Touring Tool Kit

May 11, 2012


Whenever I'm putting together a pack list for a tour, before I even start thinking about what I might need, I always grab the pack list from my previous tour to use as an outline.  Since all tours are different, there are things that need to be tweaked here and there.  For instance, fenders and warm clothes can stay at home on a tour through Baja, Mexico, while they will be a necessity for touring in Alaska.

One component of my touring pack list that has been consistently dwindling over the years has been my tool kit.  For the most part, I've learned that even when I feel as though I'm somewhere remote, I'm never more than a few days away from either a bike shop, or hardware store.  Even a gas station can have a lot of useful items that can bail you out in a pinch, such as duct tape, hose clamps, adjustable wrenches, a sewing kit, and even glue.  

Here's what I'm taking along on an upcoming 5-month tour to cover myself and my touring companion, Sarah.

1. Park Rescue Tool - This is pretty much the only tool needed for disassembling and reassembling our bikes for the airplane.  Includes 1.5mm-8mm hex wrenches, 8-10mm box end wrenches, torque wrench, Phillips and flat head screw drivers, chain tool, tire levers, spoke wrenches, knife, and pedal wrench.  Oh yeah, and a bottle opener!

2. Topeak Road Morph Frame Pump - Converts to a mini floor pump and can hit high pressures with little effort.  I've had good luck with this over the past few years, so I'll be sticking with it.

3. Tubes and Patch Kit - Just two tubes for the two of us, and a half dozen patches.  I'm a huge fan of the Park pre-glued patches.

4. Chain Pins - Sarah will be rolling a 9sd drivetrain, while I'll be on a 10spd setup, so I'll have one chain pin for each option.

5. FiberFix Spoke - Since we'll have two different wheel sets with different spoke lengths, the FiberFix spoke is a good way to take care of any snapped spokes, and at least get us to a shop where we can buy a steel spoke.

6. Lube and Rag - Keeping the drivetrain lubed and clean of grit is a good way to extend the life of your chain and cassette.

7. Spare Derailleur Hanger - I've never snapped a derailleur hanger, so I'm probably due.

8. Brake/Shift Cable - Usually you can feel these reaching the end of their life well in advance, but they don't take up much space, and weigh next to nothing.

9. Band Clamp - I like carrying around two band clamps, each of a different size in case a rack, or trailer part fails, and needs to be cinched up until we can hit a shop.

10. Duct Tape - Always carry some duct tape.

And that's pretty much it, all in a tidy little package. Keep in mind that this is just a template. Your own tool kit depends on your skills, comfort level, and the style of your tour.


TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.


Bre Anderson July 14, 2012, 3:19 PM

I love to go on long bike trips come summertime. It has always been my routine to go on a 5 mile run. Cycling was never a sport for me just a hobby that has taken shape as a form of bonding moment between me and my dad. He has been the one teaching me the basics on what I should always keep in handy when we go on long trips. His hand-me-down cdi torque tool ( screwdriver,wrench,bolts/nuts,pliers,air pump and needle,lastly the first aid kit are mostly what comprises in his tool box.

LeaMikhaela June 19, 2012, 4:19 PM

I'm on the road on the weekends,mostly all I need are good support or back up tools for my screws, bolts,nuts, and something for change tire tools. SO I'm pretty much into the basic. I usually have a cdi torque wrench ( because it's not too big nor too small to carry in my box. Some spare gloves, alcohol,wet wipes,bandages,nuts,bolts,screws,needles/threads,oil,brake fluid,etc.. :)

Anonymous May 11, 2012, 10:03 PM

Count me as another vote for both the gloves (mine are ultra-thin latex-dipped high-visibility orange from the dollar store; they roll up very small, are lightweight, and fit under my fingerless biking gloves) and the hypercracker (actually mine is the Stein Mini Cassette Lock tool).

I've never needed the cassette tool, and I attribute that to the fact that I carry it. If I leave it at home I'm sure I'll need it.

A few individually wrapped alcohol wipes are lightweight, take no space, and useful for hands, face, and that dirty area on the tube where you need the patch to stick.

Anonymous May 11, 2012, 9:56 PM

We include a bunch of zip ties and real spokes inside the handlebar.

Anonymous May 11, 2012, 9:12 PM

I agree with the hypercracker comment I learned the hard way if you can't get the cassette off to get access to the spoke hole (or in my case to actually remove the broken spoke that failed at the nipple) the fiberfix spoke doesn't do you any good.

Greg Purviance

Anonymous May 11, 2012, 8:12 PM

I replaced the shop rag with a simple pair of cotton work gloves. They work as a rag when needed, keep my hands clean, and are "handy" when it's colder than anticipated.

Scott May 11, 2012, 7:21 PM

Good basic list. I'd add in a hypercracker and a few real spokes and nipples with the right spoke wrench, but that's just me.

I usually also toss in a couple spare bolts and nuts in the right sizes for racks, fenders and cleats. Metric bolts can be hard to find.

Anonymous May 11, 2012, 6:05 PM

I read "torque wrench" in the multi-tool description and thought to myself "Holy crap, that's awesome, I had no idea there was a way to make a torque wrench that fits in a multi-tool."

Then I realized it was a Torx wrench. Big difference.

Oh well, I can dream...properly torquing fasteners on the road? Maybe when I can summon my flying car to deliver my torque wrench to me.

Log in to post a comment

Forgot Password?

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email that will allow you to reset it. If you no longer have access to the email address call our memberships department at (800) 755-2453 or email us at

Not Registered? Create Account Now.