What to take on a cycle tour – if you’re Auntie Helen, at least!

A couple of people have recently asked me what I take with me on a cycle tour. So as I’m heading off in less than a week, I thought it worth writing a short blog post about what I find works for me on my tours.

Firstly, it’s important to be aware than I am not touring with a tent but staying in Hotels or B&Bs. This means that I am able to take much less luggage as I don’t need to cook for myself and am able to wash my clothes every day at the hotel. It also means, though, that as I am not laden down with a tent and camping stove and pots and pans I have room for a few more ‘luxuries’ (like an extra set of clothing) and can be fairly confident of an electric socket to charge up my gadgets.

This is what everything looks like laid out on the spare bed:

Touring luggage for Konstanz to Koblenz

Touring luggage for Konstanz to Koblenz

This is the packing list for my upcoming tour:

3 x shorts
1 x Bikesters long cycling trousers
2 x vest tops
3 x jerseys
5 pairs socks
4 sets of underwear
Arm warmers
Leg warmers
2 x Buffs
Waterproof jacket
Windproof jacket
Cotton trousers (for off-bike wear)
T-shirt (for off-bike wear)
Hi-Tec trainers (for off-bike wear)
Cycling SPD sandals

iGadget charger
iGadget cables (x2)
Cable for keyboard/phone
Motorola phone
German SIM
Garmin Oregon
Garmin Europe maps
Battery charger
Plug adapters
Kinivo Speaker

Tools & tubes
Radical Banana bags
Bikeline books
Bike sunglasses
Baseball Cap
Abus curly lock
Heart Rate Monitor

Stena tickets
Deutsche Bahn rail tickets
Paperwork for hotels
Photocopy of passport
Travel insurance document
Wash kit
Washing line and pegs
Hairbrush and hairband
Key to bike lock!
Spare keys
Weetabix, milk and spoon

The last item, the Weetabix, milk and spoon, is for the morning after my overnight ferry journey. Rather than having a large breakfast on the ferry at ungodly-o’clock I will instead have some weetabix with UHT milk and a disposable spoon in my cabin.

I experimentally stuffed it all into the Banana Bags to see what it looks like:

Banana bags pretty full!

Still a small amount of room for the kitchen sink

I then weighed it – luggage within bags weighs 12.5kg which isn’t too bad. My iPad and my bag of tools are significant contributors to that weight, as are the four Bikeline Radweg books (I have some self-addressed envelopes with me to post the first two back home after I’ve finished with them).

It’s interesting that the increase from 45 litres to 70 litres in my panniers/bags hasn’t meant I have vast amounts of spare room, but then I did just stuff everything in without organising it and I am sure I can do a bit better when I’m on tour.

Most people I ride with seem to carry less stuff which is probably a good idea but I don’t find the extra weight of the bags slows me down particularly and I do like to have my home comforts (like enough changes of clothes for different weather conditions and variety). Of course, my two tubs of teabags are also vital!


  1. I recognise your approach, even down to the individual portions of cereal + UHT milk.

    I must have a bit of an obsessive list mania. My list details which pannier (out of four on a conventional bike) and what order from bottom to top. Then there’s the rack-pack and the mini-pockets.

    Mind you, I say that you have to be organised!

    As well as knowing exactly where the important documents are (in their polypockets, of course), on my last trip the chap I travelled with suggested scanning .PDFs of them into Evernote. I did this but perhaps it’s over the top.

    For camping I’ve just bought a 12000 mAh battery pack. I’m reckoning that will get me through five days without the need to find a socket.

    Anyway, Good Luck!


    1. I do tend to have copies of all my documentation on Dropbox as well as printed out, just in case. Hotel bookings are printed out, in my Passbook and also on the Booking.com website so I have no excuse for not having the information!

      I’d be interested to hear how you get on with the 1200mAh battery pack – sounds pretty beefy!

      1. I’ve had a smaller 5000 mAh for a couple of years now (a “managers’ special” at my local Maplin) and that’s been good, keeping me going for a couple of days. Bought this larger 12000 mAh one on Amazon following a discussion on Bromptontalk.

        Will let you know after the *long* Bank Holiday camping rally next weekend.

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