Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Kit - pretty damn good

While I still have my lists and while the weather and riding conditions are fresh in my mind, I thought I would list my kit. My pack weighed just under 9kgs and I was very happy with what I packed.

To give you an idea, here is my kit list:

NorthFace 30lt pack - I loved this pack. All my kit fitted into two waterproof bags inside. The top zip pouch took the cell phone, compass, camera when it was raining as well as the odd bar or food snack. It has zip pouches on the waist band which was easy access for snacks. The mesh outer pocket was ideal to shove clothing in when I took off layers as well as keep sandwiches ready for eating. There were two other mesh pockets which held a water bottle in one and items such as bike lube, bum lube, suntan lotion and a pump. My lightweight shoes were attached to the bungy cord on the outside of the mesh as it didn't matter if they got wet (being plastic ala crocs). The waterproof cover also worked very well.

Waterproof Bags - I had an 8lt bag in which all my evening kit was kept. I also kept my spare derailleur here wrapped in the clothing for protection. The other 13lt bag had my daily riding kit, layers and waterproof outerwear. I had a 2lt bag for my medical kit, a 1lt bag for toiletries, another 2lt bag for bike spares and a 1lt for phone and camera.

Daily wear - I had a Mountain Wear waterproof jacket which was 100g lighter than Capestorm's equaivalent. I used the Cape Storm waterproof pants but these need extra velcro for the bottom else they can catch on the chainrings. I had two pairs of Capestorm Hot Rod tights. One was solely for nightwear, the other for leg warmth rather than leg warmers which don't keep the bum warm. I used a pair of knee warmers a lot. I had 3 pairs of cycle shorts which was useful when washing didn't dry. I had two pairs of Capestorm and 1 pair of Assos. It doesn't matter how much you spend on your shorts, they don't stop the bum hurting.

I had two soft crop tops and I opted for long sleeve base layers to cycle in. Normal cycling jerseys aren't necessary as you can't get to the back pockets because of your pack. The base layers were different thicknesses and although I got hot once or twice, long sleeves were absolutely fine.
Two buffs - one normal buff and one combo fleece/cotton. The combo was also in lieu of a beanie as I find head covering generally to be too hot. If my neck is warm, I am usually toasty. On the coldest days I would have the fleece section around my neck and the cotton section on my head.

I had two fleece tops. One for a layer while riding, the other for nights.
Helium jacket - this was the business and a weight saver. Instead of the usual fluorescent jackets, I took the 90g windbreaker which was perfect in chillier weather.
Windjammer - I rode with this most days. Just enough to keep the wind off the chest without overheating. The high neck also helped regulate warmth.

I had two pairs of winter hiking type socks (Falke) and one of the best ideas for me was the two pairs of ultra thin trainer liner socks. I wore two pairs of socks all the time which helped to prevent blisters on the portages and also meant not washing the outer socks all that often. The thin socks dried quickly which is vital. I also used them as liners for the Sealskinz socks.
Sealskinz socks kept my feet warm and I bought the calf length version. I didn't really test them that much in water but I was pretty happy with their contribution.

Gloves were Cannondale winter gloves and I bought Sealskinz liners. This combination worked really well for me except there was no gel or padding. That bruised the hands a fair amount. Even when my gloves were wet and there was driving wind and rain, this combo kept my hands warm. I used the outer gloves all the time even when it was hot with no problems. They will have to be retired now as they have holes in them. I did have an extra pair of Black Diamond gloves and they only time I needed them was our impromtu night out in the bitter weather when my other gloves were wet.
What I didn't use were my arm warmers or my toe caps. I also had a psychologically extra base layer just in case. It was comforting to know there was always one more extra item. However, even in our freezing night out, I didn't use it.

Night wear - I used one pair of Hot Rod tights, a pair of extra warm hiking socks and a thick base layer top. This with a fleece was perfect. I also had two pairs of sports underwear. I had these super lightweight pair of plastic shoes which hung on the outside of my pack for wandering around.

Toiletries - These were basic. Antiperspirant, toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste (refill in a box somewhere) and face cream. I had sachets of face cream in boxes and had packed shampoo and conditioner in every box too. No comb meant dreadlocks until Johann bought me a comb in Prince Albert. I also had lip ice which was needed throughout.

The secret weapon - tucked into the bottom of one of the bags was a small slab of Lindt chocolate. My goal, I said to Doug, is to get this slab to the finish intact. If I break it open, you know there is trouble. It arrived. A bit battered but unopened.


  1. Brilliant- thanks for sharing this. Johann

  2. That is brilliant Fi. Thanks for the info. Now I will know exactly what to take when I dont do this ride! ;-)

  3. you carried a chocolate the whole way?that's a dangerous mindgame!

    I finished 26 *100g choc slabs, was good fun buying them. sometimes i'd have 3 stockpiled on me, always first option when stuck in a crisis