What to pack/check for the EBT(24)?

…And why bother so much with preparing, btw?

You’re not gonna regret it and you’ll have better time and less worries. How much prepare, it depends on for how long (mind, some ppl stay long than planned; myself, many weeks longer), in what areas and time of the season you wanna ride.

Specifically for ’24 in the north-east Europe…

Amidst summer and beatiful nature, expect some rains at times probably, winds when close to the sea (and extra UV on the very coast), mosquitos, perhaps a tiny bit of gravel/mud/sand here and there; temperatures may vary greatly (even more speaking of subjective feeling combined with possible rain/wind), however, it shouldn’t feel deadly hot, and on possible hot and sunny days it should be often possible to find shade and trees. Finland can surprise with steep small hills, the rest is flat or super flat. On the easy side, long or long-ish daylight times, making front light/headtorch a low priority gadget:) Also, some sections between cities/projects are gonna take long through endless forests, for days, therefore think of a power bank and some other items.


Also, like it or not, bikes (and other things) do break at the tours, often unexpectably, often just when the weather is not at all optimal. It’s fun to handle it on your own, or at least to be able to. One may get cold or sick and it’s not the best experience when touring, so better to avoid it. If you are not equipped, it’s smart to go in groups, preferably with someone who took smth useful and/or did tour before. But if you’re prepared, you’ve got more freedom in riding at preferred times, pace, own ways, alone or in preferred company, etc. We want to be supportive, but to not depend too much on others’ support feels empowering and can help avoid some situations where support may be difficult to provide.

General self-sufficiency helps create healthier group dynamic, instead of creating sub-groups of ppl who need much assistance and ppl who are there to help them out. For instance, I recall some ecotopians complaining about navigating the way for me and others in the past.

I know, I know: it’s classist, macho, tech-centered, arrogant, tight-ass, unspontaneous and what not to pay attention to such details as bicycle parts or equipment. Someone may be proud of riding a falling-apart bike, being careless, happy-go-lucky, not ever counting time and never knowing how it is to be short of it, living timeless. Why teh hell-a should I give a damm-a? (Sometimes, too, advocating to spend most of the time laying down mid-way and shorten daily distances to a point where it takes almost as much time to pack, unpack and settle tent anew as to ride). Myself, I barely knew how to use a screwdriver for most of my life, am a punk, too, had to learn most things on my own and get annoyed by trendy, expensive things as well. To somewhat prepare counts in fact more for those who can’t rely on being so strong and healthy to always cope no matter what, btw.

You ARE absolutely invited to appear on a shitty bike, like many of us actually:) The thing is that it’s nicer and more cool to make some own effort if it’s only possible (if not, others of course will try to do their best), especially that support is not 100% easy/available always. No one is required to bring good camping/survival stuff nor a pro bicycle, and neither skills (it’s much about skill transferring). Here I rather mean I’d kindly suggest a towards-DIY an attitude.

* !The post is of course a handful of rough suggestions, by far not universal. Every person has own way and many would cross out and/or add own ideas. Just my three cents, from not at all an authority:)

Before I go the list finally, you may want to give an eye to the previous blogposts regarding same topic:


Okay, so here my list of stuff and a suggestions for checking the bike before going…


Tools etc…:

we have ’em, but one rly SHOULD take along a minimum onto oneself (not always common tools are gonna be around!), a set of:

– a multitool, smth looking a bit like a swiss knife (check if the set fits yr bike)
– a tire lever or, better, two (better a long one)
– a hand pump
– a small, fresh tube of glue plus patches
– very importantly, at least one spare inner tube (it’s good to have matching valve types)
– a few cable/zip ties (ligthweight and good for many improvised things)
– !if your wheels have full axle with locknuts, you’ll have to carry a wrench for it always on you! (Which means many extra grams. You can consider getting a more compact one or modifying an existing one)

? Consider, too?
– if there’s a small (for saving grams) amount of gluing electrical tape left around, you may want to add it to the inventory
– spare chain link of the sort that you can install yourself with bare hands
– adapter for your inner tube valves, so that you could use otherwise not matching pumps, also for cars: very light, compact and possibly life saving item
– spare spoke(s) of matching size(s) for your wheel(s), with nipple(s), even if you don’t carry the wrench
Other bicycle thingies

panniers/bike bags. The more you stay/the more difficult weather and terrain ->the more stuff you need; backpack can feel really terrible on hours-long rides, esp. on worse surfaces; if curious, feeling lucky, talented, etc, improvised/diy creations can suffice smtms, perhaps longer than expected in some cases https://www.ecotopiabiketour.net/2018/diy-panniers
– a bungee to attach/stabilize luggage
– a lock; even though you may never use it, it’s more likely that you will need it not having thought about it beforehand
– water bottle(s)… many ppl enjoy stainless steel the most, despite some weight
– at least a rear light for the bike, along with high-visibility reflective stickers (if you can’t have them, you can take straps which are heavier though). Again, imo better USB-charged

For wildcamping

– a sleeping bag (can be a warm-ish one)
– a matt (some ppl prefer the folded ‘acordeon style’ than the rolled ones)
– a tent (it’s good to impregnate it), maybe also a tarp and ropes – alternatively, a tarp+hammoc, as we pass mostly thru places ‘rich in trees’ (however, that set may feel colder). A dark one heats more from the sun (which you may like or not, but it also means faster drying). Smaller ones are easier and lighter, but offer less comfort for weight unit and too small one may feel unpleasant should you spend more time there than just for sleeping inside. In case your tent has inner layer from mesh only, it can feel too cold, but can be quickly fixed by placing whatever sheet of fabric onto it
– something for extra protection of the most valuable and vulnerable items from the rain, at least thick trash bags+stringbags

– a headtorch. USB-charged have more enthusiasts, me including.

– a tupperware plastic box and maybe a spoon and perhaps a fork too, preferably not steel ones
– a lot of people suggest a knife
– some ppl may like to take a piezoelectric, refillable lighter
– a cup, can be even plastic, a lot of travellers appreciate a lightweight thermal one – unless you want to save grams and drink from tupperware
– soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, perhaps some compact towel (if you don’t get ’em on arrival). Just a piece of solid soap is better, but good to have a case for it. If you shave, don’t take shaving foam/gel or even more compact cream, one can use soap/dishwashing liquid:)
– if you may need, tampons/pads, painkillers (paracetamol is toxic and ibuprofen not recommended for covid)
– if you wear contact lenses, you may consider protein-removing tablets and using some clean boiled water on the way and adding there 0,9% salt to not carry the heavy-ish bottle of solution along the road. Take spare lenses and a container/etui for them.
– glasses with etui, if you wear
– meds and stuff: decide for yourself, ecotopia should have first aid kit, just don’t forget the rest
– face mask(s)

– a marker/pen(cil), smth to write with when yr phone dies or when it’s raining, in case

? we may have insect repellent and a sunscreen, but we may also forget or you may need your own
? a piece of ginger, triple use: as a medicine, as a warming tea base and as a food ingredient; store dry, clean and warm (counterintuitively perhaps, but it will sooner rot in the cold than fully dry out in the warm, which will also just reduce its scope of use instead of turning useless)
? strange as it may sound, in your dark hour, when you ‘hit the wall’ and can’t go on anymore with quite some way left, what may do magic is single grams of salt, like a micropackage for fast food fries (additionally, you may similarly like sugar, instant coffee preparate, magnesium and ascorbic acid salts called vitamin C, but salt is least intuitive and does wonders!). I also praise guarana powder.

– count with ID check + also, if you cross the sea, one needs it for the ferry ticket

Phones and other electrical things, if you use them

– if you use a phone, a smartphone especially (navigation) -> a charger with a cable; download offline maps if applicable (OSMand, maps.me, mapy.cz, laavu.org, tulikartta, komoot? rmk?), have Signal plz if it’s not against yr values or whatever + a phone case and hardened front glass for protection, a lot of phones break at every tour. Therefore, back it up.

– to make navigation more smooth, in case of not simply following smone else and if it’s not going easy with the road marks: a waterpoof grip for a forearm or, facultatively, a holder to mount on a handlebar.

– extra top-up (credit) maybe, so that you don’t get surprised when data transfer expires/ends up in the middle of nowhere just when you need to get in touch or check smth you don’t have on the offline map; especially likely if you have prolonged your stay.
– consider a strong-ish etui and/or hardened glass for the screen (for smartphones)
– in case you wanna use and store electricity for later, a power bank. My phone wasn’t old and I was spending much time in offline mode, but still I regretted taking a small one instead of a big one at my first tour.
– a lot of travellers appreciate speakers (some may serve as power banks)


? acoustic musical instruments?
? whatever compact and lightweight for your workshops/skillshares

Suggested a few sets of underwear, socks both thin and a pair of somewhat thicker ones (personally, I prefer to carry just enough for some 4 days plus 1 spare and wash on rest days or during breaks when it becomes hot, often also drying it quite quickly in a net bag on sun and wind on a bike), a hat, a jacket, long and short pants, maybe leggins, a few shirts and a jumper/sweater/hoodie or two, including also at least one warmer piece.

Inner layers should optimally be as ‘breatheable’ and the jacket – possibly rainproof (a plastic foil rain poncho not always works well, esp. in the wind) but ideally, also possibly ‘breathable’. If you thinking of membranes, the thicker ones soak you in sweat from the inside if there’s no ventilation holes, softshells give more ‘breathing’ and less protection. Remember that dark things dry out faster, but overheat in the sun and the other way around. My personal choice is synthetic clothes (despite the microplastic), because they also dry out faster, do not soak as much and are have less grams per unit. In doubt I also tend to go for more tight stuff, but not extremely, and find things with zippers more practical. It’s advised to compose the set so that countless pieces could be worn in the same time in ‘onion-style’ layers.

Check what weather conditions we expect. Don’t worry about the heats overly, actually during many parts of the tour you might rather enjoy something for possibly chilly nights and moreover, in some parts it can become windy or somewhat rainy at times.

– shoes: rather lighter ones, below-ankle-level. You may also decide to include sandals (surprisingly perhaps, it may be better for the rains, so that one keeps shoes dry for when it stops, instead of getting them wet on the ride any have wet feet anyway with no dry option left for later)

? dedicated cycling shorts with pad make sense against excess sweating and road vibrations
? cycling tops with tight-elastic ends of sleeves and waist, so that wind doesn’t enter, and with pockets on the back of the kidneys are pretty pratical
? what many ppl find useless, but I like to take is padded bike gloves, for absorbing the road vibrations to reduce tiredness
? maybe a small bag for use when not cycling
? net bag for drying clothes on the bike without loosing ’em
? maybe a lightweight string for example to hang clothes on to dry out/to tension the tent side extra/extend the og one to a tree etc – ?
? waterproof shoe covers – ?
? spare shoelace(s) – ?

What I wouldn’t take, personally: a pillow (bulky, not necessary, I’d sleep on spare clothes), sunglasses (they’d get lost or broken anyway, and except for rare seaside sections, not so blinding sun this year), deodorant body spray/anti-perspirant (in practice I have to use soap anyway), for the same reason not sure about baby wipes. For example. If you want to carry an individual, personal cooker, I’d avoid a sponge-based alcohol one as impractical (ie., it’s hard to guess the right amount and save the possible leftover)

Ps While opinions on whether private property is theft vary, it’s clear that it’s often ineffective. If you travel in a team, couple, gang and/or can share items, shared use can spare expenses, weight and volume carrying and trouble to collect and pack things.


Preparing the vehicle (find videos maybe, preferably not on evil YT)

– brake shoes/pads (incl. looking if there’s maybe any sharp object stuck in their surface)
inspect tires (not too cracking rubber, for instance; for semi-slick tires with knobs at sides – if one rly loves them, they are heavier and greatly increase rolling resistance, for the sole price of being much better at the rare offroad sections: pieces not falling off). Mind the proper size… a matter of taste ofc, and own weight, still, too small a tire on a heavily loaded bike is rly no good for a few reasons; my recommendation would be min. some 35-37 mm width for 28″ (remember, if there are knobs they may been accounted for and 37 with knobs might have less air than normal 37) and 40-42 mm for 26″ with moderate weights at the rear. A lot of people go on stock off-road tires – a grave mistake. What also a lot of people use are bulletproof-ish tires, often Schwalbe green guard or smth – they are absurdly heavy and make the bike barely roll for the sole price of greatly reducing the risk of flats. Means, you need to carry pump, spare tube(s) etc anyway and the only thing it gives you is that you kind of can avoid learning how to change the tube, until it maybe still finally says good bye one day – a nonsense imo, why not just learn it and enjoy lighter rolling.
inner tubes valves (old ones may leak or fail on the way)
– if you don’t pump to a good pressure regularly, which means use of some kind of a manometer (the single most important thing for a bike), you should try before going. It may turn out that the rim bands are insufficient or that patches go off
– chain (measure and clean it; here: if you lube it before putting it into mass transport, it may get stuff around super dirty forever)
cables with housings
– check bolts, including possibly worn sockets
– if you load it onto a bus, it may receive much rain so unoiled chain may rust and bolts may loosen from vibrations
bottom bracket, headset and hubs as it’s difficult to deal with it during the ride. It may be hard to fix for you, but it’s good to know where you are and perhaps try look for solutions as early as possible if the bearing do not roll smoothly or are loose and you can feel play to the sides (moves in the wrong directions, ie. sideways instead of forward/backward in the wheel hubs).
– pedals: they are necessary and they work very hard as for such small ‘joints’
– clean fork and frame and rims around nipples, plus the nipples themselves to check for cracks

– loose spokes, spokes possibly badly bent or trashed for example by the chain falling off the sprockets onto them
– grease the seatpost
– check if wheels are more or less true-ish (5 mm is a disaster, and rapid ‘wave’ is a double disaster)
– check if brakes do not rub and try to adjust if they do
– for most people bikes with some gears are a safer choice, even for a flat-ish or flat landscape (too many gears, however, can be an overkill; more important are surely the mid-soft ones bcuz of luggage)
– make sure if body position is comfortable enough and in case it’s not, consider installing a bit shorter, or better, also much higher-reaching handlebar stem: you probably won’t need aerodynamics much. A wider handlebar makes driving easier and less tiring, especially if the stem is replaced for a shorter one, the only downside being passing thru so-rare traffic jams harder.. nah
– check for unnecessary items adding to weight (for example a bell; regarding the stand, opinions vary as some people find it useful and not making much difference on a heavily loaded bike)
– especially if you go on non-suspended bike (withouth damper nor shock absorber) and maybe even relatively narrower (that is, mid width), small diameter tires, make sure the saddle is right. What you may not fully realise before you’re there is that it shouldn’t be a super thin, narrow one (especially if your sit bones are wide apart, like ie. for many afab ppl), but remember, really soft is not as good as it seems, and too wide and heavy neither due ie. to weight etc.
– last but but not at all least, fenders/mudguards; life can be shit without them. True, you can make them from plastic bottles on cable/zip ties and they can even last some time.

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