Here’s a detailed breakdown of each and every item I carried with me on my recent bikepacking trip in the mountains above Big Bear Lake in Southern California. Feel free to use this bikepacking gear list as a template for your own bikepacking adventures.
The way I set up my bikepacking bicycle, I have two regular water bottles mounted to the sides of the front fork and an additional water bottle mounted on the underside of my bicycle’s down-tube.
These two small bags make bikepacking an absolute joy! Now there’s no longer a need to bend over and wrestle with your water bottle cages each time you need to take a drink.
The wooden multi-tool I carry is a little on the heavy side, but it has all the Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and such that most bikepackers need. The only thing missing in a chain tool, which can come in handy at times.
In the event I need to remove my tires from the rim of my wheel, I’m carrying two small plastic tire levers along with all the other tools in my bikepacking gear list.
Patch Kit & Rack Screws
In the event of a flat tire, I’m carrying a standard bicycle patch kit, along with a few spare rack screws in case some of the screws currently being used to hold my water bottles in place were to fall out.
To keep my head warm at night while I sleep, I pack and carry this small, lightweight beanie. I also use this beanie as padding for my camera when I have it stored inside my top tube bag.
I pretty much always carry a baseball style hat with me when I’m biking. I use this hat mostly to cover up my helmet hair, but it’s also useful for keeping the sun out of my eyes in certain situations.
I bought this long-sleeved cycling jersey from Fox, thinking that I would rarely, if ever, wear it, but it has turned out to be my favorite cycling jersey ever. The jersey is light enough that I can wear it even in hot weather and the sleeves help to protect my arms when cycling through trees and bushes.
I don’t ride in a pair of special bicycle shorts. I just cycle in a pair of black Hurley shorts – like the kind you might find at your local surf/skate shop. I find these to be more than comfortable for my bikepacking adventures.
My main insulating layer is a fleece jacket from Columbia. I wear this jacket while I’m cycling during the day sometimes and then wear it to sleep, if need be, when I’m confronted with cooler weather conditions.
To keep me warm during to cold night, I packed this large down jacket and actually wore it inside my sleeping bag at night. It takes up a lot of room on the bike, but is essential when camping in cooler climates.
For sleeping at night, I pack a small, light and compact pair of fleece pants. These pants are great to wear around camp or inside my tent while I’m sleeping.
In addition to the fleece pants I packed, I also brought along a much warmer pair of Patagonia snow pants. I probably didn’t need these, but I brought them along just in case it was extremely cold at night.
In addition to the single bike jersey I was wearing most of the day, I also packed one T-shirt that I wear to around camp, walk around town in, and use to sleep in at night.
2 Pairs of Underwear
No bikepacking gear list is complete without at least a pair or two of underwear.
Full-Finger Cycling Gloves
I use a pair of Fox mountain bike gloves to protect my hands as they bounce and move around in rocky off-road terrain. These full-finger gloves also work to keep my hands warm in cooler weather conditions.
2 Pairs of Black Socks
I packed two pairs of black socks for this particular bikepacking trip. I could have gotten away with just one pair on this short overnight trip, but I wanted to have a second pair of socks just in case I got a hole in one of the socks.
Warm Winter Socks
In addition to the black socks I pack for wearing on the bicycle each day, I also pack a larger and warmer pair of socks to sleep in or wear around camp. These are great to have in colder climates.
A quality pair of sunglasses are essential for any type of bikepacking gear list. I have a pair of Nike sunglasses that I’ve been using for years, but almost any pair of sunglasses will do.
When I crawl into my tent at night, the first thing I usually do is plug my earphones in and start listening to a podcast. I will cycle with the earphones in my ears in some instances, but that rarely happens.
Because I wanted to bring my drone with me on this trip, I opted to carry a small, lightweight backpack with me…. and for this purpose I chose to use the Patagonia Refugio 28 L backpack.
I carry this stuff on all my bike tours. It really comes in handy when it’s hot and sunny out. Good protection for you lips!
It’s always a good idea to have at least a half roll of toilet paper on you at any given moment, in case nature calls when you’re far from a public restroom. This is extremely relevant on a back-country bikepacking trip such as this.
While it may be popular to use a smartphone, GPS or cycling computer to navigate in today’s modern bikepacking world, the truth is that on a short bikepacking trip like this, all you really need is a simple paper map.
$20 Cash & Drivers License
Finally, I carried my ID and $20 USD cash in my backpack. I actually left the wallet at home just to save myself a little more weight.
My Big Bear Lake Bikepacking Gear List:
It should be noted that I’m carrying quite a lot of cold-weather gear and clothing with me on this particular bike tour. Even though this bike tour took place in Southern California, which is known for its near perfect year-round weather, Big Bear Lake is located at high elevation and it does dip below freezing at night during the winter months. It is for this reason that I chose to carry so many winter items with me on this trip. Had I been doing this bikepacking trip during the summer months, I may have been able to pack far fewer clothing items and swap out my Marmot Sawtooth sleeping bag for its much smaller and lighter counterpart – the Marmot Always Summer sleeping bag.
- Click here to learn more about the basics of bikepacking and discover how easy it is to start conducting your own incredible bikepacking adventures.
- Or click here to learn more about my bikepacking trip in Big Bear, California and download my free Skyline Drive bikepacking map.