my San Francisco to Seattle packing list
So, I just rode from SF to Seattle (about a thousand miles) during the month of September, alone. This is my packing list, just in case anyone’s interested in doing a similar journey. It’s sort of roughly divided into three sections.
bike shoes (SPD-SL with a recessed area so you can still walk around easily)
spare spokes (I found these weren’t really necessary, but I’ve been accused of overconfidence before.)
portable pump (Get the kind with a PSI gauge, and where the head is attached to the rest of the pump by a tube.)
fresh new patch kit
water bottles (I had enough bottles to carry 3.5L total.)
cable for U-lock
rear and front lights (It gets foggy along the coast.)
camp towel (REI makes these microfiber towels that pack up really small.)
sleeping bag (Make sure you get a sleeping bag with the correct temperature rating. Most bags come with a rating, but that rating probably applies only to men. E.g. if a bag has a rating of 45, it will be comfortable for a man in 45 degree weather, but a woman will probably feel cold. Add about ten degrees to a bag’s rating. So the 45 degree bag will only be comfortable in 55 degree weather for a woman. If you do more research, some companies will provide ratings by gender for their bags.)
sleeping pad patch kit
spare tent stake
dry bag for food
bear bag rope
2 pairs of bike shorts
2 shirts for biking
2 pairs of merino wool socks
world’s tiniest first aid kit
chapstick with sunscreen
wooden massager that I got at a job fair once
cellphone battery backup
straps with buckles
There are a couple more items I left off, but this mostly covers it. The only extraneous item I had that I did not truly need was the bear bag rope. Most state parks have food lockers, and I verified with the Oregon state park agency that bears are not really a problem.
All told, this weighed about 28 pounds. There’s very little I would change about this packing list, if I were to do this particular ride again.
I have mild regrets about trying too hard to minimize the weight of all that I carried. If you can shave off ten pounds, go for it, but a sleeping pad that weighs an extra pound, but is ten times as comfortable as an ultralight solution, is obviously better. You may as well err on the side of carrying too much. Unless you’re doing a very remote ride, which SF to Seattle is not, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to mail home excess gear.
Notice that there is no stove. I probably could’ve just barely had the space and weight for one, but I did okay just eating tortillas, beef jerky, dark chocolate, multivitamins, and blocks of cheese.
I hope you find this list useful!