Been reading a lot of the posts here - there's definitely a lot to absorb. Although the simple message seems to be - just go try a short tour and figure out what works and doesn't. On the job training I guess you could say. I'm trying to go "simple" right now on a limited budget and am thinking about converting my '87 Trek mtb into something to see touring and I agree.
Some more rookie questions - please bear with me.
Adequate wheels - is this more focused on the spokes or evenly on the rim and spokes combined. The Trek has stock Araya 26 X 1.5 aluminum 36 spoke wheels - I don't know the model. Appears for 1987 they were ones that either came on the 830 or 850 as the 800 (mine) should have had Rigida's. This would not be a bike for a long, heavily weighted tour to start with so I'm thinking the wheels may be fine.
After reading through this thread I'm slowly accumulating a mental list of what else I need to do to the bike. I happened across a parts stash on Craigslist a couple of months ago that included some Sakae randonneur bars (although they seem a little narrow) and Suntour bar end shifters (3 sets). I run most of my bikes in friction mode so it's not a big deal that the shifters are not indexed. I have brake levers - aero style which is my definite preferred look. But, it looks like I will need a different stem for the bars. Seems the stem currently on the bike measures closer to the French diameter 22.0 mm (21.87 actual) vs. the 22.2 stems I have for the randonneur bars.
I have a new freewheel and would change out the Suntour 3000 rear derailleur for a newer Shimano long cage. The crankset is a 48-42-28 combined with 14-28. The brakes are already cantilever and have good stopping power. Pedals would be SPD mtb clipless that I have on another bike.
Other than that a front rack would be needed and then proper panniers. Road/street tires would also be needed.
Am I going down the right road for a mtb conversion?