Friday, 27 May 2011

What I'm taking, and where I'm packing it!

It's been a matter of reviewing what other people have done and said, personal preference, trial and error, and practicing with the resulting contents that leads me to believe that I have all that I need for my trip. As I have mentioned in a previous posting, my luggage will consist of a tank bag, an Ortlieb bag and aluminium panniers, just the standard BMW Adventure ones, all loaded onto my BMW R1200GSA.

The tank bag was bought with the plan to use it for carrying and charging electrical devices, so I fitted it with an electrical port to get power inside the bag. I do have many items to charge, I'd like to know if other travellers have this many. I have a phone, SRC headset, iPod, camera (which as yet I have not sourced a charging cable), video camera, I will be getting an iPad3, I have a charger to charge AAA batteries for head torches and an electric pump to inflate tyres. I'm hoping to get a heated vest which is another item that will depend on power when needed. So the tank bag will carry the cables for these devices along with most of the devices themselves. In here there will also be a head torch, a knife and a load of cable ties 'cos these things are always needed. I reckon I'll probably carry most of my paperwork in here as it is a bag that is easy to remove and carry - and the plan is never to leave it unattended. I believe the bag is reasonably waterproof but I have a siliconised cover that I can stretch over it for when it pours down.

Tank bag

The Ortlieb bag is a brilliantly waterproof and dustproof bag with a large roll seal opening. I will be using this bag to carry most large clothing like a bodywarmer, fleece top, trainers and the heated vest when I get it. I will not be riding in full motorcycle clothing all of the time, so when I'm not it'll be safely stowed in here. That consists of Rev'it Defender jacket and pants, boots and big socks. The big socks are packed inside a Thermarest pillow sack, which is a bag until it's turned inside out, then it becomes a soft feel pillow stuffed with big socks and stuff!. In here will also be the Pacsafe Exomesh that fits over the Ortlieb bag and locks it to the bike nice and secure.


The left pannier, which is the smaller of the two, will essentially carry the camping and cooking equipment. I will be taking an MSR Mutha Hubba tent, which is a three man tent so plenty of room for me and my gear, along with a footprint to protect the groundsheet from damage. The stove is an MSR Dragonfly which runs off unleaded petrol, a commodity I'm hoping I will always have! I have a siphoning hose in here, a down sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, Thermarest Neo Air mattress and my cooking and eating utensils. I even have a pair of stainless steel and rosewood chopsticks that I will be showing off with in Southeast Asia. The little side pocket holds another head torch, a multitool/knife and spare fuses for the bike. On the outside of the pannier I carry the MSR fuel bottle for the stove.


The right pannier carries mostly personal daily stuff like socks, jocks, t-shirts, pants, shorts etc. They are all packed into dry sacks just in case. I also have a spare large dry sack to be used as a laundry bag. My toiletry bag is in here, with all the essentials including a rubber sink plug and nail clippers, who would've thought a guy would think of nail clippers? My Frio cooling wallets for Insulin are in here but they may well end up in the tank bag if there's room. Down the bottom of this pannier are tools and spares, although at this stage the only spares I've got are brake pads. The tools include a Stop and Go Tyre Plugger kit, this is one of my favorite finds, I've used it on a worn out tyre which I purposely punctured and I can fix a tubeless motorcycle tyre faster than I can fix a puncture on my mountain bike. If I get a puncture or I need to run lower tyre pressures I've got a 12v pump in here. I have a tube of steel/metal putty, a Pacsafe Lidsafe so that I can tether my helmet to my bike safe from theft and weather and finally a bike cover, unfortunately it's not as effective as Harry Potters Cloak but I'm hoping it will help the bike partially disappear when left unattended. On the outside of this pannier I have a 2 litre container to carry engine oil. There is still plenty of room left inside this pannier but that will change I've no doubt. Although this pannier is the heaviest of the two by far.


That's it! I'm hoping that's all I'll need and that I am not carrying too much. Anyone who has read this that has been on similar trips may have their own view and I would welcome their feedback as I'd rather do the fine tuning now than later.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Carnet de Passage

Been looking into, and trying to get a better understanding of the dreaded Carnet de Passage today. A Carnet de Passage is a customs document for your vehicle which enables you to enter and exit countries more easily. A Carnet is an internationally recognised customs document entitling the holder to temporarily import a vehicle into countries. Wikipedia has the following description for a Carnet.

The Carnet allows travellers to temporarily import their vehicles without having to leave a cash deposit at the border. It is, in essence, an international guarantee for payment of customs duties and taxes to a government should the vehicle not be re-exported from that country. Persons who temporarily import their vehicles into countries where the Carnet is required must agree to obey the laws and regulations of that country and particularly the conditions of temporary importation.

The Carnet contains relevant information about the vehicle – make, model, colour, engine capacity, seating capacity, registration number, owner and value. In order to obtain a Carnet, the owner of a vehicle is required to provide a security based on the age and market value of the vehicle. Generally three types of security are acceptable from motoring organisations.

       • Cash bond
       • Banker's letter of indemnity
       • Insurance policy


        I spoke with the Carnet de Passage expert at the AAA regarding my planned trip, giving the necessary details which are essentially the bikes value and countries to be crossed. Fwarrrrr! I was certainly a little surprised at the expense of this item even though I had a reasonable idea of the costs involved. The big problem is that my trip includes Iran. The security required to cross Iran is 470% of the value of the bike. A conservative estimation of my bikes value at the start of my trip will be around $20,000, this means that the security figure required would be $98,000! There is also the $400 cost of the carnet and a $250 refundable bond to outlay.

        The current cost for Indemnity Insurance based on the above figures would be $1880. If I do take out Indemnity Insurance, it would NOT relieve me from paying the necessary duties should the necessity arise. The Underwriters are entitled under the Indemnity to recover from me the amount of duty paid. This Insurance merely enables me to take the vehicle out of Australia without having to freeze a considerable lump of money. So if the bike was stolen, being mindful of the fact that the bike will be uninsured pretty much all of the way to the UK, I would not only be up for the value of the bike but would also be up for the duties and taxes demanded by the relevant country for failing to export the vehicle, chuffin' hell!

        The Carnet is a little like a passport for your vehicle, it's purpose is to stop you from selling your vehicle while en route and messing up that country's import/export system for vehicles. When you enter a country that requires a Carnet you get it completed and stamped on both the removable page and the stub by customs, who then make a claim for payment for importation. When you leave that country you get it completed and stamped again and the country keep the page from the Carnet book leaving you with the completed and stamped stub as proof that the successful import and export of the vehicle took place and the claim for any payment is cancelled. If for any reason your vehicle doesn't get stamped out of a country, their claim for payment comes from your security bond. A list of countries requiring a Carnet is available at Wikipedia, but you would probably get the most up to date information from your Automobile Association such as the AA in the UK, AAA in Australia, or the CAA in Canada etc.

        A Carnet lasts for a period of 12 months, and when you have finished with it, you return it to the issuing Association, to enable the safe return of your bonds or release of your funds from the bank. Not all countries have the same requirements for security, Iran being the highest, the most up to date information again would be available from your Automobile Association.

        I now believe I am armed with the knowledge of what is required regarding the Carnet de Passage, and how to use it during my trip, but it doesn't make it any easier to justify the expense, Ouch!!

        The following is a list of Indemnity Amounts for the various countries that require them:
        Country Motor VehiclesMotor Cycles
        Australia 100%30%
        Egypt 200%150%
        Europe 100%50%
        India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka 400%400%
        Iran 470%470%
        Japan 100%100%
        Middle East 150%100%
        New Zealand 50%25%
        Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia 200%150%
        South America (Trans) 300%200%
        South Africa 150%100%
        Syria 400%400%
        Trans Africa 200%150%

        The above list of indemnities was correct at the time of posting this blog. Please do your best to ensure they are still relevant before getting into a serious argument with anyone.