What to pack is an age old question plaguing everyone who sets off on a long distance bike trip. Lots of people will insist that you need this and that but other than the bare essentials (somewhere to sleep, something to cook food, clothes to wear) everything else is non-essential and will simply make your journey easier or more comfortable.
Below is a brief summary of what I brought with me. The list isn´t completely exhaustive- it just covers the major purchases that I had to put thought into before setting off.
Reading gear lists of other cyclists was always helpful to me especially when making decisions about what not to take, so hopefully someone out there will find this helpful too. Maybe once the trip is up I´ll update this page with a few short reviews of my gear.
My beautiful travel companion is a Soma Saga Complete named ´Suzie´.
- Cantilever brakes
- In an ideal world I would have gone for disc brakes but I was in a rush when preparing my trip and didn´t have the time or money to custom build a bike. Soma only sold the frame as a complete build with canti brakes when I bought it . So far they have done fine but when it is cold and wet the braking force is not great.
- 26 inch wheels
- Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyres (26 x 2)
- Racks: Tubus Tara on the front, Tubus Cargo Classic on the rear.
- Brooks Cambium Saddle
- Panniers: Ortlieb Back Roller Plus
Spare parts I´m carrying
- Three metal spokes / two Fibre Spokes
- Two gear / brake cables
- One 9 speed shimano chain
- Two pairs of brake pads
- Two inner tubes
Tent and Sleeping Gear
My home is a Mont Moondance 2. It´s a two person tent but perfectly sized for long distance a one man trip. Packs down small, isn´t too heavy (about 2.1kg), well sized for moving about inside, nice big doors.
One minor gripe is the aluminium pegs that come with the tent aren´t very strong. In three months two of mine have snapped while I´ve been hammering them into the ground. Lucky I brought spares.
Inside the tent is,
- A ´One Planet´ Bungle -7 degree sleeping bag, 700 loft.
- Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite sleeping mat
- Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium
Olympus Nova Multi Fuel Stove, with 1L fuel bottle.
I use unleaded petrol as fuel – it´s readily available and very cheap.
My pans are standard Trangia aluminum pans. I do regret bringing these – I should have sprung for some nice non stick titanium ones but I didn´t realise before starting the trip how unhealthy aluminium is to use long term.
Standard steel cutlery was borrowed from my parent´s kitchen at home.
I only allowed myself to bring enough clothes to fit inside one of my small front panniers.
The collection includes;
- One fleece, one down jacket
- Four pairs of socks (two thick, two thin)
- Two pairs of merino wool underwear
- Two merino wool t-shirts, two shirts.
- One pair of pants
- One pair of shorts
- One pair of bathers
- Warm weather gloves, cold weather gloves
- Two pairs of padded cycling shorts
- One pair of shoes
- One pair of sandles
- One cap, one wide brimmed hat, one wool beanie
- One merino wool top layer, One merino wool pants layer
- Rain jacket
Most importantly; sewing kit.
For my first six blog posts I was using the phone camera on my Samsung Galaxy S6 and although it is actually very good I felt like I had reached the limits of what I was able to do with it.
To up my photography game, in Baku I bought a second hand Canon EOS 650D with a standard 18-55mm lens. At the time of writing I´ve only been using it for a couple of weeks, after having watched some YouTube tutorials on how the buttons work, but so far it´s great.
As a solo traveller it´s tough to get photos of yourself sometimes, so I also brought a small 140cm high tripod for mounting cameras and phones.
Electricity on the road comes from
- Two USB power Banks (16750 and 20000mAh respectively),
- This is definitely overkill and I have never even come close to exhausting both of them before reaching a recharging point.
- One Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus solar panel
The power banks are excellent. I´m so far underwhelmed by the solar panel. It charges an iPhone fine but struggles for some reason to charge my Samsung, and it charges my power banks so slowly that it may as well not be doing anything at all.
Kindle Paperlight, chocked full of books.
Also my trusty iPod Classic.
My blog posts come from an Ipad.
It´s great because it´s small, has a good battery life and a small charging cable – but ease of use for using WordPress and backing up photos is not as good as a laptop would be. I often borrow the laptops of other travellers when I need to get something difficult or time consuming done.