Bike Touring

What is bike touring?

Bike touring is a combination of backpacking and biking. Basically, you put everything you need on your bike and ride! Most of the roads for bike touring are paved with some gravel here or there. Some of the more popular routes include cycling the Pacific Coast (Canada to Mexico), Trans America bike route (Oregon to Virginia) and the Mississippi River trail.

There is also a term for primarily off-road long distance cycling – bikepacking. It is the same concept as bike touring just much more off-road trails and usually a different bike setup.

Bike Touring Picture here

Bikepacking Picture here

I recently (October 2022) went on a bike touring trip for a week with a friend who is on the Trans America route, and I had so much fun. It is a great way to explore the states, get exercise, clear your head, and enjoy the outdoors. I honestly think it is the best way to explore any place that you want to go. It is faster than walking and slower than driving – the perfect pace! You get to see so much of the Earth’s natural beauty and meet so many amazing, generous people.

Friend’s Route

Bike Touring Gear


Really anything will work – just put some panniers or lightweight bikepacking bags on it, and you are good to go.

Some bikepacking bag suppliers include:
Budget Bags
Sea to Summit Dry Bags


Bikepacking Setup:
Frame Pack (Full or Partial)
Top Tube Pack(s)
Saddle Pack
Handlebar Pack
Food Pouch(es)
Front Accessory Pocket
Fork Pack

Bike Touring Setup:
Front Rack
Rear Rack
Front Panniers
Rear Panniers
Dry Bag for the top of the rear rack


General Note:
Merino Wool clothing items are really good for smell and also dry relatively quickly

On the Bike:
2 Pairs of Biking Socks
2 Bike Jerseys/T-shirts
1 Pair of Rain Paints
2 Neck Gaiters
2 Pairs of Bib Shorts/other riding shorts
1 Helmet
1 Arm Protector (for sun at least)
1 Pair of Sunglasses
1 Rain Jacket

Off the Bike:
1 Beanie
Camp Sandals
1 Pair of Pants
2 Pairs of Socks
2 Pairs of Underwear


Cooking Utensils
Eating Utensils
Fuel Canister
Pocket Stove
Mug for warm drinks
Camp Bowl (if with multiple people)


Battery Bank
Cell Phone
Cell Phone Charger
Light (Front)
Light (Rear)
Micro-USB charging cables (all my electronics run off of micro-usb)
USB Charging Block

Bike Computer
Solar powered light/charger

First Aid Kit


Body Towel
Body Wash and/or Shampoo
Cheap Glasses (I left my nice glasses at a hotel on accident)
Contact Solution (I wear contacts)
Contacts (extra pair just in case)
Rope (for hanging laundry)
Soap for Dishes and Laundry
Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Baby Wipes
Comb (to look somewhat decent after a shower every 2-3 days)
Nail Clippers (for longer tours)
Tweezers (can also be used as a tool to get stuff out of your tire after a flat)


General Note:
You want enough space to carry 1-3 days of food depending on how you are bike touring

Example Foods:
Airborne (I use this in my water throughout the day)
Homemade/store-bought dehydrated fruits and vegetables
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Peanut Butter (!)
Ka’Chava (Meal Replacement Example)
Mud/Watr or Coffee


Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Sleeping Bag Liner (to extend the life of your sleeping bag and keep it clean)

Inflatable Pillow


Assorted Nuts/Bolts
Bike Tubes
Light (Front)
Light (Rear)
Quicklink for your chain
Spokes (front and rear) – you can store them in your seat post

Brake Pads
Derailleur and Brake Cable (along with end crimps)
Derailleur Hanger
Water Bladder


Bike Link pliers
Pocket Knife
Spoke Tool
Multi-tool/hex key set
Voile Straps
Zip Ties
Patch Kit

Tools/Supplies to fix torn sidewall


Emergency Contact Information (put it somewhere it is easy to find – just in case)
Air Horn (for hopefully getting dogs to stop chasing you OR to play pranks on your buddies)
Bear Spray (if in bear country)
Bike Lock (more or less durable depending on where you are riding)
Journal and Pen (to keep track of all the amazing people you meet and things you see)
Sharpie (for getting the amazing people you meet and those who host you to sign your helmet-Thanks Lee!)
Ziplock bags (small and large size for storing random items in your bags)