As the departure date approaches, we’ve been analyzing and tweaking our pack list to get it just right. While this whole pack list analysis can get tedious, I still have fun trying to envision how each piece of gear or clothing will make the trip that much better. For instance, just today we totally revamped our cook kit. Carrie got inspired to try making more elaborate meals. She couldn’t picture herself enjoying another pot of mushy mac n’ cheese after five months on the road.
December 23, 2016 update: You’ll now find notes in bold that share our post-ride opinions of the gear we brought.
Most of the recent changes we’ve made have increased the weight and volume of our pack list. That’s usually not a good thing. The less we carry the easier our burden. But there is a difference between a summer trip in the dry American west and a three-season trip in northern Europe. That difference is rain. With a planned budget of about $50/day, we won’t be able to afford consistent nights indoors. We want to include items that will keep us warm and happy in poor weather, despite the weight and bulk penalties.
From bikes to bandannas, here’s the official pack list, broken down into digestible chunks:
Floppy’s Shimano XT rear hub started making clunking sounds while in the Alps. Since we didn’t bring cone wrenches to service the hub, we attempted to solve the problem at a bike shop in Geneva. Their response was to replace the wheel. They claimed they didn’t have any spare parts to fix the hub. To our dismay, we ended up replacing the wheel. I’ll be building up a new wheel for Carrie’s bike with a hub that can be serviced without tools. The Velo Orange touring hub I used on my bike was simple to service when it too started making some noise.
The Jones Loop bars proved to be very comfortable for the long haul. The extra loop out front allowed me to easily attach the tent and Revelate Pocket. My Shimano Dura Ace 9-speed bar end shifters mounted to Paul Thumbies worked well in friction mode. Shifting was fast and easy. I do wish Paul made the same setup for the shifters to be placed under the bars.
To reduce the amount of luggage and racks strapped to our bikes, Carrie and I have managed to squeeze all of our gear into a total of four panniers and two handlebar bags. This reduces significant weight. Panniers are heavy! Two Ortlieb Front Roller Classic panniers weigh 3.5 pounds. Add a 1-pound rack to secure them and your at nearly 5 pounds just for holding stuff.
Instead of adding more panniers, I’ll be strapping our tent under my Jones Loop handlebars using some toe straps. The Revelate Pocket then wraps around the tent as seen on a lot of bikepacking setups. We’ll also be bringing some cargo nets to strap things to the top of the rear racks if needed. It’s a good place to stash wet clothes or tent pieces that you want to keep separate from the dry stuff.
Carrie complained frequently because her luggage wasn’t waterproof. It rained a lot on our trip. In order to access anything in her luggage she’d first have to remove the rain fly and then open sack. It’s an extra step not necessary with waterproof panniers. The Ortliebs Back Roller Classics I used are 11 years old and still waterproof, even after I repaired one in France after I crashed.
|Vaude handlebar bag||28.3|
|Delta cargo net||2.5|
|Ortlieb Back Roller Classic panniers||54.6|
|Revelate Designs large Pocket||6.8|
|Delta cargo net||2.5|
|4 toe straps||2.8|
|2x 26×2.0 presta valve tubes||11.99|
|extra patches and 2 pairs of Power Links||0.78|
|Lezyne Road Drive pump w/ frame mount||3.84|
|Park SW-1 spoke wrench||0.53|
|2x Pedro’s tire levers||1.48|
|cheap cotton shop rag||0.99|
|Dumonde Tech Pro X Regular 2oz. chain lube||2.50|
|2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6mm keys and 8mm bit||1.83|
|Park CT-5 Mini Brute chain tool||2.65|
|5x spare spokes and brass nipples||1.23|
|4x medium size zip ties||0.56|
|Park MT-1 8mm, 10mm wrenches and flat head||1.20|
|Modified S&S Machine Racing Wrench||1.59|
|Kryptonite tiny Bike lock||3.32|
|Topeak Aero Wedge seat bag||4.66|
If you’re dying to know more about our bike maintenance kit, feel free to read this older post.
There’s not much to say about our tool kit. Although we had few mechanical problems, we’d still bring the entire kit for future tours.
|rain jacket||Shower’s Pass Elite 2.0||16.00|
|midweight layer||Generic 1/4 zip fleece||10.58|
|thermal layer||Feathered Friends Daybreak||9.35|
|base layer||Smart Wool lightweight merino long sleeve||6.00|
|base layer||Patagonia Capline 2 lightweight long sleeve||5.40|
|wind jacket||Patagonia Houdini||4.34|
|pants||Bluff Works Classic||13.93|
|padded undies||2x Aerotech Designs Touring Undies||9.88|
|shorts||Giro over shorts||7.09|
|undies||Polyester boxer briefs||2.72|
|thermal cap||Merino and possum fir||1.94|
|cycling cap||Showing off my LBS||1.31|
|wind gloves||REI running liners||1.80|
|rain gloves||MLD Event||1.38|
|socks||2x Darn Tough lightweight Cycling socks||3.46|
|sneakers||Five Ten Freeriders||31.08|
|rain booties||Shower’s Pass Club Shoe Covers||3.10|
|sleep socks||Midweight wool||1.76|
In Ireland I sent home the following unnecessary clothes: wind jacket, down jacket, both gloves, sleep socks, and knee warmers.
|Category||Item||Description||weight (oz)||weight (lbs)||weight (g)|
|thermal layer||Polartec lightweight hoodie||8.11||0.51||230|
|midweight layer||Smart Wool 1/4 zip long sleeve||7.87||0.49||223|
|base layer||Go Lite Merino long sleeve||5.96||0.37||169|
|base layer||Smartwool wool/poly long sleeve||5.64||0.35||160|
|wind jacket||Go Lite Merino long sleeve||3.10||0.19||88|
|sleeping top||cotton tank top||2.82||0.18||80|
|rain jacket||Shower’s Pass Elite 2.1||13.37||0.84||379|
|rain pants||Shower’s Pass Women’s Transit||11.32||0.71||321|
|pants||REI travel pants||7.55||0.47||214|
|bike shorts||2x Specialized RBX Comp||13.55||0.85||384|
|thermal bottoms||Icebreaker lightweight||5.22||0.33||148|
|tights||Aerotech Designs unpadded tights||5.08||0.32||144|
|undies||2x cotton undies||1.90||0.12||54|
|sun hat||Sunday Afternoons||2.50||0.16||71|
|thermal cap||Smartwool merino||1.59||0.10||45|
|short gloves||Specialized BG short finger||1.55||0.10||44|
|wind gloves||Pearl Izumi||3.03||0.19||86|
|rain gloves||MLD Event||1.23||0.08||35|
|rain booties||Shower’s Pass Club Shoe Covers||3.88||0.24||110|
|sleep socks||Midweight wool||2.15||0.13||61|
|socks||IceBreaker wool shorties||1.76||0.11||50|
Carrie sent home the following clothes in Ireland: hoodie.
|Category||Item||weight (g)||weight (oz)||weight (lbs)|
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent w/ sack, fly, body, poles||1632||57.57||3.60|
|Thermarest Neo Air size regular||425||14.99||0.94|
|Jacks R Better 25º quilt||606||21.38||1.34|
|Exped air pillow||81||2.86||0.18|
|Polycro ground sheet||74||2.61||0.16|
|Extra cord for laundry, tent, and tarp in stuff sack||29||1.02||0.06|
|Z-Packs 8’x10′ cuben fiber tarp||231||8.15||0.51|
|12x MSR Mini Groundhog stakes||118||4.16||0.26|
|Sea to Summit daypack||76||2.68||0.17|
|REI microfiber travel towel||43||1.52||0.09|
|Thermarest Neo Air Womens||425||14.99||0.94|
|Marmot Helium 15º sleeping bag||990||34.92||2.18|
|Exped air pillow||81||2.86||0.18|
|REI microfiber travel towel cut in half||72||2.54||0.16|
Both of our Exped air pillows lost their shape and then mine eventually popped at the seam. We attempted multiple repairs but the seam kept breaking. The pillows are comfortable though, so I’d probably use them again. We sent home the tarp in Ireland and our polycro ground sheet bit the dust. We made a new ground sheet from painter’s plastic. It lasted the rest of the trip. The Hubba Hubba was a good tent, but its rain fly eventually started leaking in France. We tried to seam seal the main seams but water still managed to drip inside the tent when it rained. I don’t think the tent fly is very durable.
We made big changes to the cook setup since our last post. We’ve decided to migrate from a minimalist to a more flexible setup. This move comes at a big weight and bulk penalty. But we feel it’ll be worth it. With a proper knife, a non-stick fry pan, and a heat adjustable canister stove, we should be able to cook more complicated meals, like scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches, which would never fly with our thin titanium pot and alcohol stove. We’ll be traveling gourmets!
|Item||weight (g)||weight (oz)||weight (lbs)|
|GSI Outdoors 8″ fry pan||385||13.58||0.85|
|2x Orikaso folding bowls||68||2.40||0.15|
|Orikaso plate/cutting board||49||1.73||0.11|
|Kuhn Rikon 4″ Mini chef’s knife||53||1.87||0.12|
|Utensils stuff sack||13||0.46||0.03|
|Starlyte backup alcohol stove||15||0.53||0.03|
|MSR Pocket Rocket canister stove||97||3.42||0.21|
|Film canister salt shaker||26||0.92||0.06|
|spare film canister||6||0.21||0.01|
|DIY Pocket Rocket windscreen||14||0.49||0.03|
|2x Sea to Summit aluminum spoons||15||0.53||0.03|
|Military can opener||14||0.49||0.03|
|small stuff sack for inside pot||5||0.18||0.01|
|1.3L Evernew titanium pot with stuff sack||182||6.42||0.40|
We had fun with the frying pan at first, but it eventually became dead weight. The backup alcohol stove and can opener were unnecessary. Our kitchen utensils however were superb. The silicon spatula and small chef’s knife will now be staples in our touring kitchen. The Orikaso bowls and plate are still just as practical as on our first tour in 2007. I’m surprised these aren’t more popular.
|Item||weight (g)||weight (oz)||weight (lbs)|
|Panasonic Lumix LX-5 w/ 16GB SD card||264||9.31||0.58|
|Extra battery for camera||25||0.88||0.06|
|Panasonic battery charger||55||1.94||0.12|
|outlet adapter for UK and Ireland||31||1.09||0.07|
|outlet adapter for Europe||11||0.39||0.02|
|Sinewave Cycles Revolution w/ wire and plug||90||3.17||0.20|
|1-foot micro to USB cable||23||0.81||0.05|
|micro USB to SD card reader||17||0.60||0.04|
|Moto G 1st gen smart phone||144||5.08||0.32|
|USB to wall socket adapter||31||1.09||0.07|
|plastic peanut butter jar||41||1.45||0.09|
|Carrie’s Kindle with DIY sleeve||200||7.05||0.44|
My Moto G was unable to connect to the GSM networks in Europe. It was still very handy, and it charged just fine connected directly to my dynamo hub. I wish we would have brought a phone that was compatible with the European networks.
We’ll each be bringing the standard passport and wallet. We also each have a pen and small notebook. I’m also bringing a small book of crossword puzzles. What does this weigh? My stuff will be 233g/8.22oz/0.51lbs. Carrie’s will be 114g/4.02oz/0.25lbs.
Our medical kit fixes humans and camping gear. It’s small and seldom used, but it comes in handy when human or otherwise is injured. Since weighing individual items in the kit is tedious, the total weight for the kit with it’s stuff sack is 5.3oz/0.33lbs/150g. Here’s what’s included:
- Diaper rash cream for mending saddle sores
- 2x medium bandaids
- 1x large gauze pad
- Pack of assorted small bandaids and alcohol swabs
- 2x strips of pre-cut leukotape
- Small thing of antibiotic ointment
- Some random pills that Carrie may need
- Big ass bag of Ibuprofen
- Some Pepto Bismal tablets
- 2x strips of Tyvek tape for nylon repair
- 2x safety pins
- Sewing needle
- 2x glueless tube patches for repairing holes in inflatable gear
- Stuff sack
We used the diaper rash creme, bandaids, alcohol swabs, Ibuprofen, Pepto Bismol, and glueless tube patches in a failed attempt to patch our Exped pillow. Our kit proved to have just the right stuff to keep us and our gear happy. We did have to buy more bandaids and another patch kit.
This post is taking forever. Who reads this anyway? Do you really want a spreadsheet detailing my and Carrie’s toiletries. Well, too bad. I will provide weights though, since I’ve been counting things thus far. My toiletry kit with topped off soaps is 11.78oz/0.74lbs/334g. Carrie’s toiletry kit is 20.80oz/1.30lbs/590g.
Although not listed, I brought a portable, battery-operated razor with a beard trimming attachment that proved to be a winner. It’s worked so well I continue to use it at home.
*This is at best a guess of how much our bikes weigh.
After weighing, photographing, and packaging all this stuff, I was prepared to see numbers far larger than our result. I’ll be strapping about 28lbs of stuff to my bike, while Carrie will haul around 21lbs. These numbers don’t include the main consumables: food and water. Since we’ll be frequently passing through towns, we’ll probably rarely have to pack more than a day’s worth of food at a time.