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gear for 2/4 weeks touring in france

bobo696bobo696 Posts: 57
edited May 2013 in Tour & expedition
Hi all,

My gf and I are planning to go cycling in France during the summer. We are thinking about cycling along the "chemins de la Loire" first and we we have time and money left continuing south !

It will be our first camping journey, so we need to buy almost everything from scratch. She has a specialized vita hybrid and I have a cinelli experience road bike. So no touring-specific bikes...

So first things first I will setup racks for both bikes. My bike has no eyelets so I have no choice but to put a seatpost rack.

Next is the tent ! Could anyone give us any advice on which one to buy ? I have spotted this one, the quechua T2 ultralight pro (http://www.decathlon.co.uk/t2-ultraligh ... 39976.html) but I am open to suggestions

Sleeping bags ? I have no idea what to go for, I'm not particularly feeling cold at nights, whereas my gf does. Sleeping mats ? Are there any mats comfy light and cheap ? LOL

We definitely won't cook so no cooking equipments.

I would like to be the lightest possible, but with the minimum to be able to have a rudimentary social life as well, so normal clothes, at least a t shirt and a normal pair of trousers/ 3/4 sized pants. I would like to be able to put everything in a stuff bag on top of the rack. Would you say it's doable ?

Thanks !

Posts

  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    It's one of those areas where you can spend serious £££ and you know all about the law of diminishing returns. I've got a friend who's into Mountain Marathons who is toying with spending £300 on a 900g 1 1/2 man tent. If you're happy with a 2Kg tent then they're about £100. Have a look at some of the Mountain Marathon kit (eg http://www.planetfear.com/articles/The_2009_Mountain_Marathon_Kit_List_1037.html-I got a tiny 700g down sleeping bag for £70. It's 2 season, fine for a summer tour.

    My suspicion is that with only a saddlepack you'd have to put an unreasonable amount of gear on gf's bike, however try it for a UK based weekend away and see how you get on.
  • bobo696bobo696 Posts: 57
    Thanks cracker for your suggestions. In fact I am not looking for the best of the best to be honest, as anyway the biggest area to get lighter is me! I could do with losing 10 kgs so I won't get fussy for 300 grams...

    Definitely my intend is not to carry light and let the gf carry the load, that's unnaceptable ! The aim is to be able to do this trip carrying each 8/9 kilograms, one stuff bag each on the rear rack, no pannier. Hopefully it will be warm out there so we won't need to carry warm clothes !

    In my memory sleeping bags were rather bulky but nowadays wow it's impressively tiny with a compression bag ! So now I'm thinking about sleeping mats. What are your choices guys ?
  • EssexSuffolkEssexSuffolk Posts: 112
    Look at Aplkit - I just bought one of their Airo 120 mats. Just 400g. Seems good for £35.

    Maybe also consider a handlebar bag to spread the load a little - you can get up to 7L worth of space in some.

    I'm cycling through France as well this summer, but will probably take some sort of stove, be nice for tea/porridge in the mornings at the very least. My indecision is on pedals at the moment - can't decide whether its worth going to the expense of changing over to SPDs in preference to the Look pedals I have the moment (no good for walking around in).
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    I'm just back from a week up the loire valley using a topeak beam post and a bag the size of a shoebox and a bar bag totalling about 10lb in weight. So only a change of clothes, some wet gear which i didnt need, a few basic toiletries and paperwork, phone and ipod. I bagged a gite near saumur for a week at a ridiculously cheap price and there is always the chambre d'hôte option depending on your budget and whether you are dead set on camping. I only took one pair of shoes which were my SPDs so that would be my vote...
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    Hi
    As someone has said with a road bike you might be in cheap hotels.
    But you can fit a rack to your bike.
    P clips and the bottom
    http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... b0s79p2645
    and a seatpost rack mounting at the top.
    http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... b0s79p2719
    But don't overload it.
    Put the tent on top and a couple on small/medium panniers don't overload the back and check your heal clearence on the panniers.
    Tips for stuff to take.
    A pair of shoes for riding (SPDs are good) and a pair of flip flops. Light, a change from the shoes you're been in all day and walking around the campsite in morning dew you start with dry shoes.
    A piece of string, some pegs and some clothes washing liquid (use supermarket stuff in a small bottle).
    Thermarest sleeping mats are good, pack down smaller than the foam ones and you will get a better nights sleep.
  • bobo696bobo696 Posts: 57
    Thanks for all the tips ! I have now bought the tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mats
    tent : t2 ultralight decathlon
    sleeping bags : vango ultralite 350
    sleeping mats : alpkit numo

    I have another question : I have just realized that the loire a vélo has non tarmac portions. I have used my road bike on non tarmac routes sometimes and it's really shaky... Is it possible to use special tyres ?
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    25mm or 28mm tyres (if your bikes will take them), may be an option, but I'd imagine French 'non-tarmac' will still be better than many British 'A' roads! ;)
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
  • bobo696bobo696 Posts: 57
    I eventually decided not to go with the road bike I'm afraid it's going to be a hassle...
  • andrew_sandrew_s Posts: 2,511
    whoof wrote:
    But you can fit a rack to your bike.
    P clips and the bottom
    http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... b0s79p2645
    and a seatpost rack mounting at the top.
    http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... b0s79p2719
    For a rack on a road bike without the bolt fittings, you are probably best off using a rack that fits to the QR skewer, along with a seatpost collar that includes upper rack fittings as above. There are several brands of such racks available.
    http://www.cyclestore.co.uk/productDeta ... ctID=59272
    http://www.cyclebasket.com/m5b0s144p236 ... nier_Rack_
    (also Tubus and Old Man Mountain, but they cost more)

    Another possibility is a trailer.

    Beam racks are probably the least good solution for coping with camping gear, apart from a backpack.
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    bobo696 wrote:
    Thanks for all the tips ! I have now bought the tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mats
    tent : t2 ultralight decathlon
    sleeping bags : vango ultralite 350
    sleeping mats : alpkit numo

    I have another question : I have just realized that the loire a vélo has non tarmac portions. I have used my road bike on non tarmac routes sometimes and it's really shaky... Is it possible to use special tyres ?

    I did Velo Route 6 from Tours to Besancon 2 years ago on Continental Gran Prix's and my wife had Kyrlions. I can only remember one dodgy bit where the track along the river was HUGE cobbles so we walked or we would have rattled to death. I can't remember anywhere else that was not cyclable. (in contrast to sections of the Canal du Midi which are awful).
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
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