Bob Jackson World Tour – Old skool packing for the road

Stopping for coffee at Beningbrough Hall

A couple of readers have got in touch to ask about how I packed the Bob Jackson for the Way of the Roses trip. The decision to take the bike I built for Eroica was a bit last minute as a replacement frame for my trusty Surly Troll was held up for one reason or another. I now have a dedicated, heavyweight Rohloff-based tourer to replace the Troll that will accompany me to the Alps at the end of the month, although I’d be more than happy to take the Bob if needed as it handled touring duties with impressive ease.

Given this bike has to sit within the aesthetic guidelines of the Eroica events, I fitted some rather lovely replica French racks from Velo Orange before leaving for Morecambe Bay. More information can be found on the fitting process here.

They are not all-show-and-no-go either as both racks can handle reasonable weight, particularly the front Porteur rack of which I’ve become a huge fan. This design, or a more modern iteration thereof, is destined to find a home on other bikes in the fleet.

OK, so the packing list. I’ll detail the items taken by bag to give you an idea of weight distribution. Suffice to say, the bike handled beautifully with this light load and I’d be happy pedalling for weeks with this kit as long as I had opportunities to wash and dry gear on the way.

Velo Orange front Porteur Rack, in a 25 litre Exped dry bag

Thermarest Prolite seat (inflated, to prevent items rattling on the rack bed)

Go Lite Shangrila flysheet

Oookworks custom inner for the Go Lite

Mountain Co-operative Merlin Sleeping bag (XL)

Exped inflatable pillow

Thermarest Neo Air full length Xlite mattress

Alpkit Possum frame bag

Pole for Go Lite Shangrila

Thermarest chair kit

Tent pegs



Petzl headtorch

Caradice Zipped Roll saddlebag

Abus cable lock

Rapha rain jacket

‘Tools’ – Park multi tool, tyre levers, micro leatherman, lighter.

Two spare tubes


Caradice Universal panniers on the rear Constructeur Rack

Pocket Rocket stove and MSR titanium pot and lid

Alpkit MytiMug and MSR mugmate

1 pair of sandals

Montane wind top

Rapha merino base layer

Rapha winter gloves

North Face down jacket

Rapha classic jersey

Sherpa woollen hat (much loved!)


1 pair of Endura Mesh padded undershorts

Endura waterproof over shorts (worn as a last resort only!)

Spare socks

Alpkit dry bag (attached to the top of the rear rack)

Toiletries – deodorant, shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, Sudocrem

Fjalraven Nils trousers

Towel (when not drying on the front rack)

Spare food – when carried

Clothes worn

Rapha riding gilet

Rapha merino base layer

Brooks Eroica B1866 jersey

Buff (x2)

Walz cycling cap

Nike leggings

Rapha Randonneur shorts

Giro Terraduro shoes (ready to fall apart)

Merino socks

Castelli Mitts

Endura mesh padded undershorts


10 thoughts on “Bob Jackson World Tour – Old skool packing for the road

  1. I’ve read this post several times now, trying to sort in my brain your approach to packing, as it is so different than mine. You approach seems to be very well considered with respect to load distribution, I would guess. Is that the driving criteria?

    Mine is based in two ideas. One is the idea of packing up to leave in record time, inspired by the fact that I stealth camp, and while I’ve never had a single problem ever, at the back of my mind is that one day I shall encounter a very irate landowner or police officer and have to get out quickly, probably while half asleep.
    The other aspect of my personality is that I can’t remember anything. If I put my car keys in a different location, invariably it’s 20 minutes spent looking for them.

    So the only thing I have which is not sorted by category all put in the same bag are tools and food. I use those two items to balance out the loads, a little anyways, while all items which are alike are in their separate pannier “bin”.

    My left rear has most of my tools at the bottom, and on top using only about three quarters the volume of those huge Carradice rear panniers, are my hammock and tarp, with the tent inner on top out of it’s bag just thrown in, and the top sheet on the very top because that helps it dry out during the day. That wonderful round pocket has a 2 litter water bottle stuffed in. aside from the water the there is lots of volume but not much weight.

    It’s balanced on the other side by my extra shoes on bottom (I wish I had smaller feet – size 46 European have to be crammed a bit) and all my clothes are there including hat and rain bottoms. I’ve got these spread out in several Alpkit dry bags by type. Socks and underwear, bottoms, tops and lastly one for “worn and smelly”. that makes in about the same weight as the other side once I put in a second 2 liter bottle of fluid, normally a 64oz bottle of orange Gatorade. I found that orange tastes best when it is even with the average summer temperature of ~ 36 Celsius. Some flavors are positively nauseating at those temps. Incidentally it is you who led me to discovering the Alpkit bags by mentioning them years ago. Great stuff and excellent prices. A belated “thanks”!

    in front right on Thorn Lowrider racks I have a Carradice super C front with my Trangia alcohol stove, kitchen supplies and whatever food packs I can stuff in to make the bag full. On the right I have an Ortlieb sport packer plus and there I have all my charging cables, my iPad and any quick to grab items, such as light gloves and my rain jacket. It’s far from full so when I go look for groceries they get stuffed where-ever I think the load remains balanced. I dislike the system ortlieb uses to quick release where one pulls the handle. I’ve had it come off three times now due to my carelessness. I much rather the manual Carradice way, since I’m not going to get any smarter, apparently. But this bag goes with my into restaurants along with my handlebar bag and is completely waterproof so I don’t mind. That pocket fits a Alpkit padded iPad bag and the iPad – perfectly.

    I’ve got several handlebar bags. None perfect for what I desire out of one of these pieces of kit I could not live without (I could write a full dissertation on handlebar bags) but what I want most out of one is the ability to open and close it while in motion and that the bottom be flat, not sloped. Normally the Carradice Super C comes along and I have a Fuji and three spare lenses in there along with my phone, a snack and headlamp. My daughter tells me that I’m going to crash and die one day while taking photos on the go – but it hasn’t happened yet and this bags details allow me to carry one best.

    My sleeping bag, pillow and mattress are rolled up in another Alpkit product, the Airlock extra 35L. Lots of room to slide in and out without effort and I can put up my tent in any weather and then just throw this bag in knowing it stays protected.

    As I write this I realize two things. First, it’s not as logical as I thought, but simply “my” way. Secondly, I don’t think I could get along without British companies cycling products. If I had to ride the backpacking way I think I would scream, go insane and stop cycling. I’m serious actually. I will fiddle and fiddle to get a system right, but on the road it has to be mindless and if I don’t have about 20% of my luggage free so that I don’t have to pack meticulously, it would be terribly frustrating for my personality. I have these large volume bags but not all that much weight in them. All that free space give me flexibility and speed of packing.

    I am however trying to look to other alternate ways, maybe cutting down on a few panniers – keeping with the times and all. I’m not making much progress however in looking like other than a mid 90’s generation cyclo tourist, as of yet. So your packing breakdown is of much interest. I hope you give more insights on these sort of touring details in your future musings. It sure helps, and experimentation keeps things fresh. 🙂

    Sorry for the book length comment. I guess I write the way I pack. 😉

    1. Thanks for the reply. I suppose the only thing I would add is that I started with a four pannier, dry bag on the rear, and handlebar bag set up. I was carrying a much larger tent then. Slowly but surely I have slimmed it down depending on conditions expected, route etc. I too agree that the bikepacking approach can be, frankly, a pain in the arse. Packing can take an age and everything is that bit more difficult when you are tall and, consequently, your gear takes up more room. The set up on this trip was straightforward and easy to manage. That said, I didn’t carry as much food or cooking gear as I might do normally.
      I’m now thinking about my upcoming Alps trip and packing… particularly given I am flying with the bike and need to keep an eye on baggage. Possibly two universal panniers on the front, the small framebag and a Caradice Nelson long flap plus a small drybag or two. It could work. I’ll report back in due course!

  2. Just a quick update. I’ve spent the afternoon here, after making that post, weighing my gear. I used to scoff at that approach. Now I have to re-evaluate, it would seem. Between the rear rack, front Thorn lowriders, the handlebar bag and the pannier, I am pushing almost 13.5 pounds or just over six kilos! That is before I load up one single item.

    I’m not getting any younger neither.

    I guess that is what can be called “eating humble pie”. It may be time for at least a partial re-think.

    It’s hot and humid here. Perhaps I can save weight by taking only my speedo swim trunks. Or do you think that may be going too far? 🙂

    For sure this a a great topic. But where and how to cut?

    1. Hi there,

      That’s the way it starts!! I too scoffed at weight weeny-ness of some, but I read the Lightweight Backpacking and Camping book edited by Ryan Jordan, and while I wouldn’t adopt all of the suggestions therein due to the wetter places where I hike and tour, it made me re-evaluate.

      Let me set out my process… it’s important to note that at the time I had some money to spend. If I’d have been broke, my process would have been different.
      The first place I looked was my tent and sleep system. I was carrying a 3.5 kg two man backpacking tent. I love this shelter and still use it now if I’m travelling somewhere where I expect very bad weather. However, most of the time I use my Go Lite and it’s half the weight and occupies less than half the space. Sleeping bag was next… I sleep warm so bought a decent, three-season down bag from Mountain Equipment Coop in Canada when on holiday. It weighs less than half my original bag and takes up, again, less than half the room. The Thermarest prolite was changed for a NeoAir and so-on and so forth. This made a huge difference to pack weight but, more importantly, pack volume. As a result, I lost two panniers from the front of the bike.

      I then rationalised my cook kit. I either take an MSR pocket rocket with titanium pot and mug or a slimmed down Honey Stove and Trangia burner (the latter gives me an option for burning wood if conditions allow). Simple, compact, and faff free.

      The kit changes are all well and good, but the real difference I made was being more ruthless with clothing… and in many cases you don’t have to fork out, just leave stuff behind.
      The clothes listed in this post would work for me on a two-week or two-day tour. The only additional thing I would take would be some handwashing stuff for emergencies. I used to carry far too many clothes, and a good many items would come back unworn. The antibacterial properties of merino wool are for me a godsend (assuming you can tolerate wearing it next to you skin as some folk can’t). It washes well when you need to (after about four days in my case!) and dries quickly – well the excellent Rapha baselayers do.

      Of course, you have to balance this with safety. If you’re travelling in very cold or gnarly weather then more clothes are needed but this lot would see me through some pretty crappy conditions.

      I also need to mention food… I used to stock up and lug loads of stuff but now I balance this against where I am riding. It’s obvious, but a bit of research goes a very long way and keeps the pounds out of your panniers. An idea of reliable hydration stops also means you carry less water. Again, this needs to be balanced against safety.

      So that’s the kinda’ process I went through. How to carry the gear remains a question though. Which rack/bags do you lose to save weight and still have a bike that handles nicely? I’m still experimenting with this one. Frame bags work well for me but I like the flexibility of panniers still. More on this topic in future I think.

  3. Hi,
    Sort of a related query – little bit awkward, but we’re all grown-ups; I was just wondering, as a solo female cycle tourer, if/how you prioritise some special ‘me’ time when you’re touring (especially on long tours!). Would you be looking for particular camping or bivvy spots, do you take any specific kit etc…?

    1. Hi Steph, Always lovely to hear from a new reader so thanks for dropping by. It’s a really good question and not at all awkward so don’t worry. The key to all this is focussing on finding the right spot. If you can get this sorted then additional kit is not really needed in my experience. Besides, we’re all trying to travel that bit lighter, especially on a long tour! Generally, I’d be looking for spot where I wouldn’t normally go… I usually find these are the best. Take care, NW

  4. Thanks for your reply. So it really is all ‘location, location, location’? Interesting point about the super lightweight and perhaps I really need to slim down my kit list in this regard, although I guess from a female point of view some additional pieces of equipment do come in handy and are maybe worth their weight in gold! Given the slightly differing perspectives (I would assume) between your male and female audience, it would be great to read a blog post about this in the future. Cheers, Steph

    1. Hi Steph, You raise a good point. Things are obviously a bit different for girls! Perhaps you’d like to contribute on the issue or maybe we can combine our experiences? Not sure where you are pedalling right now but if you’re ever in the North West perhaps you’d like to give me a shout and we can compare notes. Take care, NW

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