Backpack Leaf Blower- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Backpack Leaf Blower

    We purchased one of these bad boys this spring. The thing is amazing. It'll clear trails of all leaves, duff, twigs, hell even small rocks as fast as you can walk. No more tedious raking. It's like a whole trail crew on your back and it only whines when it's running. (Just kidding, in case any of my actual crew is reading this.)

    Also works great for cleaning culverts, ditches, drain dips, blowing gophers out of their holes, etc. 204 mph wind speed at the nozzle. It's like you're steering a tornado of leaves and twigs down the trail in front of you, very cool. People get out of your way when they see that coming. You do have to pay attention to the throttle as it can blow chunks out of the tread if you're not paying attention, though.
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  2. #2
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    we call ours the "jetpack"

  3. #3
    Wax
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    we've got one as well. best $500 our chapter ever spent!
    Dropping In!!!

  4. #4
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    i cleaned 10 miles of trail in one day by myself with the blower. pine straw was the only thing that gave me trouble. it just wanted to lift off the ground in a mat but not blow away.
    I'm never gonna be a Rock Star

  5. #5
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    I was very skeptical about them because I'm used to the small/cheap one I bought for my home... When I saw this thing in action I'm sold, I'm getting rid of my Home-Cheapo version and I'm getting one of these!!!

    p.s. Here is a data point for you... this trail we have is 2.4 miles long and it took volunteers 17 manhours to rake it. With this leafblower it took 2 hours.

  6. #6
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    I've used rakes, hand-held blowers and backpack blowers and the newer Stihl backpack blowers are definitely the way to go.

    I visited my brother in Ellicottville, NY in the fall. His buddy who runs the LBS there was running a race the day after I left, so brother and I helped tend to the trails. Got to the coffee shop at 7 AM, met the regulars (including a HUGE old St Bernard), grabbed cuppa joe's for myself, brother, and bike shop guy (Dennis) and drove up to the hills.

    My first leg of trail I walked with the backpack blower in one hand and my cuppa joe in the other. 20 oz Gatorade bottle as a reserve tank (for the blower, not for me). Finished coffee, finished loop, hopped in the car, leap-frogged the next 2 loops to my next loop, and traded the coffee for a McLeod to knock out berms.

    By 11:00 I had blown 8 miles of trail and knocked out berms along 3-4 miles. My brother had done almost 9 miles and had taken time to fix some big log rollers.

    Naturally we got to rip the trails in the afternoon. 23 mile race course. Great success!
    Go ride your bike.

  7. #7
    Builder of Trails
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    I've got two of them and have even ridden with one on my back to blow the leaves and duff instead of hiking with it. It's powerful enough to do it at a fairly quick pace.

    Dewayne

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sambs827
    I
    My first leg of trail I walked with the backpack blower in one hand and my cuppa joe in the other. 20 oz Gatorade bottle as a reserve tank (for the blower, not for me).
    Bad idea using a Gatorade bottle for fuel, the gas will slowly melt the plastic, clog your carburetor and filter and possibly damage the engine. Use a container designed to carry fuel like a MSR backpacking stove fuel bottle.

  9. #9
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    On thing that bugged me was that I couldn't get the tip to stay out of my way while I would stop to fix a bermed out hole. I would like to Jerry-rig a hook to hold the tip up while doing other work. I've encountered the same problem working on a golf course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kool
    Bad idea using a Gatorade bottle for fuel, the gas will slowly melt the plastic, clog your carburetor and filter and possibly damage the engine. Use a container designed to carry fuel like a MSR backpacking stove fuel bottle.
    Good call on using the MSR bottle. The Gatorade bottle wasn't my idea, but I cannot pretend that I would have thought of that.
    Go ride your bike.

  10. #10
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    Yep, got a Stihl BR550 myself and love it. It's always ready to go to work. We blew 7-8 miles of trail in about 3 hours with it with 2 1/2 tanks of gas. It makes the trail pristinely race ready.

    When you do that much blowing in one day, it's good to have ear protection and mouth/nose coverage or you'll end up looking like a guy that just walked out of the desert.

    They're also good for drafting new sections of trail.

  11. #11
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    Mountain Bike Leaf Blowing - YouTube
    youtube.com/watch?v=hmLsZ4mUtAc

  12. #12
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    That's hilarious, and ingenious.

    Quote Originally Posted by muniorbust View Post
    Mountain Bike Leaf Blowing - YouTube

  13. #13
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    The Stihl backpack leaf blowers are great tools. I have to fight the temptation to do too good of a job. The leaves get deep where I work, and I keep stopping to blow the piles back from the trail edge, clear out a culvert, or go back to pick up leaves that circled back in on an eddy from my own draft.

    This year I finally managed to break out of the perfectionist mind set and covered a lot more ground in less time. The trail is just going to get re-covered in places no matter what I do. The main thing is we get to ride a few more weeks late into the fall: riding leaf covered trails after sunset is slow going even with good lights. A freshly cleared trail is much more fun.

    Walt

  14. #14
    JDM
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    Our club bought three hand-held poulan blowers for around $100 each. They have enough power to clean a singletrack width at a fast walk. They might not be built to hold up to commercial use 5-6 days a week, but who cares? We only use our leaf blowers a few times each spring and fall. At that rate, these cheapies will probably last for several years.

    I've used backpack blowers too. They are nice, but they aren't 5x as nice.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDM View Post
    Our club bought three hand-held poulan blowers for around $100 each. They have enough power to clean a singletrack width at a fast walk. They might not be built to hold up to commercial use 5-6 days a week, but who cares? We only use our leaf blowers a few times each spring and fall. At that rate, these cheapies will probably last for several years.

    I've used backpack blowers too. They are nice, but they aren't 5x as nice.
    I will never own a piece of Poulan branded equipment again. Absolute trash.

    I use stihl backpack blowers at work, and they're top notch. Ease of maintenance of stihl equipment alone is worth the cost. Just bought a stihl chainsaw for home, too.

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  16. #16
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    What are "leaves?"

    Thanks,

    Curious San Diegan
    Go Fact Yourself.

    Real eyes realize real lies.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexalex View Post
    There are two reasons why I'm for gas powered leaf blowers: Electric has a cord...so not as portable..
    Gas has a lot of power so it is quicker. If you want more info on gas leaf blowers, check out this resource https://www.gurureviewclub.com/best-...-leaf-blowers/ . Hope it helps!
    that site is garbage, it doesn't list ECHO.

    proof that site is hogwash.


    it's top of the line and simple to service, and just works.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by the one ring View Post
    What are "leaves?"

    Thanks,

    Curious San Diegan



    "Examples of leaf in a Sentence. I heard the rustle of the autumn leaves. The trees drop their leaves in the fall, and new leaves grow again in the spring. The trees have not yet come into leaf".


    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leaf
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by special O View Post
    we call ours the "jetpack"
    I found it too much impact. It blew stuff of that I still considered "trail". The boss modified it to a tighter nozzle so it would clear a tighter area a idle. The problem with blowing 3 feet wide is now your trail is 3 feet wide.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    It blew stuff of that I still considered "trail".
    It takes a certain careful touch. We (Team Dirt, Willamette Valley, Oregon) have commercial grade Stihl leaf blowers and they're capable of ripping out compacted tread if aimed incorrectly.

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    I don't think well traveled trails should be cleared. Letting the constantly regenerating supply of organic material disintegrate back into the trail ultimately is the best scenario. Sometimes it can suck for a few weeks while the leaf litter get's chewed up, but it will reclaim the edges of the trail, tighten up the line being ridden by hiding things people ride around that they don t need to. Leaf blowing should be selective imo.

  22. #22
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    I thought no discussions on leaves were allowed until September? Very site specific. Some places I ride the trails would disappear without some kind of leaf removal. Love my forest rake, but not going to rake 14 miles at my local. This past fall/winter saw huge amounts of branch/chunk/leaf crap all over the trails due to 6 major storms, tough to pedal through. Lots of derallieur rippers. In a giant oak forest, there are always more leaves.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmaddux View Post
    It takes a certain careful touch. We (Team Dirt, Willamette Valley, Oregon) have commercial grade Stihl leaf blowers and they're capable of ripping out compacted tread if aimed incorrectly.
    I find that both this issue and that of blowing the trail too wide is pretty easily controlled by using some common sense and not keeping the throttle pinned the whole time. I run mine just above idle for the most part, only giving it some extra gas when it's really needed. Not only get many more miles out of a tank, but you end up with a nice narrow line. I hate when people go out and blow everything back 8' off the trail; frigging ridiculous.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexalex View Post
    There are two reasons why I'm for gas powered leaf blowers: Electric has a cord...so not as portable..
    Gas has a lot of power so it is quicker. If you want more info on gas leaf blowers, check out this resource https://www.gurureviewclub.com/best-...-leaf-blowers/ . Hope it helps!
    My Echo 58V doesn't have a cord, and it kicks ass.
    Batteries are easier to carry than gas cans too.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    I don't think well traveled trails should be cleared. Letting the constantly regenerating supply of organic material disintegrate back into the trail ultimately is the best scenario. Sometimes it can suck for a few weeks while the leaf litter get's chewed up, but it will reclaim the edges of the trail, tighten up the line being ridden by hiding things people ride around that they don t need to. Leaf blowing should be selective imo.
    Maybe that works for your trails but for my trails leaving the organic matter on top of the trail just results in the trail staying wetter, longer. So it's either blow the leaves off in the fall while they are dry, or rake/scrape them off in the spring once they become a wet blanket. Not all trails need to be cleared though as they get enough traffic to push most of the leaves off anyway; it's the insloped or low areas that collect leaves that are the problem. I do agree with keeping the cleared line narrow and using the leaves to define where the trail is and cover up go arounds, rogue trails, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    My Echo 58V doesn't have a cord, and it kicks ass.
    Batteries are easier to carry than gas cans too.
    Same, my 40V Greenworks works well but does eat through batteries quickly.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMtnB44 View Post
    Maybe that works for your trails but for my trails leaving the organic matter on top of the trail just results in the trail staying wetter, longer.
    Pretty site specific and season specific, IME. In fall, I feel that leaves on the trail protect them from drizzly rain and keep them firmer. They also insulate the soil from temp swings and cut down on freeze/thaw problems as early winter approaches. If the trail is traveled enough, those leaves get pulverized and winter winds will blow them off of most spots.

    As spring rolls around, though, the scenario tends to change. Persistent leaves DO keep trails wetter, longer in the spots where they collect. So it's definitely worthwhile to go in and clear those spots before this becomes a problem.

    So my MO has always been to play the wait-and-see approach. Do more clearing on the trails that need to be kept clear. On the others that don't need it, wait until they get pulverized and start to collect in the sheltered spots. Then go in and clear those specific locations. Can occasionally be done with a shoe.

    I also notice that forest composition plays a role here. Species like maples that dump all their leaves at once can bury a trail in short order. Some trees hold their leaves, so there's not really a super heavy leaf dump, which really helps reduce the need to clear the trail for simple visibility/nav purposes. I call BS on calls to clear leaves just because they get slippery and reduce traction. We're mountain bikers. We can handle changing trail conditions. Slow the f*ck down when conditions are a little sketchy. They won't be like that forever.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I also notice that forest composition plays a role here. Species like maples that dump all their leaves at once can bury a trail in short order.
    Yeah, we usually do our yearly run-through in late fall once the oaks and maples do their big shed. Can barely find the trail after that in some places.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    I thought no discussions on leaves were allowed until September?
    We have no leaves here ever so any season is a good season for this discussion. My interested is piqued by the idea of using a blower for moving dirt and gravel! I'm wondering about using it to blow out berms of loose gravel. Seems that several of you have experience that suggests that might work. Of course there are berms that are too substantial for this to work, but some of the areas where I've done work, but I didn't outslope enough, are starting to berm up again with loose material; maybe those could be be blown out! That would be cool. And the disguising work would already be done because the spoils would be scattered to the wind.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ki5ka View Post
    We have no leaves here ever so any season is a good season for this discussion. My interested is piqued by the idea of using a blower for moving dirt and gravel! I'm wondering about using it to blow out berms of loose gravel. Seems that several of you have experience that suggests that might work. Of course there are berms that are too substantial for this to work, but some of the areas where I've done work, but I didn't outslope enough, are starting to berm up again with loose material; maybe those could be be blown out! That would be cool. And the disguising work would already be done because the spoils would be scattered to the wind.
    Not sure you'd get satisfactory results. You'll find a decent amount of gravel won't go where you want it, and you will wind up blowing away more fine material out of the tread than you want.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Not sure you'd get satisfactory results. You'll find a decent amount of gravel won't go where you want it, and you will wind up blowing away more fine material out of the tread than you want.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
    Yeah, sounds right.

    I use a leafblower at our pumptrack and though it takes care of leaves, twigs, pine needles and some dust, I still need to break out the broom to do a decent job of getting rid of small rocks and crap.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ki5ka View Post
    I'm wondering about using it to blow out berms of loose gravel.
    Yes, if youíve got hardpack berms that are awash with a thin top layer of loose dust and marbles. If the berm isnít solid and/or if youíre not careful, youíll wind up excavating with the blower. But in the right hands it can get the loose-over-hard back to hardpack.

  32. #32
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    According to a lot of people on this site, that is a motorized vehicle and illegal on non-motorized trails!!



  33. #33
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    ^^^^ Umm, no. Bored again?

  34. #34
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    You're probably right, just trying to come up with a lazy way to do the drudgery.

  35. #35
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    cant go wrong with Stihl. I manage a commercial landscape company and that is the only thing we will ever use.
    Dont make me go all Jonathan Winters on this gas station.

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