The gear

Here’s the complete list of everything that I carried on my bike across the country. I certainly didn’t go the ultralight route, and all this stuff made the bike heavy. But I thought I’d use it all enough to justify carrying it.

Here’s what I had:


Tubus Logo Evo rear rack

Tubus Tara Lowrider front rack

Vaude Road 1 handlebar bag

Ortleib Back-Roller Classic rear panniers

Ortleib Front-Roller Classic front panniers

Ortlieb Rack Pack medium (I absolutely love this. It connects perfectly to the rear panniers over the rear rack and I can just throw my tent in there. Also perfect for quick storage of loaves of bread, bags of chips, small pizzas, or gatorade)


REI Quarterdome 2 tent & footprint (it’s been very, very good to me)

ENO DoubleNest hammock & tree straps (I would prefer to sleep in this every single night, but I need trees and no rain. If, and only if, either are a problem the tent goes up.)

Big Agnes Lone Ranger 15 sleeping bag (I absolutely love this bag.)

REI Stratus inflatable sleeping pad (sprung a leak I couldn’t find)

Big Agnes Air Core Ultra sleeping pad


2 pair cycling shorts

2 pair regular shorts (I wear the cycling shorts under regular shorts like underwear. Call it a public service.)

1 pair running shorts (I tend to change into these once I’m done with the day’s riding and wear them to sleep. They pull double duty as a swimsuit, and triple duty as a pair of boxers)

1 fleece pullover

1 Club Ride cycling jersey

2 moisture-wicking t-shirts

1 moisture-wicking long sleeve shirt (I wear this almost daily to proect the forearms from the sun)

1 cotton t-shirt (strictly for off-bike wearing or as an additional layer when it’s chilly. Also a pillow.)

1 pair cycling tights

1 pair lightweight “traveler” pants

2 pair SmartWool low-cut socks

1 pair SmartWool thick socks

1 pair underwear

Reflective vest (for night riding mostly)

Rain shell (I should probably carry rain pants too but I’d rather be wet than deal with those things)

Adidas Sambas (best cycling shoe ever made and they’re designed for soccer. Go figure)

Birkenstocks (they tend to go on as soon as I’m off the bike)

1 baseball hat

1 cotton cycling hat

1 wool cycling hat (I know, I know. A bit hat crazy. But I wear the cotton one when it’s warm, the wool one when it’s cool, and the baseball one off the bike. Having naturally curly hair means hats.)

Giro Reverb helmet (I love this helmet. It’s sufficiently tacky with surprising airflow and fits me perfectly)


MSR Whisperlite Universal stove

MSR fuel

GSI Pinnacle cookset

MSR frying pan

MSR Alpine kitchen knife

Wooden cooking spoon


Backpacker’s mug

Bear bag w/ rope

Olive oil

Campsuds soap

Cholula hot sauce (maybe the most important part of this whole list)


Rice, pita bread, Nutella, peanut butter, nuts, fruit, whatever I can get my hands on for quick energy

Green tea bags

Ginger tea bags (delicious and anti inflammatory)


Leatherman Skeletool

4mm allen wrench

5mm allen wrench

15mm box wrench

Spoke wrench

Brooks saddle wrench

J.A. Stein mini lockring tool

Torx T-25 screwdriver (for rack bolts)

Tire levers

Bic lighter

Serfas Grifter frame pump

Patch kit

Rag/toothbrush (for cleaning the drivetrain)

Boeshield T-9 lube

Loctite 242

Electrical tape

Zip ties

2 spare tubes (700×35)

2 spare derailleur cables

2 spare brake cables

2 spare brake pads

3 spare spokes and spoke nipples (one for each size in my wheels)

Abus Bordo lock (it’s heavy, but even with it I get paranoid about bike theft)


iPhone 6s & charger (key touring apps: WordPress, Google Maps,, Warmshowers, Weather Underground, Spotify, Relisten, Numbers for my planned spreadsheet, TrailLink, Couchsurfing)

iPad Mini (loaded with books)

FiiO X1 mp3 player & charger (two memory cards: one with 600 Grateful Dead shows, the other a mix of favorites)

Mophie battery pack (I can charge this with my dynohub, and it charges things pretty quick. I could probably leave it behind and be just fine but it’s small and I already had it so why not bring it)


iHome portable speaker (I can stick this in the front of my handlebar bag and cruise mini-boombox style. Also great for listening to podcasts and such when I set up camp for the night or pack up in the morning)

Sony AZ1 action camera w/ case, helmet mount, two batteries, and charger

BugsGear Aquelele (It’s a plastic ukulele made for backpackers. I tune it gCEg and play a sloppy version of Scrugg’s style banjo fingerpicking) (broke in Idaho…the plastic neck buckled)

Innova Roc golf disc

Book (I’ll carry one paper book at a time; when I finish it, I’ll give it away and get another. I’m starting this ride by rereading Prisoner’s Dilemma, which is one of my favorites)

Maps (C&O/GAP official map; ACA TransAm Trail sections 4,5,6; ACA Lewis & Clark Trail sections 6 and 7)

Toiletries/first aid stuff (just the usual stuff)

Petzl headlamp (lost. I don’t even know when or where)

Sunglasses (indispensable)


Olympus PEN E-PM2 mirrorless digital camera & charger w/14-42mm lens and Lensbaby 2.0 (I think this was a more aspirational item to bring. It’s heavy, and my iPhone is just fine for pictures. Plus I have the Sony action camera, and while I’ve traditionally been a photographer, I’m more interested in video for this tour)

Vibram VP gold disc (the Roc is enough for playing disc golf)

Osprey Talon 22 day pack w/ bladder (I’m not going to be doing enough hiking to justify this and I need the room for the ukelele which is feather light but bulky and a thing I’ll use daily)