Bicycle Touring Checklist

I recently returned from a 4-week bike tour through France and Spain, carrying all of my own kit and camping along the way. Some people have commented that they can’t believe I travel so light, while others have said “how the heck do you fit all that on a bike?” You can fit a surprising amount of stuff on a bike. Of course, the heavier the bike, the harder the journey. Here is a list of what I took with me.

Bicycle Touring Checklist

Essentials:

Bike Accessories:

  • Panniers (I use Ortlieb – they really are the best, waterproof, durable, simple but perfect design)
  • Frame bag
  • 2 Waterbottles
  • Headlight / Tail light
  • Bike computer for recording mileage / speed (mine is a Cateye Enduro 8)
  • Bell
  • Bike lock
  • iPhone mount (I used a Quad Lock and can’t recommend it enough)
  • Bungee cords
  • Fuzzy dice (or some other trinket on your bike deliver mojo and lift your spirits – I had a little pendent from my sister, and collected stickers from the places I visited along the way)

Bike Tools:

  • Air pump
  • Patch Kit with Tire Levers
  • Spare Inner Tubes
  • Chain Lube
  • Bicycle Multi-Tool

Camping Gear:

Camp Cooking Gear

  • Backpacking Stove (I adore my MSR Pocket Rocket)
  • Fuel for stove (bring extra in case you have a hard time finding the fuel you need en route)
  • Lighters for the camp stove
  • Cooking pots (I have Snowpeak’s Multicompact Titanium Cookset which I love.)
  • Mug
  • Cup (Nérac cups are great! And versatile!)
  • Utensils: Folding knife, spoon, fork (or Spork!), wine bottle opener
  • Coffee making stuff (I use the Hario V60 plastic 1-cup coffee dripper, in which case, don’t forget filters, too!)
  • Washing up liquid and quick dry towel (REI’s are handy)
  • Tea Towels (Good as napkins, or mini picnic blankets, or to dry dishes, or anything! You will always find uses for them!)
  • Water “tank” (Handy at the campsite. I just used a 2L plastic bottle which you can crumple and uncrumple as needed – top tip from Mike! But Platypus also makes nice collapsible water holders.)

Cycling Clothes

  • Helmet
  • T-Shirts (I went for a merino wool t-shirt and tank top over cycling jerseys which are more versatile for off-the-bike shenanigans)
  • Cycling Shorts (at least 2 pairs)
  • Underwear (Icebreaker Merino Wool Underwear, it’s expensive but so good! I recommend at least 3 pairs.)
  • For the ladies – Sports bras (2)
  • Socks (Smartwool Merino Socks for me)
  • Cycling gloves
  • Clippy Cycling Shoes
  • Merino Wool Long Sleeve Short (for cooler days)
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Over-Shoes

Camp / Town / Beach Clothes

  • Pair of shorts
  • T-shirt
  • Flannel shirt
  • Fleece
  • Hat
  • Walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Bathing Suit

Personal Items

  • Watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Lip Balm

Toiletries

  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Washcloth
  • Soap / Shampoo
  • Deoderant
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
  • Toilet Paper (You will want this!)
  • Wet wipes
  • Skin Cream / Moisturiser
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Vitamins / Medication / etc
  • Ear Plugs
  • First Aid Kit
  • Ibuprofen
  • Anti-Chaffing Balm (You will want this.)

Important Documents

  • Wallet
  • Driver’s License / Passport
  • ATM Card
  • Credit Cards
  • Cash
  • Travel tickets

Gadgets & Travel Goodies

  • Phone (which also serves as camera)
  • iPad + Case
  • Phone / iPad Charger
  • Universal plug adapter
  • USB Battery Pack (For charging on the go. I use an EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh Power Bank which gives me about 2-3 iPhone charges.)
  • Personal Locater Beacon (I use a Spot Gen 3)
  • Spare batteries for electronics, headlamp, bike lights, etc
  • Guidebook (France en Velo was my friend)
  • Notebook
  • Pens

Food
I obviously topped this up as I travelled – French markets are the best! But these are the staples I tried to always have on hand. 

  • Stuff sack to keep all the food in
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Individual spices (stored in film canisters)
  • Porridge oats
  • Quinoa and/or bulgur wheat
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Coffee & tea

Things I wish I had brought:

  • Clothing line for drying stuff
  • A few bin bags and packing tape for packing my bike for the ALSA bus in Spain
  • Picnic blanket
  • Air pillow (maybe?)
  • Camp chair (ThermaRest’s chair kits are pretty cool)

Optional Extras
This is stuff I didn’t bring but I could see being useful, especially in cooler climates.

  • Cycling Long-Tights
  • Waterproof Trousers
  • Fall/Winter Full-Finger Gloves
  • Skull Cap
  • Snood
  • Trousers for wearing off the bike
  • Binoculars
  • More bike repair stuff, that I probably wouldn’t know how to use (bicycletouringpro.com has an epic list)

Packing checklist for a bicycle tour