I'm lucky enough to be biking from Wyoming to Alaska-about 2500 miles- this summer. I understand there will be a few gravel stretches of several miles. The old Helicomatic rear hub on my 85 Trek has finally given up, so I'm in need of wheels.
Fully loaded with panniers front and back, the bike will have to carry about 160 to 170 pounds of rider and gear.- I like my little luxuries, but try to pack lightly.
Finally to the question: How much wheel do I really need? I'm tempted to get Mavic a719 laced to 105 or Ultegra, but wonder whether something like Open Pro (which I already have) would survive the ride. I would rather not use mtn hubs, as that would require spreading the rear dropouts, from their present 126 to 132 or 135cm, a proposition which scares me.
I previously toured on a bike that came with Tiagra hubs. I tore these down as part of the rebuild I did to get the bike ready to sell. I was amazed at how well the hubs had held up. I think that this is a great hub for budget conscious touring.
I am not sure that I would go with 105 or Ultegra hubs for touring. Your weight is not going to be a problem, but the dust seals might be. These hubs were designed for club rides and amateur racers.
I really can't comment on Mavic rims. I own them. I think more of Mavic's rims that I do their hubs. I just have this impression that Mavic thinks everyone weight 165LBS or less. I have Velocity Dyad rims on my new touring bike and I am real happy with them.