Packing for a cycling trip can be difficult without a bike touring packing list.
If you’re anything like us, you wait until the last minute and then end up forgetting the important bits!
This ultimate bicycle packing list is designed to make your life easier. It is tailored for self-supported cyclists who are planning to ride for around a week, either on a classic bike tour or gravel bike touring.
Remember to check the weather forecast and adjust your packing accordingly. We didn’t include every single thing you might need, as it would be impractical to carry all that equipment. In case of major mechanical issues, you can always seek help at a nearby bike shop. Use this ultimate bike touring gear list to ensure you have all the essentials for your future tours.
Want to know more about gravel bike touring? Read this article.
This article includes details of products and/or services that we have used ourselves or which we would consider. Some are paid features or include affiliate links where if you click on a link and make a booking or buy something, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please read our disclosure policy for further information.
Bike related things to do before you go
- Service your bike (or have it serviced)
- Pre-book a bike space on your flight (if necessary)
- Think about how you’ll transfer to the start of your ride
- Check the weather so you can tailor your packing list (we love the WeatherPro app and there are free versions available)
- Check your travel insurance is up to date and covers bike touring (our guide to picking cycling travel insurance should help!)
Print this list so you know what to add to your bike touring pack list – and of course leave yourself enough time to pack it all neatly!
Bike touring packing list
Before embarking on your bike tour or gravel bike adventure, consider including the items below. Note that this assumes you’re bringing your own bike rather than hiring a bike.
It also assumes you won’t be camping. For extras you’ll need to consider if camping, keep scrolling!
- Bike box or bag (if necessary for travel)
- Front and rear light with fresh (or spare) batteries
- 2 large (750ml) water bottles (plus 2 bottle cages!)
- Cable ties
- Bike lock (optional – but highly recommended)
- Essential saddle bag items:
- Pump (compressed gas canisters may be confiscated if you’re flying)
- 3 or 4 inner tubes (and valve extenders if you ride deep section rims)
- 2 plastic tyre levers
- Multi tool
- Pedal spanner/allen key for your pedal
- Any torx keys or bike specific tools you need
- Chain lube
Spares and tools
A lot of equipment now requires spare parts and tools that are specific to a model, year or type. This can make finding spares in local shops a bit of a hit and miss. If there aren’t many bike shops on your route, you forgot to service your bike before, you’re on an unsupported trip somewhere remote or you just want to play it safe, consider adding the following to your cycling trip packing list as well.
- Leatherman. Has pliers and other tools for cycle repair and camping.
- Quick links or chain powerlink for patch repairing a broken chain
- Chain splitter
- Spare tyre
- Duct tape. Can be a godsend for small repairs to camping or bike equipment.
- Puncture repair kit/s and sealant
- Heavy duty curved needle and nylon thread. For sewing up a tear to a tyre.
- Tyre boots. For patch repairing tyre holes.
- Superglue. Helps to seal a sewn or plugged area.
- Spare derailleur hanger
- Extra hardware including bolts
- Spare brake pads (2 spare sets or more)
- Spare brake and shifter cables
- Spare cleats
- Extra spokes
The number of clothes you take will depend a huge amount on your set up, the route you’re taking and the time of year. It will also depend on your tolerance for being a bit grimy! That’s why we haven’t included the number of items of each thing you should take. However, if in doubt, remember to wear layers and usually the lightest and most compact options are best if you’re carrying your own luggage!
- Sunglasses (and clear lenses)
- Bib shorts or padded shorts
- Base layer(s)
- Mid layer
- Short sleeve jersey(s)
- Long sleeve jersey(s)
- Cycling gilet
- Arm warmers
- Leg warmers (or cycling tights/over trousers)
- Water/windproof cycling jacket
- Short fingered gloves/mitts
- Long fingered gloves
- Bike shoes
Whatever off-bike clothes you want! We would suggest including these on any touring or gravel bike tour packing checklist:
- Evening / Training / Casual Shoes
- Flip flops
- Beanie or hat
- Swim kit
- Towel (depending on whether or not your accommodation supplies this)
Some of these may not be necessary for your packing list for bike touring. Yet many of these items might normally be included on a packing list for any holiday:
- Phone and charger
- Bike computer with GPS, mount and charger (or mount for your phone)
- Multi-charger adapter
- Battery power pack (or a dynamo charging hub)
- Small flashlight or headtorch
- Camera and charger (optional)
- Bike camera and charger (optional)
- Laptop or tablet and charger (optional
- Heart rate monitor (optional)
- Stash of your favourite energy bars (we like these – 20% off with code EPIC-20, more details at the end of this article)
- Energy gels or equivalent (optional – we like these – 20% off with code EPIC-20)
- Energy drink powder (we like this – 20% off with code EPIC-20)
- Recovery drink powder (we like this – 20% off with code EPIC-20)
- Hydration tablets
- Suncream (we like this) and lip balm
- First aid kit (painkillers, disinfectant, insect repellent, plasters or band aids, antihistamine cream)
- Personal medication (particularly prescription items)
- Wash kit (tooth brush, tooth paste, body wash, shampoo and conditioner)
- Earplugs (better safe than sorry if your sleep suffers from night-time noise!)
- Waterproof phone pouch for jersey pocket (optional)
- Plastic bags for storing things
- Compression bags (useful for getting more into your bag and to separate clean and dirty clothes: we like these)
- Holiday reading (optional)
- Toilet paper (depends on accommodation) and tissues
- Menstrual products (if needed)
- Hand sanitiser gel (for these post-Covid times!)
- Credit card
- ATM/debit card. Tell your bank, before you leave, about where you’re planning to go. If your card is used in certain countries, the issuer could cancel it because they might assume it’s fraud.
- Passport or European ID card as required (with picture)
- Visa (if needed)
- Proof of travel and (if relevant) health insurance
- UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) or UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC)
- Car hire paperwork – or if you’re taking your own car, car insurance and breakdown insurance paperwork (optional)
- Details of where you’re staying
- Flight details and boarding card (optional)
- Ball-point pen
If you’re going on an unsupported, camping-based bike tour, then you’ll need to add extra items to your cycle touring kit list. When you’re going to be self-reliant, you’ll have to think about equipment for sleeping, supplies of food and water, carrying extra spares and safety items like a decent first aid kit.
Here’s what you might need to add to your cycling holiday packing list when you’ll be cycling unsupported and camping – in addition to the items already listed above.
- Tent. The best types for your bike trip checklist are ultralight or fast fly tents. Alternatively, use a bivvy shelter, a tarp or just a hammock for sleeping in. (We love this one)
- Sleeping mat. Inflatable and foam styles are available (we like this one.)
- Sleeping bag. Make sure you take the correct rating for the overnight temperatures at your destination.
- Sleeping bag liner (optional). This can add a layer of warmth while keeping your sleeping bag cleaner. (We love the lightweight, breathable silk Nod Pod.)
- Inflatable pillow (optional but we like this one)
- Chair (optional)
When buying your equipment, try and remember you’ll want to pack it so it all fits inside the cooking pot.
Also remember some food to cook and water both to drink and cook with! How much to take will depend on how long you’re planning to go for and will vary enormously depending on your route. Always have an emergency stash.
- Portable stove. Plus any required fuel you’ll need. (We have and like both this and this.)
- Lighter. More reliable than matches, which could get damp while touring in the rain.
- Mug. Choose carefully, and this may also double up as a cooking pot.
- Cooking pot. Make sure you choose one that’s big enough for boiling water if you want hot drinks.
- Plate or mess tin (optional). You may need something to serve your food onto, especially if there’s more than one of you.
- Spork. An all-in-one utensil that’s a cross between a spoon and a fork. (We rate this one, as the long handle means it can also be used for stirring the pot.)
- Sharp knife. If you have a multi-tool such as a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman, then you can use that. (We reckon the Leatherman Wingman is a great investment.)
- Salt and pepper or hot sauce to spice up bland food.
- Water bottles. Large bottles and/or a bladder for transporting water, in addition to those you carry on the bike each day.
- Water purification tablets. Or better still, a Steripen water purifier. (We like this.)
In addition to the clothes above, if you’re camping you’ll want some extra layers for the evenings and early mornings.
- Merino wool t-shirt. Warmer than regular t-shirts for colder temperatures.
- Merino wool socks. Thermal and breathable.
- Merino wool leggings. Ditto.
- Down jacket. You may need this for colder evening temperatures.
- Rainproof trousers. Ideal for camping when it’s wet.
- Portable battery pack/s
- Head torch. (We like the BioLite headlamp.)
- Toilet paper. Unscented is best.
- Trowel. For hiding the evidence!
- Pee funnels. May make things easier.
- Wag bags. For removing human waste.
- Satellite messaging device (if you’re going out of phone reception range for an extended period of time).
- Backup GPS and maps
- Bear line, bag and spray (if you’re staying anywhere that might be near bears!)
- Emergency whistle. Can attract attention if you go off-grid
- Bell (if riding on shared use paths)
- Extras for your first aid kit: for example tweezers, irrigation syringe, butterfly bandages or steri-strips, gauze bandage, antibiotic cream, Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and antihistamine meds.
Did we miss anything?!
Is there anything else we should have included on this bicycle touring checklist? Surely not, it is (we hope) a pretty comprehensive packing list for a bike trip?! We hope it does help to make completing your bicycle touring packing list less stressful for you.
If you’re going on more of a road cycling trip, check out our road cycling holiday packing list, here.
And if you’re planning a trip away, don’t miss our trip planning 101 and our guides to some of the world’s best cycling destinations – they include super helpful route information and tips regarding practical stuff such as where to stay.
Also our article on cycling nutrition for long rides should be useful, and has more information on the cycling snacks we like to take along for the ride – as mentioned above.
Please support Epic Road Rides
A huge amount of time and effort goes into the article you’ve just read, all with the aim of helping you!
If you found what you’ve read useful, I’d really appreciate it if you dropped something in the tip jar here.
It’s a way you can say thank you and help us carry on creating top quality content with no annoying ads and no pay wall.
Got a question for Clare?
Fill out this form and we will send it to Clare. We aim to get you an answer within 24 hours wherever possible!
The contents of this website are provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on it. You should carry out your own due diligence and take professional advice. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our website is accurate, complete or up to date. If you use any information or content on this website, download from, or otherwise obtain content or services through our website, it is entirely at your own discretion and risk. Epic Road Rides Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information and content on this website. Find out more here.