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What to Bring on a Fair Weather Sub-24-Hour Overnight (S24O) bike camping trip

Gear for a fair weather S24O


 What to bring

Sleeping bag: Compact, 1 to 2.5lbs. $150 to $310. Quite a range.

Pad: 7oz to 1.5lbs, $15 to $60.

Tent, stakes: 2 to 4.9999lbs, $100 to $300.

Pillow: If you use one at home, you'll want one here. A separate pillow weighs less and takes up less space than sleeping on spare clothes, and for an S24O, there shouldn't be any spare clothes. If you like your home pillow, bring it; and there are lots of inflatables and cheap stuffables out there, too.

Toothbrush kit: About 2 oz. If you don't have a mini-tube of paste, squeeze some into an empty film can.

Headlight or booklight: 2 to 3oz., for reading at night or fishing around for stuff in the dark.

Extra clothes/pajamas: A fresh set of woolies and wool sox. About 1.5 to 2lbs.

Beanie: Wool works well.

Stove, fuel, fire kit: Only if you're going to cook. Around here, if the grass is green we cook, and if it's brown we don't--because we don't want to set the woods on fire and get in trouble and have it all over the internet.

Not that you have to or even should copy us, but this is how we do it: If two to four people go, we use a Trangia cookset with separate bowls and cups for eating and tea. The Trangia always works and always works well, and it's silent and safe and simple, and there's no canister to discard when the fuel's out.  

Eating gear: A cup or bowl, and maybe a spoon. About 6 to 17oz.

Food: You don't need strangers (us) telling you what to eat. Only a word of warning: Carbohydrates keep you hungry and make you fat.

Book, camera: You know your tastes here, too. If you're solo and want to be in a picture, bring a tripod. The stand up collapsible kind, or the strap-on-tree branch kind.

It's easy to get the load to 18 pounds; 13lbs is do-able; and under 8lbs is also do-able, but you have to be rich, an ascetic, or weird. 

Add about 10 pounds for colder weather and darker earlier nights.

A normal overnight kit will fit into a big saddlebag or a large stuff-sack in back, and a basket or a large handlebar bag up front. Or two baskets. Don't go nuts on the weight, but a small, light kit is all you really need. In the Winter, it is hard  to go for under 29 pounds. I know it  sounds like a lot, but holymoly, it adds up fast, and the nights are long, so you don't want to be without something. Bring a band-aid or a first aid kit if you like. If you don't, just be careful.

The most I've carried on an S24O is 54 pounds. Ridiculous, but it was a good test for the Bombadil, and it included a big extra tent, pad, doubles on a lot, canned and wet-soups for several, planning for a long night (dark at 5pm) sitting around talking before going to bed. I won't do that again, but the point is, it was only one night, and you can get away with things like that on an S24O.