If you are planning a longer ride, for example for 7 days, you will need to carefully make a list of things you might need. The most common problem is that people take too much stuff (which will not be used) with them which leads to unnecessary weight.
Depending on where you live, the list will differ completely. You will need less clothing and a lot less items if you will be riding in places where you can find local stores at which you are able to purchase some most needed products.
If you are going to ride alone, your bike will be heavy as shit whether you take everything you might need, or just essentials. So lets look into the most important things you should consider taking with you to at least a 7-day bicycle tripe.
If you are planning to stay in motels, hotels, use couch surfing or stay at your friends – you won’t have to think about a shelter. In other cases you will have to take a tent, hammock or just sleep in a sleeping bag under the open sky.
Tent: if you are planning to use a tent for a longer time, consider buying a more expensive one that will be light, easy to set up and will be more comfortable. If you are preparing for a single time journey, consider buying a cheaper tent (cheapest you are able to find will do the thing for a week), borrow one from your friends or from a tourism company.
Tent pros: can be easily set up almost everywhere, great weather/mosquito protection, can accommodate several persons, easy to fix minor breaks.
Tent cons: adds more weight to your baggage, especially if you are riding alone and cannot share the weight.
Hammock: the best option if you are travelling alone. Although it requires at least 2 trees, poles or other object for a set up, hammocks are lightweight and compact. There is a huge range of hammocks to choose from, but you should keep in mind mosquitoes, rain and bad weather. There also are hammocks for more than one person.
Hammock pros: lightweight, compact, comfortable, fast and easy set up.
Hammock cons: difficult to repair, requires at least 2 poles, mostly for single person.
Sleeping Under The Open Sky: spending a night under the open sky in a sleeping bag might sound scary but it actually is not so bad. If you are in a place where no mosquitoes are found (which we doubt), the weather is perfect and you can be sure that no one will come and harm you or steal from you (wild animals or scumbags), you can calmly sleep in the wilderness.
Sleeping Under The Open Sky pros: no tent or hammock needed, fresh air, freedom.
Sleeping Under The Open Sky cons: you might meet mosquitoes, cold, rain, wind, wild animals, thieves etc.
Depending of the air temperature and upcoming weather, you should not take too much apparel. You can always wash your dirty clothes in a lake or a river. The most important thing to keep in mind: it is not fun to get sick in a middle of a trip after you got really cold.
The best option to choose is clothes made from synthetic fabrics: Polyester, lycra, nylon. Because synthetic clothing dries in minutes, is durable, wrinkle-resistant, lightweight, breathable, more comfortable, etc.
Top: a single T-shirt for riding and one for after riding time is enough if you are not planning a longer than a week ride. Be sure to take a long sleeved shirt or a jacket (a windstopper if you can choose) and a helmet. If you don’t have a helmet and think it is not necessary – take a hat because might get a sunstroke after a whole sunny day.
Bottom: one pair of shorts/pants for cycling and a single pair of pants for after riding time will be enough. In order not to take several cycling shorts/pants, take a longer ride (before the big journey) with your new shorts/pants to be sure that it’s really comfortable. Always take at least one pair of long pants in case of colder weather, mosquitoes, mites or ticks.
Shoes: you should only consider taking an extra pair of shoes if you are planning to walk more than around your bicycle. Riding long distances will feel more comfortable with SPD shoes, while walking around or getting to the top of hills with bike in your hands, SPD shoes might get really uncomfortable.
Underwear: a few pairs of underwear will do the thing, especially if you are using special cycling apparel which is put on without any underwear, so you will bu with your underwear only when not on a bicycle – after the ride.
This is quite personal but only the most important items must be taken with you: toothbrush, some toothpaste, soap, mosquito repellent, wound disinfectant, some plasters, wet wipes etc.
To start with, you should completely check you bicycle before the trip. The must-haves in a 7-day ride are: a few allen keys, screwdriver, chain lube, a pump, flat tire kit, some zip ties, etc.
The best food you should consider taking is nuts, Snickers, army food kits and everything else that provides the most energy. Amino acid and other food supplements will help a lot. Be sure to always have some water and to drink it regularly. The best option would be to find some local stores to buy food and other products in order not to take everything from the start.
You can always take a kettle and make a hot meal if there is an option to build a fire (or take gas stove/cooker which will add even more weight to your bike).
Main Things to Keep in Mind
- Carefully make a list of things and take only the things that you will actually use.
- Take only tested apparel and shoes (in case something is not comfortable).
- Take some food (even though there might be some stores).
- Check your bike before the trip and take something to fix your bike with.