It’s Saturday, and I finally had time to put my “minimalist” gear on my Kawasaki KLX250S to see how it fit! If you recall, I packed my gear, the least that I thought I would need for camping and living off the small dual sport bike for a week or so, to see if it was possible. It was! But once that was done, I wondered if it was going to be possible to fit it all on the bike. Today, I got to find out.
First of all, I was wondering whether to pack it laterally or longitudinally on the bike. Both bags are kind of long and skinny, so at first I thought I would try it lengthwise. But, I couldn’t find places to attach the packing straps that I use (Helen Twowheels) with the baggage mounted that way, so I turned the bags sideways.
That way is how I pack every other bike I own, and it was easier, though at first not obvious, to find places to attach the straps. I got everything on the bike, and I didn’t think it looked overloaded at all. When I moved the bike around, it didn’t even feel any heavier.
When I sat on the bike, I had plenty of room to fit on the seat, but I am glad I am not any bigger (for once)! Another benefit is that the bags make a shelf for the backpack to rest on, and then it doesn’t pull on my shoulders. That is one of the things that makes me very fatigued on a long riding day – if my backpack is too heavy. One of the reasons that I got soft bags to go on the bike was to get all the “stuff” that I normally carry on day rides out of my backpack, things like tools, rain gear, and anything that is heavy. All I really want in the backpack is extra clothing, the map, and a small camera or two.
Then I had to find room for the fuel bottles, not that I want to drag those along very much longer. But until I get the bigger gas tank, I am stuck with dealing with them. So, here’s the solution:
Fuel bottles in the back, shoes on top. I like it!
Now I am ready to go:
I didn’t put my riding over-pants on while I was trying this setup out because it was hot in the sun, and I was starting to sweat as it was. (I am not looking forward to summer and the incessant heat. I wish I could get away from it!) I worked on this project for a while. Then, after I was finished experimenting with the packing configuration, I had to put it all away! It was worth it, though, to learn now instead of being pressured before going on an actual trip.
I think I will make a couple of changes when I have to pack this all for real, but I am talking about minor things, like leaving the mallet at home, taking a couple of small articles of clothing that I forgot to pack, and maybe even changing some important things, like getting a better sleeping bag. I think there is even room somewhere for a good sleeping pad.
I don’t know how much camping we are going to try to do this summer, but at least I am ready if we decide to go all-out and take the minimalist touring challenge! It sounds kind of fun to me, so I am hoping we plan at least one trip as an experiment. I am looking forward to it, and I will keep you posted!