Packing for a trip is kinda fun, for the most part. Its exhilarating and freeing to plan to live with way fewer items than you do at home – well at least we think so. Everything you’re planning to bring takes this larger than life quality of being very important. As you go through the list you ask yourself “is this piece of clothing absolutely necessary to have on this trip?” “Can I do without this tool?” The direct answer usually seems to be “No, this piece of clothing is not necessary. And yes, I can do without this tool – heck, I don’t even know how to use it but everyone says I need it.” Wanting to have those thing along is another story. Everyone packs differently and everyone has different requirements of what they must bring. People will tell you, “You have too much stuff!” Other people will say, “WOW! I can’t believe how little you’re traveling with!” When it comes down to it, trust yourself. Embarking on an adventure like this is daunting enough. If there is an item that you think is unnecessary but it would make you a little more comfortable to have it along, then by all means bring it. You can always ship it home or donate it if you realize you don’t need it. We shipped about four shoeboxes of stuff home over the course of 5 months….random gear and clothes like an extra Camelback bladder and my favorite laced underwire bra (what was I thinking?!) As we get ready for the second part of our adventure we’re excited to unload even more since we’ll be doing more off-road travel, the weather will be warmer and weight will be even more important. The thing we don’t like about having too much stuff is that you have to touch everything…a lot. You have to repeatedly move it, clean it, and repack it. Its a waste of time and a source of frustration when you’re trying to get to another item. Having certain luxuries can make for a more pleasant overall experience. For example, Steph initially brought her small, lightweight backpacking Thermarest sleeping pad. Packed up it was about half the size of Shal’s thicker pad. Three months into the trip Shal offered Steph the use of her more luxurious pad for her entire birthday weekend. Happy dance! Steph was like “OH. MY. GOD. No wonder I’ve been waking up stiff and sore every morning.” So Steph got a new thicker pad and is starting her day off much happier, as in “Good morning Sunshine! Here’s your coffee.” Absolutely worth the extra weight. Shal carries it on her bike. Wink.
Ride YOUR Ride. Bring what you want. Don’t stress about it. You’ll quickly learn through experience what you need, don’t need, and want on your journey. No matter how light you think you pack, chances are you’ll still let go of some of your baggage along the way.