I’ve already made a packing list for motorcycling, now here’s one for cycling. This is the actual list of things I’m taking with me on my trip to Central Asia.
I have never been on a long cycling trip before, so a lot of research went into what to pack, and it turned out I had to buy a lot of things! I went through many resources online, asked around a bit, and tried (unsuccessfully) to keep the number of purchases down. Here is my current list of equipment. Much of this list and its categorization is inspired by this post that I found in the course of my research. It’s a great blog to follow if you’re interested in this life!
Bags and Luggage
On an online forum, I asked if I could just use my hiking backpack instead of panniers; you know, just lay it on the rack like I used to on my motorcycle. I was politely told that if I thought that was a good idea to try, maybe I should also try riding with forks in my eyes. In the normal course of things, such a comment wouldn’t faze me and I would just do whatever stupid thing I was going to do anyway, but my lack of experience in the “bicycle-touring-long-term-travel-life” had made me very nervous, so off I went to buy some pannier bags for the rear panniers.
Front Panniers or not: Front panniers are usually smaller pannier bags you put on the front wheel of the bicycle. They help distribute the load, and make you look like a more experienced tourer. My bike has a rack for them ,so I was wondering if I should just spend even more money and get two bags for the front. Here, the general consensus was that front panniers were good, but not necessary unless you have a lot of luggage. So I didn’t get them. I did get a handlebar bag, i.e. a bag that sticks to the handlebar and is a nice place to put important stuff like passport, money, etc.
- Handlebar Bag: Topeak Tour Guide
- Rear Panniers: BTwin 25L x 2
- Daypack: The Daypack (15L) Osprey Farpoint 55
- Decathlon: Quechua Arpenaz Ultra Compact 20 L
Bike Gear and Tools
- Tubes (2): Halfords
- Helmet: Generic
- Lock: Some generic, heavy U-lock
- Super glue
- Puncture repair patches
- Seat cover with cushioning
- Oil for chain
- Multi-tool including wrench, allen keys, etc.
- Pedal Spanner
- Spoke Key: Halfords
- Tyre Levers: Park Tools – 25g
- Pump: VeloChampion Alloy 9
I have always wondered if a sleeping mat is really necessary. It’s supposed to provide insulation for you against the cold ground, but…I don’t know how cold it needs to be for a mat to be necessary.
Many times in the US, I slept at almost freezing temperatures without a mat. In Scotland, I hiked the 150+ kilometres of the West Highland Way in the cold and rain, sleeping in my tent without a mat. It was fine. Maybe mats are for people who like to sleep naked in their sleeping bag?
But anyway, on this trip I expect there to be a few sub-zero (celsius) nights, so I decided to just give in and buy a mat, and a cold weather sleeping bag.
- Tent: MSR Elixir 2
- Sleeping Bag: Mountain Warehouse Summit 300
- Mat: Hikenture inflatable mat
- Groundsheet/Tarp: With tent
- Headtorch: Petzl Tikka XP 2
- Pocket Knife: Swiss Army Huntsman
I like the cooking sets where the pans stack inside one another, and the spoons fold into the pans, so it’s all nice and compact. The cooking set I bought here came with sporks, unfortunately. I hate sporks, but sometimes life (or Amazon) hands you things you don’t like, and you have to manage.
For the first time in three years, I felt like I needed something to purify water from streams. It must be all the blogposts from weak-stomached Europeans.
- Cooking vessel kit – Multi-piece cooking kit. Comes with scourer, two sporks, and a wooden serving spoon
- Cup: Generic
- Stove: Generic camping stove which requires propane/butane
- Dish Towel x 2
- Water Filter: WaterWell Squeeze / 500ml Bag
- Water Bottle: Not yet purchased
- Detergent Bottle: Not yet purchased
- Scourer: Steel Wool – included in cooking kit
- Lighter: Generic. Oh shit, I still have to buy this.
I’m cycling into Central Asia knowing that it’s already snowing in Tajikistan. By the time I reach Iran or Turkey (or wherever my path takes me), it will be snowing there too. So, I need a lot of clothes!
I can’t believe I’ve been wandering so long and I haven’t heard of the army roll for packing before. It makes packing so much easier. Here are two nice videos to help you. If you aren’t doing this already, you should start!
- Down Jacket: Rab. Maybe it’s this one.
- Rain Jacket: NorthFace Resolve
- Fleece: Northface Glacier fleece
- T-shirt (3): Icebreaker (my favourite!), Woodlands, Technical
- Casual Shirt (1): Checked travel shirt from Decathlon.
- Pants (3): North Face Convertible, Mountain Warehouse Convertible, One Pajama
- Swimming/Running Shorts: Shorts from Decathlon
- Underpants (4): LAPSA. I’m a boxers-type guy now.
- Sandals: Skechers Equalizer. Not technically sandals, but they are really, really comfortable.
- Cycling Shoes: Merrell Moab GTX 2 waterproof hiking boots
- Winter Socks (3): Kirkland (CostCo) Wool socks
- Thin socks (3): 3 (mixed)
- Gloves: Wedze Liner, Head ski gloves, Some generic old gloves
- Thermals: Quechua fleece bottom, MW base layer, Quechua base layer
- Neckscarf: Buff from decathlon
- Scarf: One blue scarf from Nordstrom that has been with me since 2012 at least.
- Winter Hat: Thinsulate
- Balaclava – Decathlon
- Phone: Apple iPhone 8 Plus with a Spigen case
- Laptop: MacBook Pro 2018 13”
- Camera: Canon EOS 70D
- Spare Camera Battery: Canon
- Camera Case: LowePro
- Headphones: AirPods. I hate having to charge these. I wish the stupid iPhone had a headphone jack. I’ll probably lose them in a few weeks; either that, or they’ll be uncharged and sad in some corner of my luggage.
- Travel Power Adapter: Generic
- Box for carrying all charging things
- External Battery: Mi 20000 mAh
- Charging Plugs and Cables: Assorted
- Wallet: Generic – 50g
- Keys: For cycle lock
- Watch: Garmin Vivoactive 3 HR
- Moleskine Notebook + 3 x Pen
- Passport Photocopies: Generic
- Passport Size Photos
- Money Belt: Flipbelt
- Sunglasses: Wedze withcase
- Hand Sanitiser: Alcoholic – 33g
- Superglue: Generic – 27g
- Electric Tape: Generic – 22g
- Tennis Ball for foot massage
- Bag: Leather bag
- Towel: Microfiber
- Beard Trimmer: USB charging Phillips
- Toothbrush: Generic
- Toothpaste: Generic
- Soap: Generic w/ Case
- Shampoo: Generic
- Deodorant: Generic Spray
- Suncream: Not yet purchased
- Toilet paper
- First aid kit with bandages and antiseptic and stuff
- Tablets: I’ll probably get something for headaches and fevers. Aspirin or Paracetamol.
So that’s that. If you have any questions or comments, let me know!