Gear, gear, gear – if we are being honest it is the one thing outside of the traveling by bike aspect of adventure cycling we all find appealing. Most of us are probably gear junkies. We all love to tinker and continually change things up in search of the perfect setup. The holy grail of adventure cycling – carrying exactly what you need in the most efficient manner possible. Could that ever be attained? I hope not because then the tinkering would stop. I like the tinkering process.
Here is the gear checklist I use for my trips. I’m sharing this here in two formats. First, a PDF you can download for your own use. I’m also sharing a link to the Google spreadsheet so you can adapt it to fit your own needs.
This checklist is not designed to have all the boxes checked, but instead to give you an idea of what you need. This format has proven quite valuable for first-timers and those new to adventure cycling.
I’ve divided the list into the following sections; bike gear, camp gear, food & cooking, clothing, personal items, and miscellaneous.
In several of the sections, I have provided guidance on how your setup could differ based on your bike and your carrying style for your gear.
I’ll also walk through each one of those in this article.
The type of equipment used to carry your gear is dependent upon your bike type. If you have an adventure or hybrid style bike your best options typically center around racks and panniers, although front rack usage can be a problem if you have front suspension. Fatbikes are highly flexible campers since they can typically accommodate a rack/pannier setup OR a large seatpack combined with a frame bag and front bag rolls. Full suspension mountain bikes are typically limited to some flavor of frame bag combined with a high capacity seat bag and backpack. The trick is to determine how to carry what you need with the bike you have when starting out. Half the fun of this activity is continually tinkering with your setup.
The key with camping gear is to keep it as lightweight as possible. When looking for gear anything usually designed for backpacking typically fits the bill.
Food & Cooking
The most lightweight and easy way to go is dehydrated meals with a stove that does nothing more than boil water. A Jetboil stove boils water quickly. Long-handle spoons minimize mess and cleanup. Always remember – pack in, pack out. Canned food is heavy going in AND coming out. If you want to be adventurous search the Internet for backpacking recipes. One of my personal favorite things to do is bring an avocado, some hard cheese, and salsa packet to mix with my dehydrated chicken and rice.
Bring less than you can think you need. Bring the basics and wear things more than once. To keep things dry and compact consider packing in Ziploc bags or dry bags.
Gear checklists are highly personal things so I encourage you to visit the Google spreadsheet link, save the sheet to your own account and modify it to something most useful for you. If you see anything missing (and I am certain there is) use the comments to let me know.