22 Jul Gear Prep – Oooh Shiny!
Sim and I are gear junkies, there is no denying it, but after having recently bought a house and 2 extra bikes, we have had to restrain ourselves for this trip. Lucky for us, we had most of the gear we needed already and only had to buy a few extra bits to get us by or cope with the different riding conditions.
With the Groms being little bikes we tried to go the minimalist route wherever possible and keep things light. For Sim this is easy. He is a boy , so like 4 pairs of 8 year old undies and a tee shirt and he is good to go. I however like to take things for “just in case”, so had to do a bit of a cull when we did a test pack.
Below is everything we are taking and how it all packs up and a link to a mostly complete packing list.
Weight including all fuel, extra fuel, water, gear, riding gear etc..comes in at around 140kg for both bikes. Add another 65-75kg riders on top of that and it tips us just over the 200kg mark.
Our Groms are both sporting waterproof Enduristan soft luggage. It is reasonably minimalist with not a lot of straps and they fit our other bikes nicely too. We have used them on previous trips and they seem fairly solid (though Sim of course has already managed to put a hole through his). The bags don’t look large, but when you add up the actual storage volume it is heaps. Volumes listed below are from the EU site. I have noted that the US site shows the blizzards as only being 24 litres in total which is definitely incorrect.
Blizzard Saddlebags Large – 18 litres per side = 36 litres
Fender bags (strap onto the back of the blizzards) – 2 x 1.5 litres = 3 litres
Tornado Small pack sack = 20 litres
Total main luggage storage = 60 litres !!
We are also using SW Motech tank ring tank bags. Mine is the ittty bitty EVO micro (2.5-5 litres) and Sims is the EVO Daypack (5-9 litres). He went for a slightly larger bag as it fits the drone a bit better. The bags fit the bike well and we don’t have to deal with more straps flapping around.
Jacket and Pants – Our current riding jacket and pants are the budget local brands. They have held up surprising well, but would be way too hot for our American trip. We have had to buy some mesh gear and have gone with matching Revit Eclipse jackets (Sim was going to get a white one, but accidentally ordered the black) and Revit Airwave 2 pants. Here is hoping they are cool enough. We have not had too much of a chance to test them out as it has been friggin cold in NZ (its winter here). I’m not sure how we are going to cope with the 40+ degrees C.
We used to hike a lot, before we got fat and lazy, so most of our hiking gear transfers to moto camping gear easily with the added benefit that most of it is quite lightweight and packable. It is however a lot less rugged than moto camping gear, so we have plenty of duct tape.
Sleeping bags – the only sleeping bags we had were down and were rated to -5deg C. They were just too bulky and overkill for the temperatures we are expecting. New name brand down sleeping bags are not cheap. We came across a couple of positive reviews for an AegisMax Mini down sleeping bag from Aliexpress. I shudder to think what kind of down is actually in it, but it packs down tiny and should be warm enough, so we are giving them a try.
Chairs – Sim used to snort at the idea of taking an actual chair on our moto camping trips, preferring instead to use those little 3 legged camps stools, but after forcing him to use a helinox knock off chair on one of our trips, he is a true convert now. Will never go motocamping without them.
Water- We noticed a lot of people usually lug around a hydration pack on their backs for riding. We have chosen to leave our backpacks at home and pack the bladders in the saddlebags. Less weight on the shoulders should make for a more comfortable ride.
Fuel – Groms have a 5.5 litre tank. We have found that fuel consumption can vary wildly, depending on conditions like speed and wind. On a good day we can do 50 + km/litre. On a bad day somewhere in the region of about 35km/litre. So our fuel range will vary anywhere between 200 and 275km. We are taking an extra 3.5 litre capacity fuel bladder each from liquid containment. This should cover us once we get out west.
Food – Will figure it out as we go. Will have a couple of dehydrated meals as a backup and are looking forward to sampling the gas station cuisine.
Bear spray – for bears and hillbillies.
Tools and Spares
This was hard to pack as the temptation was to take all sorts of thing for those “what if moments”. At one point after reading heaps of ride reports, we even had spare clutch cables, levers and kick stand springs. Eventually we rationalised it as follows.
There are three things that can go wrong.
1. Small little things needing adjustment or coming undone. This are more of an inconvenience rather than real issues. We figure zip ties and plenty of duct tape will have us covered.
2. Slightly more serious things … where thinks get broken. We figure we can either cobble something together out of the bits we have ( plus zipties and duct tape) to get us to somewhere where we can get the bike repaired or find/bribe someone to help us get the bikes to somewhere where they can be repaired. Grom parts aren’t terribly expensive, and we should be able to get them shipped within a few days.
3. Big stuff.. like a serious crash, electrical problems or the engine blowing up. Well then we are pretty much stuffed anyway and our plan (if we aren’t injured or dead) is to rent a van, chuck the bikes in the back and drive the rest of the way. No point worrying about this now.
Tools shown in the above pics got shared between bikes, depending on where we could fit them. We tried to get most of under the seat, with only the pump, leatherman and puncture repair kit in one of the fender bags.
Comms – Cheapie FreedConn Bluetooth intercoms from Aliexpress that we have been using for almost 2 years now. We have been impressed with these little intercoms. Sim has done a little bit of modification to them to add a headphone jack (for those noiser “high” speed stretches) and has wired his so that it connects to his camera but splits the audio so that our voices get recorded on different channels. It’s a video editing thing apparently.
Cameras – Sony RX100 Mk V as our point and shoot and we each have a Sony FDR-X3000 mounted to our helmets using Everide’s velcro method (with the fibre optic mod on Sims). Used to have a Go pro Hero but have swapped to Sony for superior image stabilisation. There will be so much video footage, we need to think about limiting how much we film. Sim is going to be editing for a very long time.
Tracking – Sim will have a Spot Gen 3 on him. Sim has already posted the tracking link , but here it is again http://kiwigrom.com/tracker/
Nav – We are both using OSMAnd plus on our Samsung S7. The phones are waterproof. Sim has a nice wireless setup for charging his, mine has to charge via cable. We have gotten used to using OSMAnd and it works for us, so have stuck with it. Phones are loaded with a tidied up gpx that incorporates Sam’s, Kevin’s , MABDR and our own routing. I might have to do a separate post just on nav and trip planning as it has been a whole epic in itself.
Drone – DJI Mavic Air. Sim has been flying drones for a while now ever since I got him a Parrot AR drone for Xmas a few years ago. He has gone through a few of them since then and has gotten pretty good at flying them. He now has this nice little compact one.
Charging – Anker PowerCore II 20100mAh battery pack will provide power when not on the move. On the road Sim has wired Samsung fast charging for the phones and the PowerCore along with dual sony battery chargers and the drone charger.