I'm sure this get's talked about all the time, but what (and how) do you pack for your tours? It seems like everyone does something a little different. Links to websites, other threads, etc. are greatly appreciated.
Long Distance Cyclist
Sorry, you probably can't see it very well, but my packing list is in this collection.
I really should put it on my website where it is clearer.
Start with the basics. Sounds dumb but i've ridden off without a pump and discovered 300 miles into a tour that i had the wrong size spare tube.
Everything else depends on your needs. You can go heavy or light. I think most go too heavy by at least 20 lbs.
If your a heavy packer use the camping rule. Lay out everything you think you need, and cut it in half. Then do that again. If you're ultralight, do it again.
My suggestions for good gear items;
Jetboil stove. (I avg about 1 fuel bottle per week.)
Petzyl Zipka headlamp.
2 Platypus bags (lashed together they can be hung over the bar for water transport to camp or between distant towns in the desert, can be used as a hot water bottle etc.)
A ziplock with a good Meal Replacement/ Protien Shake powder. (Nothing beats a full nutrient profile, high protien shake at night. And it's a good backup too.)
Ziplocks. Everything in ziplocks.
An extra toothbrush for the bike. A little degreaser. in a ziplock full of water and you can brush a chain fairly clean. Easy and light.
more ideas later
Carry a mini roll of duct tape, a mini roll or electrical tape, a few zip ties of different sizes, some dental floss (as emerency twine) a few safety pins and a tiny sewing kit in... a ziplock.
Because I thought I could
A trick I learned from the commited backpackers in my son's Scout troop - wrap several feet of duct tape around a water bottle (they use their Nagalene bottles) rather than carrying a whole roll. Adjust as necessary to fit the bottle in cages on a bike.
Originally Posted by biodiesel
Speaking of rolls, when your toilet paper rolls start getting towards the end, save them in a zip lock for use on tours.
Besides the zip ties, floss, pins, etc, include replacement bolts for racks and anything else that might fall off - 'cause it will.
How did we ever survive without zip-lock bags?
You can see my packing list along with my thought process in deciding what to take in this article: http://denisepacksforbiketours.blogspot.com/.
You need a new bike
Read some journals on crazyguyonabike.com. Lots of people provide a packing list. However, be sure to read the first couple weeks of journal entries to see what they box up and mail home. Most people take far more stuff than they need and end up shedding weight after a few days or a week.
When you are making up your own list, weigh every item. When you see how much things weigh, you may decide to leave that second pair of hiking boots behind. Another tip is don't buy the biggest panniers you can find. If there is space available, something will end up filling it. Smaller bags forces you to pack smaller and lighter. You'd be amazed at how little you can get by with, if you want to lighten the load.
I carry non-perfume baby wipes in a baggie to which I have added some rubbing alcohol. This works well for everything including hand washing, cooling down wipes and hygiene. Speaking of hygiene, I also carry a trowel to bury the poo.
Yes, I too have a packing list on my tour diaries.
I agree with reading CGOAB journals for great references. But how they pack their stuff is many times left out. To avoid mold and mildew, have a well ventilated place to carry wet / smelly stuff that is separated from dry / clean stuff. Many people, including me use waterproof bags and you don't want to store wet things inside a waterproof bag with the rest of you stuff. I use a full mesh bag which rides on top of my BOB trailer bag. Here it can air out all day. If it is raining, I put that mesh bag inside a garbage bag to keep things from getting really wet and heavy.
Also, unless you are cycling in a third world, you can pickup stuff that you forgot along the way and worst case, order from the internet at any public library and have it shipped to a post office ahead of you on route. I did this a few times on my cross country. Just don't forget your golf clubs and cart!!
I have kept multiple lists over the years. If you're hosteling or moteling, your equipment requirements are quite different from a self-contained camping tour. Suit the stuff you take to the trip at hand. I might carry more tools based on the remoteness of where I am going. Try and take stuff that is multi-functional. A Goretex (or similar fabric) jacket may replace two alternative articles of clothing. If you might be encountering cooler weather, cycling shorts and leg warmers may mean you don't have to carry a pair of tights. The same for arm warmers and long sleeved jerseys. Get a bike light that comes off easilly so you can use it as a flash light in the evening instead of carrying two lights.
I agree with weighing stuff. I have a postal scale that is good to a tenth of an ounce for the smaller items and a bathroom scale for stuff in the 5+ pound range. It all adds up! You look at each item and say, "phhhh, that weighs nothing!" Not true! Unless your touring with helium baloons. If you want to decide between two items, weigh them. A lot of wisdom from Colin Fletcher's book The Complete Backpacker can be transferred to bikepacking. He was an absolute fanatic about weight. ... and I say that in the most admiring way possible.
Pack things you will seldom use toward the bottom of your bags and the things you may want to get to quickly or often near the top. Keep your Sierra cup and spoon handy. I actually carry mine in a belt pouch. You never know when somebody will offer you food or drink and you don't want to have to be digging deep into your bags for your utensils. Your raingear and your first aid kit should be quickly accessible like in an outside pocket of your bags. If you have some obscure tool you feel you must carry pack it at the bottom of your bags. If you need it, you're obviously screwed already and unpacking your whole bag to get to it is just par for the course.
Somebody mentioned keeping the dregs of toilet paper rolls for use on trips. I agree but I suggest you apply that to soap bars and even underwear. One of those plastic soap boxes and a full size bath bar is a lot bulkier and heavier than a couple of slivers of soap in a baggie. If I accidentally leave a sliver of soap behind, no big deal, I brought a few. Those hotel-sized soap bars also work fine if you stay in enough hotels to accumulate a sufficient inventory, but I grow soap slivers at home all year around.
About the underwear thing... When I finally decide I've gotten the last wearing out of a pair of underwear (and after they've been washed) I put them in the back of one of my drawers (no pun intended) and save them as "touring underwear". Then after I wear them on my trip one last time I throw them away (please dispose of properly!) This lightens the load (again, no pun intended) as the trip progresses. Obviously this might not work for a really long trip but for a week or three... It may make enough room in your bags for that T-Shirt you just HAD to buy.
Stuff sacks and zip locks are great organizational tools. BTW, a stuff sack and your clean clothes can double as a pillow. You want your stuff sacks to be different colors so you know what's in them without having to open them up. Clothes in the red bag, food in the green one, sleeping bag in the black one, etc. I find that how I pack gets fine-tuned as I go. Put this in here and that on top and it will work better. A few days into a trip and I'll generally have gotten it down to a routine so that I have a place for everything and I can find what I'm looking for without too much rummaging.
I've considered the Pannier vs. Trailer debate pretty seriously and come to the following conclusion: It depends on the trip. A great many people say, "It's a matter of personal preference". I think that really begs the question. What would your preference be based on? Nobody ever seems to really put it in financial terms so for the time being lets just assume that price is no object. In that case, you would own a full set of panniers and a trailer (maybe two) and based on the trip you were setting out on, you would pick the one that best suited. You might decide that you didn't want to have to fly on an airline with both a bike and a trailer and thus opt for the panniers but if you were leaving on a similar trip from your driveway, you might choose to pull the trailer. On a really long 3-season trip you might decide you really needed the capacity that the trailer offers but for a one week trip, the panniers would be just fine and a little less hassle. If you were riding the midwestern plains into a consistent headwind, you might favor the aerodynamics of a trailer. If money was absolutely no object you might even want to have a two-wheeled trailer and a single-wheel. On a trip with lots of long, flat, straight roads, you might opt for the two-wheel trailer. But in the twisties or on a single-track off road trip you might find the single wheel handles better. OK, so for most of us, money IS an issue. That means that we need to buy the gear that gives us the most utility we can afford, for the kind of trips we expect to undertake.
Sorry, this has been a long rant but it's been building up in my mind for some time now. Do I still get to press the "Post Quick Reply" button?
Many people don't go into how they pack their stuff, but I don't think that's a huge problem. I think that part of the 'art' of touring is figuring out your system. By the time I reached VA, I knew where everything on my bike was without having to think about it. Also, I packed pretty tight and used almost everything I took along (exceptions being (fortunately) some tools, some spare parts, and the first aid kit...). However, since I did coast-to-coast, and did the Western Express, the nature of my tour changed several times.
After Colorado, I dumped my water filter, my platypus bag, and all the cold weather gear. After Kansas, when things really started to heat up, I dumped all of the cooking gear, as well as the 'cool' weather gear (arm warmers and leg warmers.), as well as my rain pants, figuring that even if it rained, it would be too hot to wear them. All of the stuff I dumped had been used earlier in the tour, though.
My System was:
Left Rear Pannier: Tent, Ground Cloth, next days clothes, Cold Weather Clothes, Rain Gear.
Right Rear Pannier: Sleeping Bag, Camp Pillow, Bag Liner, Thermarest.
Rear Rack Trunk: Seat Cover, Pannier Covers, Tools, Lubricant, Spare Parts
Front Left Pannier: Book (Entertainment), Journal, First Aid Kit, Chargers (MP3 Player and Cell Phone), Shaving Kit, Baby Wipes, Batteries.
Front Right Pannier: Cookset, Stove, Fuel, Food.
Handlebar Bag: Wallet, Cell Phone, Camera, MP3 Player, Sunscreen, Baby Wipes (smaller bag of them), Pepper Spray, Pocket Knife, and Petzl Head Lamp.
I compiled a list of all the stuff I took on my last tour. I took too much stuff, but I like having all the comforts (it's not like you have to carry it on your back or something...)
agreed! I should be on team Ziplock. Or team Baby-wipes.
for lighter weight i wrapped 2' each of el and duct tape around the case of my tiny travel toothbrush.
Oh, and on the list of nuts and bolts... carry the most commonly lost and worst to lose (ntm hardest to replace) bolt. The cleat bolt. Best to have a spare cleat.
On the pillow: just make sure it's your clean clothes in the pillow bag...
And for different modes of touring.
My SF to Eugene. Or ride i packed light and multi tasked gear.
Sleeping bag and bivy sack in Stuff sack slung Harley-style on Handlebars (fit nicely between the drops.)
Topeak Trunk bag with tubes, mini tool, cell phone, notebook, golf pencil, map and road food.
Mini fold out panniers;
Left= 3/4 UL Thermarest, compressed ziplocks 2 days cycling clothes. Winter Jersey.
Right= 1 quart al pot, inside the pot MSR rocket stove, titan spork, ziplock with matches, toothbrush and a few odds and ends. Plus ziplocks of protien powder, vitamins, hot coco mix and tea bags. Also large ziplock of breakfast cereal.
Last camp of the night i'd stop at a grocery, buy bannannas for morning, either Power-dream (soy milk energy stuff) or Starbucks canned or bottled cold coffee latte (poured over cereal is good and keeps better without a fridge than milk), a medium bottle of Gatorade, and a few packs of Thai Noodles. Place into a doubled plastic grocery bag, tie another bag to both handles and hang over your shoulder like a courier bag for the last few miles. Place one empty bag over your seat and then use for trash in the morning. Keep the other two for shoe covers since i'm in Oregon and it's raining...
I missed having a coffee cup, real food, a pot gripper (used a dirty sock as a pot holder) spare batteries, real bike tools, clean undies, a warm layer for nights, a tent, soap...etc
But the weight was low and i rode over 700 miles in 10 days of cycling into headwinds.
That style only works in populated areas though. Actually i think for that route i was a bit heavy. Could have credit card toured it lighter of course.