Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List

This is our England to India bike touring packing list, with every bit of kit needed to cycle over 6,000 miles, no matter the conditions!

Getting the right gear is pretty damn crucial. Whether you’re a seasoned tourer or a complete newbie, having an enjoyable trip all comes down to having the right bike touring packing list (and perhaps not having shit weather too!).

Over the past few months we’ve also had a number of emails asking about our gear and for recommendations, so it seemed fitting to put it all into one article.

Everything listed below is what we currently have for our England to India tour (besides about 2kg of walnuts we were given last week) but this packing list would be suitable for any long-distance tour through varied conditions.

It’s designed to comfortably get you through 3-4 seasons without any unnecessary baggage e.g none of those things you discover at the bottom of your pannier after 6 months of no use. It also includes gear fitting for mulit-day hikes, sightseeing and everything needed to run this blog (which you may not need). 

I’d describe us as cheapskates with high standards; everything has been painstakingly researched for the best quality and price. It’s stood the test of multiple tours and fits comfortably into two front and two rear panniers, a small handle bar bag and frame bag. Where possible the actual products we bought are listed, with a brief review from the road and a link to where we bought them from.

Below is a summarised version of our bike touring packing list. If you read further down you’ll find a detailed breakdown of what we take, some gear reviews and recommendations for the road. 

 

Panniers, bags & bike add-ons

 

Camping and sleeping

 

Cooking and Eating

 

Tools & Bike Gear

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List
Keep that puncture repair kit close to hand!

 

Clothes

 

Casual Clothes

  • Base layer 
  • Trousers 
  • Sports top 
  • Socks 
  • Underwear 
  • Thermal top and bottom 
  • Hat 
  • Neck warmer 
  • Sunglasses 

 

Electronics

 

Health and medical

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Tooth brush & paste
    Baby wipes
  • Vaseline
  • Soap
  • First aid
  • Tweezers
  • Rehydration salts
  • Sun cream
  • Toilet paper
  • Sudocrem

 

Miscellaneous Items & Life Savers

Take a look through, maybe use it as a template, or compare it with your own. Below we’ve got a more detailed breakdown with product reviews and recommendations for buying your own.

If you have any questions about the gear then let us know in the comments at the bottom!

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List

 

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Panniers, bags & bike add-ons

 

Front pannier rack – Zefal Lowrider

Bought from Amazon for about £30 and our overall impression is pretty sweet. They can be fitted on bikes with or without front eyelets (quite handy) but can be tricky to fit. Once they’re correctly mounted they’re sturdy and can hold 18 kg (as printed on the rack) though we have held much more.

 

Rear pannier rack

Both our bikes (Surly LHT and Ridgeback World Tour) came with original rear pannier racks. If you’re buying a new one our advice is to get a wide one. These can easily have a tent strapped along it with panniers on either side. 

 

2 x Rear pannier bags – Azur 30L Waterproof Panniers

As long as they’re big enough, sturdy and waterproof you’re all set to go. You don’t need to fork out £100+ for Ortliebs but it is worth getting a good quality pair which will last. We run with Azur 35 litre roll top waterproof panniers which we picked up second hand for £20 for two pairs (thanks Tom from Milton Keynes!).

Try and pick up a pair with feet or stands on the bottom which stops them getting worn after scraping on the ground.

 

2 x Front panniers – Carradice Carradry 20L Universal Pannier

Same rules apply from the rear to the front, just pack them lighter as steering is a pain if you’re front heavy. For the price Carradice Carradry universal panniers are top notch. Got them just before our England to India tour and they’ve been great so far.

 

2 x Bottle cages

Most touring bikes are fitted with two sets of eyelets for two bottle cages, if not you can buy strap-on ones. Ours cost about £3 from Amazon and Decathlon and do the job perfectly. Is it worth spending a ton on flashy ones? We don’t think think so, what do you think?

 

Waterproof phone mount and holder

Another cheap product from Amazon which is actually very good quality. With offline maps like Guru.Maps and Maps.Me you can have a high level of GPS from your phone – this waterproof phone holder does just the trick.

It’s been constantly used for nearly 3 years (and in seriously shit weather) and has never let us down. Can strap to any handlebar size and works with touch screen so well worth the money for £10.

 

Waterproof handlebar bag

Good for essentials you’ll need quick access too. Sarah uses her for things like camera, wallet, sunglasses etc. whilst I use mine for a towel and casual clothes so the whole thing can easily be taken into the shower.

 

Small frame bag – Zefal 1.3L 

Really useful to carry small bits and bobs like bike lights, sunglasses and tools for fixing punctures and pumping up tyres. Ours cost about £12 from Amazon and are just the right size to fit essentials but doesn’t get in the way.

 

Rucksack – 30L Packable Bag

If you’re not going to spend the whole time on your bike it’s also a good idea to have a light daypack. Last year we bought this this bag from, you guessed it, Amazon, but were dubious of the quality because of the price and foldaway size. So far we can’t fault it, have packed at least 20 kg in it, run in it etc – it’s still going strong.

 

Dry bags – Karrimor Helium Dry Bags

A must for any trip. Even if your panniers are waterproof it’s good to get a few just to be on the safe side. They’re pretty cheap, super lightweight and come in a variety of sizes. Use them for electronics and valuables; keeping all of your clothes in one also means it’s quick and easy to take them out and store.

 

2x Water bottles

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List
All of our gear nicely fitting into two front panniers, two rear panniers, a frame bag and a handlebar bag!

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Camping and sleeping

 

Tent – Vango Tempest Pro 200 

It’s going to be your home so make sure you’re happy with it. Unless you fancy hauling a heavy load then go for something lightweight, weather resistant and easy to pitch. For the last few years our choice has been the Vango Tempest Pro 200, which is awesome for the price.

It’s been through Storm Ali, Storm Gareth and heatwaves, so far it’s fared very well whilst being pretty light and easy to put up.

 

Camping mat – Mountain Equipment Helium 

Finding the right camping mat can take a while to find the right one for you but it’s worth testing out a few. The Mountain Equipment Helium mats are comfortable, relatively lightweight and are, most importantly, hard-wearing.

You can find ridiculously lightweight matts but we question how easily they would be to puncture, and it seems like the online community also shares these doubts. This is quite a good compromise between weight, comfort and reliability.

 

Sleeping bag – Vango Latitude 300

Depending on your personal preference you might want a warm sleeping bag, or to layer more with clothes. We choose the Vango Latitude 300 which is seriously warm (comfort up to -7 and extreme up to -18) but isn’t too hot unzipped in warmer conditions.

 

Hammock

Not a necessity but worth it to chillout, sleep or take on multi-day hiking trips if the conditions permit. Surprisingly small and lightweight even with ropes. 

 

Microfiber towel

You can buy tiny lightweight microfiber towels but in cold conditions they often don’t wick enough water or dry quick enough. The ones from Mountain Warehouse are a good compromise; still lightweight and small but able to dry a lot of water and dry up quickly.

 

String fairy Lights

Again, not a necessity but a cheap and easy way to light up your tent with an added ambience!

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List
All of our camping and sleeping gear on our bike touring packing list

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Cooking and Eating

 

Camping Cutlery Set

Hardwearing and light is all you need. Metal ones last a lifetime, save on plastic waste and often don’t weigh that much more.

 

Steel camping mug

Simple metal cups which can be heated directly on a stove and don’t weigh much. Can pick up cheap ones from Decathlon or Amazon.

 

Stove – Vango Compact Stove

There are loads of fancy stoves that promise to boil water quicker than the sun but in our experience they aren’t worth the money. This Vango stove is super lightweight and works just as well as similar stoves 5x the price.

 

Gas

If you’re going to remote regions then perhaps pack two. 

 
Tea towel 

 

Bowl

A bowl is better than a plate. Porridge from a plate is just not the same.

 

Cooking pots 

Lightweight which won’t ruin quickly from the stove. You can also get good mess tins which can be used for storage and cooking. Ours were another charity shop find, bought for less than £5, but they’re light and long-lasting. 

 

Can opener

 

Chopping board 

Lightweight plastic ones easy to slide into the back of a pannier and don’t take up much extra room.

 

Wooden spoon

Plastic ones can easily melt on the stove, so go for a wooden one with a short handle to cut down on weight and space.

 

Plastic tupperware

If you’re like us, you’ll probably cook loads of food, and this is good for saving spares. Make a big batch for dinner and finish the remainder off in the morning to save time.

 

Spices

Make that can of chopped tomatoes and chickpeas taste good with a few spices. You can also get spice mixes in sachets which are cheap and make a tasty meal pretty quickly.

 

Chopping knife with sleeve

Get one with a sleeve so you don’t slice your bag apart!

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List
Our cooking gear from our bike touring packing list. In the red tube is our knife and in the grey draw string bag is our cutlery.

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Tools & Bike Gear

 

Bungee cords

Used to strap things like your tent, camping gear or plastic water bottles to your panniers.

 

Bike lock – Kryptonite D-lock with cable lock

If you’re going through urban areas then get a good one. It’s better to lug around a 1kg lock and not lose your ride; it also may be a requirement for insurance claims. We use a Kryptonite lock and cable which works to lock two bike wheels and frames to something sturdy.

 

Headtorch – Black Diamond Storm

A headtorch can be more useful than good bike lights when cycling at night, generally the battery life is better too. Right now we’re using Black Diamond Storm headtorches which are great but I think have too many options (different colours, single beam, multi beam, flashing colours, you can pretty much have a disco in your tent…).

Besides all of the options they’re pretty kick-ass, have wicked battery life and are submersibly waterproof which is handy for cycling in bad conditions. 

 

Bike lights

Some people ride with seriously expensive bike lights but personally we rather a good headtorch. Our headlights are £10  from Amazon and for the price are just fine. They have a good amount of visibility and a rechargeable battery which lasts a good 10-12 hours.

 

Replacement tubes

Depending on where you’ll be cycling it’s probably best to go with Schrader valves as they’re more commonly used. Although it’s a bit risky you can also use car pumps at petrol stations – just be careful you don’t blow them!

 

Tire patch tools

Get good quality tyre levers, something to sand down the tyres, some chalk to mark them and good quality patches and glue. We’ve also used glueless patches which can be quicker but often don’t last for as long.

 

Multi tools

A small Allen key set and a small screwdriver set are pretty essential. Both are small, cheap and able to take most parts of a bike apart and put it back together.

 

2 x Adjustable wrench

Get two lightweight wrenches so you can unscrew things with nuts and bolts on either side. Also make sure they aren’t too thick, so they’re able to take off peddles and fit in thinner spaces.

 

Pump

Whilst it’s good to save space, minipumps can take an age to fully inflate a tyre. A mid-sized one with a pressure gauge is a good choice. 

 

Rag for dirty bike

To clean grease and dirt from the bike and also helpful to keep parts if you’re dismantling sections. 

 

Spare fittings and parts

We take a bunch of spare nuts, bolts and fittings in case anything falls off along the way. We also have a spare break cable and spare inner tube. If you’re in relatively developed areas I don’t think you really need to take more spares than this, but that’s personal choice. 

 

Zipties

It’s amazing what these guys can do. They’re often stronger and more convenient to fit than some metal fittings, are cheap and can be found all over the world. 

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List
All of our bike tools and spares from our bike touring packing list. In the plastic bag are nuts, bolts and a replacement break cable.

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Clothes

Clothes are another personal choice but we pack pretty minimally, with enough to get us through all but super-extreme conditions, without taking unnecessary things. I’ve put how many items of each we take but this may not be fitting to everyone. If you’re going to warmer parts you can sub out some of the layers, if you’re cycling across the Antarctic then you should probably add a few more!

 

Lycra cycle shorts and trousers

No particular brand, just well fitted ones with a bit of padding around the sensitive areas.

 

2x Sports shorts 

A pair of longer, thicker shorts and a pair of shorter, thinner shorts which can be coupled with lycras or thermals for warmth/comfort.

 

Lycra shorts 

For hikes in warmer climates: they don’t get too hot and they stop chaffing.  

 

Long cycle socks 

For longer days in the saddle or harsher conditions I’ll couple these with some warm cycle leggings and trousers/shorts. Great for cold weather and tight ones also help you avoid muscle soreness.

 

Sprayway softshell waterproof trousers 

Hard-wearing and breathable ones are key for colder climates. I use a pair of soft-shell waterproof trousers from Sprayway which don’t overheat and can also be used for hiking and general wear.

 

Sub Sports thermal skin top and bottoms

Last year we picked up some Sub Sports Thermal items and they’ve been great especially for the price. They are meant to be crazy tight but boy do they keep you warm, wick away moisture and don’t take up too much space in panniers. Also good for hiking or general cold weather. 

 

2x Cycle jersey 

One thin, one thicker one to cover all conditions. You can spend tons on these but we’ve picked up all of ours from charity shops for less than £5.

One word of caution, don’t go for luminous green tops. Bugs will be attracted to you like ants to lollipops and you’ll have a swarm around you as soon as you stop. On the other hand this can be quite a good incentive to get from A to B fast…

 

2x Base layers

I actually find these more practical than cycling jerseys and they’re considerably lighter. Mountain Warehouse do them super cheap and they can be worn casually or for hiking, with thicknesses to suit your conditions. You can also use them under jerseys for extra warmth. 

 

Sports top 

A thin layer for warmth and a slight windbreaker, just make sure they’re quick drying. I like the ones with thumb holes on the sleeves which can give extra warmth over the hand and knuckles. 

 

Warm, wicking microfleece

You can get lightweight fleeces that keep you real warm and dry quickly. 

 

Waterproof Jacket – Mountain Hardwear Thunder Shadow Waterproof 

Getting the right waterproof is pretty crucial as the wrong ones can have you sweating so much you’ll end up very dehydrated.

We actually use hiking ones, which also have a long back suitable for cycling. The Mountain Hardwear Thundershadow is slightly expensive for us (£60) but are top quality. They’re very breathable and can be worn in warm conditions without overheating and they also have air vents under the armpit. 

The only flaws we’ve found is that they’re a bit difficult to zip up or down whilst you’re cycling, besides that they’re worth the money. 

 

Insulated Jacket – The North Face Thermoball Jacket

For us, a good insulated jacket is one of the most important things on a bike touring packing list. If you get yourself the right insulated jacket it will be your best friend. I picked up a North Face Thermoball and we’re pretty much inseparable. It’s small and packs to less than your average fleece but it’s real warm and acts as a windbreaker. It’s also nice and breathable so can do some good miles in it without overheating.  

 

3x Socks 

Thick but breathable hiking socks do a great job. They can keep you nice and warm in the winter but don’t make your feet overheat in hotter conditions. 

 

Thin Gloves 

Even warm regions can be cold at elevation or in wind so these are good for warmth and as a windbreaker. Find a pair with touch sensitive fingers if you’re planning on using a phone for GPS.

 

Thick gloves 

Mine are VERY warm but also have touch sensitive fingers for GPS. 

 

Hat 

Simple beanie hat that wicks moisture and keeps you warm.

 

Neck tube/scarf

Can be used in cold weather over your face or over your head as a hat. They actually can be used for a whole variety of things and work well in a variety of weather conditions. Another top item in our packing list. 

 

Shoe cover 

We brought them but rarely use them as we have Gore-tex shoes and waterproof trousers. Do you find them useful for touring?

 

3x Underwear 

 

Headband

Keeps hair off your face.

 

Our England to India Cycle Touring Packing List
You can’t tell from the photo but we were battling the 65mph winds of Storm Gareth!

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Casual Clothes

 

Base layer 

The same ones from Mountain Warehouse just thicker.

 

Trousers 

Zip off trousers which can also be used for cycling/hiking.

 

Sports top 

Another long-sleeved, quick-drying, thicker top with thumb holes.

 

Socks 

Extra warm pair of high socks to keep you warm camping.

 

Underwear 

 

Thermal top and bottom 

Simple, comfortable, long-johns-style under layers to keep you warm. 

 

Hat 

Another beanie, good for after washing in cold conditions.

 

Neck warmer 

 

Sunglasses 

A simple cycling pair from Decathlon bought for £4.

 

Bike Touring Packing List
Pin me!

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Electronics

 

Camera – Sony HX60 compact & Nikon D3400 DSLR

The Sony compact has an incredible zoom and is a top choice for a point and shoot camera. The Nikon cost £350 and is worth every penny: an awesome, lightweight DSLR.

 

Lenses – Sigma 10-20mm & Nikon 35mm

With the zoom on the HX60 and these two lenses most aspects of photography are covered. The Sigma is a super wide angle and is perfect for sweeping landscapes and architecture. The 35mm produces beautiful street, close-up, or portrait snaps and for £130 is probably the best photography bargain you’ll find!

 

Tripod – Joby Gorilla Pod DSLR 

A recent addition to our bike touring packing list has been our DSLR Joby Gorillapod Tripod. It’s bloody brilliant, light and well worth the money. Can wrap it round trees or posts with a camera and lens up to 3kg.

 

Computer and case – Acer R11 Chromebook

Insanely long battery life, 4GB of ram and being very light make this our choice for taking on the road and touring. 

 

Mobile phone – Motorola G6 Play

We think this is a great phone for the money. The battery will last a full 1.5 days with GPS on airplane mode and the camera takes some pretty nice snaps too. 

 

Spare memory cards 

 

External Harddrive – Seagate 1TB External Harddive 

 

Powerbank – Outxe 24,000 mAh Solar Charged Power Bank

Has enough power to recharge a standard mobile 8-10 times which is pretty good but does take a while for the powerbank to fully charge. It’s also water resistant and dust proof apparently (though we haven’t put this to the test) and is solar charged too. 

 

Speakers 

Small but powerful speakers. 

 

Chargers

All kept together in light stuff sack.

 

Solar Charger 

A recent addition from Decathlon and it works pretty well! We strap it onto the bikes and have it charge the powerbank as we’re cycling on sunny days.

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List
The electronics from our bike touring packing list. In the black case (top left) is the 35mm lens; black case (top left) has external harddrive and memory cards; the grey case has music speakers; the white drawstring bag has all of the chargers; the red case has laptop and the DSLR was being used for the photo.

 

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Health and medical

 

Hand sanitiser

 

Tooth brush & paste

 

Baby wipes

 

Vaseline

 

Soap

 

First aid

 

Tweezers

 

Rehydration salts

Really good after a long day in the sun. 

 

Sun cream

 

Toilet paper

 

Sudocrem

Amazing what this cream can do. Basically if you have a skin related problem, chances are Sudocrem can solve it!

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List: Miscellaneous Items & Life Savers

 

Penknife – Leatherman Rebar

Another essential on a bike touring packing list. A good penknife can be used for a thousand different situations and the Rebar from Leatherman is top of the pile. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee which is reassuring.

 

Blanket

Basically we use this to have our food stops on. Really thin and lightweight so it takes up no extra room in the bag but stops you getting a muddy butt. 

 

Bank Card

We use a Starling and Revolut card when we travel which are frickin awesome. 

 

Passport

 

Water Purifiers 

You never know when you’ll be away from a proper water source; these purifiers can clean all natural bacteria from even the dirtiest water. 

 

SAS survival book

If you’re into camping or the outdoors then this is probably going to be the best thing you ever buy. 

 

Duck tape

 

Sewing kit

Can be used for sewing clothes back together and in extreme situations for temporary stitches. 

 

Lighter

 

Flint Stick

You may never use it but if your lighter runs out you’ll be very happy you have it!

 

Rechargeable batteries

 

Compass

 

Notepad

 

Nail clippers

 

Headphones

 

Foil Blanket

Foil blankets take up no room but can provide a surprising amount of warmth if you get into difficult situations. 

 

Whistle

If you’re stuck somewhere this is a good way of getting peoples attention. Could be a lifesaver. 

 

Our England to India Bike Touring Packing List
All of our lifesavers from our bike touring packing list.

 

Our Bike Touring Packing List

There we have it. Besides the food we carry with us everyday this is everything that will be taking us from England to India. If you’re new to touring I hope it can be of some help when building your own bike touring packing list. If you’re a seasoned tourer we’re interested to know how this compares to yours?

Any questions or opinions please let us know in the comments below!

 

If you liked this article you might also want to check out

The Ultimate Camping Packing List

We Quite Our Jobs to Cycle Around the World

The UK Three Peaks Challenge by Bike 

Our Journey from England to India 

 

 

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8 Responses

  • Your journey sounds exciting and your packing list very complete. From my touring experience a few additional items I find worth-while: a small water filter in-addition to water purification; also on occasion I’ve ran short of water even with 3 bottle cages on my bike so I carry one with my food/kitchen supplies. I’ve also found shoe covers to be worth taking. If there’s very much rain and water on the road my tires throw water and road grit up on to my ankles (between my shoe tops and my pants bottoms) and the water runs down into my gortex shoes. The shoe covers are 9.5″ tall so do a good job of keeping this area clean and dry. Safe travels to you and I hope you have a wonderful trip.

    • Hey Joe, thanks for your recommendations! We have been looking at water filters, is there a particular one you’d recommend?

      With regards to the water we do strap big plastic bottles to our panniers as backups. At the moment we’re travelling through relatively developed areas so we’re not too far from water. Once we get a bit further East then we’ll definitely need as much water as we can carry!

      Do you have any upcoming tours?

  • Activated charcoal is great for the time that your stomach get very upset
    get the pills not the powder. the powder need to be mix with water and
    can be hard to swallow .
    I travel for 10 years 1985 to 1996 and save a lot of peoples with those pills.
    if you get Amibe or giardia or a very bad diarrhea just pup two pills with a lot of
    water and that’s it.
    you may never need them but when you need them you be happy to carry a extra 200grm

    • Activated charcoal is a lifesaver! We learned about it in Vietnam and it is incredible how it can help (it’s also pretty good for a hangover!).

      Where abouts did you travel from 1985 – 1996? You must have had some awesome adventures!

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