Hi all! It’s been a while, but I’m back.
So, way back in September 2016, I went on my first *real* cycling adventure, a holiday which saw me trek solo from my current home in Derby to my parents’ house in Surrey, via Stratford, Oxford and Newbury (in West Berkshire).
But before I could go, I of course need to pack.
This took several weeks because a) I didn’t have some of the items I needed b) I wasn’t sure what I could and couldn’t carry and c) I am just generally quite bad at getting round to things.
Ah, packing for a cycle tour.
The ultimate conundrum.
You can’t take too much because you’ll be weighed down and won’t make good speed. But you need to take everything because you’ll be on your own and need to prepare for every eventuality. I was not being ultra hardcore and camping out – I’m not a fan of camping and I thought it would be a little foolhardy to try on my first long try – and so a lot of the general paraphernalia of tent, cutlery, stove etc. could thankfully be discounted.
But that still left me with lots of decisions to make.
I divided my packing into several areas, like so…
- Food and Drink
- Bike Tools
But what to take in each? Well, now I have been there and back again I can comment on what I took, what I found useful, what I will take next time, and what I wish I’d left at home.
We’ll start on this entry with clothes, because it is one of the hardest areas, mainly because clothes are not optional (as I have been told, officer) and they get very bulky very quickly. Although not heavy, they can take up a lot of space in your luggage, and of course the number and type will depend on the climate so always bear that in mind.
September 2016 was pleasant and mild, with a little rain here and there – an easy temperate weather to pack for, but also a little unpredictable.
Not technically a clothes item of course but very useful – I packed the majority of my clothes into a large vacuum bag on every major journey. There were some clothes I was taking which I knew I wouldn’t need until I got home (smart clothes mainly) so they stayed in there. Because they are fitted with one-way valves, you can suck the air out yourself without the need for a vacuum cleaner, although you will need strong lungs. Two things to bare in mind if you’re thinking of using a vacuum bag – firstly, if you pack your stuff into the bag clumsily and quickly, then it will have very little benefit. Always take care to pack things as neatly as possible, so when the air is removed it takes up a small, efficient space. Second, although the vacuum bag reduced the SPACE clothes take up, it won’t reduce the WEIGHT. If you pack a load of heavy clothes, they will still be heavy, and may make the journey uncomfortable.
I haven’t got any photos of my vacuum bags, but you can find them on eBay.
Pants and Socks
Pictured: Definitely not my sexiest underwear.
Obviously you need these. But the question is…how many? My answer: Three pairs of each, wearing one with two in the packing. Of course, this means that you will need to be scrupulous about washing and drying them (as I hope you would anyway). At most carry four to give yourself a grace period between washes. But remember, the more you pack, the more you will have to wash and dry, and the more dirty underwear you’ll be carrying around if you don’t have a chance.
I’d say the same goes for bras, but I leave it to the individual lady in question 😉
Continue reading “Packing For A Cycle Adventure 1 – Clothes”