Minimalist touring, part 2


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!

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10 thoughts on “Minimalist touring, part 2

  1. Does that mean you would only take the bikes and not trailer them to your base camp? Otherwise, it seems you could pack more in the car and just carry what you need everyday? Well, good luck whichever way you are going.

    • Yes, that is the point of minimalist touring, to take only what is necessary, and pack it on the bike. I am tired of all the “excess baggage,” literally and figuratively, in all areas of life. I thought this would be a good place to start.

  2. Yesterday I met a young lady who really wants to start riding. I suggested that she talks to you as I think she’s headed in the adv direction. I told her to google AZGSGIRL . So if you get questions from a stranger that’s what it’s about!

    Been working on my place on the island haven’t rode since I was in AZ but that should change soon.

    • Thanks, Ron, for the referral, and the heads-up.

      How’s the weather there? Much better than here, I am sure. I am sick of sunny and hot every day already. I will be insane by July.

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