Bicycle Ultralight Camping Checklist
Also See: Bicycle Tour Checklist,
Bicycle Camping Tour Checklist,
Bicycle Expedition Issues and Checklist
Ultralight Cycle Packing Checklist
Ultralight Bicycle Camping Checklist
Ultralight Packing Checklist,
Ultralight Bicycle Camping is about taking the absolute minimum amount of gear for an outing that will typically last three to five days. The risk outlook is very optimistic. The light traveling allows a rider (or hiker) to cover more distance or enjoy more coverage or cover more difficult to reach places in less time than a well laden cyclist or backpacker. Ultralight Cycling/Camping/ Hiking/Backpacking is also the concept behind adventure racing, some of which last for three or four weeks (like the Great Divide MB Race now called the Tour Divide).
This original version 1 checklist started as Aaron Teasdale's Ultralight Cycling Packing List. It has subsuquently been updated and upgraded. The original article was published in the Adventure Cyclist (AC) magazine (Seeing the Light, August, 2006, while on the trail with Matthew Lee and Bob Allen). Matthew Lee is a two time Great Divide Trail Race Champion and he Placed Second in a another race. Bob Allen is a biker and Photographer for Adventure Cyclist and Aaron Teasdale is a contributing Editor for AC. The Ultralight Topic discussion, the original article (pdf) and the original item checklist and item description/website are online at AC (at these same links).
The Good News is that the bare bones list follows. The Bad News is that in order to get the lightest travel system, one may need the newest, latest, and probably more expensive camp ware. Whether one buys the latest equipment or not, this checklist still provides a good listing of minimalist necessities.
Things not included in the base weight but carried: The clothes and safety gear that you wear (helmet with bill and gloves) plus Food, Water, ID, Car Key, and maybe Money or a Credit Card.
Other things NOT carried are Cleaning Gear (not for self or food), cell phone, Water Bottles, and sometimes no toilet paper. Meals typically are high calorie: oatmeal packets or granola for breakfast; nuts and trail mix for snacks and lunch on the trail; and freeze dried (just add boiling water) dinners.
[ ] Rear Rack: Seat post mounted for full suspension rear-end OR
frame mounted for hard-tail (little bag of bulk items: tent or sleep bag, pot, ...)
must be very careful about the maximum weight, usually at 20 lbs.
[ ] Backpack (hydration pack style, for water and to carry smaller items,
try to camp near water sources, about 100 yards/meters from water sources
when possible as it saves from having to carry water loads very far,
especially for cooking. Avoid camping directly next to lakes, rivers or
water sources as it scares wild game, it looks ugly, and its dangerous
to your safety - flash floods, and where predators patrol).
[ ] Handlebar bag (smallish, helps offset rear rack weight, usually bulky but
lightweight stuff, like the sleeping bag, but does not matter,
never heavier than rear weight).
[ ] Seat bag (3 Different Mindsets:
- Some people store traditional stuff for the seatbag in the handlebar bag,
rear bag, or backpack and do NOT have a seat bag (aka saddle bag).
- Some people store tools, band aids, tire repair items, in a seat bag.
- Some people do not mount a rear rack at all and mount/strap a medium sized
carry bag to the seat and post (especially on soft tales).
[ ] Tie-Down Straps
[ ] Fly or Tent Shell (just enough aluminum stakes, aluminum poles) or
Waterproof Bivy Sack (over long time periods, usually small tents are preferred)
[ ] Ground Cloth or Tent Floor
[ ] Stuff sack (for rear rack goodies, just big enough,
Great Divide Race winner, Matthew Lee, suggests padding the rear rack
with closed cell foam to prevent wearing of the stuff sack)
[ ] Sleeping Bag (super light weight, 40°F; if cold, put on warm-up shirt & pants)
[ ] Sleeping Pad (just big enough, some people use thick
auto windshield insulated reflector roll)
[ ] Stove and optional Case (sits on top of canister, canister is base)
Stove Issue: There are people who do not carry a stove, they do not cook,
they carry short supplies of food that require no cooking,
like bread (in its many forms), protein spread, sweet spread, fruit,
and/or vegetables. They also sacrifice hot water beverages (at camp).
They may not be bathing or just using lakes and streams upon availability.
[ ] Fuel Canister (small, see Stove Issue)
[ ] Pot (see Stove Issue)
[ ] Spoon
[ ] Compass
[ ] Waterproof Matches &/or Gas Lighter (gas is overall best but
many gas lighters FAIL to light above 9500'/3000m) or Magnesium Striker
[ ] Band aids in Baggie
[ ] Toiletries (small toothbrush, small toothpaste, Toilet Paper (squish partial roll),
and six acetaminophen pills in a Ziploc bag)
[ ] Duct tape (wrapped around a broken pencil or newer styled 1.5" wide mini-roll
Clothing (in addition to what is worn):
[ ] Waterproof Jacket
[ ] Waterproof Pants
[ ] Down Vest (Light Weight) or Flannel Shirt (Medium Weight), wear as layer
[ ] Polyester Shirt or UV-Protected Guide Shirt (Long-Sleeve)
[ ] DEET (DEET will melt plastic or poly/polar anything)
[ ] Sack (Sleeping Bag, Vest, and Raingear during Day, Bear Bag at Night;
Use a rock in a sock, baggie (or tied tool) to throw a line over a limb;
in campgrounds use built in storage structures, even a bear proof trash container)
[ ] Food-hanging cord, Parachute/Construction Nylon (15-20 yards/meters;
if in bear/lion country, lions can be anywhere deer are,
bears can be anywhere trash containers are (houses and cabins too);
these animals are smart and strong, they just don't have opposable thumbs)
[ ] Stuff sack for Food, Baggies
[ ] Chlorine dioxide water treatment (small bottle, understand instructions, NO Iodine!)
[ ] Headlamp, Strap-On Head/Helmet (use as camp light)
[ ] Tire Pump, Mini, bike mounted (abandoned CO2 cartridges - very declassé)
[ ] Multi-Tool (light duty, some people carry a separate chain tool because some
multi-tool chain tools need special knowledge/experience to use properly -
See Chain Tool Use. Some cyclists carry a few hex keys only.
[ ] Scissors or multi-tool blade or small knife
[ ] Spare tube (no box, just rubber banded)
[ ] Plastic Tire Tools (2)
[ ] Self Stick Feathered Patches (Reliable 1-3 yrs old, else get New Patches)
[ ] Extra Water Bladder (usually just for camp; bulk water for travel [rare])
[ ] Water Bottle(s) - serving the same function as an Extra Water Bladder (above)
[ ] Shock Pump (optional)
[ ] Chain Oil (simple or seasonal/location match, dry/wet, hot/cold, smallest size;
Kyösti T (Finland) uses Gun Lube Oil, works just fine and hopefully scares Bears;
Not needed for weekend rides, wax can harden in cold places (mountain/dessert nights).
Note: One can usually find rags on roadside or request at an Inn
[ ] Spare Pins (2) or Quick Link (1), as appropriate to chain type
[ ] Spare Link Segment (3-4 inches, match chain type)
[ ] Water Filter (know the water sources, know when to tank up)
[ ] Waterproof Helmet Cover (usually bright color desired, some act as head warmer too)
- About Stealth Camping
- An Ultralight Backpacking Site (many issues are similar)
- Typical Bicycle Mechanical Issues (worth reviewing)
- Bear Safety, Lion Safety, Don't stare eye-to-eye at an animal, it is an act of confrontation