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:

Gear Details Weight
bike Bike Friday Tandem Twosday 23,030.00
bike computer Garmin Edge 1000 116.3
bike computer Garmin Edge 800 98
bungee cords 2x bungee cords 117.5
Dynamo hub Shutter Precision PX-8 dynamo hub 0
headlight B&M IQ Cyo headlight 0
kickstand single kickstand 0
rack trunk Performance Transit Epic rack trunk 658
rear panniers Vaude Aqua 50L 2,436.00
rear rack Bike Friday folding Rear Rack 0
saddle captain Brooks B17 captains saddle 0
saddle stoker Brooks B17S Stokers saddle 0
seatpost stoker Kinekt BodyFloat Seatpost 0
Storage Under-bag goes under the rear rack 76.5
taillight Spanninga taillight 0
tires Schwalbe Marathon 20×2.25” 0
Trailer Samsonite Flight suitcase/trailer 9,088.00
Trailer Trailer kit for a suitcase 0
water storage 4x 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

Gear Details Weight
Bathing Suit 147.5
bra 1x Chinese cheap bra 62.5
insulating jacket North Face down parka 502.5
jewelry bracelets 16.3
short sleeve shirt 1 short sleeve athletic shirt 71.0
Shorts 1x lightweight athletic hiking shorts 94.0
sleep clothes sleeping tights 130.5
sleep clothes 1x lightweight shorts 63.0
socks 1 heavyweight wool socks 71.5
street clothes 1x lightweight shorts 71.5
street clothes 1x short sleeve shirt 80.5
street clothes 1 elephant jumper 93.0
street clothes 1x sleeveless shirt 94.5
street clothes 1 wrap-around skirt 144.0
street clothes 1x elephant pants 164.0
street clothes 1 long black t-shirt dress 199.0
street clothes 1x maroon hiking pants 222.5
street shoes homemade huaraches 184.0
street shoes Merrell Trail Glove 4 362.0
sunglasses Goodr 28.8
underwear 4x 51.0

 

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

Gear Details Weight
Convertible pants Columbia convertible pants 297.0
Gym shorts 2x gym shorts 307.5
insulating jacket Lama Sweater 372.0
Long sleeve shirt not cotton Under Armor long sleeve cold gear 236.5
short sleeve shirt TheSWPlace t-shirt 86.0
street shoes Merrell Vapor Glove 3 442.0
street shoes homemade huaraches 254.0
travel shirt Magellan Outdoors long sleeve travel shirt 178.0
travel shirt Off-brand short sleeve travel shirt 166.0

 

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

Gear Details Weight
bras 3x sports bras C9 210.0
Cold weather gloves Defeet wool gloves Pink 54.0
cycling shoes Shimano Cycling Shoe / Sandal SH-CT46LW 619.0
Head covering Vaude buff 28.5
Helmet Cannondale Ridge Helmet 278.8
insulating jacket Pink generic jacket 288.0
Jerseys 3 short sleeve jersey 293.0
leg warmers Defeet wool arm warmers as leg warmers 94.0
rain jacket Nature Hike nylon poncho 214.0
shorts 3 pair of shorts 372.5
socks 3 pair Defeet cycling socks 87.0
Sunglasses Foakleys 32.2
wind jacket Off-brand from China 101.5

 

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

Gear Details Weight
Arm warmers Defeet neon arm warmers 79.0
Cold weather gloves Defeet wool gloves 77.0
cycling shoes Shimano Cycling Sandals 1,108.5
Head covering cycling cap 25.0
Head covering DIY green fleece beanie 50.0
Head covering buff 47.5
Helmet Bontrager Oracle helmet, Now Wheeler 336.1
Jerseys 3 short sleeve jerseys, The Black Bibs Summer Pro+ 410.5
Knee Warmers Defeet wool knee warmers 116.5
rain jacket Nature Hike silnylon poncho 227.5
shorts 3 bib shorts CN Ride and The Black Bibs 582.5
socks 1 heavyweight wool socks 84.0
Sunglasses Foakleys 33.5
wind jacket Off-brand from China 116.6

 

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

Gear Details Weight
camp pillow Nature Hike x2 inflatable camp pillows 246.0
cutting board Cheapo flexy cutting board 80.0
Day pack Nature Hike packable day pack 173.0
dish towel Norwex heavier 50.5
Flashlight rechargeable headlamp x2 153.0
Lighters lighters 40.0
Mess Kit Cooking kit bag 27.0
Mess Kit Snow Peak Ti Sporks 31.0
Mess Kit 1.8L ti pot lid 55.5
Mess Kit 1L ti skillet 161.0
Mess Kit 1.8L ti pot 167.5
Mess Kit Cooking knife 100.0
multitool Leatherman 169.0
rope Spare bag of rope, very light cord for drying line 36.5
shelter Chinese cheap tent with aluminum poles, and stakes in bag 2,204.5
sleeping bag Cara Ozark trails 32F down bag 796.5
sleeping bag Justin Ozark trails 40F down bag 742.0
sleeping pad Cara Thermarest 34 pad 674.0
sleeping pad Justin Thermarest long pad 639.0
Stove folding windscreen 80.5
Stove BRS fuel bottle 530 mL 110.5
Stove Primus Omnifuel knockoff 401.5
Stove fuel pump 127.5
Toilet paper toilet paper
Water storage 10L MSR Dromedary 264.5
water Universal Water Spicket tool 59.5
Water Filter Gravity Filter 38.0
Water Filter hose and MSR dromedary attachment 40.9
water hose Drinking hose for MSR Dromedary 85.0
Zip Lock Bags zip lock bags 0.0
Stuff Sacks silnylon stuff sacks x5 90.5

 

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

Gear Details Weight
Books Cara’s Kindle 201.0
Books Justin’s kindle 209.5
Camera The G9 charging cable is the same as an external drive 0.0
Camera A spare battery for YI 4K 26.5
Camera camera tripod plate 28.0
Camera Olympus TG-4 charging cable 49.0
Camera Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 70.0
Camera 1 spare battery 76.5
Camera Rode Microphone w/ fuzzy wind canceling cover 82.0
Camera YI 4K Action Cam 87.0
Camera YI 4K Action camera waterproof case 101.0
Camera Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 117.5
Camera Olympus 45mm f/1.8 129.0
Camera bendy tripod 135.5
Camera Small Ballhead for tripods 180.5
Camera Olympus TG-4 242.0
Camera Panasonic G9 722.5
Camera carbon fiber tripod 737.5
cell phone Google Pixel with Google FI 175.0
Chargers micro USB cable 29.0
Chargers USB C – A cable 29.0
Chargers USB C – C cable 34.5
Chargers double USB charger 2.4A 39.0
Chargers USB C 60W Anker charger 149.5
Chargers 20000 mAh power storage pack 368.5
Chargers a short micro USB cable 12.5
computer Small travel mouse 44.5
computer WD external drive 2TB 258.5
computer Dell XPS i7-8550U 8GB 1,233.0
computer HP Envy 13t i5-8250U 8GB 1,289.0
Electronics bag generic 0.0
Watch Casio G-Shock 60.7
Watch watch mount for bike 28.8

 

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

Gear Details Weight
cards 2 decks playing cards 198.1
cash cash 10.0
ID passports x4 including old passports with China visa 78.2
Lock cable lock 535.0
paper and pens small notebook and pens 126.7
Sunscreen sunscreen 103.0
wallet wallet and credit cards 64.3

 

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

Gear Details Weight
cables spare shift/brake cable x 3m 45.5
Cassette Tool 47.5
chain lube ProLink 67.0
Crank Puller-Bottom Bracket Tool BB tool 30.0
Electrical. Tape electrical tape 45.5
Frame Bolts spare bolts M5 53.5
frame pump Lezyne Pump HV w/ gauge 214.0
grease generic grease 0.0
housing housing for the bar end shifter to attach to the segmented housing 183.0
multitool generic multitool with chain tool 220.5
Sewing Kit sewing kit 0.0
Sewing Kit floss 0.0
spare brake pads Spare brake pads x2 sets 33.0
spare chain links/masterlink spare chain links / 3x masterlinks 34.5
Spare Spokes spare spokes, 2 of each length, 182, 184, 186mm 34.5
spare tire 12×2.00” Schwalbe Big Apple 288.5
spare tire 20×1.75” Schwalbe Marathon 662.0
Spoke Wrench spoke wrench 35.0
threadlock Loctite Blue 6.8
tire boots Park Tool tire boots 8.5
tire levers Pedros tire levers 42.0
Trailer Trailer spare parts 118.5
tube patch kit 2 patch kits 39.0
Trailer Trailer spare hose connection
tubes 2 tubes 12” 191.0
tubes 6x tubes 20” 910.0
wrenches Small spanner, 8, 10, 15, Brooks Wrench 363.5
Zip Ties zip ties 5.5

 

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

Gear Details Weight
Fingernail clippers Fingernail clippers 20.1
First Aid tweezers 11.9
First Aid gauze 0.0
First Aid neosporin 0.0
First Aid thermometer
First Aid medical tape 9.1
First Aid scissors 32.0
hair bobby pins x2 13.8
hair folding comb/brush from hotel 16.2
hair hair ties 0.0
hair mirror 160.0
Insect Repellent insect repellent 45.5
medicines ibuprofen 55.1
medicines Anti-diarrheal 23.4
medicines probiotics 0.0
medicines motion sickness 0.0
medicines birth control 51.0
medicines Rock Tape kinesiology tape 26.6
medicines petroleum jelly 54.5
medicines chapstick, Burt’s Bees 10.6
medicines Vitamin C 0.0
Pack towel pack towels x2 240.5
razor girls razor 55.7
razor Small portable head shaver 95.7
soaps Dr Bronners Lavender soap (magic soap) 122.8
soaps face wash 190.0
soaps his deodorant 131.0
soaps her deodorant 126.0
soaps Oil absorbing sheets 11.0
toiletries cue-tips 47.1
Toiletries bag Nature Hike toiletries bag M 199.0
Toothbrush toothbrush x2 40.1
Toothpaste toothpaste 127.0
Washcloths Norwex cloth x2 62.5
Washcloths hand washcloth 35.4

 

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

Gear Details Weight
soaps shampoo 0.0
soaps conditioner 0.0
food 3 days worth of food w/ lots of snack food 0.0
gas unleaded gas 0.0
soap minimal small bottles of soap 0.0
water 4 full bottles 0.0

 

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

Category Weight (kg) Weight (lbs)
bike 35.62 78.5
Camping 7.70 17.0
Repair 3.68 8.1
Toiletries 2.07 4.6
Cycling Clothing Justin 3.29 7.3
Camp Clothing Justin 2.34 5.2
Cycling Clothing Cara 2.67 5.9
Camp Clothing Cara 2.85 6.3
Electronics 6.95 15.3
Others 1.12 2.5
Consumables 0.00 0.0
Totals 68.30 150.4

 

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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