Day -11: Packing list

One of the events that got me re-committed to this X-America trip is a 1-week trip Mark Koulogeorge talked me into doing in Argentina.   The group organizer was Backroads (highly recommended: and I had a marvelous time — caught up with Mark, made some new friends, saw Argentina for the first time.   It was just one of those points in time when realized “supported” bike trekking beat the heck out of just about any other kind of vacation — see the country at ground level, get some exercise / work up an appetite, meet some new people, etc.

So I’m going to give you my “packing list” in case you decide to plan a trip — maybe something like a Backroads trip in French wine country or Argentina, Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, or around the quiet parts of Japan.   Or even X-America

My group limits me to 50 pounds total weight (I assume this excludes the bike and what is on it).   Haven’t weighed it all but I don’t seem to be going crazy

On bicycle:

  • LED lights (I use USB-charged; red in back and white in front)
  • Two water bottles
  • Quad lock (to attach phone)
  • Phone (I use my phone instead of a dedicated bike computer like Garmin – I find them too expensive and hard to use).   I turn off the Wi-Fi when I ride

Pannier rack (I don’t like to put any hard things (e.g. bike pump, spectacles) into my shirt pockets in case I crash and these things dig into my back)

  • Pannier bag (I use Bontrager — they are owned by Trek and very easy to get on/off.  My only complaint, confirmed by looking at reviews, is the zippers disintegrate after 2-3 years.   Hopefully they have redesigned that one)
  • Spare tube
  • Bike pump (I use Lezyne, which I think are really well designed)
  • Tire irons
  • Multi-tool (again, I have a Lezyne tool which works for everything I can do but the pedals)
  • Spare electrolyte tablets (I use Nuum)
  • Some adult wipes (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it)
  • Wallet with ID, cash, credit card, insurance card
  • Backup spectacles (I usually have a clear one and a sunglasses.   I’ll be riding into the sun a lot (going East), but if is raining I will want the clear ones)

Cycling clothes

  • 3 short sleeve jerseys
  • 1 long sleeve jerseys (these can be useful in high sun as well as cold days)
  • 2 arm compression tights (this is an experiment — I don’t want to get really sunburned)
  • 2 buffs (this goes around the neck — again to avoid sunburn)
  • 1 Cycle helmet.   I got a new one that fits a lot better than my old.
  • 3 cycling gloves
  • 4 cycling shorts
  • 4 cycling socks (I use balega, which I think are top notch and made in America)
  • 1 long cycling pants
  • 1 waterproof windbreaker (I have Arcteryx — they have one especially for cycling with reflective tape and tapered arms)
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • 1 pair cycling shoes
  • Pulse strap (I may or may not use this.   Find I don’t look at the data anymore, but I might be curious my average pulse on the hill days)

Civilian clothes

  • 1 jeans
  • 1 shorts
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 4 underwear
  • 4 socks
  • 1 pair sneakers
  • 1 swimsuit
  • Vionic sandals (I had a bad case of plantar fascia about two years ago and these were part of the cure)
  • 2 sets compression pants (OK, not 100% clear these work, but I feel a ton better.   I use 2XU.   I was very unimpressed by the ones from Skins)

Spares / other tools (not on bike).   I plan to pop into a bike shop every 20 days to have a quick clean, check and re-lube.   I’m not much of a bike mechanic.

  • Bike helmet pads.   Let’s face it — these get pretty disgusting.   Change every 3-4 weeks
  • Power meter batteries
  • Inner tubes
  • Extra tire
  • Extra flashing lights (I may need two for each day given the time on the bike)
  • Screws for my bike pedal clips.   I’ve had these come loose a couple of times and lost screws.   It can stop a ride
  • Spare rear derailleur hanger.   I actually have one.   It’s a vulnerable piece of kit
  • Pedal wrench (or an adjustable wrench)
  • Extra spokes
  • Chain lube
  • Bike lock (I don’t usually carry it when I am riding but need it for apres cycle)
  • Some cleaning rags
  • Electrolyte tubes
  • Hammer vegan bars


  • Toilet kit (toothbrush, brush, dental floss, razor, that stuff)
  • Adult wipes.   OK, I know this is getting close to TMI, but they really work
  • Suntan lotion
  • Prescription and OTC drugs
  • Basic first aid kit (Band-Aids, antiseptic, antibiotic cream)

Miscellaneous / quirky (will be different for everyone)

  • Laundry soap (Tide pods)
  • Cutting board and knife (for fruit)
  • Dish soap (for cutting board and to clean bike)
  • Laptop, mouse and power block
  • iPad
  • Charger strip (I have one with 3 outlets and 4 USB ports.   Have to charge my phone, two reflectors, iPad and computer every night)
  • Spare phone.   I’m always dropping my phone.   So I always travel with a spare
  • Spare glasses and prescription
  • Night eye mask (this is one of my tricks to sleeping in hotel rooms — I find it helps a lot plus I can keep a light on in the bathroom and not break a leg running into a piece of furniture in the wrong place)


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