Packing for RAGBRAI 2018

Here is my list of what I’m bringing
$300 cash (more if needed)
2 clean bike water bottles
2 trash bags (1 for protecting dry clothes and 1 for dirty clothes)
2 water bottle attachments
7 bike jerseys
7 bike shorts (all same)
8 after ride boxers
8 after ride shirts
8 pairs of after ride shorts
8 pairs of after ride socks
8 pairs of morning/day riding socks
AA batteries
AAA batteries
Air horn
Allen keys (red)
Bike boom box (still need to order)
Bike horn
Bike shoe cleat covers
Bike shoes
Blanket (make sure it’s washed)
Bluetooth ear piece (wireless for making calls)
Bug repellant
Charging banks
Chromebook (w/ charger)
Cleaning wipes
Goggles for swimming
GoPro (w/ 3 spare new batteries)
GoPro attachments
Hydrocortisone cream
Patch kit
Phone charging cord
Pillow (make sure it’s washed)
SD card reader
SD cards
Self-inflatable ground pad
several chargers (plug and cord)
Several heavy-duty poly bags
Sleeping bag (make sure it’s washed)
Small blender bottle (for BCAAs, protein, and pre-workout)
Small bottles of body wash or bar soap
Small bottles of shampoo
Stakes (enough for rainfly and tent)
Tent (wash?)
Toothbrush w/ charger
Under the seat bike bag
Wallet (Insurance, debit and credit cards, drivers license)
Watch (w/ charger)

66 Replies

Sandaltan ., February 12, 2018 at 10:51 am

I am with Mike Marmer and others on the ear plugs and sleep mask, don’t leave home without them. I would add two Kybo related items, a pinch light for exploring that hazard zone at night and a zip lock bag in my left hand jersey pocket containing a couple of paper towels or TP should the Kybo not contain the proper accessories. As far as I can remember, I have never taken my check book on RAGBRAI, always cash.



beckerk, February 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm

I always bring a power strip/surge protector with 5 power holes. Looks like you will need one.


schutte65, February 13, 2018 at 4:07 pm

For the really hot nights, a small fan or two are helpful. A window A/C unit is a nice luxury substitute if your bag isn’t already full.


Mark Hartung, February 23, 2018 at 10:10 am

Remember RAGBRAI is a ride not a race. You should try to relax more or pick a ride where you can unleash your inner racing spirit.


patrsnw, February 27, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Cologne? On RAGBRAI? And here I thought that was a group of French working girls plying their trade.

BTW, careful on the use of the airhorn else someone might swerve and put you into a ditch.


jake d, February 27, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Socks? Especially 16 pairs; wow. Simple solution, sandals on the bike, sandals off the bike. I might take 1-2 pair for chilly nights. But hey, to each their own. I have a battery powered frog.


Bruce Woodrow, March 18, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Alphabetical list! Why not? I use a packing app on my phone. My list would be first by category, then ALPHABETICAL by item.

Since my Trike has three 20” wheels, I bring extra spare tubes, even though I could probably buy them en route. (Last year I rode all the way across Iowa without a single flat. Then rode across the bridge into Wisconsin to meet up with the Team truck and van, and got a flat almost immediately. Karma!)


Peggy Kerr, March 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Cut the amount of “after ride’ clothes in half. You don them after a shower when you are clean and they don’t really get that dirty. I re-wear mine sometimes more than once.


montestaples, March 18, 2018 at 11:27 pm

That’s a lot of stuff. On occasion I have had to carry everything about 300 yards. Just sayin’. That was several years ago. It taught me to pack less stuff. Zip lock bags or extra nice roll top dry bags keep things sorted and you can squeeze out the air to compress for easier packing. Yes on the jerseys for variety but you can re-wear bike shorts especially if you rinse them in the shower and dry in the sun. I take only 3 and do fine. After ride clothes, you are taking way too much. Maybe your shirts get sweaty if it is really hot, but 2-3 pairs of shorts is plenty. Same with underwear. You don’t wear them that long. Re-wear or go without. I only take bike socks and wear barefoot shoes in evening. The only towel you need is a camp towel the size of a large washcloth. You can wring it out almost dry and it drys fast. Cologne on RAGBRAI. Are you serious? Everybody stinks and nobody notices. Besides cologne & perfume I consider air pollution but that’s just me since I am allergic to many. I keep inhalers handy just in case. I really hope you leave the Air horn at home. I agree that they are dangerous at worst and rude at best. Boom boxes while riding are somewhat dangerous because you and others nearby can’t hear such things as “on your left”. But you do hear a lot of them on RAGBRAI. With all your re-chargeables you will need a power strip. I hope you are going with a charter or someone that can provide power. In 12 years of RAGBRAI I wore a watch 1 day and found it annoying. You have your phone and probably a bike computer with the time. I would really try hard to trim your list. The more you can cut down on weight the more fun it will be.


Ragbrai Nation, March 21, 2018 at 5:28 pm

JP– I would swear ur a newbie hauling all of those clothes! Be resigned to the fact ur going to be partners in GRIME with the rest of us and loving it! For the bike bag I’m sympathetic to whatever anyone would want in their bikebag, however. I don’t skimp there; I would add 100% Deet, sanitizing wipe singles, small first aid kit, compact bike tool kit, t-paper. I would ditch the horn and the big Garmin computer. They produces too much drag on the headwind days. I don’t mess with patch kits if I don’t have to. I carry TWO extra tubes, folding tire and CO2 inflater. Stow the flat tube, repair it after arriving at the next overnight town. Yes, everybody mistakes my bike bag for a cookstove but you won’t see me stranded on side of the road bcuz I don’t have what I need. Have a grrrreat ride!!


andytetmeyer, March 27, 2018 at 4:54 pm

more often than not, I forget my towel. my goal is always to get the luggage into a big courier bag. I think I did one or two times. tools, helmet, cleats, parts, boombox don’t count in that tally.


ott2000, March 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Don’t bring the cologne!


Brian Pentony, March 28, 2018 at 12:17 pm

I was a newbie last year. I made a lot of the mistakes you look to be making now. I swore when I got back that I would cut everything in half, to include the two bags I lugged around each morning. I brought a ton of clothes I never wore, sundry items I never opened, etc, etc. I have a lot of meaningful bike shirts I like to wear but besides that, I’ll get by wearing some clothes for multiple days. Consider you’ll shower after your ride so you’ll be squeaky clean when you put on your after ride clothes. Assuming you don’t get dirty or wet (or both), they will get packed pretty clean that night. Most of the veterans I met last year rotated two or three pairs of shorts all week. T shirts as well. A regular kit bag with travel size shower and hygiene items is sufficient. You can even get a travel size can of “smell good” deodorant! Bring a small first aid bag (Advil,Tylenol, antibacterial stuff) and pack that tight. 1 Pack of Deet wipes and handy wipes. Sunscreen is a must.

I plan to get everything in one bag this year, to include tent, self inflating mattress, rain tarp, etc. It can be done. You will be surprised how little you really need to get by for the week. I know it’s intimidating at first but listen to the veterans. You will regret bringing all the stuff around day 2.

And BTW, if you forget to bring or run out of something during RAGBRAI, there’s dozens of little shops and mini-marts you’ll pass along the way where you can restock. Good luck.


Brian Pentony, March 28, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Ditto on the boomboxes. I learned real quick what a distraction they can be, dangerous at times since you can’t hear anyone coming up from behind. I got away from them as quickly as I could. And no “air horn”. A small “thumb bell” will do just fine!


Karen Hodges, March 31, 2018 at 9:23 am

The best advice I read before our first RAGBRAI was to pack each day’s kit in a separate zip lock bag. It keeps it dry (because EVERYTHING gets wet at RAGBRAI and everything STAYS wet) and makes it super easy on those early mornings to just grab the bag and have everything you need. For me, I’ll cut down on the after ride clothes. You really don’t have them on for long and it’s a great way to cut down on space. The other thing I will do this time is save any riding gear that has served it’s time and ready to be thrown away. Use it one more time and then toss it after the ride. We followed the advice of putting each days riding clothes back in the zippie to keep the smell down. Great advice until you open those bags, 7, 6, 5 days later. We used the charter’s laundry service mid week but won’t do that again. They had way too much laundry to do and ours came back damp. Needless to say it smelled even worse a few days later. Great effort on their part, just too much volume for success.


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