The Big List
by Rox Heath
This list started out with a list of what to take to Cycle Oregon that
was a compilation of several other trip lists on my computer. I also added
in other things I thought of that people might want to take and generalized
it somewhat and put it on the email list for CO XII.
The next year I went over the list completely and tried to make it very
general so it applies to different size groups of people and is also very
inclusive. This means that anything I can think of that other people have
recommended taking to CO is on this list.
My part of this list is a result of 6 Cycle Oregons, 11 years of Boy Scouting,
and 30 years of car camping and motel trips with and without kids. We
enjoy "comparative luxury" and obviously don’t pack light.
However, making the 65 lb. goal was still no problem. Many of the explanations
are out of the book we give out to new Boy Scouts who join our troop.
I combined both the male and female lists of clothes here. Just ignore
what doesn’t apply to you!
to Use This List
This list is meant to jog your memory. Simply print it out, or compare
it to your own existing list, and cross out anything that does not apply
Do NOT plan on taking all of this. You would need a fork lift to carry
your luggage and your very own transport truck. We each experience Cycle
Oregon in a different way and want different clothes and equipment to
supplement that experience.
Explanations are given after many items and this website contains even
more detailed discussions about most of these items. I have also tried
to indicate some cheaper alternatives – especially on clothing
- Take enough of all items to last you the whole week. Many items are
very hard to find in small towns and you probably have better ways to
spend your time anyway!
- I have had some trouble on campouts with other bags so I use only
Heavy Duty Freezer Ziploc brand bags on CO.
- The term "fleece" is used to indicate something similar
to Polar Fleece although we use many brands. All are made of synthetics
and contain no cotton.
- I have indicated some cheaper "non-bikewear" substitutes
on the clothes that are working well.
- This list does not include clothes to wear home after CO. I am going
to leave those in the car during the bike ride.
- You can often buy T-shirts (and sweatshirts) along the route. I will
probably leave home 1-2 of the "in camp" shirts and assume
we will buy some somewhere. I make sure to take all of the "cycling"
T-shirts because we are so picky about color and fit on these.
- When you wake up in the early morning and pack your tent it will be
wet inside from condensation. Put all of your next-day’s clothes
in a plastic bag the night before. This also makes it easier to find
them. We pack each day’s cycling clothes in a 2 gallon
ziploc before we leave home and then just pack the ziplocs. This works VERY
well. The clothes were nice and dry and ready to go when we are half
asleep in the mornings.
- Dirty clothes – we dry them out and pack them
in 2 gallon ziplocs, flatten the air out, and seal. They are put
on the bottom and around the edges of the big duffels. I use the same ziplocs the clean clothes were packed in.
- Stuff in tubes (like Desitin, A&D, sunblock, etc.) does not spread
well when cold. On cold nights put the tube in your sleeping bag with
you (in a ziploc) so you can get it out of the tube in the morning.
- Pack things together that are used together. I know this is kind of
obvious, but on this type of trip you will find it sometimes makes sense
to group things in odd combinations.
In-Camp Clothes (you may want to augment this if you plan on spending
the optional day(s) in camp). The quantities are what we use for CO’s including what we wear on Saturday for the drive to CO.
This list is for little or no laundry - If you are planning on laundering
these during the week decrease the quantity. These clothes are all loose
and comfortable (and often somewhat shabby or "broken-in").
- 8 "normal" socks (wear 1)
- 1 pair of heavy boot socks (wool or polyester) if
you get cold feet at night
- 9 underwear (wear 1)
- 4 shorts (wear 1)
- 2 long pants
- 8 T-shirts (wear 1) – leave out 1 or 2 if you
plan on buying these along the way
- fleece sweatshirt or jacket
- windbreaker (unlined nylon or polyester jacket) –
it should be large enough to fit over your fleece and any other layers.
This should not be the same windbreaker
you use while riding as that one will often get damp.
- raincoat or rainsuit – it should be large
enough to fit over all the layers. You can use your cycling raincoat
can bring along something big that will cover you well when walking
around camp. For very wet weather a separate in-camp raincoat is handy.
- knit or fleece hat – "stocking" hat
style – it should be long enough to pull over your ears when needed
- around camp shoes – comfortable!
- lightweight belt
- sun hat or bandana (especially for the follicle-ly
- pair of long johns – I decide if these are needed based on weather
the last couple of days before I leave
- hiking shoes and clothes – If you are planning
to hike around on the rest day(s) bring something sturdy and comfortable.
We pack these into 2 gallon Ziplocs with one day’s clothes in
each bag. This list is for no laundry - If you are planning on laundering
these during the week decrease the quantity.
- 7 bike socks – you can substitute
athletic socks containing cotton here. These are used for nice days
and the cotton will help to cool your feet. See below for wet days.
Or you can just use regular bike socks all of the time.
- 7 bike shorts – no substitutes here! You want
the real thing. We also avoid the kind with the seam down the middle
of the chamois padding.
- 7 loose-fitting, light colored T-shirts or 7 short sleeved
- 7 sports bras – CooLMax is nice!
Recumbent Riders – Substitute unlined bike shorts or regular shorts for the bike shorts above.
We have had very good luck using the long pants with the zip-off pant legs for these. We take an
ankle strap along and start with the pants long each morning and convert them to shorts as it heats up. They are
made out of artificial fabrics and the zipped off legs are very lightweight and pack small.
Packed separately in a Ziploc – to substitute in when needed on wet days
- 3 pair heavy bike socks – you can also substitute
fuzzy acrylic socks. Use them for wet days
when you want warm
feet if you are using cotton socks or very lightweight bike socks on
the sunny days.
- 2 short sleeve bike jerseys if you use cotton T-shirts
- 1 long sleeve bike jersey for the really nasty weather
day we will probably get.
For these jerseys we have also had good luck with shirts designed for
other sports – such as soccer. Just be sure the shirt is made of
artificial fabrics and contains no cotton. Also, check the back length. Of course there are no pockets
in back, but that may not matter to you.
These are used throughout the whole week. Each night we listen to the
weather forecast and choose what to wear. Coats and vest should have full-front
zippers so you have a wide range of temperature adjustments. Whatever
is not being used each day is packed in plastic in your luggage. Each
night all items are packed in plastic to keep them dry.
- fleece vest – these are not wind-proof, but
very warm when combined with the windbreaker or raincoat
- windbreaker, unlined – big enough to fit over
- bike raincoat (or lightweight nylon raincoat long
enough to cover your back when riding) – also big enough to fit
over the vest.
- bike gloves – normal padded, semi-fingerless
- warm gloves with fingers – these need to be
flexible enough to run your shifters and brakes.
Avoid cotton (too cold) and wool (takes too long to dry)
- polypropylene or lycra skullcap or knit hat – this
is very thin to wear under your bike helmet
- rain cap to fit over your bike helmet – I've also heard shower caps work well.
- bike helmet – absolutely required!
- bike shoes or sandals – real bike shoes are nice (stiffer
sole), but you can also use cross-trainers or low basketball shoes or….
Just be sure they are comfortable to ride in for many hours and have
as stiff a sole as possible. Bike sandals are very comfortable, but they should
only be used with a clipless pedal (cleat) system.
- booties for shoes or sock covers for sandals
- arm warmers – if you have big arms just buy
small leg warmers for these.
- leg warmers or tights or unlined nylon pants – If
you use the pants include a strap to go around your ankle so the fabric
doesn’t get caught in the chain. Bring both the leg warmers
and nylon pants so you can layer them. Some mornings are VERY cold!
- sunglasses & case – it gets very bright on sunny
days in Oregon
Recumbent Riders – in place of the lightweight bike gloves above include a very
light pair of glove liners or those "one size fits all" lightweight stretchy gloves for chilly mornings.
I just pack these in a 1 gallon Ziploc for each person – all bottles
are travel size and with a good seal. If you want to dump shampoo, etc.
into a smaller bottle REI has small Nalgene bottles.
- comb, brush
- toothbrush & paste in their own Ziploc
- dental floss
- hand soap (in a soap case) or soap on a rope
- shampoo and conditioner
- shaving cream
or Bathroom Supplies
I sort this into 2 or 3 Ziplocs.
- 1-2 bottles Ibuprofin or Aleve, travel size
- a few Sudafed
- a few Imodium
- itch relief if bug bites bother you
- lotion for dry skin
- small unbreakable mirror – regular size mirrors
are also available at the shower area
- toe nail clippers
- Q-tips, travel size pack
- band-aids, etc. to augment what you carry on your
- pre-wrap tape – The tape they wrap knees with
may cause some skin sores if you don’t pre-wrap the area first.
- prescription medications
- over the counter medications you take on a regular
basis or like to carry while traveling
- vitamins, minerals, etc.
- feminine hygiene stuff
- diaper wipes, 2 travel size packs each in its own
Ziploc – these can be used to bathe a small area of your body
anywhere, anytime – use them on areas where you have sweat build-up
problems, spilled ketchup, etc., or where you just want that "fresh
feeling". So far I have not tried them on my face, though. The
kind I get fit perfectly into a one pint Ziploc. They also work well
cleaning grease off of hard surfaces…(bikes, camp stoves, etc.)
- Bag Balm, Desitin, A&D, etc. – I use Bag
Balm for prevention of chaffing problems. Desitin is the only thing
I have found that lets you actually ride on an area that has already
been severely chaffed. Take a couple of small tubes if you think you
may have problems. Remember this is a week-long ride and there is not
a lot of recovery time. I use multiple small tubes rather than one large
because with a severe outbreak you may need to carry one with you on
your bike to reapply at rest stops.
- facial tissue – a couple of small travel packs
- eyeglass or contact lens products as needed
- bug repellant – mosquitoes are everywhere...
- sunblock – If you burn easily then lotions
(even with a high SPF) may not last all day. We are currently using
Coppertone Sport SPF 48 with good results. I re-apply it at least once
in the afternoon on sunny days.
Pack in Ziploc(s) and group by use.
- 1-2 thin bath towels or pack towels
- washcloth in its own Ziploc
- tote bag, thin nylon or mesh – this is to put
your towel, toiletries, and clothes in while showering. It should fold
up to almost nothing
- laundry soap
- thin nylon rope – I buy a 48’ package
of 1/8" nylon rope and put it in a Ziploc. Multiple uses –
clotheslines, tying down tents, hanging tarps or rain flies for sun
- 10 or so clothespins per person – I use plastic
and make sure they have a good strong spring. These can be used not
only for laundry, but also to hold things together for sun shades in
camp. Also, to hold a plastic bag over a bike seat overnight.
- duct tape – either get a small camping roll
or roll up a cardboard core and wind the tape around that. Short pencils
also work well for a core. Duct tape can be used to fix an amazing amount
of items including cracked tent poles.
- Swiss knife
- Leatherman or multi-tool
- alarm clock, very small travel style
- space blanket – the really thin, small kind.
If you are very cold at night wrap this around your sleeping bag
- flashlights – take at least 2 (they break
at inconvenient times) - we use 1 small 2-AA flashlight per person
work well for this) and 1 lantern/flashlight per tent – these
use 4 AA batteries and are made by Eveready and a few others, and
front pulls in and out to make them either a flashlight or a lantern.
Very handy hanging in a tent or when visiting the blue rooms at night.
They also work well when you are packing/unpacking in the dark. We
went through 2 sets of batteries during the trip.
- headlights – Headlights are very nice. They
are handy because the beam always points where you look. The new LED
headlights have a good bright beam.…
- MANY spare batteries – flashlights, cameras,
razors, GPS’s and other electronic gadgets.
- spare flashlight bulbs
- sewing kit, very minimal, including a few safety
pins of various sizes
- camera(s) – whatever you want for both on and
off the bike
- film or spare camera memory
- binoculars, very tiny set. We camp in some scenic
- cards, stationary, post cards, stamps – whatever
you want to send the folks back home. Do not count on being able to
buy this stuff on the road. There is usually a post office with a drop
box for mail with stamps in the towns.
- address book
- pens, pencils, etc.
- phone numbers
- cell phone, batteries (charged!)
- free-time stuff – books, magazines, small drawing
pad and pencils if you like to sketch, playing cards, frisbee, etc.
- plastic bags – all large items such as sleeping
bags need to have extra plastic bags packed in case one rips. Also include
a few extra of each size. You can’t have too many. Sizes we take
– garbage bags (lawn and leaf size, tall kitchen with drawstring,
small); Hefty bags (many sizes); Ziplocs (2 gallon, 1 gallon, quart,
pint) 1 gallon bags (these are the
non-Ziploc lightweight kind that use twist-ties) or vegetable bags
from the grocery store. Take quite a few. They are handy to cover bike
at night, carry with you during the day for messy food, etc., and can
be put over dry socks in wet shoes for warm feet. (It works great!)
- cash – you will need ones to tip the sherpas (usually
around $1 or so per bag per trip), and also money for souvenirs (T-shirts,
etc.), ice cream cones, sticky buns, espressos, and other "habits"
you want to support. Although some towns have cash machines, small change
is very hard to get. We will be going through some very small towns!
- keys to car, home, bike locks
- plane, bus tickets
- directions to get to CO
- form CO wants parents to sign for the "under 18"
- CO jersey, etc. order info if you pre-ordered something
- parking permit
- extra ziploc – for all of the literature (including
Cycle Oregonians) you will be given and want to keep
- fanny pack – you will often have a shortage
of pockets – both in cycling wear and when going through the food
lines. You can use anything from a lightweight pack for just your billfold,
flashlight, etc. to a heavy duty pack with room for cans of juice and
lash points for a jacket.
- insulated mug – to carry hot beverages away from the food lines
- Walkie Talkie type radios using the Family Radio
Service band. If your group gets separated a lot in camp or you want
to be available to a wandering teen (and do some wandering yourself)
then these may be for you.
- power bars, gel etc. – If you want extras of a particular
brand or flavor. Last year CO had Cliff bars of several flavors.
- powdered drink mix if you use it
- gorp or other snacks if you think you will need them or want something special
- stuff to eat after riding for a quick re-fueling
while waiting for dinner
- stuff to munch on, drink while goofing off if you
want something not commonly supplied by CO. Often you can buy this in
a local grocery store (boost the local economies if at all possible!)
but some places are too small.
What you carry and what you just leave at camp depends on your style.
We carry a few tools and spare parts with us to fix what is most likely
to happen to our bikes. Since we often ride together this can be combined.
Remember that one of a group can be pulled out to sag with little notice
(accidents and exhaustion happen). Put group items in an easy-to-find
pouch or bag for quick transfers to the remaining riders.
Supplies such as sunblock are bought in several small amounts and the
extras are carried in the regular luggage.
- Bike – it would be embarrassing to forget this!
- Bike pedals, etc. – items you removed from your bike
in order to box it!
- Bike tool kit – patch kit, tire levers, Kevlar
or Fiberfix spoke, small crescent wrench, ignition pliers, phillips and straight screwdrivers,
10 mm wrench for brakes, pump, Allen wrench set, multi-tool, etc.
- Bike first aid kit – big gauze pads, tape,
band-aids (both normal and big for knees), ointment in tiny packs, wipes,
gloves, safety pins, etc. Make your own and put it in one of those small
waterproof bags often used for cameras, etc. (Camping section at sporting
goods stores like GI Joes) You can always choose to wait for help, but
I would rather have a few things with me for minor injuries.
- hydration system, cleaning supplies, spare parts
such as bite valves and elbows; or at least two 20 oz. waterbottles
you must be able to carry at least 40 oz. of water (or sport drink,
- water bottle with electrolytes – some people carry
mix and make their own, some just grab a bottle at a rest
stop, some just drink water and get electrolytes from other sources.
- spare water bottle or cup – if you use a hydration system
a very lightweight plastic bottle to spray water all over yourself (and
others) can be handy. You may want to fill it part way and carry it
while riding for those "between water stop" cool-offs. Another
method is to use a lightweight cup at the water stops.
- while-riding medications – think of what you
may need during the day. Besides what you would normally take would
you like Ibuprofin, Aleve, Benedryl, etc. available? I buy name brand
stuff that imprints their name on the pill and stick a couple of each
in a tiny plastic case with a little tissue to keep them from rubbing
together on the bumps. This has been invaluable when I had a muscle
cramp and needed some Aleve. Ambulances carry some stuff, but not all,
and are not always handy when you need something for that headache.
- TP or kleenex – Small travel size roll. The blue
rooms are stocked well and available at all rest stops, but you may
use other "facilities" en route.
- bike headlights & mounts, rear reflector – some of these headlights
can also be used around camp as flashlights.
- bike front bags, trunks, under-seat bags, panniers
– whatever you are comfortable with. We use a front bag and a
bike trunk. The bike trunk holds tools, clothes we shed, etc. The front
bag holds food, cameras, a handkerchief, and small items that are easily
- bike locks & cables – These are for in-camp
use. Decide if you want one for your peace of mind. Bike corrals are not always guarded.
- sunblock, small tube (you will probably want to have
replacement small tubes carried in your luggage)
- lip chapstick with sunblock
- Bag Balm or other lubricant – small supply, well packaged (it will get hot and run out of some containers!)
- artificial tears if dry weather irritates your eyes
- lightweight plastic bag for fruit and other messy
- bandana or handkerchief for cleaning your hands (grease
- bandana or handkerchief for wiping sweat off your
face before it runs in your eyes
- neck cooling bandana – filled with water-absorbing crystals.
Cools you as water evaporates over several hours.
- white handkerchief to drape over your neck, under
your helmet to keep the sun off of your neck
- greasy wet wipes – These are small foil-wrapped
wipes for greasy hands. Somehow our flats are always on the back!
- blue shop paper towels - handy, tough throw-aways
for those greasy clean-ups. Just fold up a few and bring them along.
- cycle computer – also extra battery or replace
it ahead of time if it has been a long time.
- GPS – Bob has fun with this
- spare bike, etc. parts – dupes of any small or unusual
parts, also extra shoe cleat (Frogs, etc.), etc. Choose these by looking
at your bike and gear and deciding what can easily go wrong that the
bike mechanics wouldn't have or that you might want to carry with you
- inner tube(s) – you must carry this (CO rules)
- tire, spare – if you think it is something
Bike Gallery won’t have
- tire pump
- mirror – CO reccommends you have one of these
on you or your bike. They are extremely handy when riding safely with large crowds of cyclists.
- bike bungees to hold clothes to back rack
- chain lube oil – small bottle
- Power Bars or gorp or whatever you pick up at a food
stop and carry with you to snack on during the next leg of the tour. Have a
small supply with you at the start to carry you through until the first food stop.
- route maps and elevations – print these
ahead of time if they are posted online. They fit better in map pockets and you don’t want
your tour book getting wrecked. These will get very wet sometime during
- mascot or decorations
For the car (if driving):
- tiny bottle Windex and cloth – Keep this in the car and wash all of the bike mirrors immediately after
unloading the bikes if they travel on the exterior of the car and collect dead bug carcasses.
- bike rack and bungees or bike boxes or whatever you
need to get the bike to and from CO
- pillow, small (compress it if needed)
- Thermarest or similar sleeping pad, include patches
- sleeping bag
- folding chair or stool – the kind
that fold up into a narrow cylinder
- tent – make sure it has enough room for you
and your gear when it rains.
- rain fly for tent – make sure it covers most of the
tent. Oregon rain sometimes blows sideways.
- groundcloth – use 3-6 mil plastic cut to be
slightly narrower than the tent. We leave one end a couple of feet too
long to serve as a porch during nice weather. Be sure to tuck it under
in the event of rain or it will funnel water under your tent. This should
be a disposable item at the end of the trip as cow and deer pastures
are sometimes used for camp sites. Be sure and fold it so the against-ground
side is against itself before you put it in your duffel! You will probably
also want a plastic bag to store it in when it is all wet and dirty.
- tent stakes (take a few extras) Metal work better
in hard, dry ground.
- hammer, lightweight plastic for the stakes
- whisk broom – to sweep out your tent
- small piece of pack towel or a washcloth in its own Ziploc – use it
to mop up puddles of water inside your tent when it leaks in that monumental
thunderstorm. Use it to clean mud off of things.
- sun shield – equipment to set a shield up out of a tarp
or rain flies. Be aware some campsites are too crowded for this.
- flag, blinky light to help find your tent
- giant duffel bag or backpack per person to hold all