Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Bike Touring & Bikepacking List Breakdowns - Here We Go!

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Bike Touring & Bikepacking List Breakdowns - Here We Go!

Old 05-21-19, 06:41 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: New York
Posts: 255

Bikes: FM-296 Road Bike, Surly LHT, Superb Sprint

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 23 Times in 10 Posts
Bike Touring & Bikepacking List Breakdowns - Here We Go!

Hey everyone! After pursuing my first tour back in 2014 I made a decision to stay on my bike, share stories and become fully involved in the bicycle touring the community and continue to do bike trips in the U.S. This led me to push the limit even further as I discovered bikepacking where I fell in love with being in the woods, and remote areas around the world. I've gotten a lot of questions about my gear setups and I wanted to share some thoughts on how to pack for short and extended bicycle touring trips and bikepacking trips that may assist someone who is just getting started in this mellow extreme sport.

I believe this will be able to get you started where you want to be. I also dropped some images of my setups over the years from fully loaded tours to ultra light setups. Would love for you all to share your packing setups and shed some light here to also help people getting started with this.

Fully loaded in Colorado heading to California from New York.

Bikepacking rig in Colombia 2017

High speed lightweight road bike touring

Kokopelli Trail 2016 bikepacking rig

Virginia Road touring pannier setup

Last edited by BillyD; 05-22-19 at 01:11 PM. Reason: Marketing
biketocamp is offline  
Old 05-21-19, 12:41 PM
mstateglfr's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 16,701

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11048 Post(s)
Liked 7,596 Times in 4,236 Posts
To help facilitate a conversation in this forum, I helped you out and pasted your article here for others to discuss. No need to thank me.

Bike Touring & Bikepacking List Breakdown

A How To Guide On Packing

Planning for bike touring and bikepacking trips are the best. It can be very strategic or effortless. Over the years I’ve developed a decent, and streamline way to developing a list and packing my gear. Some things to consider are duration, location, terrain, and weather. By designing your packing list around these four essential variables you will begin to see things fall into place. I tend to lay out all my gear on my floor a few days before departure. This can change based on the length of the trip. For extended touring/ bikepacking more than two weeks, always plan ahead.

Types of ways to packing gear

Packing your gear can be achieved in 2 different ways, using pannier bags and bikepacking bags.

Panniers, provides you with enough space to pack gear in the front and rear of the bicycle over an extended period of time. This is a traditional bicycle touring format that is widely used for on-road adventures and mounts to the bicycle racks installed on your bike. You can also use the top of the bicycle rack for mounting a bag and storing more gear and other paraphilia.

Bikepacking bags, give you more of a compact way to travel and at a faster speed. Your setup can become lighter which leads you to pack less or the same in a more strategic way. Your overall setup becomes more balanced with bikepacking bags and you, in turn, are more agile when traveling in backcountry or remote areas. Bikepacking bags are made from durable ripstop and waterproof materials. The three essential parts needed is the handlebar bag, frame bag, and seat bag.

These 3 main components will store your sleeping system, food, water and much more. You can also attach accessories around the bike such as water bottle holders, small pouches that fit and mount to the handlebar bag on the back and more. I have over the years, transitioned from traditional touring panniers to a full bikepacking setup. However, it all depends on where you are going, length of travel, and personal preference.

I remember my first bike touring trip when I road across the country from New York to California, which took me 75 days to complete. I brought the entire kitchen sink with me and used traditional pannier bags for my setup. An image of what that looked like is seen below. Since then I’ve lightened up my gear after going on several shorter trips in the U.S. I think everyone on their first tour tends to bring everything they can in hope to not forget anything. But what I’ve learned is to pack whatever you need and then cut it in half.

Packing for a bike trip is very much similar to packing for a camping trip, except your going to need a few extras like tubes, tools and perhaps an extra tire if you are going on the long haul. My packing list essentials below will give you insight for packing for a bicycle tour and bikepacking trips where you will be either off-road or in more remote areas.

Here is what I brought with me on a 3-day bicycle touring trip in Virginias Blue Ridge Mountains. These items were stored in pannier bags and attached to racks in the front and rear of the bicycle.


Ricoh GR
(This is my go to camera for street photography and highly recommend it.)
Front/Rear Lights

Puff Jacket/Rain
Cycling Jersey/ Big
Cycling shoes/ Altra running shoes

Pump/Tube/Patch kit/Tire levers
Allen key set

Sleep System

(Hilieberg Akto Tent
Seirra Designs Sleeping Bag
Sleeping pad

Snow Peak 3 Piece Titanim Cookset
Map/ GPS (The unit I have is the Garmin eTrex 30 which is on sale on my online store. Great unit that uses AA batteries)
This is a bikepacking setup that I used for a 3 day bikepacking trip in Vermont. These items were all packed in my Revelate Designs bikepacking saddle and handlebar bags you see in the image.


Sleeping System
Hilleberg Akto
EcoPro 50 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag
Thermarest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad

Clothing on bike
Endura MTB Shorts
Merrell Wicking Tech Shirt

Clothing in tent/ sleeping
Thermal bottom
Thermal Top
Patagonia Nano Puff
1 Pair Merino Wool Socks
1 Pair Tech Boxer Short

Snowpeak 3-piece Titanium Cookset
Titanium Spork
Camp Stove

Spare Tube
Patch kit
CO2 Cartridge

Point & Shoot
Mobile Phone (Maps)

First Aid
Finally, is my older setup with pannier bags wrapped around the bike. The image of all the gear and packing essentials I brought with me are below.

  • 1

Schwalbe marathon folding tire, tripod, camp stove/pot/pan, spork, bowl/ fuel, solar panel, Konovo slide cam, flannel shirt, thermal pants, jeans, bib shorts, cycling jersey, tent,
sleeping bag.

Camera/ solar panel cables in Ziploc, 13” MacBook Pro in Pelican case, audio recorder, microphone, GoPro Hero 3 Black, studio headphones, tripod head, ultimate lithium batteries, gps, G-Drive mini, first aid, spare tube, Yactclub Zines/Promo material, passport.

Rain Jacket, 2 pairs waterproof shorts, dessert boots, North Face soft shell , boxers helmet, sneakers, Patagonia Nano Puff, sleeping pad.

Hand pump, tire levers, allen wrenh set, chain lube, chain breaker, mechanic grease, wrenh, dual screw driver

Items not pictured: camp towl, shovel, bike locks, headlamp, front/ rear bike lights, knife, pepper spray, watch, water bottles/ canteens
My rigs setup for bikepacking and touring over multiple trips

I hope this article provides value for you. If you have questions about bicycle touring and bikepacking contact me for a personal 1 & 1 consultation and I can offer you value on getting you started from selecting the right bike and equipment.
mstateglfr is online now  
Old 05-21-19, 02:18 PM
BigAura's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,423

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 623 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 33 Posts
Nice job. You've created a great starting place for new cycle-tourists, and a good resource for the experienced to hone their lists.

One thing that I've always done is attach the actual weight of each item to my lists. I use a postal scale. It's a great way to make decisions, when honing your list.
BigAura is offline  
Old 05-21-19, 07:36 PM
Senior Member
Happy Feet's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Left Coast, Canada
Posts: 5,126
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2236 Post(s)
Liked 1,314 Times in 707 Posts
My touring is primarily in Western Canada and often includes the mountains and shoulder seasons so I take minimal yet adequate gear to meet varying climate conditions.

Recently I have be working on a modular hybrid touring/bikepacking system that can be used by both Pavement and Off Road bikes. It is made up of: HB bag, frame bag, gas tank bag, saddle bag and sometimes panniers. The HB, frame and gas tank bags always go along, as does the saddle bag which I prefer over a seat bag. If I want more space for comfort or cold weather I use two smaller volume panniers designed for the front but put them on the back.

Handlebar Bag:
1 person North Face Storm Break tent, fly, poles.

Gas Tank Bag:
Phone, weatherproof camera, bear spray and snacks.

Frame Bag:
Pump, spare tube, tool kit, knife, electronics, external battery, headlamp, snacks/day food.

Saddle Bag (without panniers):
Clothes, Thermarest Scout mat, Hot Core 100 sleeping bag, toiletries, rain poncho.

Saddle Bag (with panniers):
Clothes (more), rain poncho.

1. Sleeping bag, down jacket.
2. Sleeping mat, food, stove/fuel, F/A kit, book.

Merino wool socks (2)
padded cycling underwear (2)
Nylon shorts (1)
Knee warmers (1)
Nylon wind/water resistant pants (1)

Short sleeve jersey (2) or... 1 jersey 1 long sleeve T shirt
arm warmer/sun sleeves (1)
Gilet vest (1)
Wind water resistant riding jacket (1)
Rain Poncho
riding gloves, rain booties, cap, buff, sunglasses, helmet.

Colder weather add:
Micro fleece tights/shirt
Lightweight down jacket

Road - recessed clipless trekking shoes with a regular walking sole. My pedals are platform/clipless in case the cleats screw up.
Off Road - Solomon trail runners with ankle gaiters and platform pedals.

The clothes are designed to be layered and shed as needed. I keep a reserve of warm dry micro fleece and/or down jacket in case of severe weather. Over time I have migrated to mostly cycling kit as it is the best designed and lightest for the job.

Phone, camera, IPOD, portable battery pack, headlamp, front and rear lights (plus 1 set extra batteries) cables, wall charger.

Kitchen (If taken):
Butane canister, screw on gas burner, folding can opener, spoon, SS cup for eating/cooking.

I tend to ride all day and crash in camp so my two comfort items are a small book and IPOD with an eclectic mix from classical to grunge. Last trip's reading list was Leo Tolstoy's Confessions and other Religious Writings (recommended) and the playlist included Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet, Chris Cornell, Ella Fitzgerald and ACDC.


Off road

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-21-19 at 08:03 PM.
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 05-22-19, 06:38 AM
Senior Member
staehpj1's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,886
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1255 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Here is an old list and picture from a mixed road/dirt trip. It isn't current, but it is the easiest one for me to list at the moment. Base gear weight was 14 pounds. I have replaced quite a few items with either better or lighter items. I more recently went lighter on the bivy and filter, but went with a bigger tarp. I am more inclined to forgo the stand alone camera and rely on the phone today.

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • 12"x16" microfiber towel
  • toilet paper (a few sheets)
  • liquid soap
  • sunscreen
  • REI Flash 18 backpack
  • bivy sack REI minimalist
  • MLD dog tarp, pole, stakes
  • Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 sleeping bag
  • Neoair xLite sleeping pad
  • eXped air pillow
  • pop can stove, windscreen, stand
  • REI ti pot
  • Guyot Designs MicroBites utensils
  • bic lighter
  • Guyot Designs MicroBites
  • MSR Sweetwater
  • bike shorts
  • tights
  • warm shirt
  • tech tee
  • bike hat
  • warm cap
  • rain jacket
  • running shorts
  • zip off pants
  • trail runners
  • 2 pr socks
  • tiny master cable lock
  • key chain light
  • blinkie light
  • tiny knife
  • sunglasses
  • camera
  • phone
  • charger
  • water bladder
  • bear bag
  • straps
First aid/Repair
  • asprin, ibuprofin
  • benadryl
  • band aids gause
  • steristrips
  • duct tape
  • (tools that are always on the bike)
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 11:35 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: New York
Posts: 255

Bikes: FM-296 Road Bike, Surly LHT, Superb Sprint

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 23 Times in 10 Posts
Nice! glad everyone is checking this out. Wasn't implying to go forth any marketing tactics at all. Although, it may have come off that way. My apologies. Just sharing.
biketocamp is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
CGOAB has a lot of those... check them out..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-03-19, 05:22 PM
Full Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 201
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
You have some good stuff here. In a few years, I want to ride cross country from N.Y. to California. My big issue will be the bike, I now have a carbon and racks won't work or my older style Litespeed.
grall1126 is offline  
Old 06-04-19, 06:15 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bristol, R. I.
Posts: 4,340

Bikes: Specialized Secteur, old Peugeot

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 663 Post(s)
Liked 496 Times in 299 Posts
Originally Posted by BigAura
One thing that I've always done is attach the actual weight of each item to my lists. I use a postal scale. It's a great way to make decisions, when honing your list.
I've done the same thing. Most of my gear was aquirred for backpacking but it is almost all the same for bike tours. I've made a long list of each piece of gear with weights. The overall list was distilled into a number of different trip lists for different outings, overnight, or many days or winter. I'm not an ultralight packer but having the weights makes one much more aware of how much stuff you are hauling around.

In Colorado I came across a man who was backpacking the Continental Divide Trail, Mexico to Canada. He was an ultralight kind of guy. His basic pack weight was 10 0r 11 pounds. I take much more than that for a day outing.
berner is offline  
Old 06-08-19, 06:19 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,849

Bikes: 2012 Specialized Elite Disc, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 681 Post(s)
Liked 755 Times in 435 Posts
Originally Posted by berner
...In Colorado I came across a man who was backpacking the Continental Divide Trail, Mexico to Canada. He was an ultralight kind of guy. His basic pack weight was 10 0r 11 pounds. I take much more than that for a day outing.
I came back to bike touring after hiking the three long US trails with an ultralight pack. Applying the UL lessons I learned on the trails to bike touring was an eye-opener. My bike touring load dropped from five packs carrying 50+ pounds to two packs carrying under 15 pounds. At that weight, you don't even notice the load.

I would never take off on a trip with someone else's pack (or bicycle). Packing lists are highly personal. People dress, sleep, eat and travel differently. It's okay to have your own style.

That said, it is good to get general ideas from others. Like using frame bags vs panniers. Hammock vs. tent? I learned about stoveless camping from another hiker and gradually adopted the idea. I learned the concept of being able to wear all your packed clothing at once as an integrated layering system from another and that revolutionized my packing. And at what point is your load "stupid light" and you put yourself at risk?
andrewclaus is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.