The art of packing light

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Drop_Center, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer Supporter

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    Sounds like more emphasis on versatility than light weight or compactness. Personally, I've never ridden a motorcycle at temperatures below 0 degrees F but maybe I'm just a wuss.
  2. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    The art of packing light also extends to ones ride. Lighter is better. Glad to see someone else doing long rides on the Triumph street triple. One segment of my dirt biking friends purchased fat ADV bikes with which to do pavement and fire road exploring, things such as V-Strom, Africa Twins and BMW GS 1200. Fuck it, I said and went instead with a Triumph Street Triple 765 RS. All we were planning was fireroads so it couldn't be that bad, and for fuck sakes in the twisty pavement where most of the time is spent it rails, cuts inside and outside 10x easier and leaves the porky bikes.

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    Packed for 2 nights of camping, installed bar risers for comfort and a windscreen as cruising over 90 sucked for any length of time.

    Even loaded for bear with 10 days of food and liters of Jack Daniels in Glass bottles it's still 132 pounds lighter than the other bikes.

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    Good times can be had with fun lightweight bikes that people previously thought not possible.

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    I began riding what I wanted on long off road trips 12 years ago on KTM 525 going through 3 countries. I was cautioned that the bike wouldn't handle that duty by those supposedly in the know. Conclusion it handled it fine. Only needed a few more oil changes than an XR.

    So when people mention that what you are trying to do is not backed by the well meaning wisdom of the masses, critically think about your idea without the constraints of the status quo. I've often been pleasantly surprised with my findings and only spent a few uncomfortable nights testing ideas that came up short.
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  3. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    I picked this tent up about a year ago. I usually only sleep in hammocks in SE Asia as there are plenty of tree's where I ride the KTM 500. However my ADV bike crew like to camp in tents whose locations are not convenient for hammock hanging. Wanted to lighten up from my Big Agnes 2 UL tent and chose this as a test. It is a copy of a MLD tent.

    Good news it has a YKK zipper and has proved durable enough with about 15 days camping in it so far. The vestibule is generous enough to keep my boots, helmet, knee braces and some other goods dry.

    Bad news is its fuggin tiny. Keep in mind I'm used to a hammock and bivy sacks so well used to small spaces. I'm only 5'6" and this does not have much excess room. If you are close to 6 foot it will be tight in regards to length. Even with the pullouts staked out next to your head and foot I would sometimes scrape my foot against the internal wall. Awesome for $70 and only 850 Grams, just be realistic with space you need.

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    I chose this tent because I dislike tents so much and the idea of also packing long poles gives me hives, at least this tent only takes one pole. They recommend a trekking pole and that works fine. However at 15" it wouldn't even pack well in the hard bags of my Triumph let alone in the Altrider Hemisphere on the KTM 500. So I went about seeing if I could make a single fiberglass pole work. Again, against the well meaning main stream thoughts of supporting a single person tent with a thin, lightweight, fiberglass pole instead of a much sturdier trekking pole....... however onward through the fog I stumbled.

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    Found and cut a pole down to 10" sections that packed much better. 15 days later and no issues with the single pole supporting the tent. I simply place a 1" PVC cap over the top of the pole where it inserts into the tent to protect the tent from being punctured. Job done. It's packed into my 16L compression sack along with my Neo Air thermarest pad and down quilt. It would compress smaller but I don't have a smaller compression sack.

    I tossed the OEM stakes and use MSR Needle stakes. Been using them for years with no issues with my other tents and hammock. They fit into a small pocket I sewed into my compression bag to keep everything together. Not great in sand but work a charm everywhere else I've camped.

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    If you can handle the cramped quarters it is lovely and cheap and so far durable with 15 nights spent.

    Best of luck.
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  4. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    This is a great point Hick!!! Freeze dried foods are a great convenience and you can control and plan for the food you love. I purchased my own food dehydrator to make the foods I enjoy for trips. Spaghetti sauce packed full of vedgies and sausage, a tiny 2 ounce bag with parmesan cheese can last more than two weeks even in the 90F weather we have over here. Even dehydrated Indian food loaded with Ghee has dehydrated well and lasted over two weeks without me getting belly ache.

    Over here you often pass through villages with goodies packed in banana leaves. The last trip I didn't even take a stove and just lived off what was available in villages.

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    Only issue is sometimes it is not as good as Tiki Masala. This was pigs brain, egg and rice. Keep in mind it sits in the stall all day until I purchase it, then tossed into the Altrider Hemishpere black bag until lunch or dinner. Luckily growing up as one raised by a poor single father in the states our fridge never contained fresh anything. Years of rubbing mold off stuff in the fridge I'm sure has helped my tummy deal with the challenges of non refrigerated meats over here.

    Grace not complaining about the lack of Lobster Thermidor on our trip,

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    Pulled up in a little Sala for a bite to eat.

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    Its only after a week of this stuff that you begin to desire something you can actually identify. Side of the trail lunch stop off the top of your thigh.

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    However the idea of no pot, stove, utensil weight makes it that much easier :lol3.

    Love the ideas, keep them flowing!!!
  5. Twin headlight Ernie

    Twin headlight Ernie Custom fabricated dual sport accessories

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    I've told people for years. "The secret to packing light isn't what to take, it's what to leave behind".
    I've gotten so used to packing light on my dual sport trips that even when I take my larger road bikes the bags are half empty.
    It is nice to have the extra room for stuff you buy and haul back.
    It actually really messes me up when I pack for a car trip in the winter. I barely know what to do. LOL
  6. HickOnACrick

    HickOnACrick Groovinator

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    Parmesan cheese was the original backpacking food. It was consumed by Roman soldiers on their marches as they tried to conquer the world.

    Also...Take a small funnel on your rides. If you're going to pack whiskey, use the funnel to pour the whiskey into an empty water bottle. Lowers the weight and also may avoid broken glass.

    I don't know it they sell SmartWater in Thailand, but I have been re-using their bottles for years for packing water or other liquids. One bottle will last a very long time. The opening of the bottle also accepts most water filters perfectly.
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  7. AZQKR

    AZQKR Long timer

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    I ride a big bike with 38L and 45L Lone Rider semi rigid softbags and a 30 liter bmw soft top case. All my gear for the trip to the arctic circle last summer weighed 105 pounds. I had everything I needed and lots of stuff I didn't need [ based on that trip ].

    My normal everyday load out is 30#'s of kit divided between the two Lone Rider panniers and 14#'s in the bmw soft top box. My GS 1200 doesn't even notice the 30#'s weight in the panniers. How do I know? I take the inner bags out of the panniers that hold the kit and the bike shows no difference in handling.

    I ride with any amount of kit I want to bring within the bikes/racks weight limits. I don't need to go minimalist on the big bike, nor do I.

    The art of packing light? Nah, it's about riding something that can take what I want, whether I use it on any particular trip or not. :D
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  8. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer Supporter

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    Or get a 1 person tent that feels roomy and comfy - Big Agnes makes those - life is too short.
  9. laurient

    laurient Been here awhile

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    Packing light is a fun mental exercise and part of every trip pre planning . Although i take too much on just about every trip its still something i aim for .
    On my last trip ( no camping ) about 25% of my load was bike related ( spares , tools ect ) overwhelmingly puncture related .
    My camping gear is about 30% made up of my self inflating mattress . Both of these area's need looking at .
    First pic is as i was loaded for a fortnight , second pic is mattress , sleeping bag , 2 man tent , chair , stove pots pans cup ect , gas for stove and stainless bottle for night caps :yum .
    IMGP0003.JPG IMGP0016 copy 2.JPG
    As far as food goes i like long life ( not dehidrated ) and can food in one or two day amounts , coffee sachets , muesli bars and lollies for an energy hit .
    I am after fuel for my body over great tucker and can always stop in town for resupply and a nice big lunch .
  10. Orthodoc

    Orthodoc Cowboy Supporter

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    Joe
    Have quietly followed your minimalist style, and while I suspect will never be High Council material, can say I am a devoted Follower...
    I do have question, and realize I am not a KTM guy, but is that a an extra kickstand on that bike? If so, does it’s functionality warrant the extra weight? I fear our leader may have slipped into some loose stuff, or maybe a Crowma?
  11. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

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    Very good observation and it's something I have examined time after time. The bike came with the centerstand so it's hard to say whether I would have ever experimented with it otherwise. I can say that I have truly found it useful with flat tire repair in the field. The 950 bike is heavier than the 500 class which I also ride. It's difficult lifting the 950 onto something if you gotta fix a flat. That said, if the centerstand were not there, the tire would get repaired one way or another. So, ultimately, yes, the centerstand is a convenience and should probably be eliminated.
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  12. sanders446

    sanders446 Been here awhile

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    Does anyone have a lightweight solution to splitting that fat firewood often available at campsites? I'd rather not carry around a relatively heavy and bulky hatchet. The best solution is probably a knife that is capable of baton cutting, but unfortunately those aren't legal to carry everywhere, which I agree is a stupid concern but Murphy's law follows me around like a shadow and I'm the guy that would get pinched for such a thing.

    Just trying to think of a simpler, light weight, more elegant solution to all this that maybe I'm just not thinking of yet.
  13. PNWet

    PNWet Long timer

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    Sanders, Google wedges. It's a common old woodsman technique to make and then use small wooden wedges to split wood. I've seen a video of Mors Kochansky using a small knife and wedges to split a large piece of wood. I can't seem to find the video at the moment.

    There are many knives that can handle battoning, though some consider it knife abuse.
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  14. King Rat

    King Rat Been here awhile

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    You can use a normal knife, simply place the blade on the top of the 'log', then use another 'log' to hit the blade. This will work going DOWN the grain, not across it. If you need to cut across the grain you use a saw. I use a normal, 4" blade knife, to make Swedish Stoves. You don't need an axe, just an old fashioned outlook.
  15. Madman4049

    Madman4049 Been here awhile

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    You don't need a hatchet, wedges, etc unless you just like packing heavy/bulky items. When I go on bike camping trips I leave the folding pocket knife on the dresser and bring a fixed blade belt knife and a saw. I carry the Esee JG5 and a Silky Gomboy 240 in the lid of a side case till I get to camp. The knife will do everything from baton that crap firewood that's hard as iron, make feathersticks and scrape bark, to slicing paper thin tomato slices and food prep. And the saw zips through downed trees/branches in no time at all. These two items are truly all you need, they do so well in fact that even when I go camping in the truck where I can pack more stuff I don't.
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  16. TripleTriples

    TripleTriples Long timer

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    I always carry an Estwing hatchet, but I like to camp out of the way from time to time.

    My thinking on it is that, for one thing, the Estwing is pretty slim and reasonably light compared to most other hatchets. Also, the fact that it can pull double duty as a hammer is a big plus if you need to pound tent stakes, beat a bent lever back into place, etc.
  17. King Rat

    King Rat Been here awhile

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    Where is it unlawful to carry such a tool? Everywhere in the world that has Draconian laws have the 'provided you have a legitimate use' clause. Carrying a knife in your luggage for use at camp is not unlawful, anywhere. Carrying it on a belt in a sheath is a different matter and on a motorcycle trip, just bloody silly.
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  18. King Rat

    King Rat Been here awhile

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    A friend made me this one. It goes with me on most trips. He forged his own mixture of steels before creating the blade. He harvested the burl birch handle on exercise in Norway and it was 15 years matured before he used it, then soaked in oil for a few years, so it is completely waterproof, no, it is not softened. I think he knows what he is doing. Notice how there is no exposed tang, it is completely blind. The brass and mosaic pin are also made by him, as is the water soaked to fit sheath. It displays beautiful craftsmanship and the balance is excellent. It will split logs or paunch and skin a rabbit or clean a fish and still hold its edge. I have it rigged as a neck lanyard, so I can carry it under my armpit, out of the way but available. It won't open tins of paint, unscrew fasteners or hammer in nails! It has served me well for 10 years.

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  19. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    yep pay little heed to the sheeple

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  20. PNWet

    PNWet Long timer

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    ESEE makes knives that can withstand batoning. I agreed the JG5 is an excellent knife to bring for camp craft and light wood processing. Combined with a Gomboy and you've got your bases covered. Personally, I carry a Silky Pocketboy and a good field knife, such as Mora Garberg, ESEE 3P, Fallkniven F1, or the like. I recently made one that I'll be testing this summer.

    That said, I'm not sure you read my post about wedges. I'm not suggesting bringing wedges with you on your trip. I'm suggesting you can make a wedge in just a few minutes from wood around your campsite. Keep in mind this technique is most often used to access dry wood for fire starting, not for building your wood pile to get you through a cold night. Here's a short read with one person's take on splitting with a field-made wedge:

    http://woodtrekker.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-split-big-log-with-little-knife.html

    Since this is "the art of packing light" thread, a great lightweight (and inexpensive) set up is the Silky Pocketboy and Mora 546 (9.9 ounces).