I’m not usually one for the ubiquitous gear list, but as I’ve had a request – I can hardly turn down one of the few that has bothered to read my Tour Aotearoa posts. Thankfully, I already had most of this gear and had used it extensively on previous trips – this suited as I very much like to use what I have and not obsess over gear, it was a laid back preparation. This is what I remember taking on the three-thousand kilometre trip – to the best of my memory, I’m not going out to the garage to check.
Surly Ogre – a hefty and battered, but bombproof, 29″ small-sized hardtail (not useful for a frame bag) with rigid fork, not much is stock any more. Notable improvements include:
- Rohloff internal gear hub – fantastic for lack of maintenance required on such a demanding trip, and ever really. Plenty of gears to cope with everything, a little heavy. Still going strong after 15,000 km.
- SP PD-8 dynamo front hub. Easily kept everything charged and my path lit. This is mated to a k-lite system for light and USB power through a Sinewave converter.
- Selle Anatomica Titanico leather saddle – absolutely fantastic, I rode the whole trip in Icebreaker boxers and NZO Dobies (mountain-bike baggy shorts with next-to-no padding). No saddle sores, not even so much of a hint of saddle soreness or dread of having to get back on the saddle.
- A little bell – great for clearing errant walkers off cycle trails.
- Two standard bottle cages on the forks, and a large Topeak Modula XL cage on the downtube – I could fit a 1.25 L PET bottle in here without the drivechain rubbing on it.
- One of the bottle cages held my Thermarest Neoair inflatable mattress – the three-quarter length one. Everytime I use this, I tell myself I’ll replace it for the next big trip – but I never quite get around to it, thinking if I’m tired enough I’ll sleep on it. I rarely do – it’s wonderfully light to pack, and blows up thick enough; but for some reason, I think because I sleep on my side, I hardly ever sleep well on it.
- Schwalbe Racing Ralph (front) and Thunder Burt (rear) tyres on Stan’s Arch rims. Tubeless of course, no punctures – the Thunder Burt has a couple of cuts in it, but they held. Rolled well enough for me, I appreciated the extra grip on the trickier off-road sections.
- Ergon GP4 grips with barends. Great wrist-savers, particularly with the rigid fork. The barends are huge and look ridiculous, but are so good for giving multiple hand positions – I am fond of leaning forward with my forearms on the grips and hooking my hands under the barends.
- Generic Cateye rear LED light.
- Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes (these are one of the few original things on the bike) – so simple, reliable and plenty of stopping power for me. I didn’t replace the pads before the Tour and there is still plenty of life left in them.
This is about as good a picture of my bike on the trip I can find, taking photos to show gear is not really a priority.
Not much room to carry much up here, but I did spend a fair few hours looking at it.
- Garmin Oregon 450 – trusty touchscreen GPS. Goes through batteries faster than other options, but it’s so easy to use and I’ve had it for five years with no issues – so hardly going to change.
- Alpkit Stem Cell holding a small drink bottle (after last year’s Kiwi Brevet, I definitely wanted water on my handlebars), a small bicycle lock, lip balm (a Moab souvenir!) and my emergency Blackburn Flea USB light. Underneath the bottle was where I kept the trash stash from snacking on the go.
- Alpkit Fuel Pod – holding a Limefuel cache battery (acting as a buffer, it makes running the GPS much less annoying), zip-lock bag wallet (a few cards and whatever cash I had) and spare AA batteries, a muesli bar or two, cable-ties, some sweets/lollies, a basic multi-tool, USB cables to and from cache battery, smart-phone (pleased I have a waterproof one – I was constantly grabbing it from its position to snap photos).
- Sea-to-Summit packable backpack – this packs down very small, you can just see it next to the SPOT on the picture at the bottom of the page – where I thought it would stay for most of the trip. But on the fourth day, I found that I could sling it from my handlebars and create a giant feed bag. It was usually stuffed with a large bag of salt and vinegar crisps and sweets – fantastic for constantly topping up my energy reserves.
- Spot Messenger – the mandatory GPS tracker was cable-tied to the top of the luggage at front so I could keep an eye on it.
You can’t quite see the Fuel Pod, but you can just see the top of my giant feed bag below the GPS.
Handlebar Luggage – Wildcat Mountain Lion
This is where my sleeping gear went – in a thirteen litre Sea to Summit Lightweight dry sack (these are stronger than the ones I used to use – but it still got punctured by the worst swing-bridge on the entire route.
- Six Moon Designs Skyscape Trekker solo tent with carbon poles – I only used this on the first night, but I was pleased to have it for all those nights I wasn’t sure where I would sleep.
- Tyvek groundsheet and tent pegs.
- Sleeping clothes – cotton boxers, lightweight Icebreaker tee and socks.
- Icebreaker leggings and primaloft vest for if it got cold.
- PHD Designs lightweight down sleeping bag – packs really small and was warm enough (with the extra clothes above) for the weather I expected to encounter, which it was.
Alpkit Stingray Framebag
The only equipment failure on the trip – after a couple of years of being abused, the zipper finally broke before the halfway point of the route. It turns out, the zipper doesn’t really do much – I kept it in the halfway position and didn’t lose anything. This framebag is generally where I stash tools and a bit of food.
- Two spare tubes (a Topeak Mountain Morph pump is attached to the downtube next to the frame bag).
- Tyre levers.
- Leatherman Blast multi-tool – this is really too big & heavy for this trip, but it’s what I have, it has sentimental value and it does a great job.
- Insect repellant.
- Anti-chaffing cream – I ditched this as I had no signs of saddle sores after a week.
- Toilet paper (didn’t use this at all, turns out there are plenty of restrooms along the way).
- MSR Blizzard large tent peg – used for digging “cat-holes”; as I didn’t need the toilet paper, I definitely did not need this.
- Small bag of miscellaneous tools and bits – tyre boots, spare chain links and powerlinks, tube patches, T20 torx tool for Rohloff, valve adapter for using gas station compressors, new brake pads.
- A small bottle of chain lube – more for my sanity than anything, keeping a chain clean and lubed for shifting is not a necessity otherwise.
- Small first-aid kit – dressings, pain-killers, and so-on.
- There’s a fair bit of space left over – that was used for stashing food and snacks.
Saddle Bag – Wildcat Tiger
Another Sea to Summit Lightweight dry sack – this time an eight litre one – was used to hold other clothes that I might want during the day and other snacks and food I had stashed.
- Ground Effect Stormtrooper rain jacket – this jacket is excellent with its waterproofness, breathability and general lightness. The ability to pack it up and strap it around one’s waist is great for when you’re not sure if you’re going to need it again soon or not and don’t want to pack it further away.
- Ground Effect Helter Skelter three-quarter rain trousers. These are also great as they’re easy to put on over MTB shoes, keep the rain out, pack down small, don’t get caught in the drivetrain and also double as off-the-bike trousers OK.
- I think I kept my Combe Raiders gilet resided in here too – nice to keep warm on the cool morning starts.
That only really leaves the clothes I rode the whole trip in – nothing exciting, just good reliable gear I already had.
- NZO Dobies – these must be at least eight years old and have done many, many thousands of kilometres; they withstood another big thrashing with little washing. I love the comfort of riding in these and the utility of the pockets when needed.
- One of my Combe Raiders shirts – MTB version.
- An old Buff – I got this at the 2006 MTB World Champs – it’s still going strong.
- Sidi MTB shoes – pretty basic edition, nothing is going to go wrong with the velcro straps.
- Beaten old sunglasses that I’m not precious about – this makes them easy to stash quickly.
- More Ground Effect gear – merino socks, gloves (these are comfortable, but don’t count on them lasting long), and arm-warmers.
Back at the start when all my clothes were still clean.
That’s as much as I can remember. It’s definitely more than enough to get one the length of NZ on a bike. I’d not change much if I was to do it again – although I’d seriously reconsider taking a tent. A good bivy bag would be fine if you happened to be somewhere without alternative accommodation – but with even just a little planning, one can get reasonably accommodation each night on the route.