Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: British Columbia, Canada
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Some first-time riders take a lot of stuff, but not what they really need. Consider what can go wrong when you're on a tour and prepare for those things.
For a summer tour, I can expect flat tires, minor mechanical problems, cold rain, cool nights and hot days, so I'll prepare for them. The rain might not come, the days might be warm and the nights pleasant, but in case I hit rough weather, I'm ready. And I may go the entire trip without a flat, but that's not guaranteed. In case of an emergency, I'll carry spare tubes and tire patch supplies, tools I need to rig the bike in case of an emergency, rain gear, cool weather gear and clothing for hot days. If I've got that covered, I'm fine. My camping gear is as minimal as I dare to take, again covering everything that can realistically happen on a trip.
If the trip is in Iowa or nearby areas, you don't need much in the way of food. Towns there are reasonably close together and you can stop before the end of the day to pick up what you need for the evening meal. If it's a trip in hot weather, you could possibly leave the camp stove, fuel and cooking ware behind and go with foods that require no cooking. That's getting quite minimal and there is something to be said for a good meal at the end of a day of riding. If you were in a sparsely populated area, you would need to take more food with you and you might need to pack extra water. Where you're going, you won't ever be far from those things.