The absolute must-have bike touring gear for bike touring enthusiasts (2023)

Updated on January 1, 2021

When you're planning your first bike trip, it's easy to go on a shopping spree for all kinds of bike touring gear. You don't want to miss a thing. we know. We've been in that situation too, and yes, we've made the mistake of buying too much stuff.

There are tons of great resources explaining every useful piece of geartripon your bike, but not much about what's really important. Obviously, it comes down to your personal preferences, but there are definitely some pieces of equipment that are considered essential, other things that are important, and last things that will make your journey easier.

This article will explain it. Don't forget which gear to pack on your first bike trip.


Believe it or not, there are people out there who travel the world on very cheap bicycles. my friendSalva RodriguezHe traveled the world for nine years on a bicycle he bought in Namibia for $300. So you don't need a brand new touring bike for your first trip. But if you're thinking of a longer trip, it might be worth investing a little more, especially if you're not a great mechanic like me.

What I suggest is to invest in someAccessories.Most importantly, there is no doubt thata good saddle. Most bike touring bikes I've come across use leather saddles, which can be difficult at first, but once you break in, the saddle adapts to your shape and you don't even feel it. I use and recommendBrooks B17

Other important components arebike rack. Make sure you get the steel one so it can be easily welded in case it breaks. I don't recommend buying anything too cheap here. I've seen people wreck brand new bike racks after 4-5 days of riding. No matter which model you choose, don't forget to carry extra screws in case you lose them due to road vibrations. In some countries it is difficult to find good quality products.

My personal choice is the Tubus Logo model. It's top-of-the-rack, a bit pricey, but performs very well. It hasn't caused me any problems so far, which is pretty good considering my bike weighs over 60kg.

The next important thing to consider iswater-proof bag. Keeping your gear dry is essential to enjoying your ride. It's one of the very few things most cyclists agree on about the same brand.ortlie cloth bagMade in Germany for over 30 years. They are 100% waterproof and durableAffordable. Just make sure you get a repair kit and check for leaks regularly.

installinga mirrorCycling is probably the best way to ensure your safety on the road. There are many models on the market to suit your preferences, if you don't like having it on your handlebars, you can trythis modelStick it on your helmet or sunglasses.

Depends on where you plan to visittire sizeMay matter. If you are not planning to ride in Europe, US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand then I highly recommend the 26 inch size. 700cc tires are becoming more and more popular, but I have encountered quite a few cyclists stuck in one place waitingnew tiresSince it cannot be found locally, it needs to be sent from home. 26-inch tires are available almost everywhere, and any breakdown is easier to fix in developing countries.

Tools and Spare Parts

You don't need to carry your entire workshop with you when traveling by bike, but you should always have some basic tools and spare parts in your bag. A minimal tool kit should include some Allen keys (various sizes), wrenches, screwdrivers, spoke tool, chain breaker (if not using master linkage), tire levers, patches, tape and scissors. Important spares are tubes, spokes and tires (only on long trips). Remember, in the worst case scenario, you can always hitch a ride to the next town and find a mechanic there.

camping equipment

Unless you're planning a "credit card" trip, you're going to need camping gear. In addition to saving money, bringing your own sleeping equipment can give you the freedom you need to explore more remote areas, which are often the best spots for bike tours.

when choosingyour tent (or like a camping hammockTheseConsider the climate of the area you plan to visit. A quality four-season tent is great if you plan to ride at high altitudes like the Andes or the Himalayas, but camping in the tropics will be too hot. Things to consider:

  • I strongly recommend you to buyDetachedtent so you don't need nails to secure it. This is very useful when sleeping indoors or pitching a tent on concrete.
  • existAbility to pitch a tent without fliesAlso very useful, especially in tropical areas with very high humidity and hot nights.
  • If you are sharing a tent,2 doorsVery useful and practical as you don't have to wait for someone else to take/take out or organize your gear.
  • make sure to packrepair kit. Damaged tent poles are one of the hardest things to repair without the proper spare parts.

In our example we useMSR Mutha Hubba TentWe love it. This is a 3 person version so we had some extra space which was very useful when staying indoors for long periods of time on rainy days. It is freestanding and has 2 doors, you can install it without a door curtain. It's a good choice for most climates except high altitude. For more information on tents, check out our guidetent 101

you also needa mattresscontinue to sleep. There are many models to choose from, but there are two main types: air mattresses or foam mattresses. The first type tends to be more comfortable and packs smaller, but they are more expensive, heavier, and less durable. The second is less comfortable and bulky, but cheaper, lighter and very durable. We useThermarest Z-liteAnd very happy with it. It's an inexpensive foam mattress that's bulky but lightweight and virtually indestructible. CheckSleeping pad 101to know more information.

To keep yourself warm, you needsuitable sleeping bag. There are also many models on the market, depending on where you plan to travel and your budget. I recommend buying a good sleeping bag as it is a piece of gear that will last you for years. We useExpress Lite 700, rated at -11°C, will keep us warm even at high altitudes. Checksleeping bag 101to know more information.

I also find it very useful to carrysleeping padwith you. You can use it as a sleeping bag when it gets too hot, or put it in a sleeping bag when you get dirty after a day in the saddle and can't take a shower. It is easier to wash the sleeping pad and keep the sleeping bag clean. we use and recommendSea to Peak Silk Liner. our articlesSleeping pad 101There are more detailed information.

cooking utensils

To be able to cook for yourself on the go, you need to investa good stove. Most cyclists carry multi-fuel stoves that can run on propane gas, liquor and/or gasoline. In some areas, the first two may be difficult to find, so cooking with gasoline is highly recommended.

we haveThe First Omni-Lite Stove. It has some advantages over other models in that you can adjust the flame and it is very clean, but we have found it to be very inconsistent and have had some issues in the past.

The most popular models among bike travelers areMSR Whisperlite Universal Stove. This model is cheaper, but you can't adjust the flame, and using it gets your hands dirty. While we have no experience with it, we've met many riders who are very happy with it. Checkcamping stove 101Find out more information and the different stove models.


Choosing clothing for your bike tour is a very personal choice. Everyone has their own system that seems to work, but there are some items you need to bring along.

rain gear:Raincoat, trousers and shoe covers.

Agood jacketis mandatory, while the other two are optional. If cycling in the tropics, I prefer to wear swim shorts over pants, but that's a personal preference. Pants and shoe covers become more useful when it rains in cold weather.

Cycling Equipment:Shorts, T-shirts.

It's entirely up to you. Sometimes I don't even ride my bike in padded shorts. I prefer to wear regular clothes instead of lycra so I don't look like an alien when I stop in town.

Cold Weather Gear:Beanies, arm warmers, leg warmers.

If you're planning to ride your bike in cold weather, you'll want to bring some extra gear, such as a beanie, arm warmers, and leg warmers.

other equipment

In addition to the aforementioned must-haves, there are other pieces of equipment that, although not mandatory, are highly recommended and can make your first bike trip more enjoyable.

camera:As on any trip, you shouldn't forget to bring your camera to capture your experiences that will become your memories for years to come.

torch:Headlights will make your life so much easier when camping or when the power goes out (common in some countries). CheckHeadlights 101to know more information.

Water purification system:If planning to ride in developing countries, bringpurification systemCan save you a lot of money. we carry those we loveStitcher Ultra(UV system), but there are other options such as water filters or purification tablets.

hat:When cycling in the sun, hats are one of a kindMust-Have Items When Traveling By Bike

read more

For more of our top bike touring gear recommendations, check out these top buyer's guides:

touring bike

bicycle handlebar bag

touring tires

travel bag

touring seat

fat bike


6 replies

  1. The absolute must-have bike touring gear for bike touring enthusiasts (1)

    frozen ones

    Love your stuff...when I can read it. I am having a hard time accessing your articles. Maybe I forgot my username/password.
    Can you provide any help?

    • The absolute must-have bike touring gear for bike touring enthusiasts (2)

      antonio carra

      Hi Frosene,
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      • The absolute must-have bike touring gear for bike touring enthusiasts (3)

        Darren White

        I have the same problem. I log into the main website with my username and password, but can't access the articles (on my Android smartphone)

  2. The absolute must-have bike touring gear for bike touring enthusiasts (4)

    antonio carra

    Hey Darren,
    I just sent you an email.

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  3. The absolute must-have bike touring gear for bike touring enthusiasts (5)


    Wow! Great to hear your share! It was a great experience and I really enjoyed this article. Thanks!

  4. The absolute must-have bike touring gear for bike touring enthusiasts (6)

    Padraig Odea

    Thanks for sharing, I am new to travel (self-help only) and found this article very helpful. I am planning to go coast to coast from Everett WA to Long Island NY next May, any advice would be greatly appreciated. You on the Padraig Tour


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