Gear Guide: 8 Essentials for Bike Touring the Lofoten Islands
Whether you're bike touring Norway or somewhere stateside, Brendan Leonard has some tips on how to pack for the pedal of a lifetime.
We had a few things to keep in mind when packing for our 10-day road cycling trip, hopping from island to island for 300-some miles from Tromsø to Å: potential for rain (it is Norway, after all), bike maintenance, and clothing breathable but wind-resistant enough for cycling in very moderate temperatures (40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Thankfully, we didn’t have to worry much about headlamps since the sun never fully set.
List of Essentials for Bike Touring the Lofoten Islands:
- Comfortable shoes: La Sportiva Primer GORE-TEX® SURROUND® Shoe
I think for most bike tours where you’re not putting in mega miles every day, a good pair of hiking shoes is great—especially if you’re doing some off-bike, on-foot exploring. These GORE-TEX® SURROUND® boots are breathable and waterproof, capable of fending off many elements you may encounter on and off the bike. Sweat escapes from the inside while rain and splash keep from getting in.
- Waterproof, Breathable Jacket: Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket
I’ve been into the GORE-TEX® Active Products and the fabric in this lightweight, breathable but burly rain jacket for going on four years now, and had no qualms about taking it to a rainy country for a week-and-a-half-long trip.
- Helmet: POC Octal Helmet
I wouldn’t say I’ve “gear tested” any helmet in the past decade, which I’m thankful for—I’ve just worn them for 10 years and never had to deal with a head impact. But I’ve been loving POC helmets since I got my first one in 2014.
- Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Bellyache Mountain SL 17
I’m a huge fan of treated down, especially on long trips where moisture can build up over several damp nights. I’ve used this Big Agnes bag for every trip I’ve done since 2013 and it still hasn’t let me down.
- Soft Shell Jacket: Outdoor Research Whirlwind Hoody
I’ve worn this jacket for everything from ski touring to trail running, and it was perfect on this bike tour as well—light enough to breathe well while I pedaled, and wind-resistant enough to keep the chill out on descents and windy days.
- Camp Stove: MSR WhisperLite Universal Backpacking Stove
The WhisperLite Universal can run on several different types of fuel, but we didn’t have to worry about it when we found isobutane canisters readily available in Norway.
- Cycling Shorts: GORE BIKE WEAR® ELEMENT Tights short+
Most of me can handle some decent off-the-couch bike touring, except one part. To guard against saddle sores, I wore a pair of bibs under my clothes.
- Bike: Merida Speeder 300
We rented bikes from Tromso Outdoor, and at $25 USD a day, I thought it was well worth it vs. packing and transporting our bikes to Norway.
If you like the idea of sunsets that last five hours, granite peaks shooting straight up out of deep blue water, and feeling like you’re on the edge of the world, read more here.