For many newcomers, deciding what to bring along when going on a bike tour can be a challenging task. The kind of equipment you use is not only dependent upon the type of touring you’ll be doing, but is a matter of personal preference as well. Something that you cannot live without may be dead weight to someone else. Some people want to take as many items as possible to make the trip comfortable, others are fanatical with keeping things to an absolute minimum and eliminating every single gram of unnecessary weight.

Below you’ll find information on commonly used touring equipment and gear to give you an idea of where to start. The items you take with you will change over time as you become more familiar with touring and as new types of equipment becomes available. The important thing to take away is that there are no absolutes here, as long as you have the basics covered and the things you require to be happy.


If you’re going to travel, you’ll need luggage. That’s where panniers, bags and trailers come in. Here’s a good set-up for a fully loaded tour bike:

  • Rear panniers
  • Front panniers
  • Handlebar bag
  • Backpack
  • Saddle bag
  • Mounting racks
  • Trailer
  • Rain covers


Clothing & Personal Items

  • Extra pair of cycling shorts
  • Extra jersey
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Cycling shoes
  • Bicycle helmet
  • Rain gear
  • Cycling gloves
  • Eye protection/cycling glasses
  • Pants
  • Shirt
  • Hand towels
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, razor, soap etc.)
  • Bath towel
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Wrist watch

The items listed here are aimed more at warm- to moderate-weather touring. If you’ll be heading into colder climates you will want to adjust your clothing accordingly. Thermal undergarments are a good choice in such a scenario.

Maintenance & Repair

Carrying tools and supplies for general maintenance and emergency repairs is absolutely critical for any road trip. As with other equipment, the number of items you take will depend on the length and type of bike tour you’ll be going on.

Basic repair kit:

  • Spare inner tube
  • Flat tire repair kit
  • Multitool kit
  • Travel size air pump
  • Multi-purpose bicycle lube
  • Zip ties
  • Spare rope and/or bungee cords

For more trips to more remote locations you might consider:

  • Spare folding tire
  • Extra gear cables.
  • Hydraulic brake service kit
  • Spoke repair kit
  • Various assortment of nuts and bolts

Other Equipment

  • 3 x 1 liter Stainless Steel drinks bottles.
  • 1 Stainless Steel 0.5 liter vacuum flask (keeps drinks hot or cold and useful for carrying milk for brews).
  • Relevant maps
  • Compact digital camera, memory cards and battery charger
  • Small pair of binoculars.
  • Small sewing kit.
  • Notepad and pen
  • Cash, ID, credit cards, insurance card, passport (if applicable), etc.
  • Waterproof stuff sacks or plastic bags for gear inside panniers.
  • Bike cables and locks
  • First aid kit
  • Sunblock and insect repellant
  • Laundry powder and clothes line
  • Lightweight nylon bike cover (Helps protect from overnight moisture and theft deterrent)
  • Cell phone & charger
  • Tablet computer – for reading books and/or internet access

Gear for Camping


  • Ground cover tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Camp chair
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Camp stove
  • Camp cook set
  • Folding cooking utensils
  • Plastic plates
  • Plastic mugs
  • Eating utensils
  • Dish washing liquid and scrub pad
  • Folding water carrier
  • Small LED flashlight
  • Swiss army knife
  • Matches and lighter


To save space and in the interest of keeping things light, the best practice is to acquire most of your food along the way. However, it’s a good idea to keep a couple of MRE’s on hand in case of emergency. Also, make sure there’s a little extra room in your luggage to carry the food when you do purchase it.

Packing Tips

  • If you haven’t toured before or you’re trying out some brand new gear, consider going on a test run. Take a weekend to go out on a one- or two-day trip to get an idea of how everything works and to figure out what you need and don’t need.
  • When using panniers, it’s best to have both front and rear units. This will greatly help with both weight distribution and balance, giving you better stability and steering ability. Try to keep the weight distribution between the front and rear roughly even, with a little more weight to the rear.
  • When packing your supplies, keep in mind the things you’ll need access to most often and keep them near the top of your luggage so you won’t have to dig around into your gear looking for something.
  • Unless you have waterproof panniers, try to keep most of your gear and clothing in plastic bags to keep them dry in the event of rain.