Category: Gear

Gear for Alaska summer touring

(1) Tent  (2) Tent poles  (3) Riding/hiking shoes  (4) Patagonia Nano puff pullover  (5) Patagonia shell  (6) Gore-tex shorts  (7) OR rain hat  (8) Rain booties  (9) Sleeping bag  (10) Utility cord  (11) Stainless steel bottle  (12) Howie’s merino ss shirt  (13) Icebreaker merino ls shirt  (14) Smartwool cycling shorts  (15) Nzo Dobies cycling shorts (16) Two pairs merino underwear  (17) Prana travel pants  (18) Sandals  (19) Pump/duct tape/spare spokes  (20) Pot  (21) MSR Superfly stove  (22) Coffee filter  (23) Soap  (24) Plastic mug  (25) Knife  (26) Mosquito head net  (27) Headlamp  (28) Camera battery charger  (29) Panasonic Lumix camera  (30) Earbuds/recharge cord  (31) iPhone  (32) Leg warmers  (33) Wool cycling cap  (34) Gloves  (35) Sunglasses  (36) Watch  (37) First aid kit  (38) Mini deck of cards  (39) Spare tube  (40) Compass  (41) Water purification tabs  (42) Spork  (43) Steripen  (44) Big Agnes Clear View air pad  (45) Waterproof matches  (46) Pen and paper  (47) Book  (48) Photocopied maps  (49) Garmin 705 GPS  (50) Two pairs Smartwool socks  (51) Travel towel  (52) Toiletries  (53) Blinkie  (54) Cable lock  (55) Tools.

In Anchorage add: bear spray, DEET, fuel cartridge, food.

24lbs./10.9kg, including rear panniers.

Rough touring myths

Think about the durable myths of adventure bike touring, namely those things that everyone assures you are absolutely true, the rules that, if you don’t follow them, you’re probably going to die hungry and miserable in some remote place.  These myths turn out to be, at best, a mixture of harmless firm opinion without basis and well-meaning reasonable suggestion that you can take or leave. There is also a lot of what I think amounts to just foolish habit.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

(I first posted this on mtbr in 2008.)

54 Surly Long Haul Trucker with Kenda Nevegal 2.35’s.

For me, an adventure bike needs to be the following things:

– Versatile. I want to be comfortable pedaling for ten hours on asphalt, gravel or dirt, day after day; I want to be able to mount slicks and go on a training ride with the local road club when I’m far from home; I want to be able to ride pretty demanding singletrack; I want to be able to ride with panniers; at home, I want a bike that is decent on full grocery runs. In practice, a bike is probably going to be good at a small number of these things, but I want to be able to do them all and have the bike be at least reasonably up to it.

– Easy to ride. The geometry needs to be such that it doesn’t take much vigilance from me to pilot. There are going to be times when I am at 17,000 feet, bonked, cold, and in the dark. My bike can’t be yet another challenge. The thing is, I also want to be able to go fast on flat paved roads, or twisty road descents. And I want the bike to have good enough manners off-road. And when I’m in really dense urban areas, I want to be able to see traffic and be maneuverable.

– Durable. Basically I don’t want to even think about the fragility of the bike. I’m not totally convinced that an aluminum frame is wrong for adventure touring, but if there is even a slight chance that I’ll need someone to weld the thing while on the road, I don’t want the option excluded. More realistically, if the derailleur hanger or the fork or whatever get bent, I want to just bend them back (within reason).

– Not overly precious or prissy. The bike is going to get roped to the roof of buses and the back of pack mules, clipped to a steel basket for a gorge crossing, or tossed in the bucket of an empty dump truck. I want to be able to shrug off the inevitable dents or nicks. Some airlines still allow you to check the bike unboxed. When it’s an option, I want to be able to do that without caring that it might get scratched.

– Not have cost me a lot. The bike could get lost or stolen, and I don’t want to be devastated. This is going to be relative, of course, but, for me, certainly under US$2000, while under US$1500 would be even better.

– Repairable on the road, all over the world. Stuff is going to break, and I want to be able to substitute and improvise with what is available to me locally until I can have specialized gear shipped.

Given this wish list, I have not found anything better than the LHT.

Long Asia Tour Packing List

This is the packing list that I used for an ’07-’08 cycle expedition tour in Asia (Pakistan/India/China/Tibet/Nepal).  As I look it over now, it seems intolerably, unthinkably bloated. In my defense, I was doing a number of diverse things in addition to touring, including two stage races, one one-day race, several academic lectures, and research at Tibetan monasteries. But what on Earth did I need three pairs of underwear and two t-shirts for?