Packing list for multi-day self-supported cycling trip [Version 2.0]

01 January 2018   |   by Ajay Jaiman   |    cycling

Some years ago I had posted a packing list that I had used for my Manli-Leh cycling trip. That post generated many thank-you’s and even more follow-up questions. The Manali-Leh trip was my first major multi-day self-supported cycling trip. Since then I have done many more trips and I am now more settled on my packing list. And my approach to packing for a cycling trip is more refined, or so I’d like to believe.

Getting ready to leave with all my bags Final touches to the set-up before I head off with all my gear

What I am sharing here is:

  1. The exact list of items I carried on my month long self-supported cycling trip (Northern Tier, USA).
  2. The weight (rounded off to 5 or 10 grams) of each of those items.
  3. My approach to packing cycling and camping gear.

The list that follows can be used as a base list for any self-supported multi-day cycling trip. If you are going for a trip shorter than a week, then you could pare this down a bit. But if you are going for a cycling trip that will last longer than that – even up to a couple of months – then this list should work fine. The only thing that you may need to vary is:

  • Quantity of food – that depends very much on the remoteness of the trip.
  • Cold weather gear – that depends on the season, altitude and latitude of the trip.
  • Electronics - On long tours I need to work from the road so I need to carry a laptop. I like to shoot stills and videos so I carry a large (20,000 mAh) power bank, medium-size tripod, external hard drive for back-ups… For many people these may be an overkill.

 

The list of list of items I carried on my month long self-supported cycling trip (Northern Tier, USA)

Item Quantity Weight (Gm) Total (Kg) %age of total
Total of all items     35.43 100.00%
         
Bicycle Items:     7.52 21.23%
Front Rack 1 780 0.78 2.20%
Front Pannier bags - Ortlieb 2 730 1.46 4.12%
Rear rack 1 670 0.67 1.89%
Rear Pannier bags - Ortlieb 2 920 1.84 5.19%
Cycling shoes 1 750 0.75 2.12%
Helmet 1 270 0.27 0.76%
Riding glasses ( Clear + dark) with cover 2 60 0.12 0.34%
Frame pump 1 200 0.20 0.56%
Cyclometer/GPS with mount 1 110 0.11 0.31%
Handlebar bag with mount - Ortlieb 1 730 0.73 2.06%
Cable/lock (mid weight) 1 250 0.25 0.71%
Light w/batteries 1 175 0.18 0.49%
Tail light w/batteries 1 80 0.08 0.23%
Headlamp with batteries 1 85 0.09 0.24%
         
Tools + Puncture Kit:     1.47 4.15%
Cycle Multi Tool 1 125 0.13 0.35%
Chain breaker 1 140 0.14 0.40%
Sand paper 1 5 0.01 0.01%
Glue 1 20 0.02 0.06%
Lever 2 30 0.06 0.17%
Spare tube 2 200 0.40 1.13%
Spoke key 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Chain degreaser (small) 1 90 0.09 0.25%
Lubricant (small) 1 90 0.09 0.25%
Bungee cords to hold stuff to 2 125 0.25 0.71%
Thin rope 1 70 0.07 0.20%
Cleaning cloth 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Cable ties 20 0.75 0.02 0.04%
Duck tape 1 100 0.10 0.28%
Rubber bands 20 0.25 0.01 0.01%
         
Cycling clothes:     1.74 4.92%
Cycling shorts (2 pair) 1 215 0.22 0.61%
Cycling padded underwear 2 147 0.29 0.83%
Cycling over shorts - un-padded 1 295 0.30 0.83%
Cycling jersey - half-sleeves 2 190 0.38 1.07%
Base layer: polyester microfiber 2 210 0.42 1.19%
Cycling gloves (short fingers) 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Waterproof cycling jacket (light) 1 90 0.09 0.25%
         
Clothes - others:     1.49 4.21%
Underwear 2 50 0.10 0.28%
Hiking shirt/t-shirt (full sleeves) 1 200 0.20 0.56%
Hiking shirt/t-shirt (half sleeves) 1 175 0.18 0.49%
Shorts 1 200 0.20 0.56%
Sleeping t-shirt 1 150 0.15 0.42%
Sleeping boxers 1 180 0.18 0.51%
Slipon shoes 1 385 0.39 1.09%
Socks 4 25 0.10 0.28%
         
Cold weather clothes:     2.10 5.93%
Jacket – down 1 320 0.32 0.90%
Jacket - Fleece 1 480 0.48 1.35%
Warm mid layer 1 260 0.26 0.73%
Full length cycling tights 1 205 0.21 0.58%
Thermal socks 1 60 0.06 0.17%
Cycling gloves (full fingers) 1 60 0.06 0.17%
Warm gloves 1 140 0.14 0.40%
Balaclava 1 75 0.08 0.21%
Hiking pants 1 500 0.50 1.41%
         
Toilet kit:     0.86 2.42%
Towel 1 200 0.20 0.56%
Carrying pouch 1 25 0.03 0.07%
Disposable Razor 1 20 0.02 0.06%
Shaving cream (small) 1 100 0.10 0.28%
Tooth brush 1 14 0.01 0.04%
Toothpaste (small) 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Liquid soap/shampoo 1 100 0.10 0.28%
Hand sanitizer 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Sun screen [Bought on trip] 1 150 0.15 0.42%
Chap stick 1 10 0.01 0.03%
Insect repellent 1 100 0.10 0.28%
Toilet paper 1 40 0.04 0.11%
         
Camping & Sleeping Gear:     4.14 11.67%
Sleeping bag 1 1000 1.00 2.82%
Waterproof stuff sack 1 85 0.09 0.24%
Sleeping pad 1 900 0.90 2.54%
Tent + bag 1 2100 2.10 5.93%
Cold-water detergent 1 50 0.05 0.14%
         
Cooking Gear:     0.90 2.54%
WindBurner Stove System 1 440 0.44 1.24%
Match box 1 10 0.01 0.03%
Lighter 1 30 0.03 0.08%
GSI Outdoors Commuter Java Press 1 290 0.29 0.82%
Plastic lunch box 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Cup 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Plastic knife/fork/spoon 1 30 0.03 0.08%
         
Food & Water:     8.98 25.35%
Water bottles with water 3 870 5.53 15.61%
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops 1 50 0.05 0.14%
Freeze-Dried Dinners 3 250 0.75 2.12%
Heat and eat Pasta 3 250 0.75 2.12%
Electrolyte Replacement 5 100 0.50 1.41%
Energy Bars 2 200 0.40 1.13%
Biscuits/Cookies 2 200 0.40 1.13%
Train mix 2 200 0.40 1.13%
Coffee 1 100 0.10 0.28%
Sugar 1 100 0.10 0.28%
         
First aid kit + Prescription medications:     0.60 1.69%
         
Electronics:     5.53 15.61%
MacBook Pro + charger 1 2250 2.25 6.35%
HDD + case 1 260 0.26 0.73%
Battery bank 1 600 0.60 1.69%
Phone + Charger 1 250 0.25 0.71%
Camera + lens + Charger + spare batteries 1 1200 1.20 3.39%
Earphones 1 20 0.02 0.06%
Zoom H1 with batteries 1 100 0.10 0.28%
Tripod - small - Cullmann 1 850 0.85 2.40%
         
Miscellaneous:     0.10 0.28%
Wallet/credit cards/driver’s license/Identity 1 100 0.10 0.28%

 

My bike with four panniers and a handle-bar bag somewhere in the Cascade mountains My bike with four panniers and a handle-bar bag somewhere in the Cascade mountains

How I packed for month long self-supported cycling trip (Northern Tier, USA)

Maybe I am OCD, but I have a deep dislike for pilling stuff on the rear rack. I much prefer packing everything inside pannier bags. That way I have no worries of things falling off, being left behind or getting wet.

The other thing I dislike is not knowing what is packed where. When you don’t have a systematic way of packing, you often have to scramble through a bag (sometimes more than one bag) when you are in need of one small thing. I have been there. In fact more than once I have had to empty out all the contents of a pannier bag because I just couldn’t find one little something. Those days are behind me now. I have created a system that works for me. This is how it works:

'For man and beast!' Need I say more? ‘For man and beast!’ Need I say more?

I try to fit everything into four panniers — two in front and two behind and a handle bar bag:

Rear pannier bag 1:

  • Tent (I specifically bought a tent that would fit inside the rear pannier bag)
  • Stove
  • Food
  • Coffee filter
  • Tools
  • Spare tube and puncture kit

Rear pannier bag 2:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping clothes
  • Laptop
  • Camp shoes
  • Tripod
  • Toiletries

Front pannier bag 1:

  • Cycling clothes
  • Battery pack

Front pannier bag 2:

  • Winter jacket
  • Camp clothes
  • Electronics - chargers for laptop, camera & phone, GPS
  • Back up hard disk drive in hard case

Handle bar bag:

  • Camera
  • Headlamp
  • Passport
  • Reading glasses
  • Dark glasses
  • Backup phone

So this is how I do it. Let me know if you found this useful or if you have a suggestion for me to improve this.

Items I carried on my month long self-supported cycling trip (Northern Tier, USA) Items I carried on my month long self-supported cycling trip (Northern Tier, USA)