Are you off on a training camp soon? If so we hope you're excited!
Working out what to take can be tricky - you probably don't want to be hauling a huge suitcase and a bike box (unless you're hiring) around the airport, but you also don't want to miss out on any essentials.
Here's out guide on what to take for the average week long road cycling spring training camp. All of this kit has successfully been packed into a hand luggage bag, with a few pairs of shoes slipping into the bike box...
We've included everything except the bike (we sort of took that as a given), cosmetics, and underwear (you don't want to see our smalls, really). It's best not to forget those though!
Over a spring training camp, the weather is likely to vary - it could be baking one day, and chilly the next, so you'll want all the bases covered.
Accessories help a lot here - we'd suggest:
Base layers: Ideally one long and one short sleeved. Base layers form the 'base' of your on the bike outfit, they absorb sweat to keep you from cooling down on descents, and give you a little warmth on the chilly mornings.
Full finger gloves and mitts: What you need each day might vary - and since they don't take up a lot of room, opting for both is a good idea. You could skip mitts if you're not a fan, but over long days in the saddle they can help to reduce fatigue.
Arm warmers and leg warmers: These will help make your jerseys and shorts as versatile as possible. If you go for full leg warmers, you won't need to take tights, as well as shorts, which will really help you to travel lighter. Oversocks can also be a useful addition.
Gilet and/or packable waterproof: These really come into their own on the typically mountainous terrain of most training camp destinations - you'll heat up on the ascent, so choose one that packs up small, but that extra layer will make all the difference on the way down.
It's always really tempting to fill your suitcase with jerseys so you know you'll always have the one you feel like that day - but the truth is most of us have some solid favourites, and it's best to go for those.
Choose jerseys that you know you feel comfortable in over a long day, and that have plenty of pocket space. Remember your additional arm warmers and packable mean you probably don't need a light short sleeved option: keep it simple.
Three Pairs of Shorts
As with jerseys, go for shorts that you totally trust. Resist the urge to buy new ones for the trip, as you never know how you'll get on over a long ride.
Try to opt for shorts that work well with leg warmers (eg not those that ride up so you get that annoying gap!) as those leg warmers could well be your best friend if the sun doesn't shine.
Just in case... Take one warmer jacket - in this case we've opted for the Castelli Gabba, at £179 it's admittedly not in any way a cheap option, but it is a light windproof that also offers superb water proofing.
This is your 'get out of jail' card in case you are treated to a truly horrendous day at any point - and it does happen in spring.
If you're a generally active person and enjoy a little dip or a jog, then you might want to take running and swimming kit.
Opt for running tights that can double up as 'chill out' tights, or compression wear that will help speed up recovery in the evenings.
By this point the suitcase is already looking pretty full so you want to keep it slimmed down if you can!
We've opted for one pair of jeans (plus one pair we'll wear on the plane), a skirt, and pair of shorts - all of which can be worn as casual clothing, and jazzed up in the evening with a pair of (small) heels if required.
A couple of vest tops, a smart white shirt, and the jumper we'll be wearing to the airport should do it..
Those pesky shoes can be a pain as they take up quite a bit of room.
Trainers can sometimes be slotted into the bike box - or you can choose to wear them to the airport, though we've gone for one pair of runners and one more casual style for loafing around.
If a few nights out are an option, it's all about that one really versatile pair of shoes, so we went with black sandals.
Of course - cycling shoes are the other addition. It might be tempting to put these in the bike box - but this is a definite no-no. No one wants their bike box to get lost at the airport, but at least if it happens and you've got shoes you can hire a bike.
Food, Sun Cream, Chamois Cream
You can usually buy gels, energy drinks and other useful items at local bike shops, but if you can, you might as well purchase in bulk at home and carry them with you.
Ideally, take a mixture of energy gel/bar/drink flavours, as taste fatigue can set in.
Along with sun cream and chamois cream, this is also where you might want to think about:
- Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel (check out these 10 dry shampoos)
- Toothbrush, toothpase
- Any cosmetics you want - lip balm and moisturiser will probably be on your wish list after a long day in the elements
- Massage oils, painkillers, and medication you need
Tools and Accessories
You will need to take with you your normal multitool, spare tubes, pump and tyre levers - even if you're riding in big groups.
Your helmet and glasses are of course good additions, and you might want to take a peaked cycling cap to keep sun (and hopefully not rain) out of your eyes.
It's also a good idea to take a set of proper allen keys, as you don't really want to be assembling your bike with a multitool if you can avoid it. A little workshop grease is also a good addition so you can make sure the pedals and well lubed before you tighten them up.
You'll probably want a cycling computer, so you can keep a record of your amazing rides, and a good set of bike lights are also a must as many long winding climbs have long tunnels that requite you to be lit up.
Other useful items include spare cleats, just in case, chain lube, and ideally someone in your group will have a track pump.
You may want to get away from it all and swap your laptop for a good book, but either which way it's nice to have something to browse in the evening.
Of course, your passport, keys and wallet will probably come in handy (though a clear plastic bag to put a few notes in on ride days will serve you well), and you'll probably want a phone and chargers.
So - that's pretty much everything we'd take!
If you're still looking for where to go, check out these 7 Women's Only Training Camps for some inspiration