August 23, 2013
How much weight should I carry on my tour? That's one of the most frequently asked questions we get from up and coming bicycle tourists, and it's a difficult question to answer without knowing the person well. Here are a few factors that can play a role in how much you should pack for a tour.
Your bike and panniers and/or trailer can only hold so much. Know the weight limits of your gear (racks, wheels, bike), and that should give you a maximum capacity for weight.
How much gear you carry can really depend on the time of the year. During the heat of the summer, you can shed a lot of weight by leaving the warm weather clothes at home and opting for a lighter sleeping bag. It's amazing how quickly gloves, hats, warm pants, and jackets take up weight and space.
Everyone is different in terms of what they need to be comfortable. You have to decide for yourself what style of tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, or even pillow is going to be best for your needs.
Lightweight gear is expensive, unless of course your gear is so ultralight that it doesn't exist. Just be aware of your budget, and don't go too overboard. After a few days in the saddle, it is what it is.
I like to err on the side of too much. It's a lot easier and cheaper to mail stuff back home, as opposed to finding it on the road and buying it new.
Photo by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.