Gear Packed for Multi-Day Ride

I’m going to try and do a multi-day ride later this month. I’ll be tent camping along the way and then riding the train home. I’ve been planning it for a few weeks now and tonight I packed all my gear for the first time. The result was 20 lbs sticking off my back, which made it difficult to mount and ride (though maybe I’d adjust to it). I started shedding everything I could (including some water) and got down to about 16 lbs, which is still uncomfortable but better.

I’m planning 240 miles over 6 days. My longest day is 47 miles but my average day is 40 miles. I know this isn’t far to many of you, but I’m still a fairly new (and unskilled) unicyclist. I’m confident I’ll get through it though as long as I can keep from getting injured. The trick will be trying to recover from each ride before I go again the next day. It won’t help that I’ll be sleeping on the ground.

I’d thought I’d post my gear for anyone else planning a long-ish trip, and to take suggestions. I’ll start in the top-left of the picture and go clockwise:

  • camera and mini camera tripod (camera not shown for obvious reasons)
  • cell phone (also not shown)
  • headlamp
  • safety matches
  • backup batteries for headlamp and camera
  • Chamois butt’r for each day
  • phone card (as a cell phone backup)
  • laundry detergent dissolving strips
  • the smallest tent I could find
  • shower shoes
  • Clif bars (as a backup for planned food stops)
  • caffeinated jelly beans
  • microfiber shower towel
  • laminated map
  • backpack with 2 liter water reservoir
  • clothes…I’ll need to find a sink to do laundry every couple days
  • smallest book I could find that seemed interesting (Red Badge of Courage)
  • hex wrenches, metric multi-wrench, pedal wrench
  • air pump
  • metallic “space” blanket
  • knife/spoon/fork combo tool (I may ditch this because I won’t be cooking)
  • cable lock
  • toilet paper
  • pen and notebook
  • small first aid kit and sting relief medicine
  • moist towelettes
  • rain poncho
  • pepper spray
  • inflatable pillow
  • toiletries (toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, ibuprofen, etc)
  • 3 plastic bags. 1 for dirties, 1 for wet-but-clean, 1 for clean
  • charger for keeping my GPS watch and cell phone working

The items I removed from my pack to decrease the weight.

  • Mini mag light (because I’ve got the headlamp)
  • tube patch kit and tire levers
  • one of two metallic blankets (I had planned to lay this under my tent)
  • $2 worth of quarters (for vending machines)
  • about 1 liter of water (I’ll have manage water smartly)
  • a couple Clif bars (they’re heavy little things)


Not sure where you will be staying but how about tossing the tent and using a hammock.No sleeping on the ground.

The tent takes quite a bit. I was lucky not to carry it, but anyway my backpack weighted about 9kg (19lbs) at airport (so without water) while we were in Romania. And even that i felt my back every evening I was fully recovered by morning.
Consider putting some of equipment on uni (bottle cage or attaching the pump to fork leg), the more you put there, the less you have on your back. I even constructed a rack and was able to carry my spare shoes, sleeping bag and some clothes there. You can see construction of mine here: unicycle luggage rack?
and packed here:
Also what was really useful was small air mattress. This gives you good isolation from cold and makes you less dependent on surface under your tent and still it is quite small and not that heavy. We used such ones: but we did not use the pump built it as it was much faster to pump it with your mouth.

It is always interesting to see what other people pack and how they pack it. It gives us people, who are dreaming and planning their own trips, some guidance.

How comfortable is the backpack?

I used Deuter Future 32 backpack and backpack was more comfortable to ride with backpack than I expected.
I always avoided backpacks while bike touring, but on uni it seems unavoidable, but I was not that bad even if I was not happy to put it on my shoulders in the afternoons.

What are you going to do if you get a flat?

Jack - I considered the hammock option, but would prefer having a roof over my head. Plus the camping hammocks I saw were about the same size (or bigger) than my packed 1-man tent.

vookash - Thanks for the tips. I will look at strapping a couple things to my frame and/or my luggage rack. I put a rack on back of my uni a few weeks ago to get used to it…I was probably inspired by seeing your pictures. My rack isn’t as level as yours, but it gets the job done (I hope).

Wayne - The backpack is comfortable in itself, but when it’s full it’s heavy. It’s not as nice as the one vookash used, but it’s also about 1/5 the cost. I’ll probably go through everything again tonight and find more stuff I can take out.

Shmolagin - Probably curse, then cry, then start calling around for a ride. But if I’m close enough to a bike shop, I’ll head towards there. If not, I’m screwed. But in another thread I got the impression carrying a tube and levers wouldn’t do me a lot of good due to the difficulty of getting a 36" tire off the rim.

Here’s the backpack.

And here’s the tent. It packs smaller than other tents the same size because instead of using pole supports, it uses an inflatable “arch” to provide support to the structure.

Hello Lloyd, I use the night rider tyre it’s quite easy to remove. When packing your backpack, put the heavier stuff at the top. This will take the pressure off your lower back.

Hope this helps.

Well, good luck lloyd!

Have fun

Sounds like a fun trip. When you get back you will really know what you need/needed-----LOL-----

That’s how it goes. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ain’t that the sad truth.

If I make it through the entire trip, I’ll try and share any tips here.

Shmoligan, since you live in the area you’ll be able to duplicate the ride if you want. I’ve got an itinerary with all my planned food and camping stops, repair shops, pertinent phone numbers, etc. If you ever decide to do the Katy on a uni, I can send that to you and save you a lot of trouble. Of course, if you want to do 100 miles per day, my itinerary won’t be much use to you. :smiley:

Thanks…because of your comment, I stuck my patch kit and levers back into my pack. So it’s getting heavier! But at least I’ll have a fighting chance if I get a flat.

I’ve still got a couple weeks before I set out, so I’ve got time to adjust things.

I’ll admit that I’d entertained the thought before you said anything about it. If I did it wouldn’t be for a very long time as I’d need to buy a bigger wheel.

A local blogger did a short post about my preps last weekend:

I put this on the Latest Ride thread, but maybe it’s worth putting here too since this is where I’ll document my success or failure.

You can go in a bike shop and buy a bottle of Slime sealant. You pour some in your tube and you are protected against most punctures. Then you just need a small pump and to stay away from bad situation where your tube can be REALLY damaged (if it is pry opened, the sealant won’t help…).

Siddhartha - Some other folks have mentioned Slime too. I’ve looked at the products, but I’m skeptical about pumping a bunch of liquid into my tube. Have you used the stuff? I would be more inclined to try it if I had a couple months before the ride, but I’m getting close now and hate to experiment too much.

People have been putting slime in tubes for ages. It’s been around forever and works for the first little while until it dries up in your tube.

I’m experimenting with Stans in a tube for now. If it’s good enough to seal a tubeless setup, it should be good enough for a tube, eh?

That looks a pretty heavy backpack - as in the backpack itself, rather than what it contains. If I manage a backpacking trip with my son as planned in the next few weeks I’ll be carrying stuff in one of these which probably weighs half what that does.

OK so I’m only going for 1 night, but I’d expect my pack to be a huge amount lighter than yours, including cooking equipment and food - that’s based on the pack weights I used to have when doing races involving overnight camps. I think I was usually down to ~5kg (11lbs), including sleeping bag, which is something you appear to be missing…

The secret to getting such a low pack weight is obsessing about every single item. For example your headtorch is far heavier than the Petzl E+lite I’ll be taking. Also quite a few items I’d be leaving at home - even for a 6 night trip it’s surprising what you can survive without. Of course it does all depend what comforts you like, but for me the comfort of riding with a lighter pack has always trumped comforts in camp - and that’s been on a bike where pack weight is far less significant.