January 25, 2007 GMT
Personal Equipment

Riding Gear
Me in the Hein Gericke gear with Christine

Riding gear is split between a Eunesco Riding Outfit for rainy climates with its zip out liner and storm-proof construction, and a Hein Gericke outfit for warmer ones. While only advertised as shower-proof, the Toureg outfit from Hein Gericke has the advantage that there are zips everywhere that allow air to pass through the outfit, and the trousers unzip to become shorts. What, two sets of motorcycle clothing!!! Yes, I donít see how you can have something light and airy that will withstand cold wet stormy days in Canada, or on the other hand, heavy storm-proof clothes that can be worn in comfort in the desert. I will just send the heavy clothes home when I get to a point that I donít need them any more. Itís not a race, if I need to hang about waiting for a Fedex delivery anytime, then thatís more time for me to relax and see the local area.
Lid, gloves and boots

Vendramini Italian riding boots of a traditional design for me, they were an absolute bitch to get on first of all, as I have a high instep. Several applications of leather treatment and perseverance and now they fit like a glove. So much so that I can walk about in them all day with no discomfort, in the summer I tend just to use a little talcum powder instead of socks, that way I keep the washing down.;o)
Two pairs of gloves. One set of leather gauntlets, again from Eunesco, and one set of soft leather short gloves. The soft gloves are for hot weather or wearing inside the others on cold days.
I like the flip up style of helmet, makes talking with people much easier. The Carberg model that I chose has an added advantage of a slide down, dark tinted, inner sun visor operated from a slider on the top of the helmet.
Not just to keep my head and neck warm on the bike, but with all the mosquitoes and black fly Iíve read about in the Canadian wilderness, I figure this could be worn around the camp in the evenings to keep the little bastards off of me. TBO
Most Important. I count underpants as part of my Riding Outfit, rather than just personal gear because I have learned the hard way that if you use just an ordinary set of boxer shorts or ĎY frontsí, not only do you get Ďsaddle soreí very quickly, but also you get a very interesting pattern of tramlines across your bum!!! I am using underwear designed with skiers in mind, because it is a wicking fabric, to translocate sweat, and also has the seams in the right places. Another advantage is that the fabric dries very quickly after washing. You can, Iím told, get seamless underwear now, but my 2 pairs of shorts and 2 pairs of longjohns are already in the bag.
Heated Waistcoat
It gets cold up in the mountains, no matter what time of year it is. Once cold it takes quite a while to get warm again and if you are cold you also donít concentrate as well on your riding. A padded waistcoat which has wires sewn in, a bit like an electric blanket, can be plugged into a power socket on the bike and keep you nice and toasty. Also available to work from rechargeable batteries, but that means remembering to charge them, and I have enough bits of electronic equipment destined to be hanging off the bike already. TBO

Personal Gear
Lightweight coat;
A thin lightweight coat, again made from modern fabric, waterproof, wicking and incorporates a bactericide and insect repellent. Worn either as a thermal layer inside the Motorcycle jacket, or as a casual coat for walking about in. The only drawback is the hood which would have been better if it was incorporated in the collar.
Lightweight Trousers.
Once more in modern fabric so that they will wash and dry quickly, but also with an insect deterrent coating. Also they unzip at the knee turning them into shorts for the warmer weather. Two pairs of trousers in one!
Shirts x4
I do not like my arms being covered, so T-shirts are my preferred option, however, due to the mozzies I will have to have at least one long sleeved shirt, I think a silk shirt I have will fill the bill quite nicely, being light and folding up very small. Only draw back is that silk creases, am I worried, nah.. The others will be in lightweight modern wicking fabric, just donít invite me to a formal dinner ;o)
Vests x3
The art of keeping warm and comfortable is to use several thin layers of clothing, rather than a few thick ones. Vests can take the place of T-shirts, sleepwear or for just slopping about in camp. Once more modern ski wear offers excellent value for money in the latest materials. In hot weather they can take the place of T-shirts under my riding gear.
Socks x3
As mentioned already, these are mainly for cold weather, or when walking about in my boots, as I find talcum powder keeps my feet comfortable in all other situations.

I like moccasins, you can feel the ground under your feet! Once had a pair with old tyres stitched on for the sole. The Woodland style of the Iroquois with a high Ďcollarí that can be tied up around your ankles are best imho if you can get them. I may have to wait until I get to Canada to obtain a pair, or if I have time make a pair of my own, itís quite easy. TBO
I have a prescription pair, plus the flip down on my helmet, should be enough.
Cameras and tripod.
I am taking 3 cameras. My main camera is a Konica-Minolta Dimarge Z5, capable of taking high definition still and video and storing it on an SD Card. The next is a Fuji Finepix 1300 to be an Ďever-readyí camera in an easy to get at location for those split second shots where the other camera would take too long to initialise. I have a micro-tripod for taking longer exposures and also the self timer ones of myself. The 3rd camera, I hope, is to be a helmet mounted video camera feeding into a media storage device mounted somewhere out of harms way. That option is still in the discussion stage however. TBO
Head Torch
For all those moments when you need both hands free and itís dark. Like cooking, repairs and going for a pee. TBO
Iíll have more to say on maps in the route section of this blog when I get to it. I like paper maps though, even if they are printouts of my own computer generated ones. I also intend to have a set of these on CD.TBO
Despite there being one on the Magellan GPS, a good compass is essential and takes up so little room as to make it a no brainer for me.
I have been lucky enough to be given a Magellan GPS unit by my friend Dave, after he upgraded. What a marvellous invention. Iíve had hours of fun plotting routes and waypoints, but Iíll tell you more about that in the ROUTES section.
Small Calculator.
I know Iím gonna get ripped off by the money changers at some border crossings, I just want to know by how much!!
Notebook and Diary. Elementry.
I want to take loads of cheap pens. They make a nice little present in poorer countries so Iím told, and donít have the stigma of money attached.
Cell Phone.
Useful in so many ways, Alarm Clock, Camera, Video Recorder, Diary, Notebook, Address book, mp3 player, oh and I also believe you can make phone calls from them, whatever next!! Have to get a new SIM Card that works in the Americas though. Iíll get that when Iím there. My existing phone takes the same SD cards as my camera, so a useful form of transferring data between equipment as it also has IR and Bluetooth. SIM TBO
USB Bluetooth Dongle.
As mentioned above useful for data transfer if the computer leads donít fit.
1001 uses, the woven nylon stuff I prefer. (Tip, for a washing line just double the line and twist it several times before tying off . Secure clothes by poking them through the twists, no need for pegs.)
Sewing Kit
Look the Army issues sewing kits to soldiers, so donít mock. Take a reel of heavy waxed cotton thread as well as the nylon yarn, if a bear decides to investigate your tent you may need to get it sewed back together, or maybe that should also refer to your own skin as well.
Iíve put these here rather than with my riding kit because I expect to be listening to my mp3 player a lot of the time. To those who say you shouldnít listen to music when riding, I say fine for a car, but with a full helmet, the wind noise, earplugs, the engine noise, you canít hear anything going on more than 3feet from the bike anyway. Also you can switch it off to talk much easier than taking your helmet off and removing earplugs. I use earplugs mainly to get to sleep in noisy camping situations.
Small Padlock.
I donít know, but everyone takes one, probably just to throw away somewhere on route.
Length of Cable.
Plastic covered metal cable for securing bike, luggage and stuff, there you go, use with padlock :o) TBO
Fire is an essential element; this is easier and quicker than rubbing two boy scouts together.
Travel Towel.
Ingenious use of modern materials. I have seen one put in a bucket of water, been wrung out and be dry enough to use immediately. Also treated with bactericide to stop them becoming smelly. TBO
Wash Kit
A bar of soap is less bulky than shower gel and lasts longer. No deodorant, itís good to sweat, use strong coal tar soap though if you are in sensitive company. I wet shave, but not like you imagine. I use an old ball deodorant bottle filled with oil, roller it on my chin and shave off, no need for water if itís in short supply. The Romans used oil before they discovered soap. A disposable razor lasts a good month this way without getting scratchy. The oil lasts about 500 shaves, you can use baby oil or any refined oil, and sun screen works just fine. This ingenious device I call the Shaverball, but so far Gillette et al have not been interested until I obtain my own patent. Toothpaste and brush, although salt is as good, and a comb. Thatís about all a man needs.
Wet Wipes
For when you canít get a wash, but since they donít rot down easily, please burn or dispose of carefully.
Toilet Paper
Flat sheets not roll. I wonder what thatís for.
Lip Gloss
er Salve I think that should be, but Liz suggested Vasoline is just as good, and can be used instead of grease on the bike if required. Good thinking Liz.
Sun Block.
With all the heavyweight motorcycle gear on, my body wonít get to tan gradually without a little help. Exposing white flesh to desert sun is not recommended. Just out of interest casual clothing comes with a sun factor rating nowadays, and in some cases itís lower than you would think. My sun-block cream is a higher factor than my khaki trousers!!
Explorers Hat.
Essential equipment according to my granddaughter Trinity, and I think I go along with that. Wide brimmed and waterproof, for when Iím not wearing my helmet. Mine has been many places with me, and although getting a bit battered I hope it will survive the journey.

Me with my Explorers Hat in Nemes, France.

Next blog will be First Aid Kit and Survival Kit

Posted by Derek Fairless at January 25, 2007 06:17 PM GMT

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