Those rack bags look a little big. What kind of trips are you considering?
Multi-day unassisted trips in the bush? S240s with a Quickie-Mart at the campground?
Might be worthwhile to lay out the stuff you plan to take and then see how much bag space you need.
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Not sure what an s240 is?
As for what kinda trips I'm planning, this summer a 2 nighter on the GAP trail. I'll probably end up doing stuff like 5 nighters and weeklong trips with no amenities, but nothing in the works yet.
A main issue on this years however is that I will be going with my old dad, and he isn't a strong rider, typical Firefox/towpath type rides he isn't good for than 20 miles without multiple breaks, so I'll most likely end up carrying the majority of things that are heavy. This will also hold true with a child in trailer with the woman, while I won't always need that much, I like to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
On single nighters, or more single track oriented riding I'll end up using my hard tail 26" with a nicer/smaller bag setup with a tarp and hammock setup as opposed to a 2.5 person eureka tent when I'm the pack mule. My backpack is also 65L and I've needed and used that much pre-child so I think I'd like the option.
Speaking of which, I got my Ibera large triangle bag setup. Its a great fit, I have all but 1/2 an inch of the frame filled, and the construction seems descent, not the greatest materials, but for $15 its wholly worth it for anyone that doesn't have a high end frame bag to try one out.
I modified it to work with an internal bottle holder on the down tube which adds stability and rigidity. I'll snap some pics, its almost like this bag was designed for my frame.
Also, with this in hand and access to borrow a sewing machine, I know exactly how I'm going to make a set of nice frame bags for all my bikes out of some vx21 I found online @ $15/ly
An S240 is a sub 24 hour trip/overnighter.
Do you live near the towpath? If so camping is available in a couple of places. Do an overnighter to work the bugs out of your setup before going to the GAP. While riding the GAP 20 miles at a time may be a tough ride but it can be done.
Also, concerning panniers, I had some older generation Axiom Seymour panniers the first time I did the GAP along with some waterproof military bags that I converted to front panniers. I did the trip self supported from PGH to DC with those bags.
Here is an ebay link to a good deal with new gen Axiom bags with a Rixen andKaul attachment system. I have bought from Ben's cycle more than once, they are great. Axiom Seymour Dlx 30 Rear Pannier Pair Journey Series 2 Bags Bike Blk Grey New | eBay
Yea, I live very close to the Canal Towpath in Cuyahoga Valley. I think there is still only 1 camping spot available off of it currently, I know they just approved in december a new trail/park system plan that is going to open a couple other camping areas in the park(as well as the approval of MOUNTAIN BIKING IN THE PARK! WOOT!), but I am unsure if those are off the towpath or not.
We generally do a full day ride there, and sometimes take the train to the end and ride back($3 one-way for bikers)
I've been on the GAP from Ohiopyle to 20 miles west from a previous trip, and plan on camping near there, as I am familiar with the area, having been there a half dozen times. The terrain was very easy to me, with no elevation change, I was averaging about 10mph solo, 50miles or so a day is our goal.
By 20 miles a day being tough I was referring to progress, 50/60 a day is a good pace.
Here is a list of the current camping on the Towpath. Towpath Campsites | Pages | Ohio & Erie Canalway
Have you ever rode the singletrack right off the trail by the Harvard entrance? It's CLE metroparks land.
No I have not gone on that one.
I believe that loop is only 2 miles long, so I havn't bothered to get up there yet.
What type of bike are you using?
I did my first few bikepacking trips with all DIY bags and learned quite a. It about what works and doesn't. You can definitely do it on the cheap and have a great time. A simple drybag strapped to the handlebars can work but what seems secure and tight in your garage or on a smooth paved road might become dislodged and fall into your front wheel on an epic downhill and cause trouble..... Lesson learned
Double check everything and take it around some local singletrack to make sure it's secure and won't wiggle free. The one area to actually spend some more would be a good seat bag. Frame bags are quite simple to make but a good seat bag is much more difficult to sew. It took me several tries to get a sat bag I liked that would actually be stable while I was riding and not wag around behind me or keep bouncing around. That's the one area I'd say the asking price for the main dealers is worth it.
Enjoy whatever you use and if you have room, don't forget a few extra straps to secure things that may be loose.
Re: Bikepacking on a budget - Options besides DIY ?
I just wanted to follow up on my earlier post. I did receive the compression bag that I bought for $12 which I mentioned in my earlier post. This thing is really nice. It's not super super super lightweight and its not made out of parachute material, but it is very durable and certainly isn't heavy. The really nice thing about it is you can compress your stuff down into a tube shape which works perfectly for the handlebars. I can't wait to try it out and the price is perfect.
I can easily fit my down bag and my air mattress inside it I'm sure if I tried I could fit even more. In fact I'm sure I can get my ground tarp in there as well. I bought the medium for reference and it's several inches short on either end of the handlebars when I strap it down in that direction.
Re: Bikepacking on a budget - Options besides DIY ?
Also on a budget I just made and tried out this stove made from a beer can from one of the links posted in the stove thread. It works perfectly, but my next version will use a sturdier can like a fosters maybe. The Bud Light can is just too flimsy. Total cost I have no idea I would venture to guess about 10 cents. Boils water in 5 minutes. I need to fashion a wind screen
Here is another option for a seatbag I just saw on Fleabay:
Wildcat Tiger Seatbag Bikepacking 8 10L New | eBay
You would just need an appropriate sized drybag to strap in there. Again, I have no experience with it, just saw it while searching.
Looks like you are off to a good start. A lot of this stuff will be trial and error, so take your time and try everything out before a long trip.
Bikepacking on a budget - Options besides DIY ?
I use a DIY beer can alcohol stove. For a windscreen I use commercial grade tin foil doubled over with the edges folded over for more rigidity. Doesn't last forever but it's super cheap and oh so light.
I have only done overnighters but usually I am only heating a warm beverage at night and then oatmeal and coffee in the AM. I bring ready-made items like sesame noodles or bread and smoked salmon for dinner. After a long day of riding I am ready to eat ASAP. Plus cleanup is water intensive and I ride in dry areas where I need to carry all my water. For all this the alcohol stove is perfect.
Re: Bikepacking on a budget - Options besides DIY ?
[QUOTE=pimpbot;10957558]I picked up one of those windscreens from Amazon.com that is basically a bunch of Aluminum plates hinged together. Looks light and durable.
Thanks I'm going to check those out for sure.
For anyone interested here's a picture of my Alps Mountaineering stuff sack. Its holding my bag and my full size air mattress. Like I said its a medium, I think you could even go with a large and be OK especially if carrying a lightweight tent.
Heya, I went to that ebay link for the Wildcat bag. I asked the Seller a Q, and before he could answer someone bought it. Damnit. I knew I should have, as that is exactly what I would like, and at a descent price.
Does anyone know of any venders that sell this Wildcat Tiger bag, or any other manufacturers that make something similiar to this at a $50 ish ?
I really think I can get buy with a frame bag, one of these, and a smaller backpack.
I'm really unsure about handlebar mounting a bag, as it seems like my cables will be crunched toward the bike abit. I'm unsure if that can cause any issues with Hydro lines? If I were to get one to fit under the lines, Im only looking at about a 4 inch diameter.
Those lines are tough. put the light weight stuff on the bars. I put my sleeping bag there.
A big shout out for using plastic trash bags to line a non-water proof stuff sack or back up a "dry" bag.
Originally Posted by evdog
This cheap & low tech method has been absolutely fail proof for me, especially for river rafting, even through getting flipped in the Grand Canyon. I usually just stuff everything in, tie a gentle knot at the top, pull the drawcord and have total confidence that everything will stay dry.
We're going to be doing the full Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal Towpath in early June, so DH fished out some old panniers from the shed. One is probably 90s era, with the waterproofing turning into plastic dandruff, but still has functional zippers & is totally serviceable. I'll just wash it, re-waterproof it (maybe) and use a plastic bag liner to make sure everything stays dry. $$ saved will go towards a really light weight rack for the panniers (Tubus, maybe?). I'm open to other suggestions. Bikes will be 29er hardtails.
Also, dropped by our local REI yesterday after a friend told us they had a bike (Surly Ogre) set up to show off bike packing gear: Revelate seat bag, frame bag and a small dry bag attached to the front handle bars with two straps. No sticker shock for the handle bar bag set up: $12.
Price tag if you get suckered in to buying the bike with all the bike packing gear: $2,105
Actually the old Ogres just went on sale, so that'll save you a couple hundred and I bet they would make you a deal if you bought the whole package. Just ask the guy in the shop.
Originally Posted by June Bug
Awesome Thread! This should be a sticky!
I am leaning towards doing a first time bike packing trip this summer and i didn't want to spend a lot to try it out and find out it wasn't to my liking. I have saved the address of this thread in my files, and I will be back to read it more thoroughly in a month or two when the planning starts.
If I wanted to get into bikepacking cheap, I'd buy a revelate seat bag, strap a stuffsack lined with plastic on the handlebars and go. If that isn't enough room, bring a small camel back or daypack. Or bring less stuff.
The Revelate seat bag is a good value per cubic inch of storage and it will last for years. You might even use it for day trips.
IMO the OP should just get 200 worth of Revelate gear (seatbag and gas tank?) and a cheap drybag/strap setup for the handlebar. Why? Well there a few important reasons:
1. Money- Well if you buy $100 in cheap strap to to my rig stuff vs. $200 in real gear you end up in the hole $100. Why? Well u can sell the Revelate gear for 100 at least, probably 125, if you decide it is not for you. The cheap gear after a few rides? Usually toast. Worth nothing as far as resale is concerned.
2. Gear performance. No one mentions this. Uraltour? You get what you pay for. Sway, cheap materials, loosening of straps, excess straps, poor design, etc.
Go with Bolder Bikepack Gear or Nuke Sunrise or Revelate and gear will work, not sway or wear outside the reinforced areas. You will be happy on the trail not pissed and fixing gear.
3. Bike performance. Cheap gear makes you slower and the weight distribution is usually poor. Cheap gear rebounds as you compress. Cheap gear compresses before the bike- good gear does it with the bike. That energy flow against you wears you out.
Well unfortunately if I had multiple hundreds of dollars to get the top of the line Revelate gear, I wouldn't ask for advise for gear on a budget.
That ******** about you get what you pay for is, for yuppy suckers, plain and simple, it does not apply in 75% of the time. That saying really needs to go away. Its a cop out excuse for someone that doesn't have any concrete facts to substantiate their claims.
Have you personally used Uraltour, or are you just looking at the price tag and scoffing that someone has a full 4 peice bikepacking kit for the cost of what a revelate seat bag costs?
You do realize that labor in other parts of the world is cheaper right? You know it would only costs about $50-75 in materials to make your own custom kit right?
I got a $15 Ibera frame bag. Takes up the whole triangle. Have used in a few times in the winter time already. Hasn't exploded, hasn't torn, threads havnt come out or ripped or had the contents fall out leaving me trailside 50 miles from a car yet, like many of people would love to say will happen. If it tears up after a few dozen trips fully loaded, then I can buy another, and another, and well about 20 more of these bags compared to a custom bag, which will run anywhere from $150-$300. I've seen some custom bags that are of worse quality, cost 10x more. How come they didn't get what they paid for?
Same thing, $15 Ibera Cell phone stem mount case. Works fine. Doesnt wobble, doesn't untighten itself. My cell phone didn't fly out and break itself because of supposedly cheaper velcro, materials, or whatever.
Oh, and just to let you know, the resale value is meaningless. First of all, if its a custom kit, good luck finding someone running the same frame to sell it to, even if you can, you aren''t going to get any worthwhile return. Consider Bikepacking gear to be bought and used until its dead, then upgraded, same as any other camping gear thats actually used.
Regarding performance, only legit thing you state, wouldn't apply to someone doing this for fun on the cheap. Not doing the Great Divide, not doing a race series, just a weekend warrior a few weekends a year.
But I'd love to see your evidence that somehow cheaper gear is going to make me slower, or have different weight distribution. Somehow I get the idea that how I pack and secure my gear is gonna have alot more effect on that, than the tag will.
Just curious, but when you go into the Bike shop, do the employees do a fist pump or do you see dollar signs in their eyes?
Negative rep for the OP attitude. People didn't take time to give you advice to piss you off and argue. No one has suggested spending more than the 200 you said you had.
Sounds like you know it all already, and you need to get out on your bike.
Wow, that's a pretty crappy way to thank everyone who took their time to respond to your original question. This was actually a great thread until you messed it up with this response.
Originally Posted by steveohio
Dream4est had some valid points, and some opinions that may be based on experience, or may not. Your post is not based on experience either, so why do you know better than him? You said in your OP you could spend up to $200, That's what he was basing his advice on.
Couple other details:
A custom framebag does not have to cost $150 to $300. I guess you could spend that much, but you can get them for less than $150 for a new custom bag, even cheaper for a used one.
The resale value of quality bikepacking gear is pretty high. Just take a look at Ebay to see what used Revelate stuff goes for, usually 2/3 to 3/4 of original price. ANd the only custom piece might be the framebag, and there are off the shelf options for those as well.
Lastly, the price of the quality stuff is not just for the materials and labor. It covers the design time and various iterations that the builder went through to make it work well for it's intended purpose. A well designed seatbag most certainly will make you ride faster and safer than a poorly designed one. A poorly designed one will be swinging around and throwing off your balance (and maybe coming loose too!) while you are trying to negotiate technical trails, not something I would want! I am not saying the Uraltour stuff is cheap or poorly designed, as I have never seen or used one myself, but I'll bet it is not as stable or durable as a bag from Revelate, PR, etc.
Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for! Sometimes!
Well Steve I dont really think you are here to listen, just to be grumpy. I get that. No biggie. Here let me go a little more in depth to explain.
1. You mentioned spending 200 max. You said you bought a frame bag. I get it. thats why I said buy 185 with revelate- pika and gas tank. Add 12-15 bucks for a cheap handlbar setup and bam you are good.
2. Yes this a deal where you get what you paid for. Like I said before you can waste money on Macguyver stuff, but it will detract from the ride. I know- I rigged gear from 2007-2012. Trust me you will hate it. Racing or touring makes no difference. the only piece of real gear was a custom frame bag from Cleaveland Mountaineering?. The rest of my Macguyver gear was lame. Always fooling with it.
In 2012-2013 I started making my own bags. Huge difference in the ride, the mindset, everything.
3. Uraltour. Well I have about 5000 miles experience in singletrack touring, I have seen all the bags in action. When I first saw the Uraltour seatbag, here is what I did. went out and bought 50 bucks in material and accessories and made my first set of bags. I had the knowledge from watching the bags move and perform racing other people. I beat Uraltour on the first try, but the material was too light and prone to failure (silnylon). Went Xpac on the second and never looked back. Uraltour made me realize I could do way better myself, and I did. No r+d with the Uraltour bags. One has to go test a kit to see it flaws. It takes the makers like Revelate many prototypes to go into production.
More on Uraltour. Enlarge the pix. The sewing is just plain horrible. I am way better and frankly I dont stack up to the makers. They are masters for the most part. The detail, sewing, innovation BLOWS URALTOUR AWAY.
I would put my gear against Uraltour all day in a test and my bags are nothing more than prototypes really. But I have 1600 miles touring hard trails on my Xpac set. You think Uraltour pulled off a CTR/AZT 750 double with his kit? Dream on, those bags are being R+D by the customer after the fact. Nuke Sunrise-Bolder-Etc ? Those guys are testing machines.
4. I know. Make my own. Materials cost is 10-15% of retail max. Its all in the labor.
5 and 6. I like the Iberra stuff you mention.
7. Revelate stock bags like the Pika and the gas tank are very resellable. 3/4 value clean.
8. Yes performance applies to touring I already factored your plans into my opinion. Cheaper made me slower as you end up fiddling with gear, taking more time to find gear and the lack of stability (aka- sway) will rob you of energy, just like it would me in the CTR.
In 2013 AZT 750 I beat my previous best time by 2 days 2 hours. In 2010 and 2012 I used Macguyver gear. In 2013 I had a complete custom DIY Xpac kit. Huge difference.
9. You will have to actually go overnight to understand how cheap gear will move and loosen regardless of how you pack it or strategize. I made my own gear just because of this. You will hate bikepacking if your DIY Macguyver gear acts up, which it inevitably will.
10. I own an old bike that has seen many miles of bikepack racing, touring etc. No I dont go to the shop and spend. An expensive bike means nothing in bikepacking. Its all about wheelsets and great gear. Heavy wheels and heavy gear suck. Bad bike bags suck worse.
I sense you just want to disagree here. Fine. I dont think this is really your thing based on your attitude. Its more about the experiences out there. They are wonderful and bikepacking has made my life really amazing. Career, girlfriend, new hobby (bag making).
I used to be like you on this site. Now I realize more. A lot more. Think about it Steve. Always on the defensive with the counterpoint? Even if you have no experience on the subject? Learning and growing is very difficult with that mindset.
And to keep positive contributions going for this thread, here's my set up early last summer. I was in the same boat, not wanting to spend more than 1-200.
For me, the sleeping bag was the budget killer--I really would like a $3-400 ultralight bag eventually. I came up with a pretty good low budget solution--I picked up a 45degree 1.5 pound synthetic bag at sports authority on sale for $27. With that, I could bring a down sweater and heavy long johns and be comfortable to about freezing temps.
So for under $200, I was all set, and that included a sleeping bag purchase! And nothing on my back.
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