to rotate tires back to front, as the rear tires will wear faster.
Spokes/nipples, and consider only a couple links of spare chain instead of an entire spare chain as it is rare a whole chain fails and more likely to be one faulty link.
Extra derailleur cable.
Get rid of the grease and get a set of sealed bearings for hubs/bottom bracket. Totally worth the $$ to not need to muck around with bearings.
Make sure you have a wet chain lube if you are going into the wet wilds and a dry lube for everywhere else.
Bring a towel and toothbrush for the bikes too! Dirt can wear out parts quickly.
I'd replace gaffers tape with military grade duct tape, but that is just a personal preference.
Ditch the "boot/sandal" bike shoes and just get one pair of light/airy shoes and use shoe covers for bad weather like the pro cyclists. Heavy feet rob a lot of power from you. I really recommend a durable but light shoe that supports a spd clip on. Some Sidi, Northwave, or DMT shoes should do the trick.

Seriously, a crank tool? don't have a replacement crank, and anywhere you'd buy one, they can fix it for you! =P

Good luck and have fun! I wish you the best of travels.

Edited by jordanclymer on 02/18/2011 01:30:05 MST.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: 2 person 3 year biketrip. Baseweight 64 pounds. Help appreciated on 02/16/2011 23:25:47 MST Print View

I'll echo! Ditch the hair clippers! Getting haircuts locally can be really fun. The general recommendation, put everything out on the floor, then get rid of a third of it, and bring twice the cash!

If you can swing it, and you're not going to cold weather areas (at least for significant periods of time), go lighter by ditching the extra dry bag, the front rack and the front paniers. Get a frame back and put a lighter, MYOG handle bar bag on.

I'm following check out his kit for some good ideas on long duration ultralight bike touring. Also, look at

Martin Schroeder
(Mephistopheles) - F
Thanks on 02/18/2011 08:22:42 MST Print View


Lots of new input here :)

I'll comment on all of it later, dont have much time right now, just wanted to add a few things:

The list is a bit confusing, i will make a new one, becuase the gear from our sponsors has arrived... at least from all but 2. Also we will take lighter shoes and use raincovers. And what i meant with: 2 Rainjackets is that one is for me, one is for diana. The stuff i noted as: Diana clothing/toiletries/elektronics is not a copy of my gear. She will have her own stuff, so we wont be bringing 2 netbooks, 2 haricutter and so forth... I'll post an updated list this weekend :)