This Thing About Packing

I talk a lot about packing. I admit it, this is the content that got Minimal Motorcyclist started in the first place. It’s a popular thing to talk about among motorcyclists, and many people know they are carrying too much, and dream of a way to cut back.

pic from

This leads naturally to minimalism. But – and this is important – I know that a true minimalist lifestyle is expensive. I know all about minimalism – which is why I get to write blogs about it. When I talk about minimalism and packing, I add the word Practical. The central goal is not to reduce what you are carrying – that’s easy – but to make sure you are carrying what you need to travel, without carrying a bunch of stuff you might need to travel. Always, the goal is to travel.

To travel, you need time, and money.

My Pic. Don't Judge.

Minimalism is friggin expensive.

Recently I saw this post (which will want your email address when you open the link – sorry about that – but you can read without sharing anything) about a guy who has cut his camping gear (tent, bag, and pad) down to 2kg (or about 5lbs). I know that sounds impressive, but he’s spent nearly $1,000 USD (it’s hard to know exactly, since prices vary a little here and there) – and that amount would buy all of my equipment, and would have covered the cost of my SR250 as well (which, to be honest, was only $65).

What does he get for that? Well, a 1.2 man tent (with no footprint, which means he’ll need a new one soon), an average sleeping pad (which also won’t last – no footprint for the tent), and a 40f bag (which I would never recommend for an overland motorcyclist. 15f is a much more practical rating).

Remember – the more money you spend on things, the less you have for actually going places. Going places should always be the goal. While backpackers, who have to carry their equipment, worry about ounces, we have engines which take care of the work. It is possible to carry too much stuff, but spending that much money for basic equipment won’t help when you load up on chairs, tables, and clothes.

Balance is key - and I couldn't find the credit for this image.

When you are loading up your motorcycle, you have around 75lbs of total gear you can carry. Obviously, having less is better, but 75lbs is a lot of stuff if you are careful about what you bring. Since you have weight to use, why not use it, get durable gear which will hold up to abuse (and you don’t have to spend a lot of money for it). Then go camping and see some new places. Post a ride report and share a link in the comments.


4 thoughts on “This Thing About Packing

  1. “Since you have weight to use, why not use it”, our thoughts exactly

    Although when I look at that picture of the bike with a sofa on back it is embarrassingly similar 🙂 You are so right that you don’t have to spend a bunch of money on specialty items to keep the weight down. Money much better spent on the journey itself.

    Thanks for the article, I enjoyed reading it!


  2. packing is probably one the most important things get right. and the only thing we always tend not to complete 100%. Make a list, check it twice and have some friends and family to ask you about what you took. Finally, do a small reasearch and see how others pack.


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