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About Us

Niamh & Matthew - We are teachers working internationally. We met in Togo, West Africa and most recently lived in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. We both love to travel and visit new places - especially by bike.

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BIKE TOURING GEAR PACKING LIST - CENTRAL ASIA AND CHINA

May 6, 2018

 

 

 

We started our ride around the world in June 2017 in Uzbekistan, where we were living, and pedalled east through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China before heading into south east Asia.  We both have a strong tendency towards over packing and were carrying a lot more gear than the majority of other tourers we met. We definitely carried waayy too much stuff on this section but I don't regret any of it. It was comforting to know that we had absolutely anything we could need in our panniers (including more than a few "luxury" items) and we still managed to get our heavy rigs up the hills.

We pared down our packing a bit for the next section through south east Asia (we will write a post for that list at some stage) as accommodation and food were easier to come by. For Central Asia and China, we wanted to be self-sufficient as we cycled through some remote areas. Here is a complete list of everything we packed for this route through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China. The list might seem ridiculously detailed but, when researching in the build up to our trip, I loved reading exactly what other tourers packed - right down to the socks and underwear! Each little item seems so important but In reality, lots of things can be (and will be) bought, discarded and replaced along the way.

 

 

Everything we brought (aside from bikes -  click here for bike details):

 

 

Luggage

 

 

 

8 x Ortlieb Panniers

 

2 x Front (City Roller) and 2 x Back (Classic) each. Black for Niamh and Red for Matthew. Sturdy and waterproof. Spare clips for attaching to the rack might be useful as we have had a couple fall out over time.

Click for product info

 

 

5 x Karrimor Dry Bags

 

We brought a range of different sizes of these bags and in different colors which helped to tell what was what without looking inside. The 25l bag was the perfect size for our tent when the bag it came in started to fall apart. I was able to put it on my back rack between the panniers and clip it around the seat post.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x B.O.B Bag

 Matthew used to use this bag with a trailer but for this ride it sat on the back rack holding spare tyres and other bulky gear.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Altura Handlebar Bag

On Niamh's bike. Fits plenty inside. Main part is completely waterproof but front pouch is not.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Ortlieb Handlebar Bag 

 

 On Matthew's bike. Reliable like other Ortlieb products.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x BTR Handlebar Bag

On Matthew's bike. Used as extra storage by strapping to headset under main handlebar bag. 

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Seat Post Bag

On Niamh's bike. Couldn't find same type as mine online. Picture is similar size. Attached behind seat post. I carried a spare tube in it for puncture emergencies instead of rooting around in panniers.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Author Frame Bag

On Matthew's bike. One of the very few items we actually bought in Uzbekistan. Matthew keeps a repair kit, pump and other small items in it where they are close to hand. 

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Small Frame Pannier Bag

On Niamh's bike. No idea what brand mine is but this looks similar. Sits in front of me in the frame so I can access small things while I pedal. At the moment, it contains an Irish flag, a lucky charm from a friend in Uzbekistan, some sweets for energy and my phone for podcasts.

Click for product info

 

 

 

 

 

Camping

 

 

1 x MSR Elixir 3 Tent

 

 

 

 

We opted for a little more weight so we could have lots of room. Really easy to set up. We just used the inner most of the time but the outer sheet kept us dry when needed.

Click for product info

 

 

 

2 x Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Mattress

 

 

Light and compact. The men's version is slightly bigger than the women's and therefore a few grams heavier. These make a rustling noise when you move so maybe not great for light sleepers. 

Click for product info

 

 

 

2 x Travel Pillow

 

 

From Decathlon. I found it comfy but Matthew didn't like it at all. He usually used clothes stuffed in a bag instead.

Click for product info

 

 

 

2 x Silk/Cotton Sleeping Bag Liner

From Lifeventure. For warm nights or inside bag as an extra layer and to keep it clean. 

Click for product info

 

 

 

2 x Robens Caucasus 600 Sleeping Bag

 

 

 

 

For chilly nights at altitude. I carried them by putting one on top of each front pannier and securing with a bungee cord. This meant that I wasn't very aerodynamic but had plenty of space for other stuff in my panniers.

Click for product info

 

 

 

2 x Camping Chairs

 

These chairs were a bit of a luxury but we used them quite often. Very light and I carried them in the centre of my front rack under my handle bar bag.

Click for product info

 

 

 

Cooking

 

 

1 x MSR WhisperLite Universal Stove

 

Extremely light and compact stove. Easy to use after some practice. Be careful in windy conditions as it is so light. 

Click for product info

 

 

 

1 x MSR Fuel Bottle

 

We filled ours up with fuel at petrol stations and carried it in an extra bottle cage on Matthew's bike. The opening is small but chopping a plastic bottle in half works as a makeshift funnel.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Cookware Set (Big pot, small pot and pan)

 

That fit inside each other

 

1 x Chopping Knife

 

Just took a big knife from our kitchen. Had to ditch it during a security check in China and made do with Swiss Army Knife after that.

 

1 x Chopping Board

 

2 x Drinking Cups

 

The compact stackable kind

 

2 x Sporks

 

2 x Lunchbox Containers

 

Eat dinner from them and also use for storage

 

1 x Small Bottle Cooking Oil

 

A Few Stock Cubes

 

Little Bags of Salt, Pepper and Spices

 

 

 

Bike Tools and Accessories

 

 

 

 

2 x Spare Tyres

Schwalbe Folding Marathon Mondial 26". Heavy but durable. 

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Rohloff Oil Change Kit

 For Matthew's Rohloff hub.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Phone Holder

 On Matthew's bike for navigating in cities. We bought ours at a market in Uzbekistan but it looked something like this. Cheap and broke after about 10 months but did the job and easily replaceable.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Wet Lube and 1 x Dry Lube

 

2 x Front and 2 x Back Lights

 

4 x Spare Spokes

 

A Few Zip Ties

 

 2 x Helmet

 

4 x Spare Brake/Gear Cables

 

4 x Inner Tubes

 

2 x Pump

 

Multiple Patch Kits

 

1 x Bike Tool Bag 

With multitool, 8mm Allen key, 2 adjustable spanners

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electronics

 

 

 

 

1 x Go Pro Camera

Given to us by a friend. Can't believe we weren't planning on getting one. We use it all the time. Captured some great memories.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Mac Book Air

 We had an older version. Link is to newer model. Very light.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Spot Tracker

For emergencies and for letting people know you are safe when off the grid for a while.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Cat Eye Padrone Bike Computer

 I went for the pink one. Simple to use and really big display so you don't have to squint.

Click for product info

 

 

2 x Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6. The camera on S6 was good enough for our needs so we didn't bring any other camera. They will probably have released an S57 by the time this post is published... and we will probably still be using the S6.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x iPod Nano

For listening to music on roads with less traffic. 

Click for product info

 

 

1 x JBL Charge 2 Speaker

 

Play music from ipod or phone via bluetooth. Fits in bottle cage.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x External Hard Drive

 

1 x Power Bank

 

Various Charging Cables

 

 

 

 

Clothes & Shoes

 

Link here

 

 

Micellaneous

 

 

1 x 10l Water Container

 This container was good because we could tie it across the back of a bike and dispense water by opening the tap and squeezing the bag without unstrapping it.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Udderly Smooth Chamois Cream

Because saddle sores are no fun.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Cargo Net

 We used it to secure our tent to my back rack. Also useful for strapping down extra items like bags of snacks or for drying washing while you ride.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Tubus Lashing Strap

 It came with Matthew's bike and he used it for securing the B.O.B bag on his back rack and for carrying extra items.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Kryptonite Lock

 Click for product info

 

 

1 x Abus Lock

 We used this in combination with the other lock above. This allowed us to lock both bikes together and secure them to a fixture of some sort.

Click for product info

 

 

3 x Bungee Cords

 Just in case - for holding loads in place.

Click for product info

 

 

1 x Swiss Army Knife

 A friend gave me one as a gift when I first left home and I still use the same one on all tours. Mostly use it as a bottle opener to be honest but we used it a lot!

Click for product info

 

 

A Few Ziplock Bags

For snacks and dodgy bottles of liquids that we didn't want to spill in the panniers.

 

1 x Fan

It doubled as a power bank which we mentioned above.

 

1 x First Aid Kit

Also went to a doctor and got prescribed a whole range of medicines we might need.

 

1 x Bike Cover

Both bikes fit under it. Used it in heavy rain or to hide bikes in hotel parking areas.

 

1 x Sawyer Water Filtration System

Used mainly in Kyrgyzstan when we were drinking water from streams.

 

A Few Packs Water Treatment Tablets

 

2 x Towels

 

4 x Water Bottles

 

1 x Pack Playing Cards

 

1 x Lighter

 

Lots of Sunscreen

 

Some Stationary

For running workshops at schools we visited

 

 

 

 

As I mentioned above, I know that this is a ridiculously long packing list. Lots of people have done this route with minimal gear but that's just not really our style. We like having lots of stuff and as long as we can still push up the hills then we are happy with it. :)

 

Click for an interactive map of our route through Central Asia and China.

 

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