There are endless discussions about gear and what to pack, how much, or how little. I think that the answer is always “it depends”. You have to answer questions similar to when you are creating a budget. What are you going to be doing (camping? A little bit or a lot or none), food (are you going to cook, what type of cooking, or not at all or just emergencies), clothing (what type of things will you be doing), comfort (what type of comfort). The list goes on and on but it is how we decided on our gear. We think that we are medium packed on our bikes – could we have packed less, of course we could, but we could have also packed much more. We also have a dog with us so that went into consideration as we packed items for him as well.
We have the attached gear checklist that we have been using over the past few years. We refined it after each trip noting what we missed and what we wished we had with us. We are doing this again on our current trip. For example, we added an extension cord to our gear now we can’t imagine not having it for a few reasons: we can use it when camping (at RV parks) and in hotel rooms to take one plug and turn it into three and then can plug into odd places. We had one hotel where there was only one outlet and it was very oddly located high up on the wall. We have also been able to have power in our tent. It has generally made things easier.
Note, we are not sponsored by anyone nor have we received any items therefore anything mentioned below are items we purchased with our own money.
We chose a number of items for comfort because we knew we would be camping around half the time we have a large tent – it is a Redverz and what we love about it is that we can stand up and it has essentially two rooms (a bedroom and the large vestibule that is supposed to be for a motorcycle we use as a living room). The tent gives us a place to hang out in the rain or in high sun. It also is a great place to put all our stuff. The downside is that it is bulky and a bit heavy but we are two people on two bikes so we can make it work. We also have high-quality 3-season down sleeping bags and Exped sleeping pads. For our comfort we have pillows and flannel pillowcases.
UPDATE ON REDVERZ TENT:
The Series II Redverz tent is not fit for purpose for a long-term, around the world trip. We have no issues with the design of the tent, however, after 232-nights (218-nights on this trip and two weeks in summer 2014) we have seen multiple failures:
• Zippers splitting
• Silicone waterproofing on tent fabric has failed. The outer shell doesn’t shed water that leads to leaking into the inner tent; if the inner tent fabric touches the outer shell fabric then water is immediately shunted into the sleeping area.
• Tent fabric has become brittle and very fragile leading to easy tearing.
• Tent fabric has not only faded but has become thin and semi-transparent in many places.
We are disappointed in the lifespan of this tent. Leaving for this trip we were certain it would last much longer than it has. Advertised as an ‘Expedition’ tent we expected it too last the duration of our three-year, around the world trip, but in fact it has only lasted half of that time.
We threw away this tent as there was nothing to salvage. We are currently using an REI backpacker 3-man tent that is working out wonderfully. It is a much smaller footprint. Having done this trip with both big and small tents we would do this trip again with just the small tent. It is easier to find places to pitch, takes up less space, and is better for covert, wild camping.
We also cook many of our meals so we have a kitchen set up. It is now down to the bare essentials and it has been working well. We used to have camp size (read very small) pots/pan that nested together but I found that I really disliked cooking with them because they were so small that I couldn’t do much. So, we changed to one pot and one fry pan but they are a bigger size and that has made cooking so much better. We also have a foldable Tupperware because I generally cook enough for two meals so it makes saving that food very simple.
What really seems to take the bulk of our storage space is electronics and all the separate chargers. In some ways, the days before laptops, cellphones and all that were so much easier. But, that is not the world we live in and we wanted to stay connected on our trip. We have one laptop and two one-terabyte drives (one as our media drive for all photos and video as well as one for a backup drive). Also, because are gone for so long (3 years anticipated) we carry more medicines that we have on previous trips (antibiotics and malaria meds) and large-size (normal size and not travel) of toiletries (shampoo, contact lens solution, etc) and I carry a year’s worth of contact lenses. I also have a tool tube on the front of Zippy that is full of tampons; tampons are not readily available so I stock up when I can. If anyone steals that tube they will be in for a surprise.
Our bags expand and contract mostly depending on our consumables such as food, toilet paper/toiletries and dog food. So, there are days where it seems that all our bags are at maximum and then later it gets loose. Luckily our dog is small but we do carry a couple toys for him, his shoulder carry bag (how we sneak him into many places), five pounds of food (we buy it in five pound bags), clothes (yes, he has clothes such as a cooling vest and a puffy coat for cold weather).