Equipment for a long distance bicycle tour
That’s everything I own. I lost the helmet actually.
Altogether it’s about 33kg including the bike.
I’m trying to stay part of the “three bags only” club, it’s hard.
My Current Equipment List
Weight including bag: 6.8kg
- Exped Air pillow (£25) review
- No-brand fluffy sleeping bag (£30 from sports shop, 6 years old, not warm any more)
- Microfibre towel (£4) from Decathlon
- Vaude 100% waterproof cover – for bar bag (£10)
- Coleman Stove (Screw on type (£12) bought in 2008 for a festival, still works perfectly with zero maintenance)
- Fuel (normally £5) gas canister screw type
- Knife – Opeinel No.8 (£5)
- Pots – Vango one man cook set (£15) steel with pan removed and handle shortened. – no longer made, new one here
- Small piece of strong plastic Rope (for emergencies)
- Clothes: a few socks, some boxer shorts, 2 shorts, swim shorts, trousers, 4 t-shirts. (squashed in compression sack by Podsac)
- First aid kit
Weight including bag: 5.6kg – 8.0kg (depending on food)
- Food and spices
- Toilet paper
- Wet wipes (sometimes)
- Cloth (for drying pots etc)
- Cooking oil (in small plastic bottle)
- Small plastic container (for cooked food and functions as a cup)
- Ground mat Thermarest Prolight Plus.Great customer service but their mats are not good any more.
- Tiger balm
- Camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC G5)
- Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap bar (washing and clothes), roll-on deoderant (lighter and lasts longer))
Weight including bag: 4.0kg
Don’t ask me how I fit it all in this little bag. A little bit of magic and lots of trial and error I think.
- Journal (x2)
- Kindle Paperwhite
- Gopro Hero 3+
- Laptop charging cable
- Camera battery charger
- Spare camera batteries
- Fast camera lens
- Micro USB cable
- Mini USB cable
- Spare memory card
- Memory card reader
- Hard drive (WD my passport, wrapped in bubble wrap)
- Brooks saddle cream (always leaks when hot)
- Mosquito spray
- Suncream (factor 50 – use less over bigger area)
- Piece of flint (firesteel, waterproof)
- Earplugs (for those crazy hostels or sleeping next to railways)
- Water purifying tablets
- Electrical tape (so useful)
- Mini celotape (for sticking things in my journal. and repairing ripped bank notes)
- Vaseline (can use as grease for the bicycle too)
- USB memory stick
- Screen wipes for laptop
- Small microfibre cloth
- Spare speedometer button batteries
- Drawing pin
- Pencil (always works)
- Waterproof duct tape (wrapped around pencil to save space)
- Hand cream
- Head torch (basic £7). Just a note: There is a type with a sliding red door over the light, great for wild camping. Also the battery lasts forever.
- Hand Sanitiser
- Pen knife (Swiss)
- Mini camera stand
- Lighter (clipper)
- Mini padlock
- Phone (Motorola G3)
- Notebook x3
- MP3 player
- Loose change
I don’t carry a lot of tools. I’ve learned to get by with what I have. I can fix anything on my bike with the tools below, except problems with the bottom bracket.
- Multitool (Topeak £22 – has chaintool, spoke wrench, hex keys, screwdrivers)
- Brooks spanned (sawed in half)
- Chain oil (wet/winter – it lasts ten times longer)
- Inner tube (actually haven’t had one in a while)
- Cable ties
- Spare nuts and bolts
- Gear cable
- Brake cable
- Multi spanner (those cheap flat ones with all the little different-sized holes)
- Puncture repair kit
- Tyre lever
- Cassette removal tool (like this one)
- Water bottles
- Tent (Vango Banshee 200)
- Bungee cord
- Waterproof jacket (Cheapest Altura)
- Spare spokes
- U clips
- Speedometer (Cateye Micro Wireless)
- Lights (USB rechargeable)
- “Waterproof” saddle cover (amazing gift though)
- Antimalarial Pills
- Needle head
- Antiseptic wipes
- Steri Strips
- Conforming bandage
- Crepe bandage
- Finger dressing
- Safety pin
- Pro biotic pills
“How much does he lack himself, who must have a lot of things” – Sen no Rikyu
People think that you need the best and most up to date equipment to go on a long distance cycle, which is nonsense. I would say that 75% of my equipment is more than 4 years old and around 30% is second hand. The bicycle itself is 80% second hand. You don’t need the “best” stuff to go on a bike tour. You just need the stuff. My first tent was a Gelert Solo bought for £25. I still have my original sleeping bag and stove. Once you get the cheap things you can think about upgrading later. If you do feel the need to buy new and expensive things, splash out on these things first:
- Fully waterproof panniers
- Sleeping bag
- Ground mat
- Cooking equipment
Some handy tips:
- Put your valuable things like your laptop or camera in a polystyrene bag…if anyone raids your bags it’s harder to find and noisier (and it’s more waterproof).
- Make your things look old and worthless by sticking tape on them to make them look broken.
- Cover your bike in tape, or at least cover or remove the branding to deter thieves.
- Take some earplugs for the noisy hostels or sleeping next to roads/railways.
- Cut longer items in half like spanners, toothbrushes and razors to save space and weight. (It all adds up!)
- Take a bar of soap instead of body wash. It lasts longer and you can use it to wash your clothes in sinks too.
- Take roll-on deodorant instead of spray; it’s smaller and lasts longer.
- Get a multi adapter for your cables so you only have to carry one or two for all devices.
- Take less than you need; your legs will thank you later. I also find when you have less garbage you become more creative with the little you have.
…want some more?
Tie your spare spokes to the chainstay, front forks or put them in your handlebars or seat post…
Take a bungee cord!
This is one of the most useful things I have. I piece of elastic cord I bought in Vienna for a Euro. Tied to some carabiner clips, it can expand for taking extra water or quickly sticking some clothes on the back of the bike to dry. You can even make a bike stand from it to do some maintenance with the help of a tree, or lamppost. Or you can tie it between the wheel and the frame for a super quick bike lock.
Some U-clips for emergencies
You don’t exactly want to be on an island with nobody or anything around or at 2000m in the Alps when a bolt snaps. But that’s exactly what happened to me.
There are 2 common types of screw bolts for bicycles: M5 and M6. The number 5 or 6 corresponds with the diameter in mm. It’s better to have a bicycle that supports a rear rack with an M6 bolt, as this reduces the risk of it snapping.
Taking U-clips / P-clips means if anything happens, you can attach your rear rack (or front rack) back onto your bike with ease.
And that’s it for now. Think I’ve missed something? Let me know in the comments.