This is a little list in no particular order of what I have learned while cycle touring and camping, this list will probably be edited and added to as I learn and tour more.
Take lots of plastic bags : Like the ones your get from the supermarket. They just come in useful, they just do. To wrap up your wet closing, food and as a bin bag etc. you name it.
Take zip lock plastic bags : Sometime even the best panniers with let some water in. And you want to keep that mobile, GPS or MP3 player extra dry. Also good to keep bits and bobs in, like extra screws for your bicycle.
Get a groundsheet/footprint for the tent : But make sure that it is not bigger than the tent. Because if it rains it will get wet and that water will run into your tent.
Take a full outfit of dry, loose, non-cycling clothes : Something like boxers and a t-shirt. It is easier to get into than your lycra or wet clothing. To use when you need to use the facilities at night on the campsite. Like merino wool long sleeve and longs to sleep in on that extra cold night.
Take sandals : or flip flop / lose and easy shoes to get in. When you are getting in and out of your tent, or when you are just kicking back after a long days ride.
Baby wipes : Comes in handy for when you have “pressing matters”, clean up after you have had something to eat, they are even brilliant in removing muck and chain oil of your hands when you have done some fettling.
Exped Downmats & down sleeping bags : I’m so glad that I spend a few extra bobs on my Exped DownMats and my down sleeping bag. Yes they weigh a bit more and take a bit more extra space. But I know I have a warm, soft and cosy bed with me and I will have a great night sleep no matter how hard, stony the ground is or how cold the night is turning out to be.
Get a stove and some easy cook food. : We got a JetBoil Personal Cooking System and because you can then cook up some porridge, cup of tea or even some pasta when you are cold or just need a little boost.
Take multi vitamins : You never know when you can get some good food like fresh fruit and veggies. And since you are cycling all day long, the extra boost of vitamins will help you through the day.
Let your touring bike find its rhythm : Our Surly Long Haul Truckers are heavy even when unloaded, but it will get you there safe and sound. Let it find its rhythm and don’t try to sprint the hills it will just knacker you. You will still get there where you are going ok not as fast as your titanium road bike.
Zip ties and gaffa tape : There is a saying if you can’t fix it with zip ties and gaffa tape, you are not using enough. There will always be something or a time where you will need either so bring it because you will wish you had.
Water and Food : When there is water fill up your bottles, you never how far there is to next tap. Food if you see a shop do your shopping, there could be miles to the next one or the next one is closed when you get there.
Don’t touch the walls : Even with a gap of over 20 years, the old saying do not touch the walls of your tent, comes though. Even when it does not rain and especially when it does rain, don’t touch the walls.
Be organised : Pack up your stuff and close your panniers all the time. Use it, put it back. Because you never know when you need to leave quickly, if you are wild/stealth camping. Or the weather changed over night and you end up with a river running through your tent. Make a system that suits you and stick to it, it makes it easier to find things especially in the day.
Use all the pegs and guy lines : Even on a beautiful and quite evening and days of wall to wall blue sky’s, tie your tent down. Because weather will do what weather does best, change! And suddenly you are out of your warm sleeping bag getting wet trying to keep your tent in one place because a massive thunder storm had just rolled in.