Gear

For an updated gear list that I used for the GDMBR see this page.

The bike I’m riding is a Koga Signature World Traveller. It’s a tough, heavy Dutch bike made specifically for long distance touring under demanding conditions. It’s quite expensive as touring bikes go, but for me it was worth it. I wanted the bike itself to recede into the background so that I could get on with my trip rather than worry about having to fix it frequently. It’s closer to a mountain bike than a road bike. With the exception of a Rohloff internal gear hub, it doesn’t have any fancy components (like suspension or hydraulic disc brakes) that can break but are hard to fix oneself in places where first-world bike supplies are difficult to find.

The kit I was travelling with for the SE Asia tour was more or less similar to the one below minus the camping and cooking equipment. On that tour, I travelled without front panniers.

From the experience I gained during the SE Asia tour I decided to switch out an iPad3 with an external keyboard for an 11″ Macbook air as I found editing the blog tediously time-consuming on the iPad and the photo editing possibilities more limited than those I could enjoy on a laptop. Also, I had a bigger camera (Fuji X-T1) on the SE Asia trip but decided to go with something smaller and lighter for rest of the trip.

You’ll notice there’s quite a lot of Montbell kit there. That’s not because I have any special affiliation with them. It’s the premier and most widely available brand of outdoor equipment in Japan. Japan was the first developed country I went to in a long time where I could find replacements or additions to the bits of my kit that had worn out, broken, been lost or otherwise outlived their usefulness. That said, their stuff seems good, although at the time of writing I can’t yet say how well it will stand the test of time.

Bike 

Frame KOGA Signature WorldTraveller 26
Fork KOGA Wide Bone rigid
Group set Rohloff Speedhub
Brakes Shimano Deore XT V-brake
Tyres Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 50mm
Rims and spokes KM21 Xstrong / Sapim
Saddle Brooks B-17 pre-aged leather
Seat post KOGA Signature Cane Creek Thudbuster LT
Handlebar KOGA Riser
Stem Ritchey Pro Adjustable
Grips Ergon GP1 with generic 2-position barends
Pedals Hope F20
Rear carrier Tubus Logo
Front Carrier Tubus Ergo including kickstand
Dynamo SON 28
Dynamo charger B&M USB-Werk Sinewave Revolution charger
Headlight B&M Lumotec IQ Cyo T Senso Plus
Rear light B&M 4D’Toplight Senso Multi
Kickstand Pletscher Comp
Ring lock AXA Defender RL
Security cable AXA Defender plug in cable RLD 1.8M
Bottle cages Topeak Modula Cage XL, Bike Buddy Mk3, BBB Fueltank XL x 2
Chain case Hebie Chainglider
Mudguards SKS Chromoplastics
Bell Big red IAmsterdam Ding Dong bell Crane mini suzu brass bell
Phone Mount Quad-lock
Cycle Computer VDO MC 2.0 WR
Mirror Mirrycle Mountain Bike Mirror

Panniers & Bags

  • 2 x Ortlieb Back Roller Plus
  • 2 x Ortlieb Front Roller Plus
  • Ortlieb Ultimate 6 Plus handlebar bag (replaced the medium model, when it was no longer waterproof enough due to spilt battery acid, with the large model).
  • 49L Ortlieb Rackpack  20L Outdoor Research Drybag (forcing myself to carry less stuff)

Electronics

  • 11″ Macbook Air in neoprene case
  • 128GB USB stick (for laptop backup)
  • iPhone 6 and earbud headphones
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • Camera and accessories (Sony RX100 M3 and Gorillapod)
  • Skross multi plug adapter with 2 USB socket
  • Anker Astro Mini 3200mAh Ultra-Compact External Battery
  • Headtorch
  • Spare batteries (for torch, water purifier and bike computer)

Clothes

  • Cycling Shorts
    Endura Humvee 3/4 baggy cycling shorts.
    Replaced with Montbell 3/4 cycle-touring shorts (The Montbell shorts are made from a much lighter weight material which is more breathable and quick drying. The Endura shorts lasted an impressive 17 months of heavy use before developing a hole in the bottom.)
  • Two pairs of padded cycling boxer shorts for on bike wear.
    I eventually stopped wearing the padded cycling shorts during my time in the US and sent them home. I replaced them with one pair of close-fitting Smartwool merino boxers and one pair of looser fitting Exofficio boxers made from a synthetic wicking material.
  • Lightweight zip-off trousers
  • Board shorts (for swimming and general off-bike wear) Sent home from Vancouver
  • 2 x Synthetic wicking t-shirts for riding in sent home from US
  • Short sleeve shirt
    Started with a cotton one, replaced with a linen one in India when it had worn out, finally replaced in the US a Club Ride shirt made from a very thin, super fast drying synthetic wicking material. This shirt became my main on bike top and worked as off-bike wear too. I never want another shirt to ride in: It’s durable, functional, has mesh underarm and side paneling so it doesn’t get as stinky as other synthetic tops I’ve had, can be worn off bike and doesn’t look geeky.
  • Montbell long sleeve Wickron shirt (made from a synthetic wicking material. Good for cycling in temperate or colder weather or wearing off bike. Thick enough to provide some mosquito protection in the evenings.)
  • Thin cotton vest
  • Merino t-shirt
  • Merino base layer long johns
  • Merino base layer long sleeved top Sent home from the US
  • Fleece
    Replaced with an Icebreaker merino mid-layer (fleece style)
  • Belay jacket
    Sent home after the winter, then replaced with a Montbell down jacket in Japan. Takes up a fraction of the space and weighs less than 200g.
  • Beanie
  • Fleecy gloves
    Replaced with Montbell thermal inner gloves
  • Snood Sent home after winter. A buff can be used instead, although it’s not as warm.
  • Buff
  • Fingerless cycling gloves (went through several pairs)
  • Wide brimmed (Barmah replaced with Tilley) hat
  • Smartwool socks (two pairs of thin and two one pair of medium)
  • Two one pair of boxer shorts for off-bike/nighttime
  • One pair of Crocs eventually replaced with a pair of Keen Newport Sandals (as my only footwear after I sent my hiking boots home)
  • One pair of sturdy hiking boots sent home from Vancouver
  • Waterproof jacket, trousers. My original Northface jacket & trousers were no longer effective in prolonged rains, after many years of good service, so replaced by Montbell Torrent Flier Goretex jacket and trousers, about half the volume and weight of the previous set.
  • Goretex over-mitts
    Replaced by Montbell Out Dry waterproof gloves (these are just lightweight, windproof/waterproof shells)

Camping & Cooking

  • Tent
    MSR Hubba Hubba (in Exped Waterproof Compression Bag)
    Replaced with Hilleberg Niak* in Australia after 1 year and 3 months**
    Replaced with Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1
  • Footprint (groundsheet) for tent
  • Sleeping Bag
    PHD Minim 400 (in Sea to Summit eVENT Compression Dry Sack)
    Replaced with Montbell Down Hugger 800 #5 (summer weight) sleeping bag in Japan. The Minim was great, but I knew I wouldn’t be cycling through any more winters so I replaced it with the Montbell down bag which was lighter took less than half the space.**
    Replaced with RAB Infinity 300
  • Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Small inflatable pillow
  • Sleeping Mat
    Exped Synmat 7, Suffered delamination after about a year.
    Replaced with Exped Synmat Hyperlite M.  No longer needed the warmth of the Synmat 7 and the Hyperlite takes up around half the space of the Synmat 7.**
    Replaced with Thermarest NeoAir Xlite
  • Pumpbag (for inflating sleeping mat)
  • Stove
    Primus Omnifuel
    Replaced with a tiny (60g) Kovea gas stove, after the Omnifuel was destroyed when a truck drove over one of my panniers in Iran.
    Later, in Australia, supplemented with a Trangia alcohol stove.
    Finally in Toronto, that was replaced with an Optimus Vega remote gas canister stove.
  • 600ml Fuel Bottle Sent home after the destruction of the Omnifuel.
    Replaced by a 1L Trangia fuel bottle when I picked up the Trangia alcohol stove.
    Then replaced again (after it was confiscated flying out of NZ, despite being empty and washed out) with clear Nalgene 1L water bottle, which was actually better because you see exactly how much fuel was left.
    Sent home from Toronto after I switched to the Optimus canister stove
  • Gas Cannister (sometimes I would carry a couple at a time when using the Omnifuel or canister stoves).
  • Cookset
    GSI Pinnacle Backpacker (pot, pan, case that doubles as sink), destroyed in pannier accident.
    Replaced with a 1-litre Primus pot, made from hard anodised aluminium.
    This was replaced when I picked up the Trangia alcohol stove with the Trangia 27 series (2 x non-stick 1L pots + frypan).
    This was again soon replaced by a single hard anodized aluminium 1.75L pot and a Trangia Triangle (a Clikstand clone) instead of the stand and windshield from the 27 series set.
  • Cup
    Sea to Summit X-Cup, eventually the silicone part detached itself from the base. Never quite happy with it because the taste of the silicone would be imparted to whatever beverage I was drinking and vice-versa.
    Replaced with a plastic mug with lid from Montbell.
  • Sea to Summit X-plate Sent home when I started cooking more simply, eating directly from the pot and using the lid of my collapsible bowl as a chopping board.
  • Bowl
    Sea to Summit X-bowl, developed hole in silicone after about a year.
    Replaced with a larger lidded, collapsible bowl from Aladdin (doubles as a tupperware container and chopping board).
  • Ortlieb 10L folding sink (acquired after the loss of the GSI cookset), sent home eventually, it was nice to have but I didn’t ‘need’ it often enough to justify carrying it.
  • Aeropress coffee maker.
    Replaced by a Zyliss Smart Cafe Cafetiere Cup for a while, but I missed the Aeropress so much that I bought another one on the road.
  • Tupperware box
  • Opinel No 9 Pocket Knife
  • Spork
  • Montbell plastic knife, fork and spoon set (added in Japan)
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Wooden plastic spatula (wood takes ages to dry and gets mouldy, plastic is better)
  • Washing up sponge
  • Small bottle of dish soap
  • 2 x Disposable lighters
  • Three-legged stool (this was acquired more than a year into the trip, now I’d never be without it.)

* I didn’t strictly need to replace the Hubba Hubba, it was mainly a case of succumbing to gear lust. Secondary reasons were the groundsheet beginning to let in moisture and a frightening night in the Australian outback almost being blown away in a windstorm. With the prospect of more severe weather on the horizon in Tasmania, New Zealand, North America and Iceland, I was yearning for something a little sturdier than the Hubba Hubba.

** During my time in the US I lost / had stolen my drybag containing my tent, sleeping bag and
sleeping mat, so I had once again to replace them.

 

Toolkit

  • Topeak Alien II Multitool
  • A few different sized allen keys for getting to places that the multitool couldn’t reach and for providing sufficient leverage that I couldn’t achieve with the multitool.
  • Swiss army knife  Replaced with Leatherman Juice CS4 (they both had a corkscrew, a necessity for me, but the Leatherman has decent usable pliers which are really handy. Additionally, it has usable wire cutters, the value of which I learned the hard way when I had to replace my brake cables and housings with just a Swiss army knife.)
  • Small adjustable spanner no longer needed after I got the leatherman
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Giyo mini pump
  • Gaffa tape
  • Cable ties
  • Superglue
  • Seamgrip repair kit
  • one or two spare inner tubes
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Chain wear gauge sent home
  • Spare brake pads
  • Brake cable
  • Rohloff shifter cables
  • Spoke tool
  • Fibrefix spoke
  • Rag
  • Chain oil
  • Grease
  • Spare nuts and bolts
  • Spare chain links
  • Rohloff Speedhub oil change kit
  • Presta to Shrader valve adapter
  • Parachute chord
  • Marigolds replaced with more heavy-duty work gloves
  • Tupperware box to hold most of the items listed above

Washkit

  • Washbag
  • Small mirror
  • MSR Ultralite Packtowl
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Dental floss & toothpick
  • Suncream & sunblock for lips
  • Mosquito repellant
  • After-bite (ammonia based liquid in a pen)
  • Vaseline
  • Tea tree oil or antibiotic cream (for treating saddle sores)
  • Crystal deodorant stick
  • Soap
  • Razor & shaving oil
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Flannel
  • Small travel scissors
  • Nail clippers
  • Condoms
  • Universal sink plug
  • Travel washing line
  • Small quantity of washing powder
  • Laundry bag
  • Toilet paper and small plastic trowel

Med Kit

  • Ibuprofen
  • Paracetamol
  • Anti-Malarials
  • Assorted Plasters
  • Dressings and bandages
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Oral rehydration salts

Miscellaneous

  • Steripen with 1L Nalgene bottle and filter (it’s UV water purifier) Replaced with Sawyer mini-filter to save some space (and simply because I was curious to try an alternative). They are both good but when purifying large amounts of water I prefer the Steripen, although I’d replace to bottle with something collapsible. Didn’t like that I had to carry spare batteries or worry about electronic failure with the Steripen. On the other hand, the Sawyer filter will break irreparably if exposed to freezing temperatures and unlike the Steripen, doesn’t remove viruses.
    Finally replaced with Steripen Ultra (the one you can recharge via USB) and a 1L wide-mouth collapsible Nalgene bladder for treating water in.
  • Ortlieb 4L water bag with shower and drinking attachment
  • Sea to Summit 6L water bag
  • Packing cubes (two large and one small), replaced with a couple of 5L drybags and with a few Cordura stuff sacks and zippered pouches
  • Emergency sewing kit
  • Ear plugs
  • Compass redundant as I found that I always used GPS on my smartphone for navigation.
  • Paper maps
  • Pocket phrasebooks
  • Passport (and printed copies)
  • Cheap wristwatch broke after a year and half, didn’t feel the need to replace
  • Prescription glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Pepper spray (last resort for dealing with aggressive wild dogs)
  • Bear spray, rope and carabiner for hanging up food in bear country (acquired in Canada)
  • Small notebook and space pen
  • Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil foldable day pack dry bag. Replaced the Ultra-Sil day pack after the zipper went with the dry bag. Same thing but slightly bigger with a roll top closure instead of a zipper. Still packs down unbelievably small.
  • Small hipflask containing whiskey (some luxuries are necessary)



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It doesn’t look like much but somehow that lot comes to just under 30Kg not including food or water. The bike itself weighs a shade under 20Kg.


2 thoughts on “Gear

  1. Hi Vlad,

    No, nothing specific for the stomach. I only have oral rehydration salt tablets that are useful if you are vomiting a lot. I only had to use them once (in India). So far I haven't needed anything else. If an upset stomach is something you often get when travelling then you may want to take something more. I'm lucky that I don't often get sick. I also have the feeling that I get less sick wen I am being active and cycling all day than I would be if I was travelling without the bike. I can't prove it, it's just a feeling.

    The other to consider is the countries you are travelling through. Unless you are going somewhere very remote, medicines for common problems can easily be found in towns. Yes, it means you have to find a pharmacy when you are feeling sick, but it's one less thing you have to carry. In the end, it's a personal choice, balancing risk against the instinct to be minimal.

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