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By The Way

How to pack like a bicycling camper

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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