The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell
books about touring
Where am I?
Photo Use Info
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Places I have been
(How can I
India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present
/ Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010
Sept 2007 to May 2008
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007
SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
AZ, Mexico, and
March 2002 to April 2003
How I started
The 5 years before I left
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Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle
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Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs
Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
| - By Gretchen Howell
Humble as it may be, your toiletry bag will get daily use on your bicycle
tour. A shower bag and pack towel need to be durable and quick
drying, as both are constantly getting wet. On a bike tour, you will find
yourself cleaning up in campground bathrooms, cheap hotels and hostels, and even
while stealth camping with no facilities. Your toiletry kit needs to be
versatile as yourself.
Tim asked me to write an article about carrying toiletries
on a bike trip. Really, I think he saw my neat toiletry bag and realized that he
spends far too much time hunting down his stuff. Tim's various stuff sacks look
nearly identical by now. After almost ten years on the road, his bags are all of
the faded black mesh variety. In a few years, mine may look the same, but for now I've got them coded by color and
touch. I can find my possessions by look and feel, and if I pack right,
We both love to debate the merits of our
luggage. Even though Tim won't admit to the superiority of my packing plan, I
know he secretly covets my toiletry bag. I
bought it ten years ago and it's lasted through five continents' worth of biking
and backpacking. I like it because it can hold regular sized bottles,
the little mirror is still intact, and it washes up easily. After a few squishy incidents, I look for
the bottles with lids that close tightly. I stopped doing travel size bottles years
ago. Even on a short trip I run out of hair conditioner. Having long hair
does require some sacrifice.
Some additions to adapt your bag to long term bike travel:
Get a cover for your toothbrush and stop worrying about bugs crawling on the
bristles at night. A pack towel (stored in a separate breathable bag) is good
for drying hair and clothes. You can find one large enough to double as a
cover-up, for that walk back to the room from the shower down the hall.
For a short trip, you might consider an all-in-one-soap.
Back in my old hippie days, I was all about the Almond Scented Dr. Bronner's
Magic Soap bubbles. It's a nice idea: one soap for your hair, body, dishes,
clothes, etc. Now that I'm deprived of health food stores, I buy bars of local
soap and jam them all together in a plastic soap box.
Shower Bag and Toiletry Kits
Hanging your toiletries from a hook saves space, keeps things clean and dry
and avoids having to set your bag down someplace filthy.
Camping and Travel Towels
Camp towels soak up lots of water, dry fast, and
take up a fraction of the space of a regular towel. I prefer the
large thin ones for wrap around coverage and quick drying.
Travel Toothbrushes and Covers
Whatever gets on your toothbrush will end up in
your mouth. Keep bugs and other gross stuff off your
toothbrush with a breathable cover.
Wet bar soap is a messy thing to carry and dry. A soap box
will keep soap slime from leaking all over the inside of your toiletry
Collapsible Water Bag
If you're free camping in the backwoods or campgrounds
where the water faucet is far away, a bag is handy and easy to carry
If you absolutely must know how you look. Some of
us prefer not to.
All Purpose Shampoo and Soap
Concentrated liquid soap for all your cleaning
Small Storage Bottles
These refillable bottles are much
sturdier than store bought packaging and avoid messy spills in your
One thing I hate about wild camping is showering with a
bike water bottle. It can't really be called a shower. More like strategic
squirting. A bucket shower is marginally better. As it's impractical to carry a
regular bucket on a bike, you can get one of these collapsible buckets and ask Tim to
heat up some water. Or use a solar shower if you've got the sun, some sitting
time, and a little privacy.
Collapsible water sinks and buckets
like a folding bowl or bucket for showers. I heat water on my stove or a
fire and use one of my
pans to pour water on myself. Also useful for washing dishes
For those of us who can't survive without a hot shower.
A tiny shovel for your bathroom needs when you're camping with no facilities.
Be a responsible camper and Leave No Trace.
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground