You know Flamedance, you may pick up some sarcasm in our talk about being minimalists and here comes a little more.*
The question you pose is a good one; how far do you take it? I say to each his own. I see some guys with oversized saddle bags and duffle bags stuffed 'til they're about to burst, and that's fine, it's just not for me. I used to have a couple of saddle bags that I'd throw on my dirt bike and I thought I was going light weight. But a guy one of us met on the road somewhere clued us in that we were by no means going light. He had basically nothing with him and when it was time to stop for the night he would pull over and sleep on the ground, no pad, no sleeping bag. Just blue jeans and he'd put his helmet on and use it as a pillow. Brilliant..........
This opened our eyes. For me and my crew, we went for the minimalist approach for two reasons. First, to have as little on our dirt bikes as possible so we can ride the bikes like we're in a desert race; catching air, pounding whoops, crossing rivers, and running the deepest sand you can imagine and loving it. The second reason is to leave it all behind and just BE. My recommendation is to be honest with yourself about what your goals are while on your journey.
Here's a quick list of the major items we bring.
20 degree down sleeping bag
Big Agnes mummy air sleeping pad-non insulated (this is SUPER small)
Adjust-A-Fork (for cooking meat - see Utah Desert ride report listed at the beginning of this report)
Roll paper towels - great for cleaning everything including your ass
Flip flops or water shoes (or insoles from boots held on with voile straps)
1/2 gallon H2O
Wind breaker/rain jacket
Light weight down jacket
Misc: lighter, spoon, jack knife, headlamp, etc
Riding cloths, no spares of anything
Cook over small fire
Rinse cloths in river or car wash when needed
I don't worry about bugs, snakes, or varmints so no tent is fine and I actually prefer it. You'll be amazed with how little stuff you really need.