What does one need to take on a two month adventure? Most of this trip will involve camping so that dictates a lot of what is needed. I have been traveling on this bike for six years and have my gear well sorted out. However, my longest trips have been about ten days so this trip will require a bit more thought and planning.
For camping I have a Marmot Limelight 2 tent, it is the first generation. I was considering getting a different tent until I set it up in the yard this winter in a big storm and after three days it was bone dry inside, I changed my mind and saved some money. My sleeping bag is a 20° down bag that has kept me warm into mid 20F conditions. I have added a liner in my kit, mainly to keep the bag clean inside, but it will add a few degrees more range if I need it. I have several sleeping pads and even an Thermarest Ultralight cot but decided that I needed something better for this long trip. I bought an REI insulated inflatable pad that has a built-in air pump in the pillow. A long weekend testing it out left me satisfied with my choice. I decided against taking the cot because when moving camp every day the cot becomes a bit of a pain to set up and take down constantly. When staying in the same place for several days the cot is still a top choice.
I hope to spend a good deal of time fly fishing for sport and to provide some meals in the evening so I have to provision for that as well. Additionally, I intend to take a lot of photos and have gotten a GoPro and plan to use it while riding and off the bike. In order to update this blog I will be using a small tablet and a nifty little iClever folding keyboard. It is amusing to look at all of the different cables and chargers needed for two cameras, a GoPro, a phone (actually two phones so I can have service in Canada) and a 1TB back-up drive to store all of the media I hope to generate. How does all of this get packed?
I have this amazing Dry Spec bag that seems like one of those satchels clowns use in sight gags: it holds an amazing amount of stuff. In the photo below all of this stuff fits in the bag with room for a few other odds and ends that have not occurred to me yet.
Inside will go my tent, waterproof boots, tool roll, tire repair kit, cook pots, camp chair, a quart of alcohol for stove fuel, at least one water bottle, coffee mug and some fuel for my butane stove. There really is a bit of room for other small things. This bag is intended for things that can get a little wet or grungy while traveling. If my tent is wet I will carry it outside under a cargo net and attempt to dry it while I ride.
In my top box I am carrying things that need to stay clean and dry and don’t weigh a great deal. Here is the loaded box.
This box holds my sleeping bag, in a waterproof compression bag, sleeping pad, inflatable pillow, bag liner, microfiber towels and my fly fishing gear. I have a pretty nice assortment of flies and streamers so I will be prepared for most types of waters between San Diego and Prudhoe Bay. Many thanks to Terry and Charlie for hooking my up with some of the patterns I have.
In my left pannier I will carry my clothes and a few other items. In the right pannier there will be a cornucopia of things that make travel more comfortable. A lot of it is camp kitchen related but also includes spare batteries for flashlights and my lantern and several knives. My toiletries will ride here along with the food I will carry. I have a special spot to carry a bottle of rye, which I have developed a taste for over the last year or so.
I have yet to work out were all of the electronic gear resides but I expect most of it will be in my tank bag. I have another, smaller, DrySpec bag that will ride on the top box and carry all of the riding gear that I will want to swap during the day as conditions change. Lastly, I have a Polar Bear soft cooler for food and beer. I hope to get free ice by chopping it out of glaciers when I can. I might as well use it before it all melts.
My packed bike will look much like this photo. In this shot there is a take-down longbow and a box of arrows on the top box, it was taken at the Chamberlin Ranch Traditional Rendezvous in April. In place of the archery gear will be the small dry bag that holds my riding gear. I think I have it pretty well covered but if you think I missed something please comment and let me know.