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Old 16 Aug 2008
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Kit review.

So, after an 11000-mile 14wk trip around Europe involving France/Italy(twice)/Greece/Balkans/Austria/Germany this is how the main bits held up for me.
- Xt600e.02-model-year.Started trip with 12500miles and basically was trouble-free apart from a rotten exhaust-clamp area and wet-running issues (not yet resolved).
- Luggage.Old Sidi pvc throwovers/Nonfango top-box/Tribord rolltop sack/DaKine Black Tusk backpack.All old stuff (except the sack), and all fine but then i didn't crash or drop the bike so ultimately not fully tested? Next big trip i'll aim for soft luggage on a fitted bike-frame.
- Jacket.New Frank Thomas Full Force Advance (i think...). Removed armour and used separate Knox under-jacket mesh jacket. Basically rubbish, being non-showerproof (used an old Ashman pvc raintop for protection - 100% effective) and some of the stitching on non-used bits simply failed. I'll try Ixs next time. By the way, Ride mag tested this jacket in a group test after i bought it and thought it grim too, "the leakiest by far" if i recall..., strange that, eh!
- Trousers.19 yr-old Scott Leather dungarees. British quality shines again! Ideal North of the Alps, but a real sweat-generator in hotter climes, where i'll be tempted towards textiles next time.
- Boots.New Sidi Couriers.Fantastic. 99% waterproof even after Italian monsoonal rains.Just a pinprick hole in the right boot lets them down , and even after a thorough drenching only a mild damp patch resulted.Nothing broke.Recommended.
- Gloves.Frank Thomas AquaPore something-or-other (£25 from J&S).Excellent, considering the jacket's woes.Nothing broke or leaked excessively.
- Sleeping bag.New Marmot Wave 3.No probs, almost as new and 98% used with a cotton liner.
- Mattress.Alpkit Alric Regular.Fine for the first 9-10wks, then started to lose pressure overnight and then "blistered" . Still useable, but for how long... but for £30, hey.
- Tent.Gelert Tornado 3.Impressed, living compartment 100% watertight (porch not so), even after being flooded-out twice.A pole section snapped (f/glass), but a 2hr repair sorted that.And all for less than £40...
- Stove.Mini Trangia.Very good for 1 person, but bowl needs to be 30% larger.Fuel sometimes awkward to find in Europe, but always found some.

Most useful other items - Mess Tins, ziploc bags and the Ratchet Strap. Didn't take anything i didn't use.

Hope this helps someone.
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Old 18 Aug 2008
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Great Review
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