What To Pack For An Overnight Mountain Bike Tour

A short overnight mountain bike tour is a great way to get out and enjoy the beauty that can be found not too far from your own home. The trick to touring with a mountain bike is traveling with as little weight as you can. While it is possible to carry large loads and navigate with relative ease on road touring expeditions, traveling on sandy dirt roads and rocky single-track trails with a fully-loaded mountain bike isn’t nearly as easy.

That said, here is a sample packing list for a short 2-day, 1-night mountain bike tour:

  • 1 mountain bike
  • 1 mountain bike rack (the Freeload tour rack and pannier frames can be mounted on front, rear or full-suspension mountain bicycles)
  • 2 panniers (Lone Peak or Arkel panniers are what I recommend for off-road touring)
  • 1 tent (the tent pictured above is an REI Quarter Dome T2 Plus)
  • 1 sleeping mat
  • 1 lightweight sleeping bag
  • 2 water bottles (mounted to the frame of your bicycle)
  • Extra water (if there is little or no water in the area you plan to travel through)
  • 1 spare tube
  • 2 tire levers
  • 1 small bike pump
  • 1 small patch kit
  • 1 multi-tool
  • 1 helmet
  • 1 pair of SPD mountain bike shoes
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 1 lightweight bicycle jersey
  • 1 pair of bicycle shorts
  • 1 pair of underwear (or 2 if you refuse to wear the same pair for two days in a row)
  • 1 t-shirt (to wear around camp and sleep in)
  • 1 pair of lightweight shorts (to wear around camp and sleep in)
  • 1 headlamp
  • 1 cell phone
  • 1 digital camera
  • 1 map (a map may not be needed if the map is stored as a digital file on your camera and/or cell phone)
  • Food that doesn’t need to be cooked (thus reducing your need for a stove, fuel, lighter, utensils, etc.)

Remember: This is a list of things you COULD bring with you on a short 2-day mountain bike tour, not necessarily things you SHOULD bring with you. It is entirely possible to travel with a whole lot less than this, but for most people, this is a list of items that is recommended for both a good experience in the outdoors and a certain amount of comfort while camping at night. Additional items could be added to this list as well, but keeping your weight as low as possible is recommended.


8 thoughts on “What To Pack For An Overnight Mountain Bike Tour

  1. k lee says:

    Hi, I’ve done multi-day tours (longer than 2 days) on a mountain bike, using a seat-post rack. I didn’t pack a tent or cooking equipment, since (in some places) room for the nite could be US$5 and a meal could be US$1.

    Dry rations and extra water definitely a good idea, just in case.

    The photo below is from a trip in Cambodia, when the asphalt road ended …

  2. fred de dona says:

    I recently change my address. 1217 eighth line, oakville, ontario, canada.


    thank you for your entusiasm and help. I’m heading for montreal this friday, and your

    last mail probed to be very helpful.


  3. Robert says:

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  4. Eric Hendrickson says:

    Just returned from a three week self contained off-road bike touring, strongest recommendation that I could have for anyone is waterproof panniers mounted low. it was much tougher then we had planned.

  5. Eric Hendrickson says:

    Some of the sections were a little rocky also. Often what you can ride normally you have to walk due to the extra load and nature of the trip so you do not break anything.

  6. Bicycle Touring Pro says:

    Depends on which seat post rack you intend to use. There are some that are super flimsy and others that work quite well. If you get a good seat post rack you can indeed to light touring on a mountain bike in this way.

  7. Mr. Novice says:

    Not that I have much experience. but I’d think the most important thing to have is a knife, firestarter and signal mirror. Cold steel seems to make a nice hunters orange survival knife for like $30 which includes a firestarter. If you crash and find yourself 60km from civilization you need to be prepared. https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Steel-Survival-Orange-Knife/dp/B006YBXEVG/ref=sr_1_21?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1399761270&sr=1-21&keywords=cold+steel+knives

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