Cycle Touring Gear Best Buys

Cycle Touring Best Buys

These are the items I bought which have proved invaluable during the trip so far.  Take into consideration the weather at the start of New Zealand’s spring which can be cold, wet and windy but also bright and warm.  I am not going to list all of the gear like helmet, cycling shoes, lights etc here just the items that would have been sorely missed.


Skull Cap Nike $15 US

This was a spur of the moment purchase whilst browsing a discount sports store in the US.  I have worn it almost every day of the trip and if not on my head it is in a pocket close by.  The protection from the wind and partial protection from the wet added to the reduction in heat loss through your head make this a must have item you may not think of.

Buff / Balaclava $20

Again I have used one almost every day.  I bought a very thin wind stopper balaclava by Uvex from a ski shop in Christchurch which I favored over the Buff I already had.  Normally I just wore it around my neck but on windy or wet days I used it as a balaclava and it kept my ears from falling off!

Wind Stopper Jacket Pearl Izumi Barrier $80 US

I bought this in a sale as they are normally $100.  The sleeves can be removed to make it a waistcoat.  It packs down small and is perfect when you don’t need any thermal insulation for instance on a long downhill on a warm day.  I have used it with a thermal jersey on cold days and most importantly I went for the Hi Vis yellow, be safe be seen!

Leg Warmers

These are old and well used but you shouldn’t leave home without them!  Great in the cold, wind and to some extent the rain.

Cycling Glasses – Interchangeable Lenses

I went for a middle of the range $60 US pair which came with 4 pairs of lenses.  I wear them everyday rain or shine.  Pick a lens and keep the wind out of your eyes.

Cycling Shorts – Pearl Izumi

If one part of your body needs looking after whilst cycling it is your butt!  Now lycra might not be the best of looks but for long days in the saddle a good pair of cycling shorts are worth their weight in gold.  All of my shorts have come from the Pearl Izumi outlet shops and have all done a great job.  I have actually found the cheaper Quest short to be the most hard wearing and just as comfortable as the more expensive ranges.  I do like bibs when riding my road bike but they are not so good for touring when you might need to make a quick pee stop. I bought 1 pair of ¾ length tights which although are great on the right day they are less versatile and don’t work as well with the leg warmers if like me you like to put the top of the leg warmers under the shorts.

Cycling Gloves – Half & Full fingered

It is worth having both in colder weather for sure.  Try and get both with pads or just wear full fingered gloves over your half fingered ones.  When your fingers are cold wet and going numb you’ll wish you had got some!


Travel Tarp $9 US

This thin light weight tarp came from good old Walmart.  It weighs next to nothing and we have used it a lot.  We have covered the bikes and gear with it, used it as an extension to the ground sheet, made a shelter out of it and used it as a picnic blanket.  We actually bought 2 and they come with their own stuff sacks and measure 7' x 5'.  A bargain with many uses.

Sunlite Panniers

The main thing I like about these is the fact they are totally waterproof and reasonably priced.  I am sure there are better bags out there but I doubt it for the money.

Dry Bags

We have maybe too many dry bags but they are so useful.  The big ones we use to put the tent, sleeping bags and dirty washing in.  They are good for keeping water out and the smell in!  The small ones we use for cloths and you can squeeze all the air out to reduce the pack size, right on the outside whats inside and you're away!  So if your panniers ever leak or you need to leave stuff outside maybe under the tent fly or something now worries.

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