Packing for an Overnight Bicycle Trip

Small, lightweight backpacking gear is ideal for a bike overnight. If this is your first time though, don't get wrapped up in shopping for gear right away—you could spend a lot of money and realize your first time out that you overlooked something important. Make do with what you have on your first couple of trips, or borrow from a friend. You'll start to recognize what new pieces you may want to purchase to improve your experience in the future. (There are lots of different opinions on the best gear for an overnight. Soon you'll form your own.)

Here's what you'll need:

The Basics for Camping

Deluxe Gear List

Perhaps you're not a minimalist. Just remember: everything you bring adds weight to your bike. If you have much hill climbing or a lot of mileage planned, you may want to reconsider how much you take along.

  • Route map(s)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad or air mattress
  • Small tent, bivy sack, or camp hammock
  • Camp pillow or stuff sack
  • Cooking equipment (small stove, cookware, utensils) including food
  • Camp chair
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Pocketknife
  • Waterproof matches

Deluxe Personal Gear List

  • Toiletries
  • Two sets of bike clothes
  • Two sets of off-the-bike clothes
  • Raingear
  • Cold weather gear
  • Shoes/sandals
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel

Other Possibilities

  • Books
  • Camera
  • Playing cards
  • Sports equipment
  • Fishing gear
  • Radio/iPod/MP3 player

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Bikeovernights.org is a resource of the Adventure Cycling Association. They inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle, help cyclists explore the landscape and history of America for fitness, fun and self discovery.

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