Multiday MUni

Hey Gang,
Just wondering if anyone has any experience doing multiday unsupported rides? I’ve an expedition in the planning (more to come), but just scoping out what seems to be possible. Initial questions:

  • how far did you go?
  • how many days?
  • group size?
  • what gear did you carry (tents, cooking gear, tools etc)?
  • how much weight did you carry before it took away from the fun of uniing?

Hey Tim,

Good to see my cranks will be going to good use!!

I haven’t toured sorry but have been hoping to plan a trip up the eastern coast for maybe later in the year, so am very interested to see replies to this post!!

aaahh oops sorry your question is more about a muni tour, that would be awesome!!

Some years ago I did the Polaris challenge on 2 separate occassions. It was a 2 day MTB orienteering race and competitiors had to be totally self-sufficient. It was done with a partner so we shared the load- food, cooking gear, tent, sleeping gear. I also carried a water purifier-very handy one year.
Weight was about 10kgs. There were time limits so the max that we went was about 50kms in a day. It was tiring- on both occassions my partners crashed out on arrival at the first days site and left me to set up camp and cook - but it was a lot of fun:D

Hey Tim,

I’m working on something like this for the summer, two different trips, one in the Southeast US which his more sutropical and the trail is rough, so I expect a lot of hiking, but the access to supplies is better. The other trip is in the Rockies, less hiking and better trails, but no access to supplies.

I have done a lot of unsupported distance hiking and biking, what you “need” to have is a lot less than you thnk you need, so forst off:

Skip the tent, instead bring a tarp or one of those “no bottom” tents, use the uni as your center support.

Sleeping bag, go two sided, water resistant, light as possible and compressible.
Pad, cut a full length foam pad in half to cover shoulders and hips. Clothing should be one set, use it daily, dry it at night, an extra set of socks, wash one pair, switch out daily

Cooking, DON’T COOK, skip the stove and eat cold, you can presoak most foods if you want them soft, bring spices for flavor. Rememer that dry foods are lighter, but you need water to hydrate them and you.

Water is the heaviest thing you’ll carry, but if you have good sources you can carry less and refill more. A water bag is convenient, but be prepared for a leak. Bottles are bulkier, but you can fill them easier and they are much better if you need to treat water as one can be “treating” while the other is drinkable.

Repairs, carry a spare tube, get a heavy duty sewing kit and some thin nylon/plastic sheeting (flexible cutting board) for tire repairs, bring replacement bolts for all parts, bring an extra seat post collar.

Basic first aid shoudl include “comfort products” like hand cleaner, lip balm, sunscreen, anti acid (Tums), NSAIDs, pepto, eye drops, small mirror (to help get bugs outta your eyes), tweezers, knife/scissors, tape, pads, etc…

You really can’t carry much on the uni itself, so you’ll have everything on your back, a good backpack is key. Probably need something more than a big Camelbak, take a look at the Osprey Atmos/Aether, I have a couple different sizes, they are awesome for carrying loads while being active, I have used them for fastpacking and backcountry skiing.

Shoot for 20# including pack and two liters of water.

I have mostly done solo and pairs trips, three is a crowd, four is doable. Honestly, I don’t think group cooking is any fun, it takes more time, it adds drama, and in the end you either have too much or not enough food. My preference is for each person to do their own thing for food, you will end up sharing, but that way everyone is independent and can eat when they want, what they want.

One of my favorite trail foods is a chocolate or berry powerbar dipped in peanut butter :slight_smile:

Heh kinda Tom, I actually put those cranks on my wife’s unicycle. She did have 125mm cranks on a Nimbus II 24, but they were way to short for someone learning to ride. We gave them a test ride last weekend, she found it a lot easier to ride. Cheers.
Let us know if your east coast tour makes it to Sydney, we can go hit up some trails.

Gabe: that sounds like awesome fun. 50km a day is pretty epic i reckon! I have some friends who have done those sorts of things on bikes, they say the hardest thing was the nav, mostly because their hands aren’t free. Guess that’s another plus one to uni’s over bikes!

Nurse Ben, very detailed reply, thanks. Particularly appreciate the tool and spare part list. I’m not familiar with some of the names of things in your 1st aid kit, but I assume at least one of those is some type of anti-chaff cream :wink:
How long have you been/are planning on going without a resupply? I think at the moment food is one of my biggest concerns. Not many places sell dehydrated food here, and the ones I’ve found cost more than I spend for a nice lunch each day. Maybe I’ll source a dehydrator of my own…

Ps Ferries are such a pleasant way to get to work!!

Anti acid (Tums), anti inflammatory (Advil), lip emollient (Chapstick), something for chaffing and sunscreen.

Don’t wast your money on fancy dehydrated foods, go to a health food store and buy some dried foods, anything dried will rehydrate in room temp water if you give it some extra time.

Some of my favs:

Granola, dried fruit, dried nuts, dehydrated milk, and water
Instant Potatoes, shredded cheese, dehydrated milk, water
Instant beans and rice, shredded cheese, water

In terms of distance without resupply, well, it’s your call, but I can tell you that even a 20#/9kg pack on a uni, esp off road, is gonna get heavy, but that’ll hold you for two to three days.

The benefits of carrying more and skipping resupplies goes down as the pain and suffering go up. I have some stories about that sort of thing, suffice to say that ten days of food is very heavy, so five days is probably as heavy as I would go…

Figure a kilo of food per day, 2 liters of water, a couple kilos of gear, add the pack weight 1kg, so your already exceeding 20 pounds, and my guess is that you will end up carrying more water and more gear, so 15kg or 30+ pounds is what you’re looking at for five days.

Fill up a pack with 15kg and take a ride, see how you feel after a couple hours, maybe halfway into your ride, try dropping 5kg and see how different it feels. It’s just pain, it won’t actually kill you :stuck_out_tongue:

Why not do a long weekend test trip to see how things work?

My light packing standard is nothing more than I can wear comfortably while jogging for an hour or more, so 15-20# (6-9kg).

This question leaves me wondering what you have in mind for the fun part, bringin a joke book or one of those remote fart machines :wink:

Tim, I also live in Sydney (Western Sydney, to be precise) and know that you can get dehydrated food at the outdoors shop Anaconda. Not quite sure of the price, sorry! I imagine you can also buy it at the group of outdoors shops in the CBD on Kent St.

If you do decide to buy the dehydrated packets, I recommend getting the 2 serve packets instead of one serve. On hiking trips last year my brother said he easily ate the 2 serve, and that one serve would not have been enough.

Hope I’ve helped,

Not done it myself on a unicycle (plenty of times on a bike though), but regarding multi-day off-roadish unicycle trips everybody really needs to read this writeup of Mike Welch’s Alaskan trip. Absolute nutter.

More relevant to your question, I’d say just travel extremely light, with absolute minimum kit (bivvy bag instead of tent etc). You don’t want too much weight on your back for long unicycle rides if you can avoid it - perhaps try to strap some stuff to the seatpost. I know Joe Marshall has done a bit of unicycle bivvying but I haven’t seen him post on here for ages.


I have all the lightweight Polaris (or KIMM/OMM) kit - I used to get top 10 results in that, and once won the mixed class - I’d think my usual pack for that was ~5kg plus water. Had been thinking about getting out for an ultra-light trip on a bike again, but thanks for the inspiration - really must try such a trip on the muni. Actually it occurs to me that my speed is much the same as my little 5yo son on his bike - we’ve done camping on the tandem, maybe we should try a little off-road trip with him on his own bike, me on the muni if I can work out a route which is feasible :slight_smile:

Hey MulgoaMuni, Seems your flying the muni flag for the folks in the Riff! I grew up out that way, in Glenmore Park actually. Wouldn’t have been far from you if your in Mulgoa! I’m closer to Parramatta these days though. I’ve seen the Back Packer Pantry food in Mountain Equipment and other outdoor stores, it’s $15 for a two serve packet though. I really struggle to justify spending that much on a dehydrated meal. I know that I’d spend that much on a meal if i was out for dinner back home. It’s weird , maybe i’m just more of a purist when it comes to back pack meals…

Wow, that seems like quite an epic adventure. Agree it’s worth the read. I quite like his writing style. Glad we don’t have bears in Australia!

Wow, yeah, Glennie P (as we call it :D) is only 10 minutes away! There seems to be a distinct lack of riders around here :(. And yeah, I completely understand the price concern, I wouldn’t spent that much either…