Touring on a Specialized Rockhopper disc

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by DeHoody, 16 May 2010.

  1. DeHoody

    DeHoody Active Member

    Location:
    Rochester, Kent
    Hi
    I am keen to tour.
    Where? unsure, I haven't done it before so I think a short one to start with and would look to be camping.
    I have a Specialized Rockhopper Disc at the moment so would aim to use this as I don't want to splash out on a new bike quite yet.
    I have a few things that I am unsure about, namely:
    Rack and panniers-can these be fitted to my bike, can anyone recommend which ones to use and do I need any special fittings.
    Also can anyone recommend a good lightweight tent.
    What do people generally do with their bikes at night while sleeping in the tent?
    Do people generally carry cooking equipment and provisions with them, if so, could anyone point me in the right direction for lightweight, compact stuff.
    Any advice or links to touring equipment most welcome
    Many thanks
     
  2. Jugular

    Jugular Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester
    That's alot of questions, all of which can be answered with "it depends". Here's a couple of things to consider.
    Do you need rack and panniers, have you considered trailers.
    Advantages of trailers:
    - You can get back to the clean looks of your bike easily when returning from tour.
    - While on tour you can leave the trailer back "at camp" and take your bike for a usual unladen ride.
    - They can often cope better with the varied shapes and sizes of your camping gear and do not need special consideration for suspension.
    Take a look at either the Extrawheel or the Bob Ibex. The extrawheel also avoids the need for different types of spares.

    If you'd rather not use a trailer the first thing to work out is whether you have pannier bosses. If you do it's easy go looking for some pannier racks, (Reasonable, Best) = (Blackburn, Tubus). If you don't then it's worthwhile considering Old Man Mountain's range of racks as they are well respected and will have a version to attach to nearly anything.

    Tents are a difficult thing to suggest. If you want to go really light, forget a tent and buy a Hammock (Hennessy for example), or perhaps a tarp and a bivouac. If you want super light and superstrong you could go for the Hilleberg Akto there are some cheaper similarly lightweight tents but I can't remember their names. I use a Vango Spirit 200+ which is fairly spacious (for pannier storage) while light and good quality without breaking the bank which provides the right balance of luxury and practicality for me.

    If you can't fit your bike inside your tent (which most people usually can't) then getting a big cable lock and putting round a tree usually works well. Most campsites are very safe places to leave valuables. Some people attach the bike to the tent or attach some bells so that if someone disturbs it they'll wake.

    For cooking I use, light my fire sporks (2 of them), an Opinel carbon steel knife, a Trangia and an Orikaso dinner set. Again that's a compromise between luxuries and lightweight. If you want super lightweight and compact stuff buy a Jetboil and a titanium spork and eat and drink out of that. If you baulk at the price make a spirit oven from a can, keep a starbucks cardboard cup, some plastic utensils from a takeaway and you're almost there. Even better, just eat sandwiches and you don't need to cook anything! Or perhaps you could go on a bushman course and cook using the things you find. Sorry to be facetious but lightweight and compact essentially comes down to; don't take one. There's always a balance, you'll need to work out where you're comfortable.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    DeHoody

    DeHoody Active Member

    Location:
    Rochester, Kent
    Crikey! - Thanks for your time Jugular, it gives me a very good place to start.
    I'll take a look at all of the items that you've mentioned.
    I know there was a lot of questions but I'd like my first excursion to be a success.
    I suppose I'll also learn a lot by getting out there and 'doing it'
     
  4. willem

    willem Über Member

    On a bike like yours you really only want to use rear panniers. It means you will have to leave behind a lot of unnecessary junk. Go for light and compact gear. As for loading that onto your bike, Old Man Mountain Racks are indeed very good, and some models will almost certainly work with disc brakes. As for panniers, the Ortlieb City Line are a basic no frills version of the venerable Ortlieb Classics. They are a quarter cheaper, and a quarter lighter.
    In order to fit all your stuff into only two rear paniers you need a compact sleeping bag and a compact mattress. The new Exped Synmat basic is a relatively cheap, compact and light mattress. It also insulates well enough for almost any tour short of high Alpine and middle of the winter trips. For sleeping bags, PHD design are superb, but expensive (but cheaper in their sales). Alpkit do good budget down bags. Anything other than down will be too bulky (and heavy).
    For a solo stove I like the Trangia 27 Ultralight, as it is really good for real meals. An alternative would be a gas canister solo stove. These are lighter and more convenient, but do not work too well in the cold or in strong winds. You also need a good windscreen with them. If you ever want to travel to France, you must realize that you will need to have a stove that can also use the - different - Camping Gaz valved cannisters. Primus now do a version of their small top of the canister stove that will also work with Camping Gaz valved cannisters (beware that you do not buy the almost identical one valve model). For pots, get a hard anodized 1 litre Trangia UL pot and the 18 cm frying pan of the Trangia 27 (available separately). These are as light as titanium, do not burn your food (as titanium does), and are cheap. Cooking your own meal is much much cheaper than restaurants, and more convenient.
    As for solo tents, the Terra Nova Laser competition is about the lightest (1 kilo with real stakes), together with the slightly larger Vaude Power Lizard (1.1 kilo). The Hilleberg Akto is heavier (1.5 kilo), but also more robust and better able to handle bad weather. The Helsport Ringstind 2 is a bit heavier again (1.8 kilo), but much more spacious. The MSR Hubba HP is another nice and light tent (1.4 kilo), but you have to pitch the inner first, which I personally don't like. If you want to use the tent in serious snow, get a self supporting dome such as the Hilleberg Soulo instead (but these are heavier). As you can see, I prefer expensive tents. In my experience of many years camping in sometimes demanding conditions they really are much better. I strap my tent to the top of the rack. I do not like to have a wet and sometimes dirty tent in my waterproof panniers.
    Willem
     
  5. OP
    OP
    DeHoody

    DeHoody Active Member

    Location:
    Rochester, Kent
    Thank you Willem

    As you see I am a new member and I am so impressed by the advice and time that people are taking out to help.

    CycleChat Rocks!
     
  6. Racks

    Hi

    We have just done exactly this to my husband's RockHopper Pro Disc (2010 model) as well. The bike does have rear rack eyelets - though it is not advertised as such (unlike mine which does not have them and needs a different type of rack).

    We had to get the old man mountain racks becuase the bike does not have brake bosses - not a problem with the OMM racks (http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/RackPages/RearRacks.html). It needed the 25mm clamps which we then needed to drill and extra hole into becuase the diameter is actuall 22 or 23mm and the 22mm clamps are not available in the UK unless you order them direct from the old man mountain website.
    We fitted the red rocks pannier rack . the only supplier in the UK that I could find was Carradice of Nelson (in lancashire) who have been exceptionally helpful and very quick. They add the clamps in free of charge as well, so we did not mind the adaptation using the drill. http://www.carradice.co.uk/index.php?page_id=product&under=range&product_id=79.

    We have also fitted the Sherpa rack to the front as well without any issues - again with clamps 40mm.

    Actual panniers are entirely up to you and how often you think you are going to be doing this - there are some really crap ones out there, there are some that are waterproof, there are some that are not.
    We invested (and really think of this as an investment) in the Ortlieb ones, the classic roll tops ones along with the roll top rack pack bag that can clip onto them Rock & Rescue (http://www.rockandrescue.co.uk/outdoor-c2/cycling-c59/cycle-panniers-c138) were the cheapest place for them (25% cheaper than RRP and usually about £10 cheaper than most other places) and again very good service.

    Tents - well there are 2 of us, so we went for a 4 season Vango Spirit 200+ (2.5Kg) not the smallest and not the cheapest, but from experience - we do a lot of long distance hiking - very small tents are not great for more than 1 person unless you are a couple and also don't want anywhere to shelter or keep your kit dry. Our backpacking tent is a very light and very small mountain equipment tent, the AR Ultralite 2 which weighs in at 1.5Kg - I have used it in late spring and early autumn, but it would not stand up to Scottish weather or snow, so is only really a 2 season tent at best, but for 1 person has loads of room - 2 people really need to be on very good terms with each other!

    The Exped mats are fantastic - there is also converter that allows it to be a chair and also protects the mat as well - we have both the downmat 9 and the synthmat 7 pump.

    Stoves - we have the trangia 27 & 25 (1-2 person and 2-3 person) along with the gas conversion kit - there is also a multifuel kit available soon as well - (petrol, gas, pressurised gas and soemthing else can't remember at the moment. Trangia's are a love or hate thing. I love the - have only been let down by them when the temperature was too low for too long and the gas would not heat water very well - the new multifuel converter would have dealt with that situation for me. At the very least get the gas conversion kit rather than living with meths - once it has spilled and you have contaminated your kettle/pan and cooked in it, you will understand why...

    Sleeping Bags are a rather personal item and depend on where you are going and in what season - in fact we have 4 each now - some are down and go down to -40C others are synthetic and 2 season... Down is lightweight and I prefer it but has the major drawback that once it is wet it does not keep you warm, and wet can be from sweat and your breath at night - synethetic stay warm - not as warm though - when wet and are better where you can't get the down aired easily. Both types can come with a 'waterproof' outer or without again a personal choice.

    Hope this helps you a little.

    Emma
     
  7. OP
    OP
    DeHoody

    DeHoody Active Member

    Location:
    Rochester, Kent
    Thanks ever so much for that.
    There do seem to be a few items that many people agree on, for example the Old Man Mountain Racks, Ortlieb panniers, Vango Spirit 200+ tents, Exped mats and the Tangria range.
    There is a lot there for me to research and consider.

    I guess you are a frequent, well travelled tourer?
     
  8. Jugular

    Jugular Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester
    There are alternatives, perhaps you could consider some of the cheaper options if the above seems too much. Many people swear by bag liners (either plastic bags or dry bag liners from ortlieb or exped) inside non waterproof cheapo panniers.

    The Thermarest Neoair is well regarded by many and is a little cheaper and lighter than the Exped's though isn't as insulating. I'm fairly sure Decathlon do a cheap version that may well suit, but perhaps not last.

    I'm sure a cheap & light gaz cooker could be sourced and as long as you can mock up a good windbreak will do well in comparison to a Trangia.

    The selections many have made is partly because they are a good balance of cost, function and durability.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    DeHoody

    DeHoody Active Member

    Location:
    Rochester, Kent
    I must say that when looking at all of this equipment the cost does rack up, I only hope after spending out that my first tour is enjoyable.

    I'm sure it will be-I haven't decided where to go yet but may do the LEJOG at the end of August.
     
  10. willem

    willem Über Member

    My suggestion was for the new cheaper and lighter Ortlieb City Line rear panniers. These are only just over 50 pounds on the site linked to above. My suggestion for the mattress was for the new Exped Synmat Basic. This is a bit warmer than the Neoair (and a bit heavier), but not as warm and heavy as the Downmat. I think it is the perfect compromise for most people touring in the UK or continental Europe. And it is much cheaper than either, at little over 50 pounds I think.
    I don't think gas stoves are significantly cheaper by the time you have also bought some pots/pans. A duo valve Primus Express stove that you can also use in France costs something like 45 euro. Add 40 euros for pots and a grip and 10 euros for a decent windscreen, and you have spent a litle bit more than the cost of the non hard anodized Trangia 27, and a bit less than the hard anodized one (hard anodized is easier to clean and does not stick - always get the UL version). Make your choice on what fuel you think you can get easiest, at what temperatures you will be cooking, and what kind of cooking you think you will prefer. The price differences are immaterial. If money really matters, note the much higher running cost of gas.
    Willem
     
  11. chillyuk

    chillyuk Guest

  12. willem

    willem Über Member

    As for cost, remember that there is a lot that you do not need. You don't need front panniers or a front rack and you don't need a racktop bag. You don't need a chair, you don't need a heavy bright light (a Petzl Tikina headlight is perfect and cheap), you don't need special titanium mugs and plates (plastic Ikea ones are lighter and so is GSI lexan cutlery), and I could go on for a long time. Less is more.
    Basic kit would be:
    Rack OMM, Red Rock or Sherpa, depending on your frame, perhaps the Tubus Cargo can also be made to fit. Look at their site for details on disc compatibility. 65-85 pounds
    Panniers: Ortlieb City Line rear: 50 pounds
    mattress Exped Synmat basic 50 pounds
    bag Alpkit Pipedream 400 120 pounds
    stove: Trangia 27 UL (HA only for pots and pans, not the base, no kettle) 65 pounds
    This makes about 350 pounds altogether, plus a tent. As I said, I like expensive tents because they give you that extra bit of reliability and durability.
    Enjoy,
    Willem
     
  13. Touring

    I have not done any overnight cycle touring - we are litterally preparing for our first (15 day) tour next month, but noticed that you have the same mountain bike as my husband and would therefore have the same issues I had getting pannier racks that will work with it, so thought I would assist.
    We are both however experienced mountaineers and long distance footpath walkers and cycle for a lot of our holidays from a fixed base, so have some experience in that sense.

    We have had no issues with the old man mountain racks - the red rocks for the rear and the sherpa for the front - and he has been cycling to work with them on, using the panniers all week again with no issue, so it is perfectly possible to have front and rear panniers.

    The trangia - well you can go for another lighter stove that just screw onto the top of a gas bottle - but that means you will also need pans and/or kettle (makes a considerable difference) - the trangia has them 'built in' and we actually use these instead of bowls for all meals as well - we do also take the kettle - it is really useful. I have had this little one (trangia 27) for 26 years, I think Now that is making me feel old...

    Anyhow - the way we are looking at it is as an investment rather than trying it cheaply - I know from bitter experience what it is like to be soaked to the skin and we are going to Scandinavia in June so I am expecting rain!
     
  14. willem

    willem Über Member

    Cycle touring with a tent has been my primary holiday mode for more than thirty years, the last thirteen years mostly with young children. I like it for the intermediate speed: not as fast as in a car, but fast enough to actually get somewhere (which was my gripe against my earlier backpacking years). I also like the physical effort. In more recent advancing years I have become more convinced than ever that lighter is better. When you grow older climbing gets harder, and other than lighter gears, lighter gear is the only remedy. After all these years much of my older gear happened to have reached the end of its useful life in any case, so most of it has now been replaced by much lighter stuff.
    Camping is cheap, but don't do it on the cheap, however. Look at the Scandinavians, and the quality gear they use. In their environment you may not live to tell why your cheap tent failed in a heavy storm. Similarly, when my kids were really young, we had a Hilleberg Keron 4 GT family tent. I knew ours would be the last to be blown away. And it never ever leaked even a drop. I like camping early in the Spring or late in the Autumn, including in harsh climates, and such conditions really show why you pay for what you pay. The thing is, the UK can have that kind of weather. I hope I have given some tips on how to get really high quality stuff that does not break the bank. Unlike the really cheap stuff it will last half a lifetime of wonderful holidays.
    Willem
     
  15. OP
    OP
    DeHoody

    DeHoody Active Member

    Location:
    Rochester, Kent
    I made my first purchase of my touring equipment today of an Old Man Mountain Sherpa rear rack from Carradice - very helpful people.

    The panniers are next.
     
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