So What’s in those Panniers Anyway?

Six weeks down and about two to go on our Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour. All this time we've been living out of one set of panniers and a handlebar bag each. Plus camping equipment. Even other long distance cyclists have commented on how frugally we have packed. Many carry a second set of panniers on their front wheel as well. But we knew that every pound would count, and didn't want to carry any extra weight. Especially with the hills we'd be climbing.

By this stage, we'd know if we misjudged on our packing strategy. But I'm happy to report that we both feel we nailed it. The only superfluous item is my swimsuit. But it's not exactly weighing me down. I haven't worn my warmest cycling layers yet either, but I'm glad I have them in reserve. (* Items) And I can't think of anything that I wish I'd brought. So what exactly did I pack?

Cycling clothes: (this is on the wear-one, wash-one plan)

  • 2 Grand Gaspé Tour cycling jerseys
  • 2 pair cycling shorts
  • 4 pair cycling socks, 1 pair wool socks
  • 2 running bras
  • 1 thermal quarter-zip top
  • 1 thin cycling windbreaker
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 pair cycling gloves, 1 pair ski gloves
  • 1 pair arm warmers
  • 1 pair running capris
  • 1 pair insulated ski tights *
  • 1 long sleeve ski top *
  • 1 hat *

Civilian clothes: (note most of this is athletic wear as the thin synthetic fabrics take little room and wash and dry easily)

  • 2 running t-shirts
  • 1 pair soccer shorts
  • 1 pair athletic capris
  • 1 long sleeve running top
  • 1 pair knit long pants
  • 2 pair socks
  • 1 pair Keens sandals
  • 4 pair travel underwear, 1 bra
  • 1 swimsuit

Camping gear: (Rich carries our ultra lightweight 2-person tent)

  • sleeping bag
  • 2 sleep mats
  • solar charging panel

Electronics and sundry items:

  • iPad
  • smartphone
  • Garmin GPS watch
  • good camera, with extra battery
  • spare pair of glasses
  • toiletries (in very small quantities)
  • bagels, peanut butter and granola bars

Cycling supplies:

  • 5 spare inner tubes (Rich carries a few more plus a spare tire)
  • extra spokes
  • bike chain lubricant
  • repair tools
  • bike lock
  • 2 water bottles

And here's just how it all fits on my bike…

Panniers and their contents
Handlebar bag
Voila, the total package

Oh, and one more critical item – ziplock bags. Everything is encased in plastic to keep it dry. The first rainstorm proved just how important that was.

That's it. No more, no less. And it's all I need. Wouldn't it be nice if life were always that simple?


3 thoughts on “So What’s in those Panniers Anyway?

  1. I love this post! How very minimal and mobile. I don’t know if I would have made it on just that…. Go you and dad!

    We are happy you are enjoying your trip, but very excited for you to return! Let’s Skype again before you get home. The kids especially like that.


    Sent from my iPad

  2. Very nice post – however you could have slimmed down a bit more I think. 😉 Seriously I think this list should be published on some site for aspiring long distance cyclists. (Or kayakers). One item I noticed you didn’t list – a bike lock! Did you feel you wouldn’t need them? Or does Rich get to carry that, too?

    • Good catch! Yes, we each carry a bike lock. And other minutiae like plastic sporks, a Swiss Army Knife and headlamps. Perhaps I could attach my detailed packing list.

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