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Recommended Equipment

If you haven’t done much bike touring before it’s sometimes hard to find the best equipment for the job, here are some of my recommendations. I have used all these products for at least a hundred days on the road.

Topeak Mountain Morph Mini Pump
Although not the smallest mini pump around, the extra hundred grams or so won’t make much difference to your overall weight and having properly inflated tires will have a noticeable impact on your average speed. This pump folds out in to a mini track pump so you can pump against the floor, which makes a massive difference if you’re trying to pump your tires to a decent pressure. I have had this pump around 5 years and it has come with me on every bike ride in that time and still works like new.

Old Man Mountain Pannier Racks
This company makes great bike racks and has a great customer service reputation. They provide the best solution for putting racks on bikes without rear rack eyelets (they are attached to the V brake bosses and through the wheel quick release skewer – see photo at top of post) and putting a front rack on a suspension fork for off road touring. I have used their racks for all of my bike tours and have had no problems. They are available through Carradice and St John Street Cycles here in the U.K.

 Topeak Alien Multi-tool This multi-tool has all you need to fix most roadside repairs and doesn’t really have any faults that I can think of. Highly recommended.

Feathered Friends Winter Wren Sleeping Bag
This is an unusual sleeping bag in that it can be worn as jacket, well if you don’t mind looking a little silly. It has arm holes and a front zip and a draw cord at the bottom so can it can be fastened around your waste, it's nice to be able to read or cook around camp in your sleeping bag. It doesn’t weight much but if you choose to take this instead of a sleeping bag and an insulated jacket the weight saving will be even greater. It works best as a jacket if worn under another jacket, a waterproof for example, to give it some sort of shape. I would recommend getting the Epic outer fabric, it has proved to be extremely water resistant. I use this under a tarp without a bivy bag and am confident that even if the outer fabric gets damp the down will stay dry. This bag is also extremely warm, I’ve slept in it with very little on below zero degrees Celsius under a tarp and been warm.

MEC Panniers
I have used the MEC PF-21 Cordura Cycling Panniers from MEC (they’re a massive outdoor retailer in Canada for those reading in the UK), which have proved to be extremely durable for the price. The attachment mechanism is basic but it works extremely well and they sell spare clips but I doubt you’d ever need them. I have also used these off road for long periods without any problems. I would recommend these for anyone looking for a set of small non-waterproof panniers.