(Updated as often as we can)
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DOING A TOUR? YOUR GEAR (ANY “ESSENTIAL TIPS” WE LEARN WILL APPEAR HERE)
We will not hold back here! If the gear is good we will say so, if it is not (For us) we will will give our reasons.
When deciding on what you will take on a tour the thing to remember is that there are “good kilos” and “bad kilos”. A trailer weighing 30kg is not too much to pull for the average Trike. BUT if it is loaded with bad kilos then your journey will not be as pleasant as it could be. Pay attention to your home (Tent) and your bed. Comfort here makes a huge difference to most people. Remember you could be spending “days” in your “Home” waiting out atrocious weather.
Everyone is different , however what works for us it to compartmentalise our “gear”. House, bedroom, Kitchen, wardrobe, bathroom, tool shed, miscellaneous and “her gear”. Look long and hard at each of the “smaller pictures”. Don't become obsessed with “weight” but do take care in this area. Bulk is just as important, compact serviceable items are more important to me than just weight alone.
Be flexible, e.g.. we have the capacity to carry about 40++ litres of water. (1 Litre = 1 Kilogram) We rarely carry more than twenty litres... We HAVE carried more than forty. This flexibility will depend on a whole range of variables... Your route, time of year, etc.. these will determine your needs. Sometimes we need to carry food for 10 or more days... What I am getting at, is the need for flexibility and reserving “space” in your storage for these variables.
TRIKE (GOOD VALUE) (UPDATED APRIL 07)
Catrike Trike: Faultless to date, no component failure. (5800 km and 26 weeks use). My admiration for this product is growing... It is a very durable, comfortable Trike.
(FAR TOO EXPENSIVE)
“Radical Design” Bag faded significantly due to Sun. (2900 km and eight weeks use). Spacers worn out between wheel and frame (Replaced with garden hose), Rain covers do not fit properly, Velcro could have been used in the manufacturing process. Otherwise ok - so far. UPDATE April 07:
Trailers continue to give good service - our bad “buying” experiences aside. Tyres lasted about 5000 k's and were replaced at the “Greenspeed” factory with an excellent substitute.
MARATHON PLUS TYRES (UPDATED APRIL 07)
So far 5800 as at April 07 kilometres and Lee has had one puncture - I have had five... Given I am double her weight this is understandable. Tyres are showing sign's of wear as expected but still have good life left. Will keep you informed (Note: good/bad bike design and bike “tuning” can affect this number) These tyres are proving to be an excellent choice.
HUB (UPDATED APRIL 07)
Bloody Superb... and still bloody Superb at over 5000 k's
(UPDATED APRIL 07)
High speed drive – would like to try the “Speed Drive” for touring with heavy loads. Faultless operation. Still Faultless and superb
Trek Lite series purchased at the camping store Albany Highway Kelmscott WA. I am amazed at it's durability and ease of use. A light spacious 3 person tent for everyday use. Am astonished at the continued durability of this product The Trek lite as performed way way beyond ALL expectations and for Australian conditions we would whole heartedly recommend.
UPDATE JULY 2007.
We have changed our tent to the “Vango Spirit 300+”. We were led to believe, after reading their website, that these were from a “Scottish Manufacturer.... We have since found out that they are “Made in China” which was evident when we examined the tent in detail... As at the 28th July 2007, we could find NO reference to the country of manufacture on their website. I have called them and “Stephanie” did say she would “bring it up”.... Of course, she will not and if I tried to claim I was mislead money would win as it always does. The very heavy rain and constant precipitation indicated the need for a functional vestibule.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER THE 10th
The Chinese made “VANGO” Tent is very inferior to the “Trek Lite” with MANY shortcomings resulting from poor design by the Chinese Manufactures. One door and a sleeping area that is both too small ( I cannot stretch out, the sleeping area is too short – I am 185CM tall) and VERY poorly ventilated. I suggest anyone buying this Chinese made tent be aware of the poor quality and TOTAL inadequacy for a tropical climate such as Australia – you would suffocate and if you did open the door to let air in, you would be eaten alive by insects. . One never knows the Scottish importers “VANGO”, of these Chinese made tents may foist them on Australia.
THERMAREST: Functions well, storage bag too small to be useful. Would not buy again as too expensive for what it is and bag too small. (Be careful here, the salesperson may be able to squeeze it in, at the camping store, you will need to do it in the rain, wind, etc.. ) Update after 10 months and a little over six months use. Faultless so far.
DMH (AUSTRALIA) HIKE LITE SERIES (LONG).
Good mat well priced. Storage bag a sensible size but requires better quality stitching i.e.. webbing at top of seam. Would buy again
UPDATE SEPTEMBER THE 10TH 2007.
can be said the measure of a company is in how they support their
product when things go wrong. I purchased an “Exped”
sleeping mat and after about 8 nights it began to lose air. I figured
not worth ringing or trying to get help.. Wrong!! I emailed
[Dear Alistair, Feedback from us re the "Exped" sleeping mat we purchased from you a few weeks ago. The seam along the side "parted" and the mat is no longer airtight despite many attempts to re-seal it. I used it only 8 times before it failed me. I realise there is warranty, however I am in Shetland cycling. I am guessing, but to prevent a warrant claim, they will insist the mat be sent to you or them then I must sleep on the floor until they pontificate over it's repair/replacement. I will be in Norway on Friday the 14th Would appreciate a contact email to your supplier so I may pass on my worthless feedback. I do have over 6,000 readers on my website I guess I should warn them but I will wait and see what happens.. Hope you are well, Kind Regards Mal & Lee ]
Within 30 minutes Alistair telephoned me from Campcraft in Bolton. (“On Line” and “In Store”, supplier of good camping gear at truly unbeatable prices) He had organised a replacement mat to be sent to me ANYWHERE in the world; AND after I receive it, I can return the faulty one (which still is far better than not having one) to them. That is the measure of a company that is offended when what they believe is a quality product, lets them down in this way.
The company should be commended for their support, but even more so Campcraft in Bolton for the support and after sale service they give their customers. They even offered to replace it with a “Thermarest” at more than double the price – at their expense! Wow!!! For the most part Aussies believe in a “Fair go mate” - I felt it's not their problem, (Campcraft) so I said I was happy to have the original replaced.
UPDATE: Within a few weeks it again developed slow leaks.... My wife's Thermarest is still faultless after more than 400 nights and 20 months... We met a guy with a Thermarest over 20 yrs old – with ZERO problems...
Uniden 40 channel: (about $60.00) SUPERB!!! Good to “many” k's and have used in town when Lee is in C/Van park, me inside Supermarket 1-2 k's away
TO SUMMIT” STUFF BAGS
Top Notch gear, used daily no problems.
BIDDONS (WATER BOTTLES) DO NOT
Sold by K-Mart. The bottom of the bottle says guaranteed not to taste of plastic, this of course is a lie. The water tastes of plastic so much so, that it is undrinkable. Other “Huffy” products caused us terrible grief and Kmart (Armadale WA) would do nothing to assist. I will steer clear of all “Huffy” products.... I suggest you do also. Just buy commercial bottles of water, with a teat, sold at any shop/deli. (e.g.. PUMA) The plastic used in these is “Guaranteed” not to have an after taste as they are “forced” do it this way, or it would not sell, nor would it have a shelf life.
Water stinks and tastes of plastic... Drinkable if used in cooking or masked with other flavouring... Try and find a better product. The 10 litre water bag cost over $80.00. Way overpriced. Remember if you can taste plastic you are drinking it!!!
Very thin pots (to keep lightweight) do not work very well as many things burn. Pots have kept most of their shape the lid has not. VERY expensive to buy and you can probably find better.
DUAL FUEL STOVE
Works very well – recommended. If I were purchasing again I would probably go for the same brand but “Multi” fuel.
AAA AND AA AND ALKALINE BATTERIES
Those alkaline batteries from Kmart – useless!
Well advised to buy NiMH rechargeable. The NiMH batteries we purchased from Battery World have proved superb. They cost about 3 times the price of the alkaline.
Brand of flag (pennant) unimportant in my opinion, however, Lee lost three flags and flag poles. It really is dangerous to ride without a flag. They are terribly difficult to buy outside a capital city. You would be well advised to carry at least one spare per bike. The wind rips the top pole from the two parts of the flag pole. If you choose to put an Aussie or other country flag on there (as well as the red one) you double the chances of the wind tearing it out. The other thing of course, is that the pennants (Flags) get battered by the wind and wear out. By about 2000 k's we has thrashed one to bits. Attempting to find quality amongst the (mostly Chinese made) available pennants, has, for us, proved impossible. Those amongst you with the skills can make your own. If of course you can find the “day glow” material, what's more it should be orange/red.
2006 - 2009. All rights reserved. Design:(c) Mal & Lee