Gary’s Lightweight Bike Touring Packing List

Touring In SardiniaWe all love knowing what’s in everyone else’s panniers, so when Gary emailed us with his packing list, we decided to pass it on.

Gary used this packing list to prepare for a tour of Sardinia with his wife.

“We toured Sardinia for a month, cycling 830km with very lightweight rigs. The bikes weighed 11kg and we each had 8kg of gear. We used ultralight hiking gear, washed our clothes every day and did no cooking,” he says.

“The bikes handled very well with this set-up. We encountered strong side winds, rain, very steep mountain passes and sandy roads.”

Here’s the full list of what Gary and his wife carried (with Gary’s additional comments in small text beside some items). Maybe you’ll find some inspiration in the list for your next bike tour.

The Bike (GT Zaskar Expert mountain bike)

  • Continental Race King Protection tires 26 x 2.0 Lightweight and low rolling resistance on tarmac. Very good off-road. Strengthened side walls for added protection. We only had one puncture during the trip.
  • Shimano XT M770 pedals ($110 from REI)
  • Shimano XTR chain with power link
  • Racks: Topeak MTX Quick Track luggage rack and Topeak Side frames ($29.95 from REI)
  • Panniers: Topeak MTX Trunk Bag DXP ($124.95 from REI)
  • Anti-Theft Protection: Skewers and Seat-post clamp that has to be released with an Allen Key (Brand-X Hollow)
  • Custom made Carrier Bracket and strap for the self-inflating mattress (fits on front fork yoke)

On Tour In Sardinia
Bike Accessories & Repair Kit

  • Cable ties
  • Helmet (Bell brand)
  • Topeak Morph mini pump ($34.95 from REI)
  • Topeak Shuttle pressure gauge
  • Spare inner tube
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Spare SRAM power link
  • Multitool (Lenzyme brand)
  • Spare spokes
  • Park Tool tire boot
  • Kryptonite KryptoFlex cable locks ($9 from REI) with padlocks These were very effective. Using two, we were able to secure the bikes to trees and other solid objects.
  • Presta valve adaptors (to allow tires to be refilled at gas stations)
  • Spare Continental Race King tire 26 X 2.0
  • Spare XTR gear cable
  • Cateye wireless bike computer


  • Camelbak HAWG This was a big mistake as I pinched my Sciatic nerve after about a week. I will never carry a backpack while touring again!
  • Water bottle & cage

Clothing (per person)

  • Flip flops (lightweight sandals; also known as slip slops or jandals)
  • 2 x socks
  • 2 x First Ascent bike shorts
  • 2 x Helly Hansen short sleeve top
  • Helly Hansen long sleeve top
  • Lightweight hiking shorts (for off the bike)
  • Light weight hiking longs (for off the bike)
  • First Ascent fleece
  • First Ascent wind breaker (used as light rain jacket)
  • Clear sunglasses and normal sunglasses We normally use inexpensive glasses (they tend to get lost) so we carry two sets: one clear for protection from insects, stones etc and a dark pair for when sunny. We tend to cycle early in the morning when the light is not great and you can’t use dark glasses.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp ($21.93 from REI)
  • Sarong
  • Baseball cap
  • Space blanket (emergency blanket)
  • Swimming goggles
  • Swimsuit
  • First Ascent bandana
  • Padded gloves (Fox brand)
  • Specialised cycle shoes

Camping Equipment

Other Travel Paraphenalia

  • Bar of Soap to wash clothes
  • Passports
  • Cash
  • Credit cards
  • Tickets
  • Photocopies of important documents
  • Cellphone + charger
  • Pentax Optio W80 Camera + charger Disappointing. The quality of photos from this camera was not acceptable.
  • Whistle
  • Reading glasses
  • Toilet Paper
  • International driving licence


  1. Anna-Maria
    23rd April 2011 at 7:27 am #

    lol…add to the list the few additional light weight clothing I sneaked in which I really appreciated and would def take on next trip:
    lightweight sundress,
    light weight-skirt
    and tee shirt…
    Gary’s wife

  2. friedel
    23rd April 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Ha ha, so you actually had 8.5kg of gear each, then 🙂

  3. Anna-Maria
    23rd April 2011 at 8:23 am #

    Hehehe..Gary had still 8kgs …I had the little extra…but I weighed everything in my cupboard to find the lightest and smallest…

  4. Martin Hartley
    30th April 2011 at 8:05 am #

    After my last experience, the only places I can save weight would be to get a lightweight tent and a light-weight sleeping bag. The tent I am currently using is a 3kg 2-man tent, and my sleeping bag was something cheap I bought some years ago for a trip. The bag and some day clothes takes up one whole pannier, whislt the tent, sleeping mat and night clothes + travel towel take up the other pannier. Admittedly I’m using small 17L panniers too, but I do need to cut the weight back.

    And as always, it is far easier to take a kilgram off the cyclist than it is off the bicycle!

    • Daniel
      13th May 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      Use a hennessy hammock. you save weight and money.:)

  5. tony slattery
    3rd May 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    To cut down on weight and space I use 2 microfibre cloths the 1st to wash with and wring out and take off excess water you are almost dry the 2nd to finnish the job they dry in no time and cheap from any supermarket or garage.

  6. Brenda in the Boro UK
    6th May 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    J cloths can be used like Tony’s microfibre cloths and are tiny in weight comparison. We use them for drying ourselves, drying dishes, using wet as neck coolers in warm weather just to name a things. We get them in different colours for different uses.

  7. tony slattery
    9th May 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Great idea Brenda never thought of using them for neck coolers

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