I’ve been lurking on this forum for about six months now, slowly accumulating gear for a tour of New Zealand with my partner later this year. I greatly appreciate your combined wisdom, it’s been invaluable.
So far, that gear includes -
-Bikes. I just completed building a huge 64cm Long Haul Trucker for myself, with Velocity Dyad / Deore LX wheels and an SLX groupset on trekking bars. I did this entirely myself using mainly improvised tools – including the wheels – both to save some money and to acquire the mechanical skill to fix stuff (beyond oiling my chain). I enjoyed myself immensely, but will never do it again. My partner has a 2013 Kona Sutra, unmodified except for the addition of a Brooks.
-Camping gear. We both have Macpac Escapade sleeping bags, supposedly with a comfort rating of 2 degrees. We also have inflatable Macpac mattresses and Black Wolf pillows and a cheap vinyl groundcover. The tent is my trusty Coleman Epsilon 2, my stove is an aluminium Trangia 27-2 (with replaceable silicon things from a baking store to make them non-stick). This lot together weighs around 9.5kg, which will increase to 10kg when I add spoons, cups and bits and pieces. (I probably don’t need a stove but I love playing with one).
-Bags and racks. We both have Ortliebs on the back and cheaper Deuters on the front.
-Waterproofing. I’ve ordered the women’s Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket for my partner, since it receives much love on this forum. I couldn’t find one in my size, so ordered a Sugoi RS Event for myself (of the same eVent fabric, but a slimmer cut). We also have waterproof booties, but neither of us own any waterproof bottoms.
-Cycling clothing. We’ve both got two pairs of cycling nicks and two jerseys (three in my case). We both have thermal base layers, synthetic unfortunately (would prefer merino) as well as padded gloves and ear warmer / wind-stopper things. We also both have very light-weight wind shells.
-Camp clothing. I’ve got lightweight hiking zip-off pants and a cotton polo-shirt, as well as thermal long-johns, a fleece, a beanie and Explorers for sleeping. My g/f is taking something similar. I’m not sure how necessary these camp clothes are, but I suspect that a month of wearing only cycling gear would make us both go a bit insane.
-Other stuff. Includes bike tools, a Topeak Morph pump, toiletries, mobile phones, a heavy camera, first aid kit and other bits and pieces. Some sort of camping towel.
Are there any glaring omissions from this list? I will not be taking any electronics except eBook readers.
Can anyone make any suggestions for areas to tour in New Zealand? We were considering starting with the west coast of the south island (hence the cold weather gear). We’ll be heading off in early November.
Finally, can anyone provide suggestions or share experience regarding transporting our bicycles to NZ?
Hi there and welcome to the chatter
You know you will. N+1 lurks and you need to customise it.
Other stuff to take;
A warmer riding top that will do double duty as a campsite pullover. I love my GE Frostyboy, and NZ is its home.
Some lightweight shoes to change into around camp and for walking about town or in the bush.
A lightweight camp-stool. I have long used the Coghlans 3-legged aluminium stool. The Helinox chair is a new entrant on the market, Australian-made and VERY comfy, but heavier.
They now even make a table it seems http://trailswag.ca/blog/2013/4/29/heli ... ping-table
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
We'd considered getting camping stools, but decided that it's an item we'll purchase only if we feel the lack of it after a week or two on the road (I'm sure they're readily available at camping stores in NZ as here). Two stools would be a weight penalty of 1-2kg (I can't just buy one - I'd still be sitting on the ground )
I was sorely tempted to purchase a SolarMonkey Adventurer to charge our phones - it only weighs 260g, half the weight of a Schmidt Dynohub. That way I'd have access to all our maps on the smartphone, as well as the GPS, and could bring high-powered USB-charged lights. However, I gather there are plenty of power points at "serviced" campsites in NZ, so it's probably unnecessary. I do love gadgets though.
I'd also considered getting the heavier-weight cycling top like the one you suggested, but I personally ride too hot - a thermal base layer, long sleeved "cold"jersey and windbreaker is enough to keep me warm down to a few degrees above freezing, provided I'm dry. As for my partner, she's got a light-weight polar fleece that's pretty close-fitting, and seems to work well under her windshell.
Our Coghlan's alloy stools weigh just 400g each. They also are much more durable than the steel cheapies, but you'll need to hunt about a bit to find them. Anaconda may stock them - I bought the three for the wife and kids there for just $10 each on sale several years ago.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
For comprehensive information, take the time to read through my EnZed tour journals.
Chasing the Long White Cloud
If you are still uncertain after reading them we can talk further about the specifics of what you'll need to tour the South Island in November.
And this is the proposed route for my next visit.
North of the South: Another New Zealand tour route...
You will also find much information in the journals on crazyguyonabike.com
Last edited by RonK on Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dunk all your cycling gear and cloths in this crap and you will be a walking cycling 100% dry thunder storm happy chappy even dunk all your Nicks and Lycra in a solution. Never have to stop to place on rain gear or have fear of layering up to a level of comfort you hate.
Nikwax Tech Wash
You don't need 'em.
I am with you and for me it is not just the weight but yet another item taking up space. With my 3,000 kilometres up and through the Gascoyne here in WA I happily coped with a small piece of blue sleeping pad that I had cut. Worked fine and was pretty handy on ground with thorns. More than sufficient in my view.
Ah well, that just shows that we all have different requirements. Each to their own but when I've been touring in the great beyond, the sandy ground WAS an option, but the stool made for a much better seat.
Space-wise it just slips into the racktop gear bag alongside the tent and sleeping mat. A peice of blue sleeping pad (I have used this before) takes up almost as much space.
Recently, touring in Italy and camping (a bit) we found that we really missed the lack of the stools (left at home due to airline weight issues). It was actually even more noticeable in caravan parks/camping grounds that sitting on the ground was awfully gauche. Southern European camping grounds tend to have minimal extra facilities - like seating, tables, toilet paper, hot water for dishwashing...... They do often have on-site pizzerias and ristorantes however
Threads about touring gear on this forum always seem to degenerate into debate about the merits of carrying a stool, so in the interests of heading off further debate, I promise to purchase a stool the next time I find one suitably cheap. Because I’m committed to science, I’ll take it on a few short tours and report back.
Regarding the dreaded n+1 equation, I think that sheer exhaustion should keep me away from customising my rig for a while at least. Building the wheels was certainly the most challenging part. The front wheel was easy, but the rear wheel was far more time-consuming, and I can’t seem to improve upon a radial/lateral tolerance of roughly <.5mm where the rim joins together, at least not without getting pretty uneven spoke tensions (judging by tone).
Looking back on the build, I’m glad I decided to use trekking bars. They allowed me to use mountain bike brake levers, which together with high-quality rim brake pads (Kool-stops) has equal power to disc brakes in most conditions but without the weight, expense and mechanical complexity (at least, by my humble estimation). With two layers of bar tape they are just fantastic for alleviating hand pain and very comfortable over five+ hour rides. Of course, they look ridiculous (especially as I mine are electric blue – I though the bike needed some personality).
I’m also glad I didn’t include a dynamo hub (I was sorely tempted for a while). If I ever decide that I cannot live without high-powered lights or the ability to charge my mobile phone, I’ll buy the solar panels I mentioned earlier – they’re cheaper, lighter, useful for hiking, and don’t build obsolescence into the bike. Not as cool though.
I’m currently trying to figure out a tool kit. So far it’s –
• Separate Allen keys. No multi-tool silliness.
• Short screwdriver for adjusting V-brakes.
• Double-ended wrench for pannier rack & fender nuts.
• Spoke wrench.
• Fiberfix Teflon spoke.
• Half a tooth brush, a rag, and a bottle of Tri-flow for the chains.
• Single tyre lever.
• Cable ties.
• Blu-tac, a business card, and two toothpicks (basically my entire wheel-building setup).
• Tubes, patches etc.
• Duct tape.
• Mini chain breaker, few spare links and pins. It occurs to me I’ll need some way of snapping off the pins once installed. Unfortunately you can’t get decent quick links for 10spd chains.
I really can’t think of what else I’d need to take. I don’t need tools for removing the rear cluster, since the Teflon spoke doesn’t require it. Likewise, I was careful to choose pedals that can be removed with an Allen key, not a wrench.
Why the bank note? For sidewall tears? I have a bit of old tyre sidewall, some dental floss and a needle in my patch kit - I resurrected a tyre this way recently.
That broken rack gives me the shivers.
Yep, $5 for a tyre-split repair. I've seen them last for over 100kms of bush track riding.
That rack failure was actually a broken bolt on a mate's bike. You can see the butt of the bolt still in the frame. So refastening the rack was tricky and the rack broke when the first attempt did not last. In the photo the rack is sitting on the stub of a short bolt threaded backwards in a second, lower mudguard mount, and the wire (?) is to hold it in place. We taped it all up with duct tape and it looked a lot more presentable
One of the main reasons I recommend against these 'disc-adjusted' racks. Under heavy loads on rough roads the extra leverage breaks bolts. You might notice that even with the disc brake, the rack extension is unneccesary. These are hydros and since then my mate has fitted a standard Tubus Cargo to the bike.
You do need them to clear mechanical actuation arms on disk brakes versions. Your mate could always buy the non disk rack version if he knew that it would clear his hydros.
One thing you should do is place the bolt in backwards screwing it into the frame from the inside out then securing the rack with a locking nut so the nut is on the outside. Should a bolt shear off you can still place a spanner on the bolt head and extract it from the frame replacing the bolt in the same frame mount hole.
Hmm.... an interesting solution that would work. Makes things a bit trickier when the bike is all loaded up and you notice the rack bolt has worked loose a little.
I reckon the best solution is not to use disc-adapted racks. Using straight leg racks I have never broken a mounting bolt, despite lots of heavy loads on many thousands of kms of dirt road. Have had them work loose and drop out, but never busted.
Pete it won't work loose because the bolt has been threaded into the frame and torqued against the frame. Placing on a nylon locking nut you then end up with two locking points the nut touching the outside of the rack and the bolt torqued against the frame. If your concerned add a dollop of low torque loctite to the thread on the frame but this won't be necessary. Your right about the using straight leg racks and your friend seems like he could get away with it but when using the likes of BB7 BB5 type of disk brakes the actuating arm hit's the straight rack you need the disc adapted racks for clearance on some frames.
I have all my bolts reversed on everything so should any shear off I can just undo them and replace it's a true safe guard not to leave you in a pickle requiring easy-out bolt extraction tools. Your extraction tool is the head of the original bolt and if for any reason the bolt head is too big just grind it flatter. All you need is just enough to place a spanner on to get it out while grinding it of to clear any obstructions if needed.
Well, I've continued to accumulate bits and pieces. Practicing cooking with the Trangia made me pack a plastic plate / chopping board, a serrated steak knife, spices, tea and oil. I'm also considering the larger billy for stews and such - I don't think the smaller ones are really large enough for a lot of things I want to do. For instance, the larger billy would allow me to set up a convection oven for baking damper. I enjoy cooking and won't need to carry my food very far most of the time, so am happy to indulge in the extra cooking gear. In the same vein, I didn't think I'd want to bother with the kettle, but I now think I'll appreciate it.
I am also sorely tempted to buy this, because it looks cool, but was counselled against it (since NZ is apparently well stocked with laundromat facilities at many campsites): http://www.thescrubba.com/
If I had to choose between the "kitchen sink" style touring and ultralight touring, I'd definitely be at the kitchen sink end of the scale. The thing I remember most enjoying about my short first tour a few years ago was the feeling of being self-reliant and not needing to go anywhere fast. I'm at the end of an exhausting six-year degree and am soon to begin a fairly stressful job (and have incidentally been riding a very fast racing bike the whole time). Cycle touring is something I hope to be an antidote to the constant need to attend to deadlines, distances, measurements, etc. In fact, if it were me alone I'd barely have organised it - I'd just have turned up and figured it out as I went. That's been my approach to travelling thus far and has worked great, but it certainly doesn't appeal to my partner.
Of course, ultra-light touring isn't just about speed; I realise that. It's also about comfort, especially climbing. But it seems to me that it does cost money, self-reliance, and various other little comforts.
...so yes, we will be buying stools.
We toured Italy and Corsica for 3 months and apart from the airfares, the only bookings we made (more than 1 day in advance) was the first 3 nights in the Hotel Marco Polo in Rome
Since you are going to camp, make sure you get a can of Bushmans. They make a special formula for EnZed with 40% DEET - the red can, not the green. You do need to handle this stuff with care as it can dissolve some fabrics.
Also make sure in your first aid kit you have Paraderm Plus, or a similar antiseptic creme which contains a local anesthetic. You will need it two days after the inevitable bites to relieve the itch.
Well yes, but Winston Churchill also spent a lot of time insulting women and getting drunk in the bath.
I do agree that planning is important, so I exaggerate when I say that I'd have just turn up in New Zealand. I'd certainly spend all the time researching and collecting gear, but that's mainly because I love gadgets. I find a close itinery a little depressing, though. Being independent of an external schedule is the appeal of touring heavy and carrying all that camping and cooking gear. Ideally I'd have a water filter and solar panel, but the finance department has deferred those purchases until after one substantial tour at least.
EDIT - I'll certainly take the Bushman stuff. For bites, I have Stingose, which works well but doesn't have an antiseptic or anaesthetic...
Ah well, then there's is:
Plans are nothing; planning is everything. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Did he insult women and get drunk in the bath too?
I don't think you get it, but you probably won't until you get there and find out for yourself. Stingose won't work on EnZed sandfly bites - you need the antiseptic to stop the bite turning into a sore, and the anaesthetic to relieve the excruciating itch. You'll find sandflies mostly on the west coast, but anywhere there is forest there will be sandflies. They are not actually sandflies as we know them here but rather they are small bushflies, and bloody hell do they bite.
Because of them, I didn't get much enjoyment (not to mention it's dangerous) out of trying to cook in my tent with the screens zipped up, and put my tent away for the entire west coast. And unusually, it wasn't even raining.
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