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Biking Trip Personal Equipment List


Here is all the information you need to pack for your Frosh trip. When selecting gear for the trip, remember that you’ll be in the outdoors for five days, so you’ll want to bring only those things you need to be comfortable. Leave behind what isn’t necessary—extra stuff just adds weight. This equipment list is based on 40 years of experience running Outdoor Action Trips. If you bring ALL the gear on the list and ONLY the gear on the list, you’ll be comfortable in virtually any situation you’ll encounter on Frosh Trip.

Measuring for a Bike

Check out the OA Video on YouTube to help you pack for your trip:


Fabrics: For biking you want clothing that is warm, breathable, and quick-drying. Synthetic fabrics are best because they won’t absorb water, dry quickly, and are relatively windproof. Many people already have synthetic clothing at home, so you may not need to go out and purchase clothing just for this trip. Items like running gear, athletic warm-ups, and skiing/snowboarding gear can easily be used on this trip—so check out your closet or borrow from a friend before going to the store. Lightweight synthetic/cotton (50/50 blend) shirts, underwear, and pants are fine. You should avoid bringing all-cotton clothing since it absorbs water easily and won’t keep you warm if it gets wet. Cotton also retains water so that it takes a very long time to dry. Do NOT bring all-cotton clothes such as sweatshirts, sweatpants, or jeans.

Dressing for the Weather: Weather is unpredictable, so you’ll need to bring a range of clothing for various temperatures, as well as rain. During the day, northeast temperatures at the end of summer can range from the 60s F at the low end to the 90s F. Temperatures can be considerably cooler at night, though, dropping into the 30s F and 40s F.

Layering: Dressing in layers is the most efficient way to stay comfortable in the outdoors. By bringing several different layers, you can add or remove clothing to match your activity level and the weather conditions.

  • The Base/Wicking Layer keeps the skin comfortable and dry, which is essential for controlling your temperature. Polypropylene or other synthetic fabrics are ideal since they wick moisture away from your skin. Such lightweight synthetics or synthetic/cotton blends provide good ventilation for the skin to keep you dry and cool. During the day you’ll probably be biking in a T-shirt and shorts.
  • The Middle Layer is made up of a long sleeve shirt and long pants, which provide insulation and some protection from the elements. You may wear these while hiking for cooler temperatures or to protect you from sun, or at camp at night and in the early morning.
  • The Outer Layer—usually a fleece jacket or wool sweater—provides insulation. Synthetic fleece fabrics (such as Polartec) don’t absorb water, so they keep you warm even if they get wet. You’ll wear this layer around camp at night and in the early morning when it is cooler.
  • The Shell Layer protects you from wind and rain. A waterproof rain jacket is vital in case of bad weather. A coated nylon rain jacket is lightweight, inexpensive, and works well. Waterproof-breathable fabrics like Gore-tex also work well but can be expensive. Raingear is not only essential for Frosh Trip, but also will get plenty of use on campus. All rain gear must be tested in the shower prior to arriving on campus.
  • For the final layer, your Head, bring a wide-brimmed hat for sun and rain protection. At night, you’ll need a wool or synthetic fleece hat to keep you warm—it can get colder than you think at night.

Think Before You Buy! Although biking requires specialized gear, you may be surprised how many items you already own or can borrow from a friend or relative. For example, you likely already own the synthetic or 50/50 synthetic/cotton blend clothing that is best for biking. Borrowing gear not only saves you money, but also contributes to Outdoor Action’s effort to be environmentally friendly in all our activities. After all, hundreds of incoming freshmen buying hundreds of petroleum-based products for one-time use on Frosh Trip leaves a pretty serious impact on the environment. Borrow (or improvise!) first, then buy used gear if you can so that polluting/non-renewable resources are not being consumed to manufacture your new gear. Items that are most appropriate to buy new are those that require precise fitting orthose that you will use a lot around campus after Frosh Trip (like a rain jacket).). If you are buying new gear, please ask retailers to show you products made from recycled or sustainable materials, or search online for different sustainable or environmentally friendly options. 

Information about Princeton equipment discounts can be found here.  

Biking Trip: Personal Equipment List

Biking Specific: There are several key pieces of equipment for long bike treks.

  • Biking Shorts with internal padding make a huge difference on long rides; both in padding your butt and because they fit skin tight, they prevent chaffing. Wearing regular underwear and shorts is much more likely to cause uncomfortable chafing.
  • Biking Gloves really help reduce the pressure on your hands while biking all day. Make sure to try on the gloves
  • It is especially important to not bring extra personal gear on a biking trip as space in the panniers (the things that hold your gear on your bike while you ride) is extremely limited.

Outdoor Action will provide bikes, panniers, and helmets. 

Please check off each item as you assemble your equipment to make sure that you have everything.

OA is able to lend this item if requested before August 12. Check your requests HERE. Requested items will be distributed on Sunday, September 2 at OA Check-in in Dillon Gym. 

_______        1 sleeping bag with stuff sack: Any summer weight synthetic fill bag will do (fills like Polarguard Delta, CloudLoft, PrimaLoft, Thermic CF). If the bag has a temperature rating, a 35 to 45° F bag should be fine. The bag should have a nylon shell both inside and outside. Down bags are acceptable, but extra care must be taken to keep them dry. Do not bring bags with cotton shell, fill, or lining—if they get wet, you’ll never get them dry.

You MUST bringthe following items. Outdoor Action cannot supply them to you.

Biking-specific items (required):

_______        2 pair bike shorts with padding

_______        1 pair biking gloves


_______        1 pair sneakers: These will be your biking shoes.  Make sure they are well-fitting and comfortable. Also, take into consideration that some wide base fitness shoes will not fit comfortably into the bike pedals. If you have the opportunity to test out your shoes, it might be very helpful.

_______        1 pair camp shoes: Your feet will be tired at the end of the day, and you’ll need comfortable shoes to wear around camp. Camp shoes could be running shoes, Crocs, or sandals with a heel strap (e.g. Tevas or Chacos) that will stay on your feet (not flip-flops). We recommend that your choice dries quickly.

_______         3 pairs of socks: these should be athletic wicking socks, not just cotton socks.


_______        1 brimmed cap (wide-brimmed, baseball, etc) for sun and rain protection (optional)

_______        1 wool or synthetic fleece hat for warmth at night

Upper Body:

_______        T-shirts: 2 synthetic OR 2-3 synthetic/cotton (must be at least 50% synthetic).

_______        1 long-sleeve shirt: synthetic, athletic warm-up, 50/50 synthetic/cotton blend

_______        1 synthetic fleece jacket or wool sweater: It can get chilly at night! (no cotton in this layer)

_______        1 rain jacket or poncho: waterproof nylon or waterproof/breathable fabric like Gore-tex. Make sure it’s still waterproof—the waterproof coating on nylon rain jackets degrades over time!  You can easily test in the shower.  Don’t bring heavy rubberized rain jackets; they weigh a ton and you’ll end up getting very hot and sweaty. Be careful with windbreakers and track jackets- most are not waterproof, especially if they do not have a hood. Water resistant is not the same as waterproof.

Lower Body:

_______        Underwear as needed (recommended 1/day for females). Synthetic preferable.

_______        1-2 pairs non-cotton, loose-fitting, athletic shorts

_______        1 pair non-cotton long pants, loose-fitting: nylon, synthetic, fleece, or 50/50 synthetic/cotton blend. Athletic warm-ups are great. No blue jeans or sweatpants—they take too long to dry!

_______        1 pair lightweight polypropylene long underwear bottoms (optional but highly recommended if you get cold easily)

______          1 pair waterproof rain pants (optional)-- see notes on rain jackets




_______        Any medications you will need to take during the trip (inhaler, allergy medications etc.)

_______        Glasses, contact lenses, and contact solution as needed. Some people find it hard to keep their hands clean enough to be comfortable handling their contacts, and therefore prefer glasses, so we encourage bringing a spare pair of glasses as back-up.

_______        Toilet kit: Only toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, comb/brush, sunscreen, and lip balm. Do not bring “smellables” like shampoo, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, etc. Things that “smell good” to us are an attraction for insects and animals. OA will provide biodegradable soap.

_______        Menstrual hygiene products as needed 


_______        2 one-liter reusable biking water bottles. You must have these water bottles! We recommend plastic bottles (a non-BPA plastic or polyethylene). They should fit in a standard bike water bottle cage.

_______        1 small flashlight or LED headlamp with fresh, alkaline batteries (alkaline batteries last longer). Headlamps are preferred, as they leave your hands free. It gets very dark, don’t forget this.

_______       3 heavy plastic garbage bags: one for sleeping bag, two for inside your panniers

_______        5-6 gallon size Ziploc bags or 2-3 plastic grocery bags for packing

_______        1 plastic cup with handle

_______        1 plastic bowl (Tupperware works great)

_______        1 unbreakable spoon

_______        2 bandannas or handkerchiefs. They are useful for many things in the outdoors.


_______        OA provides foam sleeping pads for all participants, but you may bring your own if you prefer. 3/8inch foam or inflatable camping pad (like a Thermarest-- not a full-size inflatable mattress).

_______        Camera

_______        1 small notebook and pencil

_______        Sunglasses

_______        Travel size packets of hand wipes/towelettes (like Wet Ones)

_______        1 pair lightweight, synthetic gloves

_______        1 individual bottle of hand sanitizer (2 oz.)

_______        Insect repellent: please do not bring products with more than 35% DEET or in aerosol containers. 


DO NOT BRING: You’ll survive without these things, we promise!

  • Electronics: cell phones, iPods, etc.
  • “Smellables”: deodorant (attracts unhygienic when showers are unavailable), make-up, shampoo, etc. 


Sources for Equipment

You may have a local backpacking or biking shop in your town, or you can go to a chain store or shop online. Some sources:
EMS -- Suggested items for OA:
Bike Nashbar --
Performance Bike --
REI --
L.L. Bean --
Sierra Trading Post --
Campmor --