For some reason bike tourers/bike packers have an obsession with equipment lists, even though we all really just carry variations of the same thing. But for any nerds who want to know, these are the edited highlights of what we’re taking so far:
Tent: Hilleberg Nallo 2 GT (plus footprint.) We’ve had this for many years, and it’s done a previous long tour with us. We chose this one because of the very low weight and pack size plus large storage space. We’re both tall, so the downside is that we can’t really sit up properly in it. That’s only a problem in extended periods of rain when we’re forced to stay in it for a long time.
Stove: MSR Dragonfly. Another old piece of kit. It’s really light and compact, but also very sturdy, and it’s multi fuel.
Sleeping bags: Mountain Equipment Firefly and Marmot Phase 30.
Sleeping mats: We started with pair of old Thermarest pro lite 3 (self inflating.) Mine developed a slow puncture at some point in Belgium, so it was replaced with a Sea to Summit UltraLight (self inflating.) Note that self inflating pads don’t inflate entirely on their own, they need topping up. The Sea to Summit is a bit more comfortable than the Thermarest, but the valve to blow into to top up with air is far worse to use.
Pots and pans: MSR Titan cookset, plus a mini frying pan for greed.
Stuff to eat with: Lifeventure titanium cutlery and mugs. Wildo deep camper plate: A good compromise between a plate and a bowl and they have a little lip to hold while you eat, which is really handy.
Pillows: Nemo Fillo.
Bag liners: Lifeventure silk travel sleepers. A liner is essential to keep the sleeping bag clean, especially if you have a down bag, which is hard to wash and dry. The liners weigh very little and pack down to about fist size. They dry quickly, but they run badly even after many washes.
Chairs: Helinox Chair One. We agonised a bit over these. They’re expensive, and though they’re lightweight for a camping chair, they’re still quite heavy. Last time out we just used the Thermarest kit to convert our sleeping mats into chairs, but these are more comfortable and since we’ll be spending a lot of time camping we think they are worth it.
Icebreaker Merino wool t-shirt (women’s:) Merino wool gets a lot of hype among backpacker types and cyclists, for lots of reasons, but mostly the odour and bacteria control, which means it doesn’t need washing after every long sweaty day. These are the pros and cons that I found with it:
- Dries quicker than cotton, but not as quickly as polyester sport tops.
- Not available in really bright colours. I bought a turquoise/blue one, which was the most visible colour available.
- Shows up sweat badly (wouldn’t apply to black, but a cyclist would be less visible in black.)
- Sticks to me as badly as cotton does when it’s wet.
- Does feel cooler than other materials.
- Would be a good base layer for staying warm.
- A bit scratchy, if you’re sensitive to that.
- Loses its shape after a few washes.
- Smells strange when clean.
- Doesn’t smell nasty after a day’s ride, which is the big draw.
- Rips and tears easily.
It cost £40 and I’m a bit salty about it. I wouldn’t dream of buying another one; I’ll stick to football shirt material, because it’s more comfortable, lasts ages and dries quickly, even if I have to wash it every day.
Lifeventure Pegless washing line: Very handy for drying washing. It’s just a bungee, but with two cords of elastic twisted together so the corners of clothes can be tucked between them. As long as there are two things to hook onto (like bikes!) you’re good to go.
Lifeventure Hydro Fibre Ultralite Trek Towels: Very light and compact, they do hold a lot of water for their weight, and they dry very quickly. However, they have a very weird texture. They do the job perfectly well, but I would go for the next weight up next time and not sacrifice a bit of towel softness for a small amount of weight.
Universal plug: Cheap hotels and hostels tend not to have plugs in the sinks. We retaliate with these, so we can wash our clothes. One of the most useful items we have.