Gear Review

If you checked out our packing list, you know we took a variety of things with us.  We felt like we were well packed when we took off. Everything fit on the bikes and we did our best to bring all the necessities without having extras.  If I were taking the trip again there are a few things I would do differently, but for our first long bike trip & first camping trip on the bikes I would give us an A!

What would I do different?

  • Bring less JetBoil fuel.  We came home with over half of the fuel we took for the JetBoil. It was really efficient and we hauled 3 large canisters all the way up and back.
  • We also brought way too many refills for the Thermocells.
  • Leave the camp cook set at home.  The set we bought is awesome, but with the JetBoil, there wasn’t a need for the pot.  We never used it.
  • Skip the  liner that came with my Olympia touring jacket.  I never used it.  I had my First Gear Heated liner and although I didn’t always have it plugged in, I used it anytime I needed a liner.
  • Shawn & I each carried a Camelback.  We could have shared one.  With the Nalgene bottle to fill and use at camp we never needed both packs.  It was so much cooler than our trip to the Grand Canyon, we didn’t need as much water.
  • Deet – we never needed it.  The natural stuff from Mercola.com worked great and when the bugs were bad we wore long sleeves and head nets.1
  • Collapsible roasting sticks – it is a fun idea,  but it is much easier to cook 1 pot meals in the JetBoil.
  • Skip the soft sided cooler.
  • Leave the giant mosquito net at home.  It was a 4 x 8 ‘room’ that we never used.
  • I would have a separate bag for all food so it was easy to pull off the bikes & store in the bear boxes.

My Favorite Items:

  • JetBoil – this little thing is awesome, it is fast, efficient & compact.
  • My Olympia jacket.  It was awesome!  It never leaked in the rain, it was warm & with all the venting it was surprisingly comfortable in the heat.  Temps ranged from 32’F and rainy to 104′ and HOT as we traveled through the flatlands of Nebraska and up through the Icefields Parkway.
  • Rain Gaitors.  These things kept my feet dry & warm.  Cheap & awesome!
  • The carbon in line filter for the Camelback.  I hate yucky tasting tap water.
  • Our Eureka tent was awesome.  It was warm, dry & comfortable.  It was durable & I have 0 complaints.
  • Kelty sleeping bags.  They were perfect!
  • Silk bag liners.  Perfect for hot nights when you didn’t want to be in the Kelty and added extra heat on cold nights.  It also kept my Kelty clean.
  • Canadian National Park Pass – made travel quick & easy.
  • The communicators worked great until the last week when mine stopped working.  We missed having them in the end, we used them daily until then.
  • ROK straps – these things were awesome for attaching our gear to the bikes.

Gear We Didn’t Like:

  • My Buell rain gear.  It leaked. I love my regular riding pants, but I would invest in better raingear for another trip.  Fortunately we rarely got rained on.  I could have left the jacket at home.  My Olympia jacket was perfect.
  • My Fly touring boots are terrible in the rain.  The gaitors saved me, but I won’t take them on another long trip.

Things I Wished I Had:

  • Padlock – the campsites that had bear lockers didn’t have locks.  We didn’t lose any gear, but I wanted to lock up my cookware.
  • I wish we had bought 2 Virbs.  I bought another one when we got home.  We were able to use the Virb & the GoPro at the same time & the Virb was easier to use & had some great features that the GoPro didn’t have.  LOVE it!  Buy the remote with it, you won’t be sorry!
  • A bike cover.  It would have been nice to have a dry place to keep my riding gear outside of the tent.
  • Our blog address on our hard cases so people could track us online.  We gave our address to lots of people & it would have been great to have it on the bikes or on our gear.

Things we didn’t use – but I would take again:

  • Tent repair kit
  • Lifestraw
  • Personal locator beacon
  • Kelty tarp – we only used it twice, but if it had rained a lot we would have wanted it.
  • Gas cans for the bikes.

Overall, no significant complaints.  We had everything we needed & we didn’t have too many items that made the nearly 10,000 mile journey for no reason!

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