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Equipment List

The below list details all my items for the bike nerdy or adventure needy amongst you.

As you will note, any effort on my part to escape a consumerist society has been foiled at the very first attempt. It turns out that if you wish to wander back to nature then you are going to need a whole load of stuff to help you do it. I hate buying stuff but unfortunately hobbies and stuff go hand in hand. As soon as I accepted that it is necessary to consume to escape consumerism, I began to appreciate some of the thought that went into designing and producing all of these things. It seems that Man is not so retarded after all despite the amount of evidence to the contrary. Of course one hopes that the dent in the credit card will be much more appreciated once I am on the road. No doubt I will have some tough moments as I cart all of this up mountains and as I curse myself for not taking the instructions to save a few grammes. Anyhow, it turns out that I am not such a bad consumer after all.

It is worth noting that trying to organise one's life for several months into some small panniers takes a fair amount of thought.  Especially when one wishes to visit extremes of both altitude and the beach. Without the benefit of experience the below is my best stab at it. Key is compactness and weight. I realise that I have severely handicapped myself by putting the equivalent of tractor tyres on my bike but unfortunately cycling the Himalaya and the Andes leaves me with little choice.

Interestingly this trip has been list free to date.  This means that absolutely everything has been planned and organised in my head within the space of two months.  I amuse myself by never keeping lists or keeping dates in a diary because I regret ever using a calculator for mental arithmetic.  So in an effort to keep my memory I try to avoid lists. What you don't use you lose 'n' all that!

Having said all that, it is an interesting exercise to recall everything and ground the detail here.  Boy is this some list.  


  • Framset - Thorn Ripio steel hardtail with seamless double-butted heat treated cro-mo Reynolds 725 tubing
  • Fork - Thorn MT Tura Rigid steel fork
  • Headset - FSA Orbit
  • Wheelset - Rigida CSS Andra rims with Shimano XT hubs
  • Tyres - Schwalbe Marathon XRs and spare Schwalbe Smart Sam Aplencross (more traction for front wheel)
  • Transmission - Shimano SLX
  • KMC chain
  • Pedals - Shimano SPD M530s.  (I normally ride egg-beaters but these were dual being platform on one side for when I was cruising cities with regular shoes and clipless on the other for proper riding)
  • Braking - Shimano XT V-Brake
  • Cockpit - Easton flat bar, BBB XS bar-ends with Thomson stem (flush finish on rear of stem protects knee bashing when climbing out of the saddle and working the front-end on steep bits)
  • Saddle - Fizik Gobi
  • Racks - Thorn rear rack and front low-rider
  • PRO bottle for my bike-tools
  • 3*Profile Stryke bottle-cages (These all broke within two weeks, I replaced with inflexible steel cages although this meant I had to use bike water-bottles instead of regular bottles of water)
  • Bike review and photos are in this post


  • Tent - Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 + Footprint
  • Sleeping Bag - Marmot Helium 15 degree Down + compression sack
  • Sleeping Bag Liner - Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite
  • Speeping Pad - Therm-a-rest Neoair L + repair kit
  • Stove - MSR Dragonfly + spares
  • Lighter and wind-proof matches
  • 2 litre pot with straining lid
  • Water Filter - MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter
  • 4 litre water bag (I would recommend 10 if cycling Bolivia)
  • Foldable Bucket by Sea to Summit for washing stuff (me?)
  • Mini washing line
  • Compass
  • Dish Towel - Sea To Summit DryLite XS
  • Spork
  • Collapsable plate, bowl and cup
  • Petzl head-torch (doubles as head-light for bike)
  • Universal sink plug


  • Leatherman Wave
  • Park MTB 3 Rescue multi-tool (fine for adjusting bike after a flight but for fixing stuff I really would have liked having the individual tools for better access and leverage. Next time I would just take the individual allen tools I need plus a decent chain-breaker)
  • Cone Spanners for XT hubs
  • Hollowtech II BB tool
  • 3*power-links (in case chain snaps)
  • Spare BB (I didn't have a fancy sealed unit so I had to accept that my BB could go at any time)
  • crank-arm star tool
  • Spare chain-ring bolts
  • Spoke tool
  • Spare tyre-levers
  • 2 spare conti-tubes
  • Woods valve adapter (presta-schraeder)
  • Topeak Mountain Morph (great pump to adjust tyre pressure more easily on the go ... releasing and pumping air is a daily task on Andean ripio)
  • steel wire
  • assorted cable-ties
  • dental floss (very strong)
  • some grease
  • Old tooth-brushes as I go to scrub dirt from chain (the petrol from my stove's fuel bottle helped to keep transmission clean)
  • Rag
  • Gaffer tape

Personal Care 

  • Bath Towel - MSR Packtowl UltraLite XL
  • Shaving drops + Gillette stick
  • Shower Gel
  • Lip balm (very important in Andes)
  • Sun cream (the air is very arid in the Andes so one needs high protection such as f45)
  • Alcohol based hand soap
  • Baby-wipes
  • Dental-floss
  • Insect repellent - tea tree oil & lavender
  • Citricidal: Grape-fruit seed extract (natural antibiotic and purifier)
  • Chlorine/Iodine tablets for water
  • First-aid kit


  • Bike Shoes - Specialized Sport MTB
  • North Face trail-runners
  • 2*Giordana lycra shorts - I stuck to the same brand as the bib-shorts I race in to save any nasty surprises but regreted not takin bib-shorts as they don't slip down after a few washes.
  • 1*Board-shorts - light and don't absorb sweat. By using these as outers and the lycra as inners it made it easier to wash and dry things. Heavy MTB shorts don't dry easily and don't provide the same flexibility since now I had board-shorts for as something to swim and walk around town in.
  • 2*Long-sleeve Helly Hanson base-layers
  • 1 short-sleeve jersey
  • 2*bike caps - one for cycling and one for casual wear
  • Sealskinz Winter hat (for altitude and rain)
  • Gore pac-lite jacket - This was a very snug, compactable, and totally waterproof Gore-tex jacket. I thought it would double as a reasonably good summit jacket under my RAB but it wasn't sufficient.
  • RAB down vest 750 down-fill.  Very compactable down-vest for altitude or nippy nights.
  • ME Fitzroy Primaloft summit jacket. I bought this on the way round in NZ as I didn't like the cold and was worried I needed the insurance on the Altiplano in Bolivia. Primaloft is preferable to down as an outer-shell as it is more rain-proof and dries out quicker. It weighed 600grms but doubled as a nice pillow in the tent
  • Lowe Alpine waterproof Trousers
  • Nike ACG trousers that cut to shorts (thanks very much Colm and Camilla)
  • Light Mambo trousers that I've had for years
  • Cannondale Fleece
  • Thermal top long-sleeve
  • Thermal long-johns
  • Rudy Project Rydon Sunglasses
  • Leg-warmers for cycling
  • Arm-warmers - extra layer at altitude.
  • 1 long-sleeve cotton t-shirt
  • 1 short-sleeve cotton t-shirt
  • 3*Boxers
  • 3*socks
  • Flip-flops for shower and beach (I ended up biking 5000k+ in flips ... not good training but useful in hot and wet riding conditions)


Bear in mind it was October 2009 when I left, smartphones and tablets weren't so smart then etc.
  • Brunton 12 Solaris - Foldable solar panel power supply - works with car chargers. I shipped this home as I was near power once every three days at worst.
  • Nokia N73 - the worst phone in the world.  I thought this trip would be the excuse to buy an iPhone but no, due to iPhone's altitude limit, the expense of it and the hassle of getting one sim-free. (So annoying of Apple to bundle it and sink to the level of a telecoms provider).
  • iPod Touch 64GB - Large capacity for music, movies, tv-shows, wifi. I ran US iTunes on it so I could have access to a decent video library whenever I got to a wifi spot. It also had the necessary app to update this website. In addition it could act as a back-up drive for my photos.
  • Netbook - Asus 1050ha Win7. I picked this up in Melbourne as I realised I couldn't spend my whole trip editing pics and writing posts in unfamiliar www cafes. No regrets - only 1.5kg including power-supply plus it saved hugely on internet cafe charges in expensive countries such as Australia and Canada.
  • Nikon DSLR + remote (so I could get in the shot).
  • Canon IXUS 100 IS - ultra-compact for the pocket
  • Gorillapod SLR tripod - I shipped this home, it could hold the camera body but not the lens. I needed a bigger version which I wasn't arsed carrying.
  • USB Memory card reader (although netbook accepted my memory cards directly)
  • Thumb-drive to back-up photos and store files
  • Applicable car-chargers for solar panel and usb data cables (posted home)
  • Universal Travel Adapter with USB port (handy for charging iPod Touch)
  • VDO Z1 bike computer - Had an altimeter and thermometer amongst regular functions. It also converted to a watch thanks to the strap that came with it.


  • Panniers - Ortleibs - Back Roller Plus, Front Roller Plus and Ultimate 5 M Bar Bag w/map case & camera padding
  • Rack-bag - Otleib X-plorer 35 litre - Dry Sack for sleeping bag and tent. This doubles as a back-pack for plane travel or days off the bike rambling in cities.
  • Ground-Effects Body Bag for bike - light stowable cordura bike bag for plane travel
  • Rucksack travel cover - light stowable duffel-like bag to cram my panniers into so that I have one check-in bag.


  • Abus Raydo 1460 85cm steel combo lock
  • My mom's prayers.