RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

First Ragbrai – looking for camping advice

I am going to be going on my first ride this year – only doing 2 days worth of the ride. Just wondering if you have any advice for gear to bring for camping. Do you have a preferred size of tent? Is there a lot of room along the way with places to sleep? Do you bring a fan, or any other accessories?

I don’t know how it all works, so just trying to get a general overview of what to expect.

7 Replies

Phil Reges, June 18, 2016 at 4:09 am

I also would like to know how it works to transport tents/sleeping bags and other things that I don’t want to carry with me on my ride. Are there shuttles that take belongings to the next stop, or are you expected to have everything with you?

I am registering as an individual and will likely not have a support vehicle with me.


BillSpriggs, June 18, 2016 at 8:53 am

Phil, The Ride tab on the website, General Information will answer your questions. Very good short video on how to pack. Basically you are allowed one 50lb duffel bag. You have to have it at the Registers baggage truck before 8:00 am.


BrendaRein, June 21, 2016 at 9:33 am

Pack light if you are using Ragbrai trucks to transport – 50 lbs limit. I bring fleece blanket 3 person tent no fan mittens and hat for sleeping….Ragbrai trucks are very convenient and organized – you will meet a ton of people. just follow the crowd. I was super worried about getting lost or left behind last year, printed maps – didn’t use them……Put everything in plastic (Heavy Duty 2 Gallon) baggies (I put together outfits, shower stuff, snacks and bike repair stuff in separate bags so in the AM I just had to grab that day’s stuff, tear down tent, load on Ragbrai trucks and ride) and use one large garbage bag (tied with bandana) to hold all smaller bags in duffle bag (with wheels). Gets cold and damp at night – bringing wool socks and light mittens this year. Hyvee and local community groups provide great meals and snacks. Plenty of room for camping, typically school grounds. I camp as close to the Ragbrai trucks as possible, so I am not dragging my bike and 50 lbs bag across small town somewhere IA. Good luck have a blast. Bring wet wipes……. If you forget something someone will share and Hyvee, local shops and Walmart are walking distance. Feels good to walk around (looking for chocolate milk, ladies room and showers) after riding all day. I pack ice pack and chill rag too – purchase at any sporting goods store. Get out of your bike shorts ASAP so you don’t get crotch fungus. Bring power and diaper rash stuff. I should have made you a list….. So much fun. I go alone and meet tons of friendly helpful people I still connect with…Riders and Locals…. I don’t drink beer or booze till the overnight town…Dehydrates me too much. I bring 2 L Camelback also….. Ramble Ramble Ramble….. Eat pie and use electrolyte water tablets so you don’t BONK…. Air Force Riders are everywhere and can assist or answer questions also. If you need bike repairs bike shopes are setup and available in meeting towns and the Trek truck and mechanics will be there also….


BrendaRein, June 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

Don’t bring a good bag it gets launched off the back of the trucks and if it is raining, will get wet. SO MUCH FUN…. Ride the entire week….


tnisfn1, July 15, 2016 at 7:17 am

Thanks for the great info! I’m also a newbie this year, and this advice was very helpful. Can you tell us more about electrolyte tablets? What brand, how often, where you buy them? I’m also curious about availability of water to refill my Camelbak. Much appreciated!


Nico ZZZ, July 15, 2016 at 8:14 am


Congrats on your new adventure, and be ready to return in the coming years, as Ragbrai is a magical addiction!

Check out the other Miscellaneous Forum discussion on Vitamins/Supplements: https://ragbrai.com/forums/topic/vitamins-supplements/

Research Nuun, Hammer, GU, Jelly Belly, and of course, go to your local bike shop and chat with the riders there. Try a few to see what you like. Most of these can also be purchased on-line, even on Amazon. = )

I must respectfully offer another alternative than Brenda: DO drink alcoholic beverages on the ride, but just maybe one per town. Those Bloody Marys and Mimosas and Vodka Lemonades provide sooo much Vitamin C. =)
And an Iowa craft beer on a sunny afternoon after 15 sweaty sun-filled miles tastes pretty sweet! And buying the national canned beers from a town’s volunteer fire department so they can buy new fire hoses is just your civic duty!

Ride On!


KenH, July 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm

One man tents are great for when you are alone and backpacking because you don’t want any extra weight to carry. When the Register truck or some charter or team is hauling your tent for you then go bigger, you will appreciate having room for your gear as well as your person. You want to go at least N+1, a two man tent for one person, a three man tent for two, etc. This will be my first time tenting in about three decades and I ended up being a bit piggy I guess. I thought there was a good chance that at least one of my teammates would join me when I bought the three man tent I now have, but I will be alone as it turns out. Some people like to keep their bikes in their tents and maybe that is what I will do. My bike is going to occupy space in the campground at night anyway, might as well put it in the tent with me so that I don’t take up more room than I actually need. But then I’d better bring a moving blanket to protect the floor….

I use Hammer Endurolyte capsules which you can get at most bike or running shops. I’m not promoting the brand, use whatever you like, but I do prefer to have a capsule/pill/tablet form of electrolytes rather than a drink or drink additive. That way all the water on my bike is just water which is what you want most of the time. If you need electrolytes too it is easy to just pop a couple and if anyone asks you what they are you just shrug and say “I don’t know, someone who said his name was Lance gave them to me and they sure work great!” I have buddies and hear of more folks who have one bottle of water and one of a sports drink and it seems like they are always out of whichever it is they need right at the moment. Capsules are much better, IMHO.


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