Reducing luggage on our bikes seems to have become a sport among ADV riders, and for good reason: the lighter your bike, the more gnarly off-road trails you can explore. And although everyone has different luggage needs and options, less is always more, whichever way you look at it. But packing less isn’t easy, and when it comes to my own luggage set up, it has been expanding ever since I started racing. I carry extra gear for the rally races now, and every once in a while, I decide to start camping again, at which point the luggage expands even more – so much so, in fact, that I recently swapped my Mosko Scout duffel for the larger Backcountry one. Not good – I really like to have just the two soft panniers and a small duffel at the back, but when you live off the bike, the whole luggage situation just escalates, like it or not.
However, after making a decision to escape to Ecuador for the winter recently, I think I’ve got a packing hack that actually works. It’s simple yet effective: I left my bike in Zagreb, Croatia, at a friend’s garage, and flew to Holland to visit some friends for a couple of weeks. During that time, I decided to leave the bike in Croatia for the whole winter and just get to Ecuador instead of hanging out in Spain or Portugal till spring; Europe is shutting down again, and riding Ecuador just seems like a better option than being stuck somewhere in Andalucia. There was just one thing: all I had with me was the aforementioned Backcountry duffel packed with nothing but bare essentials.
Yet, as the weeks rolled by, I realized that that was all I needed – just that one duffel. That’s all I’ll be taking to Ecuador with me for several months; and because I can survive with just one bag for months, surely I can make it work and reduce the amount of stuff I carry on the old loyal Lucy, too, right?
So here’s the hack: try and go on a week-long ride with the absolute minimum of stuff, and if you can happily survive that one week, you’ll be fine for weeks and months to come, too.
What’s your take on reducing luggage and what has worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!