Hi all the bike touring women out there (and all the curious men too ;))! To be a bike touring woman has a couple of specifics when it comes to the packing list. I’ve decided to put it together here for all the female cycle touring beginners who are thinking what to pack and don’t want to bring too much stuff, how it often happens.
1. Menstrual cup
If there was only one thing to pick from this bike touring woman packing list, this would be it. Not only it’s environmentally friendly but it’s very convenient too. You normally have to change it only twice a day which means you don’t have to do it somewhere on the road. If you’ve never used it, first couple of times may seem scary (they say you need three periods to completely get accustomed to it but for me it was much shorter time). I had to replace my good old one in Ecuador and was pleasantly surprised to be able to find two different brands in Cuenca. In general I’ve got good experience with Mooncup and LifeCup.
2. Female urination device
When you stopped laughing, let me tell you about this thing. It’s a funnel you put against your crotch and you can pee while standing. This is incredibly useful when you’re in high populated areas or dirty public toilets. You definitely need some practice how to use it but it’s a really useful device. Just be careful that not too many cars are passing by, you may cause an accident, a woman standing while peeing.
3. Cream (s)
When you’re completing your bike touring woman packing list, forget about your full cream selection at home. Try to multitask. Good hydrating sunscreen will protect and hydrate at the same time and one lotion/cream can be used as a full body lotion, hand cream, face cream or intensive mask etc. Coconut oil can be used as a cream/hair mask/toothpaste (mixed with some baking soda) and also cooking oil – not recommended for hot climate though.
4. Let’s talk about clothes
Long cycle tour is an incredible way how to get closer to a minimalist wardrobe without too much of a self-denial. You’ll just get used to it very quickly as you have to carry it all yourself :). But bear in mind when packing that women usually get colder easier than men and it’s better to have one layer more. To have one nice set of clothing – normal bra, dress, skirt, shorts or trousers with a top, depending on the climate, is a key when you want to feel like a woman in cities, not like a dirtbag. If you don’t mind feeling like a dirtbag, then we could alter this argument to – when your other clothes are in the washing machine ;). But don’t overdo it. If you bring black tie dress, you will need appropriate shoes. And who wants to carry high heels on the bicycle!
5. Lastly make-up
My own personal journey to carrying only concealer and a lip balm started many years ago when I carried also things like compact make-up, mascara etc for few weeks long trips in Europe. But soon I learned that I’m sweating like hell under the make-up, mascara, not matter how waterproof is melting and to remove all of that, I need to carry either baby wipes or make-up remover. So thank you very much. I also found that looking at your true face every day (or when mirror is available :D), makes you appreciate your true “beauty”. My wrinkles, my blonde and because of that visually non-existent eye lashes, my tan… So when we stopped for 6 months in Mexico, I didn’t feel the urge to buy any products. Only for our wedding, I used my mum’s cosmetics. So…to sum it up. Try testing it on a short trip how you feel without products you find essential in your everyday life. You may be surprised… And why concealer and lip balm? With concealer you’ll cover any red spots or acne and you can use it as a highlighter too. And lip balm – it will protect you lips that are every day exposed to sun and wind and if it’s coloured, you can use it as a lipstick and blush.
If you are a bike touring woman, I’d be very grateful if you could share with me the items you bring and find them useful. Soon we’ll also share our complete gear page once my lovely husband is able to finish it after many months of work 😛