7 kit bag essentials – do not leave home without them!

Let’s talk about your cycling kit! Or more importantly about what you should remember to pack with you when heading out for multiple days in the saddle according to cycling journalist Hannah Reynolds. It’s a great idea to use this as your pre-trip checklist!

Spares specific to your own bike…
Obviously you are not going to forget your bike, shoes, pedals and helmet (!) but it is also worth including any spares that are specific to your bike. These include items such as a replaceable rear mech hanger, spokes especially if yours are fancy bladed ones and brake pads. If you are riding a bike equipped with electronic shifting, then remember the charger and importantly the battery!

Chamois cream…
Even the most hardened of behinds (and most Skedaddle guides are in that category!) occasionally needs a little bit of extra soothing. On wet days, long days or even sweaty mountain days’ chamois cream can help provide a little bit of extra comfort and help to prevent saddle sores. There are loads to choose from but we like luxury chamois cream from Muc Off as it is full of natural ingredients, smells nice, is anti-bacterial and washes off your shorts easily at the end of the ride.

Enough socks…
Nothing feels better if you have got wet or cold than putting on clean dry socks. It barely matters what the rest of you is wearing as long as you have fresh socks on. Bring plenty, they take up hardly any space, so you can change them at lunchtime if needed. If you follow cycling fashion then you know that looking down to see socks that are bright, co-ordinate with your bike and show off your tan and calf muscles adds at least 5 watts to your power output –  #sockdoping.

Ear plugs…
Whether it is to drown out the snoring of your room-mate, cut out the laughter from the bar below or silence the cicadas when they are making a racket a set of ear plugs can make a real difference to your night’s sleep when you are staying somewhere unfamiliar.

Favourite ride treat…
Skedaddle guides are great at hunting out ride food in countries all over the world so you will be well-fueled for your ride, but if there is something that you absolutely have to have to get you through your day on the bike make sure you take it with you. We like dried fruit, nuts, marzipan, bananas, cake and Haribo and there will always be plenty of these but if you have a favourite brand of energy gel or sports drink that you like to stick to make sure you bring enough for your trip.

Dirty washing bag…
It is inevitable that you are going to build up a stash of stinky kit by the end of the trip, even if you try to wash it regularly. However, you don’t want it to impregnate the rest of your clean stuff with smells. Rinse your kit and let it dry completely before putting it into a dry bag, such as one of these from Sea to Summit which will keep the smells contained until you can get home. Be prepared to stand well back when opening it again!

Mesh bags…
If you are on tour, moving on to a different hotel each night, then you need to be able to find things and re-pack your bags quickly and efficiently. The more you unpack the more likely you are to leave things behind. Mesh bags are the easiest way to avoid kit bag explosions! Put your daily cycling kit in one, your wet/cold weather cycling gear in a separate one and your off-the-bike casual clothes in another. This way you can easily grab the items you need without having to pull everything out of your bag.  Try these colour coded stretch sacks from Osprey.

And what to put them in….

Big kit bag, small day bag…
Ideally you will have only two bags to think about when you are moving hotel every morning. One kit bag for all your clothes and wash kit and a day bag big enough for the essentials you will need whilst on your bike for example; sunscreen, flip flops and wet weather gear. Make sure you can fit everything in and close it securely so you don’t have any over spill.

If you are cramming all your clothes and kit in your bike bag or box don’t forget to include a lightweight kit bag, so you can keep all of your things together in the Skedaddle van. It’s embarrassing to check-in to a hotel clutching handfuls of carrier bags! Two good options are a nylon duffle bag  weighing just 620g or a super-light large dry bag; both are from Alpkit and won’t take you over your weight limit or take up much space.