All This Stuff

George Carlin, the late comedian, had a fantastic routine on Stuff. Part of the routine involved deciding how to pare down the amount of Stuff in order to take only the bare minimum of Stuff on vacation. At this point I don’t think George would be real pleased with me.

bicycle 42.1
panniers & bags 16.9
repair items & tools 2.2
electronics 8.6
first aid & medicine 2.1
toiletries 1.7
clothing + helmet/bike shoes 11.9
shelter & sleeping 8.4
cooking & eating 2.4
water & fuel 8.5
food 10.9
miscellaneous 3.5
total weight 119.2

The total weight really caught me off guard. My first thought was, ‘How does this compare to last year?’ Well, last year the total weight was 103.5 pounds; this year I will be pushing 15.7 more pounds. Last year I had everything I needed, so where did the extra weight come from?

  • bike – the two weigh essentially the same
  • panniers and bags – these weigh 4.8 pounds more: 3.9 pounds for the bear proof food container, 0.9 pounds for rain covers
  • food/fuel – the food weighs 2.1 pounds more: the additional food will be required since shopping/restaurants are more spread out
  • electronics – this weighs 3.3 pounds more: the solar panel adds 1.2 pounds, the kindle adds 0.5 pounds, the tripod adds 0.7 pounds, the battery pack charger adds 0.4 pounds, miscellaneous items add .5 pounds
  • sleeping & shelter: 1.3 pounds more due to using a 2 person tent this year
  • clothing: 1.5 pounds more due to the addition of a sweat suit for warmth
  • cooking & eating: 1.1 pounds more due to the addition of a water filter
  • miscellaneous: the bear spray & holder weigh 0.6 pounds and the remaining 0.9 pounds is spread over a number of areas

Stuff gradually accumulates and adds up, doesn’t it? It is amazing how dependent we have become on the use of electronics: smart phone, GPS, notebook/computer, and camera, plus all of the cables and devices to keep them charged up.

The weight could definitely be trimmed down, however, we are not in a speed race for one thing. For another, much of our time will be spent in the middle of no where so a few things are necessary to improve the lot in life; that is my story and I’m sticking to it. The one week ride between Billings MT and Missoula MT will provide an opportunity to asses the on board gear to see if something really stands out.

I remember reading about through hiking the Appalachian Trail; apparently there is all sorts of discarded gear/food littering the sides of the trail for the first 50-60 miles as people throw Stuff away to lighten their load. I guess that option is available to me if desperation sets in.

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