Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Packing List

I've had a few people that are getting ready to do their own tour ask me to assemble a list of what I took, what worked, and what didn't.  While my tour wasn't all that long I got a good idea of the things I liked and the things that I didn't.  This will also help to serve as a packing list for next time.

Touring Pack list:

Front Left Pannier (Kitchen):

Inside main- Freezer Bag Meals (quart Sized bags) x5
Steel Cut Oats- 3 Cups
Pink Salmon Foil Packs X2
Chicken Breast Foil Packs X5
Ramen Noodles X7
Cous Cous
Dirty Rice Mix
Mora Knife
Hot Chocolate
Granola Bars
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Dried Dates
Dried Apricots
Dried Blueberries
Fresh Pecans (shelled)
Jerky (about 1/2 pound)
Scotch Flask (300 ml about the equivalent of 2 5th bottles)
Dry mix to make Navajo Fry Bread

External Pocket: Salt/Pepper
Onion Soup Mix
Olive Oil (8 oz squirt Bottle)
Chipotle Hot Sauce (3 oz Squirt)
Denatured Alcohol (4 oz Squirt)
Titanium Fork and Spoon
8 oz bottle Honey
Heed Packets X4
Tea Bags X6
Magnesium Fire Starter
P38 Can opener (also doubled as striker tool)
Lightweight Plastic spatula (even lighter after I broke it in half- cheap dollar store version).

Thoughts about this Pannier. I brought too much food. I could have cut the Oatmeal amount by 2/3's, reduced the amount of foil packaged chicken breast to only 2, left the hot chocolate at home, brought about 2 or 3 of the Ramen noodles, and done just fine. The dried fruit and jerky was great. I either snacked on it or added it to my breakfast. Since I didn't know what to expect I tried to prepare as much as possible. I was still in the backpacker frame of mind where I thought I needed to carry all my food and water with me. I could have gotten most items on the go, every day we passed through at least one town that had a grocery store that I could have picked up supplies at. I think just keeping enough food for 24 hours would be sufficient.

Also, while making my own bread on the trail was nice... I brought too much of it as well. I thought we would eat more of it, and we did eat quite a bit. It was nice and filling, but it took up too much space in my pannier. I could have reduced it by about 50% as well.

My Freezer bag meals came from .  There are some really good recipes on this website.  It's easy to get carried away with some of the recipes (trust me).  I was lucky enough to have about 90% of the ingredients in my kitchen.  The only thing I really had to buy was the foil pouch chicken breast.

Things I'm really glad I brought in this pack... The honey helped sweeten things up and was an easy source of energy. The Chipotle sauce made a few questionable meals fantastic! The Spatula helped with quite a few things. I brought sausage for the first night and it was very helpful cooking that. Also indispensable in cooking the fry bread. Bringing a good quality Olive Oil was also nice. I actually used more of it than I thought I would. Magnesium fire started and P38 can opener are nice, like a match that always lights. Plus I don't have to worry about them getting wet or finding something to strike them against. Just scrape and go.

The final weight on this bag was almost 15 pounds. I could have reduced it to less than 10 pounds pretty easily by just getting rid of all that excess.

Front Right Pannier (Clothes Closet):

Inside Main- Two T-Shirts
5 Pair Socks (4 cycling and 1 cotton)
Scrub Pants x1
Extra Jersey and Base layer
Thermal Tights (no chamois)

External Pocket- Sunglasses
Extra Gloves
Bike tools
Nightrider light
Extra baggies- both gallon and quart sizes

This pannier was actually packed pretty well. I originally started off with a dry bag for my clothes, but it really strained the dimensions of the bag. However I needed to keep them dry as we figured we'd have at least one day of rain. Then Bernie reminded of that I could use Gallon Ziploc baggies. This worked even better. I was able to match my clothes up (yes I'm weird that way, but I happen to like order), pack them pretty flat, and not have to completely empty the bag every time I needed something. While I could have gotten by with just one T-shirt, I don't mind having a spare in this case. The scrub pants were great, I picked them up at Old Navy on clearance for about 8 bucks. They tie at the waist and the ankles, so if I was riding with then I could make impromptu Manpris out of them and not get tangled up in my chain. Plus they take up about the about the same amount of space as a pair of lightweight shorts. Pants would have been much bulkier.

An unintended bonus, I was able to put the dirty clothes in the empty Ziploc and keep the rest of my clothes fresh.

Left Rear Pannier (medical and extras):

First Aid Kit
32 oz Bottle Denatured Alcohol
Candle Lantern with Reflector shield
Small Pelican Flashlight
Toiletry Kit
Baby wipes

This Pannier is part of the MTX Trunk rack system. While it's not a huge pannier, when coupled with the Trunk bag itself I held more than I could have expected. It sat up a bit higher than true touring panniers, but I don't feel that it effected the handling of the bike adversely.

My toiletry kit had the regular things, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm with sunscreen, 4 oz campsuds, personal meds, and a microfiber towel. Very lightweight and compact. The baby wipes are a nice way to wash up without wasting water.

I probably could have had a bit more room in this pannier, but I have a pretty well stocked first aid kit. Since I'm a Paramedic I probably put different things in a kit like this than most other people would. However, I wanted to be prepared in the event that something bad did happen... especially since I would have the ability to do something about it in most situations. Most others could probably get by with a standard prepackaged first aid kit that would take up much less space and weight.

However, I would recommend a few of the things I had in my kit:
Triple Antibiotic Cream
Hydro-cortisone Cream
Large Multi Trauma dressing
4x4 gauze (or 3x3, whichever is cheaper)
Tegaderm dressing (can help with blisters)
Saline Eye Wash

Right Rear Pannier:

Extra cycling bib
cycling shorts x1
extra base-layer x3
Extra Cycling Jersey X3

Again, I packed all my clothes in Ziploc bags.

MTX Trunk Bag (Electronics and other goodies):

Cook-set (pot, windscreen, pot stand, bowl)
Two Extra Bandannas
Pot Cozy
Sleeping Bag (20 degree)
Thermarest pad
Gorillapod Tripod
Shortwave Radio
Sudoku book
Inflatable pillow
large dry bag
Simple Cable Lock

Hindsight being what it is, I could have left the GPS and shortwave at home. I thought I would use them more, but my smartphone really did a great job picking up their slack. If I did it over again, I'd still bring the shortwave. It's small, light, and a great source of news when on the road. Everything else was very useful to me.

My alcohol cookset fit into the pot along with my bowl. This is probably one of the better things I brought with me. It was cheap to make, small, and it worked. I even had the ability to buy more fuel for it along the way. Denatured alcohol can be bought at most hardware stores.

I'm also glad I brought the pillow. I just can't sleep without one very well.

The Thermarest pad and sleeping bag fit nicely on the back of my bag with bungee cords and tie down straps. The first two days I kept my pad and bag in the dry bag. I didn't want them to get wet. It was a bit troublesome at first to get it situated, but once I got it the way I wanted to I didn't have any trouble with it.

Front Rack/handlebar Bag:

Topeak Bikamper EXP Tent
Cell Phone
Map/ Mapcase
15 feet Paracord

This rack worked well too. Everything in it was placed about right. Took a bit of fiddling to get it situated exactly right, but when it was in place it was perfect.

Overall, this system worked for me. Keeping things in a consistent spot helps. I knew exactly what pocket to open to get whatever I needed. Helped me to minimize any confusion when we stopped too. Of course, this was only 4 days for me. However, I think that even for a longer tour this would have worked out just fine. With a few of the changes I mentioned above it would be great.


Anonymous said...

What did you use for a flask?

I highly endorse the Nalgene flask. It comes with a nested drinking cup, and shot cap. Runs about $9. Only holds 350ml though.

You'd need a couple to prevent getting stuck in a dry county to wait out weather.


Hasty! said...

I agree. The Nalgene Flask is great.

Unless you're with 2 thirsty guys.