PREP YOUR BIKE FOR THE LONG HAUL
Keep your center of gravity low.
The lower the load, the more stable and predictable your ride. Pack food and heavy items at the bottom of your panniers or frame bag.
Pack for balance.
Distribute weight evenly on the left and right sides of your bike. Otherwise, you’ll have to lean to one side the entire time to offset the difference.
Go easy on the front fork.
It’s nice to have things handy, but steering gets really twitchy with even 10 pounds over the front tire. Store water in bottle cages on the frame, and save the front rack for on-the-go essentials and lightweight gear.
Ride the widest tires your frame can fit.
Large-volume tires can take the sting out of rocks and washboard roads and generally improve grip by increasing contact area (aim for a 2-inch width if you can). Downside: more rolling resistance.
Bring a beefy repair kit.
Add two extra tubes to your normal kit, plus a tire boot, chain lube that won’t pick up tons of dust (like Boeshield T-9; $10), and, of course, Chamois Butt’r.