the great gear list (draft)

This weekend being the last I have to get personal things done before the bike trip, I spent it working on this site, giving my bike some lurve, baking bread, and staring at GEAR. Yes, one of the most satisfying pre-adventure activities because it involves lists.

I started going through my list and made a big pile of gear. I hoped to pack it all up and play with weight distribution but didn’t get that far. Actually got a little overwhelmed. I have almost everything but one or two things missing made it seem like many things were missing and that I was completely unprepared and never would become prepared (felt like the dream where you’re trying to catch a bus but you’ll never find your pants).

To soothe my anxiety, I decided to post my gear list because 1. it helps me feel like I’m “preparing” and 2. you might read it and give me advice. Am I missing anything? What will I be specifically angry at when biking uphill? Do you know of any cheap, light and solar-powered speakers? Etc.

Bike Fashion
- 1 pair cycling shorts
- 2 pairs cycling tights: 1 warm weather, 1 colder
- 2 long sleeve shirt
- 1 short sleeve shirt
- 2 pairs cycling socks
- gloves
- clipless shoes
- shoe covers for rain
- rain jacket
- rain gloves
- helmet
- sunglasses
- reflective sash (bicycle beauty pageant)

Guess I Won’t Always be Cycling Clothing
- 1 pair leggings
- 1 pair convertible shorts/pants
- jeans
- 1 shirt
- 1 light dress
- a mid-layer shirt
- 1 tank top
- a wool sweater
- 2 pairs wool socks
- 4 pair underwear, 2 bras
- 1 pair long underwear
- running shoes
- flip flops or green flats (super light and squish down to nothing…maybe cause they’re almost worn to nothing)
- cap, bandana, toque
- bikini
- glasses

Things to Keep Me (Feeling) Healthy
- toothbrush + paste + floss
- dr. bronner’s soap
- hair conditioner
- a razor
- chapstick
- emergency TP
- divacup
- sunscreen
- mascara (could be a few nights in town)
- nail file
- tweezers
- brush
- quick-dry towel
- scissors
- first-aid kit: ibuprofen, bandaids, gauze, adhesive bandage, antiseptic ointment or wipes, tincture of benzoin, Qtips, safety pins
- knee brace (grrr tall person’s curse)

- tent
- light tarp
- cord/laundry cord
- sleeping pad
- sleeping bag & liner

Cooking for Two
(some of this will be split between me and Anna)
- big pot & little pot
- frying pan
- whisperlite international stove
- fuel bottle
- thermos
- coffee cone + paper filters (or screen filter)
- fork, spoon, chopsticks
- knife
- lighter, matches
- flexible cutting board
- bowl
- pot sponge
- small kitchen cloth
- a few ziploc bags
- 1 L water bottle
- camelbak water bag
- food staple: olive oil, salt, pepper, curry powder, cinnamon, powdered milk, brown sugar, and possibly a few other nominated spices and herbs
- coffee (or course)

- patches for tent, panniers, etc.
- few spare grommets
- folding spare tire
- 2 (3?) spare tubes
- spare brake pads
- spare spokes, spoke wrench(?)
- spare cables(?)
- few screws, bolts
- tire levers & pump
- simple multi-tool with phillips, torx, and 4 allen
- slotted screwdriver(?)
- lube / small rag
- duct tape round a pencil

- bike lights: 2 front, 2 back
- headlamp + spare batteries
- camera, USB cable, power cable
- USB thumb drive
- phone + charger cable (…will I get an iPhone?? music!!)
- external speakers(?)
- walkie-talkies(?)
- bike computer(?)

- maps
- notebook
- 2 pens, mechanical pencil, eraser, a few colored pencils
- a book

Oh Yeah, Civilization
- money devices
- health insurance info
- driver’s license
- passport
- phone numbers / contacts
- emergency contact information
- keys
- U-lock (I wasn’t sure about this but we decided to carry one lock between the two of us, half a lock each, and when venturing into shady areas we can lock our bikes together.)

To carry it all:
- front and rear panniers
- small under-the-seat tool pouch
- camelback backpack
- and maybe a basket that I can put the camelback and a few other things inside for easy reach.
- my bike : ) Devinci Amsterdam

If you made it all the way down here, I have a treat for you:

Screw Heads

Came across it while googling what the not-a-phillips-or-allen head was (the torx). I like the images. They’d make for some interesting tattoos and thousands of years from now could be interpreted as an ancient symbolic language.

5 thoughts on “the great gear list (draft)

  1. Dave C

    Hey, A buddy sent me over here.

    I think you are on the right track with the list. I went September – October all the way down to the Mexico Border.

    Take your gear list and realize that a third of it you’ll never use.
    Weather should be OK come mid April and the traffic will be nice. If you don’t have the “book” (http:// I highly recommend it. With 6 weeks, are you going to be flying back home? That’s an awful lot of time to get to SF – which is about 1800km away. Perhaps consider going all the way down the whole PC route?

    Maybe to lighten up try this – of course some of this stuff I’m no expert at as I’ve never actually worn any of some of it:

    Specifically: half the undies and bras –
    Maybe invest in some rugged boots as opposed to running shoes as it will get mucky in camp sites, sandy and all that.
    Walkie talkies? Yell louder :)
    On the spare tools, do the maintenance before you go, if its time to change the cables do so now.Same with brakes. Easier than changing them on the road and getting all grimy – theres a nice place a couple days before SF that has Gojo in the bathroom however :)
    Agreed on the lock – I nearly had my bike lifted at Cresecent City, when I was being too lenient with just letting it sit outside. I locked when I felt unsafe even at campsites.
    Bring a few more spare bungee cords, a third more tent pegs than you regularly use, and don’t forget the rope! Learn how to tie knots! Hang your food out of a tree every night without question – The Racoons in Oregon and California are legendary, hopping up onto your tables while you eat, dragging panniers from underneath your tent fly away while you sleep. Watch out for the foxes too.

    You will have a difficult time finding white gas along the way, at least in the smaller containers. Convince a gas attendant to fill your gas bottle with unleaded and yer off to the races. Bring a drain stopper so you can do laundry in the bathrooms. There are flat once available at home Depot that cover a wide variety of drains.

    My trip took me 3,142 km in 30 days – A bit fast in my mind, but I had a great time. Weather was wonderful save for a day in the Pacific Northwest. Things I am leaving at home for my next tour (8 days!) is the Cheese Grater, The Egg Beater, a Knife (ive got a pocket knife), lots of first aid stuff, half the clothes I originally brought, and the majority of my tools. A multi kit and a pair of vicegrips will see you through nearly anything. I like the crank brothers 19 which has a spoke tool. Remember if you need to change a spoke in the rear You’ll need a cassette remover, and so with what I’m saying is just stop at one of the many bike stores along the way. Don’t forget to stop at the Cheese Factory, eat the salt water taffy, and for the love of god, get insurance, if you are going to hang a bike out of a tree.

    Have a great time!

  2. Meghan Post author

    Thanks so much for all the advice. It totally helped de-ambiguisize a few points. Namely: bring a lock, don’t bring tools and spare parts I don’t know how to use, new undies will not make me smell less and don’t just bring rope, know how to use it.

    We’re only biking down (taking train back) but want some time for side adventures and to hang out in San Francisco for a bit (I’ve a sister living there). Anna will keep going on to LA and if I still have time, I’ll go a bit further too.

    I think I heard about the tree bike from Eric…ouch man, ouch…hope your next tour is less painful. I’m looking forward to reading about it (just checked out your website)…a great time to you too!

  3. Aaron

    I second the comment that there’s no point bringing tools you don’t know how to use. That being said, make sure you’re very capable of changing a tube and adjusting your brakes before you go. In over 50,000 km of cycling on road tires, I’ve had hundreds of flats, but never anything severe enough to destroy the tire, so I’d say you’re pretty safe leaving the spare at home. If you’re riding on skinny high pressure tires, I recommend the spokes and spoke wrench, but if you’re riding on wider tires you’re probably fine without. At the end of the day, you’re travelling in the USA so any major bicycle repairs can easily be handled by hitching to the next town.
    To me it seems like you’ve got a lot of clothing. Clothing’s pretty light, but you have to pack up all your gear every day. The easier that is, the happier you’ll be.
    I’m personally happier riding with nothing on my back (no awful sweat streak), so you might be happier with water bottles than the camelback.
    Luckily the law says you’re not allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon. This is good as you’ll avoid the situation of pumping gas into a whisperlite bottle and having it spurt out and splash in your eyes. Trust me, it hurts a lot. A lot.
    You might consider if you’re going to be doing any walking. If so, a backpack could be useful. You can lay it over your rear panniers and tent and then cinch it down with a bungee cord. But then, you’re starting to have a ridiculous number of bags with front paniers, rear paniers, and handlebar panier.
    I prefer a green scrubbie to the pot sponge. Sponges get pretty gross after a few days.
    For coffee, I’ve been using the MSR filter the past few years. Just boil your water and grounds together in the pot, and then strain through the filter into your cup. Easy happy mornings every time.
    The good eating is one of the best parts of bike touring, so I’m reluctant to suggest reducing your kitchen supplies. But, you could probably get away without the frying pan. You can do quite a good bit of frying in the lids to your stoves.
    But basically your list looks good. It’s definitely on the deluxe/luxurious/heavy end of the bike touring scale, but hey, why not really enjoy your vacation.


  4. Jeremy

    I am super impressed! I really envy you! I wish you the best of luck, and Yuki and I will def. be following your adventures!!!

  5. Jem

    Megs, I am so pumped for you! This is going to be awesome! I can’t wait to see all your photos and read all about your journey. <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>