Packing

There are many bike touring and bikepacking websites and blogs with “what to take”.  There is no right answer- everyone is unique, and where you’re headed plays a big factor.

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My fully loaded set up riding across America

Here is my list, and some of my logic.

  • Lights:
    • 2 headlights (always want a back-up)- see Gear for details.  Both lights that I’m currently using are charged via micro-USB so I should be able to ride all night if necessary (using the portable battery below).
    • 2 chainstay tail lights which I run day and night (plus a helmet mounted tail light): I always use flash mode because I think that improves visibility and to also maximize battery life
  • Phone: my single most critical piece of equipment. Maps (getting off route happens at least once on every ride), plus finding food, hotel information, communication (duh), and photos make it the 1 thing I’d least want to do without. Except maybe my Garmin.
  • Phone wrist-strap: dropping my phone in a scenic river has almost happened more than once.
  • Charging cables in a sealed plastic bag:
    • iPhone
    • 2- USB micro for Garmin, lights, & Quarq Qollector
    • Charging “brick” with 2 ports
  • Portable battery- 10000mAh sealed. This is needed for the Garmin after ~10-12 hours of riding and sometimes my phone.  I use a short Velcro strap to mount the battery to my handlebar stem:

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The battery, my phone, and USB cables are kept in a jersey pocket or readily accessible bag.

  • Garmin 1000 bike computer
  • Quarq Qollector in the US: live tracking for those following my progress without taxing my phone battery
  • Helmet with clip-on sunvisor (since I wear glasses) and rear flashing light
  • Cycling attire:
    • 2 sets of kit (jersey & bibs/shorts)
    • Jacket(s): rain and/or wind vest depending on potential weather
    • Gloves: long & short finger depending on weather
    • Socks: 2 pair, at least 1 normally is wool depending on weather
    • Cycling cap (skull cap- under helmet) if temps below ~50F are possible
    • Legwarmers (below ~50F for me)
    • Arm warmers, or sleeves in warm weather (for sun protection)
    • Cap/bandana covering ears and back of neck (for sun protection)
  • Skin protection & toiletries:
    • Sunscreen
    • Aquaphor (good for chapped lips and any other skin chafing)
    • Chamois But’r
    • Insect repellent
    • A few Band aids
    • Finger nail clippers
    • Ibuprofen
    • Deodorant
    • Tooth brush & tooth paste
    • “1 time use amount” of toilet paper, folded: have never needed it, but will be glad I have it if I ever do
  • Food- per day between stops (carry max 3-4 days between resupply locations)- depending on mileage.  I plan on roughly 150-200 calories an hour.  That’s way less than I’m burning, but it’s highly individual and long training rides have taught me what works for me.
    • 2-3 Clif bars
    • 2 Clif Nut butter bars
    • 4 Clif bloks
    • 1-2 Clif Energy food
    • 1 Clif granola bar (night time snack)
    • 4 servings of drink mix- kept dry in a snack size plastic bag- now using Hammer Nutrition “Heed” and “Perpetuem”
    • 2 servings of recovery drink mix- keep in plastic bag same as drink mix

Each gallon bag is one long day of “on the bike” food- what is listed above:

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  • Promotional info for ride (such as a few business cards and a WBR banner)
  • Off-bike clothes:
    • WBR t-shirt & hat
    • Shorts
    • Nylon sweatpants if cool weather expected (extremely light and packs tight)
    • Sandals (I do not carry these on shorter rides and rely only on walkable cycling shoes)
  • Bivvy sack
  • All clothes are packed in 2 gallon zip loc bags
  • Food is packed in 1 gallon zip loc bags- 1 bag per day as shown above
  • Water bottles: 2 or 3 depending on the bike and ride distance
  • Camelback hydration pack if I expect to go more than 75 or so miles without available water (less if it’s hot)
  • Standard repair kit I use for everyday riding:
    • Cash
    • Credit card
    • Silca multi-tool including chain repair tool and a spare SRAM PowerLink (which I’ve never needed)
    • Silca frame pump, mounted behind water bottle cage
    • eTap derailleur spare batteries (2- though I have never needed more than 1)
    • Tire levers and 1 tube (I ride tubeless, so flats are rare).
    • Emergency tire boot (Park Tool TB-2)
  • Long-distance ride repair tools & parts:
    • Tubeless repair sealant (2oz bottle), plug kit, & tire boot
    • Folding spare tire on remote rides in case of severe tire damage
    • Superglue- 1 time use size
    • 2-3 plastic wire ties
    • Chain lube
    • Spare link of chain (3-4 links which have minimal weight)
    • 2 disposable nitrile gloves
    • Partial roll of electrical tape
    • Speedplay “walkable cleat covers”
    • Spare derailleur hanger
    • Leatherman- most important is a sharp knife and pliers (which, among other things, I’ve used to loosen a corroded pump head and valve nut)

The above list is item #5 on my to-do list.  This list seems short- there were many more specific items on my ride across the US, such as bike updates and others- over 40 items total just in the final month of preparation.

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