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  1. #1
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Weight distribution question

    So I've got my whole kit pretty well sorted for the season and did a 'test pack' of the whole list yesterday. I had some stuff in my camelbak but most of it was either in the front roll or the Revelate seat bag.


    The way I had it divided up was to shove the sleeping bag + clothing in the dry bag since I really need them to stay dry, then my shelter (in this case hammock/tarp/pad + bits thereof) and a nanopuff jacket in the rear bag... I figured that way as soon as I stopped to set up I could get the jacket on to keep from getting chilled if necessary. However, this means that the seat bag is a whole lot heavier than the front bag, and I'm wondering if I'd be better trying to swap ends on this arrangement.

    I took it out for a spin yesterday and it felt fine, so probably not a deal-breaker in any case.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  2. #2
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    I'm curious too about how people distribute the weight across the bike!

    Currently, I'm planning on having my "emergency supplies" (such as first aid kit, paracord, compass, etc..) and "on the bike" food stuffs in the handlebar bag, since it can detach from the bike easily.

    In the frame-bag, I'm planning on having tools / bike repair / extra batteries (stuff with a good weight to it).

    On the rear frame / panniers, I currently have my sleeping bag, tent, poles, cookware, and camp-food.

    Getting a Camelbak HAWG for clothing, sandles, headlamp.

    However, since I don't have alot of the equipment yet, I'm not sure if this is feasible, so I'd like to get some ideas on what other people are doing as well. Thanks for bringing up this topic!

  3. #3
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    Here's how I carried my gear for the Colorado Trail Race. Weight distribution is important, but it's equally important to be able to access the stuff you need when you need it. For example, I only need to access my handlebar bag at night, and it stays sealed up and dry during the day. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I can access my feed bag and gas tank any time, even when riding--so I stuff them with food. I try to keep heavy things in my frame bag, which is centered. Seatbags tend to away when loaded, so I try to put light but bulky stuff in it. It's sort of a pain to cinch up all of the time too, so I try to open it as little as possible. I keep things in my pack that I need to have with me when I stop.

    (My complete gear list at: Toby Gadd: 2012 Colorado Trail Race Gear)

    Handlebar bag:
    • Sleeping bag
    • Bivy bag
    • Pad
    • Extra pair of dry socks
    • Extra pair of bike shorts
    • Down sweater (sometimes in my seat bag, depending on weather)


    Seat bag:
    • Light pile pullover (sometimes in my pack, depending in weather)
    • Rain jacket and pants (sometimes in my pack, depending in weather)
    • Food
    • Warm gloves
    • Helmet liner
    • Long underwear bottoms
    • Ditty bag (glasses, contact case, etc.)


    Frame bag:
    • Repair kit (ttols and parts)
    • First aid kit
    • Spare batteries
    • Food
    • Small luggage lock
    • Tire pump


    Pack:
    • Hydration bladder
    • Aquamira drops
    • Maps
    • Spot (on shoulder)
    • Cell Phone
    • Camera (on waist strap)
    • 2 Bandannas
    • A&D ointment
    • Small Leatherman tool
    • Credit card, cash
    • TP, wet wipes


    Gas tank:
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip balm
    • Food


    Feed bag:
    • Food
    • Garbage

  4. #4
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Yeah, I've got a mountain feed bag (LOVE that thing!) and am thinking about getting another. Then there's the hip pockets on the camelbak of course. And the backpack itself, which has all my tools + usually a rain jacket + whatever extra food & bits I've got.

    I might try swapping this around and putting clothes + sleeping bag in the back and the 'camp kit' in the front just to see how it works out. Either way, I don't plan on having to open this stuff up on the trail.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  5. #5
    Cumbria, England.
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    I was wondering what you do for water?

    I'd make use of the bottle cage mount, whether it's for liquid or a container to put your tools and other small items in.
    - The seasons blow away, but the love is just the same -

  6. #6
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Quote Originally Posted by D45yth View Post
    I was wondering what you do for water?

    I'd make use of the bottle cage mount, whether it's for liquid or a container to put your tools and other small items in.
    Just use a 100oz camelbak. A person can easily spend hours away from water out here depending on the route, so we habitually carry a good bit.

    I love this bike, but obviously there's not a lot of "carrying capacity" on the frame. I don't get a ton of chances to get out over the season, so we'll make do.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  7. #7
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    Just use a 100oz camelbak. A person can easily spend hours away from water out here depending on the route, so we habitually carry a good bit.
    I also carry a 100oz bladder. I can also fit a bottle on the bottom of my down-tube. I don't usually carry water in it, but it's pretty useful for scooping water from small streams.

    I'm considering carrying water in my frame bag in the future. 100 ounces on my back can feel pretty heavy--although it gets lighter the more that I drink!

  8. #8
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Quote Originally Posted by TobyGadd View Post
    I also carry a 100oz bladder. I can also fit a bottle on the bottom of my down-tube. I don't usually carry water in it, but it's pretty useful for scooping water from small streams...
    Yeah, I've got a couple Zefal Magnum bottles kicking around and I'm taking one to use w/ a steripen since 32oz is close enough to a liter. I picked up a liter platy soft canteen but I'm just nervous about it developing a hole when something in my pack rubs on it. The bottle may weigh a little more but we can just toss them on the ground next to the cooking rig without worry.

    I still might attempt to make a bag to fit in the frame oval, but honestly I don't know if my tool kit would fit in it. When you do a lot of solo back-country riding it has a way of expanding and because I have a couple different bikes I ride I just keep it all in the backpack so I never have to wonder if it's all there or not.

    In any case, I've got enough room for the whole camping enchilada in the bags I have with room to spare so I'm not particularly worked up about that.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the load-out Toby; now I have an idea on where to start =)

  10. #10
    Cumbria, England.
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    RandomGuy - Checkout folks' setups over on bikepacking.net for similar packing lists to Toby's.
    - The seasons blow away, but the love is just the same -

  11. #11
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Quote Originally Posted by D45yth View Post
    RandomGuy - Checkout folks' setups over on bikepacking.net for similar packing lists to Toby's.
    Ditto this- I used LyndaW's lashup (may as well start with the best, right? lol...) as a starting point and keep combing over others for holes. However, we just got back from a quick overnight family camping trip and I'm thinking I'm solid at this point.

    I have a spreadsheet checklist I'm working off. My next hurdle is to drag my organization-resistant husband through making his own checklist, but after going through multiple backtracks out the driveway or panic moments wondering if he's packed something.... I'm pulling the 'spousal override card'. He'll love the list once it's in place and he's using it, he just hates MAKING it- lol.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  12. #12
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    The only rule I try to stick to is that most of the weight should be in the frame bag. Ideally the bar and seat bags combined should weigh less than or no more than the frame bag. This makes the bike easier to move around and pull up off small drops etc, since the main bulk in the frame rotates / moves about less than the bags at the ends. Keeping weight low also helps cornering feel more natural.
    So bulky light stuff on the bars / in seat pack, heavier and denser kit in the frame bag. That's no help to the OP as you can't use a frame bag.. in that case I'd try to be rearward biased, 60-40 maybe?

  13. #13
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    Update

    Thanks for the input. Today we decided to do more testing, tied the whole listed kit on, and did a 20+ mile/3,500' back country lap that included some schwacking (and a flat, grrr). I swapped things around and put my camping kit up front and my clothing/sleeping bag in back. I think it might fit a little better that way.


    Husby has purchased a coolio new pack that's rather spacious, and seems to be interested in filling it, lol... we'll see how long that lasts, but he made it just fine today.
    Weight distribution question-wd04142013_1.jpg

    The good news was that we were only a little slower than usual, and while the bikes handle a bit differently it was all quite reasonable.

    NEXT STOP: some actual bikepacking.... we've got at least one firm date for an overnight soon, with more hopefully to come soon.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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