So what equipment am I using? (the obligatory "gear" post...)
Updated: Jan 25
I started planning for this last fall, so the list of things I'm using is nearly complete.
Bike: 2019 Salsa Marrakesh Deore. I test rode some other bikes (Surly Disc Trucker, Kona Sutra).
This one just seemed to fit the best. In fact it fit me
much better than my beloved Rivendell Atlantis did.
I sold the Atlantis and Mercian to buy the Marrakesh.
After a couple months I have zero regrets! This bike
feels like I'm riding the irrestible force, but have yet to encounter an immovable object! It's not a light bike, but it fits me like a glove, handles beautifully, and has more places to attach stuff than any bike I've ever owned. It's also a fabulous commuting bike, for which I'm currently using it. I did add a front rack and fenders, and swapped the saddle for a Brooks Imperial but it's otherwise unchanged from the picture.
Panniers & Bags: Ortlieb Panniers, front and rear. Salsa Dry Bag for the sleeping pad & a few other items. I have a handlebar bag (also Ortlieb), and a Rivendell saddle bag.
Water Bottles: Klean Kanteen. I went with the insulated ones. Something about drinking hot 100-degree water or sports drink grosses me out. There are five spots for bottles on this bike, which should be enough. I think the longest stretch with no services is almost 60 miles!
Camping: MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 tent. Two person tent with room for my gear (and me). I'll be testing this out in my back yard later this spring. From reviews I've read I may need to do a bit of seam sealing before my trip, but otherwise I think this tent will do the job. I have a matching ground sheet, also from MSR. Big Agnes Hinman Pad & Big Agnes Yampa 45 Down Sleeping Bag. Nemo Fillo pillow. Ear-plugs in case the place I'm camping is noisy.
Cooking Gear: I intend to eat mostly at restaurants, but am picky about morning coffee, so I have a Vargo titanium alcohol stove, Porlex grinder & Aeropress coffee kit. I also have some Mountain House freeze-dried meals, just in case I stop somewhere and everything is closed.
Electronics: Wahoo Elemnt GPS, with the whole route programmed in. Cell phone, Kindle, iPad (for updating the blog as I go along). I'm trying to decide whether or not to bring my large camera. Would prefer not, but there are pictures I hope to take that my cell phone won't do justice to. I plan to get a solar panel, which will live on the back of the bike while riding. This will charge a couple of battery packs, which then can be used to charge up the other devices as needed. Still figuring out which solar panel will work best. I also have a Yaesu handheld transceiver (I do have a Ham license) if needed for emergencies. It can double as a weather-radio if there are storms or tornadoes near where I am. Chargers and cables for all of the above.
Clothing: I don't wear a lot of traditional cycling clothing. I do have a couple pairs of padded lycra short, but they are usually not necessary. Typical riding outfit would be unpadded shorts, wool t-shirt, long-sleeved seersucker shirt. I don't clip into cleats any longer - I have strapless toe-clips but just wear Teva sandals and wool socks. I normally don't wear a helmet (although I'm bringing one) but will likely wear a hat for sun protection. So I have about three of everything listed above (except sandals and helmet). I'm also bringing a set of arm-warmers, wool gloves (cold mornings) a wool stocking cap, and a nylon windbreaker. Still debating whether to bring the gore-tex waterproof jacket, but I tend to get hot inside unless it's quite cold outside, so I may not. I will also bring a set of long nylon pants, and a non-cycling shirt, just so I'm presentable post-ride if necessary.
Safety: I have a small first-aid kit, emergency whistle, small flashlight, spare batteries, and the ham/wx radio. I thought about pepper-spray for the occasional aggressive dog, but I'm not sure it's legal everywhere, and decided on a small air-horn (like for boats). I've heard those can shock and stop a dog mid-attack long enough to get a bit further away, and it's an alternative to the whistle if I'm lying in a ditch somewhere, unable to get out. Front/rear flashing lights & reflective safety triangle for the back.
Bike repair/maintenance: 2 spare tubes, bike multitool, patch kits, tire levers, CO2 inflator & cartridges, mini-pump (in case I run out of CO2), chain lube, presta valve-adapter, zip-ties, duct tape, spare chain, spare brake & derailleur cables, spare brake pads, spare rotor. My bike has two spare spokes already installed, but I'm also bringing a Fiberfix spare spoke. Also an assortment of spare nuts/bolts/washers. I'm also downloading a few bike-repair books onto the kindle, so I have them at hand.
Toiletries: Just the basics. I found travel-size versions of what I use most, and will take half with me, and send the rest to my daughter (in St Louis) to replenish half-way through. Sunscreen & bug spray are necessary, as is a couple rolls of toilet paper (there's nothing to dampen the mood like finding the outhouse or port-a-potty you stopped at is empty!) There are a couple of stretches of 2-3 days with no apparent shower opportunity, so I have some body-wipes to clean up with. I'm sure the folks at the local diner will appreciate that!
Miscellaneous: Spare cash, paper copies of reservations, train-tickets, insurance cards, etc..., pocket knife, Ride-ID bracelet.