Equipment: Which straw will break our backs? - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

March 9, 2011

Equipment: Which straw will break our backs?

Equipment Lists-stuff we are bringing..... and some stuff we are not

I (Dodie) am a list maker from way back. My Dad always made lists of things to do and I got in the habit as a young girl and never lost it. In fact, Steve and I occasionally come across old "to do" lists from 30 or more years ago and are surprised to find that the jobs on them are still current. I guess maybe this says more about our inability to follow through on the job than our ability to make good lists.

Nevertheless, I started planning for our trip by making a list of EVERYTHING I thought might be useful, pulling it all out of car camping supplies, closets and the workshop, shopping for additional items that looked useful (or cool/fun/interesting) and placing them in a messy heap in our 'spare room'. Next was sorting, weighing (helps to know how much you will be towing in the BoB) and eliminating surplus gear. This was followed by trial packing of everything into our front handlebar bags, terrific yellow rear rack/pannier bags and the BoB bag. Oh, and don't forget the strap on stuff.

Lists of what I was contemplating bringing were written, rewritten, and written out again as I tweaked weight, utility of a given item and tried to find the best way to pack it all neatly.
Our current lists look something like this:

Bikes: Steve has a Rocky Mountain Metro (a hybrid commuter bike "borrowed" from one of our daughters)

My bike is a Northrock Ladies Comfort Bike. Nicknamed "Rocky". It was only $250 at Costco, has 21 speeds (Steve will write more about the regearing he did on it) and I LOVE it. Three best features (for me) are that it has a very low step through so my arthritic knees can manage mounting and dismounting, it has a straight handlebar which allows me to sit fairly upright which I prefer and best of all I have grip shifters. I feel much more secure not having to move my hand position much and arthritic thumb joints do not enjoy trigger shifters.
-we are each using BoB trailers, front handlebar bags, underseat bags and REI bright yellow rack packs with small panniers. We have safety flags on the bikes and also on the BoBs

Bike repair tools and spare parts: Steve may amplify here.....
-5mm Allen key
-Quick release belt: this has since been moved from tool kit to being in regular use to hold some of the strap on stuff on my BoB.
-3 bike locks and keys (for regular use and a spare set stored separately). We have a lock to hold the 2 BoB's together on quick trips in to a store, a long cable to attach both bikes together and go around a tree or post and a third medium length lock because I felt it would be good to have a backup.
-kit to disassemble the Bob trailers for packing in boxes on our return home by train
-brake repair stuff (note: I am not familiar with the technical terms for most gear). It seems now that Steve will be installing most of this before we leave and we will not bring spare stuff with us. I think the plan is to check the brakes carefully each month or so and replace when they begin to look worn.
-8 mini bungee cords: this has been reduced to 6 which are actually now all in use but can be redirected to different uses if needed.
-8 assorted small and medium carabiner clips: they look like they should be useful for something even though at this point I don't know what
-small roll of electrical tape: again, this MUST be a needed item on any trip, surely
-adjustable wrench: dispensed with this in favour of our MEC Filzer I-tool Grande multitool which is more versatile and weighs only a fraction of the wrench.
-one mini maglite flashlight each: getting caught trying to do anything in the dark in an emergency is no fun at all
-Park freewheel puller: needed because Steve kitted me out with an IRD freewheel that gave me low enough gears but requires a not so common puller if work on it is needed
-headlamps: 1 cheap HomeDepot version in each of our front bags (see mini flashlights above) and a very expensive Petzl that we ditched on the grounds that really we didn't need all of them!!! We also have flashing MEC turtle lights (white and red) on our helmets and on our bikes and BoBs. You can NEVER be too visible.
-2 hex bolts which is on the original list but now we can neither remember why we had them OR whether we even brought them. Let's hope we don't find out later that they are essential, because we can't remember where we put them.
-spare inner tubes: 2 x 700c and 1 "slimed" 16" for a BoB
-MEC Filzer I-tool Grande multitool
-2 spare powerlinks in case of chain disaster. We were going to bring an extra chain but Steve is now planning to put new chains on each bike instead before we leave and use our Park chain wear measuring tool to anticipate the need for chain replacement along the road.
-chain lubricants/cleaners: Prolink which really didn't work after even a light rain, Pedro's synlube which will hopefully be better in wet conditions, and possibly some WD40 for misc spots that need attention
-2 FiberFix kevlar emergency spokes: we are hoping that since we have them we will not need them
-patch and repair kits: for the thermarests, the tent and inner tubes.
-tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus on both bikes and the tires that came with the BoBs with the addition of Slime (self sealing puncture stuff)
-tire repair stuff: patches and tire irons
-some Velcro straps and a longish Velcro strip.
-Katadyn water filter kit for emergency use only
-zip strips: to hold things on to BoBs or bikes or whatever

Camping Gear: small lightweight daypack to hold electronics and wallets when off bike as well as purchased food and supplies until we return to the bikes.
-2 5x7 lightweight tarps to cover the bikes and/or BoBs when camped in rain
-All weather emergency blanket to use mainly as a 'footprint' for our tent
-spare grommets: which have been rapidly dispensed with since they didn't seem to work, or really be necessary
-lightweight 5x7 nylon tarp for use as a kitchen fly
-rope: for staking out the fly, hanging food in trees or any other useful purpose
-2 thermarest type sleeping mats
-Eureka 3 person Tetragon tent: a bit heavier perhaps than some 2 person tents we have seen, but at our age comfort means a lot and the extra room makes sense to us
-tent pegs and plastic peg hammer
-extra shockcorded tent poles to use with the kitchen fly in case no trees are available to guy out to
-sleeping bags: Steve is bringing his trusty old down bag while Dodie (who is slightly claustrophobic and hates mummy, or even tight barrel bags) bought a synthetic fill, loose fit bag at Costco.
-2 (relatively) lightweight folding camp stools: Things that don't matter when you are younger, in your 40's for example, take on new meaning in your 60's. So it is for us with the possibility of needing a place to sit when camped or eating lunch at the roadside. What about the ground, you may ask? Not so simple: although getting down is not too bad with the help of gravity, sometimes my knees rebel at the thought of arising once more. So these are luxury items that we may wish we'd never brought, and will then abandon, or they might prove to be our best friends and invaluable. Time will tell.

Electronics: Steve loves his toys and won't leave home without them, so we have
-Canon Powershot SD 1200 camera, spare batteries and memory chips : we were originally going to bring one each but now have decided on just one to keep numbering and identifying photos easier
-a 'dumb'phone for emergency use: Canadian service with roaming available (at ridiculous cost) in the US
-ASUS EEEPC 1005PE: chosen because it is small, lightweight (relatively speaking) and has a fairly long battery life (advertised to be 14 hours, in truth is closer to 8)
-spare computer battery: we may not be near outlets to recharge and want the security of a backup
-ear buds and external speakers: hey we might want a Skype date with the grandkids
-internet key and 3 spare USB keys
-wireless mouse
-my trusty Braun electric toothbrush with two interchangeable heads
-chargers for all the above mentioned electronics
-what we did not bring: I-Pod, solar charger, GPS, second camera

Miscellaneous: Black felt marker
-playing cards and travelling Crib Board: thanks to my son-in-law, Conan, for getting me addicted to the game
-notebook and pen
-paper journal and pen: on line journals are all very well, but we really love the feel of a handwritten document
-a small plastic container of my parents ashes: both my parents loved to travel, and since their passing the family has been taking their ashes on our travels and sprinkling them as we go. It is a way of having them continue to share in our adventures.

Clothes: - 1 pair camp pants each (ordinary lightweight warmup style 'tights')
-1 pair Croc style camp shoes each and 1 pair of slip on Merrell's for Dodie for cycling (I freak at the thought of clips and my Merrells are really comfy and work for hiking and biking), 1 pair lace up New Balance light hikers for Steve for cycling and hiking.
-2 pair MEC cycling shorts each: I tried an assortment of REI shorts/skorts and found a problem with all of them. My MEC's are perfect. Steve is also bringing 2 pair MEC cycling shorts.
-Polar fleece hoodie each: to be used as a pillow in a stuff sack when not being worn
-gloves: each bringing 1 pair of short finger and full finger cycling gloves, 1 pair lightweight warm gloves for in camp, 1 pair yellow "dishwashing" gloves to wear in heavy rains when cycling-cold hands are a misery indeed.
-hats: 1 sunhat each, 1 warm knit hat each
-long pants 1 pair each for cycling: not at all high tech, just ordinary cheap 'tights' to pull on over shorts when the weather is chilly
-raingear: each has a bright green wind and rainproof jacket with hood and black waterproof pants with zippers - we went through several variations of this gear, including "FrogSuits" from Cabela's which are too loose, especially in the leg, for cycling and several attempts at Goretex/waterproof breathable fabrics, pants with and without zippers and so on. In the end Dodie's rain pants are tight enough at the ankle to avoid interference with the chain but Steve is using a velcro strap around his right leg.
- 2 long sleeve shirts each, 1 for cycling when layering is needed and 1 spare to wear if the evening/morning is cool or to keep off the bugs.
- 3 short sleeve shirts each of sunblocking fabric. The plan originally was to also bring 2 cotton shirts each for camp use but they were ditched in favour of less weight to carry.
-1 sleeveless t shirt(Dodie) to use for cycling/bathingsuit top/sleeping(or one of the long sleeve if a cold night. Steve will be using a clean cycling shirt for sleeping.
-1 pair each shorts to use for sleeping (or we will use the camp pants if cold night) and as bathingsuit bottom
-1 pull on skirt(obviously Dodie): modesty sometimes requires no lycra
-1 pair extra shorts each: Dodie ditched hers in favour of the skirt only for any off bike wear. Steve still has his pair
-2 pair longer length light socks each for camp use, keeps off bugs and can be used to sleep in if really cold
-3 pair each ankle length cycling socks
-1 pair white Pearl Izumi sunsleeves (Dodie) : you can never have too much sun protection
-underwear: Dodie has 2 pair for off bike use and 2 bras, Steve has 3 pair lightweight seamless underwear
-windshell: very lightweight and easy to stow for days when the wind/rain jacket is just too heavy and hot. Steve's is bright yellow/green but Dodie's is a medium blue, which might not have the necessary visibility factor. Since it was an REI purchase we will try to swap it out for a bright yellow or green when we go visit the grandkids in a week.
-misc clothing type items include: 2 small towels and 2 facecloths, a stuff sack to use as a laundry bag, elastic 'clothesline', travelling alarm clock and small flashlight (OK so they are not technically clothing but they ARE for use in the tent at night and it made sense to include them as clothing at some point in time)

Cooking: one burner propane stove, uses standard 16oz canisters
-2 propane canisters: one in use, one as a spare
-2 bowls, 2 mugs, 2 plates: very lightweight plastic
-cutlery: 2 ea spoons, forks and knives plus a small spreader knife and a sharp knife for cutting up veggies in food prep
-very small can/bottle opener, the old fashioned key type that doesn't work too well but is lightweight so what the heck
-coffee pot: great for quick boil up of water for food prep and also for dishwashing water
-small nylon cutting board: abandoned as unnecessary
-2 old dishtowels, used for the obvious drying of washed dishes but also to layer between frypan and stove to prevent rattling
-utensils: plastic turner for pancakes etc, rubber spatula, wooden spoon, plastic 'serving spoon', pot lifter, scissors (to cut open food packets), dishwashing scrubbie in ziploc bag, bbq lighter
-mid size pot and lid from our much loved camping set. It may be a wee bit on the heavier side but food doesn't burn in it and it can cook enough food for both of us.
-non stick 10inch frypan with folding handle: perfect for stirfrys, pancakes and other culinary delights
-folding camping toaster in a 'smell proof' plastic bag. Actually most of our food and cooking gear is in these bags which we are hoping live up to their advertising and don't give us away to the wildlife
-2 small air insulated lunch size coolers. Food we buy on the road as well as stuff we plan on eating during the day will be stored in these strapped on the top of Dodie's BoB bag. This will hopefully make it unnecessary to unpack/repack until we camp for the night.
-emergency food: 2 freezedried meals, 2-4 pouches of instant soup mix, 2 Knorr Sidekicks (pasta and flavouring)
-staple foods: peanut butter, honey, crackers, oil, instant oatmeal packets, tea and coffee packets, hot chocolate mix, granola bars. trail mix, etc
-the plan is to buy food as we go on a daily basis, but have "emergency" supplies on hand in case we get stuck without a nearby grocery or convenience store
-WATER !! : we each have 5 1 litre water bottles on the bikes/BoBs but will probably only fill them all when we anticipate a lack of refill places on the days route. Normal will probably be 1 full bottle on each bike and 2 full spares on each BoB
-plan is to try to avoid fast foods as much as possible and focus on fresh fruit and veggies, yogurt, soups, sandwiches etc purchased more from grocery stores than restaurants.

First Aid and Toiletries: Aloe vera jell (Dodie especially sunburns very easily)
-Antacids: chewable. Nothing worse than an upset tummy when exercising hard
-antibiotic ointment, antiseptic towelettes
-bandaids: a small assortment including butterfly closures
-bug spray : high concentration of DEET (I know, yes it is toxic stuff-but we hate being eaten alive by the bugs)
-calamine lotion, in case the DEET doesn't work
-compression pads for stopping bleeding
-small quantity of cough drops and cough syrup (we are both prone to occasional bronchitis and prolonged coughing bouts)
- eye drops for dry eyes
-spare eyeglasses for Dodie, reading glasses for Steve, eyeglass cleaner spray, eyeglass repair screwdriver, 1 pair glasses and clipon flip up sunglasses for Dodie, 1 pair sunglasses for Steve
-hand sanitizer in travel size bottle
-hydrocortisone cream
-body soap, laundry soap, shampoo, chamois butter, baby powder - small sizes
-2 each mini packs Kleenex
-Sunscreen lipgloss
-Lactaid (lactose intolerance and icecream don't mix without it)
-travel size moisturiser lotion
-nail clippers
-travel size q-tips
-razor (for injuries when a bandaid won't stick)
-bandage scissors
-medications in 7 day organizer, such as gravol, cold tablets, ibuprofen, etc
-Lanacaine, Micatin
-sunscreen, SPF 50, stick and spray. I think I mentioned that I burn easily.
-safety pins, threaded sewing needles
-tweezers
- 2 partial rolls toilet paper, more hand sanitizer, baby wipes
-bandage tape
-toothcare stuff: electric toothbrush with 2 interchangeable heads, travel size toothpaste, dental floss

DID I FORGET ANYTHING ???? Hard to say until we are on the road and need the thing we haven't got.

Testing the tent in our rain proof bedroom!
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Dodie's gear
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Steve's gear
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Stuff we are not taking (but once were).
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Stanley the cat is not part of the gear!
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