What to Pack on a Long-Distance Cycling Trip?


What to pack on a long-distance cycling trip? This is the one thing that kept banging in my head before leaving for South America. And after talking to other cyclists, I’ve noticed this seems to have been the main concern of many. Believe me, most things won’t seem that important anymore, as soon lay your feet on your pedals (meaning: if someone steals your things it’s won’t be the end of the world). However, before you go, it feels good to know what to take with you. So, here’s what it is.

Now, a huge disclaimer (!!!): I’m definitely not a person to look at when you want to go with the minimum. I know what’s essential, what’s not, but I don’t minimize. Why? Because a) I’m a blogger and journalist (so I carry a laptop, a microphone, a camera, a mobile phone and two battery packs with me), b) because I love to spend time in cities and c) because I’m vain (meaning that I don’t enjoy running around for a month in a capital city, wearing only worn-down clothes…So, I carry jeans, makeup and earrings in my panniers!). The bottom line is: a trip doesn’t depend on equipment.

Checklist for long-distance cycling

Here’s in pictures and lists, what I carry in all my four panniers. The fifth picture is of my so-called “Horror Bag”. It’s the thing that weighs way more than anything else and which includes all those small things that I don’t know where else to put.

1st Front pannier

what to pack on a cycling trip

  • Laptop (I’m a blogger, so…)
  • Laptop charger
  • Spanish grammar book (thanks, Eli!)
  • Pens (loads of them! I love writing)
  • Notebook (thanks, Momondo!)
  • Calendar (totally unnecessary, but I love to plan things visually)
  • Zoom H2N sound recorder for interviews
  • “Selfie stick” (this is my monopod…thanks, TripAdvisor!)
  • Mobile phone (for maps.me, photos, communication…)
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses (thanks, dad!)
  • Camera charger and battery
  • (Camera missing from picture because the pic was taken with it)
  • Passport and other important documents (in a mini grip bag)
  • Makeup bag (I like to doll up…thanks, Niilo!)
  • Petzl headlamp (essential!!! thanks, Simo!)
  • Powerbank x 2 (for phone)
  • External hard drive (for pictures, videos and backups)
  • Wallet (I prefer a wallet, but a mini grip-bag will do the trick!)
  • Cap (to protect from the sun…thanks, Pelago!)
  • Hair brush
  • Bicycle key (with a piggie to feel home)
  • Face cream
  • Menstrual cup (recommended to all females!!! thanks, Lunette!)
  • Pepper spray (makes me feel safer)
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss (trying to avoid toothaches on the road)
  • A bag for the three previous (thanks, Nora!)
  • Makeup remover
  • Deodorant (for special occasions)
  • “Junior” – my teddy Moose (thanks, Marietta!)
  • A bag for all of the above and for when not cycling (thanks, Globe Hope!)

2nd Front pannier

what to pack on a cycling trip

  • A plastic case for food (thanks, Maria!)
  • A kettle for cooking
  • Sun cream 50 (extreme days…thanks, Omar and Silvia!)
  • Sun cream 30 (normal days)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Minigrip bags x 15 (my panniers are not water resistant anymore…)
  • U-lock (I know it’s exaggerated. I hardly ever use this…thanks, mom!)
  • Cable lock (yep, see comment above)
  • Leatherman (thanks, dad!)
  • Sponge for dishes
  • Liquid for dishes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Alcohol stove (super light and you can get alcohol everywhere)
  • Alcohol for stove
  • Windshield for stove (essential in Patagonia)
  • Magnesium tablets (definitely recommended)
  • Hand sanitizer (water will do)
  • Bicycle pump
  • Inner tubes x 2 (at least one is good, just in case the one you’re using totally explodes)
  • Lighter
  • Guampa = tereré cup (thanks, Sanchez men!)
  • Bombilla (a straw-like thing to accompany the previous)
  • Toilet paper
  • Spork (spoon fork knife…thanks, Helsingin Urheiluhieronta!)

1st Rear pannier

what to pack on a cycling trip

  • Inflatable sleeping mattress (super short to save space)
  • Towel (=thin scarf to use for other purposes as well)
  • Sleeping bag liner (perfect when cold)
  • Cycling gloves (thanks, mom!)
  • Shampoo and conditioner (yes, I love to carry both…not necessary)
  • Knee brace (for uphills and head winds)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Raincoat
  • Rain cloak (thanks, mom!)
  • An old tent cover (which I use to cover by bike some nights)
  • Rain covers for shoes (totally broken by now, but the best thing ever)
  • Tent
  • Tent sticks
  • Safety vest (thanks, Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle!)

2nd Rear pannier

what to pack for a cycling trip

  • Shoes for pedaling (thanks, mom!)
  • Wool socks (thanks, Nora!)
  • Wool mittens
  • Wool beanie
  • Shoes for free time (=non-cycling)
  • Underwear and bikini (thanks, Merri!)
  • Nightgown (thanks, Nora!)
  • Flip flops (thanks, Ana!)
  • Jeans (thanks, César!)
  • Water-resistant trousers (well, they used to be)
  • Leggins (thanks, St. Malandra!)
  • Bicycle pants (thanks, mom!)
  • Shorts x 2 (one pair too many)
  • Long sleeved college shirt (thanks, Outi!)
  • Fleece shirt (thanks, César!)
  • Long-sleeved sports shirt
  • Blouse (thanks, trash cans of Buenos Aires!)
  • Sleeveless shirts and t-shirts (way more than enough)
  • Buff scarfs x 2 (thanks, Tuulikki and Helsingin Urheiluhieronta!)
  • Dress (for dolling up)
  • Thin jacket (thanks, Globe Hope!)
  • Horror bag (interior in next picture)
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