Packing for Yellowstone: A bicycle adventure

pack carToday is final packing day for my Yellowstone bicycle trip.  I’ve been asked what I’m taking and why, so I thought I would share my thoughts.

The #1 thing to bring on a biking trip is your bicycle.  As you can see, its ready to go in the trunk of my car. I had to take the front wheel off so it would fit, but that’s not a big deal.

The more challenging part is figuring out what to pack.  Everyone has a different approach to packing for a bicycle trips. Veterans of events like this have devised various systems that work well for them – one of the more prevalent ones I like is to use is a series of zip-lock bags and clear plastic containers for daily riding outfits and other clothing to help me stay organized.  It’s also helpful to keep everything dry in the event of rain.

pack bag2The picture shows my two bags.  The one on the left contains my camping and miscellaneous gear. Looking at what’s visible, you can see my foam roller that I use to massage out all my muscle aches and pains after a long days ride (it also works as a good camp stool when set on end).  My first aid kit is in the container at the top, and my bicycle repair and cleaning gear is in the container on the bottom.  The bag on the right has all my clothes and personal items.  You can see several of my riding outfits in plastic bags.

A big consideration for packing is the weather.  I’m heading into “The Wild West” which basically means I could experience average temperatures ranging from a low of 45 to a high of 78, or I could experience extremes from snow to scorching heat or an afternoon thunderstorm.  For the old Eagle Scout in me, this means I need to “be prepared” for a variety of possibilities.

So, without any further delay, here’s what I’m packing along with an occasional explanation:


  • I use a REI half Dome 2 tent.  I like the large tent so that I can store my belongings inside out of the weather.
  • Sleeping bag liner – it keeps the sleeping bag cleaner longer, keeps me warmer on cold nights and I can use the liner alone on hot nights.
  • Flashlight to see at night outside the tent, especially important when I made a run to the latrine.
  • Battery tent lantern for light in the tent,  I hang it from the top of the tent
  • Seat cover – I use my helmet cover to keep the dew of the seat overnight
  • Air mattress – I have one that inflates without the use of a pump.  Pretty nifty.
  • Styrofoam tube – I use this for self massage to roll out the knots in my legs, butt and back after a long day on the bike.  It also doubles as a camping stool when I sit it on end.

Cycling Items

  • Helmet
  • Front and rear flashing lights that are bright enough to alert approaching drivers (cyclists that have little flashing lights that are so weak no one can see them are useless in my opinion).
  • Water bottles – at least two.
  • Small tools and parts so I can do my own repairs on the road.
  • Inner tubes and CO2 cartridges for flats.
  • Chain lube
  • Bicycling outfit that’s appropriate for the weather – short or long sleeves jerseys and bibs.•
  • Base layers
  • Tights
  • Arm/leg warmers
  • Light jacket.
  • Rain gear
  • Socks
  • G loves (regular plus full-finger)
  • Booties/toe covers
  • Headwear

Off the Bike Items

  • Shorts
  • Long Pants
  • Swimsuit
  • Shirts
  • Warm jacket
  • Socks and underwear
  • Walk-around shoes
  • Hat and gloves


  • Garmin GPS for routing and tracking
  • Ipad for reading and posting to the blog if I can find WiFi.
  • Cell phone
  • Back-up batteries for my Garmin, Ipad and cell phone
  • Camera of course.

Personal Items

  • Chamois cream
  • Personal hygiene items – cyclists all know the need to wash up after a days ride
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, and insect repellant.
  • Small first aid kit – bandages and a variety of pills, potions and lotions
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Soap and shampoo

That’s it.  Thanks for checking out today’s blog.  If all goes as planned, during the next week I’ll share my pictures and impressions about the daily rides.

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