Bike Tour Packing List: Everything You Need for a Short Cycle Tour

A bike trip packing list for a week-long cycle tour

Use this bike touring packing list as a guide for exactly what you should bring on a short tour, or a starting point for a longer tour.

When we first started cycle touring in 2013, we read all the packing lists, bought a bunch of specialized gear, and then overloaded our bikes with way too much stuff!

Overpacking is practically a cycle touring rite of passage. I’ve never heard of anybody who wished they’d brought MORE stuff on their first bike tour!

We hope this bike touring packing list inspires you to minimize what you take on your bike trip. If it’s your first time, you’ll still pack too much, but maybe not WAY too much, like we did.

If you want to know what to expect from your first cycle tour, dive into our daily cycle touring journals from two years on the road.

Before we’d even been on the road for one month, we started leaving items behind, donating a coffee cup here and a spare t-shirt there until our loads were lightened a little. We kept leaving more stuff behind throughout our 2-year bike trip, until, while cycling in China, we were able to shrink our bags down to 2 large back panniers and 4 small front ones.

This leaner, lighter set-up made everything easier on our trip. We could go further each day and climb mountains more easily. It also made hopping on busses or trains a little easier.

It still wasn’t easy… here’s how it normally goes when we try to get our bikes on a train.

It also taught us how little we actually need in our lives to make us comfortable, warm, safe, and happy.

That, my friends, is possibly the biggest lesson of bike touring.

Though this bike tour packing list was for a week-long bike trip on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, I would not pack significantly differently for a longer tour – though I would bring more bike tools and more underwear! I can fit all of this into two Ortlieb Back Roller panniers and a 32L kayaking dry bag strapped to my back rack.

The picture above shows how I set my rear end up ;), though I no longer carrier front panniers.

Bike Tour Packing List

CLOTHES

Wool cycling socks x2 pairs
Wool camp socks
Underwear x1 (luxury)
Sports bras x2
Cycling shorts x1 pairs
Loose shorts x1 pair
Long leggings
Fleece pants
Rain pants
T-shirts x3
Tank top x1
Long-sleeve Merino shirt
Merino sweater
Showers Pass rain jacket
Toque/Wool Hat
Fall weight jacket

Salomon waterproof shoes

This guide to bike touring shoes will help you decide what to bring.

CYCLING

Bike keys
Bike U-lock
Abus bike frame lock (I love this lock!)
Handlebar bag
Rear panniers x2
Dry bag
2 cam straps
Lights (front and rear)
Light charger cord
Water bottles x2
Seat cover

Patch kit
Tire levers
Screw driver
Allen keys (all sizes for bike parts)
Spare chain link
Spare brake cables
Spare gear cables
Spare tube
Chain lube
Zip ties
Cleaning cloth
Cleaning toothbrush

Helmet
Helmet mirror
Cycling safety glasses
Cycling gloves
Scarf

CAMPING

Big Agnes Copper Spur Tent
Sleeping pad
Sleeping bag
Camp pillow (luxury)
Headlamp
Duct tape
Electrical tape
Rope

Trangia Camp Stove
Stove fuel
Matches
Lighter
Camping knife
Water bag (4L)

Cutting board
Chopping knife
Swiss army knife (w corkscrew & can opener)
Dish brush
Dish cloth
Dish towel
Tupperware containers x2
Camp plates x2
Bamboo cutlery set

FOOD

Salt
Spice mixes (1 Italian spice mix, 1 Mexican spice mix)
Veggie broth
Fresh garlic
Fresh ginger
Olive oil
Soy sauce
Peanut butter
Tea

Red lentils
Granola (home made)
Trail mix
Crackers
Chocolate bars
Ramen (emergency rations)
Japanese curry
Granola bars (home made)

ELECTRONICS

MacBook Air
MacBook power cord
Olympus OM-D EM5 Camera
All camera kit (spare battery, power cord, spare lens etc)
iPhone with Kindle & books installed
iPhone charger
Headphones
External hard drive + cable

PERSONAL ITEMS

Wallet
Spare cash (hidden)
Soap
Toothbrush, paste, floss
Vitamin B12
Nail clippers
Tweezers
Moisturizer
Mini backpack
Sunscreen
Bug spray
Mini first-aid kit
Toilet paper (luxury)
Earplugs
Pack towel
Pen

Our biggest tip for packing for a bike tour is to only bring the items you deem “must-have”. If something is in the category of “would be nice” or “maybe” leave it behind. If you’re going on a long tour and are really concerned about not having certain essential items, leave all your “maybe” items behind with a friend.

Then, if you run into problems, you can always have them sent in the mail to where ever you are in the world. Chances are, you will never need to do it though.

If you’re not sure about what pack or have any questions about the items on this list, just post in the comments and we’ll give you a quick answer.

2 comments

  1. Comment by John J

    John J Reply February 12, 2016 at 2:11 am

    That’s a really useful list, thanks for publishing. I’m due to set out on my first long(ish!) distance bikepack soon, from UK Lands End to Manchester, and any information like this is priceless.
    John

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane February 12, 2016 at 3:09 am

      Amazing. I’ve always wanted to do that route after reading a book about it. Obviously, for that route, you’ll want all your gear to be waterproof and get the best breathable rain jacket you can. Stephen liked his Showers Pass Elite jacket, but felt that it leaked at the shoulder seams a little, so you may want to consider re-sealing the seams?

      Also, just a general tip, pack less than you think you will need. If anything on your list is a maybe, leave it at home.

      Have a great time.

      J

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go top