Packing for an adventure is one of my least favourite activities. Mostly because I get to the stage where I’d really love to just pack everything, but I can’t. I don’t have enough kit to leave a fully packed bag for over a week. Never mind a day really. Plus how many people actually own a spare toothbrush?
So, instead of physically packing, let me tell you about what I’m going to take.
Ladies and gentlemen, the bicycle arrived. I am now the proud owner of a Ridgeback Panorama, complete with quick release wheels and disc brakes. Never mind drop handlebars. This is by far the swankiest bike I’ve ever owned.
Kit List for Rhine Source2Sea Cycle Tour
Yup, that’s everything I’m taking inside of those bags. Well, almost. Like I said, I haven’t been able to pack everything completely. But I did go down the list and assemble most of it, to check I could still find it an that it all fitted in the bags. Best not to discover it doesn’t the day before you leave.
Of course, that then back-fired, because I’ve been taking bits and pieces back out over the course of the last week. A girl’s still got to go cycling and camping! Now I’m no longer 100% sure what’s in the bags and what’s out the bags. I guess I’ll have to start again from scratch on Wednesday.
We’ll break it down what’s inside the bags in a minute. What you can see is:
- Ortlieb Panniers x2
- Ortlieb dry bag (40L contains the tent)
- Waterbottles with 1 litre capacity x2
This is a mostly clothing section. From the top left and going across we have:
- Hat (Rab)
- Bib shorts (Rivelo) – Review
- Jersey x2 (Rivelo & other)
- Belay Jacket (Rab)
- Bike gloves (Rivelo)
- Underwear x 4 (Tesco/M&S)
- Shorts (Karrimor)
- Baselayer (Craghoppers)
- Leggings (Endura)
- Waterproof jacket (Mountain Hardwear)
- Socks (various!)
I am deliberating about whether bib shorts and running shorts will be enough. The more I go touring, the less clothing I seem to actually wear on the tour, so maybe I should just leave the second jersey behind? Also for anyone thinking “Eww, she’s going to wear pants under her bib shorts” I’ve actually cut the pad out so they’ve more of a one-sie really…
Camping Stuff (Mostly)
Excluding the bits we’ve already talked about, in the picture you can see:
- Swimming costume (Adidas)
- Roll mat (Numo – Alpkit)
- Sleeping Quilt (Cloud Cover – Alpkit)
- Liner (Cocoon)
- Travel towel (Gelert)
- First aid kit (Lifesystems)
- Washing up Sponge (Morrisons?)
- Tent (Vaude Taurus II)
This will be the first time for me using a quilt instead of a sleeping bag. Alex and I are sharing a tent, so I reckon it’s going to be quite warm anyway. Then if the weather stays up in the 20s any of my sleeping bag options will be way too warm. I really hope it doesn’t rain too much.
Assorted other stuff
Again, excluding the clothes that we’ve talked about already, from the top row:
- Headtorch (Petzl)
- Soap (Dove)
- Sunglasses (the floor in the Lake District)
- Extra long spoon (Lifestraw)
- Bike lock
- Burner and stand (from Primus Eta Lite)
- Bike maps of Holland
- Notepad and pencil
- Suncream (Soltan Kids Once – safe for 8 hours of play…)
- Pen knife
- Crank Brothers 19- multi tool
- Charger cables
- Phone (Nokia 8310e if you’re interested)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Watch (Umbro)
I have already covered almost everything in this! But the things lurking near the bottom right hand corner:
- 4k camera/camcorder
- Bike light (back light already on bike)
And that friends is everything I need to survive for weeks and weeks on a bicycle. You can compare it to what I took for 50 days cycling in Europe and 2 weeks cycling and walking in Ireland if you like. Fifty days vs five days is not that much different.
Other things that haven’t been pictured and I’ll probably take:
- Cooking pan – Alex has already taken
- Clothes washing stuff – Alex already taken
- Solar charger (PowerTraveller)
- Washing up liquid
- Spare inner tube and tyre levers
Notes on Packing for a Bike Tour
Notice that my panniers are nowhere near full. Good! Don’t be tempted to overfill your panniers because you need to have extra space for food. Unless, of course, you’re the kind of cyclist who manages to coincide lunchtime with a cafe and dinner time with a restaurant.
You really don’t need much stuff to survive comfortably on a bicycle for weeks. Makes you wonder why we own so much stuff sometimes, right?
The other thing I need to be aware of is that I’m flying all this stuff out to Switzerland. That means I need to keep in mind the size of my hand luggage (I think a pannier will fit), but also what can go in it. For example, my pen knife is an old Swiss Army one which is a few millimetres too long for hand luggage regulations now. Also there are some interesting rules about batteries and camping stove (notice I’m not packing gas!).
For more about the current regulations see this webpage on Dangerous Goods.