Quite a bit of my backpacking kit is used for cycle touring too. Here are the notable items other than conventional gear, including the bike:
- Thorn Sherpa 600L – in red. Bombproof round-the-world capable 26″ wheel 30-speed derailleur wonder fitted with sturdy racks. No real modifications other than an Alpkit frame bag to carry long tent poles and T-bat stem mount to carry my old Ortlieb bar bag.
- Ortlieb panniers – Back Roller Plus with inner pockets removed and Front Roller Plus, also with inside pockets and extraneous outer straps removed. Gear packed in colour code Exped dry bags. I use the Front Rollers on the rear when travelling light.
- Bordo 6000 bike lock and cable – this took ages to decide upon, light and secure doesn’t compute, but the lock straps nicely behind the seat down tube.
- MacPac Microlite tent, replaced with a Terra Nova Competition 2 tent. My old friend MacPac is just too long in the tooth now, nothing has broken, but the inner tent is sagging badly. The new tent provides loads of space and good ventilation, ideal for summer.
- Shimano SPD Touring Shoes – with good Vibram soles, so I am not going to slip on a ferry loading ramp and can walk up nearby hills if I have to. The heels have failed on these, so I now use Pearl Izumi X-Alp Drift IV, these are excellent.
- Alpkit Balance Jacket – this is the best waterproof jacket I have ever owned, it breathes so well I forget I am wearing it, even when it is raining cats and dogs. Matching trousers likewise.
- Garmin Edge 520 GPS – horrible user interface, but after careful configuration works well in practice. Just about 2 days of use before the battery runs out, easily recharged with my Anker 20000mA battery pack. Don’t bother trying to use it to navigate over long distances.
- AeroPress Coffee Maker – a bit of luxury, but works really well
That’s the interesting stuff, perhaps of less interest, but to complete the list:
- Cateye Volt 800 front and TL-1000 rear lights – blindingly good and long lasting
- Alpkit ditty bag on the handlebars to carry Mars Bars and Smartphone
- Super strong lightweight bike stand – a piece of paracord and two tent pegs, works well, amazed most campers how this simple method helps to unload and load the bike. Provides a good washing line too.
- KASK Rex Helmet – fits beautifully and good quality, snapped up on a bargain rail, sure this was priced in error, but I’m not complaining. Sometimes I sleep with it on, forgetting I am wearing it, such is the comfort.
- Feathered Friends Flickr UL30 Sleeping Bag/Quilt – just love this, augmented with a Jagbags silk liner to stop by smelly body contaminating the bag and to reduce the need to wash it.
- Vango sleeping mat – as used by Duke of Edinburgh campers, cheap and works very well, why spend more?
- Alpkit Koro Stove (Butane/Propane) and HAAP cook-set – works well. I took a trimmed down Trangia set but always used the Koro. Fast, clean and powerful.
- Madison Recon Glasses – work really well in overcast conditions, or under tree cover, to fend off flies and bugs, but improving the visibility of track hazards on towpaths and old railway routes. Lost a pair, bought another pair without hesitation after trying on fancy expensive fashion brands.
Clothing is quite different from my backpacking gear, other than the ubiquitous Icebreaker Merino wool long sleeve base layers. I take two kits, one to wear, one washed and ready. Consisting of:
- Cycle jersey – colourful and brash, who wants to wear boring gear. Worn over the base layers when cold
- Cycle gloves, fingerless and full-fingered, plus a pair of light waterproof gloves
- Endura cycle shorts
- Endura leg warmers – used when cold
- Buff (worn around the neck) and Bandana (worn under the helmet) – very comfortable
Plus campsite/airport/ferry civilian clothing. A Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover a particular favourite found at a bargain price.