We first made this blog so our friends and family members could follow our first cross-country bike trip in the summer of 2012. You can still check out our trip by scrolling down on the main page and clicking the category “SF to NYC 2012.” Just load and view the older posts to read about our experience biking from San Francisco, CA to New York City via the Western Express, TransAmerica Trail, and Atlantic Coast Trail—unsupported & fully-loaded in 60 days.
Here is a list of gear we brought (we never got around to finishing this list, so it’s a mess):
– Thermarest sleeping pads, we could not go without these.
– Matt used his negative-degree weather rated sleeping bag while I used a down bag rated for ~45 degrees. I was only a cold in the Sierras and near Sargents, CO.
– Sierra Designs tent, I need to check which. We went through two cheapo $20 backpacking tents from Sports Authority before investing in this one a couple years ago.
– Large waterproof tarp! After getting rained on a bunch in the Sierras we bought a very inexpensive, sturdy tarp at a hardware store somewhere in Nevada. We ended up not having to use it as a rain cover, but it did come in handy as an extra footprint for our tent. The tarp rolled up nicely in our tent stuff sack and kept our tent from getting overly soggy in dewy grass.
– MSR WhisperLite International Backpacking stove + 32oz canister of fuel. We cooked and boiled water A LOT. This stove is much more economical than buying individual Brunton fuel canisters (which is what we did on previous, shorter tours), but it takes some practice to use. We weren’t priming our stove very efficiently in the beginning of our trip so we burned through our fuel pretty fast (ha ha), but we soon got the hang of it.
– MSR Stowaway Pot + stainless steel cup with fold-in handles (perfect for boiling water for tea or oatmeal).
– 2 aluminum plates from REI. I think these were $2.50 each. Hands down the best addition to our touring kitchen. We didn’t want to be eating off pot lids and out of the pot for 2 months.
– REI Doppio Stainless Steel Tumbler: best $9.50 I’ve ever over paid in my life. This little thing kept my tea hot on the coldest of nights. Matt used one of those collapsable plastic cups (crappy), and later picked up a classic GSI speckled enamel mug to better enjoy his coffee.
– Plastic drip coffee maker + filters from Ace Hardware
– Silverware: 2 forks, 2 spoons, 1 wimpy knife, 1 Swiss Army knife, and 1 switchblade.- 1 plastic squeeze tube for any jam we bought that came in a glass jar.
– My front pannier was always stocked with tea, chili pepper flakes, and gas station condiments. In addition to groceries/fresh produce, we tried to always keep grain mix, rice, or dried pasta and canned tuna or sardines on us just in case.
– 2 lighters, some matches.
– Sponge cut in half to maximize freshness and a small bottle of dish soap.
– Martin Backpacker travel guitar, a harmonica.
– 2 books we did not read.
– Journal and Adventure Cycling maps
– iPhones, iPods (only used maybe… 3 times?) camera/broken camera, charger, and cables.
– Glow-in-the-dark squishy frisbee that we bought a year before the trip even started, and that we accidently left behind at Bob Scott Summit, NV!
– Dr. Bronner’s soap (don’t know how many bottles we went through or lost).
– All the essentials like toothbrushes, floss, Q-Tips, tampons (yes, what fun they are to change on the road), and mouthwash (we like to live in some luxury).
– many tubes of Burt’s Bees lip balm, countless tubes of Neutrogena sunblock (I’d hate to say it but Walmart is great for restocking on this), contact lens solution (I went through 2 large bottles or so), travel soap “sheets” that didn’t really work.
– a watch with an alarm.
– plastic baggies for everything.
– mosquito repellant, which didn’t seem to help.
– cortisone cream or white flower oil for itchy bites.
– industrial strength pepper spray (3) for Kentucky dogs.
– Platypus 6 liter water storage container — crucial for Utah and convenient for campsites that are far away from the spigot. We lost the cap in Colorado and had to use a shower cap + rubber band after that.
– Lezyne HP Mirco Floor Drive Mini-Pump
– 2 patch kits, 3 or 4 spare tubes to start, and later some emergency tire boots. Tire levers and multi-tools of course.
– 1 helmet mirror and 1 handlebar mirror (both broke somewhere along the trip).
– I carried a spare tire and didn’t have to use it.