saddle bag for ultralight touring

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
willem jongman
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saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby willem jongman » 14 Aug 2020, 3:32pm

I have just come back from two weeks of touring in northern Germany, with some 15 kg of luggage (including tent and stove) in two small rear panniers, the tent on top of the rear rack and a handle bar bag. All this on a bike made for serious loaded touring. I had wrongly expected the weather to be colder than it turned out to be, so the 15 kg was quite overdone. The tour was to recover some of my pre-corona fitness, and it worked well for that.
So I decided to add some two or three day weekend rides to my schedule, before we run the risk of being in lockdown again.
I decided to use my drop bar cycle cross bike for this rather than the loaded tourer, and take the very minimum: a light solo tent, a light sleeping bag and a Neoair mattress, plus a small amount of spare clothing and maybe a minimalist stove and a pot (but maybe not). My hunch is that all this should fit into a Carradice saddle bag, and I would prefer to use the Nelson Longflap because I fear that the Camper Longflap would be too big, and would affect the handling too much even though I use a Nitto R10 saddle bag support/rack. My idea is to put the bulk of my luggage in the main compartment, and put the tent under the extended flap. The tent bag's diameter is some 12 cm, and I wonder if that would fit under the long flap. Has anyone else done the same? I ask here because such saddle bags are of course a very British thing, and Carradice bags are not sold by any Dutch store that I know of, so I canot try in a store.
Alternatively, and in order to save on weight, I wondered about using a modern light weight dry bag such as the Sea to Summit 20 litre one, and strap it and the tent to the rack. It may not look as classy, but it would save about a kg. The worst part of this option is probably that getting anything out of the relatively small opening of the dry back would be a bit of a pain. Again, does anybody have any experience?
Of course, I could use my existing touring bike and gear, but that seems a bit of overkill for a trip leaving early on Saturday and returning home on Sunday evening, or maybe one more night.

Andrew-l
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby Andrew-l » 14 Aug 2020, 10:21pm

I used a Ortlieb bikepacking saddlebag, which was great - but I wasn't camping!

PH
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby PH » 14 Aug 2020, 10:41pm

There's a big difference between one and two nights. Not just the amount of kit that difference needn't be much, but in the need to keep things dry. On an overnight, my quilt is the only thing I'm precious about keeping dry after the camp. So for me: Quilt in a waterproof stuff sack inside my small Carradice, everything else in a larger stuff sack attached to the rear rack with a velcro strap. I get what you mean about accessing the stuffsack, but there's nothing in it I'll need after the camping. I take a small jetboil type stove, I've sometimes not bothered and then regretted it, even though there are times I take it and it doesn't get used. The Carradice bags are hefty kit, that's what they are, but they probably don't belong in any lightweight plan, on my to do list is to make a lighter version, I can live with it not being as robust.

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simonineaston
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby simonineaston » 14 Aug 2020, 10:53pm

When I tried to get my carry weight down to a minimum, it occured to me that a significant proportion of my carry was the packaging (ie panniers, saddle-bags and so on...). So I took to packing everything in a few light-weight dry-bags (I chose Alpkit's) and strapping them directly to the bike. Several kilograms were saved :-)
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

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andrew_s
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby andrew_s » 14 Aug 2020, 11:12pm

I've gone camping with just a Camper Longflap, and also with the sleeping bag on the front, which allows sufficient food/clothing space for several days between shops. I'd normally fill the saddlebag so it was level with the top of the canvas body, more or less, then add the tent on top, held down by the flap, which may or may not need extending (if it does, it's the in the tightest hole or two).
I tend to be more concerned with keeping the lower half of the bike unencumbered, for ease of rough stuff, than with weight per se.
Image
Weekend only, cold weather primaloft jacket included
Image
The camp setup to go with the above
Image
Camper Longflap, sleeping bag on front rack.
Image
The camp to go with the above (spot the chair). I'd also swapped the mat for a full length XTherm.
Image
the route
Image
An alternative - just a Bagman support, but a front rack for the sleeping bag.

slowster
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby slowster » 14 Aug 2020, 11:26pm

Get the Camper Longflap

willem jongman wrote:I fear that the Camper Longflap would be too big, and would affect the handling too much even though I use a Nitto R10 saddle bag support/rack.

If its capacity exceeds your needs, that is not a problem: you simply don't take anything extra. In fact rather than have to squeeze everything into a bag which is barely large enough/too small, it's much better to have some spare space inside the bag - that makes it much easier to pack and unpack the bag, and to find, remove and put back items during the day. There will not be any difference in handling between the Camper and the Nelson if they are filled with the same items.

Both saddlebags have a drawstring closure inder the lid, and ideally you would be able to have everything inside the bag without using the longflap. In other words if possible keep (most of) the extra capacity provided by the longflap in reserve. For example the spare capacity is very useful to carry any food that you might buy along the way for a picnic lunch or your evening meal.

Note that if you use the longflap, then you should not have the drawstring snugged tight with additional items - whether your tent or food - placed on top of the drawstring closure. If you do that, you would risk losing those items because they would slide out to the side. Instead the drawstring needs to be snugged around the items that protrude above the sides of the bag, and if the items on top are small/odd shaped items, such as food shopping, then put them all together in a reusable carrier bag or dry bag which the drawstring can then be snugged around. Edit - I see andrew_s has packed his tent under the flap and it looks more than secure enough, but my experience is that more rigid/solid objects with a smooth/slippery surface are prone to sliding out from under the lid if not held in place by the drawstring.

The Camper Longflap's side pockets are much larger than the Nelson's, which gives you more flexibility for packing, e.g. one pocket will take two boxed large inner tubes, tyre levers and a multi-tool.

Another option will be to use the Camper's D rings on the lid (or the Nelson's equivalent leather attachment strips) to carry your tent, using a couple of good quality toe straps, e.g. MKS.

If you do not have a leather saddle with saddlebag loops, I would suggest buying the Bagman QR Clamp*, and if you buy that I would also suggest buying the Carradice Shoulder Strap which clips to the D rings at the side of the saddlebag (unless you already have a suitable shoulder strap that you could use).

* NB the Bagman clamp needs ~10mm of saddle rail to affix it, so it cannot be used if your saddle is as far forward as it will go on the rails.

ElaineB
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby ElaineB » 15 Aug 2020, 10:24am

I think it is a bit of a conundrum really. What I need for one nights camping is probably what I would also only need for 5! Ok, you may need a little extra clothing but the set up appears to be the same for however many nights you are out. When I do an overnight camp, why can’t I carry on and do another night and another night after that? It is somewhat psychological to think the number of nights equates to the amount of ‘stuff’ we need. I often take something ‘just in case I might need it’, but invariably I don’t, but how difficult it is to leave it behind and realise you did need it!! Go light, there is always a Premier Inn and a Mc D’s on almost every corner, except in Scotland that is!
As for bags you can’t beat Carradice for keeping everything dry, on a bagman, with a small front roll bag on the handlebars. I bought a brilliant one from Aldi. I also use a bumbag for smaller items that you need to get to easily. Take less and enjoy the ride....easier said than done!

tatanab
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby tatanab » 15 Aug 2020, 10:59am

willem jongman wrote:I fear that the Camper Longflap would be too big, and would affect the handling too much
You don't have to fill it and the additional volume might be useful at some point. I find the additional height of the sidepockets on the Campers particularly useful.
The tent bag's diameter is some 12 cm, and I wonder if that would fit under the long flap.
Use the rings (normal position for a cape roll) on the top of the bag instead of putting the tent under the flap. Handy in bad weather as the bag contents will be better covered.

I did this on an ultra short wheelbase time trial bike only a few years ago. I was going to a special event which is why I used such an inappropriate machine. Camper's Longflap with Hilleberg Unna on top, Neoair mattress and Thermarest quilt inside with clothing. Tools in one side pocket, waterproof and lock in the other. I did not carry any cooking kit because I was going to an organised weekend with meals in pubs etc.

nsew
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby nsew » 16 Aug 2020, 1:22pm

willem jongman wrote:I have just come back from two weeks of touring in northern Germany, with some 15 kg of luggage (including tent and stove) in two small rear panniers, the tent on top of the rear rack and a handle bar bag. All this on a bike made for serious loaded touring. I had wrongly expected the weather to be colder than it turned out to be, so the 15 kg was quite overdone. The tour was to recover some of my pre-corona fitness, and it worked well for that.
So I decided to add some two or three day weekend rides to my schedule, before we run the risk of being in lockdown again.
I decided to use my drop bar cycle cross bike for this rather than the loaded tourer, and take the very minimum: a light solo tent, a light sleeping bag and a Neoair mattress, plus a small amount of spare clothing and maybe a minimalist stove and a pot (but maybe not). My hunch is that all this should fit into a Carradice saddle bag, and I would prefer to use the Nelson Longflap because I fear that the Camper Longflap would be too big, and would affect the handling too much even though I use a Nitto R10 saddle bag support/rack. My idea is to put the bulk of my luggage in the main compartment, and put the tent under the extended flap. The tent bag's diameter is some 12 cm, and I wonder if that would fit under the long flap. Has anyone else done the same? I ask here because such saddle bags are of course a very British thing, and Carradice bags are not sold by any Dutch store that I know of, so I canot try in a store.
Alternatively, and in order to save on weight, I wondered about using a modern light weight dry bag such as the Sea to Summit 20 litre one, and strap it and the tent to the rack. It may not look as classy, but it would save about a kg. The worst part of this option is probably that getting anything out of the relatively small opening of the dry back would be a bit of a pain. Again, does anybody have any experience?
Of course, I could use my existing touring bike and gear, but that seems a bit of overkill for a trip leaving early on Saturday and returning home on Sunday evening, or maybe one more night.


I’d say it’s not worth the aggro of all the thought, cost & experimentation. After going all round the houses for some years there’s no question in my mind that the weight and volume (and ease of access) of cycle camping journeys is best carried in two rear panniers with shelter and sleeping kit strapped to the top.

nsew
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby nsew » 16 Aug 2020, 3:34pm


Jdsk
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby Jdsk » 16 Aug 2020, 3:50pm

ElaineB wrote:What I need for one nights camping is probably what I would also only need for 5! Ok, you may need a little extra clothing but the set up appears to be the same for however many nights you are out.

Yes.

nsew wrote:I’d say it’s not worth the aggro of all the thought, cost & experimentation. After going all round the houses for some years there’s no question in my mind that the weight and volume (and ease of access) of cycle camping journeys is best carried in two rear panniers with shelter and sleeping kit strapped to the top.

That's what we've usually ended up with... + bar bags.

But it's fascinating to hear how others do it with much less. Keep it coming!

Jonathan

ElaineB
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Joined: 9 Apr 2011, 6:15pm

Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby ElaineB » 16 Aug 2020, 4:00pm

Here is my bike and bag which I used for a few days at a yha, no camping gear but brilliant.
Anything can work really and this Carradice bag is large enough for most short trips. Easy on and off ferries too.
The photo was taken at Harwich railway station.
Image Attachments
75AEAF87-B73B-4D47-9BA4-466930F299F4.jpeg

JakobW
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby JakobW » 16 Aug 2020, 8:02pm

I've got an ancient Nelson and a modern Camper Longflap; IMO the Nelson is ok for credit card touring, but I wouldn't like trying to get camping kit in there. If you've got posh/expensive UL camping gear then you might just manage it with a Nelson LF, but for the sake of a fiver and 50 grams, I'd take the Camper's extra six litres; the overall dimensions are only a cm or two larger in height and depth.

PH
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby PH » 16 Aug 2020, 8:15pm

ElaineB wrote:I think it is a bit of a conundrum really. What I need for one nights camping is probably what I would also only need for 5!

We're all different, but for me on a single night - I won't have a change of clothes other than undies. I'll trust the forecast that far ahead and wear what I think appropriate, I'll minimise wash kit, won't bother with food, or a book. If I know where that one night will be I may make some other alterations... Basically the shorter, the more predictable, also the less consequence of getting it wrong and I might put up with a little discomfort as I'll be home the next day. It's the only situation I'll consider using a bivvy bag and wouldn't make that decision till a few hours before setting off.

willem jongman
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Re: saddle bag for ultralight touring

Postby willem jongman » 17 Aug 2020, 8:35am

Thank you all for your contributions and thought provoking alternatives. For my longer tours I not only have a sturdier bike but also light weight gear and pannier bags, typically some 12-15 kg. However, this ultralight idea would be for something quite different: the very minimum for a two or at most three day trip from home, to extend my range beyond what I can do on a one day round trip, and to use a somewhat zippier bike still capable of mild forest trails. Conditions would be pretty predictable, and if bad weather was predicted I would either not go, or use the proper tourer and take more gear. So what would my minimum consist of? A light weight solo tent (1.8 kg including footprint), a Neoair and PhD bag (1.2 kg together), a change of clothing, and usually something warmer for the evening. For toiletries a minimalist micro towel, a toothbrush, and that is about it. For food I would probably first take a bowl of cold salad and some bread. If and when I decide I like this format I might get myself a Caldera Sidewinder alcohol stove and pot kit, to heat up some freeze dried meal and make some coffee.
So none of this is really sustainable for a longer trip, but quite doable for one of one or two nights. The extra advantage would be that packing and clearing up afterwards is also less work.