Bike touring packing list

Bike touring in the mountains

You've heard it before, but you can never hear it enough: Plan to pack according to the weather. A three-day biking tour through dry terrain will differ greatly in regards of what you need to pack from a pedal through rainforest-lined blacktop.

Also, while you do have those panniers to carry your load, it's better to aim for the less-is-more approach. Packing less will increase your balancing ability, reduce weight drag, and give you spare room for that fantastic souvenir that you encounter during your bike tour, especially if you're weaving into small towns while touring.



For the heavily-laden, also consider one of the new towing trailers that you can attach to your bike; there are some that can handle most singletrack routes, though you'll be going slowly.

All-season clothing

  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses
  • Jersey
  • Fleece vest or jacket
  • Wicking tees
  • Wicking long-sleeve top or jersey
  • Arm and leg warmers
  • Cycling shorts (2)
  • Soft-shell pants
  • Wicking underwear
  • Cycling shoes
  • Off-bike footwear
  • Wicking socks
  • Padded cycling gloves
  • Non-cycling convertible pants

Wet or cold weather add-ons

  • Waterproof and breathable jacket and pants (hard or soft shell)
  • Waterproof and breathable gaiters
  • Weather-resistant gloves or overgloves
  • Goggles
  • Helmet liner, skullcap, or stocking cap
  • Mid or expedition-weight base layers
Bike packing in the forest

Travel gear

  • Handlebar bag (with clear map slot)
  • Front and rear panniers with rain covers
  • Seat bag
  • Water bottles
  • Hydration pack
  • Headlight and taillight
  • Headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Rearview mirror
  • Bungee cords and compression straps
  • Accessory cord (25+ feet)
  • Lock
  • Maps and guidebooks
  • Cyclometer
  • Cell phone or PDA
  • GPS
  • Watch with altimeter and alarms

Tools and spare parts

  • Spare tubes (2+)
  • Spare tire
  • Spare spokes (6+)
  • Bike-specific multi-tool (with spoke wrench, allen wrenches, screwdrivers, etc)
  • Multi-tool (with vise-grip and needle-nose pliers, knife)
  • Spoke wrench (sized for your spokes)
  • Chain lube
  • Chain tool
  • Spare chain link
  • Compact tire pump with gauge
  • Tire levers
  • Patch kit
  • Adjustable crescent wrench (6-inch)
  • Brake and derailleur cables
  • Assorted nuts and bolts
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency whistle

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Last updated by Jack on 01 January, 2015 in Travel Tips.

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Comments

I agree with this list

I have made packing mistakes many times. Now like you i make a list and then strike out as i add items to my bag. Your list is exhaustive and very helpful.

thanks for sharing

Debra on 24 September, 2008

First Aid

Also bring a small first aid kit with you. You can get one at a local grocery store for about 6 bucks, and it has a few gauze patches, bandages (of course), disinfectant, and other things.

on 23 April, 2009

Everything but the kitchen sink! The old adage of 'packing lightly' simply cannot apply when adventuring via this method and for a period of time more than a day or two. Excellent list that I'm sure some fortunate cyclist will find incredibly invaluable!

Matthew Stephens on 07 October, 2009

Great list. One space saving toiletry item that I just discovered is shaving oil by Pacific Shaving Company (I'm not affiliated with them, just a cool product). A little half ounce bottle can give you 100 shaves -- and is much smaller to pack than shaving cream.

Beginner Cycling on 06 March, 2010

You're right, shaving oil is fantastic. I actually use King of Shaves shaving oil and then their gel on top. Got pretty tough stubble but that keeps things gliding along well. I've also seen shaving oil in some tiny spray bottles for pretty cheap, but haven't yet tried them, could be even more economical because application is more controlled.

Jack on 06 March, 2010

Ohh,Ohh, what a waste of time. Are folks so stupid that they don't know how or what to pack for a trip. This reminds me of those 1930's Popular Mechanics Camping books. You really have to be kidding. Anyone who thinks this is informative is a moron.

John Benton on 11 June, 2010

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