Over the years, I've done a fair share of online research on the best camping and bicycle touring equipment available. Most of the gear I own has also travelled with me on hundreds of days of heavy usage on all kinds of weather and conditions. So I have a decent idea of what works and what doesn't. Of course everyone has their own needs and preferences, but here's a non-comprehensive list of what I carry with me on tour.
- Tent: MSR Hubba - a single person, freestanding, ultra light tent. Quick to set up, durable, has kept me dry even in extreme rain - a perfect tent. I also have the footprint, which I sometimes use as a rain cover for the bicycle instead.
- Sleeping bag: Marmot Never Summer - a nice warm down sleeping bag. Keeps me comfortable in North Finland and Norway, where the night temperatures can drop to 0°C (32°F) even in the summer.
- Sleeping pad: A thin uncomfortable foam mattress that I've never gotten around to replacing with something reasonable. Its only redeeming quality is that it weighs next to nothing.
HYGIENE, water and Food
- Cooking: A Trangia gas stove - somewhat big and heavy, but nice to have when I want a proper meal. Trangia because it's very reliable, and gas because it's easier and I'm all fussy about soot.
- Laundry: The Ortlieb folding bowl - basically a portable kitchen sink. Excellent for washing clothes.
- Shower: Sea To Summit Pocket Shower - a 10L bag you can hang from a branch. Has an adjustable shower head. Hardly ever used (I visit camping grounds to pay for showers, or just go for a swim), but heavenly when needed. Doubles as a tap for washing hands at the campsite.
- Towel: A regular fluffy normal-sized towel. I used to have one of those travel towels that dry easily and take very little space, but I switched back because a proper towel makes me happy.
BICYCLE TOURING SPEcIfIC
- Bike bags: Ortlieb panniers - easily the best ones out there. Back Rollers on the rear and front, a 31L rack pack in the back, plus a handlebar bag.
- Chain oil: Rock'N'Roll Extreme lubricant - my favourite for keeping my chain clean and working well.
- Headlamp: Ledlenser MH10 - sometimes you end up cycling during the night, so a headlamp needs to be quite powerful.
- Repairs: A couple spare tubes, working gloves, a multi-tool... and of course duct tape. The bare essentials, basically.
- Insect repellent: A Thermacell device - surprisingly effective and certainly the best one I've found. Uses butane to burn mosquito-repelling incense into the air. Plus a bottle of Permethrin.
- Clothes: Two sets of loose comfortable quick-drying clothes, and one "normal" set of clothes for occasional off days when I want to look less like a cyclist. Wool socks, a beanie, gloves, a jacket, and a layer of fleece against the cold. The warm clothes take a lot of space in the panniers, but can be a life-saver. Literally.
- Shoes: Regular clipless shoes. I frequently go off bike in search of photographs, and walking with clips is annoying - as is changing shoes all the time. So for now, as with many of the above choices, I choose comfort over efficiency. I also have a pair of flip-flops for swimming, or when the other shoes need drying.
- First Aid Kit: Never used yet, but.. you know.
- Laptop: Macbook Air - a must have for processing photos and time-lapses. Also basically required for blogging. I don't know how people type with phones and tablets. I definitely need a real keyboard.
- Camera: Nikon D610 with a Tamron 24-70mm. Only one lens (for now), because I try to avoid spots on the sensor, which are disastrous for time-lapsing.
- Tripod: Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod. It's seen better days (one leg is busted and the ball head comes off sometimes), but still useable. Most cyclists wouldn't dream of taking a tripod this heavy with them, but for a time-lapser this is still a compromise between weight and stability. In windy conditions I may need to stabilize the shot afterwards.
- Filters: Hoya 82mm circular polarizer and a DolDer X-Pro ND1000.
- Extra power: Maxoak 36000 mAh power bank. Comes in pretty handy when I'm shooting a lot and need to recharge the camera, laptop and phone.
- Storage space: Time-lapses require a ton of space, so I need hard drives and backups. I carry two 3TB WD My Passport Ultras and a SanDisk 480GB SSD working drive.
- Misc: A remote control for the camera, an extra Nikon battery, a sad amount of cables and chargers, and a wireless USB mouse for photo and video editing.
No longer taking up space
- Pillow: Exped inflatable travel pillow. Seams finally gave out after a few years of use. Current pillow is some warm clothes stuffed in a plastic bag. Feels just as comfortable.
- Foldable bucket: 10L self-standing bucket. Figured out a way to wash up without needing the bucket. And I have the Ortlieb foldable sink, so this was unnecessary. I left it with a note to the next person at a camping site in North Norway.
- Hammock: I actually started with a basic hammock in my panniers, even though I knew it wasn't necessary. Meant to test it and compare to the tent, but I could never bother. Sent it home after a month.