I’ve never been bikepacking before, so when a friend of mine recently invited me to bike 400 miles along the Empire Trail in New York, my first thought was, How do I pack all the stuff I need for a week of biking and camping?

Well, my friend gave me a couple of different packing lists and some guidance about panniers, the latter of which I was able to borrow, along with the racks on which to hang them. But by the time I’d laid everything out at home–clothes, camping gear, spare tubes, etc.—my original question came back to me with added urgency: HOW ON EARTH DO I PACK ALL THIS?!

So, I made one more call, this time to the leader of a local bike group with which I’ve ridden locally before. He’s done lots of touring, and his advice was golden: ”Dave, remember Rule #1 of Bikepacking 101: You always need less than you think you need.”  With that, I began sifting out a few things, talking with my friend about what we could share, and lightening the load to where it was much more manageable.

You know, when I look around at all the storage units that are being built everywhere for all the extra stuff we Americans have accumulated, it makes me wonder if maybe more of us could stand to remember Rule #1. Which also makes me think about a parable Jesus once told about a rich farmer who, having amassed many possessions, decided to tear down his barns to build bigger ones for all his “stuff”, only to have God say to him, “You fool! This very night you will die, and what will happen with all the things you’ve accumulated?” Jesus then goes on to say, “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.” (Luke 12:13-21)

And how can we be “rich towards God”? Of course, there are lots of different ways, but a good way to start is simply by sharing with others the things we have. At home my wife and I have a plaque next to our dining room table which serves as a reminder of this: “When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.”

Well, that’s all for now. As you look ahead, may your summer be blessed, and may we all learn to travel more lightly!

Prayer: Jesus, if anyone ever knew the secret of traveling lightly, it’s you. So, teach us to follow your example, that we may be ever richer towards God. Amen

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school