I've recently come back from a 3 month tour in Australia. I brought way too much stuff, and by the time I finished the ride I was down to two partially full panniers, a trunk bag, and a partially full handlebar bag . . . and I could have probably gone even lighter than that.
I was quite comfortable out there with so little. The only things I would change in my setup would be:
- a thermarest mat. I used a foam one and it wasn't quite thick enough. the thermarest would roll up even smaller than the foam mat.
- fewer tools. I carried about double what I needed.
- fewer medical supplies. I carried about double what I needed.
- my own tent (my cycling partner carried the tent, but it was really, really small and I could have easily added it to my collection)
- a few bits of cooking/eating supplies (my cycling partner carried that as well, and it too was really, really small)
With those changes, I know I could still fit it all into a couple panniers and a couple other small bags.
So then I have to wonder .... why would anyone want to pull a trailer on a tour???? I've seen them. I even rode a bicycle with one attached to see what it was like. In my opinion, a trailer has the capacity to carry WAY too much!! I can't imagine wanting to carry as much stuff as a trailer would hold with me, even if I were to tour for the rest of my life!!
Then there's the business of what you do with the trailer. If you're travelling overseas, you've got to pack it on the plane too. My bicycle and bags were more than enough for me. If you've stopped in a campground, and you want to take a run into town to get some food, you've either got to leave the trailer in the campground, risking having it stollen, or bring it with you all the time. Plus, if you head into town to pick up food ... and you've decided to leave the trailer at the campground ... how do you carry the food back? And if you're trying to make your way along a crowded sidewalk (as I have a number of times on my tours), I can't imagine having to manouver a trailer as well.
So ... for those who use trailers ... what's the appeal?