Wow. Have we ever got a load of new gear to try out.
We’ve bought much of it down at the local camping shop and via Wiggle. Some treats have been given to us for Christmas and we’ve borrowed a couple things from companies so we can evaluate how well they work.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about these products in the new year, but for now we thought you’d like to know what 10 cool things we’re taking with us on our bike tour of Spain. Maybe you’ll find a Christmas present on this list, for yourself or your favourite bike tourist.
Small and powerful. We love the metallic colours too. This little headlight is mounted on our bikes, attached to our new hub dynamo and ready to light the way in case we’re coming home late from the tapas bars in Spain.
2. SON Hub Dynamo
This is the biggest upgrade in touring comfort we’ve made in a long time. We now have our own dynamos in the hub of our front wheels.
This will power the Supernova E3 pro light and, in future, will also power our mobile phones, camera batteries and other small gadgets we take on tour. For this trip, we’re curious to see if we detect any rolling resistance from the dynamo.
3. Silk Sleep Sacks
This single change to our gear has lightened our bags by about 1kg. Before we were using homemade sleepsacks out of an old cotton sheet. They were comfortable but bulky and heavy.
Our new silk sleep sacks from the Meru brand weigh just 130g each and are about the size of a soft drink can when rolled up.
4. Sea To Summit Folding Bowl
The Sea To Summit X-Bowl is a collapsible bowl. It’s made of food-grade silicon with a hard base that doubles as a chopping board.
At over 2 inches deep and quite wide, it looks big enough to hold a healthy serving of pasta. Because the X-Bowl folds flat, it barely takes up any room in your bags. There are also handy measuring marks on the side of the bowl.
Buy it for $15.95 on REI.
We might be the last people in the world to get a spork but we were given 2 of them recently, so we’ll drop our heavy metal cutlery in favour of the lightweight versions. For those who don’t know, a spork is a combination of a fork and a spoon.
6. Topeak Super Tourist DX back rack
We bought these racks primarily with commuting in mind, not touring. For international touring over long distances we prefer a higher-end steel rack.
However, it will be another few months before we get back to Canada and can salvage our Tubus racks from our old touring bikes. Until then, we’ll use the Topeak Super Tourist DX for bike touring. They should be fine for short-term, relatively light weight touring.
*Update: We’ve had these racks for 2 years now and they’re performing very well indeed. We’ve taken them on 2 bicycle tours (of Denmark and Spain) as well as numerous weekend trips and we’ve used them general commuting. Great value.
7. Gorillapod (for SLR cameras)
Our last tripod seized up after being strapped onto the handlebars and exposed to the elements for one too many rainy days. We’re hoping the Gorillapod fares better.
Already we love the way we can wrap it around anything. It feels very secure, even when screaming down hills with a camera attached to the handlebars!
Buy it for $80 on REI.
8. Exped Sleeping Mats
We have a Synmat 7 and a Downmat 7 to test out from Exped, since our old solid-core mats were just too bulky for a trip that involves a plane journey with limited luggage space. We’ve already slept a couple nights on these and found them pretty comfortable, although they do take a bit of time and effort to inflate.
9. Platypus Wine Preservation System
We bought this on whim because we do like a glass of wine after a long day of cycling but we don’t like to carry the glass bottle around.
Will this be the solution or will it just be an unnecessary extra bit of bulk in the panniers?
Buy it for $9.95 on REI.
10. CTC Bicycle Bag
For this trip, we don’t want the hassle of finding and packing our bikes into boxes (not to mention the question of where to store them) so we’re taking a leap of faith and putting them in the CTC bicycle bag instead.
We’re reassured by this experience and hope our bikes won’t be damaged. If it works out, this will be much easier than boxing up bikes for a flight.
Buy it for £10.80 on Wiggle.