I have already made a packing list for motorcycling, now here’s one for cycling. This is the actual list of things I’m taking with me on my trip to Central Asia.
I have never been on a long cycling trip before, so a lot of research went into what to pack, and it turned out I had to buy a lot of things! I went through many resources online, asked around a bit, and tried (unsuccessfully) to keep the number of purchases down. Here is my current list of equipment. Much of this list and its categorization is inspired by this post that I found in the course of my research. It’s a great blog to follow if you’re interested in this life!
Bags and Luggage
Front Panniers or not: Front panniers are usually smaller pannier bags you put on the front wheel of the bicycle. They help distribute the load, and make you look like a more experienced tourer. My bike has a rack for them ,so I was wondering if I should just spend even more money and get two bags for the front. Here, the general consensus was that front panniers were good, but not necessary unless you have a lot of luggage. So I didn’t get them. I did get a handlebar bag, i.e. a bag that sticks to the handlebar and is a nice place to put important stuff like passport, money, etc.
- Handlebar Bag: Topeak Tour Guide
- Rear Panniers: BTwin 25L x 2
- Rackpack: The main backpack (40L) of Osprey Farpoint 55
- I know this is not strictly necessary. But over my last tour, I really felt like having a backpack on the rack would really help. I don’t want to spend money on an actual rack pack yet, so I’m tying the Osprey to my rack with bungees.
- Daypack: The Daypack (15L) of Osprey Farpoint 55
- Decathlon: Quechua Arpenaz Ultra Compact 20 L
- Yes, I have two daypacks, but each has its own advantages. The Osprey daypack is just an excellent backpack and an old friend. This one is waterproof and packs down to practically nothing when not used.
- Ropes and things:
- 2 (+2 spare) Bungee cords
- A few thin ropes
- Two carabiners,
- One ratchet strap
- Excessive? Maybe. But I love ropes and carabiners. I use the tubes to tie things (specifically the panniers to the frame because they bounce around a bit on bumpy roads)
Bike Gear and Tools
- Tubes (2): Schwalbe SV-17
- Helmet: Climbing Helmet
- What’s the difference between a climbing helmet and a cycling helmet: One’s to protect you from things falling on you, and the other to protect you from you falling on things. Ha ha ha ha.
- Lock: Generic cable lock.
- I had a nice, strong U-lock. I lost it. Now, till I buy one again, this cable lock is (admittedly meagre) protection.
- Super glue
- Puncture repair patches
- Oil for chain
- Multi-tool including wrench, allen keys, etc.
- Additional allen key to tighten this multi-tool because it sucks and keeps getting loose.
- Pedal Spanner
- Spoke Key: Halfords
- Tyre Levers
- Pump: VeloChampion Alloy 9
I have always wondered if a sleeping mat is really necessary. It’s supposed to provide insulation for you against the cold ground, but I don’t know how cold it needs to be for a mat to be necessary.
Many times in the US, I slept at almost freezing temperatures without a mat. In Scotland, I hiked the 150+ kilometres of the West Highland Way in the cold and rain, sleeping in my tent without a mat. It was fine. Maybe mats are for people who like to sleep naked in their sleeping bag?
But anyway, on this trip I expect there to be a few sub-zero (celsius) nights, so I decided to just give in and buy a mat, and a cold weather sleeping bag.
- Tent: MSR Elixir 2. I bought this tent to hike the West Highland Way, and I love it. It’s quite heavy, but unlike my old single-person tent, I can sit in it!
- Sleeping Bag: REI Halo. This bag has been through a lot. It’s rated to +5 deg C, but it’s done a good job well into the negative temperatures.
- Mat: Thermarest inflatable mat.
- Groundsheet/Tarp: The tarp that comes with the MSR tent is quite nice.
- Headtorch: Petzl Tikka XP 2. Do I need an expensive headlamp? No! Do I have one? Yes.
- Pocket Knife: Leatherman Super Tool 300. I think this way overkill for me. But eh. I love the way it feels.
I like the cooking sets where the pans stack inside one another, and the spoons fold into the pans, so it’s all nice and compact. The cooking set I bought here came with sporks, unfortunately. I hate sporks, but sometimes life (or Amazon) hands you things you don’t like, and you have to manage.
For the first time in three years, I felt like I needed something to purify water from streams. It must be all the blogposts from weak-stomached Europeans.
- Cooking vessel kit - 2 vessels and a lid.
- Cup: Steel with handle.
- Stove: Generic camping stove which requires propane/butane
- Dish Towel x 2
- Water Bottles(s): I usually buy a 1.5 L Coca Cola bottle and then use that for the whole of my trip.
- Detergent Bottle: Not yet purchased
- Scourer: Steel Wool – included in cooking kit
- Lighter: Generic.
- Thermos: I have the Zojirushi thermos and I love it more than most other things in this kit.
- Winter layers: I wear one or some combination of these depending on the weather. It’s a great game to play.
- Rain gear:
- NorthFace Resolve
- Thin Waterproof over-trousers
- T-shirt x 3: Icebreaker (my favourite!), Decathlon x 2
- Casual Shirt (1)
- Pants x 3 North Face Convertible, One casual pant, One Pajama
- Swimming/Running Shorts: Shorts from Decathlon
- Underpants: LAPSA x 3. Synthetic, but comfortable, and super-quick drying.
- Sandals: Hush puppies
- Cycling Shoes: Merrell Moab GTX 2 waterproof hiking boots
- Winter Socks x 1: Thick Wool socks
- Thin socks x 3: 3 cotton
- Cycling gloves
- Inner liner
- Neckscarf: Buff x 2
- Winter Hat: Thinsulate
- Balaclava: Decathlon
- Phone: Apple iPhone 8 Plus with a Spigen case
- Laptop: MacBook Pro 2018 13”
- Camera: Canon EOS 70D
- Spare Camera Battery: Canon
- Camera Case: LowePro
- Headphones: AirPods. I still hate having to charge these, but they work so seamlessly that all is forgiven.
- Travel Power Adapter: Generic
- Zip-loc bag for carrying all charging things
- External Battery: Mi 20000 mAh
- Charging Plugs and Cables: Assorted
- Watch: Garmin Vivoactive 3 HR
- Packing tape
- Moleskine Notebook + 2 x Pen
- Passport Size Photos
- Money Belt: Flipbelt
- Sunglasses: Wedze with case
- Hand Sanitiser: Alcoholic
- Two extra buckles in case the buckles of my backpack break.
- Needle, thread, and a few buttons for the stitching of things.
- Bag: Leather bag
- Towel: Microfiber
- Beard Trimmer: USB charging Phillips
- Toothbrush: Generic
- Toothpaste: Generic
- Soap: Generic w/ Case
- Shampoo: Generic
- Deodorant: Generic Spray
- Suncream: Not yet purchased
- Toilet paper
- Basic first aid kits with bandage, gauze, and stuff. It’s just a stripped down version of a first-aid kit available online.
- Tablets: probably get something for headaches and fevers. Aspirin or Paracetamol.
So that’s that. If you have any questions or comments, let me know!