A number of people have asked for recommendations on
gear. Have a look at my tips page as well for general
|Panniers||I prefer using
panniers as opposed to a BOB (for one thing there is not the 18lb deadweight
to tow). The panniers should have a positive attachment to keep them on the
pannier frames otherwise they will bounce off. From my experience the ones
from Arkel Overdesign of Canada (eh!) are great. They have survived over
10,000 km of touring and still going strong, although I did replace their
aluminum frame hook with steel ones.
|Pannier Holder||Be sure to use
steel and not aluminum. You can almost guarantee that they will break on the
trip and good luck getting aluminum welded. Adventure Cycling have a
fantastic front pannier holder for mountain bikes which is bullet proof.
Highly recommended (Unfortunately, I got mine after the trip).
|Stove||I carried a small
stove with 1 x pan and lid, which also served as my plate/bowl. It was
multi-fuel so it ran on petrol which was what I mainly used.
|Water||I had two water
bottles on my bike and a 3 litre hydration pack (e.g. camelback). I also
carried 1.5 litres in my rear pannier (the Arkel panniers are designed to
carry a large water bottle).
|Gloves||Short and long
gloves are essential, and I also suggest soft foam grips. It is unbelievable
just how tired one's hands get after many hours on rough roads. I use gel
gloves (Pearl Izod) to get extra cushioning.
|Clothes||You don't need much
for cycling, as long as you don't have too sensitive a nose. I usually take
the following on my trips:
|Rain Gear||A good Goretex rain
jacket and pants are recommended. Mine were purchased from Mountain
Equipment Co-op in Canada (eh!). I like they way they provide long zippers
under the jacket sleeves for extra cooling.
|Shoes||I use the Lake
mountain biking shoe. It has laces and looks half decent. Unlike other
cycling shoes, it can double as a regular street shoe since it doesn't have
as rigid a sole.
|Dry Bags||I use kayaking dry
bags to store my clothes. You can get different sizes and I found some which
fit half the pannier perfectly. When packed you don't need to worry about
rain (or dust) getting into your clothes.
|Sleeping Bag||I use a down
sleeping bag which compresses quite small. It comes with a special bag which
has buckles and allows me to really compress it. When packed I also put it
into a dry bag.
|Sleeping Pad and Pillow||There is only one:
Thermarest. Get the 3/4 length pad. You won't regret it. I also had a small
hollowfill pillow. Didn't weigh anything and made for better sleep.
|Tent||In selecting a tent
there are two considerations (a) that it is sturdy (won't blow over in the
wind) and waterproof; and (b) that there is enough room to store your
panniers and other gear, usually under the fly. Don't underestimate (b); it
is a drag to be in a rain storm and need to unzip the tent fly to get at
your bags when you find that you need something.
Take spare pegs, especially if you have aluminum ones. Something to hammer them into the ground is also good--such as a 6" adjustable wrench (see below).
|Tools and Spares||This is the hard
one. From my experiences this is what I suggest:
|Camera||I use an old HP
digital camera but any will suffice. Sony has recently released a waterproof
digital camera which would be a major improvement.
Whichever camera you use, be sure that you can use a memory card for download the data instead of a USB link. This saves on battery power.
|Computer||I bought and old
Toshiba Libretto 50 on e-bay. This is very small and portable. I also got
two spare batteries which meant that I had enough juice for 3-4 days between
recharges. Ideal for writing a journal at the end of the day. The PCMCIA
slot was used for downloading digital photos. I used Microsoft Frontpage for
writing the journal, and uploaded it to the web using AT&T Global Network.
The entire package fit into a small waterproof box.