Gear

Bike

  • Thorn Raven Tour, as detailed here
  • Ortlieb Rear Roller Classic Panniers. Started leaking after a while.
  • Ortlieb Ultimate 4 Plus barbag, with mapcase. Later replaced with Ultimate 5 – a better design.
  • Ortlieb Front Roller Classic Panniers. Started leaking after a while.
  • Cateye Wireless Speedo
  • Zefal HPX Pump. Later replaced with miscellaneous pumps. Ideal pump: One that folds out to become a mini track pump, e.g. Topeak Mountain Morph. Ones with pressure gauge are great for determining if tyre is actually leaking.
  • Abus cable lock, with combination, so I don’t need keys. Could break it if determined, but it provides a little security, for much less weight than my D-Lock. Seemed to do the trick.
  • Rear flasher light – don’t plan on riding at night much though. Will use headlamp for front flasher if I need one
  • 1L Stormlite aluminium drink bottle. Can’t be bothered with any more, will just use whatever random bottle I find that will fit in my other cage. Eventually started leaking, later just used whatever bottle I could find.
  • Tools – Alien II, Leatherman Wave, spoke key, eccentric bottom bracket adjustment tool. Will try to go without any other dedicated tools – I don’t know what to do with half of them anyway. Leatherman was very handy. Heavy though.
  • Ran Schwalbe Marathon XRs, after switching from Panaracers after a couple of thousand kilometres.  Later TravelContacts, then Schwalbe Marathon Extremes for Patagonia.
  • Spares: 2 tubes, patch kit – started with approx 30 glueless patches, 3 pairs brake blocks, chain, long brake cable, spokes (4 for rear tyre, 2 for front), Rohloff gear cable, Rohloff oil, general lube, grease, cable ties, spare cleats, duct tape. Carrying a folding Panaracer tyre as a spare.

Camping

  • MacPac Minaret. Was a good tent in the wind, but it didn’t like being in standing water – it seemed to seep up in. No holes in the groundsheet, but if you hold it up to the light, there are plenty of thin parts, where it’s almost broken through – perhaps that’s where the water comes in. Would probably prefer to carry a free standing tent in future. Was just too much hassle trying to bash pegs into rocky or sandy ground. Withstood massive, massive amounts of wind in Patagonia, but eventually I decided to drop it in Argentina. Not sure what I’ll take for the next trip.
  • MacPac down sleeping bag with silk liner. Warm and toasty.
  • Thermarest Prolite 4 Regular, and a patchset. No leaks! But then it started delaminating on my last day in Argentina. Replaced for free, with the newer version – 20% warmer apparently.
  • MSR Dragonfly stove, with 1L fuel bottle (to go in my third bottle cage). Later changed to a 600mL bottle.
  • MSR Alpine Classic cookset. Use the lid as a plate, or just eat from the pot. Have dropped the larger pot, I was only using one anyway. Then changed to a cheap/nasty pot, eventually that broke, now have a cheap (but not quite so nasty) set.
  • Miscellaneous Cooking/eating/food storage equipment. Couple of small containers, mug, polycarbonate knife and spoon/fork combo thing. The cutlery broke, replaced with cheap stainless steel stuff. After a while the mugs would break too, but they could be cheaply replaced. Useful to have a large plastic mug to make my breakfast porridge in, when staying in a Chinese hotel. Have now got a Titanium Spork thing – it’s a bit of a con, but fun to look like a weight weenie.
  • MSR Miniworks Water Filter, with iodine backup – later dropped this in China, didn’t need it. Carried it in Patagonia, was pointless
  • Water carrier – 4L Ortlieb
  • LED Headlamp

Clothing

  • Shimano SPD touring shoes – will also have to make do for off-bike shoes – good but got rid of them once I hit warmer areas. GoreTex was nice on my MT60s, until the shoes start filling up with water from the top, and they don’t drain out…
  • Shimano SPD sandals – perfect warm weather bike wear. No socks to wash, cool feet, only problem was the weird sandal tan I developed.
  • Icebreaker Thermals – short sleeve, long sleeve. Dropped the leggings in Istanbul. Later dropped the short sleeve too. Great to wear for a while without washing.
  • Berghaus wicking long sleeve shirt. I wore this pretty much every day on the bike, and it survived remarkably well. Very faded, but still in one piece. Later got a brand new one, same as the old one.
  • Gore Bike shorts. Pad is removable, so they can double as casual shorts. Nice in the heat, as they allowed plenty of airflow. Started falling apart after being worn day after day after day…
  • Endura Hummvee 3/4 length bike shorts – with detachable liner I can use with my Altitudes. These were pretty good all the way across China, eventually they fell apart, and multiple attempts at sewing them up just didn’t cut it. Good to wear in conservative areas. I wore them with just underpants. Later replaced with NZO Dirtwear – just didn’t feel as good, even though they had light fleece padding.
  • GroundEffect Juggernauts and liner used in Patagonia. Took two liners, replaced all shorts previously used.
  • Altura Altitude trousers. Good on the bike, don’t look wrong off it. Have been quite happy with them so far on day rides. Later wasn’t wearing them, too hot, so dropped them.
  • Altura Rush overtrousers. Later replaced with Earth Sea Sky Traverse overtrousers – very nice.
  • Helmet – I like Met
  • Casual off-bike clothing – Rohan trousers, Rohan shirt. Rohan stuff was just perfect. Light, easily handwashed, but not too obviously traveller-geek clothing. Dropped the shirt now.
  • Two pairs of underwear, including one Icebreaker pair.
  • Buff! If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you don’t know what you’re missing
  • Berghaus Softshell. Love it, but too heavy, and is a real pain to handwash. Sent home from Istanbul, replaced with a Gore Windstopper jacket. Later got an Earth Sea Sky Traverse jacket – great for wet weather in Patagonia.
  • Lightweight midlayer fleece. Handy this, used it all the way. Well not much in Thailand.
  • Goretex jacket – lightweight, for keeping water out. To go over warm mid layer. No longer required – have Traverse jacket now. It’s the Paclite material, and to be honest I was pretty disappointed at how poorly it kept out the rain. “Guaranteed to keep you dry” – I don’t think so.
  • Specialized cycling mitts. Good stuff, although later I found I didn’t always bother wearing any gloves at all.
  • Assos 3 layer winter glove system – obscenely expensive, but the layers lets me adapt to different conditions, and they’re very warm. Sent home from China, was getting too warm. Later used them some more, but they eventually fell apart. Got some Campagnolo wind/water proof gloves, complete rubbish.
  • Sealskinz waterproof socks. Two pairs short socks. Sealskinz were fantastic, a must have item, especially when your only footwear is sandals. But so many times in Europe my feet were warm and dry, even though my shoes were soaked.
  • Legwarmers. Only used very occasionally after Europe. Lightweight though.
  • Thin skull cap for under helmet, and Icebreaker merino hat. The combination should provide all the warmth I need, with not much bulk. Skull cap was great, makes a huge difference to your comfort level.
  • Picked up a rather fetching fluoro vest in Hungary for a couple of euros. Then lost it in Tabriz, never got around to replacing it.

Miscellaneous

  • Toiletries
  • Canon Digital Camera. Great camera, got stolen, replaced with Nikon Coolpix. Canon was much better. Nikon later got stolen, gone back to Canon.
  • Notebooks and pens. Must have. Love the Moleskine journals, but why are they so damned expensive?
  • Heartrate monitor. Bit of a toy. Didn’t really use the measuring strap much, but it was my main watch, until it kept crapping out in the rain. Guess there’s a reason they tell you to send it back to them to get a battery replaced. Later had a cheap altimeter/barometer watch – completely unreliable. Thermometer was handy though.
  • First aid kit. Includes needles, syringes and miscellaneous drugs. Never needed the syringes, but iodine, plasters and diarrhoea antibiotics got used a fair bit. Useful bit was a little booklet of common problems and treatments.
  • Clothesline. Used this maybe once or twice, always forgot about it. Probably could have used it more often, but I generally found some way of hanging up my stuff.
  • Sewing kit. Dental floss makes good strong thread. Used a few times.
  • MP3 player – started out with a Sony 20Gb player, was OK, but a pain to load new music (needed special software). Then the iPod Touch came out, and I got one – perfect for me, with Wi-Fi and Internet. Highly recommended. New iPhone with integrated GPS would be even better.
  • Lifeventure lightweight towel. I hate these things, but they’re so much lighter and smaller… this did start to stink after a while if it didn’t get washed/aired out, but it did last the distance. Will get a new one for the next long trip.
  • Maps and Compass. Have picked up large scale area maps, will try and get more detailed country maps as I pass through areas. Maps are tough to get. A very small compass, of the type where the base (rather than the needle) rotates, is very useful to put in your map holder. I picked up a cheap one in Xi’an – not very accurate, but was useful enough when navigating roads.
  • Survival blanket – only 56g, but might just keep me alive if I get caught out in colder conditions than I expect. Ended up sending this home from part way through China, after passing the last of the high altitude areas. Never needed it, but would take again if there was a small chance of needing it.
  • Garmin eTrex Vista Cx GPS – colour screen, mapping. Maps won’t be that great for many of the places I’ll be going, but it shouldn’t matter – there won’t be all that many roads! This was useful as a toy, but when it got stolen in Bishkek, I didn’t immediately bother replacing it. In Singapore I got the HCx version, and this was pretty good in NZ and Australia, when I loaded it up with some high detail maps. Then it was spot on. Good motivational tool when in Australia. Had great maps for Chile and Argentina, including elevation…and then it got stolen too. Sigh. Maybe next time I’ll get a fancy touch screen one.
  • Ortlieb Drybag for the tent. This got a few holes in it, from rubbing on my pannier clips.
  • Bungees for strapping on the drybag and any miscellaneous items. Cheap bungee cords, of the sort you find at the $2 shop, seemed to do the trick for me. Quicker and easier than the $10 straps you can buy from hiking stores. Every now and then they wear out and need to be replaced, but they’re available anywhere.
  • Insurance – I thought World Nomads would be perfect, as it covers most nationalities, and you can extend it on the road. They even list cycling as a covered activity…however it is only “incidental” cycling – not bike touring. Bastards. Am now insured with STA, who do cover bike touring. No hassles when I needed to make a claim, too.

Am continuing to refine this list, always looking to see what I can get rid of – or what new things I really need!