Sunday, 15 March 2015

Gear

Travelling by motorcycle can mean carrying a lot of stuff, often more than necessary, so I'm trying to fine-tune my gear to reduce it while at the back of my mind planning for a bike trip into the interior of Iceland.

I've already downsized that enormous 100mm self-inflating mattress for a Multimat Superlite Air, so that bulk that I took to Austria has gone. The Superlite is working out really well.
Multimat Superlite Air - highly recommended.
I'm kind of using the 3-Peaks trips to test new kit and discover what I can do without. First changes are to leave a few things behind:


No top-box

Too convenient not to take for most trips but they say you shouldn't use them when off-roading as they can impact your back when you go down. I've lost count how many times I've had to pick my bike up and think you'd have to be unlucky to have it hit you. That said, I don't use my top-box off-road as there would be a lot of leverage with a fair weight behind it if it were to hit something on the way down. I've also seen a top-box launch into the air when it ripped from its mounts while riding green lanes.


No chair

I own this low chair - pretty good.
I briefly considered this. ££!
Simple one this. Don't really need one. My hard panniers serve as both a seat and a table. I find I only use a chair if I'm in a group and we're sitting around the camp fire. I have a general purpose foam pad that I use when sitting on the floor or pannier for longer periods and sometimes when changing footwear and pulling on bike trousers when the ground is wet and muddy. It saves my knees around camp too. Travelling light; I don't need a separate chair.


Next, figure out what I can improve upon or what I might need that I don't already have:

Compressed tent

I took the poles out of the tent bag and put the tent into a compression sack to shorten it. It now fits in the pannier. Poles strap along the rack of the bike.
North Ridge Torre XL - perfect tent for my needs.

Folding trowel

Got this sorted. My parents had an unused folding trowel in their caravan that they bought on a whim. They donated it to the cause. Just the job for the job when wild camping.
Got it. Not yet used it.

Better pillow

I want a bigger pillow that packs smaller but is soft and light. A Sea To Summit Aeros pillow will do nicely.
Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow
On my Wish List

Folding spade

Riding solo on big bike across sand I could end up burying the back wheel; a spade could be useful. And I like the look of it. OK, I just want one.
I need one!
To be fair, I have ridden in some pretty deep sand and it's true; you do have to stay on the throttle. I've been lucky so far and not got stuck. Though I did once in boggy mud. I didn't have as much experience then and had buddies at hand to help me out. I would be able to ditch the rubber mallet from the luggage as this Gerber spade comes with a built-in whacker. I like multi-purpose kit.

Puncture repair kit

I really should have placed a higher priority on this before, but they're not cheap for something I've never needed; I've never carried a puncture repair kit and I've never had a puncture. I run Heidenau K60s, tubeless on the GS, and have never had a problem on or off road. Parents being parents bought me a kit when I told them of my Iceland plans. They still worry over me and I'm 41!
Stop & Go tyre plugger - don't leave home without it.

Comfortable gentleman's bits

I know. Not the usual subject of polite conversation but it is a very import subject. One has to be comfortable. There is nothing worse than having to (ahem) adjust one's self because of bunching, pinching or that feeling of being cut-in-half. I have a ten hour ride planned and travelling light means I'm taking just two pairs: wear one, wash one. I bought two pairs of 6" Under Armour BoxerJocks and they're supposed to dry quickly. They do pack small (you can almost hide them in your hand). Worn to work for a day, I can confirm they are the most comfortable underwear I've ever owned. About £10 each isn't bad either.
Under Armour BoxerJocks - perfect for riding.

Cameras, charging, SD cards and backups

Hmm, big subject. Maybe it should have its own post...


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