Cycle touring pack list for a European summer.. revised with comments!
I know that one of the main things I wanted to know when I was doing research for my tour was what gear people were taking with them and why. So with that said, I present my own packlist with comments in brackets. I hope this can be of use to someone else out there planning a similar tour as my own. I strongly recommend using Dropbox or similar to have an online backup of your travel documents. Additionally I recommend using a program like Evernote to keep an electronic version of your pack list so it can be easily updated.
- 2x Ground Effect ‘Zip Tie’ long sleeve cycling jerseys (super lightweight and fast drying synthetic; got smelly though after one day so it was lucky they were easy to wash and dried quickly. Very happy with these jerseys, great bit of kit)
- 1x Lightweight swim shorts (only used these once, so not really worth it. However I could have tried to find more places to go swimming but didn’t have much luck)
- 1x Black cotton t-shirt (for off the bike wear; glad I brought this as having non-bike gear was useful on rest days)
- 1x Lightweight long sleeve cotton t-shirt (off the bike, out on the town or cooler nights; also glad to have brought this as it was also a good backup for rest days and short rides to keep protected from the sun)
- 2x Civvies (dark coloured baggy shorts, can be worn off the bike as well)
- 2x Padded underlayers (2x synthetic; one was from Ground Effects and the other from North Face. The GE underlayers were very comfortable and breathable. Some minor chafing with the North Face underlayer, fixed with a small dab of chamois cream each morning though)
- 2x 150gsm black Smartwool merino wool boxer briefs (these were amazing. So comfortable and cool. I could wear a pair for a week before i’d even think about washing them. Could have done with just one pair I think)
- 2x Thin synthetic socks (black DeFeet Levitator) (super comfortable socks, very cool and lights. Easy to wash and dried quickly in warm weather)
- 1x Medium thickness merino socks (charcoal DeFeet Woolie Boolie 4″ cuff) (these were extremely comfortable and didn’t get smelly, however they were too thick to hike in due to my shoes being slightly small. Great for cycling though. Easy to hand wash too, dried fast)
- 1x 190gsm (grey marl) Dhb merino wool long sleeve base layer top (didn’t use this much for most of the trip apart from a couple of cooler mornings, it was too warm. Wouldn’t bother with this next time)
- 1x Ronhill ‘trackster’ pants (as an extra layer on cold days; didn’t use this at all the whole trip as it was too warm every day. Even the odd cooler morning wasn’t too bad with just shorts. Needs to be below 10 degrees C before wearing longs are worth it, IMO)
- 1x Rain jacket (Showers Pass Elite 2.0; great jacket. Only had to wear it a couple of times but on those days it was cool and wet I was very glad I had this jacket with me. I left the hood at home and wish I had brought it as cold rain was running down my head and back)
- 1x Rain pants (Ground Effect Helter Skelter 3/4 pants)
- 1x Full finger cycling gloves (also glad to have brought these, however next time I’ll get a pair of short finger gloves with gel padding as these gloves are a bit old and don’t offer much cushioning)
- 1x Buff multi purpose headband (I didn’t wear this while cycling as it was simply too hot, however I did wear it while hiking and around the campsite late in the trip as the weather started to cool. Great piece of kit.)
- 1x Cotton cycle cap (worked great for keeping sun off my forehead and glare out of my eyes; I wore this just about every day)
- 1x Sanuk ‘sidewalk surfers’ (enclosed sandals; these were great to wear after a long days cycling around the camp site or down at the cafe for dinner. A little tricky though as they don;t like being wet, so taking them in the shower area is a challenge as they always got wet)
- 1x Shimano MT71 SPD MTB shoes (with a waterproof Gore Tex lining and a Vibram sole; great shoes – see my review for more. However a little bulky/heavy and slightly too small for longer hikes)
- 1x Mesh stuff sack for dirty clothes (1x4L & 1x1L capacity; bought these for a couple of Euros at a local DM pharmacy in Germany. Great to separate your gear and put your wet clothes in on the back of the bike to dry out during the day)
Personal Items & Toiletries (front bar bag for valuables; rear 20L pannier bag for everything else):
- Passports, credit cards, ID etc (packed in small zip-lock bag)
- Info package in plastic sleeve (maps/route plans, travel insurance certificate etc)
- Sunglasses (plus soft & hard case)
- Spectacles (plus soft & hard case)
- LifeVenture trek microfiber towel (large; this was a little too big and bulky but not a major issue. Will get a smaller towel if going on another extended tour as every gm/cm2 counts)
- Basic medikit (consisting of: 1x triangular bandage, 4x band-aids, 1x antiseptic wipe and 1x small tube of stingose gel. In medium zip-lock bag)
- Toiletries bag with all my personal items (including: skin moisturiser, chamois cream, SPF30+ sun cream, papaw ointment, SPF 30+ lip balm, insect repellent, muscle heat gel and kinesiology tape. All of these were in mini containers around 80-100ml in size).
Camp Gear (to be stored in other 20L rear pannier bag, cooking gear in front 12.5L pannier bag, & tent on the rack top):
- Tent (3-season, 2 person Tarptent Scarp 2 with cross poles and tyvek ground sheet cut to size of footprint. Great tent – see my review)
- Montbell Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 sleeping bag (plus water resistant stuff sack; great sleeping bag super comfortable, light, packed down small and warm which was handy as there were a few cold nights)
- Silk sleeping bag liner (great to have on the many warm, humid nights we experienced all through summer and early autumn. As the material isn’t stretchy it did get a little claustrophobic at times)
- Exped UL Synmat 7 air mattress (fantastic mattress. Super light and comfortable. Got 4 punctures in 2 nights but was very easy and fast to patch and didn’t have any further issues. Had to dry it out using a cool hairdryer after the trip as it was a bit moist and smelly inside).
- Exped Air pillow (great pillow. Light and compact. Reasonably comfortable although it did slide around a bit on the mattress as it didn’t have anything to grip it and hold it in place. I’ll put some dobs of silicon on it to try and make it grip better).
- Trangia 27-8 UL/HA stove/cookware set (plus 1L of methylated spirits and a lighter; bought this over in Germany. Very cheap and easy to find at any supermarket in Germany “brennspiritus” or France “alcool a bruler” for around 1.80-2.50 Euro for 1L which lasted me two weeks with daily use)
- Basic large metal mug (great for using for big cups of coffee or soups. Would consider getting a double walled titanium cup in the future but they are very expensive).
- Titanium ‘lifeventure’ spork, super versatile and handy to have on hand
- Concentrated dish washing detergent (put in a smaller 15-50ml container)
- Wool/delicates clothes detergent (put in a small-medium 100ml container)
- 25L Exped ‘Cloudburst’ backpack/dry bag (didn’t use this much while touring, but I did use it while off the bike to put all my gear in so there wasn’t too much weight on the bike while having to haul it around train stations etc).
- Ortlieb 5L folding bucket for carrying & hand washing clothes, dishes, gathering water, washing vegetables, cooling beers, keeping desert cool etc. (Extremely handy, I was actually surprised at how much we used this and how versatile it was)
- Tubus 3-way elastic rack strap (to fasten tent bag; worked well however also had to buy a nylon strap to keep the tent nice and secured)
Tools & Misc (categorised in zip-lock bags and stored in a front 12.5L pannier bag):
- 4m of lightweight nylon string for clothesline etc (we just used a spare guy rope from a tent at home)
- Various sized cable-ties
- Small roll of electrical tape (5m)
- 2x 10cm gaffa tape patches stuck on frame down tube for emergency use/patches
- Green Oil ‘ecological chain lube’ (put into 15ml eye-drop container)
- 1x 15x15cm clean rag for cleaning and oiling chain
- Basic tyre/tube repair kit (levers, patches, glue etc)
- Spare tube
- Multi-tool (Topeak Mini 20 Pro; comes with variety of tools inc. chain tool and spoke wrenches; 151g)
- 1x Park Tool AWS-1 3-way hex wrench (very useful for correctly loosening/tightening headset, seatpost collar, rack mounts, fenders etc. Much easier to use than the multitool)
- 3x Spare spokes (one for front wheel, two for rear wheel; Taped to spoke mount on non-drive side of chainstay)
- Park Tool SW-40 3.2mm spoke wrench (small, light and easier to use than the multi tool).
- 1x Spanner for pedals (I assembled the bike at the house and left it behind)
- Topeak Mountain Morph medi floor pump (250g) (very handy to have; however it didn’t have a pressure gauge which was one issue as we could only guess what pressure the tyres were at).
- Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 U-lock (1000g) w/ KryptoFlex 4ft cable (300g) (yes this was a bummer to carry this extra weight, however we had to lock our bikes up in a few sketchy areas so having the extra security was worth it I think. DO NOT try to bring this on your carry-on luggage through the airport! They will not let you take it with you as I found out – the hard way!)