Registration is open for RAGBRAI L!

Self Supported (Bagger) info

Hi all,
This year will be my 4th RAGBRAI and I’m looking for a new way experience the event. I’ve done the team thing for my first two RAGBRAIs and used a charter for my third. This year I’m thinking of going self-supported. I’ve done short bike tours myself, but RAGBRAI is its own entity. So, I’m wondering if there are any good informational websites, FB groups, etc for anything regarding riding self-supported (recommendations, personal experiences, etc). Are there any”bagger groups or teams” to join?

41 Replies

Kerry kohl, February 8, 2022 at 9:10 pm

Jeremy, If you’ve done any bike touring that should give you a pretty good basis for what you would be using on the Ragbrai. I only have only seen a few baggers on the days I’ve ridden, but there again I’ve been out early most days. I’ve also not seen any “touring” groups on Ragbrai, but maybe someone will pop in with some information. I myself will be hopefully bagging it from Minneapolis down to Sgt. Bluff and after the end head south to the Katy trail and then southwest to southern California. Maybe we can start a “bagger” group somehow and share our knowledge. I have a team (read only myself) already, so maybe that’s a start.


direwolf, February 9, 2022 at 9:18 pm

I have ridden RAGBRAI self-contained 30 times. I haven’t tried it the other way, because bagging it just seems easier. I usually scope out green spaces in overnight towns a few days or weeks ahead of time, using Google Maps. I can usually find a small quiet shady spot, away from the clamor of main campgrounds. If small city parks are full or without basic services, sports complexes and schools usually have a live electrical outlet somewhere, and often have bathrooms. Sometimes, though, I just push on a town or two up the next day’s route. Almost always, other baggers are doing the same, and are good company.

Anyhoo, count me in if you folks decide to form a bagger group.


John Richardson, February 10, 2022 at 8:10 am

Other than my first couple of RAGBRAIs I have always rode self-contained and I much prefer riding it that way. Since I live in Missouri I also ride to the start and home from the finish and get to enjoy a much longer ride. I always camp in the RAGBRAI campground and since I have no need to camp near the baggage truck I can usually find a quite spot to camp away from the crowd. The number of riders going self-contained seems to vary from year to year. I don’t know of any self-contained teams but there seems to be a brotherhood among self-contained riders. You can find an endless amount of resource on the internet, but for me the best way to learn is experience.


Guodan, February 10, 2022 at 12:53 pm

First time Ragbrai here and also going self supported. Ragbrai seems like the ultimate set up for self support especially if you are new to it. Out alone on your own route there are lots of unknowns, where am I sleeping/hiding out, am I buying or preparing food, where can I find water, and probably no shower for a while. Ragbrai provides all that in abundance plus so much more. Given all that, there still must be some tricks of the trade and I would also like to hear the advice the bagger vets might have.


direwolf, February 11, 2022 at 12:58 am

Brotherhood indeed. Then too, a fellow bagger will encounter a cadre of elegant, graceful, intelligent, insightful bag-sisters en route. It’s a beautiful thing, all around. I don’t know if these are “tricks of the trade” or not, but I have a few suggestions. First, do not settle for a loud shadeless campsite with KYBOs only. See my post above. Second, a Casey’s or HyVee or Fairway that is 6 or 8 blocks from the RAGBRAI route will likely have short lines, if any, and clean bathrooms. Third, haul spare spokes.


Jesse A, February 11, 2022 at 4:52 am

My first RAGBRAI in 2019 was self-supported and I have mixed feelings about it. Getting set-up, doing laundry, finding bathrooms, charging my devices, and setting time for recovery and nourishment took a lot of my time. So much so that I missed out on a lot of the entertainment and opportunities to socialize. It was my 3rd time I’ve ever bike-packed and I was hauling about 45lb of gear. I plan on doing a charter this year.


Kerry kohl, February 14, 2022 at 10:02 am

Well Jesse I realize that bike touring and bikepacking are not necessarily for the faint of heart. You might consider glamorous touring on Ragbrai by finding host homes to take you in. That would satisfy a lot of the “work” sides of bagging it. I’ve always enjoyed meeting the people of Iowa as opposed to a charter where you only see the same people day after day. I’ve stayed at host homes where I had laundry, shower/bathroom access, power and plenty of time to look for food at churches ,etc. This year I will be staying with some of the previous homes I’ve been at. I would not carry any cooking gear on Ragbrai and keep the load size down. You wouldn’t need a minus 10 sleeping bag and as I remember, on a cross country ride I did I was at about 35 lbs. I like direwolf’s idea to carry spokes….there are plenty of repair shops on the route, but not all have a Phil Wood spoke machine. In conclusion, I think the brotherhood of baggers should plan to meet up the day before the ride to say hello to each other. Guys, let me know what you think….I’ll start looking for a place in Sgt. Bluff to do so. Good Luck


Guodan, February 15, 2022 at 9:31 pm

That sounds good Kerry, name the spot and I’ll see you there.


KristianwithaK, February 20, 2022 at 8:30 am

Hi fellow baggers! I’m coming down from Eau Claire Wisconsin riding in my first RAGBRAI, can’t wait!
My plan is camping in RAGBRAI designated spots and/or green spaces I find depending on how much crowd action I want… not sure I’ll bring a stove, but I’ll weigh things out as we get closer, evidently there is no food shortage during the RAGBRAI.
Anyhow just wanted to introduce myself and I look forward to the experience. -Kristian


John Richardson, February 21, 2022 at 7:59 am

I like the idea of a bagger meeting, it would be great to get to know other bike-packers and exchange thoughts and experiences, unfortunately I will not be riding RAGBRAI this year. I have a long tour planned that will take all Summer to complete. I’ll certainly be riding the 50th RAGBRAI and will look forward to meeting other bike-packers then.


Twowheeledtourists, February 21, 2022 at 8:26 pm

I too am self-supporting! My BF and I did the Southern Tier in 2020, so we are used to bikepacking! Do ya’ll use the bag service provided by Ragbrai? I can’t imagine needing to carry a whole lot if I don’t need to carry my clothes, tent, and sleep set up. (Mostly food, bike essentials, water, and personal items….)


Denton Kernodle, February 22, 2022 at 10:08 am

Two… You don’t need to carry food, there is plenty at affordable prices. Also, the official camp ground is free and always lots of space and in good locations with showers, water and transport to downtown.


Kerry kohl, February 23, 2022 at 7:05 pm

I agree with Denton, food is the least of your concerns. The times I toured my foremost need was to get a shower and wash my riding clothes. I made up a small lightweight shower that hooks to a hose bib. It’s very warm during Ragbrai and showering with cool water is refreshing (IMHO). It’s totally plastic with a 1/4″ tube going to drilled out cap at the end. It is very easy to find someone who will let you use their hose and I wear gym shorts and wash the riding gear at the same time. Once that done I carry a small diameter rope to dry things out using my plastic clothes pins. Alternatively, one could use the $8-9 shower vans. Eat/sleep/rest and you’re good to go for the next day. Could life get any better?


Twowheeledtourists, February 23, 2022 at 9:20 pm

I’m a snacky rider, so it’s not meals I’m carrying, just Cliff bars. How does the bag service work out?


Kerry kohl, February 24, 2022 at 8:56 am

Well TWT, someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but you drop off your bag at the Register’s trucks in the morning by a certain time and note the time you drop them off so you can retrieve them when they get to the next overnight stop. I believe you are allowed one bag with a tent or chair attached. I thought if I ever use the bag trucks that I would bring a duffel bag to put my panniers in so as to be one item. I guess the idea of having panniers would allow you to throw them on your bike with racks and then find a nice spot to camp. I think they kind off toss them out so you wouldn’t want to have any eggs or glass crystal items in your bags.


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 41 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.


RAGBRAI L – 2023




Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters

Friends of RAGBRAI