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The following list is based on what we took to the Pamirs in 2008.

Bikes and packing

Bungee nets

  • Bikes (Marin Muirwoods for both)
  • Dropout spacers
  • Duck tape, electrical pvc tape
  • Polythene bike bags
  • Pipe lagging
  • Polythene for protecting saddles

    See packing bikes for airoplanes.

  • Bungees, toestraps

    We now use motorcycle bungee nets to attach loose items to our racks. They’re sold with 6 hooks, but only 4 hooks are used on a push bike: we should remove the middle ones on each side.

  • Panniers, pannier racks
  • Bicycle locks
  • Lights
  • Water bottles (and cages of course)
  • 2 kitbags

    So as to keep our baggage within the max 4 pieces, we put panniers and other luggage in 2 kitbags. Usually we leave them at a hotel, but if we will be making a lot of bus or taxi journeys we carry one with us to allow efficient packing.

  • Locks for kitbags
  • Small backpack

    Stuffed in a pannier or bungeed on top; useful for walking around.

  • Some plastic carrier bags

    for keeping clothes dry, and keeping those of different degrees of smelliness apart.

Bike tools and spares

  • 4mm, 5mm, 6mm long Allen keys
  • Multitool
  • Pedal spanner
  • Small adjustable spanner
  • Penknife
  • Spoke key
  • Pumps
  • Tyre levers
  • 4 spare inner tubes
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Spare chainlinks
  • Bolts

    Bolts holding pannier racks, toeclips etc. shake off all too willingly on rough roads.

  • Wire
  • Bits of tyre

    to patch up bad damage.

  • Spare cables

    2 brake cables, 2 gear cables.

  • Spare spokes

    4 of each length.

  • 1 pair spare brake blocks.
  • Dry lube
  • Rag
  • Old toothbrush for cleaning chain etc.

Paperwork, books

  • Passports
  • Money stuff

    nowadays usually plastic, but also local currency if we have any

  • Airline e-ticket receipts, visa info, parking receipt, insurance
  • Address list for sending postcards home
  • Photocopy of instructions for complicated items

    tent, stove, Colin’s alti, cameras...

  • Maps, guidebook selections

    We photocopy or tear out the pages of interest to us: we seldom take an entire guidebook.

  • Books to read

    We took 2 books to the Pamirs (one of which was interminable).

  • Pocket foreign language dictionary
  • Notebook and a couple of pens

We carry loose papers in a set of plastic document folders.


  • Cameras

    We’re both digital now. Tracey carries her camera (a compact) in a padded bag in one of her bottle cages, allowing quick access on the road.

  • GPS
  • Altimeters

    Colin: a cordless VDO MC1.0+, which needs a couple of spare parts. Tracey: a Suumto wrist alti.

  • Mobile phone

    Optional, taken only when useful


  • Tent plus repair kit.

    A Macpac ‘minaret’.

  • Sleeping bags

    A good 3-season bag is sufficient for almost any cycle tour – after all, you can’t cycle on snow.

  • Thermarests plus repair kit.

    ¾ length for Colin; a special full-size girlie pink one for Tracey

  • Pillows
  • Torches

    A single Petzl LED headtorch which doubles as a spare light for cycling; one of our bike lights doubles as a spare torch.


  • Stove & stove gubbins

    We have an MSR XG-K. The gubbins are the carrying bag, foil heat reflectors, cleaning kit and a couple of spare items.

  • Fuel bottles as appropriate
  • Sponge/scourer for washing up
  • Ortlieb 10l water bag

    Infinitely preferable to platypuses

  • Pans

    2 pans are sufficient for our cooking.

  • Crockery

    2 plastic dishes, 2 plastic mugs.

  • Cutlery

    2 plastic dessert spoons, one metal camping knife.

  • Small containers for salt, sugar etc.

    Or rather a large one for sugar. You can never have enough sugar on tour.

  • Foodstuffs

    We usually take packets of French dried soup with us (better quality than we could buy at our destination), and whatever sort of teabag we least detest at the time . Dried porcini and good quality cocoa powder are valuable luxuries.


  • Sun cream
  • Lip salve
  • Insect repellent
  • Anti-histamines

    Needed if insect bites are likely to be troublesome. For Peru Tracey also took a prescription bite-soother, having learnt that she reacts badly to the flies of the lowlands there.

  • Elastoplast
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Pair of small folding haberdashery scissors
  • Iodine pills for purifying water


  • Liquid soap

    Also used for washing dishes.

  • Travel towel

    Tracey observes that a polythene bag weighs less and works just as well.

  • Facecloth
  • Tiny tube of toothpaste, as handed out by airlines
  • Nail clippers
  • Personal items

    Toothbrushes etc.

Clothes for Colin

Warm weather gear:

  • 3 brightly coloured cotton office shirts
  • 1 pair cotton shorts
  • 1 pair basic trekking trousers

    cut back to ¾ length after too many encounters with chain rings.

  • 3 pairs M&S cotton underpants
  • 1 pair smartish trekking trousers which unzip to become shorts
  • 1 floppy white sunhat
  • 3 pairs white cotton socks
  • 1 pair cycling boots

    actually lightweight Goretex trekking shoes

  • 1 pair beach sandals
  • 1 pair sunglasses
  • 1 pair cycling mitts

    synthetic because less smelly after prolonged use.

  • Swimming trunks
  • 2 hankies
  • Cycle clips

    depending on which trousers I plan to cycle in.

Protection from cold and rain:

  • Cycling cagoule
  • Fleece jersey
  • Long-sleeved thermal vest
  • Thermal longjohns

    Thermal undies are worn inside the sleeping bag for extra warmth, and to keep the bag clean.

  • 1 pair non-white socks

    to wear inside the sleeping bag.

  • Fleece hat (the type which covers the ears)
  • 1 pair warm cycling gloves
  • 1 pair thin inner gloves

    mostly useful around camp, but may be worn inside mitts for extra warmth

  • 1 pair winter cycling longs

Extra clothes for travel:

  • A smartish shirt
  • An extra pair underpants
  • An extra pair socks

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