Best clothing equipment solution for bicycle tour. Cycling South East Asia.
Every time we come across other cyclers on our adventures, they all say the same thing. . . . . “I packed way too many clothes and I need to get rid of some!”
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know I like to travel light. The clothes I take with me for a trip are no exception. I only take the minimum amount of shirts and shorts, sometimes more depending on the season, and everything fits easily in my travel bags!
Monsoon Season (April – November)
During this part of the year the weather is hot and humid with heavy rain almost daily. The rain usually lasts for only a short time though, and it’s always warm rain! If we get caught out, we just stop for a while, or if it’s not too heavy we just keep rolling along.
- Because of the guaranteed rain, it’s important to pack clothes that dry quickly. Microfiber fabric is a great option here. I personally prefer ‘normal’ shirts that I can start wearing at night, and then use the next day on our ride.
- Make sure to try and find a room with a fan, wherever you end up staying. You’ll need it to hang your clothes in front of so that they’re dry enough to pack away or use again the next day. For any length trip, we normally take 4 or 5 shirts each and just cycle through them.
- So what about pants? I only take two pairs. They are like a 2 in 1 set, where the first pair is an outer pair that I wear in the evenings or when I’m not cycling. The second pair is akin to a proper set of cycling shorts, but without being too sexy while I ride 🙂
- A light windproof jacket is always a good idea, and don’t forget about a swimsuit. There are tons of waterfalls and rivers to take a nice relaxing dip in on most rides.
- As for sun protection, I’m not a fan of the creams and lotions. I opt for cheap and comfortable microfiber sleeves. These can be picked up at local shops since the locals use them as well. They offer good protection and pack away well, taking up less space than a pair of kids socks!
Dry Season (November – April)
We normally think of this part of the world as hot jungle, but believe me, it gets cold up in the hills during this time of year. It’s not unheard of to get frost or even snow.
- To tackle the cold, we just add a few extra items to our normal (Monsoon Season) clothes. We’ll add bicycle leggings, winter gloves, winter bicycle caps, long sleeved shirts that are warm and light, a hiking sweatshirt and long hiking pants.
- During December and January in areas like Sa Pa in Vietnam, or other high mountain areas, we recommend a synthetic down jacket with an outer ‘shell’ jacket as well.
If you plan your trip to account for the season that you’ll be riding in, you should be able to keep it light and easy. If you do end up forgetting an item or the weather changes for the worse, you can always buy clothes for cheap while you’re on the road.
For us, those ‘on the road’ purchases become like mementos that remind us of our beautiful adventures.