On the assumption that it’s always interesting to riffle through other cyclists’ panniers, here’s my packlist for Peru. Overall, it’s working out nicely. The gear I’m carrying is keeping me comfortable at altitudes of up to 5000m, come rain or shine. My possessions aren’t without their little luxury items – a portable speaker, for instance – as well as my work necessities – like my laptop.
I travel lighter than most long distance bike tourers, but certainly not as light as some. Without doubt, jettisoning extra ballast has proved a real benefit crossing Peru’s unforgiving Andean cordillera. It’s also opened up possibilities of riding more challenging and technical trails that would have been either impossible, or extremely unappealing, with a classic 4 pannier setup. (Which is not to say I don’t obsess about alternative setups and different gear as I ride. But for now at least, I’m happy.)
Ground Effect Robin Hood; thin, merino blend long sleeve top, with a hood that fits under a helmet. It’s time tattered, but I love it. Smartool merino striped jumper; my attempt at looking vaguely stylish off the saddle. Patagonia synthetic puff jersey; ideal for round camp. Prana sleeveless cotton T-shirt; comfy for warm weather riding. Cotton T shirt; an old favourite. Wool leggings; from the Peruvian market, keep my ankles warm (-: Merino socks; for riding, hole-ridden. Alpaca socks; for sleeping, bought locally for $2. 2 x Rapha merino underwear; super comfy. Synthetic thermal underwear; cheap but sufficient. Patagonia shell; keeps the elements out. Endura 3/4 length Venturi waterproof shorts; one of my favourite bits of gear. Neoprene gloves. Giro padded cycling mitts; v comfy. 5:10 Freeride shoes; tough as nail shoes, but slippy in mud. Uvex helmet; not always worn when touring, but a necessity for mountain biking. Counterfeit Crocks; ideal for round camp.
Tarptent Moment; singleskin, freestanding, uber quick to pitch, but integrated poles limit packing possibilities. Tyvek groundsheet; cheap/free and light. 3/4 length Thermarest Prolite 3; refuses to die. Thin foam mat; for yoga and stretching. North Face -1c ultralight sleeping bag; 900 fill power of compact snugness, a key component in saving space. Vapour Barrier Liner; a cold weather booster to my sleeping bag if needed.
Trangia/Cliksand denatured alcohol stove and support; fantastic combo. 0.9L Evernew titianium pot; lightweight. 1 x ti Snowpeak spork. Fold-flat camping bowl; doubles as cutting board. Lighter. Matches. Penknife. Hydrapak 2.5l water bladder; useful when the 2.8L of water capacity on my bike isn’t enough. Large zip lock bags; for food storage. SteriPEN Freedom; USB-rechargeable water filter.
Toothbrush and toothpaste. Suncream. Tea tree oil. Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap; 59ml bottle. Ibuprofen; just in case. Nail clippers. Scissors; for beard trimming.
Photocopy of passport (additional copy scanned and save online). IMTB Maps of Peru and Bolivia. Moleskin; for note tacking and map scribbling. Pen.
Petzl USB-charged headtorch; 220 lumens of sheer awesomeness. Boombotix; I love my music – portables speakers don’t get any better than this. iPhone 5; serves as GPS, music, guidebook etc… Cable and wall plug. iPod Shuffle; perfect for riding. Sony In-ear headphones. 11in Macbook Air (stored in padded sleeve); expensive but incredibly powerful for its weight. 1TB WD My Passport Hard Drive (stored in padded sleeve); for RAW backups (JPGs are uploaded to DropBox when possible). 16GB Memory stick. Short USB cables.
*USB devices are charged using a Sinewave Cycles Revolution (formerly Bright-Bike Revolution)
Canon 5dMk2; fantastic IQ but brick-like in size and weight. 2 spare batteries. Charger. 4x16GB CF cards. Card reader. Lens wipe. Lens dust blower. Lenses: 24mm f/2.8. 40mm f/2.8; pancake-style, stays on the camera most of the time. 70-200 f/4; non-IS, the cheapest and most compact of Canon’s 70-200 zooms.
Spares + repairs
WTB 29×2.5 Weirwolf tyre. 2 x 29” tubes w/removable cores, Topeak multitool w/chainbreaker, Leatherman Squirt (includes pliers and scissors), 2 x water cage bolts, seatpost bolt, chainring nut and bolt, tire boot material, patch kit, extra patches, tyre lever, brake cable, 2 sets of BB7 brake pads, 2 spare spokes of each length, 6 extra chain links and 2 extra Sram Powerlinks, a few zip ties, Gorilla tape wrapped around Topeak Master Blaster pump. Small bottle of lube. Rag. For the Rohloff: 2 spare Rohloff torx bolts, a TX20 key and a Rohloff sprocket removal tool. 2 pre-cut gear cables to the correct length.
Swap out my Tarptent Moment for a Contrail; a little lighter and more importantly, very compact to pack.
Knee/leg warmers; more practical than stopping to remove my thermal underwear by the roadside…
Perhaps – a lighter camera. A Fuji XE-2? An Olympus EM-1? Admittedly, it’s hard to give up my full frame DLSR.
What I don’t pack!
Padded bike shorts; normal underwear is fine by me.
Trousers; I make do with shorts and leggings, or my 3/4 length waterproof shorts around camp.
Med kit; aside from Ibuprofen and duct tape.
Lock; the bike is tied to my tent at night, if need be, or brought into a guesthouse room.