Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gear review

We get a lot of questions about what equipment we are using...hopefully this answers some of those and gives good gear a plug and bad gear the negative it deserves!

Bikes - Vivente world randenuer Deccan model (drop handle bars). These have been incredible...they come ready to go, no accessorising needed just adjust positions and ride. Everything works, nothing has broken and we have ridden on some really nasty roads at times. Steel frames means they can hold fatty's weight and his gear...but we are travelling a hell of a lot lighter than 90% of other cyclists we see touring. Front wheel Dynamo has been fantastic and keeps iPad, iPhone, kindle and camera charged rain hail or shine. A+ value for money and simplicity = easy and reliable!

Ortlieb panniers and handle bar bags...everyone uses these and for good reason...they are strong/tough and waterproof to the extent they did a really good job of holding the entire bottle of walnut liqueur that burst in one! We chose red and yellow for visibility = safety. Choose yellow if you want to be seen.

Clothes - ground effect make great gear! Padded bum pants are A+ and generally survived our harsh treatment. We have 2 sets of riding clothes and a set for off the bike. In the hot weather we rinse out the sweat during lunch break and wear same set until it smells to bad to put on again! We normally get 3+days per set of riding clothes hence hand washing once a week. Ice-breaker jumpers don't smell, are warm and most importantly...look great ;) 

Light weight rain jackets, Northface and Rab brands have been everything we wanted.

SPD shoes are great to ride in. Tim has been using Exustar SPD sandals and found them great. Pros and cons to what ever way you go but sandals get wet while riding in the rain but dry immediately - also less washing and no stinky socks! Emily has been wearing shimano casual shoes with cleats, lasting the distance and comfortable. MUST remember to bring plastic bits to put into place rather than cleat to go hiking in!

Tent -Marmot Tungsten 3 Person has been great. Huge inside (great for rainy days), lightweight and robust build. Pity that it is bright orange as hard to hide! MUST use a 'foot print' as this has kept the tent floor in great condition while the footprint has had a very hard life!


Thermarests have been great but then everyone knows this and they deserve their great reputation. We have had x2 holes but rather than buggerise around with glue and official repair kits we used a pre-prepared sticky bicycle tube patch...they will now be included in every hiking trip or car camping trip!

Sleeping sheets = sea to summit 'travel adapters'cool max fabric. Great piece of gear...warm in winter, cool in summer, soft and not sweaty. They stretch (unlike silk) and wash/dry quickly.
Sleeping bag (we only have the one and use it as a down quilt which saves a huge amount of space packing wise) It is a very old Kathmandu bag...15+years and still going! Normally don't like Kathmandu gear as doesn't last...but then this piece has last above and beyond expected.

Lightweight tarp has been essential. We started with Tim's grandparents tripod chairs but they didn't simply lay out tarp and sit on much better than a chair as it becomes a table and bed for a siesta as well. Keeps you clean and from having prickles and grass in your padded bum pants.


Kitchen - we are using Optimus Crux Lite Stove. In preparing for this trip lightweight was important but size does matter...hence this stove folds into the bottom of fuel canister and takes no room. Fuel canisters have been hard to find so next time I would consider an adaptor or petrol stove...but then canisters are so easy! We have the Sea-to-Summit X-Pot collapsing pot/bowl/cup set. It is amazingly small when compacted and works great for our one pot meals. Cups make the wine smell like we just drink if from the bottle now! Design flaw with the lid...hasn't survived temperature changes during cooking and cracked. I would buy the set again if fact would buy again and make own lid! Sea-to-summit will no doubt fix this flaw although I still haven't got confirmation they received my emails.

Other bits'n'bobs - sea-to-summit make the most amazing accessories for travelling. The "kitchen sink" is fabulous, collapsible dry bag day packs are waterproof and so small light comfortable. Bottles and containers are great...drill out the holes in the shakers to make suitable for the size ingredient.

Head torch we use black diamond and love it except for habit of turning on in pack the panniers and is flat by that is the lock model...clearly it doesn't lock properly and they need to redesign. Batteries last forever when it doesn't switch on by accident.


Electronics - kindle, iPad, iPhone, android, Lumix LX7 camera, SSD hard drive, ASUS computer. iStuff is crap...worst of all electronics at getting wifi signals and maintaining them and don't get me started on trying to load stuff on or off them....Grrr!
Time again we would take x2 smart phones, laptop and x2 Kindles, SSD hard drive (data backup) + LUMIX camera.
Computer weights nothing, flat and sleek and has SSD hard drive and full-metal-jacket so survives bouncing in the pannier.
Navigation = this app is AWESOME. First it is free...I'd pay for it! The maps are downloaded and you can access them offline (we don't have mobile data connection) Unbelievable how accurate they are, shitty little side roads, walking tracks and everything is on it. Better by miles than most GPS units I have used.

Sunglasses - OPSM Alice Springs supplies and fits our eyewear... Consider wind as well as rain (ie a clear or light tinted pair - rains hurts at speed!)

Gloves Exustar make great set that go well above your wrist and protect from sun while stretched out position riding. Love the little tabs on my fox brand gloves that help getting gloves on/ design feature ever!

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