Sunday, May 15, 2011

S24O Kit Evolution

Steve commented on my last post about my most recent S24O. He asked about my what my kit has evolved to include, and what it has evolved to not include. It hasn't really changed much, but I'll attempt to provide a brief overview. If anyone would like more details, just let me know.

In above photo, you can see that my camping bike is my Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen. It includes front and rear racks so I can pack all the luxuries that make my overnighters comfortable. The front rack holds my sleeping bag. The rear rack holds small panniers, and supports the largish saddlebag.

If I were a better planner, I probably would be a "bag matcher". But since I'm not, I just do the best I can at organizing a somewhat tidy load.

The next photo shows things that are not clothes and food. Clothes and food are variable, so I won't spend much time on them unless asked. I'll simply say that for my short camping trips, I'd rather be hungry than cold. So I tend to overpack warm woolies in cold weather, and "make do" with sparse/simple food. I am, however, beginning to think in terms of trying more extravagant meals (especially in warmer months since I can replace rainfly and warm clothes with food without wondering were things will go).

The top row (front left to right) are sleeping bag, tent, tent poles, rainfly, and pillow. As mentioned above, the sleeping bag straps to the front rack, but all other top row items are stuffed into my largish saddlebag. The tent isn't exactly "in" the bag, but is under the top flap, and buckled within the leather straps.

The next row down includes windbreaker, tool roll inside homemade windscreen, stove/fuel/matches/coffee, and cheap Walmart mess kit. Mrs. Pondero picked up the mess kit for me. I thought it looked a bit fragile and wouldn't last, but so far, I'm happy with it.

The bottom row has bungie cord for sleeping bag, coffee maker, water bottle, fancy coffee cup, tent stakes, large and small battery powered camp lights, and sleeping pad. The two bottom row items usually are carried in the panniers with various clothing items stuffed strategically to minimize rattles. My food ends up at the top of panniers and/or saddlebag.

Camera, wallet, and cell phone fit in the small pouch that attaches to the exterior of the saddlebag.

It is probably apparent that I am no minimalist. Camp is usually only about an hour and a half away, so I don't obsess over another few pounds. In fact, I often will bring a book.

Regarding "evolution", the main thing is that I've decided that I prefer the alcohol stove to the Kelly Kettle I was using earlier. The Kelly Kettle is bulkier, heavier, and requires more attention during use. I've also been using my Bialetti coffee maker lately, instead of my REI press/insulated mug combo. The press works fine, and I will probably use both in the future, depending on mood. One item I don't have, but might add soon, is some minimal first aid kit. Up until now, I've depended on my cell phone and the gracious Mrs. Pondero if I need medical attention. But after camping with Chandra, who was better prepared, in the fall, I'm rethinking that.

So there's the overview. Nothing really complex or high-tech, just reasonable comfort for one night outdoors. However, having racks and bag options does make it easy to carry the primary comforts of home. And that kind of convenience does require something of a financial commitment. Even so, I'm confident it could be done simpler and cheaper by someone more resourceful.


  1. A first aid kit is a must... and do not leave home without a 3" ACE wrap... absolute lifesaver even if help is close at hand to control swelling and bleeding, support a sprain, or even make a temporary splint... will save you untold pain and suffering... and the medics with thank you as well...

    I speak from hard experience...

    The Grouch

  2. Would the kit vary much for a longer tour - other than some more clothes and food?I didn't hear mention of tools, but they'd be less important for a short trip within cell phone range.

  3. Thanks for the first aid tip, Grouch. I really must pull something together soon.

    Steve, I've never taken a longer tour, so I'm not really sure. I think a few extra clothing items and food would probably do it. Regarding tools, I briefly mentioned my "tool roll"...the windscreen is wrapped around it. I have pump, tube, tire levers, and a few hex wrenches. For a longer tour, I'd bring more tools/parts.

  4. The right post at the right time. I'm rethinking my camping set-up, but I'm not fully committed to the ultralight thing. Yours is just right.

    You inspired me in another post with the warmed/toasted Pop tarts. I tried a similar technique on our last trip and really enjoyed it. Thanks!

    I've done a search on your site in regard to tire size, but came up empty handed. I'd love to see a post on tires!

  5. Cross Thread, after reading your question about tires, I came across this new post...

    This reflects my experience. All my bikes use 650b wheels, and I'm a Hetre fan. My Kogswell currently has Col de la Vie's, but I'm planning to replace with Hetres when they wear a little thinner. I ride on rough county roads and gravel, so the extra width is much appreciated.

  6. I'm thinking a few camping trips are in my future. This is a pretty handy guide to the kit. Thanks.

  7. My preferred tire is the Col de la Vie's... while they are a little slower when brand new... after a few months... they are fast and smooth... the reason for my preference it that I make good use of the 'knobs' in the tread... when traversing sand, mud, wet leaves and etc... and on steep climbs on fire roads and single track... especially since I like to ride in the rain... the extra grip is very handy... also in 7000klm or so... I have had one flat that I remember... with a touring load of about 150kgs(330lbs)... I run the rear tire at 50psi and the front at 45psi... comfy and fast.

    It has been 2 years since I did a proper overnighter or tour... so in the next few days I will sorting and getting all my kit back together in preparation for an upcoming trip.

    The Grouch

  8. Hey Grouch, the Col de la Vies seem less flat prone, roll pretty good, and a much better value. However, the Hetres have performed better than expected in my geography regarding flats.

  9. Thanks for the informative post my friend. Quite helpful to those of us who want to, are considering and preparing, but have not yet done a S24O.