It’s 2014… and this will be my 14th year in a row that I have gone bicycle touring in some location around the world. This year I am conducting a 7-month-long bicycle tour across 14 different countries in Europe and Asia… and I’ll be documenting my adventures here on the website at Bicycle Touring Pro. See my detailed travel plans right here.
Because I’m so frequently asked about the gear, clothing and equipment that I use on my bike tours, I thought I would take a moment to share with you a detailed list of each and every item I am carrying with me on my bicycle tour this year.
Feel free to use this packing list as a guideline for your own bicycle touring adventures… or see my book, “The Bicycle Touring Blueprint” for more information on what to pack, how heavy your bicycle should be, what type of bike and gear you should use, how to get yourself (and your bicycle/gear) to the start of a bike tour, what to expect once you hit the road, and a whole lot more. Plus, there is even more information about what to pack for a bike tour at the end of this article (scroll below).
Co-Motion Pangea Touring Bicycle
The Co-Motion Pangea is my main bicycle touring vehicle and the most important piece of equipment that I own. This on-road, off-road touring bike can be split in half with the use of S&S couplers, allowing me to fly the bike for free and easily transport the bike on buses, boats and trains with minimal effort.
Shimano SPD Pedals
SPD pedals allow me to clip my cycling shoes to my bicycle and pedal with greater power and control. This type of pedal must be used with an accompanying set of SPD shoes.
Axiom Journey Rear Rack
This lightweight aluminum rack is not really designed for super heavy loads or extremely long distances, but I’ve been using it for the last several years and have had few problems with it.
Arkel AC LowRider Front Rack
I’ve been using the Arkel AC LowRider Rack on the front of my touring bicycle for more than five years now and it has never let me down. Built strong, but very lightweight. Highly recommended!
Planet Bike Front & Rear Fenders
These inexpensive plastic and metal fenders will help to protect me, my bicycle and my gear from rain, mud and other road debris. The fenders found on my bicycle at the moment are designed for the 26 inch tires found on my touring bike.
3 Water Bottle Cages
My Co-Motion Pangea touring bicycle is equipped with mounts for three water bottle cages, maximizing the amount of water I can carry.
3 Water Bottles
You can spend a lot of money on fancy water bottles, but you don’t really need anything special. I use white or clear water bottles (rather than black or dark colored bottles) in order to keep the temperature of my water down when cycling in hot weather.
Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus Rear Panniers
These large, waterproof panniers sit on the rear rack of my bicycle and carry all my camping and electronic equipment. I’ve used these panniers for years and they are still in excellent shape, despite suffering from some slight cosmetic sun damage.
Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus Front Panniers
These two smaller waterproof panniers sit on the front rack of my touring bicycle and carry all the food, toiletries and clothing that I need for my travels.
Ortlieb Ultimate6 Plus Handlebar Bag
This wonderful, waterproof handlebar bag sits on the front of my bicycle and carries my camera, wallet, navigational instruments (smartphone), and a number of other small accessories.
Blackburn Mars 4.0 Rear Bicycle Light
This is the only official bicycle light I carry with me on my travels. It is small, bright, lightweight, and has a long-lasting battery that is easily replaced on the road. I don’t carry the mount with me – just the light itself, which is easily clipped onto one of my rear panniers.
Avenir Keyed Cable Lock
I’ve been using this relatively lightweight cable lock for more than 10 years and it has worked wonderfully on my travels. Unfortunately, it this lock is no longer in production and can not be purchased anywhere online.
20 Inch Bungee Cord
I use a single 20 inch bungee cord to secure my tripod, tent poles and solar panel on the rear rack of my bicycle.
Axiom EnforceAir Pro Road Bike Pump
The EnforceAir Pro Road bike pump from Axiom is a long, powerful and lightweight bicycle pump that functions as a floor pump when in use.
I carry a very generic bicycle multi-tool. There is nothing special about it. It has all the Allen wrench sizes that are found on my touring bicycle.
Pedal / S&S Coupler Wrench
This is a special pedal / S&S coupler wrench that comes with Co-Motion Co-Pilot bicycles. The wrench allows you to install/remove your pedals and to open and close the S&S couplers on the bicycle’s frame.
Mini Adjustable Wrench
I carry a very small adjustable wrench for the bolts on my fenders and for any additional repairs that might need to be made to my bicycle’s racks, cables, panniers, etc.
Spare Rack Screws
I always carry a few extra rack screws in case the screws holding my racks, fenders, or water bottle cages rattle their way out of the bicycle frame.
Patch Kit & Tire Levers
I carry two tire levers and a small, lightweight patch kit on all of my bicycle tours. This kit allows me to repair flat tubes and patch tube punctures.
I carry at least one or two spare tubes on all of my bicycle tours. I use 26 inch Presta tubes in my touring bicycle wheels.
MSR Hubba 1-Man Tent
You’ll be hard pressed to find a lighter or more compact tent than the MSR Hubba. This 1-person tent is the perfect size for bicycle touring and will keep you safe and dry during your cycle touring adventures.
Vaude Sove Sleeping Pad
After destroying more than five expensive Exped and McKinley sleeping pads over the last two years, I’m now using and experimenting with a Vaude Sove inflatable sleeping pad to sleep on each night.
The North Face Cat’s Meow Sleeping Bag
I’ve been using the Cat’s Meow sleeping bag on my colder bicycle tours for years on end now. It’s not the smallest sleeping bag in the world, but is has a good balance between size and warmth. It’s just small enough to fit inside one of my bicycle’s rear panniers.
I use this headlamp to not only navigate around my campsites in the dark and read books in my tent at night, but also as a front bicycle light when riding my bicycle after dark.
I carry a small folding knife with me. I don’t use this for personal protection (although I could use if that way if I had to). Instead, I use the knife mainly for spreading jam on break, cutting up apples and preparing my meals on the road.
Instead of carrying a heavy fork and spoon, I carry this lightweight titanium spork instead.
In order to start fires in my camp each night I carry a small, mini BIC lighter. I prefer a brightly colored lighter so it is easy to find inside my panniers and around camp.
Giro Xen Helmet
This is an excellent, lightweight bike helmet with a sun visor in the front and easily adjustable head straps in the back.
Fox Racing MTB Jersey
I like to wear cycling clothes that don’t make me look like a cyclist. The loose MTB jerseys from Fox Racing allows me to step off the bicycle at the end of the day and blend in with the people around me, no matter where I am in the world. I’m carrying two jerseys with me on this tour.
Rather than cycle and walk around in spandex or Lycra, I choose to wear a regular pair of shorts made by Fox Racing. I have two pairs of these, which I can wear on or off the bike.
Columbia Rain Jacket
To protect me from the elements and keep me dry in rain and snow, I will be wearing a lightweight Columbia rain jacket that packs up relatively small inside my panniers when it isn’t being used.
Patagonia Fleece Jacket
This fleece jacket from Patagonia keeps me warm and allows me to walk around in style without making me look like a cyclist.
North Face Rain Pants
I’m expecting to spend several days this year riding in both light and heavy rain storms… and I expect these waterproof rain pants to come in handy on my travels.
Shimano SH-MT43L Shoes
These SPD shoes by Shimano were designed for mountain biking, but work great for bicycle touring as well.
New Balance Walking/Running Shoes
Because I am traveling for so long, I am bringing a pair of walking/running shoes with me in addition to my SPD cycling shoes. Having a pair of walking shoes makes my time off the bike much more comfortable.
The one and only pair of pants I carry on tour. I always have a pair of jeans with me in my panniers.
I will have 4 different T-shirts with me at anyone time (1 to sleep in and 3 to walk around/cycle in). I purposely select T-shirts with no logos or artwork on them.
I always carry a hat with me on my bicycle tours. I use it mainly for my time off the bike – to cover the bad hairdo created by wearing a bike helmet.
I am carrying about 4 pairs of black, ankle-length socks with me. These are the socks I cycle and walk around in during the day. I choose black socks because they hide dirt well. I also have a warmer, thicker pair of socks that I sleep in at night.
A personal choice more than anything else, I am carrying 4 pairs of underwear on this year’s long-distance bicycle tour.
Sunglasses & Case
I’ve got a pair of Nike sunglasses I am carrying in a hard plastic case, carried inside my handlebar bag.
While I probably won’t use this much during this particular bike tour, I’m bringing it along anyway. It is lightweight and can do a lot to keep you warm in your tent or on your bike if the weather gets chilly.
13″ MacBook Pro Laptop Computer
Without this computer, I would not be able to travel for as long as I do (sometimes for months on end), nor would I be able to do so much work on BicycleTouringPro.com during my bicycle tours.
Padded Laptop Case
I bought my laptop case so long ago, I don’t know what brand or model it is. But it is important because I carry my most valuable piece of electronic gear inside of it.
Voltaic Fuse 6 Watt Solar Panel
This small, but powerful solar panel will make it possible for me to recharge my smartphone each day so that I can continue cycling for days on end without every having to access the power grid.
Travel Smart All-in-One Power Adapter
When traveling internationally, I have to carry this in order to plug my electronics into the wall and recharge them. This adapter has a built in USB charger on its side as well.
Canon T2i Digital SLR Camera (+ 4 Batteries)
My photos have gotten so much better since I started carrying an SLR camera. It’s a lot larger than a point and shoot camera (or the low-res camera built into my smartphone), but this type of camera forces you to think before you snap a photo… and the end result is a lot better because of that. Along with the camera I am also carrying a battery charger and three spare batteries.
Lowepro SLR Camera Soft Case
My SLR camera is carried inside this padded case. This case fits inside my handlebar bag and is also used when carrying the camera off the bike and in my backpack. I don’t use the shoulder strap that comes with this case.
GGS Perfect HD DSLR LCD Foldable Viewfinder
This is a strange, but incredible useful accessory for my DSLR camera, which allows me to see the LCD screen in bright sunlight and is especially useful when shooting video to make sure that everything is in focus.
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens
This is the main lens I have on my camera most of the time and, therefore, the lens I use for most of my photos.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 Camera Lens
I use this lens for portraits and close-up shots. This lens is super sharp!
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle Camera Lens
I’ve never used this lens on my bicycle tours before, but I’m bringing it along because I think it will be great for photographing the narrow streets and alleys I know I will encounter all across Europe and Asia.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (Unlocked)
I will be using this internationally unlocked Samsung Galaxy smartphone to call home, make arrangements with people I meet on my travels and connect to the Internet during my travels. I’ll mainly use it to listen to music while I am cycling and as a navigational aid. This is the first time I’ve ever used a smartphone on a bicycle tour, so we’ll see how it goes!
This is one of my most used pieces of gear because when I travel by myself I am constantly listening to music, podcasts, language-learning tapes and more.
Western Digital 1 TB External Hard Drives
I carry two of these external hard drives with me so I can backup all my photos. Each hard drive carries a single copy of each of my photos, so if one hard drive dies I have another hard drive storing the same images. I also back up all my photos onto Flickr.com.
Columbia Half-Track Backpack
I carry this small, lightweight backpack with me. I store my laptop and other electronic items inside the backpack when I am on the bike, and use the backpack when walking around on foot. The backpack is stored inside one of my rear panniers when I am on the bike.
Sony VCT-60AV Tripod & Case
Because I travel by myself much of the time, I carry a tripod so I can get photos of me actually riding my bicycle during my tours.
I use an inexpensive toiletry case that I purchased from Walmart to hold all of my toiletries. Nothing special.
This small, lightweight towel is perfect for bicycle touring. It takes up very little space and dries quickly.
You gotta keep your mouth clean – even when cycling around the world.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
You gotta keep your mouth clean – even when cycling around the world.
Razor & Shaving Cream
This is for my face – not my legs. Ha!
On longer bike tours, it is essential to carry a small pair of nail clippers.
I carry a small, lightweight set of tweezers, not only for personal hygiene, but also to pick thorns and glass out of my tires, shoes, feet, etc.
Travel Size Shampoo & Lotion
Shampoo to wash my hair and lotion to care for my skin (and occasional sunburns).
I’ll apply sunscreen two or three times per day if it is especially hot and sunny.
Blow your nose and wipe your butt. It’s good to carry at least one-half roll of toilet paper with you at all times – especially if you plan to camp.
Soap & Travel Case
To keep my body clean, I carry a single bar of soap and a plastic case in which the soap is stored.
An essential when traveling internationally, my passport is one of my most protected personal items.
Zippered Travel Wallet
I carry all my cash, credit and debit cards in a zippered wallet. The zipper makes me feel better because I don’t have to worry about anything falling out during my travels.
Ping-Pong Paddle, 3 Balls & Case
I’ve never brought a ping-pong paddle with me on any of my bicycle tours in the past, but I want to make an effort on this trip to stop and play ping-pong with as may strangers as I can. If you play ping-pong and I will be in your part of the world, please contact me. I’d love to play a game or two with you!
Journal & Pens
Finally, I have a small journal and two pens with me so I can keep a journal about my travels and write down the names, email addresses and phone numbers of any people I might meet along the way.
So, there you have it! That’s everything I’m carrying with me as I travel across 14 countries in Europe and Asia on my 14th long-distance, self-supported bicycle tour.
Get 5 more bike tour packing lists like this one and learn more about the gear I recommend for self-supported bicycle touring inside my book, The Bicycle Touring Blueprint.
[button_yellow url=”https://www.bicycletouringbook.com”]See More Here…[/button_yellow]
Still hungry for more bike tour packing lists? See this list of everything you could want to carry on a bike tour… but please note that you should not carry all of these items at once.
[button_yellow url=”http://bicycletouringpro.com/jim-dirlams-complete-bicycle-touring-gear-checklist/”]Packing List #2[/button_yellow]
Before you leave a comment and say, “You’re carrying too much stuff” or “Why are you bringing a ping-pong paddle with you on a bicycle tour?” let me first say this:
What You Choose To Carry Depends On Where You Are Going And What Your Goals Are
This is something I’ve explained over and over again here on BicycleTouringPro.com and inside The Bicycle Touring Blueprint, but I know that some people are new here and so I feel the need to say it again.
When bicycle touring, the bike you ride, the gear you use, the clothing you wear, the food you eat, the number of miles/kilometers you cycle each day, and how you choose to spend your time will vary from person to person depending on what your goals are… and, of course, personal preference.
I’ve got a lot of electronics with me on this bike tour because I am traveling and working at the same time. In order to be away from home for so long, I have to continue working while I’m on the road, and the way I do that is by bringing my office with me. This is why I have a laptop, smartphone, camera, etc.
I’m bringing a ping-pong paddle because I’ve learned over the last 14 years that as a great as bicycle touring is, I also need something fun to do when I step off the bike at the end of the day. When I was in Poland in late 2012, I started taking ping-pong lessons and since that time I have won first place (in a low division) tournament and started playing regularly at a table-tennis club in the state of Utah. So I really like ping-pong and because I am going to be traveling through some areas where ping-pong is especially popular, I thought it would be fun to bring my paddle along and see if I could find the time and energy to stop at some of the ping-pong clubs along my route. Heck, bringing a ping-pong paddle with me isn’t nearly as a crazy as the time I brought a skateboard with me on my 2005 bicycle tour down the Pacific Coast of the United States and stopped and skateboarded at almost every skateboard park along the way! Others have brought far bigger, heavier and crazier items with them on their bicycle tours.
Things I’m Purposely Not Carrying
You’ll also note that there are quite a few things that other bicycle tourist usually bring with them that I am choosing to leave at home.
For example, I am not packing:
- A Stove/Fuel Bottle/Pot
- Bicycle Shorts
- A Racing Jersey
- Spare Chain
- Spare Spokes
I’ve traded the stove and cook pot that I might normally carry for all the extra electronic items. For me and the goals I have set for this particular bike tour, the electronic items are far more important to me than having a warm meal at the end of the day. But this also means that I’ll be eating a lot of cold foods. If I want to get a warm meal, I’ll either have to go out to eat… or pay to rent an apartment or other such accommodation where I have access to a stove or oven.
Plus, I’m not carrying many extra bike parts because I’m going to be cycling through a part of the world where it will be relatively easy to find a bike shop and get assistance if something horrible were to go wrong with my bicycle.
Things I’m Experimenting With On This Tour
On every single one of my bicycle tours over the last 14 years I have brought at least one or two things with me to experiment with. This year, the two main items that I will be most interested in testing are my new Voltaic Fuse 6 Watt solar panel… and my new Samsung Galaxy S4 mini smartphone.
I used the Voltaic Fuse 4 Watt solar panel on my last big bicycle tour across 24 countries in Europe and Africa… and it was amazing. It allowed me to cycle around for days on end without ever having to plug into the main power grid. But this year I wanted something a little more powerful, so I upgraded to the 6 Watt charger, which should give me more battery life on my smartphone – a device I plan to use heavily on my travels this year.
Speaking of my smartphone, I realize I’m a bit behind the times here, but this will be the first time I’ve ever used a smartphone on any of my bicycle tours. When I started bicycle touring 14 years ago, I had a cell phone with me, but it was so expensive to use the phone (even in my own state) that I never once used it. Now, just 14 years later, I”ll be using an incredibly high-tech piece of electronic gadgetry that fits in the palm of my hand to listen to music, navigate my course, post photos to the Internet, update the Bicycle Touring Pro website, call my friends and family back home, and a whole lot more!
Because I’ve never used a smartphone on my travels before, and because I’ll be cycling across 12 or more different countries this year, I am a little nervous about how the phone will perform once I purchase new SIM cards for it. Because I’m traveling through so many different areas, I will need to purchase a new SIM card for each new area. This could be both expensive and frustrating. I don’t know. But I’m experimenting with International smartphone travel this year… and I’ll let you know how it goes.
In Conclusion: My 2014 Bike Tour Packing List
So, there you have it! That’s everything I’m packing with me on this year’s big bicycle touring adventure in Europe and Asia. If you have any questions for me about my packing list this year, feel free to leave a comment below. And if you think I might be able to help you plan, prepare for, or execute a bicycle touring adventure of your own, please see this page for more information on how to plan, pack and prepare for your own incredible bicycle touring adventures.
41 thoughts on “Peek Inside My Panniers: My 2014 Bike Tour Packing List”
As usual ,professionally ,well written article. Hope you have another incredible journey, I will be following you. Will be interested in how the equipment holds up under a 14 month trip. Be Safe!.
god speed on your tour.
I am looking at getting rid of my water-resistant panniers and getting water-proof ones.
I currently own some Axiom bags (60 liters in the back and 40 liters up front) and find that I can carry all I need in them.
I am looking at the Ortlieb panniers but it seems that the largest size they offer is 40 liters. Most people I see or follow through their adventure that own Ortlieb panniers all seems to have to carry some sort of rat pack as well on their rear rack. Of course, it also means a fifth bad to carry and take care of while touring. In the end, they get 40 liters in the rear, 25 or 30 liters up front and then add a 30 liter or so rat pack bag for a total of about 100 liters capacity.
Is there a noticeable advantage in using the smaller panniers/rat pack combo over just using larger-sized panniers in the first place and leaving the rear rack’s top empty?
I think that if you are packing more than what you can carry inside a set of Ortlieb panniers, you are probably carrying too much. I carry all my stuff inside my 4 panniers and I’m traveling heavy with a laptop computer, DSLR camera, a ping-pong paddle, and all sorts of other crazy stuff. A traditional bicycle tourist should be able to carry far less than what I have… so the size of Ortlieb panniers should be more than enough in most cases.
Don’t forget to get a case for your phone that is weather resistant. I had my S4 on a recent trip and had it in my bike shirt. The moisture from my body made it go a bit nuts 🙂
Have a safe and wonderful trip!
Have fun on your tour – I wish I could do the same. If you make it to Krakow Poland make sure to stop by the Cloth Market. I worked near there for a year as a young engineer. At one time on one of the side streets near there was a pub called Pub Pod Popugami (The spelling may be a mess) It was abouot 3 stories down. I loved the carved nature of the bar. Anyway there are many sights there if you happen through.
Take Care and update often
Can’t understand why you don’t take a multi-tool like this leatherman instead of just a knife. Any thoughts? https://www.leatherman.com/19.html
I’ve carried Leathermans on bike tours in the past and found that I never used them. The only part of them that I used was the knife. So now I just carry the knife and forget all the other useless tools. Makes me that much lighter this way too!
All the best for your tour. Thanks for the packing list. I am planning my first cycle trip of 600km in two weeks from now…making a start i guess…
I have only done small local Tours so far about 100miles away and have yet to do a long one overseas. I love France especially so this is where I will be heading first then possibly the Netherlands and other countries in Europe. I am always greatly interested in what others bring with them. My main concern would be weight and what to bring or not to reduce that weight.
I have long ago given up on the idea of bringing Jeans as they weigh a lot, and are even heavier once they get wet. So most of the time I wear Crag Hoppers ,Gelert,,or Columbia light weight Hiking Trousers whether I am Cycling or not. They are very convenient and are lightly rain spray resistant and dry out very quickly and you just roll them up and dont have to worry about creases in them.
The Stove,I have several and have different issues with them. The MSR Multi Fuel GXR one makes a bit of noise so not great for Stealth camping but is a great Stove. The Trangia which is terrific and super quiet,I have two of these the standard one and the real small Hikers one. I have no problem with the Trangia save if it is a remote part where you cannot get the Meths/ Alcool Bruler/ Wood Alcohol Fuel. I also have a Kelly Kettle which is awkward because of its size.
I would like to get that English Wood Burning Stove it seems to be the best compromise of all ,I forget the name of it. It is nice and compact ,you just use small bits of Twigs/wood that you can pick up anywhere on the road.
I would love the convenience of taking a Computer along and the one I have now is about 11 or 12 inch. It is something to think about. I seen Solar Chargers in my local Camping Shop and these would be good for the Mobile Phone /Cell phone or even Bike Light Batteries. The phone I have is not a smart Phone but it does have GPS which is handy. I always bring a Compass and Maps with me.
It is no fun being loaded down with extra weight so anytime I am thinking of going on a Tour it would be a constant evaluatiion of the weight ,chopping and changing before finally heading off.
I love the idea of having a Collapsible Bike like your Pangea but I am more or less stuck with the one I have now. I have the advantage of living in Ireland and it is only a short hop by Ferry to Britain and Europe so I can do without it.
Did you know that T-Mobile has Unlimited data and text in 120+ countries and destinations included at no extra charge? Ever since I got a cell phone, I have had T-Mobile as my cellphone service and have been able to make calls and text to the US when on wi-fi. Now, I have unlimited date and text in other countries as well!
I looked into that Cathy… and it sounded good. But it would not work for me because I will be traveling for 7+ months and they told me that the International data was really only designed for short trips overseas – not for people who are operating entirely outside the USA. But maybe this will change in the months and years to come. I hope so. That would be great.
You gotta have your own paddle Mark. Every paddle is different and so it is a great advantage to use the same paddle every time you play.
It seems like you may have a bit of a closed mind on your packing list. Too bad I’ve learned a lot from other people. I agree with the person questioning the ping pong paddle. Unless you’re playing in a world tournament only your vanity would be an issue on using another paddle. One which would probably be available at any table you may happen upon. After all the point ; from my perspective; is to play and socialize not embark on some world domination ping pong tour. I guess that must not be your thought though. You could eliminate a lot more weight; starting with the ping pong paddle; than a Leatherman. Try starting with the jeans; I agree with that posting also; and replacing them with convertible nylon pants. Works as both pants and shorts. You can always carry a pair of thermal ski underwear for use when sleeping or to wear under your convertible pants if it gets cold. If you buy black you can also use them riding as a tights like option if it gets cold. I my self find the extra tools on the Leatherman handy and a peace of mind type deal. Good luck on your adventure. I’ll be interested to see if you post this dissenting opinion.
micatx, are you calling me vain just because I’ve brought my own ping pong paddle with me? 🙁 That seems a bit rude.
I won’t go into the details on the different types of ping pong paddles and just how important all that is to a more serious player like myself, but I think you are missing the main point of this article, which is this: When bicycle touring, the bike you ride, the gear you use, the clothing you wear, the food you eat, the number of miles/kilometers you cycle each day, and how you choose to spend your time will vary from person to person depending on what your goals are… and, of course, personal preference.
My goal on this bike tour is not to necessarily travel light and cover super long distances. My goal is to enjoy myself, play ping-pong whenever possible, make friends, and travel in a way that makes me happy. This is more of a lifestyle to me than it is a short one-time event. So comfort and style is more important the weight or speed.
I’m not telling you or others to pack a ping-pong paddle, a small knife or a set of jeans. I’m just sharing that for me and my goals on this tour, those items are exactly what I need.
The goals for your bike tour are going to be different than mine, so you will need to pack differently. Maybe you will carry a leatherman and a pair of lightweight athletic style pants. That’s fine! But I know (because I’ve been bicycle touring for more than 14 years in various locations all over the world) that the items you think I should use would be worthless to me on my own individual travels. I also know that when I travel for long periods of time (7+ months in this case), I need things to do off the bike in order to keep me happy and motivated (thus the ping-pong paddle, a air of jeans that I can wear out when socializing with people at fancy restaurants, etc.)
Still not on board with the jeans. Too bulky and heavy. Certainly not for fancy restaurants I go to. I agree with your tour your bags your gear. I’ve seen in general that most of your communiques are tilted towards advice and I believe that most people would view your site as such. Some would view it as a good story. I look at it both ways. As far as table tennis goes I play a decent game and use a Stiga Allround Classic. I can and do play with almost any paddle when traveling and still enjoy myself immensely. So yes I guess vain is a good word. (your choice). My thought there is to enjoy myself not win at all costs. So yes we are different there also. I hope you have a great trip. In enjoy your blog. I’m headed to Australia and New Zealand for 2 months this winter. BTW Co-Motion is a great bike. In the end I chose a Moots with couplers just barely ahead of the Co-Motion. Just like the ride of titanium better. My choice.
I was curious what/how much food you carry at any given time? I will be setting out on an indefinite bike tour in July, besides water, I’m wondering how much dry food I can get away with carrying. I’m planning on spending stretches of time away from towns and metros so restaurants and markets won’t always be readily available.
Even, I usually only carry about 2 days worth of food on me at any one time (just enough food to get me to the next store or shopping area on my map), but if you are going through an area where you know that there are no going to be no resources, then you simply have to stock up and do your best to estimate how much food you are going to need. I talk about this extensively inside The Bicycle Traveler’s Blueprint and The Ultimate Bike Tour Training Course.
A lot of the stuff mentioned I agree with but some I don’t, such as white or clear water bottles, I’ve tried those and the water gets hot fast, not as fast as black or other colors but too fast for me, the best bottle I ever found for keeping the water colder longer is the Polar bottle. Multi tool is a great idea but again the Park MTB3 has a lot more tools and a pedal wrench, no SS tool but most people don’t tour with bikes that come apart. I also agree with the Leatherman tool suggested by Micatx as well as the jean comment he made; I just take a pair of cargo pants that have zip off legs so I have shorts if needed. Shaving wise I found a small battery powered Braun shaver to take up less space than a razor and a can and shaves close enough, and the AA batteries last for at least 30 shaves. The camera was a good choice for someone who is a photographer but for the rest of us I like the Panasonic Lumix Tough series of cameras better, it takes up a lot less space, weighs a lot less, no extra lenses to carry or break, completely water, dirt, shock, and freeze proof, can zoom in 10.5x, take videos, and the more expensive one is WiFi ready, plus a lot more. The rest of the stuff is just a manner of personal opinion, I like another tent and sleeping pad better but that’s because I got them on a real good sale price! I don’t tour in below freezing temps so I just use a SOL Escape Lite sleeping bag, it’s only 5.5 ounces and packs down into a size you can hold in one hand which means there’s plenty of room left in a pannier for a lot of other stuff, and it cost less than $50. A lot of this stuff mentioned in this article is trial and error, the author I’m sure found stuff that works for him just as I found stuff that works for me, just as you reading this will find stuff that works for you. I suggest to anyone considering doing any kind of tour is to research the internet till you’re blue about all the stuff you want to take to see which might work best for you and your wallet.
Great commentary froze. You’ve given me some new ideas. Thx. As for good deals I’ve had great luck with Sierratradingpost.com. Sign up and they send you 30-70% off deals every day.
Looks like you are having fun. One comment..I hope you do not ride your bike with ear buds in listening to music!…not a safe thing to do…also I see no bike gloves…do you use them?
Yes, I do occasionally ride with earphones in. But I have the volume down low and I only listen to music or podcasts on roads where there is very little traffic. I don’t cycle with my headphones in when I am in the cities.
And no, I don’t use bike gloves most of the time. I only cycle with gloves in the winter or if it is cold and I want to keep my hands warm.
As a semi -pro photographer I end up with a lot of camera gear..but to go lite I recommend the Sony Cyber-shot HX50V 20.4 MP with the 30 X Zoom lens..and 60 X Clear image digital Zoom…optically stabilized, Full HD 1080P video..with a full manual mode and Panorama mode…it also has a GPS function…it can handle all your photo needs…put in a 32 GB or 64GB card and you are golden.Plus it is small. As for water…I use a large camel Bac system…and carry a few smaller bottles in my pannier or bottle rack. I find it easier to bite the vlave than to reach down to get a bottle from the frame rack. Have you ever thought about a GoPro on the helmet?
As for clothing…Columbia pants (zip of legs) very lite weight…everything else is similar..nylon..under ware, under shirt, cycling jersey, socks…easy to wash, easy to dry, wicks away moisture. Shoes…I use keen bike sandals to ride in…and keep a pair of trainers as non riding shoes. I will say this…I do not do long rides in the dead of winter…on snow / ice or in adverse weather conditions. I love cycling…but just do not accept the risks doing it in Winter / adverse conditions.
I know wearing earphones is entertaining, and wearing them or not is about the same controversy as wearing a helmet or not! When I ride I want to hear noises, especially those coming up from behind, I can tell a lot from the sound of a car coming up behind me as to what they might be intending to do, I don’t want that muffled by music, so I feel my safety depends a great deal on my ears and have proven that to myself time and time again. I also when I ride I like to get away from extraneous noise of this world and listen to what nature is saying, but also for me is that I cannot enjoy music with wind noise and other background sounds, add on top of that cheap quality sound that come from earbuds made worse by the compressed sound quality by an MP3 player…but I’m weird that way!!
But the biggest and most important reason I don’t wear earbuds is the safety issue. I know some of you will say you can hear just fine, but I haven’t seen the evidence of that, everytime I’m on my bike and I come up behind another cyclist, jogger, or walker and I yell “on your left” not one hears me till I’m right beside them and most are startled by my sudden presence. So I know a lot of people do not use these things on really super low volume levels, and even if they did the earbud by it’s design blocks sound to a certain degree.
Sorry for the comment on this if it pissed any of you off, but it’s just my opinion, you can wear one if you want just like there are cyclists who don’t wear helmets because both don’t perceive any safety issues with using earbuds or wearing helmets.
you seem to carry all the things I have dreamt of caryying but never did. A laptop, a fully blown DSLR…The weight seems overwhelming. How much did the whole kit weigh? How much would the total weight be (bike+panniers+gear+…)
thanks for the info
My bike, when it is fully-loaded with food, water and everything you see on this list weighs just under 100 lbs. It’s a lot… and it would certainly be lighter if I weren’t carrying so many electronics.
That’s right! This is just one example of what and how to pack. It is not a definitive how-to list for packing for ANY bicycle tour. Each and every bike tour is different… and personal tastes and goals will alter the gear you ultimately decide to use.
Last I checked your bike weighed in around 25 Lbs if so you are carrying 75 lbs of gear? Is that about right?
That’s pretty close. I would guess that with the racks and fenders and everything on my bike, the bike weighs closer to 30 pounds. And the gear I’m carrying is probably closer to 50 lbs. Then you add food and water and my bike is right around the 90-100 pound mark.
my riding buddy and I leave on a 7 day trans alp ride next week, Germany to Austria to Italy..400 – 500 km, should be fun . We call ourselves, Barking Dog Bike Tours.
I wrote to him , reminding him to pack light and suggested a few things to keep in mind. He wrote back with his packing list … it shows once again that not everyone has bought into this Ultra Lite approach. Here is Peter’s Packing List:
3 lbs. fresh garlic
– portable Bocci set
– EXTRA pair of dress Converses’ (Madras)
– Complete set of back issues of Gent magazine (2010 -2014)
– authentic set of Wild Bill Hickock toy revolvers with holster and belt
– Dan Lourie variable weight dumbells
– small Samurai sword
– portable sky telescope with tripod
– 2 silk bowling shirts with monogramed designs
– 1 pr. of denim “Farmer John” coveralls (Woodstock style)
– pastry glazing utensil kit
– medium length plumbers snake
– Veterinarians field equipment for farm animal surgery
– Sausage smoking oven (if surgery fails)
– ladies eyebrow brush with various shades of tone (for you Eddy)
– 50 yd. spool of Tom’s dental floss
– Travelers assortment of Constant – Comet (all natural) teas
– twin Peterbilt truckers air – horns
– 1/2 gallon virgin olive oil
= 3 wife-beater T-shirts (white)
– small grinding wheel with 50 ft. extension cord
– 1997 fantasy camp Red Sox dress uniform ( in vinyl travelers bag)
– extra underwear
Obviously this list of equipment will require a small cart which you, no doubt, can pull. Thank you for
proposing an itemized list. I look forward to traveling with Barking Dog Tours –
Ha. Lots of essentials on that packing list. Very funny!
Speaking of sky telescopes, while I don’t take anything remotely that large I do have a very small monocular that fits in the palm of my hand with 10x power I do carry when I tour, not for star watching, but just nature in general etc.
Do you carry a rubber mallet to help with tent pegs in hard ground? What are the alternatives? Finding a rock etc?
Thanks in advance!
NOOOOOOOO! You don’t need to carry a hammer or mallet. haha. This is a very common question however. But no, you will never need such a thing. Imagine carrying a big, heavy hammer around with you for days on end, simply so you can use it for about 10 seconds at the end of each day. Not a good idea! Much easier is to simply find a nearby rock… or a solid piece of wood, and use that as your hammer. I’ve been bicycle touring all around the world for 15+ years and I’ve never once needed a hammer to drive my tent stakes into place.
Thank you so much for creating this website and posting your adventures. I’m in Sydney and currently in the middle of watching some of your posted vids on youtube. I downloaded your free guide and have recently gotten rid of a lot of things I don’t need including all of my bikes/parts and have recently acquired a second hand 2002 Thorn Nomad touring bike with rear rach and front dynamo hub from the original UK owner. It’s now the only bike I have and it just happens to fit me pretty well, is a wonderful bike and I am looking to get started touring. I will start with small distances and gradually get bigger, there’s so much more of Australia to explore without leaving. Are you coming to Sydney anytime soon? The work/family life balance is hard though as we have two little boys. I guess for you that is one sacrifice you have made for now which allows you to explore the world more freely.
I have two questions:
1) I have thought about purchasing a USB plug charger which is installed into the top of the stem and plugs into the dynamo on the front wheel. This is mainly for the iPhone to keep it charged in order to have communications/maps and also in order to charge up some battery packs. Have you had any experience with these?
2) Apart from a ground pad and gleping bag what is your experience with inflatable/self inflating pillows? Is it worth taking?
I’m glad to hear I’ve inspired you in some way. It sounds like you’ve got some wonderful adventures ahead of you.
1. I don’t have a dynamo hub, but my friend Rich who recently joined me in Norway does. You should watch and comment on this video to see how he uses his hub to keep his phone charged up while he is bicycle touring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAyE0Tn6kb8
2. Unless you have neck or back issues, I would leave the pillow at home. It’s one of those things that you THINK you need, but you really don’t.
Hi I came upon this webpage from your earlier one describing your touring experience with the Bike Friday. Are you able to list the pros and cons comparing that bike to this one?
You might just want to read my reviews for those two bicycles:
BIKE FRIDAY NEW WORLD TOURIST – http://bicycletouringpro.com/ultimate-bike-friday-new-world-tourist-review/
CO-MOTION CYCLES PANGEA – http://bicycletouringpro.com/co-motion-pangea-review/
The pack list you provided is very similar to one I have created over the years on my tours. I have allotted an emergency 2 day food supply that I have stored and get food on a day to day basis, I’ve found that I’m leaving less electronic gear behind as I don’t seem to be taking pictures or videos in spite of having the gear to do it with. I did try a 1 person tent but found it too cramped and though it packed to same volume as my 2 person it weighed a 1kg less, so I go back to 2 man tent. Now with all that stuff packed in my panniers or on my rack plus food I buy along the way I estimate my daily weight at close to 30kg which is getting too heavy and my last tours have been between 1200-3000 km long. I’ve toured by recumbent or a foldable bike usually. Each bike has it’s quirk. I enjoy your videos and your “bootleg” camping as I call it, I never seem to have the luck you do when setting up in “remote” areas, someone always seems to find me.
Comments are closed.