Bike Touring with Kids: Our Current Gear List

Since bike touring with kids, our gear list seems to have multiplied exponentially! These days I write a comprehensive list when we get back from a tour, listing what we took, what worked well, and what didn’t. Here is my gear list from our most recent tour, to help you get started.

Every family is different – on this holiday we had two parents and three smallish kids. Obviously you would need different things for a baby, and if you have older children you might perhaps be reaching that magical moment where they start carrying some of their own stuff!

Bike stuff

1 Adult Hybrid BikeOne grownup takes this and the luggage trailer.
1 Circe Helios STEPS tandemOne grownup and one child.
1 Thule Cross 2 bike trailerTwo smallest children travel in this.
1 (very old) Thule Chariot double trailerWe put most of our luggage in here.
2 sets of rear panniers, a handlebar box and a saddlebagWe use one set of Ortlieb and one set of Altura panniers.
Front and rear lights
High vis jackets and straps for trailerIt is personal preference how highly visible you wish to be. We use some cloth high vis ankle straps on the trailer handle, and often high-vis tabards on busy roads or in poor visibility.
Spare inner tubesMake sure to bring a spare inner for each size and type of bike…and trailer! Our 20″ bike and 20″ wheel trailer take different types of inner tube, as we discovered to our cost on our first bike tour with them.
Mini pump with gauge
Bike maintenance kitWe take the essentials for changing flat tyres, oiling the chain (bike chains can suffer quickly near the sea), and making minor adjustments. We’ve always toured in places where it’s reasonably easy to find a bike shop for anything more major.
Campsite electricity converter & e-bike chargerOur tandem has an electric motor which is very useful on hills. It does mean that we need to remember to take some charging kit with us.
A D-lock and long cableFor locking up overnight and at restaurants.

Sleeping gear list

Sleeping bags in a tent, including UGQ Bandit junior, a Criterion Ultralight 350 and a Morrison's Outdoors Synthetic Big Mo.
Decathlon Quickhiker Ultralight 4 TentThis has been a great family bike touring tent for us for quite a few years. It comes at a good price-weight point. It is not completely storm proof, but it has coped with 50-60mph gusts, albeit well anchored and sheltered in a campsite. Unfortunately Decathlon no longer make this tent, the current design equivalent is the Trek 500, which is a bit cheaper but a whole kilogram heavier.
Paria Recharge DW double sleeping padWe currently put one grown up and two children on this pad, with the children at opposite ends. It’s warm and very comfortable, but a wee bit heavier than I would like.
2x single sleeping padsOne for the other adult, and one for our youngest. On this trip I found our toddler disliked the surface of the ridged pad, and would probably have done better with foam or self-inflating.
2x adult 3 season sleeping bags: a Criterion Ultralight 350 and an old Eurohike Adventurer
2x adult sleeping bag liners
2x kids quilts: UGQ Bandit Youth and UGQ Bandit 66″These were a new investment for this year, and saved us a lot of weight and packing space.
Morrisons Outdoors Big Mo 40 toddler sleeping bagAnother upgrade for this year, and highly recommended. Our coldest tour yet, but the first time we haven’t had a toddler waking up in the night for extra blankets.
2x toddler cot pillowsWe find our smallest children really benefit from an actual pillow to sleep on rather than clothes in a dry bag, but we haven’t found a satisfactory solution yet. We took a couple of cot pillows this time, but they don’t do well if they get damp.
3x soft toysOne per child. An essential for us! Makes bedtime go much better.

Eating gear list

Cooking camping supper on a GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove in a GSI Hallulite 3.2L pot
GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove and GSI Hallulite 3.2L Pot
GSI Pinnacle 4 Season Stove and XL gas cannisterWe prefer this style for its stability.
GSI Hallulite Pot 3.2LPlenty of room for food for all five of us. We store most of the plates and cooking things inside.
5x bowlsA mix of camping bowls and lightweight kids plastic bowls
6x sporksOne spare in case someone stands on one
Utensils: a wooden spatula, a penknife, an old table knife
Washing up liquid & scourer
Olive oil, salt and pepper
MatchesKeep these safe and dry.
BibsChildren can be messy eaters, especially when it comes to pasta and tomato sauce. Taking a couple of bibs means we can get away with fewer outfits.
Old survival bagWe use an old survival bag as a sort of picnic mat – it works really well!
6 water bottles (3 large bike ones, 3 kids ones)

Clothes list

I’ve just written details for the children here. This is in addition to the outfit they would be wearing.

5x underwear and socks per personLots of people do a ‘one on, one clean, one washing’ system, but I just find that too much work on top of looking after small people on holiday! I prefer to save things up for a wash every three days.
5x socks per person
Fleece top
1x shorts, 1x joggersMore for those recently potty trained!
3x T-shirts
Thermal top and fleece joggersFleece jogging bottoms make great camping pyjamas; they are warm and cosy, and dry quickly if they need a wash.
Sunhat and sunglasses
Wooly hatSuper useful for keeping children warm on a cold night, or when striking camp.
Raincoat and waterproof dungarees
Lightweight spare shoesOur children typically take one pair of sandals and one pair of trainers.
Travel towelI take quite big ones to wrap them up in because they can get very cold in campsite shower blocks.

Kids’ stuff

These are some things we take which are child-specific, and some might consider them a wildly frivolous waste of space! We have found that they really help us to all have a happy and relaxing holiday.

Camping holiday toys: duplo and a fleece blanket on the grass.
Nappies & wipes
A few booksIt is really helpful to have a few stories for unwinding at bedtime, or occupying a bit of time on a rainy afternoon. Don’t take nice ones, because they probably won’t come back in great condition. I sometimes buy a few small paperback picture books from the charity shop.
UnoAll our children enjoy this game at some level!
DuploA robust open-ended toy which all our children enjoy. Gets lots of use on wet afternoons, and when parents are busy making supper or packing up the camp.
Buckets and spadesIf travelling near the beach, these bring so much joy.
A couple of fleece blanketsWe have some simple squares of fleece fabric which are so useful. They are basically indestructible, wash and dry quickly, and can be used for extra blankets at night, for keeping warm in the bike trailer, and as play mats outside the tent.
Baby carrierThis depends on the age of children, but we normally find some use for it for carrying our youngest out to dinner at a restaurant or round a historic site. We keep it in a dry bag.
Potette Plus Travel pottyThis can be a toilet seat (a great stress-reducer in yucky public loos) or a small potty for toddlers caught short when out on the road. For number 2s, you can stick in a nappy bag with a nappy in the bottom to contain the contents until you find somewhere appropriate for disposal.


Dry BagsWe take a whole range of sizes. 40L and upwards are great for the trailer, they can hold several bulky items like sleeping bags. Smaller bags (5L to 20L) are more useful in panniers. The smallest dry bags can be used for storing electrical items or maps safely.
Cycling glovesWe generally take the fingerless kind, one pair for each person cycling.
Pen and paper, travel documents, something to read in the evening
First aid kit
Loo rollIf you are touring in Europe, you may find that not all campsites have toilet roll.
Laundry powder and coins for the washing machineCampsite washing machines often need a large number of £1 or 1 euro coins, so it might be worth taking a stash with you.
Assorted spare ziploc bags

How to fit it all on the bikes?

I would highly recommend having a trial run, to see if you can fit all your proposed gear onto your bikes before you go! I have to admit, we do normally jettison a few extra items just as we set off.

How you arrange things on your bikes will depend very much on your particular set up. When we first toured with one baby, we mostly used panniers, with a few baby essentials in the bike trailer. Now with three children, but none old enough to ride their own bike yet, it isn’t realistic to fit everything into panniers. We take a second trailer filled to the brim with luggage, and use rear panniers to top up.

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