Let me just reiterate the fact that Julianne is an art student and I am a music student. In case that doesn't bring up any connotations for you it basically means that we are poor as f$%k! We're not touring the country on a new BMW or Harley checking into hotels every night. That is expensive and boring. We're going to rough it, so it's good that we're poor because we wouldn't have it any other way.
So the necessities for the trip will include full camping gear, which will have to (a) fit on the bike and (b) be lightweight so as not to overload the bike. Lucky for us there's another group of adventurers who have already figured out small and lightweight gear: the backpackers. Backpacking tent, sleeping bags, stoves, etc, are all very small and very lightweight, not to mention excellent quality. Their gear does, after all, need to last months at a time in the wilderness. Here is a tentative list of what we think we'll need. After the list I'll go into detail about individual items.
tarp (for under the tent)
fuel bottles for stove
water container (probably inflatable)
foldable water bucket
2 nalgene bottles
coffee percolator or press
first aid kit
tooth brushes and paste, hairbrush, deoderant, etc
--The following lists are things that won't come from the backpacking world and I'll discuss them later--
spark plug wrench
#2 phillips and flat screwdrivers
wrenches (don't know exactly what sizes I want to bring yet)
allen wrench (I replaced a lot of screws with SS allen head bolts)
Pliers (leatherman possibly)
tire repair kit (not sure what type yet)
tappet feeler gauge
quart of 10W40 oil
tail light bulb
signal light bulb
spare main fuses
blackberry (we originally were going to bring a laptop, but this can replace it for our purposes)
charger for camera and blackberry
solar charger for blackberry
First off, sleeping. We have already acquired a tent and sleeping bags. The tent is a Cabela's brand ultralight tent, which we bought over the summer and have already tried out a few times. It's light for its size, around six pounds, and packs small . We got the three person tent for the extra room; this thing will be our house for the summer after all. It's great sleeping without the fly, and the fly is very water resistant for crappy weather.
Juli just got two sleeping bags! They're synthetic backpacking sleeping bags and are also very small and lightweight.
We are thinking of getting sleeping pads as well. These are small, thin air mattresses used in the backpacking world. We are looking at the Thermarest Prolite, which is a self-inflating pad, a big selling point for me. One of the most irritating things in the world is blowing up an inflatable with your mouth, and I don't think we'll be too excited to do it every night after a full day of riding! This thing packs really small, around 5X11 inches and only weighs 1 pound.
There are a couple of comparable pads by Big Agnes and Exped. The Exped pads are awesome, but about twice the weight of the Prolite. More expensive, too.
We're also considering a traditional foam sleeping pad, and I really like this one from Thermarest. I like that it doesn't inflate it can never puncture and become useless. It is very light but doesn't pack quite as small as the Prolite. It's much cheaper, though, and I wonder if that will outweigh the benefits of self-inflating pads. Ultimately, I think we'll decide on one of these after comparing them in the store. It will have to pass the comfy test.
is the Coleman F1 Ultralight. The picture shows the stove on top
of the canister. Originally I didn't want one that uses this type of canister because I wasn't sure it would be easy to find them on
But I have just discovered that a certain big box conglomo that
shall remain nameless carries them, so I think we'll find them
okay. They also have a couple of light stoves there, but not this particular one. It will have to be ordered on the web. This little
guy weighs 2.7 ounces as opposed to the one in the store that is
over a pound!
I have two different cooksets in mind. One is the MSR Quick 2, which is very complete yet compact. It includes two pots, two dishes, two stainless mugs, a strainer top, and it all fits into a 7x5" package! I am also looking at the GSI Pinnacle Dualist. It is similar in size and weight to the MSR set, but it doesn't have normal shaped mugs or plates, which I don't like. It does come in a bag that doubles as a water bucket, which is awesome! It also includes two utensils, which the MSR does not. Still, I really prefer the shape of the dishes and mugs of the MSR set. Also, the GSI only comes with one pot. Two could be handy on the road.
Open Country 2-5 Cup Perk, pictured at the left, which is about 5X5 inches and weighs 9 ounces. I like the simplicity of using a percolator. But a coffee press, like the GSI JavaPress seems like a good idea. I really don't know how it works. You put some hot water and coffee into it and "press" the coffee through the water, supposedly making coffee. I think we'll probably go with the perk. After all, cowboys on the range didn't carry a javapress.
Now for cleanup. Towels soap, and bucket. Well, the soap we've already got. It's biodegradable and can be used on dishes, in your hair, and on your clothes and body, and is called simply camp soap. For the towels we were thinking of getting pack towels, which sound like microfiber towels. They're very lightweight and absorbent, and we're thinking of getting the bigger versions for our bodies. The bucket we want to get is super cool! It folds! We saw this one at EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) that we really like. Carrying water is also concern. We might get an inflatable water container, which can be seen at EMS too. We might also carry a plastic gallon jug. It's something we haven't quite figured out yet.
Now how we'll light our campsite at night. There are all kinds of LED flashlights and lanterns that are lightweight and small. I think we'll go with one LED lantern and one LED headlamp. The lantern can be ambient light. The headlamp could be useful if we have to setup camp in the dark or if we have a bike issue in the dark. We don't plan on riding at night but you never know.
I haven't picked out a headlamp yet, but the lantern I want to get is a Black Diamond Apollo. I checked these out at EMS too and they're really tiny light, but very bright. It runs on 4 AAs or a rechargeable pack sold by Black Diamond. I'll need to do some more research to figure out which to get. We won't always have access to electricity so we may have to go with batteries that get thrown away when dead (which I hate doing, I am usually a rechargeable fan).
So besides all this camping stuff we're also going to need clothes for our bodies. Many motorcycle travelers get by with just one or two changes of clothes other than their riding gear. I think we'll try for that. We'll get a stuff sack for packing extra clothes.
So that's most of what we'll bring. I tried to be detailed but am sure other things will pop up. We'll need to pack wisely to get everything on the bike. We need to avoid packing like the picture up top!
Next posting, I'll probably talk about route ideas so stay tuned.