“To wear or not to wear. That is the question!”
- Personal Touring Gear
- Camping Moto Gear
Love it or hate it, you cannot do adventuring without gear. It is a necessary evil. The gear that you have can make or break a trip. It can facilitate or hinder your travels and exploration.
There seems to be a common tread where at the beginning of a biker’s journey; you start with very little gear, try find the cheapest for what you need, or you want to buy an expensive set of gear since you’ll only have one set ‘that will do everything’. I have a bit of a giggle at this, since I been there, done that. There are many reasons why riders do this: It could be because they are a student and forever counting your precious dollars. Or you don’t know whether you’ll like riding and stick with it or not (really?!) and do not want to spend too much on the outlay etc.
When I started I was like that and tended to buy the cheapest gear that would do the job. After many years riding, listening to better riders than me, then moving onto touring and unfortunately having a spill or two on the bike; taught me the not only the importance of good, solid, well-built, more expensive gear. God knows how much I’ve now spent on bike gear over the years. However I thought I would dedicate this page to the gear that I now have and trust when doing trips away and extended touring.
- Sena 50S Mesh Intercom system – A helmet intercom system is now a must for me. Everything from hearing GPS turn by turn actions, receiving alert tones, allowing me to speak to friends, listening to music when needing to punch out long highway stretches and, recently the upgrade to the mesh system, makes it easier to connect to other riders in group rides.
- Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise cancelling headphones – I am weird. I don’t like loud bikes and when you spend 8-10hrs on a bike touring a day, tinnitus is not fun. This is an area that I don’t skimp on $$ since hearing is for life. Once you loose it, it’s gone! The headphones I use are not cheap, but I got these instead of wireless ones, as I can then use them in other portable devices as well and the battery lasts me a whole day riding (8hrs+).
- Iphone SE (acts as camera and mapping system) – Everyone has a phone right??
- Wireless Tyre Gauge Sensors – An ebay one, as it was recommended to me and the battery on this device seems to last a lifetime before having to recharge it! It has a clear display too.
- Garmin zūmo 595LM – I got this model origianlly since it was recommended to me by another rider who was able to give me a good discount on it. It has a lot of good points, but other not so good ones. This will have its own review later in the blog.
- Garmin Vívosmart 4 – Not an essential but it is hilarious to see at the end of a pretty stressful or frightening ride, to see where your heart rate jumped through the roof! LOL
- Video Camera – Non descript from Aldi for about $50. Does some jobs – but I wish I would have a Go-Pro!!
- Battery Power bank 8000mha or above – non-descript brand. Essential when camping
- Garmin Inreach Mini – Currently on loan for large trips. This is becoming more essential the further abroad I go, and when touring alone. The cost of these items are dropping over time so there is no excuse not to take one especially if travelling alone.
- USB 10-Port Charging Station – I mainly take this when touring on-road, and overnight trips with others, as riders are becoming more and more power hungry. When some accommodation places only have 1-2 power points to share; This way I can plug pretty much every item in the above list overnight to charge, and then some!
Personal Touring Gear
- Helmet – Shoei Hornet ADV with a photo chromatic visor. I love the helmet except the fact that Shoei (please take note to include into the next helmet) does not have a flip down inbuilt visor. To me this is an absolute must when touring, and hence why I upgraded to the photo chromatic visor.
- Oakley sun glasses (because I sometimes find that touring in the outback, you need even darker shades than only wearing the photo chromatic visor!)
- Zarkie Delux Heated Jacket – This is generally considered a luxury item. Not for a cold frog like me. Worth every single dollar, as this gives you the ability to ride in most conditions, while still keeping your core body temperature stable. Makes cold rides more relaxing too. The reason why I chose this company is because the jacket is trendy enough to be able to wear off the bike, but also because it was the only company at the time that I found that manufactured my v v small size, that had so many heat panels. Haven’t seen in other brands.
- Touring suit – Dry Rider Ladies Vortex 2 jacket & pants. When touring around, since I spend most the day riding, a suit is a protective must. I wish I could have a barbie-proportioned body to be able to fit into the major moto brands such as BMW, Alpine Stars or KTM. Unfortunately not for this shorty! The only suit that I have been able to find that is comfortable to ride in for hours on end, fit me, and provide great ventilation as well as protection in the colder rides is Dry Rider. It is a great all-rounder and they seem to have a wide variety of women’s sizes unlike other moto brands. The downside to these is that the rain jacket layer doesn’t last long as ‘waterproof’, so I use overall wets on top of the suit for added wind and rain protection.
- Wets – BMW Rainlock Top & Pants. Although BMW do not do ladies sizes in these (pity) I brought the smallest size. Regarless what wet weather gear I’ve seen for small people, it is still too large or they don’t make it in good enough quality / gore-tex to appease me. The one that may come closest to being ok, would be the KLIM gear – however KLIM seems to believe that ‘ladies’ sizing means simply making the very long limbs skinnier and not shorter. So the BMW have been the closest I can find for short, stubby Oompa loompa size rider like myself.
- Base layers – Aldi Ladies Merino clothing. Any merino base layer will be great as it is breathable and can be worn off the bike. For a cheaper alternative you can get the synthetic base layers but I find them a little less nicer on the skin.
- Long sleeve & short sleeve feather down jacket 700 & 600 loft. I may or may not use both as the same time (what can I say, I AM a cold frog!). I use these as an over-layer on the heated jacket to trap the heat layer created. It makes the warmth spread more evenly than feeling the coils against the skin. It feels sooo plush!
- Boots – Daytona Gore-tex Ladies Pilot boots. Daytona boots are not the cheapest, but they are their weight in gold. I’ve now had 4 pairs since I wear out the sole. But I have walked in running water and they’ve stayed dry, they can adjust to any size calf, have several panels of protection, are comfy enough to walk in all day, but still provide reasonable protection on the bike. Obviously not as much as proper men’s off-road boots, but of course most the major brands don’t think small women with kids sized feet ride, therefore they only make giant hobbit sized boots. I’ve had a few stacks on and off-road with these boots and they’ve been great. The major selling point for me is that they come with a 6cm internal ‘heel’, which gives a height boost – and at my height, every centimetre counts!!!
- Gloves – Several pairs that tend to be “Five” brand as they make tiny sizes. I have winter lined gloves, summer gloves and a waterproof over glove.
- Neck sock that acts as headband or beanie
Camping Moto Gear
- Camping mat – Sea to Summit Comfort Women Self inflating mat. It is 2cms thicker and has a thicker insulation sheeting than the men’s mat. It’s also shorter to save on space.
- Sleeping bag – Kathmandu brand. It’s so old I cannot remember what model it actually is. All I can remember is that it used to be 600 loft feather goose down and it was about $300. But now it’s lost so many feathers, I would say it’s coming into a 2 season sleeping bag rather than the 4! Lol
- Travel pillow – Nemo Fillow Pillow. Very soft and the smallest pillow I could find. It’s blow up with a removable cover to wash.
- Tent – Outrak Strix 2 man tent with vestibule.
- Chair – Kogan Camping collapsible chair. Same as the Helinox except a smidgen of the cost!
- Bike bags – Mosko Moto Reckless 80 (although the older version to the Revolver) – I’ll do a separate blog post to review this.
- Cooking equipment – Basic Kathmandy generic x2 pot aluminum set with foldable handles, a set of baby cutlery, and a pocket knife. I also have a silicone, squishable mug.
- Foods – I generally have a stock of the dehydrated food dinners such as the Back Country ones, and buy them on specials. Otherwise, the good old dried 2 min noodles, dehydrated mashed potato, dehydrated peas and carrot bags from the supermarket, beef jerky and plenty of dried spices for dinners. I use powdered milk mixed through dried cereal, and for flavor I may throw in some coffee or chocolate powder with some dried nuts.
- First aid kit – Built my own over time, adding the things I know that I’ve needed in the past or that are left over from other first aid kits that I have. Of course you can always buy a pre-made one, but I find these generally have things that are lacking and you have to add to it anyways.
- Security locks (something like this) for the bike disk & a HelmetLoK