The question in dispute: What you need to take with you and in which quality? Opinions differ and we only can tell you what we did and what we experienced. As we decide on doing a trip very spontaneous we did not have much time for preparation. From the day of decision until the D-day we had only 2 ½ month out of which we were both working fulltime 2 month. This relates maybe to another significant question: How much time of preparation you need? Alright! You do not need much time except you go to countries where you may have to apply for visa much in advance. But more to this topic later… And if you not have that much time, you have to take what you get and hit the road ;-)
HA, may we tell you the “Golden Rule” which is not too bad: Everything you take should have at least 2 functions, better are 3! If NOT, it´s not worse to carry… ;-) It does not work always but mostly. And it helps to make decisions. Good luck!
First of all it depends partly of course which countries/climates you are planning to travel and how much of your budget you want to spent for the “preparation”. But in general we can say: check the equipment what you have already. It is not really necessary to buy everything new, the latest version or the fanciest. You can prepare yourself mentally already as it will be on the road: be practical, flexible, and creative! And be aware everything you take you have to carry and to lookout for all the time – therefore it´s not so bad to look not too decorative ;-) And anyhow you cannot plan every in detail and for any situation; for sure you will find out things useless which you took – and miss other – take it easy!
So, where to start? Maybe with our “Big Lady”
The motorcycle and what we did (not much ;-)
Facts: Honda RD07 AfricaTwin from 1993, 70.000km at day of departure.
As-is state: crash bars, Engine protection, case rack for Givi cases, two Touratech Zega-cases which you have to screw on (therefore we rarely used them as chairs etc., but as bumpers in some countries…
What we did/built/bought: General maintenance (oil change, brake fluid, water, chain check), new brake pads, new tires, a spare clutch cable bypassed (which we never used, but it´s still there), a new suspension (we knew we will be around 450kg all in all), a screwed metal plate to strip a bag on in the back, two drain pipes (1x under the engine cover, 1x the back) as toolboxes and they were working well and cost only 4-5 EUR each, a new tank bag with 2x 10l side bags (TOURATECH VP45, DO NOT MISS!!! A Must have, a really really useful thing for water, vine, oil, shopping etc.)
Tools we had already:
Leatherman (one thing for all kind of repairing, cooking, building…), never go without somewhere
Restraint assemblies (A MUST! Not only to fix the motorcycle during transports, they saved us many times when something broke down to bridge over)
Spare parts: Spare tubes, tire pilot… ähh, that’s all?! Yes! Stop, a little bag of diverse screws we took as well and we restocked it along the way all the time, you always loose lose screws, better to have some spare ones.
What we would take again:
Merino wool: shirts 1x long armed, 1x short-armed and 1x long underwear trouser (good to wear at cold nights as well)
Hiking trousers where you can sip off the legs and you have shorts as well
Kerstin worshipped her shorts. She could undress her motorcycle clothes asap without being “naked” in underwear – a real benefit when it is HOT… or use it as swim cloth.
Fleece jacket (instead of thermos inlets – more flexible and nice as a pillow)
Useful/helpful things and tips
Motorcycle garage: The shield that makes your bike invisible! In some countries people are interested in your bike. Let them have a look, let them touch, spend some time with it; afterwards you say “good night” and cover it. Everybody is satisfied and folks who haven’t seen it yet will not recognize it anymore. Very useful as well to sit on in the dust for breakfast or dinner or to sit under it using is as a shade. (“Golden Rule” you remember ;-)
Cable retainer: Handy in many occasions to fix anything; get some in different sizes and strength.
Tension belt: Beneficial if anything breaks down, as clothes line and of course fixing the bike for transports.
Tape: Did you know that you can construct nearly everything out of tape? You will experience…
Plastic bags: We were all the time were happy to have them; for rubbish, to carry with you, for fruits you may buy along the road, for wet clothes (or stinking!) which you won’t have along with your other clothes, to cover fast anything when it starts suddenly to rain, or just to carry anything extra for a time period. OK, sometimes we may have looked like garbage truck with all the bags stripped around the bike – but who cares! It worked ;-)
Dental floss: Not only to clean your teeth! It is very strong and resistant so you can fix/sew/hang many things with that. And it does not need much room.
Shampoo/soap/washing powder: Forget about buying little bottles or container to refill them with all kind of these different cleaning things. Anyhow you cannot buy the right amount to fill them up again. We for example bought only ordinarily shampoo: One bottle for all and everything. Sometimes it is good to use real washing powder but you will find it along or buying it occasionally – be careful with carrying it, it “eats” aluminum ;)
Sanitary tampon: Be aware that you cannot buy them everywhere. In Islāmic countries for instance you will hardly get them. If you don´t like to use sanitary napkins make sure you carry enough with you.
Thin cotton clothes/Pareo: Use it as towel, blanket, shade ceiling, skirt, head cover, bag, dress…
We start with Kerstin’s jacket and step by step all the things will follow which we found useful or which we didn’t quite use so much. We hope you can drag some information out of this.
If you have specific questions please let us know!
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