Gear: Stuff we are sending back..
Over the last few weeks in Long Beach we’ve been paring down our gear and we put it all in this big duffle and left it in our friend’s garage. Today, we picked up that duffle to box up and ship out. Holy cow was it heavy! The final ship weight was 32 pounds! 32 pounds of gear that we have carried up and over climbs for the last four months.
Honestly, feeling the bag and our currently loaded bikes, it was hard for me to believe that we’ve traveled so far with so much weight. I suppose ignorance is bliss. Anyway, for the curious, here is what we’ve discarded and a short explanation of why.
I’m sending back my tripod, umbrella, SB-800, Pocket Wizard and lightstand. In the four months of traveling, I have hardly used any of it. I will still carry one Nikon flash, Pocket Wizard, reflector and a softbox. Laura will help with holding the light if I need it. It’s the absolute minimal gear I would need for a shoot that requires some light.
From left to right: bundle of redundant wires, tire lever, heavy air gauge, sharpening stone, 100ft of cordage, book, emergency space blanket, belt (got two pairs of Riv MUSA pants that don’t require a belt), heavy bottom bracket tool, crank remover, heavy allen wrenches, spoke tool, and 3-way wrench. I decided to let go of the bottom bracket tool and crank remover, since my bottom bracket isn’t serviceable anyway (cartridge) – and if I needed to get a bottom bracket from a shop they would most likely have the tool. The spoke wrench is nice but overkill – I won’t be building wheels on the trip. We are leaving bear country so I’m sending back the big spool of cordage.
Books and maps we’re not using. Also my journal. I’m more of journal 2.0 kind of person, so I’m sending that back.
Sending back the storm cooker for our Trangia, now that we have a Clickstand. Sending back Laura’s mug, now that we have Insulated Klean Kanteens. Sending back our cable for a thinner gauge one. The tin and the bags have some tools and jewelry stuff that Laura isn’t using.
Sending back my Ti mug that is replaced by an Insulated Klean Kanteen. Sending back our Sigg food box, speakers, tin of more jewelry stuff and Laura’s spare pants.
I feel that we’ve done a really great job at paring down. There’s still a few more things that I’d like to do, but don’t have the means to at the moment. Our computer is a MacBook and with the charger and neoprene pad it weighs in at about 7-8lbs. It’s a big weight penalty but I would argue essential for this whole project of ours. I’ve looked into netbooks but they all seem a bit underpowered to run Lightroom and OSX. I keep lusting after a Macbook Air (3lbs) but can’t afford to pull the trigger on it. I’m also trying to replace our external hard drive for one that is lighter and BUS powered (runs off the laptop and not an outlet), but that is also proving difficult. I picked up a Western Digital Passport external drive and it was DOA. I plugged it into 3 different computers and it wouldn’t work. Needless to say I don’t recommend them at all. I’m returning it tomorrow and will try to track down another drive.
That’s it for now. Our last day in Long Beach is this Tuesday. From there we head South and turn left at Oceanside until we hit Florida.
Harry H December 15, 2009 at 1:45 am
Check out Macsales.com for an portable, bus powered external HD. You can assemble your own 500GB drive for $105.00 The kit includes the HD, enclosure, and the tools to put it together. I received the one I ordered today and it was a snap to put together. I’ve enjoyed your stories about your trip and I’m sorry I missed your visit to Riv.
Miguel Marcos December 15, 2009 at 2:31 am
Too late now but I would reconsider on the MacBook. I’ve been using Macs since 1986 and won’t use anything else. But a netbook is fine for travel and the weight savings is just too great an advantage.
I’ve installed Lightroom on my Asus 701 and, yes, it’s a dog, but I just don’t need the performance when I’m out and about. What I need is enough power to archive, browse, and light editing. If you need heavy duty editing power, the 901 is probably decent enough. What helps in either case is a small external mouse.
It hurts as a Mac user to resort to netbooks and WinXP but the weight reduction is wonderful and worth it.
Tom Stahl December 15, 2009 at 4:42 am
+1 for netbooks. I am also a mac user, with my trusty MacBook Pro at home for when I need to design or edit photos. But on the road, it is a little dell netbook. I got it refurbished, so even less expensive that it already was list price. I installed Ubuntu, because I wanted to stay away from Win XP. It surfs the web and downloads photos just fine. Solid state drive handles rough vibrations like a champ. It has fallen from about 4 feet with no ill effects except scratching the case. I figure, it I see it slip out of a pannier pocket someday on the road, it is much easier to watch less than 300 bucks tumble down the pavement than over 1000. Just something to consider. Get a computer that is “disposable” for the road.
Matt December 15, 2009 at 6:15 am
Strange that you had a problem with the WD passport – I’ve had one for over a year and had no problems whatsoever. Understand that a DOA doesn’t exactly inspire confidence though.
The Velo Hobo December 15, 2009 at 6:22 am
Nooo, not the Donald Duck coffee mug!
As light as I travel, I still get home, unpack and think, “why did I take all this stuff”. A very interesting web site is Igor Kovse’s at: www2.arnes.si/~ikovse/weight.htm
He is on the extreme end of ultralight bike travel and give up a lot of comfort off the bike for more comfort on the bike.
Cyclin' Missy December 15, 2009 at 7:16 am
Wow! Florida! Maybe you’ll run into Victoria on your way out of California (www.victoriasride.com). Keep up the adventure!
Steve J. December 15, 2009 at 7:33 am
Check out Lacie for their Rugged Hard Disk. I have 4 Lacie drives and one of their external dvd burners. Never an issue. I also used Lacie drives at a studio I used to work at and they always performed great. They weren’t always hanled with care as sometimes they were handed off to art directors after shoots.
Ghost Rider December 15, 2009 at 7:36 am
shoot me an email when you get into Florida — there is always room in my house for bike travelers! Nearly full-service bike shop in the backyard, free wi-fi and more children and pets than you can shake a stick at. Oh, and the plumbing mostly works, too…
Francois C. December 15, 2009 at 7:48 am
You should start a contest of “Guess what will be the first of those items that we’ll miss and need in the next month” 😉
I love following your adventures.
DaGoof December 15, 2009 at 11:02 am
Dump the spoke wrench? Really?
Are you still carrying spare spokes?
That’s the only “might need” item I see. Of Course my bike is named Broken Spoke so maybe I’m a little jaded on the topic.
Sean December 15, 2009 at 12:06 pm
+1 on dumping the spoke wrench as a poor decision. If you bust a spoke, you can true adjacent spokes and make the wheel round enough to clear the brakes and make it to the next bike shop.
Logan December 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm
Thanks for the affiliate link to the insulated klean kanteen! 🙂
Congratulations on shedding so much gear! 🙂 Its intriguing how simplifying can provide a degree of liberation to your body and mind. Tammy likes to cite Antoine de Saint-Exupery on RowdyKittens: “A designer…has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Logan December 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm
The spoke wrench may find its way back into your kit. 😉 Not that you or Laura are looking for opinions from Sean, Dagoof, and me after riding for more than 4 months self supported. 😉
I only state this after a recent cycling accident coming back from the farmers market. I let me attention stray why riding and I took a tumble. I broke about 2 dozen eggs (picture yolk running down the front of the swift pelican bag ;P) and bent my front wheel. The wheel was misaligned to where I had to undo my canti-brakes to allow the wheel to spin. When I got home I used my spoke wrench to straighten my wheel enough to use my front cant-brakes again before riding to my local bike cooperative to borrow a spoke tension gauge (I never trust my fingers). Now, I carry my spoke wrench everywhere. Admittedly, these were the first wheels I ever built and they probably weren’t as strong as your own wheels but I still think these little tools come in handy every so often. I weighed my plastic “spokey” spoke wrench and it came out to 17 grams or 0.6 oz. Not much weight and I bet you could pare that down even more by drilling some holes in the plastic or by getting a multi-use tire lever/spoke wrench like what is on my park tool IB-3. 🙂
Just my humble opinion as an armchair-vicariously-traveling adventurer. 😉
Doug December 15, 2009 at 8:50 pm
With USB hard drives, after you get to about 300MB, bus power gets dodgy. The drive needs more juice than the USB spec guarantees. Some laptops have higher-powered USB ports; some stick to the minimum spec. I have a WD Passport, and it took me a while to learn that if I use a standard USB cable instead of the short one it came with, I don’t get reliable power and it unmounts. With its own cable, I’m 100% reliable. Some bigger USB-powered HDs will come with a special Y-shaped cable so you can draw power from two USB ports at once. I prefer hard drives that let me choose between USB and FireWire, and when I have the option, FireWire always seems to have enough power. I’m fond of an iomega portable 500MB unit I’ve been using these days that also has a FireWire 800 port. Model # on the back is RPHD-TG, if that helps at all. (I have liked iomega for years, for many reasons, including reliability, insightful engineering, and Mac-friendliness.) Others are out there. I don’t think I have any externals these days that I use a wall socket for. As someone pointed out up above, you can also buy bus-powered enclosures and build your own, but the BYO HD I have is a little bigger than the store-boughts, so not as perfect for travel. Let me know if you’re hunting for further tips; what you are seeking is definitely available.
Russ December 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm
Ah…just got to a computer to respond to the comments…
I’m still carrying a Pedro’s spoke wrench…just sending back the Park adjustable spoke wrench….
Thanks everyone for the suggestions with the HD. I returned the WD HD. Picked up a Lacie Starke 500GB at the Apple store. It’s nice, but I could do with more function than form. More on that later.
Simple Living News Update December 21, 2009 at 8:13 am
[…] Gear: Stuff We’re Sending Back […]
Elmer December 21, 2009 at 4:50 pm
Russ, how is the LX3 holding up? Have you been able to use it much on the road?
Jeffrey Fritts December 7, 2016 at 7:40 am
Love your Web site and other work, especially the photography/videography. I live over here on the east side , Walla Walla, WA. Retired from the Air Force and now I get to travel by bike instead of airplane. I was reading this article about what you sent home and found in the comments some interesting info about what people use for tech while on tour. I ride solo, self-supported and carry an OM-1 and GoPro Hero 4. I noticed the article was back in 2009 and wonder if you could update me as to what you carry for post processing in 2016. I am a Windows user btw.
Jeffrey Fritts, Walla Walla, WA “The town so nice they named it twice.”
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