Smaller than Small?
Packing for the next tour has meant a lot of scrutinizing of all of our gear. The Bromptons are great and handle a load well, but they do impose a limit on how much you can (or, rather, should) carry. After riding out to the coast on our recent shake-down trip, I had two thoughts… First, I am impressed that we were able to whittle down our gear enough so that it fit in just the front Touring bag and a Carradice saddle bag… Second, I am still packing way too much stuff.
Yes, the irony of this statement is obvious to me. My entire life has been shrunk down to just two small bags, and yet it is still too much, too big, too heavy.
On our last trip, I was happy to have all sorts of miscellaneous little luxuries… a radio, an extra pair of pants, a frisbee, paperback books, etc. On this next trip, though, luxuries just seem ridiculous. My luxury for this trip is my Brompton, and the fact that I really get to do nothing but ride it around through stunning scenery. My luxury will be the ability to take everything off the bike and carry it all onto a train, without killing my arms and without having to make multiple trips. My luxury will be the ease with which I can pedal across the country, because I won’t have an enormous amount of weight holding me back.
So it’s back to the drawing board, back to scrutinizing everything. I will continue to shave off extra weight and bulk. And I will enjoy every moment of the strict culling of stuff, because I have come to realize how little I truly need to be happy on the road. Good food, a sweater that keeps me warm, laughter, the exhilaration of soaring past waterfalls and elk… these are my luxuries now, and they are so much more enjoyable than a bag of miscellaneous things.
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jim April 25, 2011 at 11:15 am
I’m jealous. I love the allure of minimalist living, but can’t quite come to grips with trying it myself just yet.
Re: some of the small luxuries – I love my Nook eReader and probably won’t oft be buying paperbacks again – might be a good option 🙂 Or, a more multi-purpose luxury would probably be an iPad…you could use it to post, do some basic edit, etc too.
Love reading the blog and seeing the photos…thanks!!
Jeff April 25, 2011 at 11:56 am
Check out Bikepacking.net. These are the minimalist folks that ride the continental divide and have great tips for minimalist bike “packing”.
Dutch April 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm
I hiked for 4 weeks on the Appalachian Trail back in 2008. It was that experience that showed me just how little it takes to make a life great. Take the bare necessities and enjoy the ride…
Doug April 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm
Hi guys! When I was getting gear together for my AT hike in 2008, Andy Skurka’s site was one resource that helped me trim down my kit: http://andrewskurka.com/advice/gearlists.php. Andy is a long distance ultralight backpacker, but the wisdom I gained from his gear lists and lightweight philosophy has carried over well for bike touring. Thought it might help. Good luck 🙂
Jimmy April 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm
i cant say it enough: tarp tent. tarp tent. tarp tent. if you guys want to go, and go light, go tarp tent. http://www.tarptent.com/
i will tarptent someday, till then ill tote my 4 lb tend on that surly.
Ladia skladaci kola April 27, 2011 at 2:13 am
My favorite way is another approach, pack everything into 30-40 liters skiing two day backpack and them tie it on front rack. Look here http://www.youtube.com/user/veloramacz#p/u/10/NkgO9VfH3tU for what I mean. Sorry no brake pivots on bromptons.
On the train you have your backpack on your back and your bike in hand. Easy, nice.
Siggy Nowak April 29, 2011 at 11:52 am
Hi to you both.
My wife and I are over 60 and have bought our Bromptons with us from Australia to Europe. We are visiting UK, Poland, Scotland, Iceland and Ireland over a 3 months period. We wanted to tell you how pleased we are that we found your site. We get similar comments on our travels. We are traveling in motorhomes and get out on our Bromptons and explore at every opportunity. There is not much info out there about how to do what we are doing – such as what clothes to take (given fight luggage limits) and how to travel light without compromising too much. We feel exactly the same as you do – we have found amazing stuff which we would not have found normally. The Bromptons have made our trip much more rewarding. We are documenting our trip and hope to release this online when we return home. There are many people out there that, like us, are wanting to know how to do what we (and you) are doing. Keep it up.
Siggy and Heather Nowak
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so very cool