Here’s some information about the bicycles and equipment we are traveling with.
I feel like I should start by saying that we already owned most of the camping gear we’re using for this trip, prior to this tour even being an idea. We did purchase a new 3-person tent since the tents we already owned were looking sort of over-used and we wanted more space for this trip. after that, choosing panniers became the hardest decision to make. We like lots of pockets for this type of travel, but we also want something that is absolutely waterproof. Making something waterproof is hard when pockets are involved so a lot of panniers are either waterproof and consists of one, large bag or they have lots of pocket and places to stow smaller items but won’t hold off the rain for long. We chose to carry two of each type and hope that makes the best of both worlds. We’ll each have two rear panniers that are waterproof and two front panniers that have pockets and better storage organization options.We’ll use lightweight drybags or plastic bags to keep items in the front panniers dry while letting the panniers themselves get wet. This method worked exceptionally well for an AT thru-hike and I hope it will also work for this trip.
We’ll each have a sleeping bag and inflatable sleeping pads as well as a short section of a closed cell foam pad for use as a camp chair, or to tuck underneath our bodies for better insulation on chilly nights. These mats also work well for sitting on while changing a flat tire. We have some smaller comfort items with us like small, inflatable pillows and sleeping bag liners to boost warmth on cold nights or to be used alone once the weather gets hot.
Since we’re leaving in April and the temperature and weather will be questionable for a bit, we are taking a titanium cook pot with lid that doubles as a frying pan and a tiny canister stove. This should allow us to make simple meals like soups, pasta, rice and beans as well as serve up hot drinks (we’re pretty obsessed with teas) in cold and wet conditions as well as let us avoid eating out every day, which saves us money. As the weather turns warmer we may send this set-up home if we find we’re not into making hot meals at the end of a hot and humid day of riding. We debated bringing along the water filter and in the end decided to pack it. This may also be sent home if we find we are not using it. That brings us to the important task of carrying water. We each have two bottle cages on our bikes which lets us carry a good bit of water. We’ll be stowing 2 liter and 6 liter collapsible water bags in our panniers that will let us store larger quantities once we get to camp or pack extra for travel through drier areas like the south west.
Here’s a list of the remaining odds and ends we are taking.
Tools/parts for bike maintenance and repairs on the road.
Clothing (techy stuff for riding and casual clothes/shoes for off the bike)
Food (probably not more than a 2 or 3 day supply at one time since grocery stores should be frequent) I might just fill one of those front panniers with 200 Snickers bars which I’m still not sick of even after a six month thru-hike!
A small laptop, 1 digital SLR (with lenses), 1 basic digital/video camera and 1 ultra compact camcorder, 2 cell phones, and an e-reader and a solar panel to charge all these things on.
UPDATE 5/4/13: After riding for about a month we’ve settled on some pieces of equipment that are working out well I’m going to list them here now that I’m certain we won’t switch them out for other options.
Tent: Exped Gemini III (stowing it in an Exped waterproof telecompression sack on the bike. left the bag it came in at home as it doesn’t compress the tent’s size and is not as durable for long term travel)
Sleeping Bags: Elizabeth uses a combination of the Marmot Helium 30 Degree, Marmot Nanowave 45 Degree and Hannah is using a Kelty Cosmic 35 Degree with Cocoon Coolmax liner bag.
Sleeping Pads: Elizabeth uses a 15 year old Therm-a-rest Guidelite…that’s right the thing it still kicking after 15 years and offers a good nights rest with plenty of warmth when the temperatures have been below 40 degrees. Hannah is using a Therm-s-rest Z-lite and a Therm-a-rest Prolite 3 series pad. When temperatures are above 65 degrees we use a Klymit Static-V pad and an Exped Airmat Basic 7.5 with Schnozzel.
Cooking Kit: MSR Pocket Rocket canister stove and a Snow Peak Ti Combo 1400 (we are only using the larger of the two pots in this set). Two Snow Peak Titanium bowls and sporks.