Cycling Across the USA: What to Pack

Every challenge in life can be broken down into workable goals. Cycling 6,200 kms across the United States from NYC to Seattle was no different. Preparation for the 3 month journey started with choosing the right gear. Having spent my younger years riding bikes and hitting mountain bike trails, the first task was acquiring some wheels. 

After deciding on the Brodie Circuit frame, I spent the two weeks prior to the trip riding around Toronto and assembling my kit. Every gram of weight counts on a long ride, so it was crucial that each piece of equipment be the right fit. 

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Choosing the Right Gear.

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Before making any purchases, I run through a quick check list to see if it ticks all the right boxes...

  •  Lifetime warranty- Sustainability is key to me, so it's important I invest in good quality, durable products. I try to buy from ethical companies who offer ongoing support to repair and replace their goods.
  •  Multipurpose- In order to keep my belongings to a minimum, I focus on choosing items that have multiple uses. I am careful to select clothing that I can wear not only as active wear but during my everyday life. My stainless steel tiffin tin gets utilised for food storage, prep, serving and the actual cooking of my meals as well.
  • Lightweight and minimal- I favour merino which not only has the ability to keep me warm or dry, depending on the conditions but it is incredibly lightweight and easy to wash and dry. It's natural antibacterial properties in the fibre also means that it stays fresh for longer. 

The List. 

Below is a complete list of the gear I took with me on the road. Each item is used daily and aside from the bike, it all fits in a carry-on sized bag. My clothing can be worn in any combination, layered and used for all purposes both physical and functional. Everything can be washed quickly by hand and air dried.  

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Bike Set-up.

  • Bike- Brodie Circuit with rear rack and fenders
  • 2 x Panniers- Arkel ORCA 45L
  • Handlebar Bag- Arkel Barbag
  • 2 x Bottle Cage
  • Bike Lock - Abus U Mini lightweight
  • Helmet - MET Crossover
  • Gloves
  • Lights- Front and Rear USB
  • Tyre Leavers
  • Bike Tool
  • Mini pump
  • Bell
  • Phone mount - Quad Lock
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Camping & Cooking Set-up.

  • Tent- Kelty TN2
  • Sleeping Bag- Black Wolf 3 Season (Australian Climate) **on the trip I donated this and upgraded to a heavier weight bag - REI Igneo 25
  • Sleeping Pad- Thermarest Prolite Plus
  • Pillow- Sea to Summit Aeros Premium
  • Stove- Jetboil Flash w/ coffee plunger
  • Fuel- Butane
  • Utensils- To-Go-Ware Bamboo spoon/fork/knife/chopsticks set
  • Multi tool- Letterman Wingman
  • Stainless steel lunch box container - Dalcini Stainless
  • 6 x Reusable Bags- Colibri & DIY assorted sizes for dry goods and zero waste shopping
  • 16 oz Klean Kanteen Insulated bottle
  • Vapur Eclipse foldable water bottle 1L
  • Vapur Micro Filter
  • 2L water reservoir
  • Matador Mini pocket blanket
  • Matador Pocket Blanket (as ground sheet for tent)
  • Scrubba Wash Bag- for hand washing clothes
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Tech Gear.

  • Sony RX100 M3 Camera- with polariser
  • GoPro Hero 4 Silver Camera- with polariser
  • Gimbal-  Removu s1 for GoPro 
  • Tripod- Joby micro and Joby Gorilla Pod
  • GoPro clamp for instruments and underwater housing
  • Microphone- Rode Smartlav -to record interviews etc
  • Audio Record- Apogee jam for mono line in record to ipad/iphone
  • Laptop- MacBook Air 11inch w/ sleeve
  • iPad Mini- 128gb w/ case
  • iPhone 5C- with Lifeproof Case and Quad Lock bike mount
  • 2 x Hard drive- Seagate 2TB Ultraslim
  • USB stick- PK Media 64gb Ultra small
  • Dual USB 12v Car charger  
  • Spare batteries, cables and chargers
  • Headlamp- Black Diamond Revolt, usb rechargeable
  • Headphones- Jaybird bluetooth & Earbuds in pouch
  • Powerbank- X-Dragon 15000mah with solar charging ability
  • GPS bluetooth
  • Carabiner
  • Padlock
  • Pen & Marker
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Clothing.

  • 3 x T shirts - Icebreaker Merino
  • Singlet - Icebreaker Merino
  • Rain Coat- Patagonia Torrentshell
  • Vest- Patagonia Lightweight down
  • Jacket- Patagonia Houdini ultralight windbreaker
  • Sweater - Icebreaker Merino
  • 2 x Pants - Arcteryx Palisade Hiking/casual and lightweight chinos casual/formal
  • 2 x Shorts- Patagonia casual/swim and running shorts
  • Hat - crushable/washable
  • Beanie - Icebreaker Merino
  • Wool Buff - Merino
  • Gloves -windreaker w/merino liners
  • 3 x Underwear - Icebreaker Merino
  • Long Thermal underwear - Icebreaker merino
  • 3 x Pairs of Socks - Icebreaker Merino
  • Running Shoes
  • Havaianas **Swapped them out for Xero Shoes Sandals which made for easier riding**
  • Padded Bike Shorts (not pictured) **I used these once and then decided that I could do without**
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Toiletries.

  • Tooth Brush bamboo -biodegradable
  • Toothpowder - better and longer lasting then toothpaste
  • Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap - All natural, to wash body, hair, clothes and dishes
  • Small comb
  • Nail clippers
  • Lip Balm
  • Wahl Electric Shaver - hair / beard - I cut my own hair and beard
  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Coconut oil- as a moisturiser and for cooking (not pictured)
  • Sunscreen (not pictured)
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Miscellaneous.

  • Sunglasses
  • Wallet- Allett ultra slim
  • Passports
  • Water Bottle -Vapur Eclipse Foldable
  • Backpack - Matador Beast 28L -ultralight, packable (not pictured)
  • Day bag- Matador Daylite 16L -ultralight, packable (not pictured)
  • Tech Bag- Bogear EDC Pouch- clamshell style organisational pouch for all my tech gear (not pictured)
  • Packing Cells- to store clothing (not pictured)
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What to eat. 

For those that are interested in what I ate along the way here is a sample of what I carried with me. I have a plant based diet and try to eat whole foods as much as possible.

Bulk foods: I kept a close eye out for Co-ops, to refill my reusable cotton bags with bulk essentials.

  • Oats - traditional
  • Rice - brown
  • Lentils - green
  • Coffee- grounds
  • Trail Mix - (almonds, raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Honey
  • Dried refried beans
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Dried Soy protein
  • Pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Cous Cous
  • Soy Sauce
  • Vegetable seasoning
  • Cinnamon
  • Pepper
  • Chilli powder
  • Curry powder

Dumpster diving: The perfect place to replenish perishable goods and help reduce wastage.

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Granola Bars
  • Bread
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Check out my journey riding from NYC to Seattle

Have you been Bike Touring? Share your experience below!