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COGAP GEAR LIST: For our fellow gear junkies

COGAP GEAR LIST: For our fellow gear junkies

This list is rather comprehensive for those of you who are looking for detailed info and will be boring if you’re not into gear lists. I’ll be posting my final thoughts next so just skip this page unless you’re really interested.

After two Katy Trail tours and several handfuls of weekend tours, Craig and I had really fine-tuned our gear before we started our C&O / GAP tour in 2010. We were pretty proud of ourselves; this tour confirmed that our gear list and tour process is in great condition. We didn’t bring anything that we didn’t need or use. And we’ve acquired a lot of gear that we’ve found to be tremendously useful. So here is my list of useful gear for the gear heads out there like us. I’ll try to organize it into some sort of logical categories:

CLOTHING

One word – WOOL. I brought wool short sleeve shirts, wool long sleeve turtlenecks, wool leggings and wool socks. We’ve found wool to be the ideal touring clothing because it keeps you warm in the cold and cool in the heat and it doesn’t get stinky if you wear it several days in a row. Merino wool feels like silk; it’s not itchy at all. It is kinda pricey but you can get good deals at Sierra Trading Post (http://www.sierratradingpost.com/)

The North Face Women’s Paramount Peak Conversion Pants – I LOVE these things! They are comfortable and so versatile. Wear them as pants or unzip the legs for shorts. Khaki goes wth everything. I brought two pairs. You can get these at REI or Alpine Shop  ().

Columbia trail shoes. I bought these on a whim in Ohio when I went shopping for gloves and a hat and I’m so glad I got them. I can’t find the exact style online but they are waterproof, lightweight, with grippy soles and extremely comfortable. I wore them every day on the bikes.

1 pair jeans and 2 tee shirts. A lot of people don’t bring jeans on tour because they are so bulky but I really like wearing jeans on my days off from the bike. It just makes me feel more like a normal person. So it’s worth the weight in my opinion.

Crocs. I wear these in the camp showers because I don’t like to stand on the shower floors in barefeet. Crocs are lightweight, indestructible and dry fast. Although they are bulky. I think I’ll look for some Crocs flip flops instead for our next tour.

Showers Pass Women’s Club Pro Jacket. These jackets are a MUST HAVE for cycle touring. They keep you dry in the rain and warm in the cold. The underarm zips allow you to regulate your body temperature very easily so you don’t end up in a sweaty sauna like most other rainwear. There are cheaper rain jackets but these are worth every penny.

Cycling Gloves. One pair with full fingers and one without.

Nutcase Street Helmet: Hula Lounge. I just love these fun, expressive helmets. My fall helmet is the hula lounge little nutty because I love my brain.

CAMPING GEAR

REI Quarterdome T3 Tent (http://www.rei.com/product/761895). We’ve used this tent for several tours now and it’s working out very well. We wanted a 3 person tent to have extra room inside. We also wanted doors on both sides. This tent is lightweight and setup is quick and easy.

15-Degree Sleeping Bag with Down Fill. I deliberated long and hard before choosing a down bag over synthetic. The benefit of down is that it is lighter and can pack down much smaller than synthetic, so important for cycle touring. The negative is that you can’t wash it and it is ineffective if it gets wet. I’ve had this bag for several years now and I love it. I use a cotton liner which can be washed and keeps the bag clean. The bag is so warm that I often sleep on top of it in the cotton liner.

Exped camping mat SynMat 7. This is the single most important item that we bring with us. This sleeping pad is worth EVERY PENNY and it has completely changed the way we think about camping. It IS possible to sleep comfortably on camping trips with this air pad. It is so comfortable that we feel like we’re sleeping on a bed. Until I bought this, I had NEVER once slept well while camping but with the Exped I sleep like a baby all night long. Don’t waste your money on the self inflating pads (you know the ones I’m talking about). Spend the extra and get one of these.

Exped Air Pillow. Pair this with the Air Pad and you’ve got one comfy camp bed. There’s no need to be uncomfortable at night on your camping trips anymore. This little pillow is amazingly comfortable and packs down to the size of a fist. Stop trying to sleep on your wadded up clothes and buy one of these!

Parachute Nylon Hammock. When the trees align correctly, it’s so nice to hang out in camp in a comfortable hammock. They pack down small and light so we don’t feel bad bringing along this little luxury.

COOKING

Snow Peak GigaPower Stove. This little stove ROCKS! It’s TINY and includes an auto ignition which is so handy. It screws onto an MSR isobutene cartridge.

Snow Peak 3-Piece Titanium Cookset. I got this little lightweight set at Cabela’s for $40. It had to be a mistake because usually one titanium mug will set you back at least that much. The set was sitting all by itself on an empty shelf. I couldn’t find anything else similar to it in the store. But I even asked the cashier about it and she said she’d sell it to me for that price. Then I found it on Amazon for $49.95 so it wasn’t as good a deal as I thought. But it’s still a great lightweight cook set.

GSI Outdoors Halulite Tea Kettle. This little kettle is so useful. A full kettle holds enough water for two bowls of oatmeal and two mugs of hot tea. Saves time and it’s cute too!

Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals. These things are super easy and delicious. Just pour boiling water into the bag and let it sit for 8 minutes and YUM!

Light My Fire Original BPA-Free Tritan Spork. Ah the amazing versatile spork! And in bright colors too!!

BIKE GEAR

Surly Long Haul Trucker, velvet blue, 52cm (http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker_complete/). This is my dream bike. Craig has had his Surly for a couple of years and loves it. I’ve wanted one for quite a while but couldn’t justify the $1200 price tag. I finally saved up the bucks and got it about a month before our trip. It performed exquisitely just as I thought it would.

Schwalbe Marathon Touring Road Bike Tires. I wanted to get the Marathon Plus tires but for some reason Touring Cyclist wasn’t able to get them. So I settled on the Marathons and I had 0 (ZERO!) flat tires the entire trip.

Dimension Butterfly Trekking Handlebars. The first time I ever saw these on another bike I knew I wanted them. They are so comfortable and have so many possible hand positions that neck/shoulder pain and hand numbness is a thing of the past. (see pic below)

Terry Womens Liberator X Gel Black Saddle. Ladies, your saddle is the most important component of your bike. If you have the right saddle, you can ride pain free all day! I tried several different kinds before I found this comfortable saddle by Terry. I love it.

Ortlieb – Back-Roller Classic Panniers. I can’t say enough good things about Ortlieb bags. There’s a reason why 98% of the touring cyclists you see are using them.

MISCELLANEOUS GEAR

Freshette. The website describes this little wonder product as a ‘feminine urinary director.’ Basically it lets the ladies pee standing up and that’s all kinds of helpful when you’re out in the woods or having to use a nasty porta potty. Ladies, don’t leave home without it!

ELECTRONICS

Apple iPhone. This miraculous little device is the key I needed to stay connected to the internet as much as possible. I have a tethering plan so that I can connect it to my laptop and then get online on my laptop to do website work. I was very pleased with my cell coverage; even in very remote places I was able to get online. During our entire trip, there were only two days that I wasn’t able to get a connection.

HP Mini Laptop. I got the 6 hour battery. I love this little laptop! It’s small and portable but the keyboard is regular sized. I can do all my website work on this computer.

Fujifilm FinePix Digital Camera. This little digital camera has served me faithfully for several years even after being dropped multiple times, one time so hard that one corner is all smashed in. And it still works perfectly! It does video too!!

Oregon Scientific Helmet Video Camera. I just bought this little helmet cam right before our trip and I’m still experimenting with it. It seems to perform acceptably well for a hundred dollar video camera.

My new Surly Long Haul Trucker. Isn't she lovely?

My new Surly Long Haul Trucker. Isn’t she lovely?

I took this pic to show how I've set up my butterfly trekking handlebars. The bike shop used brake levers off another bike (the levers that come with the Long Haul Trucker are too big to use on these handlebars) and used Paul's Thumbies to move the gear shifters. Both the brakes and gear shifters are in the front for easy access. The bars are double wrapped and the gear and brake cords are tucked into the handlebar wrapping to make space for my Ortlieb handlebar bag.

I took this pic to show how I’ve set up my butterfly trekking handlebars. The bike shop used brake levers off another bike (the levers that come with the Long Haul Trucker are too big to use on these handlebars) and used Paul’s Thumbies to move the gear shifters. Both the brakes and gear shifters are in the front for easy access. The bars are double wrapped and the gear and brake cords are tucked into the handlebar wrapping to make space for my Ortlieb handlebar bag.

Oh no, now how in the heck am I going to get ALL this stuff on my bike??

Oh no, now how in the heck am I going to get ALL this stuff on my bike??

Hey guess what, I did it!!!!

Hey guess what, I did it!!!!

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