Cycle Touring Kit List
Here is a detailed listing of the cycle touring equipment I have in current use, together with manufacturer and retailer links.
The list reflects my personal preferences, rather than what I’d necessarily recommend to you. I can’t do that unless I know about your plans, your preferences, your budget, and many other factors that influence gear choice (although I’ve thrown in a couple of general recommendations to help out).
For many years I deliberately refused to publish my kit list on this blog, but you lovely people continue to email me to ask what I use, so I grudgingly concede. Here goes…
Bike & Luggage
- Touring Bike
- Oxford Bike Works Expedition, custom built to my own specification. Exhaustive details here.
- Rear Panniers
- Crosso Twist 52 (review / Amazon* / eBay*) or Carradice Super C (old review / Spa / SJS), depending on whether or not I need full waterproofing. I don’t use front panniers.
- Handlebar Bag
- Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Classic (Wiggle*) with padded insert if I need something small; Klickfix-compatible Biologic Tour Bag (Evans* / Amazon*) if I need something big. I also like baskets.
- An assortment of Exped and Seal Line rolltop drybags between 5l and 20l capacity. Avoid ultralight models. Plastic carrier bags work too.
- Extrawheel Voyager (review). I use this only when I need to carry tons of extra stuff (Arctic in winter, Mongolia off-road).
- MSR Hubba in green (review / OutdoorGear.co.uk* / Rutland Cycling*) if I’m on my own; MSR Mutha Hubba HP (OutdoorGear.co.uk*) if my better half is along for the ride.
- Tent Alternative
- I don’t really like tents. So if it’s practical I’ll sleep in a Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag or Hennessy Deep Jungle Hammock, depending on mood and likelihood of trees.
- Sleeping Bag
- Alpkit Pipedream 250 if I’m going lightweight, Snugpak Softie Elite 3 if I’m not, Big Agnes Storm King if it’s stupidly cold and that’s all that matters (like, -10°C or below).
- Camping Mattress
- Exped SynMat Hyperlite M (OutdoorGear.co.uk*) for most stuff, Exped Downmat 7 (review / Webtogs) if it’s stupidly cold. If I was going round the world again I’d take a Therm-a-rest ProLite or RidgeRest.
- Exped AirPillow UL for my poor old neck (have also used Mammut* pillows); McNett Tenacious Tape (Amazon* / GoOutdoors.co.uk*) for gear repairs; toothbrush. On a long tour I’d take a cheap silk liner* to prolong my sleeping bag’s life.
Cooking isn’t always essential, but if I’m away for long enough to want to cook my own food or make a brew, here’s what I use:
- If on my own: Vango compact gas stove if canisters available (Amazon* / *) or DIY beer can stove (viral how-to video). In groups or on long trips: MSR Whisperlite Universal (review / Amazon* / GoOutdoors.co.uk*) or Dragonfly (old review / Amazon* / GoOutdoors.co.uk*).
- Depending on circumstances and luggage limitations, either Decathlon 2-person alu cookset, MSR Quick Solo system (Amazon* / OutdoorGear.co.uk*), or Alpkit MyTiMug.
- Water Purification
- Rarely necessary (if in doubt, boil or add iodine), but my filter of choice is the Sawyer Squeeze (Amazon*).
- Utensils & Accessories
- Spoon, traditional Opinel No8 folding pocket knife ( *), airtight tupperware container, film canister of sea salt, English teabags, scouring pad, small bag of laundry powder.
I then throw in some bog-standard padded lycra undershorts, and a bog-standard synthetic fleece, and whichever of the following items are relevant:
- dhb EQ2.5 cycling jacket (Wiggle*). I sometimes supplement this with a bin bag. I don’t bother with overtrousers. My legs just get wet. (Then they get dry again because I’m riding a bike.)
- Advanced Multisport Optics ‘Prowler’ sunglasses with NXT photochromic lenses.
- Down jacket
- Big Agnes Shovelhead, if it’s really going to get cold at night.
- Light hiking shoes, recently Salomon Goretex or cheap Decathlon. I always pack flip-flops.
- Various Buffs, depending on circumstances – UV protective, high-vis, visor, fleece, Union Jack. They’re stupidly useful. Helmet – sometimes, generic.
Tools, Spares & Accessories
- Basic toolkit
- Topeak Alien II multitool (Amazon* / Wiggle* / CRC), Topeak Road Morph G hand pump with gauge (Amazon* / Wiggle* / CRC*), Park Tool GP-2 self-adhesive patches (Amazon* / Wiggle* / CRC*), Park Tool TL-1C tyre levers (Amazon* / Wiggle*), bog-standard puncture repair kit, small bottle of chain lube, strip of Gaffa Tape wrapped round seatpost, handful of assorted cable ties/zip ties.
- Extended toolkit
- Cassette tool, crank extractor, bottom bracket tool, adjustable spanner, 10/12mm hex key for Shimano freehub removal, strips of inner tube rubber, hose clamp, electrical terminal block.
- Basic spares
- Innertube, chain links, brake shoes/pads, 3x spokes (rear driveside, rear non-driveside, front).
- Extended spares
- Another innertube, spare chain, gear cable set (inner/outer/ferrules), brake cable set, hub/headset/bottom bracket bearings, film canister of grease.
- Other extended trip gear
- MSR stove service kit if applicable.
Gadgets and electronics are a topic for elsewhere, as they’re even more dependent on personal preferences and aims for your tour.
Now go and read about why you don’t need any of this stuff.
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