John pretty much nailed the topic.
Under packing is almost never an issue. Over packing often is.
There are a few ways to go with the packing... My suggestions are as follows:
- If you are inclined to want a bunch of in camp comforts at the cost of being excessively loaded down, I'd still recommend resisting anything over 40 pounds and drawing a absolute limit at 50 pounds.
- For the average tourist, I'd recommend shooting for 30 pounds or less and drawing a absolute limit at 40 pounds.
- If you are in to ultralight or minimalist packing I'd shoot for 10-15 pounds and set the upper limit at 20 or so.
Those recommended weights include bags, gear, and extra clothing. They do not include the basic clothes you will always have on while riding, food, water, the tools and spares that are always on the bike even at home.
You will find that what you actually need is surprisingly little. It is possible to go with a sub 10 pound gear weight if you are of the gram counting persuasion and 20 pounds can accommodate quite a few luxuries. You do not need lots of changes of clothes or much food (buy daily).
You will usually not need to carry much water with a few exceptions that will be obvious on the AC maps.
BTW, remember that it is possible to adjust the load as you go. If you find you are cold, buying an item or two of warmer clothing is an option as is having things sent from home. If you wound up taking too much you can mail stuff home. I think most first time TA riders wind up mailing gear and clothing home, I know that we did several times. Having things mailed to you via general delivery is an option too.
It is really nice to have someone at home who has access to your stuff to send and receive mail for you. Maybe lay out and label stuff you think you might need so they can find it.
I try to pick a town that you know you will be in of a size to have only one post office and have items mailed to myself care of "general delivery". They will hold them for 30 days. If you are not ready for the items or pass through the town when the post office is closed you can stop at any post office and make arrangements to have them forwarded to another post office further down the road.
You might consider whether you want different clothing and gear in the plains and east than in the Cascades and Rockies. Somewhere around Pueblo would be a good time to get things from home or sent things home.
I have run the gamut of packing styles starting with 50 pounds on my first tour and less on each subsequent tour until I got to less than 15 pounds on my last couple tours. I suspect that 20-30 pounds is probably a sweet spot for most tourists, but I have not felt deprived with 15 pounds and think that with a bit of higher tech choices could get to 8 pounds or so.
I have seen folks carrying 100 pounds or more. Some were absolutely miserable and some seemed happy with their choices, but I suggest picking from the three categories above for the one that suits you best.
I have some trip journals and a couple articles on the crazy guy web site. The articles on unencumbered touring and inexpensive touring may be of interest as may the one on our TA. Check them out at:https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/directory/?o=5v&user=staehpj1&v=u