Do I Need High-Tech, Low-Weight Expensive Gear?
Nope. Whatever works for you is what works. Use what you’ve got, see how it works, and if you have the money and desire to upgrade to something lighter or smaller, then go for it. Many people start out with whatever gear they have lying around the house, and work their way up to lightweight equipment over time. Don’t feel the need to overload yourself with gear, or to have the newest, lightest or most expensive. Most importantly, know how to use the gear you own – the gear is useless if you don’t know how to set it up, or operate it.
Minimum Gear List
Yes, you can travel lighter than this, but here’s the recommended minimum gear to take with you for an overnight trip in the summer.
|Bike (duh.)||Tent / hammock / tarp||Food|
|Rear rack||Sleeping bag||Water|
|panniers / milk crate or trailer||First Aid Kit||Cellphone|
|Bike lights||Map(s)||Patch kit|
|Small flashlight or other “camp light”||Sunscreen and lip balm||Frame pump|
|Extra batteries for all lights||Bike tool||Tire levers|
THESE ARE THE BAREST MINIMUMS!
The above list presumes an overnight trip in the summertime with no rain forecast and nighttime temperatures above 55°F / 13°C. It presumes you’re going to wear the same clothes on the ride back as on the ride out. You can make do with the above list but it won’t be a comfortable (i.e. “fun”) stay in camp. A more complete loadout would include a spare set of clothes for Day Two, a spare set of socks, an extra layer for warmth in the evening, and possibly gloves and a knit hat. While Oregon is generally dry in the summer, you should also bring some form of rain protection. If camping in the spring or fall, you’ll want more layers. Use your common sense – if you bike commute or ride regularly in greater Portland in the wetter months, you probably already know how many layers you need to wear for given conditions.
The items required to be safe and comfortable will vary according to the weather, distance from “civilization”, and the facilities at the designated campsite. You can cut into your safety margin if you know there’s a 24-hour convenience store 2 miles from camp, but it gets problematic when you’re 25 miles from the nearest water source and outside cellphone range, or when the only store is closed after 5pm, the night temperatures suddenly drop 20 degrees and you find you’ve forgotten your sleeping bag. Check the weather, know your route and the nearby services, plan for both and plan for unexpected situations if possible.
Example “Full Load” Gear List
Here is one example of what a fully-loaded (tour-loaded) bike might carry (loaded for off-season camping):
|Air pump, frame||Earplugs||Paperback book|
|Bicycle helmet||Eating utensils||Patch kit|
|Bicycle multi-tool||Elastic leg band||Rain / wind jacket & pants|
|Bicycle tubes (2)||Fingerless gloves||Sandals|
|Bike lights||Firestarters||Scrub pad|
|Box of matches||First aid kit||Shampoo|
|Brake pads (spare)||Flashlight||Sleeping bag|
|Bug repellant||Fleece pants||Sleeping pad|
|Bungie cords / zip ties||Fleece vest / sweatshirt||Soap|
|Camera||Handlebar bag||Socks (2 pair)|
|Camp pillow||Handwarmers||Spare batteries|
|Camp stove & fuel||In-camp clothes||Sunblock|
|Camp towel||Knit cap||Sunglasses|
|Campfire forks||Large trash bag||Swimsuit|
|Cellphone||Liner gloves||Swiss Army knife|
|Chain lube||Lip balm||Tent|
|Cookware||Long-sleeve shirt||Tent footprint|
|Cycling jersey (2)||Maps||Tire levers|
|Cycling shoes||Notepad & pens||Toilet paper|
|Cycling shorts (2)||Painkillers||Toothbrush & toothpaste|
|Deck of cards||Pajama bottoms||U-Lock|
|Dental floss||Panniers (rear & front)||Underwear (2)|
|Deodorant||Pants w/ zip-off legs||Water-resistant gloves|