My reminiscing was interrupted by a howl of laughter from my husband, Justin, as he leaned in closer to examine the photo. “Look at how much stuff we had!” he cried. “Look at our panniers! They’re enormous! Look at your panniers! What could you possibly be carrying in those things?” Actual tears of amusement formed in the corners of his eyes as our overflowing bags glowed back at us from the laptop screen. We started out with what we thought were the essentials, but since that first day, we’ve lightened our loads tremendously, cutting down our possessions at least a handful of times over the past 22 months. Our setup these days is considerably more streamlined. We even switched over to mountain bikes and swapped our rack-mounted panniers for bikepacking frame bags more than a year ago.
An excerpt from this issue’s Globetrotting column, Bring This, Leave That: