Two Years In… Packing for a Long-Term Bike Tour
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
Packing for a trip that spans multiple years can be a bit daunting. Especially when you’ll be passing through just about every zone of climate you can possibly imagine, from the humidity and heat of the Peruvian jungle to the bitter cold of winter in the mountains of Patagonia… Dragging the bike up rugged 16,000ft hiking trails, across remote dirt roads, or even the occasional stretch of asphalt. Walking the fine line between having an excessive amount of stuff or too little is a tricky balance.
My setup has been gradually refined since I first started this trip two years ago, and while it’s far from a “minimal” or “ultralight” setup you might take on a trip that spans a few weeks or less, I think I’ve struck a reasonable balance between having everything I need to live and work on the bike in the long-term, while still being a rig that is fun to ride no matter how rough the terrain gets.
As time has gone on, I’ve found that the overall weight doesn’t really matter as much as how everything is packed. It’s when bags are bouncing around loosely or swaying back and forth where the size and weight really becomes a burden. When everything is tight and dialed, it’s just another bike. “How much does it weigh?” is a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times along the way and to be honest, I don’t have a clue. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
There are some things on here that would be overkill for many people (large camera, computer, etc), and some things that would be a bit too minimal for others (clothes, sleeping bag, etc), but this is what works for me at the moment…