Here is my packing list for the upcoming trip.
For this trip I have decided to try using all panniers instead of taking Mule along. I have been avoiding this type of cargo-carrying due to a lack of a front rack, which has been taken care of, and Bertha’s having 32 spoked wheels, which I have been leery of using under fully loaded panniers.
When I’m using Mule only about 15% of the cargo weight is on the rear wheel and the mechanical advantage offered by the trailer’s wheels means less effort to pull the same amount of weight, however there are added risks for flat tire and a little less maneuverability plus added torque on the left side of the bike’s frame. I had planned on getting a set of 36 spoked wheels for their increased strength anyway, so I thought I would test the all-panniers route to see which method I liked better. I’m hoping that since this trip will be relatively short (around 160 miles) and fully on pavement my current wheels will be okay.
The list here is an adaptation of a list I have been using with a trailer. Basically, anything listed as packed in a rear pannier or the rear rack would normally be carried in Mule. Also, some items I carry in the Winter i.e. a down jacket, and insulated pants, aren’t on this list.
I have also left out the water filter I usually carry when I’m not planning to use campgrounds, or am touring in the winter when water sources in campgrounds are often shut-off. The carrying of a water filter goes back to my hiking/climbing days when carrying a 1 pound filter was far better than carrying extra water at 8 pounds per gallon. To me, this concept equally applies to bicycle touring.
The front panniers I’m using on this trip are my new Ortlieb Front Rollers. The rear panniers are an old set of Axiom Seymours that I have been using for commutes and groceries. The Axioms are far from Ideal for this type of trip: they aren’t fully water-proof so everything in them is also in a waterproof stuff-sack; they are a little small-they hold what I need them to, but without the extra room needed for a longer trip; and they don’t fasten to the rack as securely as I would like. If I like the all-panniers setup I will get some better rear panniers, probably Ortlieb Rear Rollers and a Rack pack, which seems to be a solid weatherproof setup. They also seem to be a $200 setup meaning I would need to sell another $200 worth of stuff to go the all panniers route, so I want to make sure I would prefer that kind of set-up over using Mule before I start laying down the cash.
The handlebar bag is a Topeak Tour Guide that I got from the sale of some old camping cots. I like the pockets, map case , and size of this bag and really like the ‘fixer 8’ attachment for electronics (gps, computer, phone, etc.). I haven’t used it on any long trips yet since it’s new, so we’ll see if it performs as well as I hope. I have been using a small KOKI handlebar bag for a few months now, and love having things like Cliff bars, gels, phone, camera, etc. accessible while I’m riding without these same items being tucked away in various pockets. I don’t like that a handlebar bag takes the spot where you would normally mount a front light, but I’ve found that with the right mount, and some ingenuity this issue is easily resolved. (I have also been eyeballing a Danish company’s battery free light setup which mounts on the fork crown)
Anyway, to the list:
Packing list Warm weather– no-trailer
Item [i.e. Bowl](where carried [i.e. RFP])
RFP=R front Pannier–LFP= L front pannier–RRP=R rear pannier
LRP=L rear pannier–HB=Handlebar bag–Rack=rear rack platform
Eat-(Food, Drinks, Kitchen, etc.)
Stove and fuel(RFP)
Nalgenes(1 ea RFP,LFP)
Food(spread among RFP, LFP, LRP)
Grocery (Garbage) bags(LFP)
Sleep-(Gear for Sleep, Hygiene, Medical, and Off-bike activity)
Sleeping pad(in tent bag)
Toiletries: Soap, Deodorant, Tooth paste, Tooth brush, Mouthwash[small bottle], Fingernail clippers, Comb, Sunscreen(Stuff sack LFP)
Wash rag(LFP zip lock)
Camp clothes for off days: Pants 1 pr, Shorts [ # varies on length of trip], Base layer [# same as shorts](LRP- All clothing not being worn except rain jacket is together in a stuff sack)
Sandals for showers and off bike excursions (LRP)
Paracord 50 ft.- for clothesline, hanging food, various other occasional uses (small stuff sack LFP)
First aid: Band-Aids assorted sizes, Tylenol [small bottle], Antibiotic ointment, Antacids[small bottle], Gauze pads, Tape, Steri-strips(stuff sack LFP)
Wrap around Knee brace(LFP)
Ride-(Gear for Bertha and for Me while Riding)
Handlebar Bag (handlebars)
ID, Debit card, Credit Card, Cash, Parks passes(HB)
Road ID Bracelet(arm)
Bike tools: Multi-tool, Assorted Allen keys, Small crescent wrench, Presta/Schrader adapter, Zip-ties, pocket knife(Stuff sack LFP)
Chamois butt’r(with toiletries)
Socks-1 pr. per day(LRP)
Spare parts: tubes, Derailleur cable, Brake cable, Quick link, Spokes and nipples, Patch kit, Spare fender and rack bolts(Stuff sack LFP)
Worries and concerns(home-next to sink)
Bike food: Clif bars, gels, electro. Powders(HB)
Notebook and pen(HB)
Rechargeable AA, AAA Batteries(stuff sack LFP)
SPOT locater (Arm- I carry it here because I could be separated from the bike, but if separated I’m from my arm I have a big problem)
Cables and adapters(w/batteries LFP)
Pile for Spring Fling
So, there we have it. It really looks like a lot on paper (or screen), but isn’t that much when packed down.
The Pile all Packed Up
Altogether, the bike weighs 88.4 pounds fully loaded: Bike-37.2 pounds, Gear and Bags-51.2 (including a gallon of water). Throw in my 145 pounds and Bertha, all our gear, and I weigh 233.4 pounds. A good bit of weight, but I have heard of heavier.
Loaded and Ready to Roll
As with all lists like this, I’m sure there are things that some people think I should add or remove. A lot of my ideas about what and what not to take were developed from similar packing lists I had for hiking and climbing trips, so some people will feel I am carrying too much, others will think I’m not carrying enough, and still others may think my choices are down right odd. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this list or any of the items on it I honestly welcome them, and am always open to ideas that will make my trips more enjoyable.