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Old 05-09-07, 02:11 PM   #1
midnightsimon
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Vet my Gear List

So, I've seen a number of threads to this effect, and I understand my re-posting one might be redundant, but I'll do it anyway. I've read most of those threads and found them very useful in compiling my gear list; as such, my posting of such a thread and the ensuing comments will probably be useful to someone else.

Anyway, some background - I'm leaving in two weeks for a 5 month tour that will take me from Amsterdam to Istanbul. My route is deliberately not set, but it is safe to assume I will travel south from holland through france to barcelona and then work my way east. I plan on stealth camping whenever possible, staying with a few friends, and relying on campgrounds, hostels or B&Bs when unavoidable. I'm using 2 20L non-waterproof rear panniers and 2 16L waterproof panniers on the front, as well as a handlebar bag.

Here's what I've assembled so far:

Camping
Sleeping bag
Compression Sack
Hennesey Hammock
Thermarest
Cammo net for stealth camping
Ziplock bags & heavy duty plastic bags
Groundsheet
tarp

Cooking
Spoon/Fork/Swiss army knife
Aluminum Pot
Small Camping stove + fuel bottle
Lighter
S&P&Spices
Can Opener? (or just use swiss)
Coffee filters/ pour-over cone

Clothes:
Lycra shorts x2
Thermal top/bottom
Wool socks/ socks/ 3pr undies
Cycle cap & bandana
Rain jacket/ shoe covers/ H20 proof tights
3 jerseys/tshirts
1 long sleeve shirt?
2 pr. Bike gloves
Shoes
Flip Flops
Zip off pants/shorts
Sunglasses


Personal Effects

Toothbrush/paste/razor
Small journal, pencil
Digicam, batteries, charger
Microfiber chamois for towel
TP & antibacterial hand gel
Soap, small bottle shampoo
Small bottle dishsoap & laundry soap
Sunscreen
lonely planet european phrasebook

Tools/ parts/ riding gear
Chain breaker
Tri-Allen and Tri-Socket
Tire levers & patch kit
Head Lamp
Spare tube x 2
Tire levers & patch kit
Swiss army knife
Adjustable wrench
Zap straps
spoke wrench + spare spokes
Compression straps for racks
Pump
Lock setup
chainlube
Duct tape
Length of Rope
Water bottles/camelback bladder
Rag

I've never done anything remotely as insane as a solo 5 month 4.5K kilometer bike trip, so you vetrans pipe up and point out my glaring ommissions - any advice is appreciated!

(edit) Also, can anyone tell me where i can pick up oversized ziplock bags? thx.

Last edited by midnightsimon; 05-09-07 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 05-09-07, 02:22 PM   #2
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I'm not going to tear apart your list, but my advise is to bring as little gear as you can. You'll be much happier pedaling a lighter bike and you would be suprised how little you actually need to be comfortable. Reading travel journals it is funny how often in the first week or two the traveler sends a big parcel home - sometimes several times.

Regardless have a wonderful trip.
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Old 05-09-07, 02:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vik
I'm not going to tear apart your list, but my advise is to bring as little gear as you can. You'll be much happier pedaling a lighter bike and you would be suprised how little you actually need to be comfortable. Reading travel journals it is funny how often in the first week or two the traveler sends a big parcel home - sometimes several times.

Regardless have a wonderful trip.
Yeah, I have a strong desire to travel light as well - at 5 months on the road though, this was about as pared down as I could get the list..
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Old 05-09-07, 02:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightsimon
Yeah, I have a strong desire to travel light as well - at 5 months on the road though, this was about as pared down as I could get the list..
You could get away with quite a bit less easily. There are lots of lightweight packing lists on BF if you want to look at some. How you pack for 1 week is the same as for 5 months or 2 years.
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Old 05-09-07, 07:26 PM   #5
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For comparison ... my packing list: http://www.machka.net/packinglist.htm

That's approx. what I used for a 3 month, 5000 km trip.

And as for oversized ziplock bags, you should be able to get them in just about any grocery store.
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Old 05-09-07, 07:43 PM   #6
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You will most likely be sending a box home and there is no shame in that. The only way YOU will know what you need and don't need is be doing it for a few weeks. Your list isn't unreasonable: for some it would be way too much, for others too little. I might advise checking out Machka's Top 5 thread. It might help you narrow things down and get some great ideas. I know you didn't ask but, a long sleeve dress shirt is on my top 5. It's synthetic and made by Ex Officio. I read an article about a woman who biked around Texas and this was recommended to her. Glad I read the article because I am sold.
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Old 05-09-07, 08:45 PM   #7
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I would not take the can opener, or the coffee stuff either as that is a great reason to stop and smell the coffee (even though I do usually have one somewhere) i would take a kevlar spoke; the rope should be very light and long, I might add a couple of clothes pins. One of those green nylon sheet scrub things works well for a hot pad and scrubbing. If you are using clips be sure to take extra cleat screws. I would take fewer jerseys and another "real" shirt- or not, then buy either when you found a cool one. A good camping cup would be nice. i would not pack a rag. use them when you find them, then keep it until you get a better one. Most of the soap and stuff you are dealing with now can be obtained over there. Sewing kit and small fingernail scissors are useful and do not take up room.

A first aid kit and know how to use it. An open attitude and great sense of humor go on top. have fun. i wish it were me.
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Old 05-09-07, 11:09 PM   #8
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On my second tour, I saved a pound or two by looking through the stuff in my toiletries bag and making sure that I was only taking what I needed in lightweight plastic bottles. Don't take a huge tube of toothpaste. Take a small one that you can refill or replace. The same goes for shaving cream (why shave at all?), shampoo, and other personal items with heavy packaging.

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Old 05-09-07, 11:28 PM   #9
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On the shampoo thing, I took one little bottle with me. Initially it contained shampoo, which I used to wash my hair, and the rest of me. I also used it as dish soap and laundry detergent on occasion when I was camping and there was no soap in the camp kitchens, or when the hostels didn't have laundry soap for sale.

When it ran out, I started filling it with the soap in gas station washrooms. I'd pick one I liked, with a nice scent or something. And again, I used it as shampoo, body soap, dish soap, and laundry detergent.

After all, soap is soap.
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Old 05-10-07, 02:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Abbey
I would not take the can opener, or the coffee stuff either as that is a great reason to stop and smell the coffee (even though I do usually have one somewhere) i would take a kevlar spoke; the rope should be very light and long, I might add a couple of clothes pins. One of those green nylon sheet scrub things works well for a hot pad and scrubbing. If you are using clips be sure to take extra cleat screws. I would take fewer jerseys and another "real" shirt- or not, then buy either when you found a cool one. A good camping cup would be nice. i would not pack a rag. use them when you find them, then keep it until you get a better one. Most of the soap and stuff you are dealing with now can be obtained over there. Sewing kit and small fingernail scissors are useful and do not take up room.

A first aid kit and know how to use it. An open attitude and great sense of humor go on top. have fun. i wish it were me.
Bill
I'm with ya on everything but the coffee. No way you're rousing me before noon without it! The plastic cone and filters weigh only a few grams anyway, and I'd rather brew my own than pay for it at a shop anyway!
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Old 05-10-07, 11:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightsimon
I'm with ya on everything but the coffee. No way you're rousing me before noon without it! The plastic cone and filters weigh only a few grams anyway, and I'd rather brew my own than pay for it at a shop anyway!
I carry a small camping size coffee press similar to this one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
When it ran out, I started filling it with the soap in gas station washrooms. I'd pick one I liked, with a nice scent or something. And again, I used it as shampoo, body soap, dish soap, and laundry detergent.

After all, soap is soap.
Excellent tip, Machka.
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Old 05-10-07, 11:27 AM   #12
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without trying to turn this into a coffee thread, I have a bialetti mini express 2 shot coffee maker. I didn't buy a camping specific stainless steel one and instead went with a classic aluminum one that I modified to make it lighter and more efficient.
I basically turned this:

into this:

by cutting off the second shelf, tube, plastic handle and drilling out the remaining shelf. It has a total weight of 227 grams if i remember correctly. I just gotta have my double shot in the morning.
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Old 05-10-07, 12:16 PM   #13
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My dad would say: "Take half the stuff and twice as much money. . ."

You don't mention a daily budget, but I'm guessing it's bare bones (been there, if fact, I toured the west coast back in the 80s because I couldn't even afford airfare to Europe). I'd think twice on ground cloth and tarp -- you can let your hammock serve as a bivvy and call it done, especially if you're into hostels. They in turn will want you to have a sleep sack in all probability. You can rent them there or buy one when you get there. I was never hassled when rogue camping so the camo net is optional. Pick your place carefully instead.

If you're camping frequently, you might want to buy batteries as you go for your camera since power will be scarce. Your Swiss Army knife has a nice opener. I never really cooked anything. If you can get by on deli type food (and Europe is THE place for that kind of eating) you probably don't need a stove or pot, etc. Most folks there grocery shop every day, just like you'll be doing. The stores are set up for small purchases of hot and cold dishes.

The advice on packing for a week being the same as for longer is right on. My wife and I just finished a 6 week trip through Europe and packed, essentially, for 3 days. You just wash as you go. To that end, a sink stopper may be something that you need to pick up. Also, there's a soap called Dr. Bronner's that some say works for all uses (except toothpaste). I haven't tried it, so I can't vouch for it.

If you haven't yet, check out Rick Steve's website. He's something of a "European Travel Guru" here in the states, he's out of the Seattle area.

There's nothing on your list that you can't get there if you need it. By the same token, it's a snap to mail stuff back to yourself if find you don't need it.

Good luck and have fun. . . and if figuratively you ever find the roads are all uphill, cobblestoned and there's 50km headwind blowing cold rain at you, remember we're with you in spirit, and eventually, you'll hit the downhill part!
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Old 05-10-07, 01:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hamlin
I'd think twice on ground cloth and tarp -- you can let your hammock serve as a bivvy and call it done, especially if you're into hostels. They in turn will want you to have a sleep sack in all probability. You can rent them there or buy one when you get there. I was never hassled when rogue camping so the camo net is optional. Pick your place carefully instead.
I probably will ditch the tarp, but the groundsheet is essential in the case I have to set the hammock up as a bivy/tent in wet conditions - the bottom is absolutely NOT waterproof. The bonus is that I could very easily use it in a tarp-like capacity when the hammock is properly set up. I'll likely just pick up a piece of tough plastic from Home Depot. You're right on about the cammo net though, that was more of a fantasy item.. =P

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hamlin
Also, there's a soap called Dr. Bronner's that some say works for all uses (except toothpaste). I haven't tried it, so I can't vouch for it.
its true - I have a roomate who loves the stuff. Apparently it CAN be used for toothpaste too. I suppose one bottle of that WOULD solve most of my problems..
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Old 05-10-07, 02:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hamlin
My dad would say: "Take half the stuff and twice as much money. . ."
+1 I love it - great quote. Mine would be "Take half the stuff and have twice as much fun..."
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Old 05-10-07, 06:32 PM   #16
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^
Unfortunately twice as much money isn't really an option.
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Old 05-10-07, 07:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric von zipper
Excellent tip, Machka.
I learned A LOT about scavenging for stuff on my Australian tour!


For example, the OP mentions bringing TP ... well, most gas station washrooms (or hostel washrooms, or hotel washrooms, or train station washrooms, etc. etc.) have TP. Use some while you're in there, and grab a handful for later.

The OP mentions Salt and Pepper and Spices ... well, stop in at a fast food place for a hamburger, and pick up a few extra packets of salt and pepper and catsup and mustard, and whatever else they've got while you're there. Stop somewhere for breakfast, and pick up some jams and honeys for your oatmeal for the next few days.

I'm not talking about cleaning a place out ... just enough for 2 or 3 days.
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Old 05-11-07, 09:52 AM   #18
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Yeah, I guess the idea -- twice the money, half the stuff -- is sound in principal, but a little hard to bring off in practice.

Now if you could just make your own money. . . oh, wait. . .you can, like JS Boggs. . .

http://www.artscenecal.com/ArticlesF...9/JBoggsA.html

Seriously, check this site, it's a wealth of information and that can translate to needing less money if you are not as talented as Mr. Boggs. http://www.ricksteves.com/

Further thoughts:
I don't see a sweater or similar on your list. (could be done by wearing all of your clothes at once I guess)
Ditto on scavenging at fast foods. KFC has honey in packets, for example. . .

I basically pack as a backpacker, but without food and only a Sterno can and a Sierra cup for cooking. Never use the Sterno since I find most anyone at a campground with a fire or stove going is more than happy to let me borrow a corner of their grill. I'll wager you'll never ask more than three people before you get a "Ja, ja, bitte!" or "Oui, oui, si vouz plais!" I never got past person one. People WANT to help others and are curious about others.

Are you using Eurail at all?
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Old 05-11-07, 10:23 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightsimon
^
Unfortunately twice as much money isn't really an option.
Than just do the "half the stuff part"..it's free and you will have twice then fun not lugging as much stiff around on tour with you.
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Old 05-11-07, 11:50 PM   #20
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leave out your hammock, sleeping bag, kitchen stuff, food, etc and just bludge off folks on the warm showers list ... stay for as long as you can and eat all their food without offering any in return ...

thats what the last one did to us!
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Old 05-12-07, 10:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightsimon

Here's what I've assembled so far:

Camping
Hennesey Hammock
Thermarest
Groundsheet

Cooking
Spoon/Fork/Swiss army knife
Can Opener? (or just use swiss)
Coffee filters/ pour-over cone


Personal Effects

Soap, small bottle shampoo
Small bottle dishsoap & laundry soap

Tools/ parts/ riding gear
Spare tube x 2
Tire levers & patch kit
Adjustable wrench
spoke wrench + spare spokes
Compression straps for racks
Pump
Lock setup
chainlube
Duct tape
Length of Rope
Water bottles/camelback bladder
Rag

(edit) Also, can anyone tell me where i can pick up oversized ziplock bags? thx.
One thing I do is take a notebook and write down my thoughts about my preparations and how they worked - like what I brought that I never used, what I brought that I'm SO glad I did, and what I wish I had brought. I type it all into my computer when I get home and my list keeps getting more refined.

I can't sleep in a hammock very well, and I'd worry about not being able to find trees. I take a tent, for shelter from rain, for respite from mosquitoes, and for privacy. I got rid of my "roomy" backpacking tent after my first tour (it weighed about 10 lbs.) and bought a 3 lb. one. It's kind of cramped, but it suffices, and I'm so glad not to be carrying so much weight.

I always have used a Thermarest, and they're great and very reliable, but I've been having some back issues, so this summer I'm going to try a Big Agnes air mattress. It's lighter and longer than my Thermarest, and more cushiony. The downside is that I'll have to blow it up every night, but it's much lower volume than the air mattresses I used to blow up when I was car camping.

I wouldn't bring a can opener. It's redundant if you have a Swiss Army Knife (I would never leave home without one of those), and the knife works great.

I'm one of those people who considers coffee a necessity. I find it very enjoyable to be able to brew a cup before dinner, or after dinner, and especially in the morning. I think a cone and filters is mandatory!

I use Campsuds for washing dishes and washing out my bike clothes in the shower at the end of the day. It also works as a body wash. I buy a tiny bottle of shampoo in the travel section of drugstores and supermarkets. When I need to really do laundry, I stop at a laundromat and buy one of those little one-load boxes.

I don't bring underwear on tour. I ride in bike shorts, and change into shorts with the sewn-in underwear when I get to camp. I carry a couple of t-shirts, a tank top if I'm going someplace hot, and a long-sleeve polypro shirt for cool evenings. I don't carry a jacket. I use a fleece vest for cold weather. It's cozy to use on top of my stuff sack as a pillow, and when I can layer enough shirts and use my rain jacket as a top layer, and stay plenty warm in cold weather.

I only carry one spare inner tube, and then buy another one at the next opportunity. I keep the tube with the hole until then. If I have a second flat before I can buy a new spare tube, I patch whichever tube has the smaller hole. I carry a spare tire if I'm going to be away from services for more than a day. I buy new tires before the old ones get totally trashed, then keep the best one for a spare.

I second the use of a kevlar spoke. I carry two. 12 years ago I bought some emergency spokes made out of wire from REI. They saved me on a long tour with 3 days of riding until the next bike shop after I had broken two spokes.

I don't bring sandals on tour. In fact, I only bring one pair of shoes. I bring something comfortable to walk in. I have size 14 feet, so every pair of shoes I don't bring represents a substantial weight saving.

I have to read on tour. I look for small, light books - no hard bounds - and dump them as soon as I finish them. I'll buy a second book when I'm getting close to the end of the first - I don't want to be without something to read for even a night. The only time I remember riding in the dark on a tour was when I didn't plan ahead and finished a book at dinnertime with no backup. I rode 3 miles to the nearest shopping center and found a grocery store with books, then rode back to the campground in the dark.
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Old 05-12-07, 08:28 PM   #22
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Go to this web site for information about what to carry, and about a slew of other information on touring. http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/
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