Bikepacking on a budget - Options besides DIY ?
So, looking to get a setup here for bikepacking for this summer and beyond. I am familiar with and experienced in backpacking. I know how and what to pack for trips of various lengths.
My main problem is, the lack of funds needed to get a full-on custom setup. I don't care to hear how I need to spend $300 on a frame bag, $250 on a seat bag, and $200 on some pannier or a handlebar bag.
Your proclimation that you "get what you pay for" doesn't hold true in every case. Sure, if I had a quadzillion dollars, I'd call up bikebagdude and have him whip up exactly what I want, but I, like many people can't afford $1000+ dollars for some bags for my bike, nor would I at anytime in the near future ever see myself spending that kind of coin on them. So please save your holier than thou, just save your money schtick for someone that cares if thats what you came to this thread for.
So, now that that is out of the way, what are choices are out there for someone thats willing to invest, as little as possible, and maybe up to $200 for setup of a seat bag, frame bag, and handlebar bag, as I am only looking at doing 1-2 night weekenders at this time, so I don't have the need for a huge 4 bag pannier setup.
Obviously theres the DIY method, which I have no issues with, however time is as short as my budget(new baby) so I would like to try and do as little customization as possible intially, if I have to sew on a few velcro straps, or whatnot, thats fine, but I #1 don't have a sewing machine and #2 don't care to spend 40 hours building my own custom setup. If I had that much time, I'd just work and buy a customer setup.
That said, what are some of the lower priced options out there for people in similiar situations as me?
Theres a very nicely priced and reviewed frame bag by "Ibera" which actually measures out very closely with my inner triangle, so that solves that problem.
However I have had an extremely hard time trying to find seat bags or handlebar bags which meet what I am looking for, which is basically a drybag type setup with the proper strapping. I can find a strapless drybag for fairly cheap (<$50) which I find acceptable, however they do not have the required straps a bike would need. Will sewing straps onto such a bag be a factor in keeping it a "drybag" ?
What are typical rates for a mom and pop sewing shop per hour if I were to get all the materials (vx21 + zippers, velcro, etc) cut the panels to size and hand off the remedial labor side of things? Has anyone gone this route before ?
Out of all the custom bag makers listed in the stickied thread on this forum, all of them are (in my opinion) highly overpriced. The best-bang-for-the-buck makers of these I've seen are a russian outfit on ebay "uraltour" and bikebag.co.uk which some people have used.
I really do like how bikebag.co.uk does business in the design, etc stage, the problem is I found is, they want to upcharge me $40 from cordura to VX21, I can understand someone running a business and the costs involved(SBO myself) however when I, as an individual can buy enough material to make 3 bags for the upcharge alone, completely ignoring the already factored in cost of the cordura, then compound that with them wanting to charge $50 for non-expediated shipping, then well I know I'm being raked over the coals and will take my business elsewhere.
Anyone else out there in the same boat? What did you do?
Here is your budget handlebar bag. Outdoor Research Ultralight Compression Sack - 25L - Save 42%
With a couple $2 straps from REI you can lash it securely to your bars underneath the compression straps. It is neither waterproof nor perfect, but its $20. You can always put a plastic liner inside it to keep your stuff dry. I've used this setup for a couple years, it works well.
Sounds like you have the frame bag sorted, and there are plenty of cheap options for top tube bags that will work ok.
I personally like my Revelate seat bag, but if you don't want to throw down the cash for something like that you can get a seatpost mounted rack like this Sette ST-400 Rear Bike Rack | Sette | Brand | www.PricePoint.com and a dry bag to strap on top of it for the rest of your stuff.
Before I got my seat bag I just used an old day pack which held more stuff than my camelback could. Worked ok, but I wanted to get as much weight as possible off my back.
This should be more than adequate for 1-2 nighters. Then you can upgrade later as you need/want/find other options.
Thanks for the bag link, thats pretty much all thats needed for a handlebar bag IMO. I kind of would like something like that in a dry bag format, but that canbe worked around as you stated.
I'd also like to stay away from racks as well, I would really prefer a seat bag, that Revelate is pretty much exactly what I want, but just abit more than I'd prefer to drop and the exposed seat post requirement are just abit too long for me.
I honestly can't find too many of these, most of the bike bag makers stickied here do not make or publish prices for seat bags. The best/only deal I could find would be
Uraltour Cycling Bicycle Bike Saddle Packs Seat Bag Tracking Number | eBay
Anyone have any experience with these guys?
Is there a specific search term the google gods would favor in my quest?
I'm planing my first overnighter...on the cheap. I'm ordering one of these for the bars. $12 (currently 50% off) ALPS Mountaineering Cyclone Compression Sack | Backcountry.com It's compresses into more of a tube shape rather than a ball shape of a typical top/down compression sack, plus it has three built in straps that I plan to supliment with other straps if needed. Not waterproof, but it's durable and cheap (currently just $12 for the medium if you use the coupon code).
I might make this work on my 575 for a frame bag, I think I can run it 'upside-down'. $29 Amazon.com: Jandd Frame Pack, Black: Sports & Outdoors
-cheap wedge bag: $11 Amazon.com: Eleven81 Frame Top Triangle Bag Black: Sports & Outdoors
the medium compression sack measures 8'' x 19'', large 10'' x 21''. I plan to put my 2.5lb down bag, lightweight air mattress $50 (Klymit Static V Amazon.com: Klymit Static V Camping Mattress (Green-Grey, Large): Sports & Outdoors) and a piece of Tyvek in the bag. Not sure which bag to get though, med or large...any thoughts? I'm thinking med as I can easily stuff my bag down to about 8'' x 11'' in a stuff sack, so I think making it less tall and longer in a compression sack should be easy enough to allow the mattress and Tyvek.
EDIT: I see the compression sack listed earlier is 23'' x 9''. Maybe I'll go with the large Cyclone and if it doesn't pack down enough with just the bag, bed i can always add stuff like a compressible puffy jacket to help fill it out...or any clothes items for that matter.
The Uraltour bag looks ok. Fits 10-11L whereas the Revelate fits up to 14L. Customer service could be iffy or nonexistent if you have problems.
Originally Posted by steveohio
I've seen a few people strap bags to the seatpost/rails like this, looks like it would work ok with a dry bag: bikepacking.net > Personal setups > 29er Singlespeed Bikepacking Setup
If you find you're doing a lot of bikepacking then shelling out $130 for the revelate or similar bag shouldn't be a big deal in the long run. Lots of options out there. Unfortunately none of them are cheap for the high end stuff.
Eatdrinkride, that ALPS bag looks pretty nice. I like the idea of the reinforced side panel that the compression straps are sewn into. Should provide protection from rubbing by brake lines and shifter cables.
delete, I'll start my own thread so as not to hijack - thanks evdog
My first few times out bikepacking I strove to use only items I already owned. Here is a link to that first trip:
High Altitude Homestead: July 2012
If you have a rack and can attach it to your bike, I would personally recommend using that. I actually still use a rack because, well, I already own it and it costs the same as a large seatbag. Like you, I have done a lot of camping, backpacking and canoe tripping, so I am ok on the equipment front. But I try to keep the additional costs down as it is hard to justify given how often I get out.
I actually now own a handlebar sling from Bolder Designs which I really like. But for two years I simply strapped a bag directly to the bars and never had a significant issue beyond some shifting periodically. I have done some trips with my son as well and that's what I do with his gear as well.
I sometimes use panniers if I am carrying more gear, but usually I just strap a drybag or stuff sack to the top of the rack. Together with a pack and the handlebars, that's plenty (except for colder weather)
Its not rocket science, especially if you are an experienced backpacker. Plus, I am not riding the tour divide - just doing mostly overnighters when I can for fun. I've come a long way since that first trip, but really, it was one of the funnest and most successful to date.
I'm with you. I wanted to get into this on the cheap. Of course, I'm a lot of talk and no do on this, but I did get a bunch of bags and gear together to start messing with my setup. I'm hoping to do my first overnighter when we get out of rainy season this spring or summer.
I basically bought a few various cheap bags off fleabay. Their claim on waterproof-ness is questionable, but for the difference in price I can buy a lot of ziplock bags. I don't think I'll be out in the wet much anyway, being in NorCal and doing summer trips. If I really get into it I'll invest in better gear.
I also have a rear rack with some nashbar waterproof bags I got on blowout sale. With those, my bar bag, frame bag and a trunk bag I think I'll have all of the storage room I need for an overnighter.
All in all, I think I spent less than $150 for the bags and the rack, and I probably could have done it even cheaper without giving up much in function or quality. The hard part was finding a beefy rear rack that fits over a 29er wheel with disc brakes without spending fat cash for an old man mountain rack or a surly nice rack.
I forgot about that thread! Some good stuff in there.
While I can certainly understand your desire to not spend huge money on a bikepacking setup, I think it makes sense to spend some money on a few key pieces. One thing I have not seen mentioned it that you will enjoy your trip more and have less issues with actual bikepacking gear. You can probably get by with a dry bag strapped to the bar, but it will be finicky, require constant adjustment, and will affect bike handling if not secured well. If you have some time before you leave for your tour, the best thing to do is scour the internet for deals. You can often times find quality gear for cheap prices, but it takes time.
The obvious start place is Ebay, but unless someone doesn't know what they have and list it for a low BIN, you usually can't find great deals there anymore. The only thing I came across was the below seatbag, which I think you are already aware of:
Uraltour Cycling Bicycle Bike Saddle Packs Seat Bag Tracking Number | eBay
I have never seen or used one, but it looks to be a decent bag for like 1/3 of the price of the big names for $59 shipped. I think it pays to get a dedicated seat bag, as it's harder to rig something there.
Also check the MTBR classifieds as well as the Bikepacking.net classifieds. Stuff pops up there from time to time.
Next, check all of the manufacturers web sites. They sometimes post discounted stuff that is slightly used, an older design, or slightly out of spec., etc for cheap. This is how I picked up a bunch of my stuff. Here are a couple of ideas:
Revelate Designs LLC
BLEMS, PROTOTYPES, and USED STUFF - Welcome to the NUKE Stockpile
Cleaveland Mountaineering: Cleaveland Mountaineering Christmas Sale!
One thing to remember about the above internet resources is that you have to be religious about checking them often. When good deals come up, they will go fast!
I think that Ibera frame bag will work fine for a while, but I would suggest the above seatbag and finding a cheapish handlebar harness and cheap drybag (go to Sierratradingpost for that). You should be able to find all that stuff for less than $150, well below your $200 budget. Add 2 water bottle cages to your fork with hose clamps (or a backpack/camelback) and you should be all set.
Good luck, and have fun!
When I first got into touring I bought cheap panniers and racks, all of which have been replaced with quality items. In hindsight the money I spent trying to get into touring cheap was wasted as everything was replaced with more durable/practical gear. I have done some lightweight touring (handlebar bag, large saddle bag and Revelate Tangle) but am just getting into offroad bikepacking.
If you were to get a Revelate Tangle, Harness and Terrapin your cost would be around $225. Dry bags can be found pretty cheap if you look hard enough. The tangle bag will not be a waste as mine is moved to different bikes when I want storage for day rides/warm weather commuting etc.
I agree, having better equipment does and will make it more enjoyable. Its a world of difference going from an older external frame backpack to a newer internal framed pack, so I'm sure the difference on a bike is there as well.
The nicer thing about bikepacking however is less strain on yourself over long distances, which is why I have been looking into pretty hard. Firstly, the old lady isn't a fan of lugging that much weight around, and with the addition of a baby who will be 1 in April, it makes backpacking nearly impossible for a few years, whereas with bikes it makes it a whole lot easier for everyone.
With 1 less income and 2 more mouths, I don't have the nowhere near the income I used to have when I was single. I'll have to end up buying 2 setups as well, so the nicer custom stuff is DIY or wait a few years. I do have the option of using a trailer for the kid, and putting some stuff on it( 100lb capacity, 2 person wide, but only 1 kid) but that will eliminate the single track option for a family trip. On those type of trips, I have a road/sport bike with a nice sunlite 55lb clamping rack that I can get a cheap 65L rear pannier bag for like $35 on the 'bay.
I'd still like to get a full setup for myself when flying solo, or without the woman and child. As I do like to do some "stealth" camping in the park system near me on quick overnighters.
I do agree with you on the seat bag.
I will more than likely go with that uraltour one, but I will test the "upside down" drybag with straps on the bike before I pull the trigger on it though.
Its alot easier when everything is secure and does not move. You will expend alot more energy, make things more difficult and unsafe by not securing and packing your gear properly.
The Ibera bag is nothing fancy, but for a frame bag that is basically the full triangle, theres no better value out there. The materials alone for me to make one myself would run me that much or more. Heres a link incase anyone was interested
Amazon.com: Ibera Bike Large Triangle Frame Bag - For Bike Tube Frame,Quick-Access, 2014 Model: Sports & Outdoors
I plan on getting 1 to try it out before I get another. As of right now, I only have solo adventures planned, so hopefully by next year I will be able to make or buy something better and pass this one down. I already plan on modding it to attach to the frame mounts as it doesn't have bottom straps, it should really help the "sway" effect. Quite a few people are running these and they get great reviews, and for $15 its worth a gamble..
In regards to handlebar bags, any compression sack or cylindrical bag should work. I think my main issue with that is that a larger bag will "crunch" the cables, so I need to try and find one that can fit underneath them. Not sure if anyone else has run into this problem at all? At least if they did I havn't seen much about it. I have seen some people running drop bars that have had to use brake L guides in order to position the brakes outta the way, but I have hydrolic brakes and run 1" carbon riser bars, so my space is tight there.
I often debate with myself between getting the more expensive stuff the first time vs. trying out more affordable items before diving in for more professional grade. This applies to lots of things, not just bikepacking. True, in the long run you might pay more. But sometimes you learn that bikepacking or whatever just isnít your thing and then you havenít run out and purchased a bunch of stuff you maybe couldnít really afford. I am a proponent of getting out there with what you have first and building from there.
Personally, for the kinds of adventures I have had (none of which have been more than an overnighter) I have never had any issues just strapping a bag to the bars and another on the rack. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I have put things to the test pretty well. But again, I am not a competitor or going for extended trips (I would like to, but lack the time at this point in my life). That being said, I am still constantly reworking how I attach things to the bike and haven't settled on what I think is the "best" system. I am sure I would be excited to have a big seatpack. But its a little too rich for me at the moment. Still, I really admire the fine craftsmanship of many of those companies, many of which are start-ups by enterprising individuals.
Here is a link to another tip where I actually did not use a rack but strapped some smaller stuff sacks to the seatpost and seat rails. It worked great. I live in the desert southwest, so I have a good idea if rain is in the forecast before heading out. The odds are usually in my favor and so I don't worry too much about the waterproof factor. But even then, its not hard to line your sacks with plastic bags to keep things dry. For backpacking and canoe tripping I used to simply slide a trash compactor bag (which are virtually indestructible) inside the backpack to keep things waterproof.
High Altitude Homestead: Bikepacking the Chain of Craters
I also just remembered there was a thread in here or possibly bikepacking.net that had a title that included "dirtbag" I think and was also about these kinds of budget strategies. Folks might search and see if you can find that one too.
When I started it was because my GF at the time and I realized that we should combine our love of backpacking with our love of mountain biking.
So I bought 2 old commuter racks from my LBS for $5 a piece (a smoking deal). They were missing all the hardware so I then spent about $5 getting them functional, including P-Clamps. I fixed them to the mountain bikes.
I then bought 4 cheap Axiom commuter panniers on closeout at some online store, plunking down about $120 total.
We had the camp gear already which made things easy and is arguably the most expensive part. And we had the bikes; and entry level front suspension Trek and an entry level SS rigid 29er
We stuffed our panniers and strapped what we could to the handlebars with cheap webbing and off we went. It worked and while I've upgraded most, I still have my $5 rack on a new bike 6 years later.
Here is a pic of my LHT in lightweight mode for a late spring weekender. Drybags and racks can be pretty light and stable. No real off road riding but the bike doesn't like that anyway. http://
SSL22951 by DennisLitto, on Flickr
I like bikepacking bags better than racks and panniers, but you can get racks and panniers dirt cheap and there are ways to improve them so they are more dirt friendly. If you are short on time and $$ that might be a way to go as an initial setup combined with a backpack.
I'm in agreement with you guys that you should start with what you got, or on the cheap in the beginning. In general, the backpacking type crowd is a fairly intuitive and out of box thinking type, you really have to be a lot of the time without amenities on hand. The more you do it, the more you learn the ins and outs of it. Pretty much every first timer I've seen will either over pack, or forget something they needed.
I think its a real shame sometimes when I read threads on the interwebs where people rip on others for having less than high-end bikes and setups. As if you cannot have fun or engage in the same thing without the ''best'' stuff out there. It makes me wonder if a lot of people are just out there to brag about their stuff rather than the enjoyment they have riding.
^^^ This. It's not about the gear, it's about the experience. Especially for an S24O, a rack & compression bags (or even kittie-litter panniers) get the job done. The high-end stuff is definitely nice, but generally you'll also need high-end stuff to put in it (lightweight down sleeping bag, lightweight tent, etc.) since they're somewhat limited on space compared to what you can haul with racks.
Originally Posted by steveohio
You might not go as fast or as easily with racks, but again, starting out, that's not what it's about.
If you're into backpacking/hiking just put your pack on your back and go ride (although you should try to strap as much heavy/dense stuff as you can to your bike - octopus straps, gaffa tape, stuff sacks etc. will all get stuff on your bike and off your back). Weekenders do not need a lot of gear, a special bike etc...
Also, I wouldn't complain about the price of custom bags. I've made all of my own, but would have preferred to pay someone if I could have got exactly what I needed. It is a very labor intensive process and I really think most of the frame bag makers offer pretty good value for money.
Second the cheap gear for beginners. I can't tell you how many swap meets I've been to where folks are unloading their high end stuff that got used only once (if at all). Seems like a big waste of cash to me (but hey, bonus for me for cheap second hand gear).
Then again, I've never actually been out on a bike camping trip yet.
I got everything including a dedicated expidition bike for less than $600.00. The bike was around $400. The sleeping bag, tent, stove, food, etc was around $200ish for the lot. Do you research and then hit amazon and ebay for your gear. I saved easily a couple hundred bucks.
My thread from 2012 is here and gives a brief intro to my bike packing journeys. PS. I still use all the same gear.
My 600HT Journey
"I think im gonna go to walmart and look at the mountain bikes and see if i can salvage the rear frame."- Nick_Knipp 3/21/12
I got some quality inexpensive bags from NiagaraCycles. YOu can see some of their selection here:
Accessories - Bags - Niagara Cycle
I really like the Sunlite Epic Tour Frame Bag at about $26. It's sold out at NiagaraCycles so you'll have to look around online. Couple that with a gas tank (easily had for ~15$ on that website), a seat triangle bag (again ~$15), and a handlebar bag (~$20) and a seat bag.
I did spend a little more on a seat bag. I like the Jandd Mountain Wedge at $56. Mountain Wedge III
Lastly, I wear a backpack. It's likely you already have one of those.
One other thought for the handlebar bag. Army/navy stores have lots of canvas bags with all kinds of straps on them, I use one with a 3 gal ziplock bag inside, works great.
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 bull**** 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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