Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Adventure bound....my bedroom in a bag

Laura and I are heading out on our last adventure of this year and our first adventure of next year :)

It's going to be sort of a "greatest hits" ride. About 70% of the ride we've ridden before, but they're some of our favorite bits of riding and camping. Some highlights will be camping at Refugio hike/bike (which I think is THE best hike/bike spot in Central-So.Cal), riding Santa Rosa road (a great road from our very first tour), Alisal road into Solvang (steep, rocky, narrow but oh what great fun!).

I'm also definitely excited about the new bits we'll get to ride too like Harris Grade, Gaviota Pass, Price Canyon road and the list goes on!

I started packing about a week ago :) Here's what the "bedroom" looks like and is more or less what I carry on most tours. Except during the summer months along the coast, I'll usually forgo the sleeping bag and just take the cotton sleep sack.

I'm carrying an REI inflatable sleeping pad (purchased before our Oregon trip almost two years ago), a down sleeping bag, cotton sleep sack (purchased 9 years ago for my European backpacking trip after college), Thermarest folding pillow. The gear is expensive if you buy everything at once. I've been fortunate to slowly piece together a pretty respectable touring kit over the last few years (hey it's still all cheaper than a car!).

Amazingly, everything fits into one Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus, which I highly recommend. And if you're going to get one, I highly recommend getting it from Wayne at TheTouringStore.com. He's friendly, personable (sort of like Peter White and Riv, you get one-on-one treatment over the phone) and he's got the best prices in town (no tax, no shipping). I've purchased a few tubus racks and lots of Ortlieb gear from him in the past.

I like to try to carry everything into dedicated bags since it facilitates taking trains and buses. Once we get to our start location via train, I'll probably take my sleeping pad and stick it in the space between my seat and Carradice, opening up some room in the Ortlieb for some food.

So that's the bedroom. What do you guys carry and how do you pack it?


jayhay said...

Nice set up - someday I'll get to the touring phase of my cycling experience...

Bike Girl said...

good tip re: packing things in bags for easier use of the train.

Bike Girl and her Significant Other had some trouble carrying all of their stuff that had been bungee corded on to their racks

twodeadpoets said...

Nice write-up Russ, thanks.

Wayne is great and I’ve purchased both my wife's and my Ortlieb setup from him as well.

Up to our last big trip, I had been carrying a Sierra 15 deg bag which is way to warm for most of what I will probably ever do (I tend to seek out warmer climates) and my "like sleeping on the bare ground" super thin and not so lightweight 3/4 Thermarest which leaves my broad shoulders crushed by morning.

After our last trip I did not want to have to endure shoulder surgery anytime soon because of inadequate padding and so was desperate to find a better and lighter sleep system. I wanted something as cushy as my deluxe Thermarest pad but which didn't weigh almost as much as my bike. On one of my rare foray into Seattle I discovered Big Agnes sleeping pads and fell in love the moment I lay down on one and was sold when I saw that the price and weigh was much less than most Thermarests. As a bonus the Big Agnes pad also uses much less space which means I can now stuff my pad INTO my pannier versus strapping it on top, a not so fun system when using a bus in Victoria.

Now I am saving up for a new sleeping bag. I am considering the Big Agnes Elbert which is a lightweight and cooler bag that will combine nicely with my pad. I already sleep pretty warm so can get away with a higher temp rated bag and while saving weight. If I DO tour in cooler weather, I can opt to pack my silk bag liner which I've had since a trip to Europe in 1994 and which also survived a trip to India and Thailand in 2001. It's a great liner that has held up very well including with my son using it on two trips to Mexico and then again on the Camino de Santiago last year. He will also bring it with him this January to do the same India and Thailand trip I did eight years ago.

Lastly, as for pillows, I usually throw a bunch of clothes and such into a stuff sack. The Thermarest pillows look comfy but are too small to prop up my big head over my broad shoulders.

RussRoca said...

tdp...i've heard great things about Big Agnes gear but haven't had a chance to try them out in the flesh...i'll keep an eye out for them!