What to pack bikepacking? The complete bikepacking kit gear list!
+ A FREE printable cycle touring checklist in PDF
There are so many bikepacking kit lists, cycle touring gear checklists, and articles about what to pack bikepacking that it’s easy to get confused.
In this article, we’ll give a lightweight bike touring packing list and all the options of what to bring according to the type of trip.
Our comprehensive checklist includes all the essentials for cycling and camping, clothes, accessories, cooking gear, tools, toiletries, and even medicines to bring on a bike trip.
Before you head out on the road or the trail, it’s important to consider what you will need to face any situation or emergency. We organized this bikepacking gear list into categories to make it more readable.
Follow this guide to make sure that you have all the right biking accessories to help you travel safely.
Bikepacking & Cycle Touring packing List in a Nutshell
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How we compile our gear guides: during the almost 10 years of cycloscope.net our team personally tested dozens of similar pieces of gear. For what we can't test personally, we involve other people in the cycling community to give their feedback and opinion about gear they have used. Our decade-long experience in bicycle touring enables us to find the key cons and pros of every product we mention.
To better organize our bikepacking gear list we have divided all the equipment needed into nine macro-categories.
I like to say that “every bike is a touring bike, as long as you tour with it”, I’ve seen people touring on folding bikes, cheap mountain bikes, and even grannies. Of course, you need to check your bike properly before going on tour, your safety depends on it.
How to choose the right adventure bike is a topic we have discussed in the past (check the link), we’ve also gone more in-depth with various bicycle travel styles in this series of articles:
Although the quick rise of bikepacking bags, traditional pannier bags are still the most common way to haul gear on long-distance bike trips. We discussed the eternal controversy of bikepacking VS cycle touring, so have a look there if you want help on how to choose your bag setup.
Bikepacking bags are the fundamental component of any bikepacking kit. These are bags that attach to the frame and fork, without the need for extra racks. New to the whole bikepacking concept? Start from our Bikepacking 101.
Here’s the list of bags from which to pick up your bikepacking kit:
Safety first! Although we know many bike tourers traveling without a helmet, and we were also guilty of that sin as well, at the top of your bike touring gear list you should most certainly put a good helmet.
A great bike helmet is one piece of equipment worth investing in – they save lives every day – and there’s really a difference between the safest bike helmets and the rest, that’s why we recommend the Rudy Project Racemaster, ranked in the top ten safest helmets in 2021 by Virginia Tech.
Another thing you might consider if heading to remote destinations is water bottles with built-in filters, which would solve the problem of finding drinkable water in some countries. We recommend the LifeStraw Go Water.
You always want to be able to see what’s in front of you on the road. You also want to be seen by the other vehicles. Every bikepacking list should have a good front and rear light in. Even if you don’t cycle after sunset, there are still tunnels and emergency situations can always happen.
Not all bikepacking gear lists need to include camping gear. Sleeping in guesthouses, hotels, or BnBs is a great option for shorter trips or for those who enjoy comforts and can afford them. By the way, if you’re going to camp during your bikepacking journey, here’s what you should take.
The choice of a sleeping bag is strictly related to the kinds of climate you’re going to face. A warm sleeping bag is a must to have a good rest in chilly climates. While traveling through hot regions, you might bring a light sleeping linen like the Sea to Summit Reactor.
Marmot is a brand that doesn’t need presentation, and this Trestles 30 here is a quality and affordable sleeping bag.
Unless you’re going to ride in a desert, a rain jacket is probably the only piece of clothing that is almost mandatory for bicycle touring, I will suggest buying one with a hood. We recommend Beleaf Cycling Rain Jacket w. Hood
Some people prefer ponchos over rain jackets, I can say in some cases having both is good.. Ponchos can be very effective, although not great with strong winds – they can flap over your face and even get dangerous. We recommend:Saphirose Ultralight Cycling Ponchos
I personally consider cycling-specific clothes absolutely non-essential but nice to wear sometimes. Have to admit that since we are using good quality cycling clothes our riding comfort has increased dramatically.
Cycling jerseys are breathable and easy to wash. Great for hot weather are those jerseys with a front zipper that opens all the way down.
Anyway never bring more than 2 pairs of shorts and two shirts.
Leg warmers and Arm warmers (compression sleeves) are very useful, they eliminate the need for long sleeve jerseys or long pants, give you comfort when it’s chilly, and can protect you from UV rays. They weigh nothing and pack ultra-compact.
Gloves are nice on washboards and uneven roads, giving your wrists a little relief while they are a must in low temperatures, already below 10°C your hand will ache when going downhill. Read our article aboutthe best cycling gloves for winter.
Cycling sunglasses or ordinary sunglasses are very important for your eyes’ health, and something many of us couldn’t cycle without.
If you’re going to encounter cold temperatures, you should include winter clothing in your cycle touring gear list. Winter gear needs to be more technical and high-end, and you should think about allocating a decent budget for it.
Bear in mind though, that you’ll ride on heavy winter clothing only when the temperatures are around zero degrees Celsius or below, or yes, in the downhill.
Most of the time the effort of cycling will be enough to keep you warm. It’s mostly when camping that you’ll be doomed to freeze. We are using merino baselayers by Green Rose and loving them, read our review here..
When going through a bikepacking checklist, is easy to forget about regular clothes. But even if you’re a hardcore rider and plan to cycle 8 hours a day, you’ll still have some time off your bike, which I bet you don’t want to spend in lycra cycling attire.
For warm weather, we love football shorts and sleeveless t-shirts (camisole for Elena), I personally enjoyed a cheap clip-on button shirt, that I could open with an easy gesture when sweating like hell on some hot afternoons in South East Asia.
A bandana is a nice add-on, you can keep it wet under your helmet for a refreshing sensation, also a visor helps a lot under the sun.
Don’t forget your underwear too! Usually, 3 pairs will be enough, they are easy to wash – sport or hiking underwear is ideal.
Remember! Wearing underwear with padded cycling shorts is a bad idea. Use your underwear for off-the-bike activities or when cycling without padding.
Thousands of people take to the roads on bicycles every day. If you are new to road touring but are excited about planning your first overnight or long-distance trip, you will want to make sure that you have all the right gear.
Having the right accessories with you can really save you when you are out on the road. When you tour on your bike, you may not be near a city or repair shop when needed and will need to be able to patch yourself up onsite.
Whether you are hitting the trails for a bike camping trip or taking your carbon road bike for a weekend out on the road sleeping in BnBs, having the right gear and accessories can help you to have a smoother and more enjoyable ride.
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