Cycle touring kit list

Some help, perhaps, in response to:

I need to address the luggage thing. Anyone fancy putting a 'What you should bring on a cycle tour post' please.

It depends on length of tour, whether abroad or not, and camping, but here is what we are taking to Holland on our forthcoming 2-week cycle tour (camping):

Bikes

Ridgeback Panoramas (2) * Low Rider front racks (Tubus Tara, 2 per bike) * rear racks (Blackburn expedition, 2 per bike) * Altura Orkney 34 Panniers (4 per bike) * mini pump * lights (minimum legal requirement)

Bike repairs

Multi-tool (Crank Bros 17-tool with chain tool) * spare brake cables (2) & gear cable (1) * spare tubes (2) * puncture repair kit * tyre levers * connecting links (4 KMC, easy to undo) * small tube of lithium grease * spare spokes (1 drive side & 1 non drive side) * spoke key * disposable gloves (6)

General kit

Garmin GPS * bike computer * cameras (2) * mobile phones (2) * European adaptor plug * chargers for: mobile phones (2), cameras (2) * spare AA batteries for GPS (12 Energizer Ultimate Lithium) * Amazon Kindle with guide books and reading books * cable ties (various sizes) * Kryptonite D-lock * cable & padlock * spare keys for locks * Halfords 2-bike cover * Brooks saddle cover * Stanley knife blade * small scissors * Bungee cords (2 x 800mm) * spare specs * head torches (2) * plastic food box * waterproof stuffsacks (2, for tent & Thermarests)

Toiletries & first aid

Microfibre body towels (2, 120 x 60cm) * small shampoo & conditioner * wet wipes * small soap * tooth brushes & small toothpaste * disposable razor * Lipsyl * band-aid plasters * gauze bandage (tourniquet) * painkillers (Aspirin) * anti inflammatory tablets (Ibuprofen) * antiseptic cream (Germolene) * antibiotic cream * Assos Chamois Creme * small sun cream * insect repellent

Camping

Tent (Hilleberg Nallo 2 GT) * Thermarest sleeping mats (2) * sleeping bags (2) * sleeping bag liners (2) * Lifeventure Microbean pillow * inflatable pillow * cooker with one pan (Primus EtaPower) * gas canisters (4) * survival tin opener * knife, fork, & spoon (2 of each) * spatula * plastic eating bowl & 2 plates * Berghaus insulated mugs (2) * water bottles (5 on bikes) * washing-up scrubber/sponge (wash in shampoo if required) * string washing line

Clothing (each, approximately)

Breathable waterproof hooded top * fleece * long-sleeved cycling top * T-shirts (2-3) * bib shorts (2) * overshorts (2) * "best" shorts or trousers * trainers or sandals (2 pairs) * socks (plenty in sandwich bags) * cycling gloves * a few other bits and pieces

Documents

Passports (2) * E111 cards (2) * Snowcard travel insurance * ferry tickets * accommodation booking confirmation emails * currency * notebook & pen

Important! Check cables before departure. If you have STI shifters this includes making sure the gear cables aren't frayed inside the actual shifter: inspect with a torch by applying the brake lever and looking inside with the gear in each position.


I hope that helps. This is not so different from what we took on our first cycle tour of Denmark in 2009 (camping). A few items have been dropped off the list; none added. It works well enough. On our most recent Holland trip we didn't camp so took less, and only 2 panniers each. I'd much rather have four panniers as the bikes are far better balanced. You soon get used to the extra weight.

Altura Orkney panniers are pretty much waterproof but just in case, clothes, sleeping bags, cameras etc (non wettables) are packed in the rear panniers inside bin liners. Wettables such as tools, cooking gear, locks, food boxes, bike cover etc are packed in the front panniers (they've never got wet). The tent and sleeping mats go on top of the rear racks.

I suppose we all have our foibles. The plastic food box is filled at the start with my favourite bran-muesli mixture. It's a big one and lasts two weeks, with daily portions pre-loaded into sandwich bags. Also, we are not equipped to cycle in a continuous deluge of rain over many days (I forgot to mention the credit cards).

10 comments on “Cycle touring kit list”

  1. Alan wrote:

    Does everyone take their own muesli? I do. Oats, oatmeal or wheatbran, dried fruit, milk powder, and nut or coconut or whatever else I have to hand. No added sugar or salt. It works with hot or cold water.

    My kitlist is similar but smaller: no cooking gear, no electronics except for one or two cameras and possibly a sound recorder, fewer repair parts, possibly watercolour pad and paints. Tiny tripod. Notebook (the old-fashioned paper variety) and pens. Tiny shovel and toilet paper. Salt in a 35mm film canister to add to water bottles, about 1g per half litre.

  2. Hilary wrote:

    Patrick wrote

    I'd much rather have four panniers as the bikes are far better balanced.

    I've heard other people say this too but personally I've never toured with more than rear panniers and a bar bag. Roberta wasn't built to take front panniers but Why? bike has a low rider fitted. I've never used this but its there just in case my daydream trip to northern Norway ever becomes a reality! I take similar kit but definitely less electronics – too complicated for me! I'd also carry less gas and take an adaptor to fit the pierced cyclinders which are widely available in supermarkets etc. Merino T shirts and socks take much longer to get smelly so you need to do less washing! I take mine in the shower with me and tread on them vigorously! I prefer dark coloured socks to white ones for the same reason!

    I've found the greatest things for saving space are a top quality down bag and a Thermarest Neoair mattress. They also make your wallet a lot lighter too! :) A good down bag is a fraction of the weight and bulk of a synthetic bag which can fill a pannier by itself. The Neoair is also lighter and much less bulky than the Prolite range. Together they would easily free up a whole pannier.

    I suppose weight matters less in a flat country like Holland. I wouldn't have liked to carry much more weight over the Spanish mountains last year.

    Andrew and Friedel have recently produced an Ebook which contains excellent advice on touring, altho it is geared to longer trips.

  3. Patrick wrote:

    Well, Hilary, you must make your Norway trip some day.

    My bike feels heavy when everything is loaded. Over 75lbs all up. Then as we go along more is shoved in: beer cans, fruit, food for cooking, etc. You reach a point where it doesn't seem to matter and the bike just keeps rolling. My lowest gear is 26/34 (20.65 gear inches according to our gear inch calculator).

    Now you mention it I'd like a Neoair mattress. Next trip perhaps. Good camping gear is expensive and IMO only worth it if you're camping often. I don't, but I do have a goose down sleeping bag, and the Hilleberg tent guarantees dry nights.

    The Kryptonite D-lock is questionable. It's heavy and we take it only if camping. At night the bikes are D-locked together then the separate cable is passed through the frames and inside the tent where it's padlocked to something – usually a pannier. The rest of the time the cable and padlock are enough to stop the bikes being ridden off from outside a café or something. Sometimes the panniers are cable-tied to the racks to stop them being whipped off.

    The 2-bike cover is questionable too – bulky and heavy. It's put over the bikes at night and is something to lie on outside the tent when cooking etc.

    Alan wrote: Notebook (the old-fashioned paper variety) and pens.

    Good point. I've added those. Sandra makes notes en route.

  4. Kern wrote:

    Patrick wrote: Well, Hilary, you must make your Norway trip some day.

    Here's a Norway teaser from a recent post on the Trento Bike Pages. Note, Hilary, there appear to be roads to bypass the tunnels. Go for it!

  5. Patrick wrote:

    Norway looks cold and very wet! I think there are midges there too (like in Scotland). Beautiful though.

  6. Hilary wrote:

    Thanks for the link Kern. Unfortunately Dennis shares Patrick's view that

    Norway looks cold and very wet! I think there are midges there too

    I think a holiday north of the arctic circle sounds romantic and intrepid. He takes a more realistic view! Plus France is virtually on our doorstep whereas Norway is much harder to get to. However it is very beautiful and I like wild and remote places so I'm holding on to my dreams! :)

  7. Keith Edwards wrote:

    Patrick did you know that screw on type gas stoves work with canisters that can be purchased from DIY shops and tool stores.
    The work ones are taller and usually a smaller diameter so you need some sort of clip in base but are available in most of europe as far as I know.

  8. Mary wrote:

    Thanks for this post Patrick. I must admit, I dont feel so bad now I have read what you take along. I am not far off with my belongings.

    On our Way of the Roses I took 2 panniers and a rear rack. One pannier for cycling stuff, one pannier for what we need when not cycling. I really did think we travelled light, until we saw lots of cyclists with WAY less than we had! So much so, that folk kept on commenting on it..... 'Your travelling heavy, or thats a lot of gear...' like comments. I told Tina, that the next comment gets the 'We are camping!' reply – not very honest was I??

    Its difficult, if you bring too much you have to lug it about, if you dont bring enough, your travelling suffers and you stop enjoying the ride.

    I always take a note pad too Alan, otherwise I would leave out important stuff for this blog! :)

    Good luck with Holland Patrick, looking forward to your report.

  9. Stan wrote:

    "Norway looks cold and very wet! I think there are midges there too (like in Scotland). Beautiful though."
    The first few days of our 2008 trip were wet, but remember to take sunblock with you if you do ever make it to Norway. When the sun shines it gets hot here in summer. When it rains and mist and clouds hang low in the valleys the scenery becomes even more majestic.

    There are mosquitos in Norway, however, in 35 days of cycling in 2008 we had perhaps two mosquito infested evenings.

    Norway is a very, very beautiful place. That's why we moved here.

    As for tunnels, check out the interactive tunnel map at http://www.cycletourer.co.uk

  10. Kern wrote:

    Hi Stan. Thanks for the cycletourer link – it looks like a very good site with practical information. We also have Norway on our wish list. It won't be this year, but I want to get above the arctic circle, and this is the best time of year to capitalize on sunlight.

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