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Thread: Bikepacking!

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    Yeah, mostly it's the weight. I've toured a lot with racks and panniers, but I managed to trim down my gear so I've never needed bags on the front. Still, the rear rack plus two large Ortlieb back-rollers weigh over 6 lbs before I put anything in them.
    Ginacico tells it like it is. I too have a rear rack and large Ortlieb back rollers, and booooy-o, they're hefty and bulky. When you mountain bike and have to occasionally step off the bike to push, the big panniers get in the way. I also end up banging the backs of my heels on them. If I was riding mostly on the road, I sometimes opt for the pannier setup, but with all the bumping and jumping around on rougher trails, the panniers are usually more noisy and rattle more.

    Another reason to use rackless packs is if you don't have rack mounts on your frame or fork. Yes, I know about P-clamps, axle mounts, and other means of getting a rack on your bike, but without the rack in the first place, you save weight and subtract complexity.

    The last reason I can think of using packs over racks is that you spread the load out more on the bike. If I put most/all of my stuff in the rear panniers, the bike is very rear heavy, obvs. It makes maneuvers where I have to lift the rear (e.g., to get over a rock or a step-up) more difficult. With the rackless packs, I'll put some weight behind the saddle, some in front or beside the fork, and put the heaviest stuff low in the center frame pack to make the center of gravity lower and more central. Basically, it balances the bike better.
    Last edited by drevil; 04-03-2017 at 10:01 PM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkel View Post
    ... Additionally, the place we stayed in Harpers Ferry was featured on Hotel Hell a little while after we left. Also another story.
    Hill House?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by consularrider View Post
    Hill House?
    Hilltop House is a sad, decrepit mess. A developer has been trying to renovate it since 2007 but a whole saga of hurdles has prevented it. I actually stayed there in maybe 2001 before it closed. It was reasonable, affordable lodging on a bluff with incredible views. It deserves better.

    Sorry to hear Harper's Ferry didn't impress team D-Rock!

  4. #14
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    Good points about how weight is distributed over the bike.

    Traditional racks and panniers try to put the weight low at the wheel axles. If you tighten things up so nothing rattles around, it can be a very efficient way to travel on smooth surfaces. You have to be careful that the bike doesn't tip over while mounting and dismounting, like you would with a motorcycle. Because of the bulk, and facilitated by Vaya's sloped top tube, I've developed the habit to step through instead of swinging my leg over the back wheel (sometimes, it varies). But once you get going, you're very stable. Many touring bikes have a longer wheel base to stop your heels from hitting the bags.

    Riding a touring rig is a bit like driving a truck, gradual starts and stops, careful handling, and constant awareness of the load. (Add front and back panniers to a tandem, and this story gets exponentially more complex.)

    By contrast, frame bags distribute the weight anywhere it can go without the benefit of a rack -- handlebars, mid frame, under the seat -- resulting in less weight and also carrying the load higher up. drevil and KayakCyndi can say more, but I imagine the balance is somewhat different, and I don't know if it's an issue tightening things down so they don't sway. How to go bikepacking with Vaya and explore more off roads is something I've barely started to figure out.

    With either setup, reducing the overall weight of your gear is a BIG win. Splurge on the ultralight stuff, cut the handle off your toothbrush, leave the hardcover novel at home, that kinda thing.

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  6. #15
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    I have been a couple of times, just on the C&O, but I want to do some mountain biking or back country gravel trips once I am back from Kansas this summer and get better bags/packs for my Niner and Warbird.

    I also used racks/panniers for my first trips, but want to pare down and just use frame packs/bags. I have a really nice tent and pad but need to get a lighter weight sleeping bag for summer trips (my bag is rated at 20F and is quite bulky).

  7. #16
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    I was thinking of trying this but just using my Banjo Brother's backpack just like I do for commuting. Might not be able to do it for full-on mountain biking in the GWNF, or very long trips, but I think it would work for a night or two. Perhaps this is foolhardy. One way to find out.

  8. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkel View Post
    So, why all those packs instead of panniers? Rockford and I did the ride out to Harpers Ferry, and I thought my panniers front and rear were great. What is it that I don't know? Is it just lighter without the racks?

    Also, half of Harpers Ferry burned down the night after we left, but that's another story.

    Additionally, the place we stayed in Harpers Ferry was featured on Hotel Hell a little while after we left. Also another story.
    Oh did you do that? (actually its like less than half a block, and it was almost all rebuilt when we were there last a couple of months ago)

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  10. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunyata View Post
    I have been a couple of times, just on the C&O, but I want to do some mountain biking or back country gravel trips once I am back from Kansas this summer and get better bags/packs for my Niner and Warbird.

    I also used racks/panniers for my first trips, but want to pare down and just use frame packs/bags. I have a really nice tent and pad but need to get a lighter weight sleeping bag for summer trips (my bag is rated at 20F and is quite bulky).
    Sunyata, not sure if you were aware, but if you are a member of MORE/IMBA, one of the benefits is access to Experticity. I think the higher level up of a member you are, the better your bennies are at Experticity, where you can get up to 40% off directly from manufacturers such as Big Agnes, Nemo, and Outdoor Research.

    I'm going to order a Big Agnes Fly Creek through them soon before optimal bikepacking season starts

    For anyone else interested, MORE is the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts, which is the local mountain bike club. IMBA is the International Mountain Biking Association, of which MORE is now a chapter. Anyone can join.

  11. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by drevil View Post
    I remember the cabin, but fuzzy on the details leading up to it. Is it straight up, rocky, and ridiculous, because I remember a few of those climbs as well. If so, the answer to what you are wondering is:
    Pushing my bike, with tears in my eyes
    Sounds about right! I don't have a trail bike or any off-road skills, but if I did, I'd think I'd pack the heavy stuff (tools, food, Old Grand-dad) in a frame bag, carry my clothes in a backpack, and rent the Sugar Knob cabin for a night or two so I didn't have to carry a tent, a stove, a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag.

  12. #20
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    What would be your favorite bike for this?

    What would be your favorite bike for light touring? Like GAP + C&O?

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