A Few of Our Favorite Things
We're sharing the gear and resources that have been helpful to us, before and during our trip, with links galore to help with your research. I'm sure we'll keep expanding the list as we travel. Other websites have given more detailed lists of all the items they bring, we are just hitting the high points here.
Happy Trails Panniers: Both bikes have these and they're durable, waterproof, and easy to access. Aluminum, repairable. We also have a set of the liner bags for Keith's bigger panniers, and use them to hold various gear.
Happy Trails Skid Plate: We added this to Jalene's bike because it has been lowered. It's heavy duty protection.
Cover Max Bike Covers: These are small and light to stack on top of our Ortlieb bags and easy to cover the bikes with every night plus as needed during the day.
ROK Straps: These are used to hold everything in place that's not in the panniers. Very durable, they cinch down and have an elastic section so they never seem to need adjusting once set.
HyperLites: These are extremely bright red LED lights that attach to the rear of the bike and face backwards toward the inattentive driver following you. They shine red all the time, but when you apply your brakes, they flash BRIGHT red for 5 seconds and then shine a steady bright red. They are annoyingly bight, and will get that tailgaters attention. Highly recommended.
MSR Trail Lite Duo Cook System: After traveling with this set for a couple of months, we sent home our plates. The bowls and cups are our only eating/drinking containers and they pack up nice and compact.
MSR Flex Skillet: This size nests nicely under the pot above and gives us a second cooking container which works well in preparing a dinner with, for example, sautéed veggies (in the skillet) and pasta (in the pot).
Mario Coffee Mill Slim Grinder, Mini: Jalene is the coffee drinker and she LOVES her java in the morning. With this manual coffee grinder, she can grind whole beans for coffee every morning.
GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker: Jalene started with a French Press stainless steel cup but it was too big and heavy. She switched to this set-up and, after fine-tuning her method, loves it.
Big Agnes Roxy Ann Sleeping Bag: We love both of these his/her sleeping bags. The insulated sleeping pad (see below) slips into the uninsulated pocket on the bottom side of the sleeping bag. This allows the insulation to be concentrated on the top and sides. So far, they're not too hot and not too cold.
Exped SynMat 7 Air Pad with Pump: We started out with the Q-Core Sleeping Pads and after one sprung pinhole leaks after about a month, we replaced them both with the Exped while we were on the road. This pad feels more like sleeping on a real mattress and holds air all night. Seems to be a thicker material, and comes with a repair kit that hopefully won't be needed. Simple, built-in air pump keeps moisture out of the pad.
Hugger Mugger Tapas Traveler Yoga Mat: Jalene missed doing yoga so she added this mat to our gear while we were on the road. The unexpected bonus is that it works as a great padded floor to the tent to save knees and tent floor fabric from abuse.
Marmot Tungsten 4P tent: Large rectangular tent with two doors, and generous vestibule areas on both sides. Plenty of mesh for ventilation. So far is holding up well, though the pockets for the cross-poles have needed reinforcement with Tenacious Tape. It's size allows us to bring lots of gear inside if necessary, plus have room to nearly stand up when dressing, etc. A little more room makes a big difference in livability, especially when weathered in. In the end, it came down to this tent or the North Face Talus 4P, both good options.
MeFOTO BackPacker Travel Tripod: We bought this during our trip. It allows us to take shots of us together and set-up the camera for videos. We love that it's lightweight, small, and quick to set-up.
Jalene has a few favorite apps that can all be found in iTunes: LiveExpenses (tracking our expenses including uploading to Excel), NOAA Radar, NOAA Weather Live, iOverlander (finding places to stay), SpanishDict, Days Since (tracking total days + days per country), Yoga Studio.
Adventure Rider Radio: Jim Martin, and his crew, create interesting, educational, funny, and insightful podcasts about overland travel. Listen to the free podcasts through iTunes and consider donating to help them continue going strong. They do an awesome job of capturing stories and motorcycle travel tips!
Horizons Unlimited: Grant and Susan Johnson have amassed a gigantic amount of inspiring and helpful material about overland travel. Peruse the seemingly endless forums on this sight and buy their DVD's (we did!) to learn, learn, learn.
2 Ride the World: Lisa and Simon Thomas do an excellent job at providing motorcycle traveling resources.
Michelle Lamphere: We heard Michelle speak at the Horizon's Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Nakusp, British Columbia in August 2015. The tips she shared about traveling in Latin America were well organized and very helpful. Good news! She has just released a book, Tips for Traveling Overland in Latin America.
ADVrider: Almost everything you can imagine about prepping your bike for travels, as well as any other subject related to dual-sport riding and traveling by bike.
F650: A tremendous amount of information about the BMW F650 series of bikes. LOTS of detail about prepping and what tends to go wrong. In valuable for getting our bikes ready, and consulting about repairs and spare parts. Formerly The Chain Gang forum.