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Any serious "Bikepackers" out there?

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by 10mm_Bob, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Hey all, I know this is a bit out of context for Bushcraft, but I have a good reason for asking. About a month ago I took what seemed like a minor fall. I was caught by surprise and fell a bit awkward and noticed a pain in my back. I didn't think it was more than just a pulled muscle at first, but then the pain hit. Ruptured disc...and unbelievable pain. Had to be taken to hospital where they drugged me up and did all the tests (MRI etc.). Basically, I'm facing a long recovery....hopefully avoiding surgery. I'm rehabbing carefully, but needless to say my lifestyle is significantly impacted by this injury. I'm a professional wildlife photographer. I regularly carry 50 pounds of gear on my back to get into locations, or kayak (55 pounds). Needless to say, I can't do either of those for the immediate future, and may never be able to carry a heavy pack again.

    I do, however, have a really good mountain bike that I only used for location scouting and casual trail riding...but I'm thinking that maybe I can use it to replace my backpacks while I heal. Do any of you have recommendations for bike packs and maybe even single-track bike trailers that could carry my camera gear?

    FYI - My bike is a good one (although a bit older - vintage 2008). It's a Titus Ti Exogrid Hardtail 29'er (19" frame) that I upgraded last year to a SRAM XX1 1x11 drivetrain on SRAM Roam 60's and a Manitou Marvel Pro 100mm fork w/MILO. SRAM brakes, Thomson seat post, WTB Ti saddle, Raceface Atlas pedals, and carbon bars. The whole bike as pictured weighs in at barely 21 lbs.. Any suggestions for a bikepacking configuration would be appreciated, as I've never even really thought about it until I got hurt. Thanks!

    IMG_0216.JPG
     
  2. Turtle Creek

    Turtle Creek Scout

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    Serious .... not really. But I did ride & camp the C&O Canal (185~miles) a few years back with this set up.
    [​IMG]
    With full day of water/food and all my gear, the initial weight was 35-40lbs if I had to guess.

    Things I learned that may translate to your situation:
    I wish I had some of the weight distributed to the front forks.
    My back tightened up often.

    No trailer use for me, so no help there. My panniers are middle of the line, nothing special other than coming with waterproof covers.
    My 29'er did require an extender for the rear bag rack to connect to the frame near the seat post.

    My recommendation not knowing the severity of back pain/possibility to re-injure it would to be start out with just your bike, the maybe 10 lbs in your bags, then 15lbs, then 20lbs, etc... (based on my experience of my back being worked out with the odd placed weight on the frame)

    Good luck, hope this helps
     
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  3. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks! That helps a lot. I can see where the heavy back load might put more strain on your back. I think since I have an older style frame, I might be able to use a larger frame pack to keep more weight centered over the pedals. Like you, I don't think a front pannier is an option with my current fork, so only a light handlebar pack will be all I have up there. I'm looking at some single track trailers, as maybe thats the best solution for carrying the heavy stuff. Fortunately, I 'm in Florida....so no big hills to climb Mostly just flat single track and occasional mud or sand. I could use the rear pannier to carry light stuff like clothes, tarp, hammock etc.. Then carry water and food in the frame pack. Camera gear on the trailer. At least that's my theory - LOL.
     
  4. RickS

    RickS Supporter Supporter

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    image.jpg I'm getting older and fatter and frankly I've had enough of carrying heavy packs, so this is what I fixed up. I spend a lot of time in the national forest, mostly on fire road, not many gonzo trails so this works well for me. I have a small pack that I bring for away from the bike, but this bike hauls every thing I need to be comfortable in the woods. Good luck with your ailments.
     
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  5. Turtle Creek

    Turtle Creek Scout

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    Flat is nice when traveling with that weight! Yes, just like a backpack - loading the gear in a logical way helps tremendously. I tried to load that front 'cooler' with water bottles to keep as much weight as possible up front. Wasn't much help, but I was by no means miserable.

    Please share photo's of your set up once you add bags, and or the trailer.
     
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  6. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    @RickS That's a cool set up! Most places I go don't allow any motorized vehicles...so it's walk, paddle, or bike.
     
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  7. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    There are options for putting racks on suspension forks. I can't get to them right now to provide links but they are out there.

    What's the majority of weight in your camera kit, long lenses?
     
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  8. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Yes - Big glass (600mm f/4 lens weighing in at about 12lbs...add a 6 pound pro camera body and you're close to 20 pounds). Then there's the shorter lenses (I normally carry 1 or 2 at about 5 pounds total), and a tripod at 6 pounds. add another 5 pounds for miscellaneous camera stuff and you're just over 30 pounds without even carrying a spare camera body. And on top of the weight...it's awkward stuff to carry. When you throw in minimal food, water, and minimal survival gear it's easy to go over 50 pounds just by carrying the necessities.
     
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  9. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

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    Bike packing is mostly people going ultralight and fast but it does not have to be limited to that. I use a main triangle bag and a handlebar bag but also have a rear rack with some ultralight panniers i made. I can not stand wearing a backpack while biking, puts to much stress on my lower back and sit bones.

    I did a 500 mile back road dirt tour couple years ago, we were going over one to two mountain passes a day so light weight gear was very appreciated. With the standard bike packing setup i had to pack ultralight and still my seams were about to burst, called it compartment syndrome, even had to get creative lashing items to the bike. My next years tour, instead of the bike packing seat bag, i had a rear bike rack which provided a lot more room and packing options.

    I also use a Bob Ibex trailer, not for touring as it is two much work to drag it over mountain passes, and to easy to pack more gear than i need, but i do drag the trailer deep into the mountains for hunting trips were i need to carry more gear and i am not worried about speed. The rear shock on the ibex does help the trailer track and provides a noticeably smoother ride on bumpy roads.

    Your bike is perfect. I have an even older, fully rigid steel 29er and i would not change a thing. I would recommend getting a quality rear rack as you can put a lot more gear on a rack then you can stuff into a bike packer seat bag. The only issue i see is the vibration on your camera gear may be unwanted if you are traveling fast over dirt roads. When i am hunting i wear my rifle on my back so i limit the abuse that my scope experiences.
     
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  10. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I came to a point, physically, where I had to drop some weight in my gear. Going to lighter camera bodies saved a lot of weight (and money) but I don't know of any suitable substitute for the big glass. What really helped was switching from events to studio product photography where the gear is on a cart and the camera rarely leaves the monostand.

    I think that you could hose clamp or zip tie some Salsa Everything Cages to your forks. It would be an easy, fast way to add some storage to the front end. Having the weight distributed around the bike helps. It also helps to have the weight as low as possible. Some weight low on the front makes the bike feel really stable.
     
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  11. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks! The Bob Ibex was what I was thinking as well. I make my own packs, and I'm sure I could whip up one for the trailer with some nice closed cell foam to absorb any vibrations I'd be concerned about for the camera gear on the trailer. I'll start looking for a nice rear rack and a main triangle bag. Speed is not a concern, but strain on my back obviously is. I won't bother with a large seat pack, and will just keep the small tool pouch there for bike repairs. I think between a Bob Ibex, rear pannier, and main triangle pack I can probably get everything I need done. If necessary, I can add a light pouch on the bars for balance, and then maybe mount the water bottles low on the fork
     
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  12. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Being in Florida, I like to use the Pro bodes due to their added ruggedness/water resistance in harsh environments (lots of salt water and mud where I shoot). The prosumer bodies just don't do well. I always joke that the engineers who design big lenses obviously don't use them in nature. If they did, we'd have 800mm lenses made of titanium and ultralight synthetic glass that only weighed a couple pounds. One can dream, can't they? LOL

    I love the idea of the Salsa Everything cages on the forks.
     
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  13. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I get that fore sure. I abused 3 generations of flagship cameras before making the switch. Salt and sand call for good weather sealing and there's a big difference in durability between the top camera and the next in line.
     
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  14. dreamin

    dreamin Tracker

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    There is a good thread in the Transportation sub-forum under "Bicycle Riders". Bound to find some good info there.
     
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  15. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

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    Figured i would post a few pics of my setup. Notice the handle bar bag, it is my favorite. Buddy of mine came up with the idea of running plastic 3/4 irrigation pipe from bar end to bar end. Creates support for a large front bag but also allows multiple hand holds including a nice downhill coast areo postition. It is nice to be able to reach into the front bag while pedaling to grab food or change clothing layers.

    The road vibration and abuse from bumps on gear is maybe not a concern for most, I have been racing mountain bikes since i was a young kid so fire road downhills i travel as fast as possible, it is hard for me to use my breaks and slow down. One tour we reached a speed of 36 miles per hour, might of went faster on a later decent but cyclo computer batteries ran out.

    Frame bags are handy but smaller then one would think. 1.5 liter water bottle, bike pump, tube and other essential maintenance gear plus a sleeping tarp takes up most of the space.

    bike3.JPG bike2.JPG bike1.JPG bike.JPG
     
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  16. Papa Tac

    Papa Tac Scout

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  17. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks - Site looks like it has good info. In reading a few of the many Mountain Bike Forums out there, I found the crowd that posts in their forums to be quite a bit different (read: snooty) from the crowd here in BCUSA. The Bikepacking.net forum looks like it may be good, though....so I'll give them a try. Most bike related forums are a bit critical of anyone who doesn't have the latest and greatest gear, or doesn't ride a certain way, etc.. This group here on BCUSA knows more about my style of outdoorsmanship than any other forum I've seen. I've never been judged here for having older gear that works :)
     
  18. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    Somehow I didn't see this until now. I started a post under the transportation thread a couple days ago about the same thing. I have several bikes (5actually). While I have a Trek 520 touring bike which I have done some short (2 or 3 day tours) on, I find myself more off road these days. So I have been looking at outfitting my MTB bike for Bike packing. I just went old school though. Got a bunch of bike bags and gear coming from Frost river. Yea I know they are heavier than some of the light weight stuff out there, but I like the looks. I plan to do a lot of camping and hunting off the bike this year. Looking forward to the discussion here on this thread.
     
  19. hooliganwithheart

    hooliganwithheart Scout

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    Not a serious bike packer for sure, but i am a serious leisure bike adventure camper so to speak.

    Old school type of guy here, own a 1999/2000 MTB that's been lovingly rebuilt as an "almost do anything" bike. I don't own nothing fancy in the bag dept, a cheap BV pannier bags (small, crappy but still going strong after 3 years now) that i use for sleep system and food/cook kit mainly. And then i have a Condor Compact Assault Pack that i strap on top of the rear rack for the most part (extreme bumpy roads i'll put it on my back though). And then i have my tarp & bug bivvy bag strapped to a cheap front rack.

    I ride roads, gravel roads and trails with this (even up & down a few stairs) and haven't had any broken bolts as of yet. I just try to use what i have and keep the spends to a minimum because i'm a tight git lol

    I'm leaving tomorrow or Saturday for 2/3 day trip so will post up pics of my setup when i get back.
     
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  20. hooliganwithheart

    hooliganwithheart Scout

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    Such a sweet looking bike right there. Complete truck set-up looks great to be honest :dblthumb:
     
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  21. Riverpirate

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    IMG_2219.JPG
    All of my bike bags from Frost River came just in time for the holidays.
     
  22. RickS

    RickS Supporter Supporter

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    Now @Riverpirate, that hurts! I love FR. It will look great, congratulations!
     
  23. dreamin

    dreamin Tracker

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    Looking forward to seeing the "before and after" pics.
     
  24. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    IMG_2238.JPG Got the bags put on the bike.
     

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  25. Tangotag

    Tangotag Field Gear Junkie Supporter Bushclass I

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    Those FR bags look great.
     
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  26. bradym77

    bradym77 Tinder Gatherer

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    Revelate makes great bikepacking bags and with your bike could really load a lot in the frame. I use my full suspension setup and still have to stuff some things into my hydration pack.
     

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  27. Tangotag

    Tangotag Field Gear Junkie Supporter Bushclass I

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    Bike packing is an interesting concept for me and here is my starting platform a 29+. I'd like to make my own bags as a winter project.
    IMG_4324.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  28. hooliganwithheart

    hooliganwithheart Scout

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    Damn lovely looking bike bags those, would look great on my old bike :D

    Have a link for them by any chance?
     
  29. Riverpirate

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  30. hooliganwithheart

    hooliganwithheart Scout

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  31. FarmerJohn

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    Sorry to hear about your recent injury. I am also working on getting better.

    the country I am in currently a lot of folks use bikes to carry stupid amounts of stuff. your bike could work well with some front and rear cargo racks.

    if $$ isn't a whole hell of an issue the swiss military bikes are already kinda kitted out for that sort of thing and are able to haul 300lbs of gear. that said the new versions like $2k the previous but still good model is like 1k
    heres an old swiss MO-93 the newest that I don't have photo for is the MO-12
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I would say kinda use this as a reference as to what you can do with a bike the bottom photo does not show the optional side racks
     
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  32. hooliganwithheart

    hooliganwithheart Scout

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    Now that is a bike that catches my eye. Can feel the smiles that would give going on a trip :dblthumb:

    I wouldn't be carrying 300 lbs of gear though!​
     
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  33. Cinnamon Toph Crunch

    Cinnamon Toph Crunch Tinder Gatherer

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    That is a sick bike! I commute year round via bicycle and also tour mainly in the spring and summer months. For "bikepacking" I use a Revelate Designs Ripio frame bag as well as their Viscacha saddle bag. On the front of the bike I use my Old Man Mountain Sherpa rack with a Swift Industries Large Ozette randonneur bag. The Old Man Mountain racks are the bomb.com and are a fantastic purchase. They would almost be perfect for that bike and would serve you well in a bikepacking application. They are skewer mounted racks, and have the ability to mount via hose clamps on the front suspension fork. When road touring I use their Sherpa racks on the front and rear of the bike with the Swift Industries Ozette up front, and some Ortlieb Classic roll top panniers on the rear rack.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  34. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks! I did the build on this one myself (was a fun build). I was originally planning on using it for cross country (single track) flat trails here in florida for scouting new photo locations, but will now expand that role due to my injury. I'll definitely look into these gear suggestions - Thanks!
     
  35. Capsicum

    Capsicum Tracker

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    You might want a squishy back end or some seriously wide tires if you have a back injury... a hardtail can be pretty rough on the back if you don't live out of the saddle. Rear suspension eats up a lot of storage space but if your goal is to recover to a point that you can backpack again it may be worthwhile. The 27.5+ tires are growing quite a bit in popularity and everything I've heard is that the smooth the trail out significantly.
     
  36. 10mm_Bob

    10mm_Bob Supporter Supporter

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    I agree with you. I'm going to stick with the hardtail though, as I don't ride aggressively, and the trails I'll be on are not tough. If I happen across an insane deal on a decent FS bike that fits me, I might go there, but I think the odds are low.
     
  37. hooliganwithheart

    hooliganwithheart Scout

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    I thought long and hard on what i wanted a few years ago and decided to go the old schfool way and recycle/rebuild a 1999/2000 specialized mtb. Wasn't cheap, not outrageous either :D

    The only thing that is left original after the rebuild is the frame/fork-set, handlebars & stem.

    Full rigid chromoly double butted steel frame set that fits like a glove. Perfect for road, gravel and trails (even the odd stair-case lol).....like me....not the fastest.

    Has had around 4/5000 km per year asked from it for last 3 or so years, no failures other than adjustments needed. Just the usual service sundries as in chains, etc.

    Unless the frame fails, i have no intention on anything else for as long as i can still mount two wheels. Not gonna be disloyal to my loyal steed :28:

    I still need to source a place for custom decals though, have neglected that for over a year now :54:

    Anyway, what she looks like. This was just a place i found about half hour before sunset (got carried away cycling that night and forgot about time....awesome!), hence the quick tarp setup :D

    Quick-Bike-Tarp-Set-up.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017 at 9:51 AM
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  38. hooliganwithheart

    hooliganwithheart Scout

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    Good looking bike :dblthumb:
     
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