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Bike Tour 2012: Gear-heads rejoice!

Bike Tour 2012: Gear-heads rejoice!

Bike Tour 2012: Gear-heads rejoice!

Gear room left sideGear room right side
All of our gear spread out before being packed up

As Next Adventure employees it probably goes without saying that both Don and I love gear. We enjoy learning about the newest technologies and discovering for ourselves what works for us in a variety of conditions. As with any long-term recreational activity, there is a lot of gear that you need for a successful bike trip across the country. The lighter and more efficient the gear, the more comfortable, and therefore safe and successful the trip. We spent many hours researching gear, looking up gear lists, and collecting the items that we wanted to bring with us on this journey. Here is the complete break down of what we carried with us when leaving Astoria on September 1st.

* I am only listing my personal gear and then the shared gear that both Don and I use. Don also has his own gear which is not listed here (although a picture is included), but for the most part, it mirrors what I am carrying.

Bold = Things we could not have done without on this trip
Italics = Things that we made changes to throughout the trip or might have done differently
Underlined = Things that we plan on writing a full gear review on

1. Clothing:
- Specialized mountain bike SPD shoes (much more comfortable and warm than road biking shoes)
- 3 pairs Pearl Izumi black bike socks (good for summer riding, but not warm enough for cold weather)
- 2 Pearl Izumi jerseys (lots of deep pockets are nice to have)
- 2 Pearl Izumi biking shorts (make sure they have a good, comfy chamois)
- 2 sports bras
- Pearl Izumi fingerless biking gloves 
- Pearl Izumi barrier windbreaker (not very waterproof but does block wind and packs small)
- Mountain Hardwear hooded compressor jacket (incredibly warm, a good pillow, and warm when wet)
- Merrell Pace Glove barefoot shoes (I had difficulty deciding what footwear to bring...could have probably just brought Chacos, but wanted close-toed shoes for cold weather. Turns out I could have just used my biking shoes when it was very cold out.)
- Mountain Hardwear women's Epic rain pants (great lightweight rain pants, but not specific to biking so I use a twist-tie on my ankle to keep them away from the chainring)
- The North Face Hyvent DT rain jacket (decent jacket, but not very breathable...better options out there)
- The North Face hiking pants (what I wear when I am not in bike shorts...comfy, stretchy, good pockets, layers well over long underwear and fleece pants)
- 1 pair long underwear
- Marmot women's Power Stretch half-zip fleece pullover (worn every day while on the bike or off...a must-have layering piece)
- Icebreaker women's Rush crewe lightweight tee (good for warm off-bike afternoons or indoors at a house or hotel...merino wool never gets smelly and is comfortable and stretchy)
- Prana dress (not warm enough to wear, but nice when I want to do laundry because I can wear it alone)
- Foam flip flops (would not need if I had Chacos, but otherwise good for showers, rivers, etc.)
- Swimsuit
- Baseball cap (sent home right away because I always have on my buff, beanie, or helmet)
- Buff (great for layering under helmet or covering up helmet hair...also works as a neck warmer)
- Pack towel
- Pearl Izumi thermal cycling tights (glad I got thermal for this time of year...worn over cycling shorts)
- Cycling sleeves (sent home because they never stayed up and it was easier to just throw on my fleece top. I have heard ibex wool sleeves work well and would like to try them someday.)
- KINK Shredwear neck gaiter (Great for extra cold nights...too much warmth for riding)
- Black Diamond Polartec gloves (used on and off bike for warmth)
- Beanie
- 1 pair hiking socks (good for cold-weather biking or as daily socks when not biking)
- 1 pair extra warm sleep socks (nice for sleeping in cold weather)
- Not pictured: 3 pairs underwear (not worn with bike shorts, but otherwise good to have)

Added: We bought a pack of 3 super lightweight small laundry bags that I keep my clothes in. It helps me keep things separated and therefore easier to access.

2. Sleeping gear:
- Therma-Rest ProLite Plus Women's Regular air mattress (love it)
- Marmot Women's Helium 15 degree down sleeping bag (perfect, Don is jealous)
- Granite Gear Event Sil Compression Drysack (after some practice, this bag is easy to use, lightweight, waterproof and very compressible...it does it all!)
- Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 lightweight camp chair (perfect for mealtimes, even when we're in our sleeping bags...can also be used as extra insulation under an air mattress)
- Fleece helmet bag (to be stuffed with puffy jacket and used as a pillow...works great)
- Not pictured: REI Half Dome 2 tent (we love this tent for its simplicity, space, and durability...but there are other equivalent tents, such as the Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2)

3. Toiletries:
- Glasses
- Contacts
- Contact solution
- Go Girl F.U.D. (takes some practice, but then it can really come in handy)
- Feminine products
- Q-tips
- Deoderant
- Razor
- Nail clippers and file
- Hair ties
- Tweezers
- Comb
- Toothpaste (best if each person has their own travel size so they can brush their teeth whenever they want)
- Toothbrush
- Chapstick
- Conditioner

Added: Shampoo, allergy meds, vitamins for joint health, IcyHot, Body Glide anti-chafing stick, Blistex medicated chapstick

4. Miscellaneous: 
Daily essentials
- Smith Optics Parallel interchangeable sunglasses (interchangeable is a must)
- Compact backpack (actually nice to have for rest days or hanging out around town...could use handlebar bag, but it can be a bit cumbersome) 
- Highlighter, pen, sharpie
- Book
- Petzl headlamp
- Dry Pak waterproof phone case (sent home because it wasn't actually necessary)
- Mace (makes us feel better when dogs chase us down the road...otherwise you're out of luck if they want to bite you)
- Mosquito bracelet (sent home because we haven't encountered any bugs)
- Shower cap (to wear over helmet in rain...we still might use them but haven't needed to yet)

Added: Rear-view mirror for sunglasses so Don can see behind him and ride next to me on less-populated roads

5. Important info:
Important documents
- Copies of license and debit card (to be kept in a seperate place from cards in case a bag is stolen)
- Drivers license
- Debit/credit card
- Cell phone (smart phones are wonderful for bike touring and could easily be the only electronics you need...they can double as the internet, camera, journal, and iPod)
- Not pictured: Camera (I have a Canon Powershot and I love it...it stays in the back pocket of my jersey for easy access)

6. Shared cookware:

- Jetboil Flash with coffee press (our favorite piece of gear on this trip...besides our bikes of course)
- Jetboil Titanium SOL companion cup
- Propane/butane mixture fuel (not very easy to find in rural, small towns...good to always have extra ones on hand)
- MSR lightweight frying pan (great for cooking veggies, quesadillas, etc. over the jetboil stove)
- Pan handle
- Wine bottle opener
- Lighter
- Lexan spoon (long handled, strong, and doesn't absorb flavors and smells as much as other plastic)
- Jetboil utensil kit (spoon, spatula, fork - sent home because it wasn't being used)

Added: We bought a sandwich-sized tupperware at the dollar store and it has been great for storage and the lid doubles as a cutting board

7. Shared food:
- 10 backpacker's pantry dinners for two (light and easy to make...usually we supplement dinner with a few snacks...most have been very tasty with only a couple exceptions) 
- 8 Clif gel shots
- 6 Clif shot bloks
- 4 Clif bars
- 10 Honey Stinger bars
- 5 Luna bars
- 4 Clif Mojo bars

8. Shared camp gear:
Shared camp gear
- Travel bath wipes (nice to have but rarely used since we get occasional real showers)
- Baby wipes (very useful for an assortment of purposes)
- 2 straps, 1 bungee, 2 twisties, and p-chord
- Basic first aid kit
- Medicine baggie
- ACA TransAmerica Bike route map set (these maps are easy to read, water and tear-proof, and full of helpful information for bikers)
- Sunscreen
- Extra ziplock baggies (nice to have some of all sizes, especially for food storage)
- Fire starters (sent home because we haven't had time or energy to build any fires)
- Clothes pins (rarely used, but still have them with us)
- Playing cards
- Laundry detergent
- Pocket knife
- Emergency sleeping bag (sent home because we are never truly in the wilderness and we have a lot of other gear)
- Dr. Bronners (great for dishes, clothes, body, hair, face, etc.)
- Bug repellant (sent home because we haven't had bugs)
- Trowel (great if you know how to use it!)

Added: Sunscreen for the face (so that we would be more inclined to actually use it), we needed to get a large, extra heavy-duty trash bag for Don to use in his duffel so that everything would stay dry when it rained, we also got plastic gloves from Subway and Subway sandwich bags to use on our hands and feet to help stay dry

9. Personal and shared electronics:
- Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Small adventure kit solar charger (very fun toy, probably not a requirement since we are usually near outlets at least once a day)
- Rechargeable AA batteries
- Rechargeable AAA batteries
- Camera battery charger
- Headphones 
- iPad (it turned out that we couldn't upload photos to this blog from the iPad because of strange compatibility issues so we actually brought along my laptop and charger...quite heavy but it has been nice to have along)
- iPad charger
- Camera-computer connector chord
- iPhone charger
- Double headophone jack (haven't used since we are always in private when we listen to music or watch a movie on the laptop)

10. Shared tool kit:
- Pliers
- Cable housing cutters
- Multi-tool
- Bungee chords (great for holding down tent onto rear rack and duffel on the B.O.B. trailer)
- Hand pump
- Rag (for cleaning chains)
- Extra B.O.B. trailer pins
- Extra brake pads/cartridges
- Zip-ties (we ended up using a lot of these and buying more...they definitely come in handy)
- Brake cable
- Gear cable
- Extra spokes
- Cassette tool
- Tire levers
- Electrical tape (an all-purpose item)
- Patch kit
- Chain lube (we needed more than we thought we did...especially in the high, dry climates)
- Extra bolts, washers, nuts, and spoke nipples
- Extra tubes

*We've been very lucky as far as mechanical issues have gone...our only problems have been with the B.O.B. trailer which we will address in more detail when we write a full review

11. Don's personal gear
Don's gear

12. 1st food re-ration: 
* We had our first re-ration box sent to us in West Yellowstone (about 1/3 of the way through our trip) and after going through it we sent it back to my mother along with any gear we had decided we didn't need.
Re-ration 1 food
- 10 backpacker's pantry dinners for two
- 8 Clif gel shots
- 6 Clif shot bloks
- 4 Clif bars
- 10 Honey Stinger bars
- 5 Luna bars
- 4 Clif Mojo bars

13. 1st re-ration optional items:
Re-ration 1 options
- Chacos (did not take...decided to stick with my original shoe idea)
- Journal (did not take...Don had his journal and I only have time to blog)
- Skirt (did not take because it is too cold out)
- Fleece pants (decided to bring from the beginning for extra warmth while camping...glad I did)
- Coffee mug (did not take because we use the cups that come with the jetboil)
- Lexan mug (did not take because we use the jetboil and/or frying pan as our bowls)
- Black Diamond lantern (did take as extra light while camping)
- Bug spray (did not take because we don't have bugs)
- Collapsible bowl (did take as an extra way to eat or separate food duing mealtimes)
- Tupperware bowl with lid (did not take because we use the jetboil and/or frying pan as our bowls)
- Fire starters (did not take because we haven't had any fires)
- Compact mirror (did take but haven't used...will probably send home)
- Sleeping bag liner (did not take because my sleeping bag is the perfect warmth and we aren't that dirty)

14. 1st re-ration items to restock:
Re-ration 1 stuff
- Book (did not take because I haven't finished my first book)
- Baby wipes (did not take because we weren't through our first case)
- 2 gas canisters (did take because we wanted o carry some spare fuel with us)
- Zip-lock baggies (did take because we can always use more baggies)
- Aquamira (should have taken since the day after we sent back our first reration we realized we were out of Aquamira...always good to have extra of this along)
- Laundry detergent (did take since we were running low)

15. 2nd food re-ration:
* We had our second re-ration box sent to my friend's house in Leoti, Kansas (just past our halfway point for our trip) and will be sending a box back to my mother again with gear we don't want or need.
Re-ration 2 food
- 10 backpacker's pantry dinners for two
- 8 Clif gel shots
- 6 Clif shot bloks
- 4 Clif bars
- 10 Honey Stinger bars
- 5 Luna bars
- 4 Clif Mojo bars

16. 2nd re-ration items to restock:
Re-ration 2 stuff
- Book (still ahven't finished my first book)
- Baby wipes (don't need any more of these)
- Laundry detergent (can always use more of this)

17. On-the-bike gear:
Bike gear
- Helmet (nice to have a visor for the bright sun)
- Camelbak insulated water bottle (amazing..holds a lot of water and keeps it cooler)
- Short water bottle (really nice to have at least one shorter water bottle so it can fit under faucets and drinking fountains...then you can use it to fill your other bottles)
- Ortlieb handlebar bag
- Ortlieb rear panniers
- Seat bag with flat tire repair kit (because it is convenient and matches my bike)
- Wire bike lock (great as a deterrant so that no one will hop on your bike and ride away...we usually just lock our bikes together and that seems to be sufficient) 
- Bell (fun to have for mileage or border crossing celebrations..also nice for getting each other's attention if you're biking with someone else)
- Cyclocomputer (I would like to have one that tells me speed, distance, time, date, temperature, and maybe even elevation and grade)
- Front and rear lights (the brightest you can find...we use rechargeable batteries and turn on our lights whenever it is cloudy, rainy, overcast, or foggy out)
- Not pictured: Don is using a B.O.B. trailer instead of panniers and we will be writing a review comparing the pros and cons of these two different options for carrying gear.

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