Winter Equipment

As much as I try to avoid statistics and long lists I like them quite a lot (I am cycling without any odometer, but some evening I ask my father to check on google maps how many km I have done, just to give you the idea) and I often waste too much time (partially) reading the equipment list of other travellers; the more detailed they are, the better. So here is mine, this is all the stuff I’ve packed in my bags for the winter, from the 1st of November, when I left from Bologna, to the 30th of March, when I met my parents in Esfahan and changed some stuff (unfortunately the list is not nearly as good as this one, but I will add some links and photos sooner or later). To see the summer equipment click here.

That was probably the coldest day of the trip and I was happy that I brought all that many warm clothes. It was around lake Van at the beginning of March.
That was probably the coldest day of the trip and I was happy that I brought all that many warm clothes. It was around lake Van at the beginning of March.

The list is quite long and maybe boring, so I started with a short version that, without listing every single item, gives an idea of which things I have in my bags and why it is so.

The short version

Without going into details (scroll down for the long list) the panniers are divided as follows:

  • The left back pannier is the ‘shower pannier’, it contains clothes, towel, soap and rechargers. Whenever I can take a shower I know I have everything I need there.
  • The right back pannier is the one I open when I am camping in cold weather. It has some bulky and warm clothes, some spare parts for the bike and a medical kit. I don’t need the stuff in this pannier most of the time.
  • The right front pannier has some waterproof clothes, the cooking material (stove and pot) and a light fleece jacket I use in the evening.
  • The left front pannier is used exclusively for food (I usually bring a lot of food with me) and a thermos for coffee.

IMG_0661 (1024x768)

  • The 80 l dry bag that stays on the top of the rear rack contains the most important things for the night when camping.
  • The handlebar bag has some small stuff I use daily and precious things such as wallet and passport. I bring it me with me everywhere I go.

The Long List

Left back pannier

A Sea to Summit 20 l dry bag containing all my clothes

Sea to Summit microfiber towel


Way too many chargers and usb cables

IMG_0264 (1024x768)

The dry bag has the following clothes:

All the clothes.
All the clothes.

Snow mask, used in very cold weather (South East Turkey)

Decahtlon cycling gloves

2 old socks I used for skiing

Two shirts given to me by Guten Biken, the shop in Munich that assembled my bike (lost one in Greece)

1 pair of Decahtlon trekking trousers

1 pair of short padded pants and 1 pair of long padded pants with an internal thermal layer (even at – 10 they were too warm, so I never used them). Both from Decahtlon.

Icebreaker merino gloves (too fragile, they started to tear apart very soon. I gave them to a Syrian child I met when I was hitchiking between Mardin and Hasankeyf)

Windproof Briko jacket


Thermal underwear (shirt and trousers)
for layering in case of very cold weather

Normal clothes, warm clothes and waterproof ones
Normal clothes, warm clothes and waterproof ones

Right back pannier

Medical kit

Spare tyre

15 l compression sack containing a ski jacket, a fleece jacket, a wool hat and a warm scarf

Small bag containing the stuff to fix the bike and some spare parts (two tubes, brake pads, chain, brake and gear cables, allen keys, oil, shimano cassette remover)

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MSR water filter mini EX (never used it, but I think it will be useful in Central Asia)

Right front pannier

Waterproof clothes, easy to reach in case of rain. They are:

Vaude waterproof trousers

Gore bike wear gloves (in goretex) (didn’t like them, the interior would easily become wet because of body heat, and eventually freeze. The sweat you produce when going up makes the following descent even more freezing. I would prefer a pair with a removable internal layer)

Waterproof hood (strangely never used)

Shoes cover Pro Bikegear Rated to – 2 °C and supposed to be waterproof. I already had it, otherwise I would have probably bought something in goretex

1 pair of Sealskinz waterproof socks (they are great)

Light fleece jacket (lost it in Diyarbakir)

Pot and non-stick pan with a Primus omnifuel stove and a small towel inside

Left front pannier

Lot of food (rice, chocolate, coffe, salt and oil, jam, bread, biscuits, cheese,…)

Thermos for coffee (I boil water in the evening, so that when I wake up I already have warm coffee without even getting out from the sleeping bag. In very cold weather it can be used for water, so that it doesn’t freeze)

80 l dry bag

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Vaude hogan ultralight tent (green, it’s doing quite well, but it’s not completely freestanding. I would probably go for MSR Hubba Instead, equally light, similar price and fully freestanding)

Ferrino thermal sleeping bag rated to – 20 °C as extreme temperature (I already had it, but it was exactly what I needed. I soon realized that a sleeping bag is probably the most important piece of equipment, more than the tent itself).

Thermarest Ridgerest Solar sleeping mat (I don’t like inflatable mats as they break too easily and I am already good enough at breaking things myself. Only drawback is that below -10°C you feel a little bit cold, the solution would be to use two of them, but they are bulky).

Sea to Summit fleece liner that is supposed to add 8°C to the rating of the sleeping bag (used only once in South East Turkey at about – 15°C/-20°C and it worked fine)

Thermal underwear (shirt and trousers) used as a pyjama

Above this dry bag there is a cheap tarp used as waterproof groundsheet for the tent

On the top of the front rack there is a tarp and a 1 l Primus fuel bottle

I also had a 5 l water container, which I partially filled when camping, but it broke in Turkey and I replaced it with two big bottles

Handlebar bag

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Powermonkey explorer solar charger

GPS spot 2 or what I usually call nerdy device

Parktool multitool (it works great. I was afraid the chain tool would break soon, whereas it has been very useful when the chain broke in the mountains in Albania)


Headlight Petzl Tikka 2

Swiss knife, patches, tape and tire levers to fix punctures (had only three in 8000 km, one because of a bad Albanian tube)

Toilet paper and soap (the one you can use without water)


Spare key for the bike lock

Passport, notebook and pen

Water purification pills

Snacks (chocolate and dried fruit)


Mobile phone and mp3 player and a recharger (both Samsung. The mp3 player receives wi-fi, so it is widely used)

Camera Canon G11 (bought second hand on ebay, really like it)

Sony e-reader

Map of the country I am cycling in (on top of everything, I take it out several times per day and almost every evening)

Lonely Planet Turkish phrasebook (only in Turkey of course, before I was changing country and language too often to bother trying to learn the language. And English (or German in the Balkans and Italian in Albania) was somehow spoken)

I wear almost all the time the same clothes, that are:

McKinkley trekking trousers (with a dog dazer attached to it in Turkey)

Padded cycling pants

Smartwool merino socks

Decahtlon trekking shoes

Icebreaker merino long sleeve shirt

Gore bike wear jacket in goretex


Green fleece hat (given to the same Syrian child of the gloves)

Gloves (goretex one before Istanbul, cheap fleece one after)

For very cold weather I would add shoes cover, a fleece jacket and a balaclava


3 risposte a "Winter Equipment"

  1. Ciao francesco! È un po’ che spulcio il tuo blog. A parte i doverosi complimenti per l’impegno nel viaggio e nel raccontarlo, quello che mi colpisce di più è il materiale che ti sei portato dietro (sto progettando anch’io un lungo viaggio e puoi immaginare quanto tempo passi a leggermi tutti i dettagli!) Per l’illuminazione notturna cos’hai usato esattamente? soltanto la Headlight Petzl Tikka 2?
    In molti blog sento di gente che consiglia 800/1000lumen etc… ma dalla via che hai già fatto esperienza ti volevo chiedere qualche dritta.


    1. Ciao Paolo, grazie!
      Sì, posso immaginare il tempo passato a leggersi i dettagli. Hai già un piano sul dove andare? Comunque ho usato per tutto il tempo solo la peztl tikka 2. La usavo come luce da campeggio la sera ed andava più che bene. Immagino che i tanti lumen si riferiscano a persone che pedalano di notte. Io la usavo come luce da bici, ma pedalavo al buio molto raramente. Se non hai in mente di farti una intera notte in sella va più che bene. Un paio di alternative simili (che ho ora perché ho perso la tikka…) sono la black diamond spot e la black diamond revolt (consigliata perché con batteria ricaricabili e anche più potente. ci pedalerei di notte senza problemi!) Comunque per qualsiasi altra cosa chiedi pure

      1. Sì! mi piacerebbe rifare l’esatta strada terrestre che percorse Marco Polo. Mi rendo conto della lunghezza e della consistenza di un progetto abbastanza titanico! Per ora sto cercando di organizzare ogni parte del viaggio (soprattutto da un punto di vista di ricerca storica, oltre che di tecnica ciclistica ed equipaggiamento).
        A dir la verità il vero scoglio è contrattare un’aspettativa! 😀


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