Show 39: Lightweight Bike Touring

Stijn De ClerkWe’re trying to lighten our bags, so we called in the help of a friend.

Stijn travels all over the world on trips as long as 6 months and he rarely carries panniers that weigh more than 8-10kg.

That’s light compared to the hefty 15kg or more of luggage that we’ve traditionally lugged around on our bikes.

In this podcast, Stijn tells us about his travels, tips for packing and how he continually evaluates his gear to see where he can shave off a few more grams.

We hope you’ll find it as interesting as we did. If you’ve managed to lighten your bags as well, leave a comment and tell us more about how you did it!


  1. Simon
    2nd January 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Thanks for a fascinating podcast. I really like Stijn’s attitude – not just to lightweight touring, but to cycling in general.

  2. Norman
    2nd January 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Thanks for this very interesting pcast. Got me thinking. My wife and I are planning some longer trips now we have retired and the pointers from Stijn and yourself have given us another way of thinking about weight. Enjoy your Spanish trip!

  3. Shane
    3rd January 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    For my next trip I’ve gone all modern:)

    I’ve traded my laptop, books and Lonely planet for an e-reader with wifi (7″) this saves about 2-3kgs. This does mean a compromise in ease for reading and blog updates don’t type as easy but thats alot of weight saving.

    I’ll let you know how it works out during my trip later this month.

  4. Marija Kozin
    4th January 2011 at 6:31 am #

    Really liked the post! Personally I started heavy weight, with five bags and finished it with 50% less of laguage at the end – 2 bags at the back rack only. Beside regually checking what I need or not, I practiced, in China particulray to send box ahead with things for winter. Works great! In central Asia that was not an option.

    Agree with Simon. Likes Stijin attitude about cycling a lot.

    Happy (& safe) riding… 🙂

  5. Ryan
    6th January 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Thanks for the podcast, although it the recording ended right at the end as you began to talk about your clothes…a problem at my end?

    Lightweight touring is something that fascinates me. Although I still can’t get my head round how I could reduce my RTW luggage from 20kgs to 10kgs…and yet it is clearly possible, as many people do it! Maybe some of my ‘essentials’ are really luxuries (e.g. heavy multi-fuel stove, books, winter sleeping bag, most of one whole pannier for clothes). I’m off to look through my kit, again!

    • friedel
      6th January 2011 at 7:03 am #

      No, it’s not just you! Thanks for mentioning it. I don’t know what we’re doing wrong but we seem to insert a glitch into each podcast. Sigh. We’ll take a look at this and re-upload the podcast. Stay tuned. Will try to do this today.

      • friedel
        8th January 2011 at 5:55 am #

        This should be fixed now. Sorry about that. I still don’t know what went wrong!

  6. The Velo Hobo
    7th January 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Wonderful podcast. Hopefully as more of us begin to tour lighter and less encumbered, gear manufacturers will make lighter gear. This has happened in the backpacking world. There are several campanies specalizing in ultralight backpacking gear. Here in the U.S. there are a few cottage companies making framepacks for UL touring, but that’s about it.

    Great post, Jack

  7. Brent
    18th January 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Great insights. This helped me decide to buy the Hilleberg Kaitum 3 instead of the Hilleberg Keron 4 GT. This will save me around 3.5 lbs. I’ve always said if I ever get a tattoo it will read “weight matters” or possibly “light is right”. However, my wife won’t let me ink up my body with either statement.


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