The essential luggage for your bikepacking route
If you are one of those who has already joined the fashion of bikepacking and you have in mind to enjoy a well-deserved vacation on wheels, you probably have some doubts about the luggage necessary to travel by bicycle. Bikepacking is minimalism in its purest form and although many want to save any extra parts with the intention of lightening the weight of the bicycle as much as possible, it is important to be clear about what products are considered essential for a multi-day bicycle route.
Obviously, the amount of material and essential elements will also depend on the duration of the trip, the weather and whether we are going to spend the night in a hotel or whether we are going to practice bivouac.
What material do I need to do bikepacking? The essential luggage
It is very common for doubts to take hold of cyclists when they plan their first bikepacking route. The enthusiasm and nerves for living a first adventure with bikepacking bags and saddlebags is a totally new challenge for most. What do I take with me from bikepacking? Will a jersey suffice? Vest and sleeves or winter jacket? Next, I am going to leave you with a list of mandatory material for your first bikepacking route.
Spare set: The most common is to bikepacking during the hottest months of the year and many couples or groups of cycling friends are the ones who take advantage of the summer holidays to enjoy a good bike route. Cycling clothing in this case is not very extensive. A couple of summer outfits will suffice to complete a weeklong route. It is easy to find laundries and even hotels that offer this service to their clients. Two sets of jersey and bib shorts will be more than enough. If you travel in winter or to colder places, obviously this point will be totally different. Also take two sets of sports socks with you.
Raincoat and jacket: No matter how hot it is, you should always take some warm clothes with you and a good raincoat to protect you from possible summer storms. The waterspouts at this time of year are especially strong and you should be prepared for any circumstance. In the high mountains the weather can change radically in half an hour. Forget about mixed options and supposedly waterproof vests. As it is customary to say in these cases, prevention is better than cure. If you want to know the most interesting properties of a good raincoat you can visit this publication. A complementary winter jacket can also save you from trouble. The barrier of 1800/2000 meters of altitude is especially delicate.
Gloves, shoe covers and other accessories: accessories and accessories are a more personal theme. There are people who prefer to wear leggings while other cyclists opt for a long culotte of a lifetime. The most important thing is that you have luggage to face any circumstance. For me, the essential complementary kit would be made up of sleeves, long gloves (if possible, waterproof), waterproof shoe covers, a “buff” panty and at least a pair of undershirts. One thermal and one fine to absorb sweat.
Food and drink: this point is even clearer. You must bring food and drink to face the route with guarantees. It is true that you will surely pass in front of restaurants and supermarkets but you should always carry liquid and solid food with you. On a route of several days it is essential to eat constantly to replenish energy. One of the big mistakes of newcomers is to eat little because of the false and bad obsession to hone training. Beyond the immediate effect that this has on your organism, your body will accuse the lack of food also in the coming days. The fatigue that you can get to chain for several days by a bad nutritional guideline can make you bitter the final part of the trip.
Money, personal documentation and mobile phone: I will take the opportunity to remember what should be a no-brainer. Don't even think of leaving home without documentation, cash and a mobile phone with a battery. This is the minimum survival kit that every cyclist should carry. Regardless of whether they practice bikepacking or if they go out to complete their 2-hour training.
Basic tools: you don't need to carry a mechanical workshop on you. What is essential is a pair of spare cameras, a set of allen wrenches, a pair of detachable ones, an air pump, a chainsaw, insulating tape and some flange as a possible emergency solution. It also has some oil or lubricating wax.
Thermal blanket: Those who come from the world of ultra resistance know that in any test of this type it is essential to wear a thermal blanket as a mandatory material. In case of extreme cold or possible hypothermia it can save your life.
Street clothes: As much as you spend the day on the bike, it is evident that you will have to carry some street clothes with you. A pair of pants, a pair of shirts and a sweater would be the minimum to survive. I recommend that you add two sets of underwear and at least one shorts and a sleeping shirt. As for sneakers you can choose between comfortable sneakers or slightly cooler flip flops.
Lights: the argument that you don't need to carry lights if you pedal during the day doesn't convince me. It has at least one rear light and one front light. Beyond improving your vision, they will also make you more visible to other drivers. Cycling lights are getting more worked and weight is no longer a real problem. Skimping on safety is the worst thing you can do.
External battery and chargers: Even if you have a battery in your mobile and GPS cycle computer, I recommend that you always carry an external rechargeable battery. You never know what can happen and you shouldn't leave the possibility of being incommunicado at the mercy of a battery. It also carries the necessary chargers for Smartphone, GPS and electronic change.
Padlock: you are likely to travel on top of a high-end bike. We all know the price of bicycles today and how much it costs to pay for them. If you do not want to have a heart attack when you lose a second for breakfast, carry a bicycle lock. The thefts of bicycles in certain geographical areas are at the forefront of the day.
First-aid kit and personal hygiene kit: a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, paper napkins and a washcloth is the minimum that should fit in your toiletry bag. It also has petroleum jelly, some medication and sun protection.