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Right, the bike has been sourced with all the various hardware and add-ons, the wife convinced she wants to come on the RTW etc.
Now it comes to what kit to take? Now having traveled around Australia with only a sleeping bag and "swag" (bivvy bag) and stayed on bitumen I realise a RTW needs to be taken rather seriously, however, I want to keep the weight down for the obvious handling of the panzer (r1150gs + 2 panniers and top box).
The itinenary (sp?) is as follows, Africa (S-N)- Europe (up to North Cape) - UK - North America. Now getting to the question, is there a minimum list of essentials to take for such an adventure, ie clothing, camping & bike spares.
I realise that this question is like "how long is a piece of string?" but, it may give me some idea on what to start with and adjust the load to finally suit us.
All the usual disclaimers and in my humble opinion. Riding suits: BMW Kalahari or Savanna, these are uninsulated with seperate Gore-Tex liners. In hot weather wear silks underneath, in cool or rainy weather put the liners in. This keeps your walking arround clothes separate from your riding gear. 1 (ONE) bag each for clothes, She gets the right side (bigger bag). Suit liners can go in the tank bag with rain gear, gloves, totes. Top box: light stuff, fleeces, hats, firstaid kit. Important no clothing overflow into bags or top box. We don't camp but if you do I would secure that gear on top of the bags with a lockable wire net. My experience is road trips up to a month. See www.geocities.com/widebmw/
[This message has been edited by John Ferris (edited 29 March 2001).]
[This message has been edited by John Ferris (edited 29 March 2001).]
The question of what is a minimum requirement in terms or equipment is a perennial problem that most likely has no definitive answer. Instead I can offer some guidelines based on over 20 years personal experience (mostly trial and error!) on trips ranging from heavy and slow (Africa N-S in 12 months) to light and fast (Brisbane to Broome and back in 12 days).
Perhaps the most important things to consider are (a) what you want out of the trip and (b) your budget. If your thing is to travel slowly, comfortably, and with lots of opportunity to meet the locals then work on the “more is better” principle. My preference is “less is best” ie. less gear means less time wasted on getting unbogged / welding repairs / packing & unpacking each day and more time for enjoying the trip. How far you take this will probably be determined by one’s budget. Even on the trans-Africa leg of the trip a great deal of your kit could probably be obtained locally (or posted on) as and when required. This includes, for example, clothing and sleeping gear for the differences in climate you are likely to encounter (hot/wet to dry/v.cold) as well as wear-out parts (chain, tyres etc) for the bike.
If you favour the minimalist approach (and your budget will stretch to it) check out the specialist adventure/camping stores. I don’t worry too much about clothing from these places (T-shirts etc can be bought and thrown away on the road) but I do rely on lightweight, compact, quality gear such as sleeping bag, tent, petrol stove, and cooking gear (you will probably have to fix up most of your own food in Africa – and it’s always best to boil water before drinking it if you are unsure of its source).
A good place to start with equipment checklists is Chris Scott’s Adventure Motorcycling Handbook (Compass Star Publications). If you’ve got all your gear together and are wondering how it’s all going to fit on the bike you may wish to consider the routine I use personally to whittle it all down. First, sort all the gear into 2 piles. In the left pile put all the “essential” stuff and in the right pile put all the “maybe” stuff. Next, keep moving items from the LHS to the RHS until the pile on the RHS is twice as big as the pile on the LHS. Select ONE item only from the pile on the RHS as your personal token of indulgent luxury and throw everything else in this pile away . . . . . immediately!
Now go back to the pile of stuff on the LHS. Still too much? You really don’t need that socket set / lump hammer / spare rear tyre (?) etc. Still too much?? Take a closer look - quite often gear is duplicated . . . . try counting how many knives you have (not forgetting the Leatherman, the food preparation knife, food eating knife etc). Likewise, gear is often redundant . . . . have a look at all that white space on the back of your maps – you don’t really need that additional diary / notebook do you?
Slowly and carefully checking each item of equipment for duplication and/or redundancy may turn up some surprises. It will almost certainly indicate stuff you could jettison – preferably before you set off. If you are still having difficulty deciding what to take, or if you would like to see the checklist I use for major trips you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further info.
Best wishes for your big adventure.
Cheers John & Ian, I tend to mirror your philosphy Ian with "less is best" and that the way it's going to be, (having done it around Oz, no use changing now). It's a matter now of identifying the cooking equipment as I wan't even considering that, now that's minimalist
I also subscribe to the 'less is best' philosophy. After doing 2 trips around Oz it has surprised me on how little you actually need to get by. Obviously a RTW trip would need a little more gear then just riding around the one country....but not much. Personally I wouldn't worry too much about the 'specialist' riding gear, why bother carrying 'liners' when the one jumper or pair of track pants in your bag will do the same job. Bike boots go the same way, a pair of Military style 'GP' Boots make pretty acceptable bike boots, and are comfortable enough for those walking treks without having to carry another pair of boots/shoes. My suggestion...be frugle. A mate of mine used the ystem where he marked everything he used on a trip with a dot of white paint, yellow paint for the next trip...and so on. I think he widdled it down to a multi-colored toothbrush and a Visa Card. :-)
Yep Andy, I concur with your thoughts, I've just recieved Chris Scott's book on Adventure Motorcycling Handbook and going to sift through that and see what Chris reckons. I don't think my GP's are up to it anymore, but still will probably wear lace up steel-caps (done it before around OZ)
Cheers & s
Mark & Lynda
Keep in mind that you can always send unwanted items back to yourself by parcel post - I think I mailed about 10 pounds of unwanted stuff (that I had previously thought was essential) back to myself when I was touring Europe this summer.
The price of the slowest parcel post service is usually not too high, and most post offices sell small boxes that can be used to package the items you don't want.
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