We’re going to ignore the obvious things here like personal hygiene, food, and clothing, because those are highly personalized choices. And also because at Handy Bikes we’re focused on mechanics and technicalities of the gear itself. Here’s a quick list, with details on each:
- Cargo carrying capability. Don’t let someone tell you it HAS to be a particular type. If all you’ve got for now is rear panniers and a backpack, that’s ok! You don’t need to run out and get the latest most expensive seat or handlebar bag to get rolling. As you go, you will learn that seat bags impact bike handling, rear panniers affect your center of gravity, handlebar bags make your steering feel different — and you will decide what setup you like best. Don’t let others make that decision for you based on their preferences or budget.
- Toolkit. Including spare quick link, chain tool, and tube (even if you’re tubeless), plus inflation (CO2 is great but have manual pump capability as well) and the usual hex/torx keys.
- Water filtration capability. Carry fluids as well, obviously, but don’t underestimate how much water you’re going to need! A quality filter can literally be a lifesaver.
- Shelter. Your choice on tent, hammock, bivvy sack, sleeping pad, tarp – no matter how good the weather forecast is though, don’t bring nothing.
- Electrolytes. I said I wasn’t going to talk about food, but this is the exception – too much water by itself is almost as bad as too little water. Some form of powdered mix is my go-to, rather than carrying separate bottles of
- Toilet paper/baby wipes. Yup…I’ve forgotten them too. Just saying.
There will always be that one thing you forget or the one (heavy) thing you bring that you didn’t need. The best way to do this is to DO THIS. Get out there, experiment, keep track of your own preferences, and let us know your favorites!