Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alaska Load Out Test

Back in the day, when the Soviets and NATO stared at each other across the IGB or Inter-German Border; I was a young officer in an American Field Artillery MLRS Battery attached to the 1st Armored Division of the US Army..

We faced, I dimly recall, the 14th Guards Army stationed on the east side of the IGB.  The running gallows humor in the division was that we were the First Armored, or First Tank, and also: First to get rolled over by the Soviets as they charged through the Fulda Gap (wiping out the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment) and into West Germany.  Interesting times to say the least.

Anyway, with that as the historical background, we'd practice fast deployments to our GDP or General Deployment Positions.  These were pre-selected field positions where we'd deploy as war warnings were sent out by SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander, Europe).  The idea being, we'd not get caught in garrison and easy targets.

Part of the fast deployment was doing fast load outs with all assigned gear and vehicles, hence the title of this post.

Today, as a remnant of that training, I tested out packing out my 2011 URAL Patrol with all the gear I plan to take with me on the long road to Alaska.

 The yellow waterproof bag contains my sleeping bag, the rubber ground cloth on top
and the foam kneepad for my old knees when working on the motorcycle.  Note
the shovel secured to the cargo rack on the hack, along with two new tires.
The Tailbag contains, camera gear, gloves, hats.

 All the above fits inside the tub, with cover in place:
1. chains, 2. camp supplies, 3. Fuel Cans, 4. Cooking gear
5. maasdam rope puller gear,  6. tripod, 7. tent, 8. heated vest
9. camp chair, 10. cold weather boots, 11. Lysol, 12. campstove, 13. sandals, 
14. Ural Spares and 15. bungie cord bag.

 A view of the five gallon spare gas can I am carrying in addition
to the Kolpin 1.5 gallon can on the left side of the tub.

 On the pillion seat: Sleeping bag in yellow waterproof bag.  
Rubber poncho to serve as ground cloth.

Nice weather helmet and the Nikon Camera Bag.

All that is missing (besides sundry small items) is a smaller yellow waterproof bag which will contain my clothes; it too will fit inside the tub with the cover in place.  Oh, and my sleeping mats which I will lash to the front of the spare tires.

I am quite happy everything fit with no hassles to speak off.  I was able to unload the rig in less than ten minutes and to load it takes about the same amount of time.  I went for a short ride to the bank to test the rigging and nothing fell off!  

Here's a link to the current packing list: LINK

Previously: Spring Snow Storm


RichardM said...

Wow, you camp large! Two burner stove and it looks like a large tent. But if it all fits well and stays in place, that's good. Do you expect to go through all the tires before getting to Alaska? I don't know what tire life is like with the Ural or is it just that tires are hard to find.

Unknown said...


when I saw your photo I thought it was April Fools and I was chuckling inside, but then you were serious . . .

I suppose that with more weight on your sidecar it will skew more when starting off, or stopping and also the wind blockage factor

Riding the Wet Coast

redlegsrides said...

Hi Richard, yes, I tend to like my comforts....ten years of "the field" with the Army, I don't want to be miserable anymore. That, and of course you're familiar with the computer law: Data expands to fill all available space on a hard drive....well in this case a sidecar encourages bringing more stuff! You'd be even more amused at the crap I cut out of previous versions of the packing list!

As to the two burner stove, I do have a small camp stove but what the hell.

As to tires, I hope I don't have to use them till I near Alaska! The spares I have are for the pusher, where one is lucky to get 6K KM out of a tire. They're DURO HF308s which are hard to find in AK unless the dealer in Anchorage has them and of course the import costs....

The sidecar and front tires last way longer than the pusher. I plan to rotate the spare (with used Heidenau K37) and sidecar (K37) before I dig into the spares. The Heidenaus are rumored to last to about 10K Km in the pusher position, more would be better of course.

Finally, it seems like a lot, but it doesn't add much weight, I figure its all less than carrying an adult passenger.

redlegsrides said...

Bobskoot, oh yeah, more weight in sidecar will increase getting around the laws of physics on that one.

As to April Fools joke, that would have been a good idea! But I would have piled more stuff on....make it look like the Beverly HillBillies.

RichardM said...

Don't forget the rocking chair on top...

Canajun said...

You might also need one of those reflective triangles for slow moving vehicles.
But I agree, if you can carry it, why not? The only issue would be the time to load and unload - that could become tired really fast I think.

redlegsrides said...

Canajun, the ural is slow but its not that slow! :)

Bluekat said...

Wow, that's quite a load! Camping gear though ... I was under the impression you didn't like roughing it. Looks to be an awesome trip!

SonjaM said...

Definitely military training showing through. Looks very neat. Where is the micro wave oven and the fridge?

John said...

You seem a little light on food, water, and weaponry. Of course, in the case of the latter, obviously one won't be taking much more than bear-spray through Canada.

Out of curiosity, what's the total weight of your rig with its full load out, vs. its typical weight for, say, commuting?

Also, what kind of daily mileage or average speeds are you predicting?

Steve Williams said...

Had things gone badly back in Germany a URAL probably would have been part of the onslaught running over you. Maybe packed just as high with gear.

Reading the post and looking at the pictures I couldn't help but be reminded of the lists and gear load out tests I would make for backpacking trips. Looking back the preparation was probably as much fun as the trip. Well, maybe not.

I didn't see any kind of weapon to ward off bears. A Grizzly can run faster than the URAL -- can you wield the shovel while underway?

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

redlegsrides said...

Bluekat...yep, no "fire and light discipline" for this rider! It's darn near all camping gear...not sure why folks are thinking its too much. :)

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, nice'd not have been shocked at the previous iterations of the packing list then.... ; )

redlegsrides said...


The rig is 770lbs dry. My planned cargo is less than an average adult's weight. I'll see if I can find a truck scale that'll let me get a measurement.

As to weapons, food, and're right about Canada so no weapons. Bear spray is a possibility but a dim one. Food and water I'll get as I go, it's not like I am riding through Siberia after all. :)

I hope to average 55mph, reality may be a different story. Shooting for 300 mile days.

Thanks for visiting.

redlegsrides said...

Et Tu, Steve?

Ironically, any onslaught by the red hordes would have probably included URALs... but I believe I would have been too busy at the time, to notice.

Sadly too, your estimate of a URAL's ability to outdistance a bear could be close! If one gets close enough that I reach for the shovel, I will have really screwed up.

The mechanic return from his sloth sojourn yet?

Steve Williams said...

I think the sloth is thawing quickly. Rearranged things in the garage this evening for easy access to the Vespa. Tools in place, mind as well. The mechanic rises...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I don't think you're carrying enough gear. I would add a piano lifter, a desalintor,and a salmon poacher to the list. I would also attach a skeet launcher atop the spare tires. Poached salmon can be loaded into the skeet launcher for those forays into bear and wolf country.

When pursuit seems about to triumph, just yell "pull," and launch the salmon into the maw of your adversary. This should provide you with a great James Bond-type device of which even the Canadians would approve.

Glad to help.

Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Unknown said...

I don't know why people think you're traveling large either. Shit, my rig has double or triple the amount of stuff you have. Actually, make that four times the amount. I carry two tents, two sleeping bags, two of the main things for survival that you need, but then again I live on my rig full time.
The only thing I have to comment about on your packing set up is your placement of the camera bag. If it were a Pelican case it would be ok, but mounting a soft bag at the back like that I wouldn't recommend it. It can (a) Fall off without you knowing(ask me how I know),
(b) Right on the back like that it gets the most jarring and bumping of any part of the rig.
I would put in either in the tires or the tub, or even better on the pillion seat where the sleeping bag is now.

You'll thank me you pass your camera bag on the Dalton headed BACK to CO.

Now quit testing and go already.......

And when you get to Prudhoe get on a freighter and meet me over in Yakutsk.

Gary France said...

Holy cow. I thought I packed a lot, but you outshine me in that department by some degree. Your military background is certainly coming to the fore. Seeing the pictures makes it all seem real and you must be getting excited about the trip as the day for starting approaches.

redlegsrides said...

Jack, I've sent your equipment suggestions to your editorial staff for consideration, as with input to your postings, it will be I am sure be given the serious thought that it merits.

redlegsrides said...

Hi Murph, thanks for the comments and support in the face of overwhelming opposing points of view. :)

I did end up mailing one of the two spare tires up to Alaska, it should get there about same time I do.

Re the camera bag, I dummy-corded it, given my previous experience with my GoPro Camera on the tripod. I may end up moving it or fabricating a better support/securing mechanism.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Gary, all that empty space in the just couldn't go unfilled apparently. The trip has started, day one's posting coming up soon.

Unknown said...

As others have said, you are packing ;-) but why not if you have the space. What is the range on the Ural? The longest you will go without seeing gas is between Coldfoot and Prudhoe bay, 240 miles. I made it without having to resort to my canister. I still had 3/4 of a gallon in the tank when I filled up in prudhoe bay. I will be following your trip and reliving mine.

redlegsrides said...

George, the range on the Ural is not great....the MPG is 30 on a good day with a five gallon tank. I'll be carrying extra gas for the stretch between Coldfoot and Deadhorse. Thanks for commenting.