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  1. #1
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    What do I need to get started?

    I already do a little backpacking and have a large pack, light weight stove and a hammock. Should I get a lighter/smaller pack to wear on my back or go with the panniers? Which setup would allow the least noticable weight? Would having the packs on my bike make the bike less controlable?

  2. #2
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    You can get started with very little. Carrying a big pack isn't preferred by a lot of riders but can be done to start with. Same with panniers - if you end up pushing the bike up any hills they can get in the way. I'd do an overnighter or two with the big pack and see how you fare. If it seems too heavy/bulky then you can try to move some weight onto the bike.

    If you have a compression sack like these you can put sleeping gear and/or clothing in it and strap it to your bars, or strap a smaller sack to your seatpost or rack if you have one. There are lots of inexpensive options to try out, its just a matter of trying things out to find what works for you.

    Personally I have settled on a handlebar bag which holds bivy/pad/sleeping bag, a large seat bag for clothing, feedbags for bottles, top tube bags and a pack for everything else. I don't mind having weight on the bike, after a while I don't notice it much at all. What I find makes the biggest difference for me is I can't lower my seatpost far with the seat bag so I have left it behind on a few trips that had more technical descending.

    Trying things out is part of the fun. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    +1 for what evdog says. I started with a small backpack and a rear rack. I lashed my tent and sleeping bag to the rack and put everything else in the backpack. It worked just fine and I had a blast.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyboy718 View Post
    I already do a little backpacking and have a large pack, light weight stove and a hammock. Should I get a lighter/smaller pack to wear on my back or go with the panniers? Which setup would allow the least noticable weight? Would having the packs on my bike make the bike less controlable?
    Depends on the terrain you want to ride. Bikepacking can be many things from riding down smooth dirt/paved roads to tackling techy singletrack and mountain passes. If you are doing the first panniers can make a lot of sense since we frequently have them already, but if you are doing the later type of trip they are a liability.

    Take as little gear as you can and still have fun.

    The best advise is to get out there and ride. Your setup doesn't have to be perfect and the lessons you learn will be invaluable.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys! Time to plan a trip then.

  6. #6
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    I just recently got started bikepacking myself and have made small changes every trip so far. Started out with just a backpack and nothing else. It worked but my shoulders hurt at the end of the three day trip. My next trip I added a rack. This helped a lot and I probably wouldn't need any more than this except that I overpacked. Recently I got a frame bag and thanks to my experiences I don't really need much other than that and the rack.
    As everyone else is saying it's all trial and error.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyboy718 View Post
    I already do a little backpacking and have a large pack, light weight stove and a hammock. Should I get a lighter/smaller pack to wear on my back or go with the panniers? Which setup would allow the least noticable weight? Would having the packs on my bike make the bike less controlable?
    FB, I'm pretty minimalistic in most aspects so consider that when you read my thoughts. Backpack and panniers both affect your ride in different ways. Adding weight in either will affect the handeling of your bike, but the backpack will raise your center of gravity and add weight to your seat and hands/wrists/arms. I would hesitate to carry anything larger than a camelbak hawg on my back. Panniers will create a noticible effect on bike handeling (especially front Panniers) but that's something you get used to pretty quickly. I can usually camp for a night or two with rear panniers only and I prefer to put my bulky but light stuff up front (sleeping bag and tent). If I have to bring water to the camp site I try to obtain it as close to the site as possible. I always use sleeping bags rated for the temps I'm expecting except in the summer when I generally use a fleece blanket and tarp. Also, my current bike tent (tarp) is modified to use the bike as a pole (one less thing). Good Luck.
    The most expensive bike in the world is still cheaper than the cheapest open heart surgery.

  8. #8
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    I'm curious about something: Do you bikepackers typically bring your own food, budgeted out of a carefully planned and contained trip, or is it the ability to hunt and gather food out on the trail more necessary than I guess I've seen following blogs and lurking this forum? I know that how long you intend to be out is the primary differential here, but I've been interested in the idea of converting my next bike for expeditions and the idea of having to hunt and gather is a little intimidating. I've never left the city before.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianCoté View Post
    I'm curious about something: Do you bikepackers typically bring your own food, budgeted out of a carefully planned and contained trip, or is it the ability to hunt and gather food out on the trail more necessary than I guess I've seen following blogs and lurking this forum? I know that how long you intend to be out is the primary differential here, but I've been interested in the idea of converting my next bike for expeditions and the idea of having to hunt and gather is a little intimidating. I've never left the city before.
    nah. your overthinking it too much. you can dehydrate your meals if you like or buy the mountain home freeze dried meals in wally world if you like or you can bring a cast iron skillet and a package of steak if you want or you can hunt and kill your food, during huntin season of course. It all depends on what makes you happy and full fills your desire. I dehydrate myself and rehydrate my food with water and a very small and light weight stove. I also hunt as well.

  10. #10
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    Hunting and gathering on a bike trip is a skill that would be cool to learn, but I've never met anyone who uses that as a food source.

    I just bring a variety of foods that I'd normally eat, but with an emphasis on lightweight.

  11. #11
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    Thank you for your responses, guys. I probably have been way overthinking this (that's kind of typical of me).

  12. #12
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    Re: What do I need to get started?

    Hunting and gathering would leave no time to ride. Pretty sure you might spend your entire time out there just trying to survive rather than having fun. Still, sounds like a fascinating Discovery series, I'd watch. Maybe do it naked!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    Hunting and gathering would leave no time to ride. Pretty sure you might spend your entire time out there just trying to survive rather than having fun. Still, sounds like a fascinating Discovery series, I'd watch. Maybe do it naked!
    The tale of a man and his only friend, Bike, struggling to stay alive in the wild British Columbian back country.

    On History Channel...

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