If you don’t feel like carrying it all on your back why not let your bike do all [a good portion] of the work? Whether you’re going across country or just out of the city for a couple days there are some obvious basics you shouldn’t leave home without. Aside from a good touring frame you’ll probably want some pannier bags, a saddle bag, and definitely a kit that will fix your flats. Everything else really depends on how long you intend on being away and what kind of weather you’ll be facing. Some people tour with nothing more than a credit card and a fix flat kit, stopping at cafes and bed & breakfasts.. perhaps a bit posh but a lightweight travel option.
A friend of my undertook a great journey this past summer taking him from east to west on a Bianchi San Jose loaded up to it’s maximum capacity. You can track his entire journey with journal entires at each stop reflecting on the best of times and the worst of times, obviously there are pictures too..
pictures from Dave’s great trek.