How & What to Pack

I have been travelling a fair bit in my life, backpacking, bike tours, package tours, etc. And I have to say I’m normally not this organised. I’m more that kind of person who packs the day or night before I set off. But I have more or less an idea in my head of what things I need to bring and I pack according to different principles.

For clothing

All colours have to match to be combined and if needed worn in layers. All clothes have to be light, easy to handwash and dry. An example is one skirt can be used with and without leggings. Leggings can be worn under riding trousers if cold and also under hiking trousers. The tricky thing is shoes, they are very space consuming so I only bring one pair,they have to be confortable and nice. I always bring a scarf which has multiple uses as substitute for a sweater, shield from the sun, spare towel…

Clothes, in hindsight way too much :)
Clothes, in hindsight way too much 🙂

I have found that silk is an ultimate material for travel, light, easy to wash keeps you warm and feels fresh under your riding gear on a sweaty day. Silk towels are space savers to!

For toiletries

Everything I bring is in small travelling size and keept to an minimum. I also bring washing liquid to wash up my clothing every other day.

Glasses and such

Since I’m nearsighted I use glasses and contact lenses.I bring a pair of glasses that fit in the helmeth, perscription sunglasses and a pack of single use contact lenses. For the helmeth I bring both transparent and tinted visor. I have had huge problems with the visor and glasses steaming up when riding in cold or damp weather so I try to use contacts on rainy days.

For the bike

As for the bike I like to bring certain things that have proved useful in the past when I didn’t bring them.

Tyre repair kit. In case of a flat tyre I don’t want to be stranded on the roadside.

I also like to carry my own jumpstart cables. I have been through enough occations in the past when they were needed to not leave them behind.

I do not bring any tools to speak of, I’m not were handy. Instead I leave my bike in the garage for a standard maintainance before I head out. Then I can feel confident that everything is in order to begin with.

In case of trouble I bring a leaflet of usable phrases in French, German, English, Spanish… So in case I need it I can say/point to “My start engine is broken” or “where is the nearest garage?” in those languages. This leaflet is provided to all members of the SMC – the central organisation for Swedish bikers.

I do bring chainlube (might be unnecessary to point out, but still). I also bring duct tape, to hold things together if needed and a yellow vest to be visible in case of breakdown on the road or to be seen riding in really bad weather conditions.

Electronics
I use to bring my lap top but now I try to manage with my phone, a rugged smartphone with long life battery which dubbles as a GPS and my tablet. I also bring a small camera, music player and headphones. For running I bring my GPS watch.

The bags

Now when Im riding a bike with top case and panniers it makes packing much easier. The bags will protect from water and I will be able to bring lots more wich is good since I’m camping. I can also bring one or two pack rolls on the pillion seat, depending on how much stuff I plan to bring along.

My Versys can take a lot of luggage confortably. This is from the immigration tour.
My Versys can take a lot of luggage confortably. This is from the immigration tour.

Maps

Maps of all countries is essentiall, I would never rely only on the GPS. Besides, maps are better when needing to get an overview.

My maps, and above the reservations and tickets in waterproof pockets, all ready to go!
My maps, and above the reservations and tickets in waterproof pockets, all ready to go!

Papers

  • Drivers licence
  • Passport and national ID card – packed separately in case of theft.
  • Insurance papers
  • Papers of the bike
  • Printouts of reservations and directions to the hostels, if any
  • Multiple printouts of important phone numbers to be packed separately.

The gear

Im riding in cordura jacket with water proof liner and summer riding trousers. Both jacket and trousers are fitted with protection. In addition I bring a flouresent set of waterproof rain gear to use in terrible weather and a warm west to wear on top of the jacket on cold days.

Regarding gloves I bring one pair of summer gloves and a warmer pair. None of these are water proof so I bring dish washer gloves for those terribly rainy days. I bring 2 boffs, one with fleese which doubles as a hat when it is cold in the tent. Last but not least, helmet and boots.

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