Trans Asia Gear Packing List thanks to Adventure in Tandem

This is the list you have been waiting for.  Well thought out and boy oh boy is it helpful.  This is a rather extended trip so it takes a bit more work to pull it all together. Very special thanks to our friends at Adventure in Tandem for this very extensive list:

Adventure in Tandem Packing List:

Our Trans Asia Gear List

Everything you need plus some for a round-the-world trip on a tandem bicycle, or really any bicycle.

The gear you bring with you on a trip around the world by bike is essential. There is simply no other way to put it.
You are dependent on your gear, especially the bike, to hold up against the strain of loaded touring going up and down mountains, across terrible road surfaces, through many a pothole among many other issues.

The hope is that it all holds up without issue, but that is never going to happen as we quickly found out as we started our tour in Thailand. Nevertheless, we still think we are quite prepared for our tour since we have all the gear required and works very well for our tastes.

As a couple touring on a tandem bicycle we have to pare down our gear even further than most touring cyclists because we have the same room for luggage as a normal touring bicycle, but it now has to do for 2 people.

Without further ado, below you will find our categorized gear list and a summary of all weights at the bottom.

Bike Gear:

GearDetailsWeight
bikeBike Friday Tandem Twosday23,030.00
bike computerGarmin Edge 1000116.3
bike computerGarmin Edge 80098
bungee cords2x bungee cords117.5
Dynamo hubShutter Precision PX-8 dynamo hub0
headlightB&M IQ Cyo headlight0
kickstandsingle kickstand0
rack trunkPerformance Transit Epic rack trunk658
rear panniersVaude Aqua 50L2,436.00
rear rackBike Friday folding Rear Rack0
saddle captainBrooks B17 captains saddle0
saddle stokerBrooks B17S Stokers saddle0
seatpost stokerKinekt BodyFloat Seatpost0
StorageUnder-bag goes under the rear rack76.5
taillightSpanninga taillight0
tiresSchwalbe Marathon 20×2.25”0
TrailerSamsonite Flight suitcase/trailer9,088.00
TrailerTrailer kit for a suitcase0
water storage4x 1L Nashbar water bottles

 

We chose the Bike Friday Tandem Twosday for our ride around the world due to its packability. We wanted a bike that could fold after we saw a couple in Cambodia roll up to the hostel, quickly fold their bikes and walk right in. Our Tandem Twosday does not fold nearly as quickly or cleanly as a Brompton, but it folds quickly enough to get it stuffed under a bus or in the back of an SUV when needed.

The small wheels allow us to have lower gears and the trailer allows us to pull all the weight behind the bike instead of having it all loaded on the bike. All the gear on the bike leads to extreme flex and wobble in a tandem that does not allow you to stand, and standing is essential to give your butt a rest while riding for hours each day.

The trailer is pretty sweet, being a regular suitcase that is attached via a frame and quick-connect hose fitting to the bike. It allows us to offload almost all of our weight from the bike to the trailer making for a smoother more responsive ride on the bike. We are also able to pack our entire tandem into the suitcase for travel on airlines. The downsides to the trailer are maneuverability, maintenance, and extra weight. As you can see, there is an extra 9 kg, or 20 lbs that we are carrying just due to the trailer.

We also set up our bike with a generator front hub from Shutter Precision that is an excellent replacement for a Schmidt hub for about 40% of the price. To go along with that we have front and rear generator lights that I can activate from the front of the bike. We would have liked to have USB charging available from the front hub as well, but it was simply too expensive for the size and we could not justify it.

We tour with Garmin Edge GPS computers to record our rides and post to Strava because if it is not recorded it didn’t happen! Check out our Track Us page to follow along. We actually had an issue with the Edge 1000 where it quit working probably due to the humidity, but we were lucky that my dad had my Edge 800 with him that I was able to take back so we would have a functioning GPS. In the end, we could use our phone as well, but it is not quite as durable as the Garmins are on the front of the bike.

The last things of note here are the Brooks saddles which are pretty much a given for long distance touring and an awesome Kinekt BodyFloat Seatpost that keeps Cara comfortable when I drive over bumps and don’t let her know. It also smooths out the choppiness of the road and keeps everyone happy.

Camp Clothing

Camp Clothing Cara

GearDetailsWeight
Bathing Suit147.5
bra1x Chinese cheap bra62.5
insulating jacketNorth Face down parka502.5
jewelrybracelets16.3
short sleeve shirt1 short sleeve athletic shirt71.0
Shorts1x lightweight athletic hiking shorts94.0
sleep clothessleeping tights130.5
sleep clothes1x lightweight shorts63.0
socks1 heavyweight wool socks71.5
street clothes1x lightweight shorts71.5
street clothes1x short sleeve shirt80.5
street clothes1 elephant jumper93.0
street clothes1x sleeveless shirt94.5
street clothes1 wrap-around skirt144.0
street clothes1x elephant pants164.0
street clothes1 long black t-shirt dress199.0
street clothes1x maroon hiking pants222.5
street shoeshomemade huaraches184.0
street shoesMerrell Trail Glove 4362.0
sunglassesGoodr28.8
underwear4x51.0

 

Cara brought only the essentials on this trip. When we are traveling on a tandem, space is limited and we were able to pare down to the bare essentials. This is done primarily by bringing only one of everything and preparing for the cold by assuming you will wear everything.

We were able to keep the shoe weight down by making a pair of huaraches for Cara that is extremely light and work for your everyday sandal. She also brought barefoot hiking shoes as her only closed-toe shoe. The Merrell Trail Glove 4 is an awesome shoe for hiking and also makes a great travel companion.

Camp Clothing Justin

GearDetailsWeight
Convertible pantsColumbia convertible pants297.0
Gym shorts2x gym shorts307.5
insulating jacketLama Sweater372.0
Long sleeve shirt not cottonUnder Armor long sleeve cold gear236.5
short sleeve shirtTheSWPlace t-shirt86.0
street shoesMerrell Vapor Glove 3442.0
street shoeshomemade huaraches254.0
travel shirtMagellan Outdoors long sleeve travel shirt178.0
travel shirtOff-brand short sleeve travel shirt166.0

 

I also brought only the essentials, which amounts to essentially 2 changes of clothes for off the bike. Since all of my stuff is much larger than Cara’s it still weighs about the same.

Being unsure as to the weather when we reach Northern China and Asia in general, we brought only light cold weather gear. I brought one insulated shirt from Under Armor and my favorite sweater from Peru to go along with my cycling jacket. Altogether, we should have plenty to stay warm. As for now in the tropics, it all sits at the bottom of the bag never to come out.

I brought the same footwear as Cara, bring a pair of homemade huaraches that I hike and walk in, and a pair of Merrel barefoot running shoes.

Cycling Clothing

Bringing cycling specific clothing is something that is debated in the touring circles. Since I have ridden for many years as a racing and endurance cyclist, I love to wear cycling clothing so we bring it along. Many others tour in regular shorts and travel shirts. This may end up with us having slightly more clothing, but the comfort gains from wearing cycling specific clothing are worth it.

Cycling Clothing Cara

GearDetailsWeight
bras3x sports bras C9210.0
Cold weather glovesDefeet wool gloves Pink54.0
cycling shoesShimano Cycling Shoe / Sandal SH-CT46LW619.0
Head coveringVaude buff28.5
HelmetCannondale Ridge Helmet278.8
insulating jacketPink generic jacket288.0
Jerseys3 short sleeve jersey293.0
leg warmersDefeet wool arm warmers as leg warmers94.0
rain jacketNature Hike nylon poncho214.0
shorts3 pair of shorts372.5
socks3 pair Defeet cycling socks87.0
SunglassesFoakleys32.2
wind jacketOff-brand from China101.5

 

For Cara, we have 3 changes in cycling clothing along with the cold weather essentials. For cold weather, she wears my wool arm warmers as leg warmers and then pulls on the insulating jacket and wind jacket and gloves. All those together will bring us down to comfortably riding in 40F / 5C temperatures.

For rain, she has a silnylon poncho. We have not yet tested this while riding, but expect it to work well, once we figure out how to really attach it / anchor it on the bike.

Cycling Clothing Justin

GearDetailsWeight
Arm warmersDefeet neon arm warmers79.0
Cold weather glovesDefeet wool gloves77.0
cycling shoesShimano Cycling Sandals1,108.5
Head coveringcycling cap25.0
Head coveringDIY green fleece beanie50.0
Head coveringbuff47.5
HelmetBontrager Oracle helmet, Now Wheeler336.1
Jerseys3 short sleeve jerseys, The Black Bibs Summer Pro+410.5
Knee WarmersDefeet wool knee warmers116.5
rain jacketNature Hike silnylon poncho227.5
shorts3 bib shorts CN Ride and The Black Bibs582.5
socks1 heavyweight wool socks84.0
SunglassesFoakleys33.5
wind jacketOff-brand from China116.6

 

I also brought 3 changes in cycling clothing to go along with the cold weather essentials. All told, this should be more than enough clothing and can bring me down to comfortably riding in 40F / 5C weather. Now if it is raining at that temperature, there is certainly another story to be told.

I had to replace my helmet after only 2 weeks of riding as it was cracked in the back. This turned out to be a good move because my new Wheeler helmet is more comfortable and is white which helps to reflect the sun and keep me cool while riding.

Camping Equipment

GearDetailsWeight
camp pillowNature Hike x2 inflatable camp pillows246.0
cutting boardCheapo flexy cutting board80.0
Day packNature Hike packable day pack173.0
dish towelNorwex heavier50.5
Flashlightrechargeable headlamp x2153.0
Lighterslighters40.0
Mess KitCooking kit bag27.0
Mess KitSnow Peak Ti Sporks31.0
Mess Kit1.8L ti pot lid55.5
Mess Kit1L ti skillet161.0
Mess Kit1.8L ti pot167.5
Mess KitCooking knife100.0
multitoolLeatherman169.0
ropeSpare bag of rope, very light cord for drying line36.5
shelterChinese cheap tent with aluminum poles, and stakes in bag2,204.5
sleeping bag CaraOzark trails 32F down bag796.5
sleeping bag JustinOzark trails 40F down bag742.0
sleeping pad CaraThermarest 34 pad674.0
sleeping pad JustinThermarest long pad639.0
Stovefolding windscreen80.5
StoveBRS fuel bottle 530 mL110.5
StovePrimus Omnifuel knockoff401.5
Stovefuel pump127.5
Toilet papertoilet paper
Water storage10L MSR Dromedary264.5
waterUniversal Water Spicket tool59.5
Water FilterGravity Filter38.0
Water Filterhose and MSR dromedary attachment40.9
water hoseDrinking hose for MSR Dromedary85.0
Zip Lock Bagszip lock bags0.0
Stuff Sackssilnylon stuff sacks x590.5

 

For camping, we brought what we thought were the essentials along with a few extras to make our potential many nights under the stars more comfortable.

Typically, we just use our stuff sacks full of extra clothes as pillows, but this time we brought some blow-up pillows from China that are quite comfortable. We brought an extra rope for stringing up clothes to dry and an extra stuff sack for dirty clothes and cleaning clothes in. The day pack has gotten more use than I expected so has actually worked out quite well.

We are quite proud of our mess kit as it is a titanium beauty that is actually big enough to cook for 2 people in. We have a 1.8L pot and lid with a large skillet that goes with it. We also brought a small cutting board and a kitchen knife with a duct tape guard. This is all put over our brand new multi-fuel stove from BSR. Yes, you read that correctly BSR, not MSR. We are running an off-brand multi-fuel stove from China because our Primus Omnifuel hose failed at an o-ring and was going to be as expensive to replace as a whole new stove from BSR. So far it works the same as the Primus and we have no major complaints besides it not going low enough in terms of power.

Our water setup is pretty slick as well. We are still using the MSR Dromedary 10L bag that I bought for my cross-country US tour back in 2008. 11 years later it is still kicking and we love it. You can fill it up and use its gravity filter into our bike bottles and also drink straight from the filter. We are carrying an awesome Sawyer Mini filter from Walmart that works as an inline filter.

Electronics

GearDetailsWeight
BooksCara’s Kindle201.0
BooksJustin’s kindle209.5
CameraThe G9 charging cable is the same as an external drive0.0
CameraA spare battery for YI 4K26.5
Cameracamera tripod plate28.0
CameraOlympus TG-4 charging cable49.0
CameraPanasonic 14mm f/2.570.0
Camera1 spare battery76.5
CameraRode Microphone w/ fuzzy wind canceling cover82.0
CameraYI 4K Action Cam87.0
CameraYI 4K Action camera waterproof case101.0
CameraPanasonic 20mm f/1.7117.5
CameraOlympus 45mm f/1.8129.0
Camerabendy tripod135.5
CameraSmall Ballhead for tripods180.5
CameraOlympus TG-4242.0
CameraPanasonic G9722.5
Cameracarbon fiber tripod737.5
cell phoneGoogle Pixel with Google FI175.0
Chargersmicro USB cable29.0
ChargersUSB C – A cable29.0
ChargersUSB C – C cable34.5
Chargersdouble USB charger 2.4A39.0
ChargersUSB C 60W Anker charger149.5
Chargers20000 mAh power storage pack368.5
Chargersa short micro USB cable12.5
computerSmall travel mouse44.5
computerWD external drive 2TB258.5
computerDell XPS i7-8550U 8GB1,233.0
computerHP Envy 13t i5-8250U 8GB1,289.0
Electronics baggeneric0.0
WatchCasio G-Shock60.7
Watchwatch mount for bike28.8

 

Now our electronics gear, weighing in at nearly 7 kg or 15 lbs is pretty ridiculous, but as we are working on the blogs and web programming while traveling it is a necessary evil. In these days of constant connectivity, you need the electronics working and with you in order to stay on top of everything.

We discussed the computer situation before leaving and decided on 2 computers since we both have things to work on (ie Youtube videos, blog posts, web development, etc.). However, it was not to be. After less than a week, the Dell XPS crapped out on us with a display issue that freezes the screen. It is some hardware issue after many hours of troubleshooting, so we sent it home with my dad and are looking for a new computer to replace it.

We brought computers that could both be charged off of USB-C so that we could bring a single fast-charger to save a little bit of weight. There is a whole slew of other cords as well to charge the remaining electronics. The 20,000 mAh power bank from Xiaomi is quite nice and is about the lightest of that size that you can buy. The only downside is that is not Power Delivery compatible so it cannot charge the laptops.

We have quite the array of camera gear to go with us as well. The Panasonic G9 is an awesome camera that deserves its own post, so suffice it to say, we love it and it is perfect for travel as both a stills and video camera. To go along with that camera, we also have a Rode microphone, USB charger, extra battery, and 3 prime lenses that end up weighing less than our old zoom lens. Along with the camera, there are also 2 tripods, one bendy Gorillapod like a tripod, and one nice extendable carbon fiber tripod. The 2 tripods share a single ball-head to save a little on weight.

Besides the setup for the Panasonic G9, we also have our Olympus TG-4 which is a tough camera that is waterproof, dustproof, and drop-proof, making it perfect for carrying while riding or in the rivers/water. We also have an action cam that we have mounted off the front of the bike for taking FPV video while riding. Our action cam is the Yi 4K which is an excellent camera considering the low price tag of $175.

We also do a lot of reading on our travels, so the ever-present Kindle Paperwhite is a must.

Miscellaneous

GearDetailsWeight
cards2 decks playing cards198.1
cashcash10.0
IDpassports x4 including old passports with China visa78.2
Lockcable lock535.0
paper and penssmall notebook and pens126.7
Sunscreensunscreen103.0
walletwallet and credit cards64.3

 

The leftovers that are not categorizable all come here. Obviously, for traveling we need money and passports. These are essentials and are the only parts that are not easily replicable. We actually already replaced our passports. We had to get new ones as soon as we started so that we would have room for the Laos visa. After living in China for 4 years, I had wasted some 12+ pages on Chinese visas and stamps taking up almost all the blank pages.

Who knew that the last 3 pages of your passport can’t have visas in them either?

That little tidbit is why we ended up with new passports.

We also brought a big heavy cable lock for the bike but rarely use it as I don’t think anyone is going to steal our tandem bicycle. It is simply too big and bulky to take and there are precious few buyers in a poor country for something like that.

We also brought a couple of decks of cards for games when we have the time. They haven’t been used yet, but I am sure the time is quickly approaching.

Bike Repair Kit

GearDetailsWeight
cablesspare shift/brake cable x 3m45.5
Cassette Tool47.5
chain lubeProLink67.0
Crank Puller-Bottom Bracket ToolBB tool30.0
Electrical. Tapeelectrical tape45.5
Frame Boltsspare bolts M553.5
frame pumpLezyne Pump HV w/ gauge214.0
greasegeneric grease0.0
housinghousing for the bar end shifter to attach to the segmented housing183.0
multitoolgeneric multitool with chain tool220.5
Sewing Kitsewing kit0.0
Sewing Kitfloss0.0
spare brake padsSpare brake pads x2 sets33.0
spare chain links/masterlinkspare chain links / 3x masterlinks34.5
Spare Spokesspare spokes, 2 of each length, 182, 184, 186mm34.5
spare tire12×2.00” Schwalbe Big Apple288.5
spare tire20×1.75” Schwalbe Marathon662.0
Spoke Wrenchspoke wrench35.0
threadlockLoctite Blue6.8
tire bootsPark Tool tire boots8.5
tire leversPedros tire levers42.0
TrailerTrailer spare parts118.5
tube patch kit2 patch kits39.0
TrailerTrailer spare hose connection
tubes2 tubes 12”191.0
tubes6x tubes 20”910.0
wrenchesSmall spanner, 8, 10, 15, Brooks Wrench363.5
Zip Tieszip ties5.5

 

The bike repair kit is quite possibly the most essential part of our setup. Without this, it is very easy to get stranded on the side of the road having to flag down passersby for rides to town to get your bike fixed. We have still had to do that once, but with the repair kit, it is a much less often occurrence.

I brought tools to fix most everything on the bike. The only tools I did not bring were wrenches big enough to turn the BB and cassette pullers. Besides that, I have tools and spares to fix anything that happens. However, I did find that I should have brought a large roll of duct tape. Apparently, they don’t have duct tape in southeast Asia. The Thai guys looked at the little I had and said they had never seen such a thing before.

Duct tape would have made a much better rim strip for our rims that overheated and melted on the descents and also would make taping down our bar tape better since the electrical tape peels up and doesn’t like to stick.

On such a long tour, we also brought spare tires. Normally, there is no need to bring spare tires, but when you are riding for 8 months it is nice to have a spare with you when the time comes.

Toiletries / First Aid

GearDetailsWeight
Fingernail clippersFingernail clippers20.1
First Aidtweezers11.9
First Aidgauze0.0
First Aidneosporin0.0
First Aidthermometer
First Aidmedical tape9.1
First Aidscissors32.0
hairbobby pins x213.8
hairfolding comb/brush from hotel16.2
hairhair ties0.0
hairmirror160.0
Insect Repellentinsect repellent45.5
medicinesibuprofen55.1
medicinesAnti-diarrheal23.4
medicinesprobiotics0.0
medicinesmotion sickness0.0
medicinesbirth control51.0
medicinesRock Tape kinesiology tape26.6
medicinespetroleum jelly54.5
medicineschapstick, Burt’s Bees10.6
medicinesVitamin C0.0
Pack towelpack towels x2240.5
razorgirls razor55.7
razorSmall portable head shaver95.7
soapsDr Bronners Lavender soap (magic soap)122.8
soapsface wash190.0
soapshis deodorant131.0
soapsher deodorant126.0
soapsOil absorbing sheets11.0
toiletriescue-tips47.1
Toiletries bagNature Hike toiletries bag M199.0
Toothbrushtoothbrush x240.1
Toothpastetoothpaste127.0
WashclothsNorwex cloth x262.5
Washclothshand washcloth35.4

 

For toiletries, we have the essentials plus many others. We bought a toiletries bag while we were in China that we thought would be plenty big enough, and it is stuffed to the brim. I guess we should have got the larger one…

We have stuff in there for first aid and medicines for the inevitable illnesses that we will get from traveling in foreign countries for so long. We also have many varieties of soap with our favorite brand, the Dr. Bronners soap that works for most everything. It is a special natural soap that doesn’t harm your things or the environment.

We were also wonderfully presented with 3 Norwex washcloths from one of our friends before leaving. These leave us feeling nice and fresh without the need for a real shower. They seem to magically soak up the oil from our skin just by rubbing it across. The bummer is I promptly lost one only 3 weeks in so we are down to one. Hopefully, I don’t leave another one somewhere…

Consumables

GearDetailsWeight
soapsshampoo0.0
soapsconditioner0.0
food3 days worth of food w/ lots of snack food0.0
gasunleaded gas0.0
soapminimal small bottles of soap0.0
water4 full bottles0.0

 

For the consumables, I did not put weights since they would be bought while on the tour, and I did not bring a scale with me. Trust me, I thought about it, but in the end, I didn’t bring a scale.

We haven’t been carrying much food with us at all. We have just had snack foods of cookies and crackers since the food is so cheap and plentiful in all the places we have been so far.

Summary Totals

CategoryWeight (kg)Weight (lbs)
bike35.6278.5
Camping7.7017.0
Repair3.688.1
Toiletries2.074.6
Cycling Clothing Justin3.297.3
Camp Clothing Justin2.345.2
Cycling Clothing Cara2.675.9
Camp Clothing Cara2.856.3
Electronics6.9515.3
Others1.122.5
Consumables0.000.0
Totals68.30150.4

 

As you can see we have quite the load of stuff. Over half of the weight is in the bike + trailer + bags. That is insane!!!

We could have cut 15+ pounds off by leaving the trailer at home, but it would have made the bike less stable. I am pretty happy with our setup as is and am not really looking to change it unless we start to run into more bike mechanical issues.

This setup should be good for the whole of our tour and we will certainly report back if we have any issues and update this gear list as we go along.

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