What do I pack?

by Brett Seychell on August 21, 2012

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If you’re travelling by yourself, this question could torture you. If you’re travelling with a partner, this question could finish you before you begin.

Truth is, it just doesn’t matter. There is no right or wrong answer to it, so don’t stress yourself out. Anything you forget, you will probably realise in the first few weeks and provided that you’re somewhere in Europe or another big city, you can just buy it then and there.

We are travelling with eight bags between us. Both of us have two smaller bags at the front and two larger bags at the back. We also strap on some extra bits in between the larger bags on top of the racks. Below is a run down as to how we do it, but this is just what works for us.

Brett’s bike

1st small bag- The AV Bag

  • An 11″ laptop. It needs to be durable because it’s going to get bumped.
  • An iPad 1. Complete and utter luxury but gets a lot of use. Will be obsolete by the time I’m home so I figured, why not?
  • DSLR still camera. It’s the trip of a life time, make the most of it.
  • Digital point & shoot still camera. Because you don’t always want to pull out your DSLR in small towns.
  • Hand held HD video recorder. RomanStanley.com edits our videos. We’d bring it anyway, even if he didn’t.
  • POV ‘secret’ camera. Specifically for Roman Stanley, but great wide angle lens and great shots when strapped on the bike. However, been sent back to the manufacturer twice for repair as it’s taken a beating.
  • Two phones, both with access to Google Maps for obvious reasons.
  • NB- all the associated chargers and accessories weigh more than the equipment themselves.

 

2nd small bag- The Bike Bag

  • Spare tyre tubes
  • Puncture repair kit with sandpaper, glue and all the bits
  • chain cleaner
  • oil
  • allen key tool
  • spare spokes (the right size)
  • chain whip
  • cassette lockring remover
  • large adjustable wrench
  • spare brake pads
  • spare brake cables
  • spare gear cables
  • spare hand pump
  • spoke key
  • A rag
  • The bottom half of a 2lt coke bottle to fill with water when looking for punctures

1st large bag- The Camping bag 1

  • 1 sleeping bag (choose your own depending on your route and your requirements)
  • 2 sleeping mats. Originally thought this would be a luxury item but more useful than I thought.
  • Toiletries bag- all the usual stuff for two people on the road.

2nd large bag- My Clothes Bag

  • handful of socks and jocks. You can handwash nightly for a daily turnaround so don’t stress about bringing a years supply.
  • Bag full of clothes to cycle in- 3 t-shirts, 2 shorts, 1 pair  cycling gloves (essential!), full length thermals (for East Turkey but buy them in West Turkey)
  • Bag full of clothes to live in- whatever fills the bag, 2 shirts, linen trousers, leave some space to buy new clothes from markets etc. There’s little chance anything will make it the whole way. Just like home, your wardrobe on the bike is revolving so enjoy it.

Stuff strapped on that won’t fit inside the bags

  • Three man tent. In this case, size does matter. Don’t worry too much about the weight, go for comfort. Especially if you plan to use it a lot. We utilized it enormously in Europe, but less so in Turkey and Iran and nothing yet in Sri Lanka or India. We don’t expect to use it again until outback Australia.

 

Kimmi’s bike

1st & 2nd small bags- The Food Bags

  • Usually a couple of days worth of tinned food, just in case
  • Fresh food that we buy along the way. The bag is usually a little more full when we are camping a lot.
  • Bottled water
  • Cutlery
  • Swiss army knife is essential
  • mosquito repellent (local brand is usually fine)

1st large bag- Camping Bag 2

  • 1 sleeping bag
  • medical bag and first aid kit (usual stuff to personal taste)
  • portable stove
  • petrol tank for stove (definitely get petrol based fuel as opposed to camping specific gas available only at camping specific retailers. They don’t exist and the petrol is safe if careful)
  • Camping cooking pots and plates (non breakable)

2nd large bag- Kimmi’s clothes bag

  • For some reason, womens clothes seem to be a lot more compact and smaller than mens. So Kimmi packed a few more things than me. Essentially, it all serves the same purpose. Some clothes for cycling in amd some other clothes for living in.
  • Kimmi also packed a rain coat.
  • Tampons are only available in bigger cities through Turkey, virtually obsolete in Iran, freely available in Dubai and bigger cities of Sri Lanka and India.

 

Stuff strapped on that won’t fit inside the bags

  • Stand up foot pump. Way too big to fit inside the bag, but strap it on the back of the rack and your life is so much easier if, or should I say when, you get a puncture.
  • Tent poles for the tent.
  • Bottled water.
  • Raincoat, because it wouldn’t fit in the clothes bag.

 

Other obvious essentials:

  • passports with visas that you have to apply for in your home country (not applicable on our trip, but is in some parts of Africa)
  • email yourself copies of your passport, credit cards, travel insurance if you have it (we did, but they ripped us off, (STA)) and any other paperwork you think you might need
  • get as many cards as you can for the same account. We have a joint account with separate money in individual accounts. therefore we have four cards in case one gets lost or broken.
  • Decoy wallets in case you get mugged (with enough cash in it to make them leave and not search for more)
  • Magic letters explaining the cause of your trip in the language of the country you are in, just in case you have communication issues and you need some help.
  • And for two people, for two years and all expenses, living reasonably comfortably, sleeping everywhere from five star hotels on occasion to cockroach infested hotels more often, you’ll need about £20,000. Give or take.

In regards to clothes, just go with the seasons. If it’s cold where you are going, then you’ll be able to buy a jumper or a coat. There’s no point packing for all seasons and carrying clothes half way around the world for a season six months away. Just pack for the next few weeks and everything else will take care of itself.

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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