Bikepacking

Karl

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Feb 7, 2011
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I started to do more trail riding last year and really enjoyed it. This year, I'd like to try my hand at bikepacking in order to get more time in the mountains and less on busy highways coming and going. I've caught @saibot 's videos on his channel already and I've been all over YouTube for general bikepacking info, but I still have a couple questions:

1. Site selection - There seem to be few camping sites in the area between Okutama and Chichibu. When I've ridden by campsites before, they look really crowded anyway, so not very appealing. OTOH, finding a site to just pitch a tent isn't all that easy either. Anybody have some advice? (FWIW, I'm not a hammock kind of guy and I already have a good tent, so I don't think a hammock is an option for me.)

2. Food - I'll most likely be doing only one overnight so I figure I'd only need food for dinner and breakfast, otherwise, all other meals I'd hope to get at convenience stores. I've tried the instant rice meals made for camping and they are OK. Plus, there are some edible packaged chili meals that are relatively cheap and pretty tasty. For breakfast, I was thinking about instant oatmeal or something. If anyone has good suggestions for easy to carry and prepare camping foods, I'd love to hear them.
 

pedalist

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I've got no advice for you, since I've done my last bikepacking tour as a teen in the 1990s and things have changed a lot. But I'm looking forward to reading your stories.
Btw, we pitched our tent usually on farmland, e.g. meadows next to forests or even asked farmers to use a spot in their yard. But then that's in the plains of Northern Germany.
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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I had a buddy bikepack Izu. He took four days. Drove to Numazu and drpped his car off at a friends place then headed down the spine. He came back via the west coast.

His plan and reality were not the same. Being flexible and understanding circumstances out of you control can change things.

Good luck with the planning. It seems to be the hardest part!
 
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Karl

Faster than molasses
Feb 7, 2011
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His plan and reality were not the same. Being flexible and understanding circumstances out of you control can change things.... Good luck with the planning. It seems to be the hardest part!
I tried bikepacking in Izu a couple years ago. Couldn't find a spot on the beach that looked deserted enough, so I rode from east coast to west coast in the dark on a mountain road and never found a place that wasn't overgrown with tall grass. Finally found a place near the beach on the west coast. So, yeah, flexibility is important. Hoping not to repeat that experience though. As for the planning, I have my routes all ready to go... just not sure where to do the overnight. Worst case scenario, I guess I could ride through the night.
 
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bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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Worst case scenario, I guess I could ride through the night.
Why are you bike packing?
I would think to relieve stress, not to build it. Riding through the night with a loaded bike on unfamiliar roads is not relaxing to me.

Near chichibu there are some old roads that are in disrepair going around where 'newer' tunnels are. I imagine that is prime stealth camping area.
 
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Karl

Faster than molasses
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Why are you bike packing?
I would think to relieve stress, not to build it.
Bike-packing will let me do more trail riding in the mountains (and, well... uhhhh... do more tiling). Otherwise, much of my time is spent coming and going to the mountains. The only stress inducing part would be if it is getting late and I can't find a good spot. Anyway, it is something I want to try this spring/summer.
 

luka

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I might be interested in this too. I have a bit of experience in winter mountaineering 2 seasons ago, including sleeping in a tent at -18C or so. I agree you should start small, with one night being the best. was actually in the planning phase of some camping rides, but never got to the execution. I'd always plan at least 3 places to camp, to allow for anything unforeseen (for example, around 80km point, 110km, 130 km etc)

it should be relatively easy to find somewhere flat where a tent can be pitched. as long as you're prepared to pack up and move along with first sun rays (I'd skip breakfast really and just camp within reach of a convini or famires etc for easy bail out in the morning) parks could also be an option. if you share your general route ideas, I'd be happy to help look around for some options when I have time
 
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Karl

Faster than molasses
Feb 7, 2011
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I had this ride planned. Getting to the start point is about another 30km for me so something like 120km plus a lot of climbing. I figured I'd camp somewhere up in the mountains after 80-100km then do a bit more tiling the next day west of Chichibu, then double back to Chichibu and take the train back. Anyway, it is just in the drafting stage at this point. Would be fun to have company, but as you know, I'm pretty slow, so there's that.

 
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luka

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need to be careful if it's early spring etc with camping at altitude. it can get really cold in the wee hours. I think we can leave speed out of this, that's for roadies. do you know how much of this is off road? that could seriously slow you down. the spot at the 60km mark looks like a point where I was planning to go with Andrei, and to find a way to connect to the forest road just on the other side of the ridge (if need be by a forest walk of several hundred meters). so that's an option. will have a closer look over the long weekend, but in general it would be wise not to sleep too far out of any civilization. I personally wouldn't be comfortable more than 10km or so from the nearest house/ post office/ store/ human settlement, maybe 20-30 if it's connected via a nicely paved road going downhill
 
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Karl

Faster than molasses
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I thought that the section of the route from the 40km mark to the 80km mark would provide good options for camping. I would imagine that we could get to the top at 60km and come back down almost to the main road and find a camping spot anywhere along there. According to Strava, there is only one section that would need to be hiked. It is about 1km or so. The 40-80km section should be something like single track.

I wouldn't want to do the ride before GW. Was thinking more like May timeframe.
 

luka

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this thing around km 90 overlooking the valley is like 5 star camping spot. by the looks of it, it should be able to fit 2 tents for single person in there. could be one option, and it took me like 30 sec to locate ;)

1582115172113.png
 

TokyoLiving

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I started doing some bikepacking last year. While my initial idea was similar, pitching a tent whether campgrounds or somewhere along a gravel road or trail I started thinking too much extra work. What I really want to do is ride. Rather than tent, I am doing routes with royakans and spending the nights there. Much more enjoyable and relaxing.

I went from Enzan to Kiyosato. Beautilul, not a soul around.

Going to be doing more like that come warmer weather.

In the meantime, I am graveling it 2-3 week in nice areas, some close by.

Road biking continues, but gravel and bikepacking is it baby!
 

luka

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Makes sense. Usually some kind of accommodation should be available relatively close by, and that's def an option. A hassle free, light weight option ;)
 
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Karl

Faster than molasses
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...Rather than tent, I am doing routes with royakans and spending the nights there. Much more enjoyable and relaxing.
I've considered that idea but was thinking that ... 1) costs 5,000 yen or so, 2) requires advanced booking (?) so limits flexibility. Is that the case, or am I mistaken?

Road biking continues, but gravel and bikepacking is it baby!
Yep. Nothing better than getting up in the mountains away from the cars.
 

luka

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Since enzan and kiyosato were mentioned, let me share something I've been longing to do for a long time now.

From enzan station, going up oodarumi from the south (paved side) and then down the other rough side. That gets one in an area where no easy train bail out is possible, so spending a night somewhere and continuing the following day would probably be the only option.

Just putting it out there, and if we can get 2-3 people committed to doing it perhaps others might join too
 

Karl

Faster than molasses
Feb 7, 2011
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I like the idea. I've never been up to Enzan and would like to try it.

Also, might try to do an overnight trip down on Izu somewhere in late March or early April. Would be able to test out the whole concept of bikepacking in a place where evening temps would be a bit warmer.
 
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Karl

Faster than molasses
Feb 7, 2011
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I might be up for a night at Baird. I can ride there from here, crash the night, then ride back. I would like to do more, but 2 kids = no long trips.
That sounds like a great idea. I have a route planned from Gotemba to Mishima so heading on down to Baird campground would be an easy add on. Then I'd be set up for an early start next day for exploring Izu. Camp site is only 1,000 yen and that includes 2 free drink tickets, plus there are shower facilities. Can't beat that with a stick!