Monday, June 10, 2013

Camping gear and Tools

Lets start with tools:

Tire repair kit: fits under the seat, along with 5 CO2 canisters and a nice mini CO2 re-filling tool from my cycling gear (for airing up tires as needed)

Each bike is different so your tools will differ as well, but the process of figuring out what to bring is the same.

First grab a sheet of paper and pen and head for the garage; staring at the front of the bike check each nut for size and work your way to the back of the bike, best to have a wrench screwdriver or socket for anything that might come loose or need maintenance for your trip.  You will need to make minor adjustments to the bike during your trip so pay special attention to these areas (chain tensioner, levers, shifter breaks and oil drain plug, your filter can stay in place longer than the oil can, so in my case, 7,000 miles, I don’t need the filter wrench, I can also barrow one when I change my oil at the half way point (Auto zone will lone tools for free and there are three of them in Anchorage).  

Once you have all the tools noted down pull the tool kit from the bike and start checking off your list, I found that the majority of the tools were provided by the factory and I only needed a few items added to the tool kit, it’s all now a permanent part of my kit on the bike.

Add to the tools kit some cable ties (zip ties) I added 4 long and 4 short to my kit. They will help when you lose that bolt or two that should have seen some lock tight before you left.

Camping gear!
OK this is the fun stuff, I love my camping gear, after years of Backpacking I have accumulated the gear that works well for motorcycle camping. Plus so many lessons learned I think I could fill a book
Let’s start with four lessons learned:
Lesson one: bringing the right gear is always better than bringing the most gear
 The mantra is: “Everything you pack must have at least one mandatory purpose you can’t live without, and everything else is extra”
 (Lots of extras in my pack!)
Lesson two: comfort is mandatory (it’s not just survival it should also be a good time)
Lesson three: learn what can be had on the trail/road and try not to bring it all, you can shop along the way.
Lesson four: you can do laundry along the way, pack as little as possible.

How much does it all weigh

You may want to weigh all your kit, it will give you a better idea of the magnitude of stuff you are attempting to bring and this step helps keep things manageable.
In backpacking my limit was always 30lbs, on my last trip, I decided to do the test and I tipped the scale at 50lbs, time to re think my kit!
It helps to ask yourself a few questions before you go, try and be firm with decisions: are you going to camp. What are the possibilities for weather?  The more possibilities for change the more gear you will bring.

Do you really want to camp
 I don’t think the decision to camp should be a maybe, there is just too much gear involved, and its really easy to just get a hotel,  your bike will be much lighter you will get better fuel economy and you may enjoy your ride all that much more with a good night’s sleep and a shower.
For me, I’m camping on this trip, I want the outdoor experience and I just love camping, so the camping gear is in! Now I have an extra 30 + lbs of kit on my bike.
Here is a photo of all my kit, a practice packing three weeks prior to departure, missing is my camera gear, towel and extra clothing

Clothing: I will cover this next time (less is more?)

Tent:  REI Half Some 2 Plus
Stove: Brunton Vapor AF (this will run on any gas! but it is also vary loud)
Sleeping Bag: The North Face -30 cold weather bag
Air mattress: Therm-arest NeoAir Xlite (light and small also reflects heat back to your body)
Water purifier: MSR (cleanable, reliable and fits on the end of my water bottle for easy pumping)
Note: not all campgrounds in BC have potable water
Kitchen utensils: Fork, Plate, Cup (doubles as measuring cup) and one Pot, top and removable handle, Cleaning pad, and soap, Hiking knife
Hatchet: (2 lbs) for splitting fire wood (campgrounds always give you big pieces of wood that are hard to start; the hatchet will cut smaller pieces off and make it easier to start).
Chair: (1lb) Alite Mayfly (if your camping you need a chair to sit in at the end of a long day, this one is tiny)
Close line:  Part of my backpacking gear it’s a tiny little thing with clips works well to dry things out when they get wet.
Miskito repellant: 98% deet for the hardcore mosquitoes and second one that does not melt plastic or make your face go numb, in case they are not too bad.
Rain Gear: (North Face) Light and new (bad things happen when you put your gear away wet and forget about it for a long, long time)
Hat: oops! I forgot it, “putting that in now”
Shoes: Viberam FiveFingers; Vary light and can be used in the water and will be great around camp
Stuff Sacs: these are light and help keep gear organized, nearly impossible to pack my side cases without them, they also work well as a pillow, just stuff a jacket in and fluff it in to position!

Food: I’m bringing too much food, dinners for each night and some oat meal for a few breakfasts and some coffee (still on the shopping list), everything else I will pick up on the road. Why all the dinners, I recently bought some extra Backpacking food on sale, so it was hard to leave it behind when I had it sitting there. All this is available on the road so I really did not need to bring all this food, one or two dinners would be normal.

Motorcycle straps: these are in case I decide on the inside passage on the return trip, I want good straps to anchor my bike to the deck of the ferry