What did you wish you packed?

Hello, RAGBRAI vets. Is there anything that you wished you had packed during previous years?

33 Replies

Rick, June 17, 2016 at 7:31 am

For individual camping (if that’s what you’re asking about): I’d bring one of those beach shade cabana things like Kelty and a few others make. The heat and sun, at the end of the day was really the only bad experience, for me. I used the RAGBRAI daily truck to move my camping stuff and had no problem being under the 50 lb limit; i’m not sure how much one of those cabana thing weigh but certainly i coulda sacrificed something to make the weight. Incidentally a little folding chair, like the Helinox “Chair One,” was the best thing i did bring….


Nico ZZZ, June 17, 2016 at 8:15 am

I immediately realized I over-packed. I had read the forum topics before hand of course, and had read the countless blurbs about Ragbrai really being “Eating Across Iowa,” pie, ice cream, pulled pork, Mr. Pork Chop, etc., but I scoffed and brought 14 KIND bars – two a day, gonna-eat-healthy-silliness was my plan. First day, we started pulling into the towns with the beautiful aroma of grilled meat making love to my olfactory system, and I put those bars at the bottom of my bag, and ate my way across Iowa! I also packed way too many non-riding clothes. You need to realize that you only have to be “Ragbrai Fresh” each day, just like everyone around you. You can wear clothes multiple days – no problem.

I am in south Florida, where rain is a cooling relief from the scorching heat and heavy humidity when riding, so I didn’t think I’d need rain gear. Well, day 6 of 2014 we awoke at about 4am to a cold rain storm. When the rain starts at that hour it is not refreshing nor is it cooling – it chills you! It was a tough few hours the beginning of that day. I will bring a rain jacket, and full finger gloves for the rain/cold possibilities. I also wished I had clear lens riding glasses for the beginning of that dark day to keep the rain from pelting the eyes, but I only had dark-lensed sunglasses. A teammate had one of those evergreen car air fresheners in his bag – that was one of the better ideas I’ve seen.
Check Pork Belly Ventures packing list – that’s a good one.


Sweetwater76, June 17, 2016 at 9:18 am

Our small group rode our first RAGBRAI in 2015 and we felt like we over-packed, too. The camp chair was an item, though, that all agreed is a must – especially the guy who didn’t bring a chair. I agree that having some warm riding clothes, especially ones that protect against rain, is a good idea. Arm warmers and a rain vest will travel with me this year! A cycling cap worn under your helmet in the rain really helps keep the rain off your eyes.


Dick Carlson, June 17, 2016 at 10:34 am

A small chair. Otherwise you’ll end up sitting on the ground by your tent. Also, plastic bags to keep your clothes separated in your , especially clean clothes from not so clean clothes. Over packed as well. Don’t need many street clothes.


CyclingCyclone, June 17, 2016 at 11:01 am

A light weight stocking cap to use at night comes in handy now and then. Yeah, it may sound silly to bring a stocking cap on RAGBRAI at the end of July, but over the years I’d find myself waking up in the middle of the night cold just from the drop in my body temp, and probably humidity in the air.


ppayne1959, June 17, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Like craft beer a lot! Almost had a forgot something moment until we realized that a Shimano SPD pedal is a more perfect bottle opener than an actual bottle opener.


SFC JKL 2, June 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

A couple bungee cords and some 550 cord (string) to set up a clothes line for drying. A laundry bag to throw everything into once you are done wearing it.


bikrchk80, June 17, 2016 at 8:26 pm

Even though I take less gear each year, it seems I always overpack! One thing I have found very useful to pack is a POWER STRIP. It makes it much easier to charge the group’s phones and you will have a spare plug in or two to share with others! I meet and make new friends each evening! ?

Ride on!


Sexton, June 18, 2016 at 7:27 am

I bring rain gear, but after that cold, rainy Friday in 2014, I was wishing for long cycling pants or legwarmers.


Jacqui, June 18, 2016 at 11:33 pm

Thanks. Arm warmers? I would have totally left those behind.


Jacqui, June 18, 2016 at 11:47 pm

I always tend to underpack. I just want to make sure that I have everything I need.


Sunflower, June 19, 2016 at 1:37 pm

The first rule of packing for RAGBRAI is that you will forget something. A checklist and careful double and triple checks and gear inspection is not a terrible idea if you have the time.

NEVER bring new stuff- shoes, socks, clothes, etc. The middle of the week is the wrong time to find out something chafes. Old faithful that’s threadbare is the best.

Arm warmers and spring/fall tights will almost never get used and are still worth having along in my opinion.

My favorite comfort item is enough protein/carbo powder and a shaker bottle so that you can have an easy blast of nutrition if you arrive at the campsite hungry. I dawdle and have gotten far enough behind the locusts to find the vendors sold out and Casey’s unable to make a pizza or sandwich.

This is evergreen: https://youtu.be/MGRaKuuoL4s


Jack in VA, June 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Either a power strip or short extension cord; too many chargers cover up multiple outlets so the cord will allow you to plug your device(s) in. I have a phone and MP3 player that need to be fed each day.

You might want to consider a small battery backup for charging your devices too. I found an ANKER 10,000 mAH charger that’s about the size of an IPad mini, and used it for 3 days before IT needed a drink of power. Just plug in your toys in your own tent overnight and you’re fresh to go in the morning.

Absolutely agree with arm / leg warmers – especially after that morning in Waverly in ’14. DAMN IT WAS COLD! Even with those on. Hate to imaging what it felt like without!!!


Sexton, June 19, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Yeah! Waverly to Independence! It was miserable. Then it got windy. What was that town… began with a T, Tripoli? People in the school gym with hypothermia.
Cold shower or a dip in the ocean at the end of a long ride is nice, but that day….


RoyBoy, June 20, 2016 at 9:45 am

One year I brought a nice fluffy towel. With all the humidity and lack of laundry capability, it never dried out completely during the week and became mildewy near the end of the ride. So I tried a couple of old thread bare towels the dried out somewhat and I pitched each as it became smelly from mildew. Now I have a microfiber towel that dries quickly and completey. I also switched to bringing less cotton clothes, opting for synthetics.


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