Thursday, June 14, 2018

Gear for a long ADV trip

With all respect to the advice in a recent video from Fortnine (which I agree with, btw), for ADV trips longer than a few days, and through widely varying terrain and tough conditions, a bit more gear is needed to ensure a safe (or tolerably comfortable) journey.

Here's the complete list of gear I'm packing for a month-long, 7500km ADV ride with two other guys this summer. We're shipping our bikes to Calgary then riding down through the Rockies to Utah, across the desert, then winding back north to Calgary via Idaho. The route stitches together segments of the gpsKevin Crest of the Rockies trail, the Colorado BDR, the TAT, and the Idaho BDR. I'll be posting a detailed trip report when/if I return.

In choosing my gear, I'm relying on my prior experience with ADV riding, bicycle touring, world travel, backpacking, mountaineering, and personal preferences. Your priorities may differ from mine considerably, so choose accordingly. The following are my guiding principles in packing for this trip:

  • Pack light. I'm on a WR250R and most the route will be on dirt roads and trails, so maneuverability and fuel efficiency are important, and there's not a lot of HP left at high altitude.
  • Supplies can be replenished every few days. We're not so far off the beaten path that if we need something, we can't find it at the next Walmart or outdoor store. Similarly, we can have replacement tires delivered from vendors like Rocky Mountain ATV to somewhere convenient along the way. 
  • Some gear is meant to be shared (tools, first aid, etc.).
  • The three of us are coordinating our maintenance and tire changes to minimize wasted time and materials (like oil), and we plan to do the work in a major centre near the halfway point (probably in Moab, UT) where there's relatively easy access to any services or parts we may need.
  • If I could, I'd ditch all electronics, but they have unfortunately become essential to my current lifestyle. 
  • A little comfort is OK.
Now, on to the gear! Descriptions are generally from foreground to background, left to right.

  • Footprint (ground sheet) for tent.
  • MEC silicone nylon tarp for quick shelter and to cover the bike and unpacked gear in camp.
  • MSR Hubba NX 1-person tent (poles and tent in red nylon). I debated a 2-person tent, but wanted to minimize packing volume.
  • Sleeping bag, 0C MEC Draco
  • 2 ratchet straps (green) for top-bag tie-down.
  • Anker 21W solar recharger
  • Laundry detergent
  • SeaToSummit packable towel
  • Thermarest 3/4 sleeping pad (in Petzl mesh bag)
  • Somewhere in there is a MEC inflatable pillow. Haven't tried it yet, but the reviews were good and it packs really small. 
  • LED headlamp
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Silva magnetic orienteering compass
  • Flint and steel
  • Sewing kit (in film canister)
  • Clothes line
  • Mesh stuff sack for all the small crap
  • Lumix camera. I'm bringing my iPhone, but I've found phones are unreliable with endless software updates, security issues, etc. when you just want to take a darn photo.
  • Insulated jacket with hood (in grey stuff sack). Highly compressible, it's also much lighter and warmer than a fleece.
  • Klim Tactical Pro jersey.
  • Garmin Montana 610 GPS. This is the main unit mounted on my bars.
  • My own Rugged Wheels brand knitted hat. 
  • 2-3 pairs of Nitrile gloves in ziplock bag.
  • SPF 30 sunscreen. My preference is to avoid sunscreen as it makes everything filthy after a few days of not being able to wash, so instead I stay covered and use a buff on my neck. 
  • Phone charger and headphones.
  • Anker 10000 rechargeable battery in mesh bag. I can keep this charged with the solar panel, and use it to boost other devices as needed.
  • Compact tripod for camera.
  • Tire pressure gauge.
  • SeaToSummit CoolMax Adaptor sleeping bag liner in blue stuff sack. Soft and stretchy, it helps keep your sleeping bag clean and adds a lot of comfort, and it can be used on its own in dodgy motel beds. 
  • Klim Carlsbad pants.
  • Garmin inReach SE+ satellite beacon (yellow). I've subscribed to the basic annual plan and bought medevac services through Ripcord. This should provide adequate first-response coverage until my health and security coverage through my employer can kick in.
  • UV flashlight. For finding scorpions in camp!
  • Yellow and blue silicone nylon stuff sacks (10L each). Yellow contain clothes, which are minimal (basically two changes of Under Armor Heat Gear shirts and tights for riding, two pairs underwear, two pairs moto socks, and a T-shirt and pants for town). No point in carrying more than one set of dirty laundry. The blue stuff sack is for dirty/wet clothing.
  • Klim Carlsbad jacket.
  • Kriega R15 backpack for bladder and essentials. Fits like a dream over my riding gear.
  • About 20' of 1" tubular webbing as a tow rope (in green mesh bag)
  • Spare tube. The other guys will carry an extra tube as well. 
  • RotoPax 1 gallon can. Adds 100km range.
  • Large nylon stuff sack (black). This is for holding all my riding gear on the bike during shipping, so I can fly with minimal carry-on. It also doubles as a food bag.
  • Source 3L water bladder for Kriega pack. Has a quick-release drinking tube to make refills easy, whether from tap or water filter. 
  • Whisperlite International stove. Runs on naphtha (Coleman fuel), gasoline, or kerosine. 
  • 1L fuel bottle for stove (red). Also shown is a 325mL bottle, but my riding partners and I agreed that 1L each should be sufficient and we can easily refill as we go along. 
  • Dish cloths (blue)
  • Salt & pepper in Nalgene bottles, spoon, fork, lighter
  • 1L cooking pot that holds the stove and other items. 
  • Assortment of freeze-dried meals and jerky. Plenty for a few days of emergency rations. 
  • Coleman cup and stuff sack for the freeze dried packs. 
  • Wolfman Expedition soft bags (yellow). They hold about 30L each. I sewed longer top straps so I don't need to roll them so tight, which gives me just enough extra room to ease packing.
  • Fox elbow pads. I opted to remove all the padding from my Carlsbad jacket, as the pads are more versatile if I don't want to wear the jacket. 
  • Microfibre towel (blue) for wiping visor and eyeglasses.
  • Shoei bag for my Hornet X2 helmet.
  • First aid kit (red). I put this kit together myself, and it contains: EMT shears, reflective blanket, sterile compresses, gauze rolls, alcohol swabs, burn dressings, waterproof breathable tape, triangle bandage, assortment of bandaids, large absorbent pads (actually panty liners - they work great and are cheap), tweezers, hemostats, digital thermometer, oral rehydration salts, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Betadine, Cortisol cream, Polysporin, and probably a few other items. I can make a range of splints by cutting the plastic liners from my Wolfman bags, or use tent poles with duct tape if necessary.
  • Water purification tablets (in blue pouch - mainly as a backup). 
  • Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter
  • MSR Dromedary 4L water bag
  • Neck buff
  • MEC 30L waterproof top bag (orange) for food, frequent access needs
  • Forma Adventure boots
  • Chamois Butt'r for saddle rash (trust me--it can be a lifesaver!)
  • Pinlock visor for my helmet
  • Spare gloves (Fox)
  • Motul off-road chain lube
  • Moleskine notebook and pens
  • Toilet paper and hand-sanitizer
  • Tool bag (blue bag with First Aid badge)
  • TekVest Rally Max vest
  • Klim Mojave pants
  • Alpinestars Fluid Carbon knee braces. Because my knees need the protection!
Oh yeah, there's the WR250R as well. It'll get a new set of tires, MT21 in front and D606 in rear.

Packing it all up

Everything fits in the bags with room to spare. Bags are organized as follows, with weight reflecting food, some water, most clothes:

Left Wolfman bag (yellow) gets the heavy stuff (to balance the weight of the muffler): tools and tube at bottom, tow rope, then cooking and stove fuel, freeze-dried food, tent, and riding pants I'm not wearing at top. 20lb 8oz.

Right Wolfman bag gets the sleeping bag, pad, tarp, clothes, and first aid on top. 14lb 9oz

Top bag (orange) serves as my day-bag for groceries and stuff I need to access more often, like extra water, riding jacket, water filter, solar charger, etc. It also gets the tent poles. 14lb 13oz

Kriega backpack get the water bladder and stuff sack of essentials (snacks, compass, battery, chargers, beacon, ID, etc.). This pack always stays with me, so in theory I shouldn't be totally screwed if I lose everything else. 8lb 2oz

The RotoPax mounts under the top bag, and the top bag is held on transversely with the two green straps. This keeps the weight centralized while leaving enough room to slide my butt back on technical terrain. 

Overall, the weight and distribution is perfectly tolerable, even on such a light, underpowered bike.    

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