Camping Gear

Most of the gear on this list I already had kicking around in my camping gear.  New items were purchased from REI.  These guys took the time to answer all of my questions (there were a lot) and talk me through different options to make sure that I got exactly what I was looking for.  Thanks guys!













Sleeping



    Tent

Bibler - Juniper

Bibler tents are no longer made.  These amazing single-wall tents are made of the remarkable waterproof and breathable fabric Todd-Tex, named after the original owner.  These tents are now made by Black Diamond.


As camping can find one in unexpected areas (abandoned buildings/ditches/briar patches), most people suggest a few things to help avoid attention and protect your gear:

  • A "natural" colored tent to help blend into areas.

  • A free-standing tent (doesn't need pegs).

  • A groundsheet for the tent, you never know when you'll have to camp in bad places for tent bottoms.

    Sleeping Bag

Sierra Designs - Backcountry Bed 2.5 Season (Synthetic)

I have previously owned Sierra Designs bags and have been very pleased with their innovative approaches to sleeping.  This bag is no exception.  I tend to move a lot during the night and this bag will accommodate for different sleeping positions.  I went with the synthetic over down because I believe (and several people recommended) the day-in/day-out use would be too much for the down... it would constantly be exposed to moisture.

    Bag liner

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Started with a plain cotton sheet (for the versatility) from the thrift store, but dumped it due to weight and volume.  Looking for another solution so I don't have to wash the bag was much.

    Sleeping Pad

Sea to Summit - Comfort Plus (Long)

I originally intended to purchase a gigantic sleeping pad.  I was willing to lug around any amount of weight for better sleep.  After a lot of talking, I realized that this is no different than a backpacking trip and I needed to go compact.  The Comfort Plus is pretty sweet, it has two separate cells and is incredibly comfortable.

    Pillow

(previous: Sea to Summit - Aeros Premium)

I purchased the Sea to Summit pillow and within the first week it just popped.  I have no idea how that happened... I was sleeping on top of my sleeping pad and the thing just blew up...  Since that time, I use my sleeping bag stuff sack with clothes in it... not a very elegant solution, but it works.

    Repairs


Sea to Summit - Mat repair kit; Seam Grip; Tenacious Tape

Cooking



    Stove

MSR - Dragonfly

Most people use the MSR Whisperlite stove.  These stoves have been around for 30+ years and it's hard to argue with that kind of success.  I opted for the slightly more expensive Dragonfly largely because it has a finer flame control (controls on both the stove and the bottle as opposed to only the bottle) and has the ability to do a true simmer.  An added bonus is that the Dragonfly has more fuel options, including unleaded gas.  Stove comes with heat reflector and wind screen.

    Fuel bottle

MSR - 11 fluid ounces (325 mL)

(previous: 22 fluid ounces)

I started with the larger bottle, but dumped it due to weight.  I'm much happier with the smaller bottle (half the weight).  There is enough fuel to last me for a couple weeks and I've always seen plenty of fuel options within a week.  If I need extra, I'll do what the locals do and use an old soda bottle.

    Stove repair

MSR - Dragonfly Expedition Service kit


    Pots

GSI  Outdoors - Cooking set 

Pot (1 L), Frying pan, bowl, mug.


Sea to Summit - X-Pot (2.8 L)

Didn't use this.  Sent back after two months.

    Water Bottles

Two 1.5 L Nalgene "soft-side" bottles

One 750 mL bike bottle

The "soft" Nalgene bottles are great!  They are perfect for rolling out tired and aching muscles.  Also very easy to strap down.

The standard bike bottle is also great!  The nozzle on the end is useful for showering.  Also makes a great dog deterrent... spray in the face of chasing dogs to slow them down!

    Water Purifier

Steripen - Classic 3


    Water bag

Seattle Sports - 3.5 gallons (13.25 L)

Gave this away after two months... didn't use once.

    Utensils


One metal spoon; One wooden spatula; One paring knife

    Spices


Salt, pepper, garlic powder, hot sauce.

    Miscellaneous


Knife sharpener, flint and steel, scour pad.  (Gave away:  clips, cutting board, dish soap, corkscrew).


Clothing

I have my clothing in three different categories: bike clothing, camp/town clothing, and cold weather gear.  Again, I had most of it already and only purchased a few items.  My general practice is to put on bike clothes in the morning and bike all day in these.  Once I make camp, I immediately change into dry "camp" clothes to have the "bike" clothes drying.  In the morning, I change back into the "bike" clothes.  I wear each set of clothing for several days.












Bike Clothes



    Shorts

2 pair (synthetic)

One pair is Pearl Izumu bike shorts.  One pair is REI brand hiking shorts.​

    Shirts

3 short-sleeve (synthetic)

1 long-sleeve (synthetic)

I wear each shirt a couple of days, then rotate.  I have the long-sleeve to use as a base layer for the cold or as sun protection.

    Underwear

3 pair (synthetic)

1 pair bike (padded)

The synthetic underwear are REI brand.  They are easy to wear and wash, they always dry over night.

I have the bike underwear "just in case," but I haven't worn them yet... the 'ol behind is doing just fine.

    Shoes

1 pair

These are old, beat-up hiking shoes. I'm gonna wear them until they are destroyed.

    Socks

4 pair (synthetic)

These are just generic athletic socks.  I got the low-cut to wave a little weight.

Camp/Town Clothes



    Pants

2 pair (synthetic)

One pair is lightweight.  I put them on in camp after I stop biking for the day.
One pair is nicer.  I use them around town or when I need to "dress up".

    Shorts

1 pair (cotton)

1 pair (synthetic)

Gave away after two months.

Board shorts for swimmin'.

    Shirts

1 T-shirt (cotton)

1 nice shirt (synthetic)

1 Hawai'ian shirt (synthetic)

These are for wearing in town or around camp if I need a dry shirt.  The t-shirt is from the bike shop that put my bike together for me; I wear it for all my interviews.  The "nice" shirt has buttons on it; for all occasions ;)

Everyone should always have at least one Hawai'ian shirt... always!

    Underwear

2 pair (cotton)

Stopped using these after two months.

    Shoes

1 pair flip-flops

These Chaco flip-flops are indestructable.  I wear these in camp after I change out of my biking clothes.

    Socks

2 pair (blend)

These are warm wool/synthetic blended socks.  I wear them around camp and town. 

Cold Weather Gear



    Thermal Underwear

1 pair- bottoms (synthetic)

Patagonia.  Super warm!  Can wear under the bike shorts if necessary.

    Pants

1 pair (synthetic)

1 pair waterproof shell

These are a cross-country ski pant, not a shell.

The shell is a cheap Colombia waterproof pant.

    Jackets

1 vest

1 soft-shell

1 jacket

1 waterproof shell

Marmot Variant vest for extra warmth.

I wear the Mammut Amabilis light-weight soft-shell while biking.  It is VERY breathable.

At camp, I put on the Patagonia Nano Puff for warmth.

The waterproof shell is an un-insulated Patagonia mid-weight shell.  This has been with me all over the world... absolutely indispensable!!!


I highly recommend all of these for the listed uses.

    Gloves

1 pair

Toko light-weight waterproof biking glove.

    Hat

1 beanie

A fleece beanie that has also been with me all over the world... must have!

    Booties

1 pair waterproof booties

Gave these away after two months.


Below is the gear that will be accompanying me for the next few years.  This was compiled through my own experience and by looking at the database of bike touring trips found at:  thenextchallenge.org.


The gear list is broken into the following categories: Bike, Camping (Sleeping/Cooking), Clothing, Electronic, Medical, Other.  Updated changes are in italics.

Gear List

"Pain is temporary.  It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place.  If I quit, however, it lasts forever."

   -Lance Armstrong, “It's not About the Bike" (2001)

Instagram

Electronics/Miscellaneous

I have intentionally gone light on electronics.  I don't want to worry about things getting wet nor stolen nor charging.










Electronics



    Computer

Asus-Chromebook (10-inch)


    Phone

Google-Nexus 5


    Bike Computer

Cateye-Velo 5

Basic, but with all the necessary info: speed, distance, time.

    mp3 player

SanDisk-ClipSport (8 gig)

Gotta have music.  I use this while biking when I need a change of pace.  It has a very handy *** card slot so I can share music with people that I meet!

    Tripod

Joby-GorillaPod

Fits my phone and has crazy legs to attach to anything.

    Bluetooth remote


This interfaces with my phone to take a remote photo.

    Battery pack


Generic battery pack to recharge phone and mp3 player.  Good for about 4 phone charges.

    Hair trimmer


This is a rechargable timmer for haircuts with 8-hours of charge and it can handle 110-220 V.

Miscellaneous



    Hat

1 baseball hat (synthetic)

Foldable hat for sun protection.

    Sunglasses

1 pair

Generic polarized sunglasses for riding.​

    Headlamp

Black Diamond

My only source of light.  Must have!

    Camp towel

1 (synthetic)

I wear these in camp after I change out of my biking clothes.

    Compass


Just in case I need to find north and south.

    Poop shovel


I didn't see this on any of the other gear lists... I hope all y'all are burying your poop!

    Fishing line

30 meters braided line

Multi-purpose, but hopefully to use for fishin'! 

    Slingshot


Handmade slingshot by a cool 'ol Mexican dude.  Made from an old shoe, fuel line for a boat, and a hand-picked branch; to be used for chasing dog protection and entertainment.

    Guitar

Traveler Guitar-Ultra-light (Nylon)

Sorry to see this go, but I just couldn't justify the weight for the number of times that I used it... gave it to a friend.

    Tattoo


A big bike trip is as good of an excuse as any to get a new tatt!


Matt  W.  Dawson

First-Aid/Paperwork

I have had significant first-aid training.  I reviewed my first-kit and emergency protocols with both a licensed Medical Doctor and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  I also reviewed my fitness plan.  It pays to take some extra time and/or money to make sure that everything is in good shape.  This is a major undertaking and incredibly physical.


On that note, it also pays to ensure that all the necessary paperwork is in place to aid in the event of the unforeseen.  I suggest a back-up plan for all possible circumstances (theft, kidnapping, death, etc.) as well as a time-frame (weekly check-ins, e-mail, calls, etc.)


First-Aid



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Paperwork



    Passport


Make sure that it's not going to expire!  A list of consulate contact info for the countries that will be visited is nice, but, in my opinion, not necessary unless travel is in a particularly unstable area.

    Medical

Vaccination certificate

Some countries require this for entry.


Blood type

At a minimum have this in your wallet for emergency purposes.


Travel insurance


    Legal

Will



Living Will



Power of Attorney


    Financial

Bank/Credit Card Info

Phone numbers and e-mail for personal bank and credit card.  Visa (and I assume other credit cards) have toll-free numbers for almost every country in the world.  I've learned from personal experience that an emergency credit card can be replaced in 48 hours almost anywhere on the planet.  It's nice to have a hard copy of the contact info.


Emergency $$$

Plan for different situations: lost wallet, stranded, no electricity, no banks, no ATMs, etc.


Wallet & Fake Wallet



Pictures of Bike & Gear

For insurance purposes.

    Other

Business cards

An easy way to provide people with contact information... a lot of people ask.


Postcards

I give these to people that I stay with along the way... a nice way to thank people for sharing their homes with me.


Passwords



Newspaper article

I haven't experienced this, but I've been told that some travelers have had occasional problems when trying to cross a border... the border guards didn't believe their story.  This would serve as "proof" that they are indeed biking. 


Bike Stuff  (Purchased from the following local bike shops)

Saturday Cycles

I purchased the bike and most of the gear from these guys.  They carry all the Surly, Brooks, Ortlieb, and other products that I was looking for... seriously, theseguys have everything.  I have to thank Ian, Margie, and Mark for answering all my questions, building me a great ride, and helping me get everything I need.  Check out their web site at:  Saturday Cycles


Slim & Knobby's

This bike shop is right down the street.  Though I didn't get as many things from these guys, they helped me with all those last-minute things that I needed.  They have been very helpful and enjoyable to talk to:  Slim & Knobby's












Bike



    Frame

Surly - Long Haul Trucker

I read about a lot of bikes, a LOT...  Most everyone loves the tour bike they used and most suggestions relied heavily on personal preference.


However, tourers and non-tourers alike spoke very highly of Surly.  In fact, I haven't heard a bad thing yet about these guys.  I opted for Surly because, not only do they sell a great product, but the product names and descriptions are hilarious.  What's life without a sense of humor?  Read for yourself at:  Surly.com


I kept most everything on the Long Haul Trucker with the factory components.  I only changed the handlebars and seat (for comfort) and the wheel axles (for added security).

    Saddle

Brooks - B-17

There are very few things that everyone agrees on, and a Brooks saddle is one of them.  When I asked about different models, I was told, "Trust me, you want the B-17."  That's good enough for me.

    Handlebar

Nitto - Noodle

This handlebar was more comfortable than the handlebar that came with the bike.

    Handlebar Tape

Salsa - Gel Cork Bar tape

I like this one because it doesn't have adhesive on the back side... makes it easier to readjust.

Racks



    Front

Surly - Front Rack

Everyone uses Tubus racks, everyone.  All reviews state that these things are indestructible.  But, I decided to take a different route on this one... largely due to the front rack.  The Tubus racks have a low weight rating (10 kg/22 lbs).  The Surly front rack is rated at a beefy 36 kg/80 lbs.  Though I don't intend to carry a lot of weight on the front, I want to have more options.  Also, I really like that the Surly rack has a top to place/mount items.  I figure that if I can trust these guys to build a bomber bike, I shouldn't worry about the racks that they are building.

    Back

Surly - Back Rack

Not much difference between the Surly back rack and Tubus racks.

Panniers/Bags



    Front

Arkel - Dolphin 48

(previously Ortlieb: Sport-Packer Classic)

Once again, everyone spoke highly of Ortlieb bags.  With this idea, I purchased the Ortlieb bags.  Within one week, the seam of one of the bags came undone.  Fair enough, this could happen to any manufacturer.  However, the next day, my bike was knocked over (completely my fault) and the plastic rack attachment on the Ortlieb bag broke.  This was too much... So, I began looking for another bag.


This is when I found the Arkel bags.  These things are bomber.  Not only are the bags bigger, the design is much more user-friendly.  There are self-draining pockets and an extra outside pouch for those things that you need to get to quickly.


I've found the quality to be every bit as good as the Ortlieb bags, if not better, and... the rack attachments are metal!  Plus, I really like the camming device on the rack mount and the idea of the bungee (super easy to fix/replace on the road).  Arkel has my vote!!!

    Back

Arkel - Dolphin 32

(previously Ortlieb: Bike-Packer Classic)


    Handlebar

Arkel - Handlebar bag (small)

(previously Ortlieb: Ultimate 6 Classic)

I prefer the actual Arkel handlebar bag.  It zips closed (as opposed to the Ortlieb magnetic attachment... that thing always made me think something was going to slip out).  The bag is also more user-friendly than the Ortlieb in my opinion.  However, the Ortlieb attachment system was VERY cool.

    Top Bags


I'm strapping gear on top of the racks in generic dry bags.  I didn't see that a manufactured top bag added much and the dry bags are more versatile in my opinion.

Wheels



    Tires

Schwalbe Marathon Plus

These are billed as the only true "flat-less" tires.  Reviews would agree.  Most people expect to get 30-40,000 km out of these guys and with very few flats.

    Tubes

Generic

The Schwalbe tires are rated so highly, that it isn't expected that I'll need high-quality tubes.

    Axle Rod

Delta

I changed out the quick-release factory axles for a pair of simple locking axles.  Experience has taught me that its worth taking a few extra minutes to remove wheels to have the extra security.

    Pedals

Fyxation - Gates Slim with Velcro strap

This proved to be a fairly contentious topic... the core of the issue revolves around bike shoes and whether it is better/worse to be strapped in.  So, let's begin...


I not sure that being strapped in offers a lot more energy in the "up-pedal".  The best that I've heard is that this provides 8-10% more energy efficiency, the worst is that it is not more energy efficient (I would love to see any studies on this one).  I do think that there's something to be said about being strapped into a pedal so that one's foot doesn't slip off.


For me, the added bulk of clip-in shoes isn't worth it.  I just don't have a lot of space in my bags (I'd rather have some extra food or water in there).  This option allows me to wear the same pair of shoes on and off the bike.  Besides, I like the idea of having less specialized gear.  The Velcro strap will allow me to have some of the benefits of "being attached" to the bike, but the freedom to go strapless if I choose.  Of course, I may change my mind about all this after the first few thousand kilometers.

    Brakes

Yokozuna Generation-X pads (salmon)

These are the ones recommended to me.  The salmon color is supposed to be a better all-weather brake pad.

    Chain

KMC X10 Eco Pro-TeQ

This chain is supposed to resist stretching and rust better than most.  I like the master "magic link" that makes changing chains incredibly easy.  I few of the tours that I've read about have spoken about rotating their chain every 1-3,000 km to help prevent wear on the cassette.  I was committed to this idea.


However, the latest recommendation that I have received is to just replace the chain every 3,000 km...  either way, there's sound reasoning behind regular chain maintenance to prolong the life of the more expensive cassette.  I have a spare chain, so both options are available.

Tools



    Allen wrenches

Bondhus - Ball end wrenches

I opted for full-size shop tools for all of the tools (including allen wrenches) instead of the all-in-one tools.  If I need to make a repair, I don't want to worry about the tools, I want to be able to take care of the problem.  These tools should be able to handle most any type of bike repair.  Allen wrench sizes are:  8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.5

    Master Link pliers

Park Tool MLP-1.2


    Crank puller

    Cassette remover

    Bottom bracket tool

Park Tool CWP-7

Park Tool FR-5

Park Tool BBT-32

I stopped carrying these tools after two months to save weight.  I figured that any major repairs could be made at a bike shop (most shops have been very good about letting me use their tools and rack).

    Chain tool

Park Tool CT-5


    Spoke wrench

Park Tool SW-1


    Crescent wrench

Channel Lock - 808W

8" adjustable wrench; This can used with all the other tools and for the various bolts on the bike.

    Miscellaneous


Channel lock pliers (small), screwdriver (with medium and small bits; phillips and regular), hacksaw blade.

    Lock

OnGuard - Bulldog with 4' cable

I gave the lock away after two months to save weight.  I purchased a small padlock with numbers as a replacement and kept the cable.

    Pump

Lezyne - ABS Micro-Floor Drive


    Tire levers

Pedro's


    Chain whip

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Not bringing a chain whip.  If needed, I'll use spare sections of chain and jimmy-rig something for tension.

Spare Items



    Tire

Schwalbe-Marathon Supreme (foldable)

This is a foldable tire, meaning that it uses a Kevlar bead instead of a the typical metal wire bead.  This allows the tire to be folded and not kink the otherwise wire bead.

    Tubes

QTubes

Two spare tubes.

    Brake pads

Yokozuna Generation-X pads

Same brake pads as above; 4 sets.

    Brake & shift cables


Two of each.

    Spokes


Nine total spare spokes; three different sizes (spokes on the cogset side of rear wheel are shorter than the other side of the rear wheel).

Repairs



   Spoke repair

FiberFix Kevlar spoke


    Chain repair

KMC MissingLink 10R

Two links.

    Tire repair

Park Tool TB-2 (Tire Boot)

Three patches.

    Tube repair

Rema Tip Top  TT 01 (patch kit)


    Lubricate

Boeshield T-9

Lube for chains, shift cables, brake cables, derailleurs, seat posts, etc.

    Presta vadapter


Brass valve adapter.

    Leather Conditioner

Obenauf's

For the leather saddle.

    Glue

Gorilla Super Glue Gel


    Zip ties



    Hose clamps


Two clamps: one at 1.5" and one at 2".

    Tape


Gorilla duct tape and electrician tape.