I started out like Santa Claus: making a list and checking it twice, just to find out what’s needed and nice. Then I gathered everything up and spread it out on the living room floor, and the dining room floor, and the dining room table, and . . . oops . . . 72.6 pounds.
So, I separated everything into two piles: needed, and nice. The needed items came in at 43 pounds. I asked through bikers for suggestions and many people responded with great ideas on how to reduce the weight:
- Will you be traveling through towns fairly frequently? If so, only carry enough ‘stuff’ to get to the next town. Food, fuel, water, first air, bicycle repairs, etc. can all be replenished as you pass through each town.
- Look at larger items, such as bar soap, scrub pads, and towels; can they be cut in half or more?
- Consider mailing cool weather items home once the weather warms up.
- Consider having special items mailed in small quanitites to you along the route.
- Minimize specialty clothing where possible. Layer clothing for multiple purposes where ever possible. Synthetic materials dry faster and tend to be lighter in weight.
- Consider washing every night; you only need 2-3 sets of clothing doing it this way
- Look at the weight of items like the tent, sleeping bag, mattress, and cooking equipment. Consider purchasing lighter weight items.
I will be traveling through towns almost everyday so replenishing items like soap, insect repellant, sun tan lotion, first aid items, bicycle parts, and personal hygiene should be easy. With this in mind I drastically reduced the quantity and different types of consumables: 37.8 pounds.
The next place to look included repair tools, the tent, sleeping bag/pillow/mattress, and food preparation. Saving weight in this area meant spending money on lighter equipment. A lesson learned: lighter gear = more expensive gear. I bit the bullet, spent almost $400, and got the weight down to 33.4 pounds.
The only thing left was clothing. Riding a recumbent has some advantages: you don’t need special riding apparel. Also, you can get by with two sets of clothing if you wash every night. I decided to go with three sets of clothing: one on me, one drying off, and one ready to use. Most clothing can be layered on top of each other to minimize the need for extra warmth in cooler weather. I am taking long sleeve (versus short sleeve) shirts to minimize sunburn, and also, I find them cooler in the hot sun. Many of my clothing items are nylon, which tends to weigh less and dry faster than cotton.
The final weight came to 31.08 pounds. Some people do not include the items they will be wearing as part of their ‘stuff’. Using this criteria the weight is 26.5 pounds. It took a lot sacrifice, suggestions from other people, and some money to get there, but I think George Carlin would be proud. Here is a copy of my gear list .