Packing - clothes

Packing clothes.
For a long bike touring trip.

What clothes to take on a long-distance bike tour is quite an essential question. And a personal one as well. Many people might be optimizing for weight, but for me, it was important that I would feel good in my clothes at any given point. Weight and volume were not my main decision factors, some things that I packed the majority of people might think that I'm a bit crazy. But especially these items were the most valuable and I do not regret that I biked them around.

Packing - clothes

A look from above on all the clothes I brought on my trip

While I did not optimize for the weight of each item, I made sure that I'm generally not packing too much and that the pieces, especially the heavy ones would be quite versatile and not just useful in specific situations.

I was traveling for more than 6 months from Southern Italy to the Shetland Islands. This meant that I had quite different weather, especially in late Winter and higher altitudes. The clothes I packed would need to support me in all these conditions.

Another factor for me was to see what I already had. Generally, I tried to buy as little new clothes as possible. That's an attitude that I generally have, I really don't like to equip myself for every adventure and try to take good care of and repair the things that I already have. It's a waste in terms of money and more importantly resources.

Looking back at the trip I feel that I packed really well. I have one item that I should not have brought. A self-knit silk mohair sweater. It was absolutely too delicate to be packed and unpacked each day, and I sent it home as soon as the opportunity came. Below you find a list of all the items that I brought. And while I did not worry too much about the weight, I still measured everything before.

The list

  • 360g socks (5)
  • 280g underwear (7)
  • 350g sweater
  • 700g sweater (not pictured)
  • 600g jeans
  • 700g shirts (2)
  • 1000g t-shirts (6)
  • 310g thermo undershirts (3)
  • 180g down jacket
  • 400g rain jacket
  • 100g neon cross belt
  • 440g biking pants (2, one short, one long)
  • 180g bikini
  • 210g vest
  • 640g short pants (2)
  • 750g shoes
  • 420g sandals
  • 15g bandana
  • 150g sleeping pants
  • 40g gloves

Total: 6775g

Socks and underwear

I love having only one type of sock. Why have different socks, when you could have all the same? You can wash them always together. If you lose one, no trouble and you don't have to do any sorting, they always match.

I always get a bunch of them. I hate tight socks, especially when biking. You can easily fold them once to make them shorter and a bit more wide. If you want to extend your tan line, you can even fold them twice.

Underwear is similar. All the same, but cotton. I can't stand any other material. Additionally, I took two tank bras, cotton as well. All the same colors.

I took three thermo shirts. Two short armed ones from Falke, really just a basic. I actually bought these new because I have usually cotton ones as well, but I felt that it would be great to have them a bit more absorbing. Additionally, I brought an old Rapha Merino base layer. It has a very long turtle neck, which was great when it was really cold. It's very old and a bit torn, but I fixed it.

Having them all in a light color makes washing incredibly easy, you can just pop them in together with the white t-shirts.

Bike pants - the classics

Bike pants were a non-negotiable for me. On the one hand the padding, on the other the flexibility, especially when it was raining. I opted for very classic ones.

In total, I took three. Two short ones and a long one. I bought a short one extra for this trip, the main reason was that one of my existing short ones was a bib and the other one was too tight. I figured that I would wear the bib with the top down. Especially in colder weather when wearing several layers, I find a bib too annoying.

I have a thing with Rapha and so far all my special bike clothes are by them. Therefore I got the Women's Core Shorts. I tried on several others, but I liked these the best. Mainly because it has a stretch ending and not a seam.

The other two are older versions and no longer available. I think they're almost ten years old. The long one has a merino lining, which makes them quite cozy and warm.

In the beginning, I wore them with underwear, but eventually, I went commando and opted to wash the pants every evening. More comfortable and extended the length of my washing cycles quite a bit.

When the cold weather was over I gave the long one to my mother when she was visiting.


Five T-shirts were packed, four white ones and one dark blue. Most of them are decently wide. Two of them were a bit of a heavier fabric. Which was great during colder times. In hindsight, I would only pack white ones, mainly for washing reasons and they look better with the black shorts.

I took two button-down shirts. Jeans and cotton. For many people, this might be a bit over the top, but you can layer them well. And you can wear them for a long time without washing them and still look proper.

Sweaters and a pullunder

Ok, here I got a bit bonkers. I knitted my own sweater for the trip. Well, I started one ten years ago and never was able to finish it. But now I had some time. And believe me, knitting a mohair sweater with a pattern and different colors takes a long time. I liked that it had dots on it and resembled vaguely the polka dot trikot of the Tour de France. But as mentioned earlier, I sent it home. Far too delicate.

I was really glad that I brought another sweater, a VERY large wool sweater from Babaa. This one almost filled one pannier, so I started to transport it on top of the panniers with a little stretch band. Worked really well until I went through a deep forest where I lost it. But I loved it so much, that I ordered the same one again. I loved it so much, because it was so big, that I could easily wear it over other jackets and layers. Great in the morning or evening when you want to warm up. And despite being beige, it was actually really uncomplicated in terms of getting dirty. Similarly, it was quite resistant to rain, the advantage of wool!

And I brought a pullunder/vest from A Kind of Guise. Best decision ever, even though I doubted it at first. I almost wore it every day when it was still cold. Even when it was warm, I wore it in the mornings. And well, I did not wash it a single time. I would have needed to give it to the dry cleaner, but it was not necessary. I still haven't washed it. Absolutely one of the best things I packed.


I brought a pair of jeans. Very heavy, but I did not want to walk around all the time with the bike pants all the time. I was wearing it when traveling on the train or when I had rest days.

Additionally, I had two short pants. One very old pair of Stand Up pants from Patagonia. I call them my adventure pants as I was wearing them often on long travels and hikes. In hindsight, I would possibly left it at home as I was not wearing it enough. I preferred the other pair that I brought, a pair of white linen pants. They matched well with all my other clothes and the problem with the other ones was that they were too wide as I didn't bring a belt.

For the nights I brought some sleeping pants. Usually, I don't wear them, but it was good to have another layer when it was still cold at night while camping and having a pair of pants when you needed to walk to the toilet or so. They were as well really light.


As I started in January I needed a thicker jacket. Therefore I packed my super lightweight down jacket from Snowpeak. It can be packed really small as well. I have it for ten years and I absolutely love it. I gave it many repairs, but it's still holding strong. Unfortunately, they don't sell it anymore...

The only big piece of clothes that I bought new was a rain jacket. Originally I thought about getting a neon one, but I'm really glad that I decided against it. I got instead a dark blue one of pretty good quality that I would wear in the city as well. It's from Bergans and actually a men's jacket. I prefer the wider cuts.


I knew from the beginning that I would bike in normal shoes. I do have some bike shoes, but frankly, I don't love them. I also wanted to have a pair of shoes where I could push the bike and almost more importantly: I hate the sound of bike shoes when walking around. I brought the shoes that I almost always wear anyhow. A pair of classic white VANS. I don't mind the color and really never worried about whether they would get dirty. They are rather stiff and don't have any cushioning, which I don't like when biking.

Additionally, I brought a pair of slippers, for showering mainly.


A bandana, I hate to have a cold neck.

Some gloves, very simple ones.

A simple woolen hat.

A bikini.

All pretty self-explanatory. Additionally, I bought a security cross belt from Wowow. I was wearing it every day, until I lost it. I'm not a big fan of these security vests, but this one looked actually decent. I got a new, very standard security vest in pink as a replacement. I was wearing it considerably less, mainly in England. There are many small streets with high hetches, they are as well pretty curvy and my outfit was not very colorful. I wanted to give the cars at least a chance to see me.


  • Make sure you feel good in the clothes you're bringing
  • Don't overpack, but don't be too stingy either. You can always ship things home.
  • Consider how to wash your clothes efficiently.
  • Pack clothes that layer well.
  • Bring what you have. Don't buy too much!

Last update: 12. December 2023
Mood: happy :)