Packing List for 2023 Bike Tour

This packing list is mostly the same as last year but there are a few changes. In the clothing department, I’m bringing my Showers Pass rain pants instead of my REI pants. The Showers Pass pants are a bit heavier but will come in handy if it gets cold. I’m bringing two lightweight Buff neck gaiters. I actually wear a Buff over the top of my head to protect my bald spot and forehead from getting sunburn, as well as to keep sweat out of my eyes. Buffs tend to wander off in the night so I’m assuming I’m going to lose one along the way. Bandanas have multiple uses and typically don’t survive the trip.

Rain boots are another possible item. They will keep my feet warm on cold mornings and dry in the rain. Alternatively, I can just bring some plastic supermarket bags. They weigh less and take up less space.

My sleeping bag is new and much heavier weight than the sleep sack that I froze in last summer in the high mountains of Wyoming. My new sleeping pad is much more compact and infinitely more comfortable than the one I used last year. The air valve on the old one stopped working so a new pad was in order. I am also bringing a little inflater gizmo that only weights a few ounces.

I am only bringing flat bungie cords this time. Corey convinced me of their general usefulness in Canon City, CO last summer. I am not bringing a cargo net as I have in the past.

In a concession to my spinal stenosis, I am bringing a collapsible cane that I bought at REI recently.

I haven’t decided what lock to bring. I usually bring an Ottolock but mine froze in Fort Scott, KS last summer and had to be sawed off. The company sent me a new one but it did not work properly so I am bringing a Brinks cable lock. A U-lock is much more secure but it’s a bit useless with bike bags in the way. With the cable lock, I can lock my bike to a picnic table in camp which has the added benefit of keeping the bike from falling over.

Finally, it is a time-honored tradition that after about a week, bicycle tourists send a box of stuff home. I plan on mailing home my used maps once I get clear of the mountains. That will save me about a half pound. When touring out west, I have to plan for long stretches, even entire days, without food or water. That won’t be necessary in the east. It’s still a good idea to bring some food along just in case, hence the PB&J and such.

I managed to break the power pack I bought for last year’s tour. It had a charging connection that was flimsy. It broke off. I’m glad it didn’t happen during the tour. The new power pack uses a cable to connect to a power source.

On Bike

  • Large Ortlieb roll top panniers (2)
  • Small Ortlieb rol top panniers (2)
  • Medium Ortlieb handlebar bag with map case
  • Helmet with light mount
  • Bell
  • Mirror
  • Saddle cover
  • Maps
  • Water bottles (2)


  • Iphone
  • Headphones
  • Power pack
  • Light and Motion headlight
  • Taillight
  • Chargers/cables for all lights, camera and phone


  • Sandals
  • Rain jacket
  • Rain pants
  • Rain boots
  • Shirts (2 synthetic, 2 cotton) 
  • Bike shorts (2) and shell
  • Bike gloves
  • Cool weather gloves
  • Off bike shorts and belt
  • Floppy hat
  • Sunsleeves
  • Swim trunks
  • Bike shoes
  • Buff (2)
  • Bandana (2)
  • Socks (3 pair)

Personal Items

  • Dr Bronners soap
  • Microfiber bath towel
  • Microfiber washcloth
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Comb
  • Tooth brush
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Prescription sunglasses
  • Backup prescription glasses
  • A book or magazine
  • Covid mask


  • Duct tape
  • Zip ties (4)
  • Flat bungies (6)
  • Clothes pins (4)
  • Chain break
  • Spare link
  • Wire for holding chain
  • Multitool
  • Fiber Fix spokes (2)
  • Spare tubes (3)
  • Patch kit
  • Tire levers (3)
  • Pump
  • $1 bills for tire boot
  • Spare tire
  • Lube (2 kinds, wax based for the chain. Oil based for everything else)
  • Chain cleaner
  • Rag
  • Spare brake cable
  • Spare shifter cable
  • Lock

Camping Gear

  • Tent
  • Stakes
  • Ground cloth
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Camp pillow
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pad inflator
  • Spare AAA batteries for pad inflator (2)
  • Dry bag
  • Rope
  • Swiss army knife


  • Brio
  • Latanoprost
  • Ibuprofen
  • Ibuprofen PM
  • Albuterol
  • Antihistamine
  • 81mg aspirin
  • Collapsible cane


  • Clif Bars
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • PB&J
  • Rolls (or something similar for PB&J)
  • Spare water bottle
  • Lightweight utensils

Otherwise my preparation for the tour is pretty much complete. I have ridden over 3,600 miles this year which is more than I rode prior to my 2018 tour when I averaged over 70 miles per day. I have also done some deliberately hilly rides without killing my legs or lungs. So the engine is in pretty good shape. Typically, I get stronger as the ride progresses which is good because New Hampshire and Vermont promise to be pretty challenging.

Ten days until lift off. In the meantime I have Mother’s Day, a Nats game, dinner with siblings, a high school reunion, 800 miles of driving, and a Crowded House concert to deal with.

8 thoughts on “Packing List for 2023 Bike Tour

  1. John – do you ride on flat pedals, or pedals that require cleats? I note that you list bike shoes, but not whether they are SPD compatible. I’m asking, since I’m thinking of finally getting away from clip-in pedals and shoes, and just using flat pedals and shoes that work with those.

    1. I use SKS Touring pedals. Flat metal pedals with toe clips. I have tried various kinds of clipless and cleated pedals in the past and never liked them. My shoes are a type of Shimano mountain bike shoes (discountined) that are easy to walk in.

  2. A good list—I might base my planning on your list while gearing up for a September ride down the Oregon & California coasts, about 3 weeks’ worth of riding. Wishing you well!

  3. I always like to see someone else’s packing list. Never hurts to have a dollar around, but one day I decided to use an inner tube patch as a boot – affixed it to the inside of the tire. It worked great and there is no danger of it slipping out of place like a regular boot. It can be a long-term repair. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner or why I never heard it from anyone else. I skip the shaving cream and just work the Dr Bronner’s into a lather. I had (until it was stolen in a campground) a folding solar panel so I could charge the power pack during daylight, the use that to charge my phone overnight.

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