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Essential Gear to Pack on Your Next Bike Tour
3 Min Read
19 June 2024
Essential Gear to Pack on Your Next Bike Tour

Bike tours can be an incredible way to both minimize your environmental impact and see the world in an active, leisurely way. But if you haven’t traveled this way before, it can feel a little intimidating to decide what to pack.  

The good news is that you don’t have to be a bike-touring expert to plan an incredible vacation. These days, it’s becoming more and more popular to book a self-guided vacation—a travel style that streamlines the logistics but still gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. 

Older man and woman biking through Sicily

Self-guided tours are exactly what they sound like. First, you book a trip through a self-guided tour operator, like Macs Adventure. We provide your itinerary from an array of routes that have been tried and tested by our team. Then, we book all your lodging and provide the maps and instructions you need for a seamless vacation. You’ll use those resources to conduct the trip on your own terms. That means moving at your own pace, with your own people—no guide required.

Since bike trips tend to stick to scenic roads and bike paths, navigation is relatively straightforward. That makes them the perfect way to try out self-guided travel—and travelers are catching on. Self-guided bike trips with Macs have increased by 36% over the last year alone. And that’s just in the U.S. Bike touring is already incredibly popular in Europe and beyond.

Interested in giving it a try? Here’s what to wear, what to pack, and how to pull off your first biking vacation.

Woman in red shirt with helmet stopped on bike navigating on her phone

What to Wear Biking 

Some cyclists can get away with wearing everyday clothing, but when you’re spending days in the saddle, fashion often comes at a price. Because biking involves a lot of time on the saddle in the same position, it usually pays to wear bike-specific apparel, which can mitigate chafing, soreness, and other issues you might face cycling in regular clothes. A chamois (padded shorts), wind-proof outer layers, gloves, a helmet, and comfortable footwear are all considered on-the-bike essentials for beginners and experts alike.

As with any outdoor activity, you’ll also want to pack plenty of layers. Weather can change fast, especially when you’re out on the trail. Aim to pack a pair of athletic tights, extra socks, an insulated jacket, and a thin hat in case it gets chilly or windy on your ride. 

The Ultimate Cycling Trip Packing List 

Regardless of mileage or challenge level, the basic biking essentials almost always remain the same. At the very least, you’ll need enough gear to keep you comfortable, fueled, and prepared in case of emergency. Here are some must-haves and nice-to-haves to consider when you’re packing for your next bike trip.

Woman using phone in a phone holder mounted to bike

Must-have biking essentials

Whether you’re going on a weekend tour or a multi-week journey, these are the items you should definitely have on your bike tour packing list:  

  • Bike or e-bike (You can rent a bike through Macs Adventure or bring your own)

  • Helmet (Macs can provide one, or you can bring your own)

  • Padded bike shorts

  • Warm baselayers 

  • Sun shirt

  • Sunglasses

  • Wind jacket, rain gear, insulated jacket, and other outer layers 

  • High-visibility safety vest

  • Biking-appropriate footwear (sturdy, grippy, closed-toe shoes work best) 

  • Waterproof and/or windproof gloves 

  • A warm hat that fits under your helmet 

  • Energy gels or snacks

  • Water-to-Go bottle (These bottles both purify and store water, and they’re designed to fit in your bike’s on-frame bottle cage.)

  • Small first aid kit

  • Chamois cream to prevent chafing and sores

  • Sunblock

  • Mobile phone (to access your mapping app and itinerary)

  • A phone holder that clips to your handlebars (This makes it easy to navigate with GPS-enabled apps like the Macs Adventure app

  • Repair kit (including extra tubes, patches, a portable pump, and basic tools)

  • Bike lock and key (included with only some rental bikes) 

  • Front and rear bike lights  

  • Day pack 

Man and woman biking alongside water in Donauradweg

Some extras to include in your bike touring kit 

Along with the above biking gear essentials, consider packing a few of these nice-to-haves to enhance your comfort both on and off the bike. 

  • Rearview mirror 

  • Bike bell 

  • An on-bike computer or watch to track your speed, pace, and mileage

  • Low-light lenses or cycling glasses

  • Clipless pedals and cleats

  • Waterproof shoe covers for chilly or rainy rides

  • Sandals or other comfortable shoes for hanging out off the bike 

  • Baby wipes or a shower kit to tidy up after the ride 

  • Lightweight camp towel

  • Toiletries

  • Lip balm 

  • Insect repellant 

  • Pocket knife or multitool

  • Extra water bottle 

  • Camera

  • Panniers or bike-touring bags (Note: if you book a trip through Macs Adventure, Macs will transfer your luggage between accommodations for you. For that reason, panniers typically aren’t required for self-guided bike trips) 

Planning a bike touring vacation doesn’t have to be stressful. You likely have most of the gear you need at home already, and much of the rest can be purchased or rented at your destination. You can also rely on us to take the headache out of route planning. With dozens of self-guided options to choose from, Macs Adventure makes it easy: simply confirm your booking, download your maps, and hit the trail. Browse from dozens of destinations to start planning your dream trip today. 

Erik Lambert

Written by

Erik Lambert
Guest Writer
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