Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bikepacking Feedback

<==image from "Outdoor Equipment Supplier"

First of all, thanks for all the great feedback that you readers supplied me regarding the "Well, That Didn't Work Part II" post I did and specifically to the bikepacking advice I got from you in comments and e-mails. I read through all the supplied links and did even more researching through links provided to me by my writing cohort, Grannygear.

I'm about tarped/bivy'ed/tented out! All the info makes my head spin, and the prices?

You're kidding me! THAT much money for a tarp?!!

Anyway, I thought I'd get back to all of you that I mentioned I would, and give you the whole premise behind this madness. Grannygear came up with this idea, and I'd said I was interested. He calls it: "Bikepacking the Dirtbag Way". (I thought it was just being "Scottish", but hey! Who am I to say!) The premise arose out of Grannygear's experience getting a whole Carousel Designs frame bag/seat bag/bar bag set up for his Lenz Sport Leviathan full suspension device. It was costly. Well made stuff, and it works well, but whoo-boy! You'd have to forfeit a lot of money to get in on the action, and that's just frame bags. Isn't there a cheaper way to jump in? That's the idea here.

Pre-requisites for me are rain protection, wind protection, and bug protection. Humidity needs to be controlled to an extent. And finally, I really won't be in any alpine conditions, so having features that fit mountaineering don't really interest me.

By nature, this whole "Bikepacking the Dirtbag Way" fits minimalism and getting by with less. Less is cheaper, and that is important. For instance, I could get by without a stove or heat source. Shocking, I know. Especially for coffee drinkers, but here, where I'll be "doing my thing", food and drink is readily available, portable, and preserved within an inch of its life. Now maybe if I go camping in winter, I'll change my tune, but until then.....

The thing is, I have all fall and winter to sort this out, and in the meantime, I could use that "coffin I call a tent", as one e-mailer put it, and "get by" for now. I just wanted to explain this whole thing a bit more clearly and thank all of you out there who cared enough to share. It helps a lot!


gregclimbs said...

well, the dirtbag way is to roll your own.

troll craigslist, buy a sewing machine and with $20 of raw materials from local fabric store make your own .

I did the whole sticker shock thing on relevate/CDW bags as well.

So I learned to use a sewing machine and was happy with the results.

Happy in that they functioned for a week long san juan hut trip, but also in that when I make version 2 this winter, I know what I want to change and why.

But also happy that I can make bags for whatever bike I need them for... The soon to have mukluk? Making bags.

If I switch mtb frames? It doesn't cost me another grand in bags....

Just sayin', that is the dirtbag way :D


cornfed said...

I have a 2 person tent I purchased from REI years ago for $79 that rolls up small enough to strap to my stem. I spent $100 on a (then) Epic Designs frame bag with included straps to hold the tent poles across the top of the bag to keep them snug against the top tube and allow for plenty of gear portage.

It's been a fantastic setup. The 2 person tent allows for room to move in, gear, and bug/weather protection. All of this was before I learned the beauty of a thermarest for winter time camping, that ground gets pretty cold.

Setup with fancy bag

Setup with velcro on the cheap (aka pre-fancy bag)

Best of luck in your adventure. The experimenting is often the more fun part.

Michael Meiser said...

Was pleased to find this series of posts, didn't know you were as into the bikepacking thing. Cool to see it.

Re: @gregclimbs, I too have made my main frame bag, got my Epic Gas tank as TransIowa swag. Definitely the best swag ever. Picked up a used Epic Supertwinkie from "someone" who had upgraded. Use a bungie net over the hoods for extra gear. I MUSt totally agree, even if I could afford a main frame bag for my Fargo, or my cross, or my salsa I just have to many bikes and will in the future. Dreaming of Mukluk, but I may have to go TiFargo first.

== tarps! ==

I really should blog this.

Best tarp setup ever.

$18, bought a large lightweight tent footprint for a discontinued tent. Cut it square, resewed the corners. Aout 10x10... maybe 12x12? Lol. Best wing tarp ever.

$30 MSRP Sea-to-summit asymetric ug net for under it. Summer use. At that price I experimented and sewed it to the left over tarp remnent to make it a fully sealed bug bivy.

Used that on Trans Wisconsin. It worked AWESOME... in ridiculous rainstorms and ridiculous bugs. Amazing thing to have 50 or more.. possible 100+ mosquitos hanging out waiting for your bloof and being perfectly safe and enough space to not have to listen to their buzzing.


Michael Meiser said...

Part 2:
I write to much, google through an error, had to post this seperately.

So... planning on a winter assuault of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Preceded by the ALlegheny passage, followed by the Natchez trace, then on to either Austin or the Florida Keys and if time back up the East Coast.

Point is I'm looking to winterize my setup. I'm trying to figure out a way to turn my wing tarp into an a-symetric mid. So it's completely enclosed. Granted I will be using it with my OR Aurora gortex bivy, but winters can be brutal.

We need more pickup on this "Bikepacking the Dirtbag Way" meme. There's some other backpacking memes that are related. Like the self depricating "trail trash". :)

personally... I just love the MYOG forums. Trail trash with cuben, titanium, primaloft, down, climashield, aluminum and all that good stuff.

Michael Meiser said...

Don't want to link spam, but very relevant.

$18 taro + $30 bug net + DIY Fargo frame bag:

Fargo transitioning to winter bikepack setup:

Another $18 tarp shot (and DIY Fargo frame bag), this time with bivy, insulated Big Agnes Airmat and HQ$ down bag. The single piece of gear I really had to throw down for.

@cornfed: I'm interested in this REI $79 2 person tent that rolls up small enough to strap to your stem!? I have an MSR fling, very light, but it packs way to big and I've seen all manner of Henry Shire and other 2P tents, can't imagine how one of them would even come close to strapping to stem... unless you meant handlebar?

BTW, that is one extremely light setup... where's your sleep bag, do you carry a stove and how many days can you go with that little gear? I keep my frame bag half empty at all times and usually only travel with it and my super twinkie in the summer, but only take the twinkie because I can and it keeps the mud off my arse. I shall be trying to find / read your blog, facebook, flickr or whatever.