I am planning to leave on Monday, so I am in the final phase of packing. Packing a bike for a long tour is a psychotic exercise in applied minimalism, all the stuff for eating, sleeping, living needs to go in the bags. If you find yourself choosing between a lighter and toothpaste, your process crashed and you need to restart.

Figure 1. Loaded touring bike on Flatruet

Vaude Aqua box 6 L (Black/handlebar)

This is the handbag. Stuff that needs to be easy reachable during the day. Also, the bag that always comes off the bike when I leave it.

McKinley Drybag 50 L (Red/Front rack)

The wet and dirty tent.

Ortlieb Back Roller Classic 2×20 L (Orange/low riders)

Clothes and food, but only food that never ever could leak. The bags needs to be packed so that they have an equal weight and profile. If the front bags are of unequal shape the wind will grab the bags unevenly and make steering harder.

Ortlieb Rack Pack Travel Bag 49 L (Rear/red tube)

Basically the “bedroom”, sleeping bag and exped downmat. First aid kit. Maybe some food that couldn’t leak.

Vaude Aqua back pro 2×25 L (Rear/red-black)

Tools, kitchen, IT-stuff, batteries, chargers, spare parts etc. One bag contains everything that could leak – oil, gas, food etc.

So excluding tent and “bedroom” that leaves approx 100 liters of bags to pack everything needed for a life on the road. For comparison, a normal large Samsonite is approx 100 liters. All of this will weigh more than 40 kg, then there will be between four and ten liters of water and the bike itself is +20 kg.

If you want to experience how this feels in head wind, dismount your front door and hold it with straight arms and run against the wind.

The process to get all the stuff needed packed is very scientific and detailed, 1. Gather all the stuff that you need, want, desire and last but not least “is good to have”. 2. So now you have 300 liters of stuff, get rid of 2/3 of it. 3. Pack the bags, be happy and smile until you remember that approx 10-20% of each bag needs to be empty so that there is room for food. 4. Re-pack and think happy thoughts about having 3 pairs of socks for 3 months on the road. So this coming weekend I will unpack everything and make a sanity check before packing it for good.

I have a plan for Monday, it’s a secret but the scientific formula is