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By The Way

How a bicycling camper packs for everything

An experienced cyclist offers advice on what to bring and what to leave behind

Chris George knows based on his bicycle trips across the country that bringing even a small Swiss Army knife can be too much weight if it is never used. For a five-day trip along Skyline Drive, along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, George plans a roughly 50-mile-a-day route between nightly stays at campsites. Attached to his bike, he secures a tent, clothes, first aid kit, meals, water bottles, bike equipment, a solar charger, camping supplies and many more small necessary items.

George, a Washington Post home page editor, has done several trips around the United States and one across the U.S.-Canada border. He often travels with his wife, who introduced him to the concept of biking from campsite to campsite. Sometimes they stay with a kind stranger found through the network Warm Showers, which offers lodging and, of course, a shower to bikers worldwide.

Before his trip, George updates a detailed list of what he needs depending on the weather and bike route. To save space, most of his items are multipurpose, like a reflective jacket that can turn into a vest or a pair of cycling shoes that could pass for sandals. Every item he brings with him will, ultimately, matter, especially when he’s lugging it all up a hill.

See George’s packing list here.

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