Biking Across Kansas

BAK Packing List

This list is designed to provide you with security in having a safe and comfortable trip. We know that everyone has her/his own style. This list was compiled by people that have cycled BAK for over 30 years. Most people plan on doing laundry at least once during the trip. Doing laundry during the week allows you to have clean clothes each day and not overpack.

The Basics

Bicycle and You – Yes, these two items are obvious, but they are also the most important. A bicycle and a rider ready to pedal 500 miles is a must. It is the rider's responsibility to come to BAK with a well-cared-for machine. This makes for the best ride.

Helmet – BAK STRONGLY recommends that you wear an approved helmet while riding your bicycle. It should be worn even in the overnight stop town when riding to a restaurant or other attraction. For safety's sake, use a helmet all the time when on your bicycle.

Water Bottles or Hydration Pack – You will receive a BAK water bottle, but consider carrying two water bottles on your bike.  Some riders prefer using a hydration pack like a CamelBak. Most hydration packs hold more water than two water bottles combined and also include pockets for additional items, like energy bars.

Cycling Gloves – Cycling gloves help relieve the hand discomfort of holding the bars for long miles.

Cycling Shoes – Cycling shoes (with clipless pedals) have a stiff bottoms and cleats that help with a more efficient transfer of energy. They also help relieve foot discomfort from pressing on the pedals for long periods.

Cycling Jerseys – Cycling jerseys fit the body closely and promote the wicking and rapid evaporation of perspiration for proper cooling. In addition, pockets across the lower back allow for storage of food, sunscreen, money, and other items you might need during the day.

Cycling Shorts
– Cycling shorts fit very tightly, have a padded seat, and often are moisture-wicking. They also are seamless in the areas that might cause chafing.

Cycling Socks – Cycling socks that wick moisture are nice and help prevent blisters.

Sunglasses – Protect your eyes from the sun and road debris with sport-style sunglasses.

Cycling Jacket – Kansas temperatures are unpredictable in June. Cycling jackets and/or arm warmers are nice for some mornings.

Rain Gear –Be prepared for rain with at least a waterproof jacket. Clear plastic shower caps fit nicely over helmets to keep the head dry. Riding in light rain isn't bad, but you need to stay dry and warm. Avoid using rain ponchos or long coverings that tend to flap in the breeze as you ride. Front and rear bicycle lights promote better illumination during periods of rain.

Real Money/Plastic Money/Checks – During the day you will have an opportunity to visit different communities with many providing "must stops" of interest. Cash is often required for museum visits (when admission is charged) and for purchases from civic organizations that make and serve meals, snacks, or ice cream. The lemonade or cookie stand hosted by local children will be irresistible, so be prepared with cash. If you use services provided by the traveling bicycle shop, be prepared to pay with cash or check. The good news is that ATMs are available in most overnight stop and through towns. Debit and credit cards are often accepted at restaurants and retail stores.

Bicycle Bag/Jersey Pocket Items


Route Guide – A printed Route Guide with the bicycle route will be provided for each participate. In addition, BAK will provide an electronic version of the Route Guide for downloading to your smartphone. Alternate driving routes will be provided for personal vehicle drivers. In addition, Kansas maps will be available upon request for personal vehicle drivers.

Sun Block – Protect your skin with SPF 30 and above. You will be out in the sun for longer than usual each day. Don’t forget to reapply often. You will also see some riders wearing sun sleeves for extra protection.

Lip Balm – Your lips WILL get chapped and/or sunburned, so use lip balm with SPF.

Tire Repair Items  – Come prepared to fix a flat tire. Carry spare tubes, tire irons to remove the tire from the rim, a frame pump or CO2 cartridge to inflate the tire, and a patch kit as a last resort. Check with your local bike shop on a recommended, quality patch kit. If you've had one for a while, make certain the glue had not dried and hardened.

Cycling Cleat Bolts – Consider packing extra cleat bolts in your bike bag.

Multi-Tool – Consider tucking into your bike bag a multi-tool for quick fixes on the road. They don't take up much room and just might be enough to get you back on the road quickly.

Photo ID – Keep your photo ID with you at all times.

Medical and Dental Cards
– Keep your medical and dental insurance cards with you at all times.

Smartphone or Cell Phone – Consider bringing a smartphone or cell phone to stay in touch with your loves ones at home. BAK uses text messaging to provide necessary tour updates. BAK will provide an electronic version of the Route Guide for downloading onto smartphones. Also, for safety reasons, a cell phone is a good thing to have out on the route. If there is an emergency (accident or mechanical problem), you will be able to call the local authorities or your BAK emergency number.

Camera – Bring a digital camera or smartphone to snap memories of your adventure.

Energy Bars/Snacks
– Fruit will be available at most SAG (rest) stops. Consider carrying your own energy bars, gels, or chews. Dried fruit and nuts are also favorites of many riders.

Chamois Cream – Some bicyclists use a chamois cream in their shorts prevent and/or treat chafing.

First Aid Kit
 – Keep first aid items to a minimum on the bike. Minor first aid supplies will be available from volunteer medics and at the overnight stops.

Sleeping Gear


Air Mattress/Pad & Pillow
–Self-inflating Therm-A-Rest type pads are popular. Air mattresses are acceptable as well. Remember space is limited, so leave the 25-inch-tall air mattress at home. A small travel pillow may enhance comfort.

Sleeping Bag – A light summer bag and a sleeping bag sheet work well. When we are in western Kansas, it tends to be cooler at nights.

Tent – A lightweight, one- or two-person tent work nicely. Some outdoor supply stores rent tents. In addition, BAK travels with a third-party vendor that offers pre-paid tent rentals, with set-up and luggage services.

Ear Plugs – You might appreciate having ear plugs if you happen to pick a sleeping spot near a noisy sleeper.

Flash Light – You will receive a small light—either a flash light or bike light—in your registration packet.

Evenings on BAK

Changes of Clothes – You will receive a BAK t-shirt. Many people visit local attractions in the overnight towns, so bring casual clothing for times off the bicycle.

Underclothes – Enough said; although, underwear is not typically worn under cycling shorts.

Extra Shoes – Sandals are light and don’t take much room. Multiple pairs of extra shoes are not needed.

Long-sleeve Shirt – Some evenings can be cooler, especially early in the trip when we are at higher altitudes.

Long Pants – Some participants bring long pants for the cooler nights.

Swimsuit – Most overnight stop towns have swimming pools, and some will offer swimming to BAK riders at no or reduced cost.

Towel and Wash Cloth – Consider a camping or pack towel available at sporting goods stores. They hold up to 12 times their weight in water and dry very quickly.

Toiletries – Bring needed toiletries (e.g., soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste), but consider leaving your hair dryer at home. Ladies, most of the women travel with little to no makeup all week.

Medicine – If you take medication, be certain to pack what is needed. Consider carrying a list of medications in your wallet in case of emergency.

Insect Repellent –Insects can be an issue some evenings, so bring a small bottle of repellent.

Power Strip – Consider bringing a power strip for charging your cell phone.

Spare Batteries – Pack spare batteries for your cycling computer and other electronics.

Postcards – You will receive two BAK postcards in your registration packet, and additional postcards can be purchased from BAK. BAK provides postage when BAK postcards are mailed from the BAK mailbox, which will be available at each overnight stop.

Pen or Pencil – Bring something with which to write your postcards or journal.

Other Bicycle-related Items

Bike Lock – Some riders choose to bring a bike lock for use at the overnight stop; however, bike racks and objects to which to secure your bike may not be available.

Chain Repair Kit (or spare chain) – Make sure that you have a fairly new chain on your bicycle. If your chain gets wet, lubrication might be needed.

Spare Tire – If your tires are new, chances are you won’t need any replacements, but when in doubt bring a spare tire.

Other Tools – There might be other tools you think you need but don’t want to carry on the bicycle. BAK will also have bicycle mechanic available for repairs (for a fee) at overnight stops.

Other Miscellaneous Items – Useful items may include zip ties, electrical and/or duct tape, bungee cords (varying lengths), bandanas, extra brake cable, spare eyeglasses, and hand sanitizer.