Five tips to reduce cycle touring weight. Cycling ultralight is an exhilarating experience but even fully loaded tourers can benefit from reducing cycle touring weight by a few kg. Here are my top 5 tips to get you started.
5 Quick Ways To Reduce Cycle Touring Weight
1 | Chief Weight Offenders: Sleeping Bag
When writing my book, the Ultralight Cycle Touring Guide, I made an infographic showing the weight distribution of my equipment. Chief amongst the weight offenders was my sleeping bag. Though down insulated, which has a good warmth for weight rating, my sleeping bag is quite heavy. If your sleeping bag weighs over 800g and you’re camping in normal spring/summer conditions then you may benefit from swapping it for a lighter model. It will reduce cycle touring weight significantly. Yeti, Lightwave and Rab all make great lightweight sleeping bags and there are many more brands with fantastic products. If you’re in the UK Go Outdoors is worth a look.
2 | Chief Weight Offenders: Tents
Another very heavy item for most cycle tourers is tents. Tent technologies have come a long way in recent years and unless you have a recent ultralight model there is almost certainly a new, lighter one available. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to camp light and reduce cycle touring weight. Bivy bags are a much cheaper lightweight shelter alternative. I use and love my MSR AC Bivy, to learn more follow this link to my MSR AC Bivy Review. It’s a fantastic piece of versatile hardware that has never let me down and weighs just 510g.
3 | Ditch Some Water – Take A Water Filter
Water weighs 1 kg per litre. In other words it’s really heavy and just a few bottles worth of water will quickly become the heaviest component of your cycle touring setup. To reduce your cycle touring weight you must reduce how much water you carry. But carrying only small amount of water is risky because it’s essential that you stay hydrated. To alleviate this risk I would suggest carrying a water filter with you. I use the Katadyn Mini which I find to be excellent. It’s tiny, lightweight and can clean thousands of litres of water with its replaceable ceramic filter.
4 | Use Merino and Take Less Clothes
It’s difficult to give valuable advice on clothes because it’s a personal matter for people and I believe you should take what you feel you need, more or less. Regardless, there is still one tip that I believe is useful; you can always take less if you wear merino clothing. Just as advertised, merino clothing really does seem to stay fresher and cleaner for longer. That means less changing, washing and ultimately carrying of heavy clothes.
5 | Streamline Your Toolkit
Scrutinise your tool kit. Tool kits can quickly become bloated, lumpy collections of scrap, at least that’s what happened to mine. Look at you bike carefully and find out exactly what you need. See if there are ways to reduce the variety of tools you need by swapping out bolts or using pedals that unscrew with a 6mm allen key rather than a spanner. To learn more check out this post on building an ultralight cycle touring tool kit.
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If you’re interested in learning much more about cycling light then you might like to look at the Ultralight Cycle Touring Guide.