The world really doesn’t need another “gear in a grid” post, but here’s one anyway. I think we have stuff figured out pretty well at this point.
The disembodied feet pictured are not packed anywhere, as I keep them attached to my legs.
-Tarptent Double Rainbow (blue bag)
-Enlightened Equipment 30 degree quilt (orange bag)
-Thermarest NeoAir (no bag)
-Cooking kit (other blue bag)
-Buff and puffy jacket (used for a pillow, also used as a puffy jacket and a buff)
Light and puffy stuff should always go up front, in a compressible 20l dry bag to keep it all tight. Voile XL ski straps to cinch it all to the handlebars.
Next time, I might bring some sort of sleeping bag liner. I like my quilt more than my old Big Agnes bag- it’s warmer and half the weight, but the downside is that I’m sleeping right on top of my Thermarest which is made out of a really unpleasant sticky material. For some reason, Colleen’s Women’s NeoAir has a softer, non-sticky brushed surface. On warm nights, I’m so jealous that I’d almost steal it if it wasn’t so short, and she wasn’t so fierce.
The Tarptent Double Rainbow is perfect- big enough to sit up in and eat dinner when the sandflies are bad or it’s raining, vestibules to keep our gear dry, and openings on both sides so we don’t have to crawl over each other to get in and out. And it weighs under 1200 grams. I’ve fixed a few holes with duct tape and superglue over the years, but the tent has been pretty durable for its weight. Truly a fine American product.
-Macbook Air (in a little dry bag I made padded with old sleeping pad foam)
-Melanzana fleece (so Colorado bro)
-Hat, from my favorite bar where everybody knows everybody, and if we don’t know you we’ll all turn and stare and make you feel uncomfortable.
-Electronic fizz-widgets- camera charger, extra camera battery, laptop charger, SD card reader
-Spare bike bits and pieces
-Nalgene for alcohol stove fuel
-Jim Beam bottle for olive oil
-4-liter MSR Dromelite bladder
-Big River Harp
-Passport and wallet
-Food (typical load, a kilo of rice, carrots, beans, peanut butter, frozen pizzas, chocolate)
-1/4 inch wrench and 1/4 bits (the words best multi-tool, available at your local Ace Hardware)
-World’s smallest channel locks
-Personal maintenance items
-More pizza (I’m over pizza, frozen pies from now on)
-Not pictured, because I recently lost them: bottle for chain lube, bottle of tea tree oil, bandana, Tabasco sauce
-USB cache battery for dynamo (just a cheap battery I picked up in Mexico)
Close up of the bike bits:
-A tire lever (new tubeless tires and rims can be gnarly to get off sometimes- especially the WTBs Colleen was using)
-Superglue (that and gorilla tape fixes anything fabric- water bladders and Thermarests included)
-Topeak chain breaker (with the handle ground off)
-Stein cassette lockring tool
-Tubeless tire plugs, tube patches and glue
-Needle and thread
-Assortment of spare bolts
-Tubeless valve stem
-Silicon tape (in case of leaky hydro stuff)
-Rubber tubing (for bleeding brakes)
-Small bottle of Stan’s sealant
I should have a little bottle of DOT fluid, just in case I need to lube a piston or do a bleed, but since every motor vehicle uses it, it’s not typically too hard to find.
Colleen has a similar bag of spare parts, with the addition of a spare brake cable since she’s using BB7s.
And a close up of the cooking stuff (also, how to avoid looking like a hack with a mug dangling off your seatbag):
-.9l Vargo Ti Double Boiler
-Cat can stove (Super Cat!) and windscreen
-12-ounce aluminum mug, handle cut off, insulated with a beer coozy
-GSI coffee filter
We’ve tried beer can stoves, and we like the cat can stove better. It’s easier to light, way easier to make (takes maybe two minutes), is more durable, works with lower quality fuel, and it has a better name. Super Cat!
Colleen carries the bag of coffee, her own spork, mug, plastic bowl, and coffee filter- we both drink too much coffee to share a filter. She also packs a little bottle of iodine for back up water purification.
On the bike:
-Tent poles and stakes, velcroed to the downtube
-Lezyne mini pump wrapped in Gorilla tape
–Sinewave Revolution USB dynamo charger (been using it since the 2013 Tour Divide, still not a hiccup)
-Exposure Revo dynamo light
-27 ounce bottle under the downtube
-One spare tube, velcroed under the toptube
-Garmin Etrex 20
Colleen took this picture, and didn’t tell me I had a fly-away hair. Some tiny wife she is.
-Aloha shirt with pink flamingos
-OR Helium rain jacket
-Dakine fanny pack with my Fuji x100s
-Troy Lee cosmic marble (far out my man) helmet
-Embarrassingly blue Giro VR90s
Cammera- I haven’t been super nice to my x100s over the last few years, but it’s despite dust, water, and constant shaking, it’s still going. I shoot on manual everything, and like enjoy the optical viewfinder. Sometimes it would be nice to have a longer lense, but for the most part it’s fine. I’m not a real photographer, and the x100 is good enough for the magazine stuff that I occasionally do.
Mostly, I just wish the auto focus worked- it’s really hard for me to take pictures of people since I have to manually focus the thing (which is slow, and looks awkward). It sounds like Fuji may have fixed that issue with the new version of the x100.
Colleen also carries a little Fuji camera, the X-T10. She likes it, I hate the the viewfinder is in the middle of the camera body, but it’s definitely a better camera for people and in town.
I’ve stopped wearing underpants, and gave up on padded shorts a long time ago. I just rinse out my nylon shorts every day, and use tea tree oil if I ever start to get a saddle sore. For the ladies out there- Colleen carries three pairs of underpants, two wool bras. Also no padded shorts- the butt sponges just get too nasty if you don’t have access to a washing machine.
Shoes- in the last few years, I’ve tried everything from floppy 5.10s, to flat pedals and approach shoes, to the new enduro shoes, to cheap nylon-soled Shimanos, and finally came back to carbon race kicks.
They’re way better. Single speeding, I always climb out of the saddle, and if I’m not in stiff shoes my feet go numb. The Giros have a rubber Vibram sole, with that traditional XC shoe tread pattern with big grippy lugs that dig in when I’m pushing up something steep. And the laces make them fit really nice, and are a lot more durable than a plastic buckle. I hope they never stop making this shoe, but I might buy a couple of extra pairs just in case.
Colleen is riding in Giro Terraduras- she’s ok with them, but they’re pretty heavy, and the sole actually isn’t that great for hike-a-biking. They put a lot of rubber on the ground, so they’d be good on rock in Moab, but in mud or on steep gravel, she has some foot traction issues.
Bags are Defiant Pack zipperless stuff- the framebags in particular are awesome, they might be the only zipperless bag that’s easy to get in and out of while riding. Revelate top-tube bags, and I’m using the very excelent Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion v1 rack. Colleen has a using Portland Design Works Brindle rack, which I sewed up a little harness for. It would be excellent, if PDW hadn’t tried to make the seatpost clamp fit every size post. It has to be way overtightened to stay in place, which is bending the front of the clamp in a weird way.
And that’s it- enough stuff to be comfortable camping even when it’s close to freezing, but not too much to weigh us down.
I’ll do a post on the bikes at some point.