The things I carry

Scroll down for my pack list.

For the last couple days, I’ve been hanging at my parents’ farm in Trumbull County, Ohio. They run a small organic produce operation here. In one of the barns, I found a gram scale to weigh everything. In the middle of my efforts, a strong rain storm came through as they do in late May, a time where bands of heavy rains blast northeast Ohio. Trapped, in the barn, I measured the entire pack with the help of Boomer, the trusty Black Lab:

Black Labber.

Black Labber.

I saw these cool little tree frogs (below) that hopped into the barn during the rain storm as I packed.

Tree frog

Tree frog

My pack. I don’t normally count ounces or spend surgical moments dialing tenths or hundredths of decimals of how much each item in my panniers weighs. But I know there are weight weenies out there, as well as genuinely interested folks in what entails the specific weight of a bike touring pack. For everyone, I’ve weighed each item I will carry on my 4,200 mile ride for Virginia to California.

For some, this is too much. For others, not enough. I feel it’s a good representation of what you’d need for a cross-country trip. My goal was to keep the pack under 50 pounds. Win. The bike weighs about 30-35.  That puts the entire load about 80-85 pounds. I’d like to get it to 75. Once I get riding, I’m sure I’ll shed items quickly, as most bike tourists do.

I used a handy website called to itemize my pack down to the ounce. Check it out:

My bike touring pack list

I welcome any feedback on the pack, good or bad. Bring it!

The Bike

The Bike

About the bike

Carrying me about 4,000 miles is the 2014 Soma Saga. It’s a 54 cm, 700C rig. Most touring bike manufacturers, such as Surly and Salsa, offer a 700C wheelset in a 56 cm frame and above. Below that, the wheel size drops to a 26″ rim, found mostly on mountain bikes and some cruisers, because toe overlap becomes an issue with larger wheels on smaller frames. Toe overlap occurs when your foot bumps the front tire or fender when turning the handlebars and pedals. Not a huge deal, but annoying when handling the heavier load of a touring bike.

Soma Fabrications is one of the few manufacturers that makes a 54 cm frame with a 700C wheel set. That made the buying decision easy.

Soma Saga, unloaded

Full specifications (with help from Soma Fab):

Frame: Tange Prestige heat-treated CrMo
Fork: Lugged crown Infinity CrMo
Front wheel:  Shutter Precision PV8 dynohub hubs w/alloy rims 36h
Rear wheel: Suzue hub w/alloy rims 36h
Lights: Busch and Muller Lumotec IQ Cyo (front), BM Toplight Line Plus (rear)
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x35C
Drivetrain: Shimano Deore rear derailleur & Rivendell bar end shifters, Sugino XD 48-36-24t crankset, 11-34t 9-spd cassette
Brake Set:  Tektro CR-720 canti brakes, Soma Aero brake levers
Cockpit: Soma Roundwise bar, Soma Shotwell Stem, layback alloy post
Saddle: Brooks B17 Narrow
Pedals: Shimano M324
Tape: Brooks Cambium
Racks: Tubus Cargo Evo (rear), Arkel Low Rider (front)
Panniers: Two Ortlieb Classic Roll Down (front), two Arkel T-28 (rear), Ortlieb Ultimate 6 handlebar bag
Charger: Sinewave Cycles Reactor USB headset cap.
Bell: Crane copper Suzu Mini Lever Strike Bell w/headset spacer
Paint: British Racing Green