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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

Picture Gallery
Travel Plan

My Books
About Me
Media/Press Room


Photo Use Info

Read Sample Letter
Continue My Travels

Places I have been
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left

*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.

Equipment Pages Index

How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Bike Touring Shorts

Short-wave Radio
Bicycle touring lights

Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures

See My Videos Here

(see all 3 book)

Bicycle Touring and Camping Toiletry Bag: Keeping Clean on the Road and at Camp

Shower Bag and Toiletry Kits

    - By Gretchen Howell

Humble as it may be, your toiletry bag will get daily use on your bicycle tour. A shower bag and pack towel need to be durable and quick drying, as both are constantly getting wet. On a bike tour, you will find yourself cleaning up in campground bathrooms, cheap hotels and hostels, and even while stealth camping with no facilities. Your toiletry kit needs to be versatile as yourself.

Tim asked me to write an article about carrying toiletries on a bike trip. Really, I think he saw my neat toiletry bag and realized that he spends far too much time hunting down his stuff. Tim's various stuff sacks look nearly identical by now. After almost ten years on the road, his bags are all of the faded black mesh variety. In a few years, mine may look the same, but for now I've got them coded by color and touch. I can find my possessions by look and feel, and if I pack right, position.

We both love to debate the merits of our luggage. Even though Tim won't admit to the superiority of my packing plan, I know he secretly covets my toiletry bag. I bought it ten years ago and it's lasted through five continents' worth of biking and backpacking.  I like it because it can hold  regular sized bottles, the little mirror is still intact, and it washes up easily. After a few squishy incidents, I look for the bottles with lids that close tightly. I stopped doing travel size bottles years ago.  Even on a short trip I run out of hair conditioner. Having long hair does require some sacrifice.

Some additions to adapt your bag to long term bike travel: Get a cover for your toothbrush and stop worrying about bugs crawling on the bristles at night. A pack towel (stored in a separate breathable bag) is good for drying hair and clothes. You can find one large enough to double as a cover-up, for that walk back to the room from the shower down the hall.

For a short trip, you might consider an all-in-one-soap. Back in my old hippie days, I was all about the Almond Scented Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap bubbles.  It's a nice idea: one soap for your hair, body, dishes, clothes, etc. Now that I'm deprived of health food stores, I buy bars of local soap and jam them all together in a plastic soap box.

Shower Bag and Toiletry Kits

Hanging your toiletries from a hook saves space, keeps things clean and dry and avoids having to set your bag down someplace filthy.

Camping and Travel Towels

Camp towels soak up lots of water, dry fast, and take up a fraction of the space of a regular towel.  I prefer the large thin ones for wrap around coverage and quick drying. 

Travel Toothbrushes and Covers

Whatever gets on your toothbrush will end up in your mouth.  Keep bugs and other gross stuff off your toothbrush with a breathable cover.

Soap Holder/Dish

Wet bar soap is a messy thing to carry and dry. A soap box will keep soap slime from leaking all over the inside of your toiletry bag.

Collapsible Water Bag

If you're free camping in the backwoods or campgrounds where the water faucet is far away, a bag is handy and easy to carry empty.

Camp Mirror

If you absolutely must know how you look. Some of us prefer not to.

All Purpose Shampoo and Soap

Concentrated liquid soap for all your cleaning needs.

Small Storage Bottles

These refillable bottles are much sturdier than store bought packaging and avoid messy spills in your panniers

One thing I hate about wild camping is showering with a bike water bottle. It can't really be called a shower. More like strategic squirting. A bucket shower is marginally better. As it's impractical to carry a regular bucket on a bike, you can get one of these collapsible buckets and ask Tim to heat up some water. Or use a solar shower if you've got the sun, some sitting time, and a little privacy.

Collapsible water sinks and buckets

 I like a folding bowl or bucket for showers. I heat water on my stove or a fire and use one of my pans to pour water on myself.  Also useful for washing dishes and laundry.

Camp Shower

For those of us who can't survive without a hot shower.

Backcountry Shovel/Trowel

 A tiny shovel for your bathroom needs when you're camping with no facilities. Be a responsible camper and Leave No Trace.



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Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles

Tools and Spares

Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag


Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)

Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads

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