Laura and I have done several S24Os and short mini-tours so we typically know what to pack. I can usually pack in about an hour and be out the door and if I forget something, no big deal. We’ll be back in a day or two. However, for a longer trip everything counts. For a trip like we’re planning, we have to prepare for lots of weather conditions and be able to carry a lot of water and food.

I have the additional weight of the laptop, camera, lenses, chargers and audio equipment. Since I don’t usually carry that stuff on our regular tours, I had to order a new bag from Wayne at After watching a video on famed bike tourist Ian Hibell and seeing how he packs, I decided to move my load around a little.

In the handlebar bag I have my DSLR and a point and shoot, a patch kit, multitool, hand sanitizer, gloves, snacks and other sundries. In the Ortlieb Rack Bag, I have my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent poles, sweater and axe. On top of the rack bag is my folding tripod chair (handy for tire changing and camping where there are no picnic tables). The bungees also allow me to slip in clothes or towels that I can dry while riding!

In the left pannier are my clothes, which also act to pad my laptop and technical equipment. In the right pannier is the kitchen, which contains pots, 2 stoves, knife, other “smellables” (keep them altogether so when we go into bear country we just hang up one bag) and of course, food. Lots of it.

I took the bike out for a spin today to see if it would feel top heavy. To the contrary it was great! The sleeping bag and pad aren’t heavy, just bulky so putting those things up higher didn’t throw the balance off as much. I rode with about 80% of actual touring load and it maneuvered rather well. I’m impressed. I’ll be putting this set-up through its paces next week in Paso Robles so I’ll have a good practice run for the Big Trip.