Performance Touring: How to pack light

The ultimate checklist for those who want to cover distance without being weighed down

Packing. Contrary to what previous girlfriends have told me; it doesn't need to be done three-weeks in advance and nor do I need to try and cram 90% of all my belongings into a variety of luggage. When it comes to going away on the bike, less is without doubt best.

The kit above is exactly what I took with me on my 7-day 3,200 mile round trip from London to Morocco. I'm not saying it's the minimum you need to take, as that's bound to provoke a response from a reader who's been around the world on two wheels with just a pair of Y-fronts and a toothpick but this is a tried and tested formula that worked for me.

Some might call this Performance Touring; it's the kit you need when you're going places fast and want to travel light.

Let's start with what's not laid out here, the kit I wore on the bike: obviously, pants, socks, followed by thermal top and bottoms, a t-shirt and neck tube. Two-piece zip-together Gore-Tex leathers, waterproof summer boots and Gore-Tex leather waterproof gloves. A helmet and a dark visor.

And here's what's in my rucksack.

Performance Touring Checklist:

  • Passport
  • Earplugs
  • LED cycle torch (really handy for all sorts of scenarios)
  • Driving licence and bike's V5
  • Soap bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, a few aspirin, paracetamol and a couple of berroca)
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Cable lock (lighter, flexible, handy if you want to leave your lid)
  • Chain lube (mini can is perfect)
  • Clear visor
  • Samsung Galaxy S2 (Phone, 8MP camera, GPS, proper Sat Nav, phrasebooks)
  • Undercrackers
  • Jeans (but cotton trousers are lighter)
  • Cable ties (a million possibilities)
  • Thick all-season gloves (great when the temp drops near freezing)
  • T-shirts (3 really is overkill but that's what I took)
  • USB phone charging cable (ask hotel receptionist if you can plug it into her computer)
  • Lightweight gloves (great for when it's warm, also good if your other pairs get soaked)
  • Flip-flops (because shoes are bulky and you want a rest from wearing your boots)
  • Wallet (containing cash, cards, EU breakdown, health insurance card)
  • Socks

As you can see, there's still plenty of room for a copy of Private Eye to keep you going in the evenings. If you want to take a proper camera, that's your call. You could also take a map as backup, lob a fleece in there, pad it out with more pants, smuggle some proper tea-bags, you can take what you like... but just remember; less is best.