Cycle touring gear is an interesting subject, everyone has their own opinion and it’s not uncommon for the uninitiated (myself included) to end up carrying everything but the kitchen sink (I have seen it far to many times the pic below is a good example).
There is a very good reason for this. As with most cycle tourers I guess I could also be labelled a “gearhead”. For the uninitiated, this is someone who likes to have the best gear for every imaginable situation. Someone who is always buying new kit spending ages hunting through the latest gear and gadget reviews to find the lightest tent, best cooker, comfiest sleeping mat etc.
Often nothing more than a day long trip can be used as an excuse to justify that new coat or technical do dah. Gearheads are pretty easy to spot, it’s not uncommon for them to own 4 tents 5 packs 3 stoves etc. Yes any one stove will probably be able to cope with 99% of the situations they will come across, but what if they find themselves in that one situation up a mountain, at altitude unable to prime their stove because they didn’t get the top of the line model.
I personally like to think the reason I have lots of gear is so I can achieve the unachievable and stumble upon the holy grail of kits lists, every situation covered with a bag of gear that’s so light you don’t even know you’re carrying it. However as with all gearheads it most likely boils down to the fact that I actually quite like buying new gear reading reviews and oggling over the latest bits of kit whether I need it or not. This said I like to think that i’m a bit cleverer than your average gear junkie. Yes I do change some things in my kit lists depending on the trip. My aim however is to find gear which fits in as many different kits lists as possible reducing multiples. I now spend longer hunting the dark dingy corners of the interweb for undiscovered gear which is more usable, cheaper and harder wearing than just the lightest most expensive this or that. I am a bit of a cheapskate as well so I’m always looking for a cheaper way to loose a bit of weight. I have discovered during my travels just how many amazing little gear companies exist, often unheard of outside their home country. I like a good ponder so nothing will be purchased until I have evaluated every possible situation said item would get used to make sure it’s the best fit.
Once I purchase something I like to get my monies worth. I give my gear a pretty hard life and I like to run it in to the ground, if it survives then it may just be the best and will stay in the kit list. If it doesn’t survive then it will often be recycled in to something else or inevitably kept “just in case”. As always there is a silver lining, a justified reason to get on the internet and start shopping for the replacement.
I plan on putting up kits lists from some of my different trips, its always interesting to see what that guys you see actually has stuffed in his panniers. I will also put up some reviews and pics or the well used gear which has earned its place in my current kit lists. I also expect I will inevitably end up buying some new gear (especially in the US, it’s so cheap over here!) so some of that might find its way on here. I also have some things I have made (cobbled together) and other bits of gear which weren’t quite right so I have adjusted (buggered about with clumsily) to make them most suited to purpose. If your also a gear head then you will probably enjoy this, if you’re not then you should probably back away now!