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  1. #1
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    Why not just wear a backpack

    I notice a lot of you use different bags all over the bike. Why not just wear a backpack? I backpack a lot and want to try bike packing so was just curious about this? My loaded pack with food is only around 18-20 pounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parks71 View Post
    I notice a lot of you use different bags all over the bike. Why not just wear a backpack? I backpack a lot and want to try bike packing so was just curious about this? My loaded pack with food is only around 18-20 pounds.
    Because having weight on your back is ok for a day but not for day's.
    That's why

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parks71 View Post
    I notice a lot of you use different bags all over the bike. Why not just wear a backpack? I backpack a lot and want to try bike packing so was just curious about this? My loaded pack with food is only around 18-20 pounds.
    It's a matter of perspective really. I'm a military guy. Have been since I was 17. I was practically born carrying a backpack so they simply don't bother me. The trick is to use the right pack for the task. There are times where I would not want a heavy pack on my back so for most riding I run a Camelbak mule which is light and streamlined. I also like that it contains a hydration bladder since a water bottle is simply not enough liquid to ride in the tropics with. One big plus if you go with the Tactical versions they usually have molle webbing on the exterior so you can add extra pouches to the pack if you need to carry extra items

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  4. #4
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    Try it out and see if it works and If it is comfortable. Your bikes geometry will be a big factor here. 20 lbs is a light pack for hiking, but with that weight driving you down into the seat, it can become very noticeable. Also, getting out into the Backcountry (assuming that is your plan) on your bike will likely require more tools and spare parts than you normally carry: spare cables, spokes, chain links, derailer hanger, 2 spare tubes etc, which add considerable weight to a normal load out. For me, there is no comparison: I want heavy items on the bike and at low center of gravity, but plenty of people have done it with a backpack. Do a simple overnight trip and see how it works for what you have in mind.


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    Because the bike carries the weight a lot more comfortably than I do. And generally, having the weight lower is better.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    The bros up in BC all seem to bikepack with large backpacks. Possibly because that's just what they have. Or maybe because bikes don't look cool in their shredits with seatbags and handlebar bags. Or more likely they can't throw down unnecessary roosts on every turn because the seatbag prevents them from dropping the saddle.

    I've tried a larger backpack with no seatbag. My shoulders hurt a lot more doing hike a bike than when I had a seatbag. But, I knew there would be some steep technical descents and I wanted to be able to drop my saddle. A lot of my bikepacking involves longer distance riding, and for that I don't want a lot of extra weight on my back. My butt and taint get enough abuse as it is.

    Try it out, if a larger backpack works for you go with it. If not, move more weight to the bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    The bros up in BC all seem to bikepack with large backpacks. Possibly because that's just what they have. Or maybe because bikes don't look cool in their shredits with seatbags and handlebar bags. Or more likely they can't throw down unnecessary roosts on every turn because the seatbag prevents them from dropping the saddle.

    I've tried a larger backpack with no seatbag. My shoulders hurt a lot more doing hike a bike than when I had a seatbag. But, I knew there would be some steep technical descents and I wanted to be able to drop my saddle. A lot of my bikepacking involves longer distance riding, and for that I don't want a lot of extra weight on my back. My butt and taint get enough abuse as it is.

    Try it out, if a larger backpack works for you go with it. If not, move more weight to the bike.
    Bedrock makes seat post bag that is designed for dropper posts. I'm sure you are somewhat limited to how low you can drop the seat due to bag clearance.

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    Depends on the back pack. With a mars 85, every mile is a problem, endurance test. With an Osprey Exos, and heavy stuff on the bike, everthing is fine.

    In a crash the backpack causes a greater injury, because you cannot tuck and roll.

    I often ride my old bicycle to a trail head, then hike for a week or ??
    Heavy stuff on the bike, water, food, etc. No bike tools or spares in the backpack.

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    Sweaty back and sore shoulders are my deterrent.

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    I pick the bike I want to ride based on what the terrain looks like I'll bikepack. I generally have a backpack on of some sort, but it varies from small/light with most stuff on the bike to medium sized and loaded with UL gear and little on the bike. I don't find wearing a backpack an issue, but I do like to carry some gear on the bike. For techy singletrack riding and challenging HAB I find gear in a backpack is prefered. For gravel grinding I put most of the weight on my bike.
    Safe riding,

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    I've been offroad bikepacking off and on since the early '80s. The reasons given to me back then still hold true today:

    1. Bike handles better with weight lower
    2. Lower gravity equals better stability
    3. Less stress on shoulders and back (esp. lower back)
    4. Less weight/stress/rubbing on parts that rest on the seat

    The comment on crashes is also an interesting point. I'm also a backpacker. With properly configured packs, all the weight is on the hips and legs. You can't distribute the weight like that when seated on a bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddoh View Post
    I've been offroad bikepacking off and on since the early '80s. The reasons given to me back then still hold true today:

    1. Bike handles better with weight lower
    2. Lower gravity equals better stability
    3. Less stress on shoulders and back (esp. lower back)
    4. Less weight/stress/rubbing on parts that rest on the seat

    The comment on crashes is also an interesting point. I'm also a backpacker. With properly configured packs, all the weight is on the hips and legs. You can't distribute the weight like that when seated on a bike.
    That's been my experience as well. I do a lot of Backcountry hunting, so I'm no stranger to hauling extremely heavy loads of meat out in a pack. I have a very high end backpack designed for Backcountry hunting. It has a titanium frame and I've reasonably hauled loads exceeding 200 lbs for miles through difficult terrain with the weight reasonably transferred to my hips, but I've also wore that same pack to the grocery store in snow storms with my bike and found ~30 pounds of groceries to not be so comfortable for the reasons you mentioned -the weight doesn't transfer well through the hips when seated, nor when bent forward. I'd think ~20 pounds if about the comfort limit for a full day, though, experimenting with seat angle and backpack adjustments could allow for more weight, I suspect. However, I'm not sure if there is a person alive who has tried packing weight both ways and actually prefers a loaded backpack to a loaded bike.

  13. #13
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    I actually asked this same question a few weeks back, framed as a "how awful would it be if I tried bike packing with crap I already own"

    How did you get started?
    Some good info/advice given there.

    Unfortunately, I still haven't made it out, holiday season is more busy than I anticipated, and my wife has been sick like 3 times in the past 6 weeks.

    When I do finally line up an overnight, It'll probably be with a 20# pack on my back, and only dabbling in anything that resembles technical or steep.
    Shiftin' jumps and huckin' gears

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    Quote Originally Posted by 101 View Post
    However, I'm not sure if there is a person alive who has tried packing weight both ways and actually prefers a loaded backpack to a loaded bike.
    It really depends on the riding you are doing. There is no one answer that's perfect from gravel grinding to super techy MTBing on single track. I've carried my gear in pretty much all the conceivable configurations and they can all be good, but it depends on the specifics of the ride. When you are doing strenuous HAB on tough terrain having weight in a pack is pretty nice vs. on the bike as you lift/push/drag it...as is riding techy terrain with a lighter bike and some weight on your back since you are standing a lot more and using your legs to "suspend" the gear.

    Even for gravel grinders I'll wear a backpack and keep some items in there. I prefer that to everything being on the bike. Although I understand why some folks would rather have everything on their bikes for those kinds of rides.

    That said in all situations I'm optimizing my gear so I am carrying less and less no matter where it's placed....bike or backpack.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  15. #15
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    ^yeah, the heinous HAB can make you curse with a heavy bike. I've run into that, in particular, in steep snow, where pushing a loaded bike is grueling. I usually carry water on my back when bikepacking since it's so heavy and space consuming.


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    Sit on your seat for 6-12 hrs. Now add a lot of weight, that's a no go for me. Might make sense for some stuff, bigger and lighter on your back, not me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parks71 View Post
    I notice a lot of you use different bags all over the bike. Why not just wear a backpack? I backpack a lot and want to try bike packing so was just curious about this? My loaded pack with food is only around 18-20 pounds.
    Backpacks are used, but once they reach certain size you can't wear them on the bike. The shape and load carrying is not right for a cyclist. It becomes uncomfortable and creates balance problems when riding. 15-20lbs is about the limit of what you can probably put on your back. I ride with a small back on my bike, but I still carry lost of suppliers. My goal is move about 25lbs on bike and 15-20 on my back at most. If I have a 50lbs pack that means weight is distributed. Most of the time my pack has water, food and some suppliers. I purposely use a smallish pack to minimized the weight and try to get more on the bike.

    This my typical set-up for a 3 day bikepack trip over single track.



    This trip I knew water would be pretty easy so I used just one bottle.

    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  18. #18
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    ^was that Molas Pass to Durango?


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    Quote Originally Posted by 101 View Post
    ^was that Molas Pass to Durango?


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    Silverton to Durango on the Colorado trail. Started the ride with paved road climb to Molas then the ride started for real.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Silverton to Durango on the Colorado trail. Started the ride with paved road climb to Molas then the ride started for real.
    I've done that section, too, though not in warm weather. I did it back in late Oct as it's an incredibly dry year so far. I was a bit more loaded down with winter gear: 5 degree bag, puffy, a couple of layering and glove options as it was quite cold. I carried water and some of my food on my back. Food for multiple days is where I'm generally running at capacity. I'm thinking about trying a Salsa anything cage on the down tube and carrying some food there in a dry bag.

    I did:
    Clothes and sleeping bag on the handlebars
    Clothes, tarp and pad in the seat bag.
    Tools, stove and food in the frame bag.
    Food (snacks) in the top tube pouches.
    Food and water on my back.

    If I moved the stove to the handlebars, that would free up a good bit of capacity in the framebag, but I haven't tested that on technical ground such as the CT. I'm hesitant to put any real weight on the front like that given the descents.

  21. #21
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    I went on 4th of July this year. Temps were fine. Only issue was snow at top some passes. Blackhawk and rolling mountain where bad.




    This was taken just before I fell and slid down the mountain.



    Still with good temps and no rain I could travel pretty light.

    Sleeping bad, pad and ground cover in handlebar bag, Stove dinner food, and spare riding clothes, jacket in seat bag.

    I just used 29F bag and no tent/bivy and was fine. Camped at 11k the first night at the top of Hermosa Creek the next day since we had to by pass CT due a fire.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  22. #22
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    Funny...I popped into this sub forum to essentially research this exact thing. For someone like myself, who is used to riding with a backpack, I completely understand the question.
    I have a few really nice packs already, and no frame bags. For a one or two day trip here and there, I can't imaging spending a lot of cash on frame bags that are inferior to what I already own.
    I realize if I began doing longer trips, my opinion might change.
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  23. #23
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    Lots of ways to skin a cat that is for sure.

    I have ridden with a lot of different configurations myself but I prefer to keep anything off my back unless I run out of storage space on my bike.
    For CTR I had a large backpack cause I wanted my dropper post on. Worked OK but if I were to do it again I would go with my new setup that allows use of a seatbag and my dropper that extends down around 2 inches (which is better than nothing!) I would still have to use a backpack but it would be much smaller. I would go with the same setup on the AZT and the Bones to Blues course.

    For shorter trips I can get away with nothing on my back which is soooooo nice.

    For longer less technical trips I would put as much as possible on my bike. I won a super cool backpack at a photo contest called the REI flash 18. Super light and compact and it could be used for food and extra water and as you use it up it can fold up small and be put on the bike.
    My brain went from "you probably shouldn't say that" to WTF!

  24. #24
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    JoePaz,

    Funny. I was supposed to do that same stretch over 4th of July weekend as well, but my partner, who thinks its a good idea to races crit at age 41, broke his collarbone just before the trip so it didn't materialize. I didn't do it solo then because of the fires, so it was the late Oct before I got around to it. I did "Tour de Engineer" the first weekend in Nov this year (back when we actually had snow) as an overnighter. -lots of frustrating HAB in thigh deep snow on the uphills, but once I got rolling downhill, I was able to get through the snow. On the CT section, I was pushing a herd of elk ahead of me who were roughly following the trail and breaking trail for me. I'm not sure if I would have been able to otherwise follow the trail on the alpine section without going point to point on a GPS. I had a heavy load out on that one because I brought a titanium wood stove, which only weighs 16 oz, but was a bit of a space killer in my bikepacking setup. Because I brought the stove, I just brought my quilt instead of a sleeping bag, which, quilt + stove is only a minor weight penalty over a winter mummy bag. Admittedly, this was a heavy bike by the time the snow built up on the wheels. Some of the breaking trail HAB was miserable, but the bike was too uncomfortably heavy to carry on my back for more than a couple of minutes at a time and pushing it through thigh deep snow was only slightly less frustrating.

    I use a tarp tent that is designed to use trekking poles, but I just find/cut two limbs where I camp. That's 22 oz with tent stakes, but I've thought about getting a smaller, simpler tarp that doesn't provide full coverage and running a ultralight Bivy sack to offset, but I kind of hate getting in and out of Bivy sacks, getting dressed on a cold morning, or, especially in a storm, kinda blows. I'm content with my setup for now, but I could stand to shave ~10-15oz off my sleep system for the summer months by spending ~$300. Presently, right around 50oz total for tarp, summer pad and quilt, which ain't bad, but an extra 15oz of food would be welcome. Winter month weight? I don't know, don't wanna know. Being comfortable requires extra weight.


  25. #25
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    Sweet looking set up. What stove is that? And what do you think of it?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddoh View Post
    Sweet looking set up. What stove is that? And what do you think of it?
    It's a Titanium Goat -the smallest cylinder stove http://www.titaniumgoat.com/cstove.html

    It many ways, it's great, especially when it's wet out. The stove will definitely suck the moisture out of your tent in no time. That being said, the small one like that needs to be fed every 30-40 minutes, so keeping it going all night is too much trouble, though, having a warm dry tent at the end of a cold day is fantastic and getting it going in the morning makes it so much easier to get going. The bigger stoves for 4 man tents have much longer burn times. The stoves also work better in tepees in terms of heat distribution, but, in certain situations, having a wood burning stove is a tremendous luxury. -waking up with dry clothes and boots that aren't frozen can give you a significant motivational edge. It is labor intensive collecting and cutting firewood, but playing with Fire also gives you something to do on long winter nights. It's a tradeoff. Some people swear by them others find them to be too much trouble. They are amazingly compact and cool designs. No matter what anyone says about them, they'll be envious when they stick their head in your tent.

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