amw (amw) wrote,

what's in my bag

So, i've dropped a few tidbits about what is in my bag over the past few months (years) of traveling around with not much stuff, but i thought it might be fun to share a more detailed view of my bicycle-specific setup before i get on the road.

Essentially, i have split my kit from one big backpack plus a small daypack/frontpack into a larger daypack, two panniers and a bedroll.

After playing around with putting various different things on my handlebars, i have currently ended up with strapping on half an accordion foam mat and a complete one-person tent. I tried distributing the pegs and poles around the rest of the bike to keep my steering light (so i could pedal with no hands) but i'm finding that it's more annoying to have more weight on the back, so i chucked it all up-front.

I have a left and right pannier, which i am trying to keep as my "bike-specific gear". That is, if worst came to the worst, i could just take the daypack off the bike and walk away with it, and i would still be able to survive.

Except i wouldn't, because what's in the panniers is food, water and sleeping bag. On one side i have a 30F/-1C sleeping bag, a small undersheet/tarp for the tent and a 2L bag of water. On the other side i have my Ursack food bag and a bag of bike equipment like lights, pump, multitool and two spare tubes.

What is in the Ursack? I'm glad you asked, because i have spent the last couple days eating one meal a day out of it, for practice.

- one enamel mug
- bamboo knife/fork/spoon/chopsticks
- one bag of quick oats, for carbs and protein
- one bag of dried mango, for sweetener
- one jar of natural peanut butter, for fat and protein
- wholewheat tortillas, for carbs and protein
- Tajin seasoning, for salt, acid and chili
- Starbucks instant coffee, for caffeine
- a bunch of Lärabars, for snacking
- B12 supplement
- (plus toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and soap, so the bears don't eat it)

There is a lot of super fancy thru-hiker and ultrarunner shit you can buy, like freeze-dried dinners and electrolyte mixes and meal replacement shakes, but they are all very expensive and must be ordered from special websites, which makes them kinda useless for long-term traveling. The way i see it, if you can't buy the thing at the average small town grocery store, then it's not really worth bringing the thing, because a few days later you will run out, and then you will have to eat oats anyway.

What i haven't done yet is jump on the SPAM singles or tuna pouch train, which are key salt, fat and protein sources for omnivorous hobos. I also haven't added any fresh fruit or veg because i figure i will pick those up as i go. Also - let's be honest - i do have the money to eat at restaurants along the way, so the Ursack food is just for surviving a few days if i somehow end up out of civilization for that long.

So, one pannier has water, undersheet and sleeping bag. Other pannier has food and bike tools. Everything else is in my daypack. That is, all of my clothes that i am not wearing, my Surface tablet, battery, head lamp, knife, nail clippers, P51 can opener, tweezers, first aid kit, bear spray, water filter, paracord. I also have a tiny toilet bag carabinered on with a stand-to-pee device, trowel and toilet paper. In a pinch, i could take the pack, strap my sleeping bag on the top, hang a Nalgene off the side and tie the Ursack in a bindle to make a mini survival kit for the wilderness, leaving the bike and tent behind.

My trusty bum bag has my passport, wallet, phone and attaches well enough to the handlebars. Oh, and i tied my flip-flops under the seat.

All of this is liable to change, of course. I have done a few test runs now with 90% load, but i always left one thing or the other at home, like my tablet, or my toothbrush, or a full jar of peanut butter. I'll only know for sure how it all fits when i really, really go.

I am quite sure that i have planned to bring a bunch of shit that i don't need, or that seemed useful in theory but actually isn't. God knows lugging 4L of water around when you are always an hour away from a gas station or creek is dumb as hell. And wise cyclists would say i should put all the weight as low on the bike as possible (i.e. in the panniers) and strapped both front and back. I'm sure they're right. But i'll figure it out. For now i like the emotional security of being able to take my backpack and bum bag with me and not worry that i'll be losing something really important.

The evacuation alert got lifted for Chase yesterday. The road is clear. Tonight i have a goodbye dinner/drinks with my landlord and roommates, then i'm good to go.

Pending wildfire conditions, i'll probably head out Thursday morning, so i have Wednesday to clean the house and sleep off a hangover.
Tags: bike, food, travel

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