Bike-packing is most enjoyable when traveling light. Bicycle travelers we met over the years often carry way too much weight. Some up to 80 or 100 pounds! Two bicyclists on separate occasions that camped in our yard developed knee injuries within two days of starting their tour. At Bob’s suggestion, the bicyclists sent home unnecessary items.
Items that get sent back are large cooking stoves, excessive clothing, and heavy cables and locks. One bicyclist had three heavy cables and locks. Light-weight camp stoves come in a variety of styles and sizes, including pocket size. For cables and locks, a small lock and one sturdy cable is all that is needed. Clothes can get washed often. All you need is three days’ worth of clothes.
Bob and I carry up to twenty pounds each on our bicycles when we are on a journey. This includes the tent, tarp, sleeping pad, sleeping sheet, some emergency food, and the racks and packs themselves in addition to our clothes and other items. Our clothes get washed often.
To travel as light, all you need is the basic necessities: This is a general list
- Tent – get only the size you need and get ultra-light with a screen for warm nights.
- Solo tent under 4 pounds
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping sheet
- Super light down sleeping bag
- Rain jacket
- Light sandals to wear when done cycling for the day
- One extra pair of bicycling shorts
- One pair of zip off pants for non-riding days
- Two pairs of socks and underwear
- Shirts: one long sleeve and two short sleeve
- Polar fleece shirt
- Cycling vest
- Cycling gloves
- Travel size toiletries
- Flexon eating utensils
- 16 oz or 20 oz stainless steel or titanium cup that doubles as a cooking pot
- First aid
- Cushioned, waterproof, flesh-toned adhesive tape for blisters, cuts, etc.
- Duct tape – wrap some around your seat post in case of need
- Some emergency food. Instant oatmeal or energy bars work well.
- Bike tools
- Chain tool
- Allen wrench or crescent wrench (whatever your bike requires)
- Plastic tire irons
- Tire pump
- Spare bike parts
- Patch/repair kit
- Inner tube
- Shift cables
- Brake cable
This list should cover all your needs for traveling even across country. The minimal weight will alleviate extra strain on your knees and greatly increase an enjoyable bike packing experience.