Here you will find my John O’Groats to Land’s End kit list showing everything I took on my trip.
In the months prior, leading up to cycling End to End, I made a spread sheet and jotted down everything I thought I would need, mainly essentials, but over time the list grew a lot. Even Leading up to the off I found myself remembering to pick up other bits and pieces that I might need, ittle things like tape, extra rags, toilet tissue, the kitchen sink!
It got to a point where I could have gone on and on, squeezing more into every nook and cranny of my already bulging bags. The whole idea to begin with was to pack as light as possible. It got to a point where I just had to say enough! If I needed anything then I would pick it up on route. My bike weighed an absolute ton!
I managed to squeeze all of my equipment into 4 bike packing bags, a 17L saddle bag, 3L frame bag, 14L handlebar bag and 1L top tube bag. Plus, I took a 10L backpack. Apidura caught my eye when initially looking into which bike packing bags to purchase. They come across as a very professional company, their products are well tested and seem very popular within the bike packing community.
Although expensive, they do a multiple range of bags in different price scales. More information can be found on the following links. For me, it was between the Expedition Series (Waterproof) or the Backcountry Series (Weatherproof).
From my numerous past experiences of the Scottish climate, the bags needed for my clothes and sleeping system would definitely need to be waterproof! I decided on purchasing the Expedition Series (waterproof) saddle bag and Handlebar pack. The frame pack would be the 3 litre Backcountry Pack, this would hold tools, spare parts and items that didn’t matter if they got wet. I made an exception to the top tube pack, I went with Topeak Toploader bag at only £25.99, a fraction of what Apidura charge, and a fantastic choice.
Little did I know that I would experience 8 days of, near enough, torrential rain. I must say that I was very glad and happy with my purchases. The waterproof bags stood up fantastically in the awful weather I endured coming down through Scotland. Normally, I find when waterproof material becomes fully saturated it eventually seeps through; everything remained completely dry.
The following shows all my kit you should probably think about taking, split into the packs, which worked for me. The items are affiliate links where you can purchase on Amazon.
Apidura Handlebar Pack (14l) - £104.00
During the planning phase, as I wanting to keep costs down, I decided I’d wild camp parts of it. I’ve always much preferred camping using a tarp, it’s light weight, can be set up in seconds, takes up little space and you can see what’s going on around you, obviously, only when it’s light.
As I would be wild camping, the pack holding my sleeping bag needed to be waterproof, there was no way I could afford for it to get wet. The largest, waterproof, handlebar pack was 14 litres, which ended up being a perfect fit, so naturally decided this would be ideal for holding my sleeping system setup. Along with gear I would only need when I arrived at my destination. The toiletry bag included toothbrush, toothpaste and shower gel, as well as a few first aid bits.
The pack had 3 securing points two straps on the handlebars and a third wrapped around the top of the forks, a lot of the time I actually forgot about this one.
Apidura Accessory Pack (4l) - £50.00
The accessory pack was a last-minute purchase. I had bought so much food during my preparation in the hope that I wouldn’t need to stop and pick up supplies as much. Since all my packs were completely full I had nowhere for a lot of it to go, which is why I decided on purchasing the accessory pack.
It was a great addition as it meant I could keep most of my, main meals and other snacks in one easily accessible place. I used it to store bags of rice, tuna, squeezing in lots more cereal bars and bags of trail mix.
It’s designed to clip to the front of the handlebar pack and can’t be used as a standalone bag.
Apidura Backcountry Frame Pack (3l) - £66.00
I would have liked to have had the complete matching set of packs, just to satisfy my mild OCD. However, I settled on the backcountry frame pack, it was much cheaper than the waterproof version. Here, I kept all the gear which didn’t matter if it got wet. This included maintenance kit such as tools, oil, cable ties, as well as spare parts. Plus, as many cereal bars I could stuff in!
It attached at three points, 2 along the top tube and one on the down tube. Although not waterproof they are stated as being weatherproof and very durable, so could handle a light drizzle.
Since Apidura do many sizes, they do provide A4 pack templates. These can be printed from their site. Once printed you tape them together, cut around the outline, then match them to your bike to see the best fit. Due to the small frame of my bicycle, the 3-litre compact version fitted perfectly.
A template for the 3-litre backcountry frame pack can be found here.
Topeak Toplaoder bag (0.75l) - £25.99
The Topeak Toploader bag was an absolute bargain at around £24. At 0.75 litre capacity it’s perfect for storing easy access food. I used it for small valuable items such as keys, wallet, spare battery for my GoPro. Along with holding my battery charger supply for powering my phone when being used as a satnav. I managed to fit a few cereal bars in as well.
It attaches using three nylon straps, two secure the pack to the top tube with one at the front looping around the stem. An added bonus, it comes with an integrated waterproof cover which is safely secured in a hidden side pocket.
Apidura Saddle Pack (17l) - £132.00
The saddle bag was the most expensive, but like the handlebar pack it needed to be waterproof as it would hold all my clothes and the numerous electrical wires for charging everything. At 17 litres the pack was limited on space. I ended up packing 4 pairs of socks, lightweight fleece, 3x base layer tops, base layer trousers, long pair of bib shorts, 2 x short bib shorts, 2x cycling jerseys, shorts for relaxing and flip flops.
The pack has 3 attachment points, two large straps wrap around the seat post and another strap is secure around the saddle bars.
There was no specific way of packing apart from ramming everything in and pulling it tight, saving the bag of electrical cables last, in case I needed quick access to them. The top of the pack also had elastic securing straps, these were extremely useful. It’s where I had a supermarket bag secured full of food for most of the trip.
Salomon Trail running pack (10l) - £100.00
My Salomon trail running pack was a god send. I had bought it some years prior as trail running is another favourite past time. It came with a 1.5 litre water bladder so doubled up as an additional water bottle.
At only 10 litre capacity I used it to carry essentials I needed to hand, including waterproofs which came out more than anything else. It’s where I also kept my Sustrans Land’s End to John O’Groats guidebook when raining, GoPro, spare emergency, bags of sweets and any other food I could cram in.