Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mountain Bike Touring Packing List

Note: This page was originally posted on Geocities in 1999 so needs a minor update but the info is still good.  
I've done a few multi day off road mountain bike trips and now have a pretty good packing list that I use. I figured other people might find it useful as well. Adapted from Dan Langford's book Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway Before you leave for your multi-day trip, make sure you tell someone reliable your route and expected return date and time. This list assumes that you have a recently tuned bike that has been fitted to the rider.

Bike Repair

  • Tire Patch Kit - glue, patches, sandpaper, tire levers
  • Tube - at least one per bike
  • Allen Key Set - don't forget the small one require to adjust clipless pedals & large one for crank bolts
  • Swiss Army Knife - multipurpose but it also has screwdrivers as well
  • Spare Chain Links - spare links from the last time you changed your chain, you do have a new chain, don't you?
  • Chain Oil - I like White Lighting
  • Bike Multi Tool Kit & Chain Breaker
  • Spare Fasteners - screws, lock washers & self locking nuts
  • Nylon Cable Ties - also known as zap straps
  • Mini Bungie Cords
  • Bearing Grease - small film container full
  • Derailleur hanger

Mounted to the Bike

  • Cycle Computer
  • Tire Pump - strap it down well, these fall off and you find out when you have a flat
  • Handle Bar Bag
  • Water Bottle Cages (4) - high quality, extra mounts may be required
  • Water Bottles (4)- Specialized brand bottles seal the best
  • Rear Rack
  • Panniers (2) - with good rack retention so they don't bounce
  • Cable Bike Lock
  • Seat - comfortable!
  • Handle Bar Grips - comfortable!
  • Shocks - they make all the difference
  • Tires - wide with a fairly aggressive tread
  • Fenders - front & rear keep mud and dust off
  • Self Extracting Crank Bolts - saves having to carry a crank extractor
  • Clipless Pedals
  • Bar Ends - or a multi position handlebar (Scott AT series, etc.)

Cycling Clothing

  • Helmet - well ventilated and comfortable
  • Cycling Shorts (3) - the best are Pearl Izumi, expensive but worth it. You need a fresh pair each day and they take 2 days to dry completely.
  • Cycling Jersey (2) - You need a fresh one each day and they take a day to dry.
  • Head Sweat Bands (3) - get them from tennis stores
  • Glasses (2) - sunglasses & clear glasses
  • Cycling Shoes - with adjusted clipless pedal attachments
  • Cycling Socks (3) - they take 2 days to dry after washing
  • Gloves - padded cycling gloves
  • Gloves - full finger, bricklayer's gloves work well
  • Cycling Tights
  • Cycling Jacket

Other Clothing

  • Long Underwear Pants - polypropylene, you don't want cotton
  • Long Underwear Shirt - polypropylene, you don't want cotton
  • Runners - camp shoes, light runners
  • Thongs - for wearing in showers
  • Toque - it can get cold in the mountains
  • Jacket - Gortex, for rain or cold
  • Fleece or Wool Jacket
  • Camp Clothing - clothes to wear around camp so you can get out of your cycling gear
  • Shorts - light nylon athletic shorts work well
  • Sports Bra - if applicable

Camping Gear

  • Flash light & spare batteries - I like the small mag lights. They have a spare bulb in the end.
  • Towel - quick dry camp towel
  • Face Cloth - cut up a quick dry camp towel
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Bag Straps - not bungie cords
  • Sleeping Pad - including repair kit
  • Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack - extra large size. We put the loosely rolled sleeping pad in the stuff sack and then put the sleeping bag in the center. This way you only have one roll to strap to strap to the top of your rack.
  • Camp Pillow - collapsible one, a stuff bag full of clothing doesn't cut it
  • Tent - including ground sheet, pegs & fly
  • Tent Patch Kit - vibration from cycling can wear a hole through your tent
  • Matches - water proof
  • Cup - plastic
  • Plate & bowl combination - melamine
  • Utensil Set - knife, fork & spoon
  • Stove
  • Stove Fuel
  • Cooking Pots
  • Clothes Line - to dry wet cycling clothing after washing
  • Moist Towlets - available from Shoppers Drug Mart (Life brand). Useful for quick wipes or grease removal. Also handy for cleaning your chain.


  • Map - make sure it has enough detail
  • Book - reference for cycling in the area. (We photocopy the relevant sections and only bring that to save weight and prevent damage to the book.
  • Reservations - accommodations or meals
  • Plan - bail out plan

Personal Supplies

  • First Aid Kit
  • Tissues
  • Toilet Paper
  • Lip Sun Screen - get one with high SPF number
  • Sun Screen - water proof with high SPF numbers
  • Pepto-Bismal Tablets - you don't want an unhappy stomach
  • Ibuprofen Tablets - you are going to abuse your body, this will allow you to move tomorrow
  • Antiperspirant - small travel size
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste - small travel size
  • Comb
  • Liquid Soap - biodegradable, use for everything from hands and hair to dishes to cycle clothing
  • Moleskin - for foot blisters
  • Knee Brace - elastic tensor type
  • Tensor Bandage
  • Mosquito Repellent - note DEET will dissolve Lycra
  • Iodine Tablets - for water purification
  • Whistle
  • Pepper Spray - if you are concerned about bears

Other Gear

  • Camera & Spare Battery
  • Film
  • Food


  • Ziploc Freezer Bags - work great for keeping stuff dry & dust proof and compressing air out allows you to pack more compactly.
  • Test Ride - a few days before go for a loaded bike test ride to find out problems, balance and to find out how much all this stuff weighs.
If you have any comments, suggestions or additions, please email me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Importing a vehicle from the US into Canada

Back in Dec. 2007 we imported a Ford 1997 E-350 (full size van) with a Powerstroke diesel & Quigley 4x4 conversion into Canada. (Since the auto manufacturers don't make 4x4 vans, they are very rare in Canada although there is at least one company in Canada who does the conversion.)

Now that the exchange rate between the Canadian & US dollars is almost equivalent I've been getting more people asking about the procedure on how to do it. Below is the procedure I used 3 years ago. You should check with RIV Canada that nothing has changed.

Good luck!


Here is a short summary of the process I used to import my van, yours will probably be slightly different if you don't have an outstanding recall to complete.

1 Purchase temporary vehicle insurance (forget the exact name, I can look it up)

2 Bought van in US (already ran CarFax on the vehicle).

3 Stored van at friend's place in Washington. (There are storage lots in Blaine also.)

4 Stopped at US Customs to fill out export form (need copies of
ownership/registration, bill of sale)

5 Wait 3 days for US Customs to complete export permit (make sure it isn't stolen, no liens, etc).

6 Pick up van from friend's place.

7 Stop in at US Customs with van to pick up export permit.

8 Cross border, pay GST & RIV fee at Canada Customs.

9 Have cracked windshield replaced at local shop. (Also replaced worn out wipers & replaced gas cap with locking one, didn't want to fail the provincial inspection on windshield or wipers)

10 Contact RIV to start import process (this is when I found out that Ford has just issued a new recall for the Camshaft Position Sensor on the 7.3L PSD).

11 Contact Ford dealer to arrange to have recall done. Wait 2 weeks for Ford to get themselves set up for recall, parts, etc.

12 Buy vehicle storage insurance.

13 Take van to my mechanic to get provincial inspection completed
(and necessary repairs to be able pass inspection, make sure you
allow $$$$ to do this). Needs temporary insurance anytime you want to drive it on the road to mechanic or dealer, had to buy a few times as there are maximum lengths they will allow with a non registered vehicle.

14 Take van to Ford dealer to get recall completed.

15 Get recall letter from Ford Canada. $100

16 Send recall letter to RIV.

17 Get import paperwork from RIV.

18 Take paperwork to Canadian Tire.

19 Take paperwork to Insurance agent to register vehicle in Canada,
pay provincial sales tax, get plates & insurance.

20 You are done!