Bicycle touring can be an extremely inexpensive means of transportation, holiday, fun and more! But purchasing all the gear you need in order to conduct a long-distance bicycle tour can be a major drain on your bank account.
The question is: How much does all this bicycle touring gear really cost?
Well, I never really knew the answer… until I sat down a couple days ago and figured it all out (and the answer might surprise you)!
What I’ve done with this article is written out the basic equipment you might need to purchase for a long-distance bicycle tour. Next to each item listed I’ve recorded an estimated price (in US Dollars) for that particular item and displayed a sample photo of that piece of gear underneath its price.
For example: The first item you are going to need to purchase for your bike trip is a touring bicycle. There are hundreds of touring bicycles to choose from, but for the purpose of this article, I chose one of the most popular and least expensive touring bikes available (the Surly Long Haul Trucker) and displayed it for you below with it’s average estimated price of $1,095 USD.
Now, as you continue down the list, you will see a number of additional bicycle touring items you will likely need for your travels – everything from racks and panniers, to tents and sleeping bags, to camp stoves and sporks, and everything in between. Each item is displayed with its average estimated price and a photo of one such piece of gear.
While you could certainly go on a bicycle tour without every single one of the items listed on this page, the items displayed here are what your average long-distance bicycle tourist (who plans to camp and cook his or her own food) might be carrying. Additional items, like a camera, underwear, off-the-bike clothing, food, toiletries, and pretty much everything else, has not been included. Only the basics/essentials have been covered.
Finally, at the bottom of this article, the cost of all these items has been totaled up for you. The purpose of which is to give you a good estimate as to how much all of this gear would cost you if you were to purchase it all at its full retail price (minus additional taxes, shipping costs, etc).
Touring Bicycle – $1,095 USD
Shown here: The Surly Long Haul Trucker
Rear Rack – $40 USD
Shown here: Axiom Journey Tubular Rear Rack
Front Rack – $85 USD
Shown here: Arkel AC Lowrider Front Rack
2 Rear Panniers – $165 USD
Shown here: Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers
2 Front Panniers – $143 USD
Shown here: Ortlieb Front Roller Classic Panniers
2 Water Bottle Cages – $12 USD
2 Insulated Water Bottles – $22 USD
Shown here: Polar Bottle 24 oz Insulated Water Bottle
Front & Rear Fenders – $32 USD
Shown here: Planet Bike Hardcore Road Fenders
Handlebar Bag (+ Map Case) – $40 USD
Shown here: Avenir Excursion QR Handlebar Bag
2 Bungee Cords – $12 USD
Shown here: Nashbar Rack Strap
Tent & Tent Footprint – $ 261 USD
Shown here: MSR Hubba 1-Person Tent
Sleeping Bag – $189 USD
Shown here: REI Radiant Down +20 Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad – $80 USD
Bicycle Computer – $50 USD
Rear Bicycle Light – $15 USD
Shown here: Planet Bike Blinky 7-Led Rear Bicycle Light
Headlamp – $38 USD
Shown here: Petzl E97 PM Tikka Plus 2 Headlamp
Helmet – $89 USD
Shown here: Giro Xen Bicycle Helmet
Mirror – $15 USD
Shown here: CycleAware Reflex Bicycle Mirror
Bike Lock – $20 USD
Camp Stove & Fuel Bottle – $110 USD
Shown here: MSR Whisperlite International Stove
Cook Pot – $70 USD
Shown here: 1.3 Liter Titanium Non-Stick Pot
Knife -$50 USD
Shown here: SOG Specialty Knives & Tools TWI-12 Twitch II
Spork – $9 USD
Shown here: Vargo Titanium Spork
Jersey – $40 USD
Bicycle Shorts – $70 USD
Shown here: Fox Ranger Mountain Bike Shorts
2 Pairs of Cycling Socks – $18 USD
Shown here: SmartWool PHD Cycling Ultra Light Mini Socks
SPD Cycling Shoes – $75 USD
Shown here: Shimano SH-MT33L Mountain Bike Shoes
Rain Jacket – $150 USD
Shown here: Showers Pass Touring Jacket
Camp Towel – $13 USD
Shown here: REI MultiTowel Lite Medium Towel
Bicycle Pump – $22 USD
Shown here: Topeak Harpoon S2 Master Blaster Bike Pump
Patch Kit – $3 USD
Shown here: Novara Bicycle Tube Patch Kit
2 Tire Levers -$6 USD
Shown here: SKS Tire Levers
Spare Tube – $6 USD
Shown here: Avenir Premium Tube Presta Valve 700c Tube
Chain Lube – $12 USD
Shown here: White Lightning Chain Lubricant
Multi-Tool -$26 USD
Shown here: Topeak Alien II 26-Function Bicycle Tool
GRAND TOTAL: $3,083 USD
If you were to purchase every single one of the items on this page, your grand total would be right around the $3,000 mark (plus any additional taxes and shipping charges, etc).
For many people reading this now, the cost of all these items might be a bit shocking. For others, you might be thinking “That’s not too bad”. Whatever the case, at least you now have a general idea of how much it might cost to fully-equip yourself for a long-distance bicycle touring adventure.
And remember: You can certainly equip yourself for a whole lot less than this. Finding these items used, on sale, or eliminating them all together will save you a lot of money. Plus, if you so choose, you can select other gear that costs a whole lot more than this! The choice (and the price of your bicycle touring gear) is ultimately up to you!
For those of you who have traveled by bike in the past, how much did it cost you to equip yourself for your bicycle touring adventures? Leave a comment below and let me know!