Thursday 1 October 2015

What to pack for a 2-5 day cycle tour

Packing light but right for a 2-5 day cycle tour is never easy, too much and you have a miserable time on the hills, but not enough and you'll be spending unenjoyable evenings in the day's wet and sweaty lycra. 

Over many short tours in both the UK and abroad this is the list I've settled on. It should all fit in a decent sized single pannier whilst providing enough comfort for an enjoyable evening in the pub. If packed well it leaves plenty of space for a full day's food and an extra water bottle in hot weather. 

Cycling kit 

  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Base layer
  • Jersey
  • Jumper/fleece
  • Waterproof jacket (cycling specific or lightweight walking ones are best)
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Cycle gloves
  • Vaseline/cyclists arse cream (optional but helps prevent chafing)
Plus for hot weather: 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Sunscreen 
And for cold/wet weather: 
  • Leg warmers / long legged shorts
  • Overshoes 
  • Long fingered warm/waterproof gloves (depends how cold you get) 
  • Waterproof trousers (optional, I don't usually bother) 
  • Snood/neck warmer (I find the Buff style ones most useful and versatile)


  • 2x Water bottles 
  • Pannier rack
  • Pannier (I prefer single to prevent overpacking but double is also okay)
  • Lights (if heading at all offroad a headtorch often works well as a front light)
  • Multitool (at least 1 with chain tool between group)
  • Few cable ties (for emergency repairs)
  • Pump (one per person is best, should be capable of the required pressure)
  • 2x Spare inner tubes 
  • Puncture repair kit 
  • Tyre levers 
  • Bike oil (one between group is fine) 
  • Emergency sweets/energy food e.g. small bag of sweets, flapjack
  • Spare brake pads/blocks (if likely to be needed)
  • Lightweight lock (optional if staying somewhere with secure storage. I use a £3 one from a bargain store just to prevent walk-offs if I take one at all) 

Useful repair tools

  • Emergency chain link or chain pins to match your chain (for use with chain tool)
  • Small adjustable spanner (one between group)
  • Small pliers (one between group)
  • Spare brake and gear inner cable (one between group)
  • Spoke key (one between group) 
  • Few misc. bike nuts n bolts 

Overnight kit

  • 1x set of lightweight evening clothes minus jumper and waterproof which can be shared with cycling kit 
  • Pants (quantity according to your preferred hygiene level) 
  • Socks (as above) 
  • Lightweight shoes 
  • Toiletries (small are best if not provided)
  • Earplugs (to combat those dorm snorers) 
  • Travel towel (if not provided, they usually are)