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.

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