Packing for a Bicycle Trip


Wear light clothing and dress in layers. Temperatures can range wildly, especially at higher elevations or in the prairies (where 20 C or 50 F degree variations in a day are not unusual). Start with a cotton T-shirt, maybe another shirt, a wool sweater and a nylon or Gortex™ windbreaker. In cooler seasons, a pair of gloves will keep your hands warm. Always wear a cycling helmet: in many provinces it’s now the law. On cooler days, wear a toque underneath, on warmer days a wet cloth to help you keep cool.


Mosquitoes and blackflies are a problem for cyclists, so you should use an insect repellent high in DEET. Avoid wearing scents, including colognes or scented soaps or shampoos. Do wash yourself and your clothing regularly, as many bugs are attracted to the smell of perspiration.

Predator Mammals

If travelling through the mountains of BC and Alberta,and cycling across isolated stretches of northern Ontario, you probably should have bear spray handy (not buried in a pack or pannier), just in case. If you are from outside the country, buy it once in Canada. Bear spray is illegal to import, illegal to fly with (in either checked or carry-on baggage), and does require a government-mandated questionaire to be completed (with proof of ID) at time of purchase.

Also NEVER store food in your tent. Put all food and snacks in a plastic bag suspended from a tree branch at least 5 metres (15 feet) above the ground.   DO ASK campground staff if any special measures are needed.

Packing for a Cycling Trip

When packing for along trip, plan your load carefully. Use panniers (bags that hand alongside your wheels) to keep your center of gravity low, packing more on the rear panniers to keep load off the front steering wheel. Use handlebar bags for items you need during a tip, like maps, water, energy snacks. Keep bulky items on your rear carrier, attached by elastic bungy cords. Keep your bike locked up when unattended, even in small towns.

Repair and spare part items:

  • Tire leversspare inner tubs
  • Tire pump
  • Tire patch kit
  • Pressure gauge
  • Extra spokes and a spoke wrench
  • Spare brake and gear cables
  • Spare brake pads
  • Bicycle wrenches
  • Adjustable crescent wrench
  • Allen keys
  • Screwdriver(s)
  • Pliers
  • Pen knife and/or scissors
  • Chain rivet remove and spare links
  • Freewheel removal tool
  • Spare bulb and batteries for your lights
  • Can of spray lubricant

Bicycle gear

  • Helmet
  • Panniers & rear carrier
  • Handlebar bag
  • Battery operated light/flashlight
  • Cycling gloves
  • Water bottle
  • Tools kit (see above)
  • Lock


  • T-shirt
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Sweater
  • Nylon windbreaker
  • Cycling shorts
  • long pants
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sun hat
  • Wool had
  • Poncho or rain suit


  • First aid kit
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Biodegradable soap and shampoo
  • Toilet paper

Cooking Gear

  • Stove, fuel & matches
  • Pot & pan set
  • Dish & cup
  • Knife, fork, spoon
  • Food containers
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener


  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Miscellaneous
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun screen
  • Candles
  • Map