Friday, March 6, 2015

Gear, gear, and more gear.

     Well I've got my bike and I can now start the next portion of my journey. Gear! Warning the following gets expensive, real fast. There are alternatives, I did not take them. If you are frugal or have a heart condition please press the browser back button now. Its ok I'll wait...

     HOLY F*CK some gear is outright expensive! I wont discuss prices in this post but WOW. When I set out to collect my gear, I went about it the only way I knew how; I read blogs, Amazon reviews, watched YouTube videos and got some advice from friends. Now that's out of the way lets talk about some of the crap I feel I need to bring! I am going to give a detailed gear-list with some of my thoughts mixed in. 

     I've got my bicycle and my panniers and now I need to decide what I'll need. I've been a camper all my life so some of the picking and choosing was intuitive, for others I had to rely on reviews and since I've yet to live in and abuse this gear I don't yet know how it stacks up. Soon I will be able to report what of the following items I like/hate, want/need and so on! So without further ado:

      The Bike itself is a Surly Disc trucker, (stock build) it is the disc version of the highly acclaimed Long Haul Trucker. For racks I went with Tubas, I have the Tara in the front, and the Logo in the back! It is a great combo and will keep the weight lower and keep the center of gravity low. The saddle is a brooks cambium. Surprising to me the bike did not come with pedals, I may try clipless in the future but for now I'll stick with the bike shop platform pedals. 

Tent without rain-fly.

     The tent I chose was the MSR hubba hubba. It is a lightweight 2 person tent that will accommodate me and my gear inside with plenty of room to spare. I set it up in my living room it took about 10 minutes the first time. I really like how easy they have become to assemble. Gone are the days of pushing the pole through the fabric. MSR and many tent makers of freestanding tents use clips. I am impressed lets see how long they last! 

     For my sleep system I went with a mummy bag; the Marmot plasma 30. Laying in a mummy bag sure is different than the square bags I've used in the past so I will be interested to see if this is the right bag for me. The sleeping pad I acquired is a Therm-a-rest Neo-Air Trekker. I have not slept on it, but I did inflate it and lay on it quite a few times. It does have a crinkly sound like the reviews I read stated, but it's not loud enough to bother me. I plan on getting a silk liner for my bag to use on cooler nights and for use alone on warm nights. 

Fuel shown below fits inside the pot.

My first meal in the kitchen.
     The camping stove I went with, the MSR pocket rocket cookware is from GSI the Pinnacle soloist. The spork in that kit was plastic and flimsy so I got the Snow Peak titanium spork. I have had the chance to use my stove a few times on my front porch and it works great. I cant wait to use it more. 

(Left to Right: NightCore, Brila, MSR)
     It gets dark at night. This next paragraph is going to focus on the many ways I have chosen to illuminate my nights. I, having been camping many times know how shitty frustrating it is to stumble around camp in the dark, especially if you are dispersed camping (we will talk about that in more detail later). On the top of my list is my trusty Nitecore flashlight. It uses an 18650 battery that lasts for quite a long time and has a few brightness levels to choose from. Next in my path to the light... A small lantern for outside the tent. I did not have one and found a really inexpensive little light called the Brila mini lantern from Ultimate Survival Technologies. It is a neat little light and I think it will put out enough for what I need. I had a hard time finding a red LED camp-light that was not very bright. Enter the MSR tent light! When reading the MSR website I stumbled upon the accessories page and lo and behold the light I was searching for! I guess I wasn't googling properly, but man this is a cool little light. The red color lets me see without messing up my night vision so when I fumble with my camera at night I'm not having to adjust to the change in light. 

     I haven't really touched much on bike stuff. So here we go! Traveling to remote areas on a bicycle without good equipment and repair items could make or break your trip. I have a few tools I carry with me if you have any suggestions please let me know. I have a patch kit, tire levers, a decent bicycle multi-tool, a special Torx wrench for my disc brakes, frame pump, presta to schrader adaptor, crescent wrench. I will also be carrying a few extra tubes, a temporary spoke for the drive side, disc pads, chain-cleaner and lube, a spare brake cable and a spare gear cable. 

     Stuff I don't have but plan on obtaining; rain jacket and maybe pants, solar charger for my gadgets, travel tripod for my camera, a set of paper maps for the areas I will be traveling. At a later date I will post a list with everything I will be bringing with less commentary :-)