Each phase of the Advanced Touring Method reflects a simple process to greatly improve the riding qualities and efficiencies of touring bicycles in long-distance touring through gear design and individual preparation for tours. I've been using, and fine-tuning the method for all of my adult life. To me, the approach really gets down to being conscious and conscientious, and being open to a wide range of possibilities than can dramatically alter touring bicycle performance.
The Advanced Touring Method is really an item-by-item process. Thoughtfully and carefully select and minimize your touring gear. Experience will tell you what an effective minimum is. Carry as little gear as is comfortably possible. How can I put it more clearly? Load and distribute your touring gear very wisely in the lightest, most stable and best-designed carrying systems. Whenever possible, eliminate the need for a front rack and panniers. Conscientiously choose wheel components to develop high-performance wheels that are consistent with the conditions in which you'll be riding. These things, when added together, will define the performance and riding quality of your touring bicycle with regard to speed and efficiency far more than anything else. They are the means of greatly reducing your effort in traveling on a bicycle. All of the other stuff pales in comparison. Invest your time, effort and money in the things that count. Other than the wheels of your bicycle, don't place an inordinate amount of focus, when it comes to performance, on your bike frame or components. That type of focus will not get you down the road with a lot less effort and energy.
Be creative. Be innovative. Be thoughtful, and definitely be on the lookout to continually improve the gear that you carry. Here's one last look at a gear summary of the things that I carry. The 13.5 pounds of gear on the list allows me to travel very comfortably in all normal conditions.
SHELTER (2-person tent, stuff sacks, ground cloth) 2.31 pounds
SLEEPING GEAR (down sleeping bag, foam pad, stuff sacks, etc.) 1.98 pounds
CLOTHING (down vest, pants, spare clothing, gloves, shells, tights etc.) 3.61 pounds
RAIN GEAR (rain parka and pants, shoe covers, pannier covers) .80 pounds
BATHING AND PERSONAL HYGIENE (tooth brush, shampoo etc.) .69 pounds
COOKING GEAR (MSR stove, pot, bowl, cup, knives, sponge etc.) 1.94 pounds
LUXURY ITEMS (camera, case, I-pod, thermometer) .72 pounds
TOOLS AND REPAIRS (cassette cracker, wrenches, patch kit, etc.) .45 pounds
MEDICAL, PERSONAL ITEMS (glasses, lip balm, sun screen etc. etc.) .91 pounds