The complete packing list: What I'm carrying, what I'm not, and what I already sent home - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

The complete packing list: What I'm carrying, what I'm not, and what I already sent home

Hi! As promised, here's a rundown of everything I'm bringing with me on this trip, or at least for the first stretch. I think it's just as interesting to point out some things that I decided not to bring and also which items I packed but then ditched after the first day, when Dani met me for dinner.

What I'm not carrying

  • Front rack. I managed to fit everything onto rear rack, which means that, for the first time since I bought this bike, I am riding WITHOUT a front rack. This is pretty ironic. I have used this track for groceries and have removed it from my bike just before the biggest trip I've ever taken. Cool.
  • Water filter
  • Bug repellant. I'll buy some when I need it.
  • Sneakers or hiking boots. Not sure what I'll wear if I want to go hiking. Maybe I'll ask Dani to bring some when she come out to meet me for the second half of the trip.
  • Moisturizing lotion
  • GoPro
  • DSLR camera
  • Gym shorts
  • Fingerless padded biking gloves
  • Birding book
  • Frisco, our cat. Okay, I never really thought about bringing her along, but I get jealous when I hear about backpackers and bike tourists who have cats that love to travel with them. It looks so sweet. But also, it looks like a terrible idea.

What I already sent home after one day

  • Deodorant. No amount of deodorant is going to mask the smell after a couple of days without a shower, so why bother carrying the weight of something that seems fruitless?
  • iPad Mini. At first I thought I might want it so I could read books on it. I can do that on my phone if I really want to read. I haven't had the time, though, since I've been blogging quite a bit and I also need to plan for the next day, etc., and I need a cell connection to do that, which the iPad doesn't have. This was easy to give up.
  • Some food, especially my half a bag of meusli. I'll buy food as I go.
  • A few extra contact lenses. I've got plenty to last me till Dani next meets up with me.

What I am carrying

My packing list is split up based on how I'm carrying them. Most items are kept together in either a Ziploc bag or a compression sack for clothing. The first group is the exception:

To wear, carry or strap directly onto bike rack

  • Padded road-biking shorts
  • Bike jersey. On this trip, I'm sporting an awesome jersey from the Metro Washington Association of Blind Athletes. Go, MWABA!
  • Bike jacket with removable sleeves
  • Short socks
  • Clip-in cycling shoes
  • Chapstick
  • Sunglasses with rear-view mirror attached
  • Helmet
  • Bandanna
  • Covid mask
  • Cellphone
  • Front and rear lights
  • GPS cycling computer/odometer
  • Bike lock and both keys
  • Cable to use with lock for locking bike to things that are too big for the lock alone. — I gave this to Dani to take home after Day 1.
  • "Wallet": Credit card, driver’s license, cash, health insurance card, kept together with a rubber band
  • Hammock-tent hybrid. This piece of gear was a real splurge, both in terms of cost and weight. I'm very happy with it so far. I think I'll do a separate blog entry at some point about hammocks versus tents on this route.
  • Inflatable sleeping pad. This was also a splurge item.
  • 2 trash bags (to protect tent / sleeping pad from rain
  • A tattered U.S. flag that I rescued from the side of the road on a previous tour
  • Bungee cords to tie down the tent, sleeping pad and flag onto the rear rack
  • 2 water bottles + travel thermos

Tools / bike repair kit

  • Spare inner tube
  • Tire patch kit + tire irons
  • Hand pump
  • Hex wrench multi-tool
  • Small scissors
  • Wrench (for pedals, nuts/bolts)
  • Spoke wrench
  • Chain lube (maybe half a bottle)
  • Rag + brush (to clean chain/gears)
  • Spare brake cable
  • Spare shifter cable
  • Fasteners, bolts, rubber bands, zip ties
  • Electrical tape or strips of duct tape

Cooking / eating

  • Extra empty water bottle, just in case I need the extra carrying capacity
  • Metal eating utensils: spoon, fork and knife
  • Rope (for hanging food in a tree)
  • Small cooking pot and cup
  • Small camp stove
  • Cooking fuel
  • Lighter
  • 1-2 camp dinners, such as: REI’s “just add water” meals, “Tasty Bite” meals, or instant couscous with nuts, raisins to add
  • Breakfasts: Half a bag of muesli. I sent this home after Day 1.
  • Instant coffee packets
  • Snacks: Trail mix, bars, something salty
  • Energy drink mix packets

Electronics / documents

  • iPad. I got rid of this after the first day.
  • Debit card, extra cash
  • Extra rear light
  • Solar-powered battery
  • Solar-powered lamp
  • USB power cables for the above
  • Two USB power bricks (one 5W, one 10W)
  • Ziploc sandwich bag, to protect phone in the rain, in case my pocket leaks through
  • Small pad and pen
  • Postcard stamps
  • Earbuds

Clothing / sleeping

  • Old khaki pants. These are much lighter than jeans.
  • Hoodie
  • Rain pants
  • Rain jacket
  • Shoe covers
  • Winter hat
  • Gloves
  • Shower shoes
  • Extra mask
  • Thermal long-sleeve t-shirt
  • Cycling pants
  • Padded mountain-biking shorts
  • T-shirts for off bike and sleeping (2)
  • Long-sleeve, buttoned shirt 
  • Socks: 2 pair short, 2 pair long and thin, 2 pair long and thick. My feet get cold very easily and then stay cold, and my shoes have a lot of ventilation. To keep my feet warm on a cold day, I'll double up on socks — a thin pair underneath a thicker pair. One of my thicker pairs is theoretically waterproof, made by Showers Pass. I like 'em.
  • Boxer shorts, 2 pairs 
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bag for dirty laundry


  • Sunscreen
  • Chamois cream + a few ibuprofen pills (packed in contact lens cases to save space and carry only a little)
  • Tweezers
  • Contact lens case and spare contacts
  • Glasses
  • Contact lens solution, travel-size bottle
  • Toothbrush
  • Travel-size tube of toothpaste
  • Camp soap, usually Dr. Bronner's
  • An extra chap stick
  • Small container of floss 
  • A bit of toilet paper + a few Q-tips
  • Washcloth
  • REI camp towel
  • A very small first aid kit
  • Comb. I really shouldn't have brought a comb on the first part of this trip, considering that I shaved my head. I missed it on previous trips and put it on my list without thinking about the fact that I'd have nothing to comb for the first several weeks. Oh well. At least it's very small and weighs little.
  • Nail clippers
  • Small deodorant. I sent this home after Day 1 to save weight.
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