Oink – Preliminary Bike Tour Packing List

I will be using four panniers and a handlebar bag. I may swap two big panniers for my two little ones in front so I can carry more water. But for now here’s how the packing list looks:


  • Two-person tent with rainfly and ground cloth
  • Sleep sack (light weight sleeping bag)
  • Cocoon (silk sleeping bag liner)
  • Full length sleeping pad
  • Travel pillow
  • Knife and spork


  • Two two-liter water bladders
  • Water filter


  • Three pairs of mountain bike shorts.
  • Three techincal t-shirts
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair bike gloves
  • Sun sleeves for my arms
  • Cotton t-shirt for off the bike
  • Shorts and belt for off bike
  • One pair technical undies for off bike
  • Bathing suit
  • Teva sandals
  • Floppy hat for riding in Utah and Nevada
  • Buff (for combating desert sun)
  • Headsweat
  • Gloves
  • Rain pants
  • Rain jacket


  • iPhone charger cable
  • Camera
  • Headlight (with mount for helmet)
  • Chargers for all three


  • Aspirin (blod clots)
  • Compression sleeves (blood clots)
  • Antihistamines (allergies)
  • Ibuprofen with and without sedative (old body parts)
  • Eye drops (glaucoma) – 2 small vials
  • Arnuity (asthma) – two inhaler discs
  • Albuterol (asthma) – one inhaler


  • Sunscreen
  • Toothpaste (lots of little travel tubes to be tossed as I go)
  • Toothbrush
  • Razor (Fusion – one blade will last the whole trip)
  • Shaving cream
  • TP
  • Dr. Bronners (for washing me and my clothes)
  • Wash cloth
  • Towel
  • Spare prescription glasses

Handlebar bag

  • Chapstick
  • Spanner for Brooks saddle
  • Sunglasses
  • Wallet
  • iPhone
  • Backup power source (small with USB port)
  • Ottolock (small lock in place of u-lock – much lighter)


  • Multitool
  • Chain tool
  • Piece of coat hanger (to hold chain during repairs)
  • Master chain links (2)
  • Cables (1 for brakes, 1 for shifters)
  • Fiber fix emergency spokes (2)
  • Tire levers
  • Patch kit
  • 2 spare tubes
  • Folding spare tire
  • $1 bill as a tire boot
  • Wax lube (for chain)
  • Oil lube (for everything else)
  • Degreaser
  • Rag
  • Duct tape
  • Zip ties
  • Road Morph pump
  • Swiss Army knife

By far the heaviest single item is the two person tent. I can’t camp in a one-person tent. It feels like I am in a coffin.

In any case, this is quite a load. Roughly the same as last summer, adding the water items and ditching the u-lock

If anyone has any ideas about cutting weight, please post in the comments.





Any Road to the PNW – Pre-tour Anxiety

Construction, Fires, Floods, and Lions

I can’t sleep. All I can think about is the cascade of things that are going wrong with my bike tour and I haven’t even left home yet. From past experience I know that I have to go all mindful and concentrate on the here and now. This will be easier once I am rolling.

The route I am taking keeps changing and troubles keep arising. First I was worried about road construction on the route west from Missoula Montana. Next I discovered that the passes to the central Cascades in Oregon are compromised from last years wildfires. (Can’t wait for this years. Derp.) Then I found out that the route down the Columbia River gorge to Portland Oregon is partially closed because of more forest fires. This would force me to ride along the Washington State side of the river, missing Multnomah Falls in the process. For the last few days torrential rains have been wiping out the 185-mile C & O Canal towpath from near DC to near Williamsport, at Mile 100. Needless to day, the free camping sites are probably a mess too. This morning I learned that a mountain lion killed a mountain biker about 30 miles east of Seattle.

That’s right fires, floods, and lions. Whose idea was this anyway?

The Packing List

So I have busied myself making a packing list. Here’s what I am bringing.


  • Two-person tent
  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Silk sleeping bag liner
  • Pillow
  • Bear bag (for keeping carnivores away from my food)
  • Carbiner and nylon rope (to hang the bag)
  • Toilet paper
  • Utensils
  • Ear plugs
  • Sleep mask (for hostels)


  • Prescription sunglasses
  • Shaving cream
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Medicine
    • Maintenance inhalers (4) (Asthma)
    • Rescue inhalers (1) (Asthma)
    • Eye drops (glaucoma)
    • Aspirin (blood clots)
    • Ibuprofen
    • Nighttime Ibuprofen
  • Sunscreen
  • Ear plugs
  • Chamois cream
  • Back up prescription glasses
  • Book (maybe 2. Probably ancient Tom Wolfe paperbacks)
  • Passport (for going into Canada or boarding a flight if I lose my other ID)


  • Bike shorts (3)
  • Technical bike shirts (3)
  • Cotton t-shirt
  • Off -bike shorts
  • Belt
  • Technical underwear for either on or off bike
  • Socks (3)
  • Bike shoes
  • 1 old t-shirt to use as a rag after it gets worn
  • Floppy hat
  • Teva sandals
  • Rain pants
  • Rain jacket
  • Sunsleeves


  • iPhone
  • iPhone cable and charger
  • iPhone earphones
  • Small back up battery
  • Head light
  • Head light charger
  • Taillight belt
  • Taillight belt charger
  • Camera
  • Camera charging cable

Bike Gear

  • The Mule (1991 Specialized Sequoia touring bike)
  • Water bottles (2)
  • Extra water bottle in pannier
  • Four Ortlieb roll top panniers (2 small for the front, 2 large for the rear)
  • Ortlieb medium handlebar bad with map case
  • Bicycling gloves
  • Multitool
  • Tire levers
  • Tubes (3)
  • Folding spare tire
  • Valve adapter
  • Topeak RoadMorph Pump
  • Lube
  • Lock
  • Cables
  • Zip ties
  • Duct tape


  • Adventure Cycling Association Maps (14)
  • Rudi’s route to Little Orleans (A cue sheet to circumvent most of the C&O Canal. A very hilly route that I hope not to use.)
  • Trail mix
  • Energy bars/fruit

The new stuff for this tour is underlined. As you can see I have already crossed out a few items. I wouldn’t know what to do with a cable if I had to do a roadside repair so there’s no point in bringing them. And other than the fact that I can take pictures while riding, the camera is kind of useless. I can use my iPhone for photos, and it will force me to stop to take the pictures which is not a bad thing.

The Route

Whether I like it or not, the route is changing as I type. My current thinking is that instead of riding the canal directly west from DC, I use roads to get me about 100 to 110 miles upriver. So on day one will be spent riding on the roads to Fredrick Maryland. I’ll stay in a hotel. This replaces my first C&O Canal day. Day two will involve riding roads west from Fredrick picking up the Canal and the Western Maryland Rail Trail either at Williamsport or beyond and overnighting in Hancock Maryland at mile 125. (The bike shop has a bunkhouse with showers and WiFi and such.) Day three will be 60 miles of mud to Cumberland assuming the the trail is open. If not, the pooch is screwed. But I’ll mix my metaphors and blow up that bridge when I get to it.

Today’s Fun

My anxiety woke me up at 5 a.m. I have to ride 45 miles round trip to Vienna Virginia to return Bike to Work Day materials. I had volunteered to staff a pit stop 1 1/2 miles from my house. What I didn’t know was that I was responsible for picking up and dropping off Bike to Work Day materials for the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), our suburban advocacy group, 23 miles away. This easy volunteering effort ballooned from a 3 hour commitment to about 12 hours. Suffice it to say, I’ll choose my volunteering events more carefully next time. On the plus side, I get to do a shake down ride on The Mule.

When I get home, I’ll watch the Nats game, do some laundry, and go a concert in DC. Hopefully, I can sleep in tomorrow.