- Surly Long Haul Trucker
- Surly Disc Trucker
- Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyres
- DT Double Butted Spokes
- DMR V12 Flat Pedals
- Velo Orange Mudguards
- Brooks B17 Saddle
- Topeak Modula Java Bottle Cage
- MK3 Bike Buddy
- Shutter Precision PD-8 Dynamo Hub
- Sinewave Cycles Revolution Dynamo USB Charger
- Dosun U1 Dynamo Light
- Anker E 5 Cache Battery
- Tubus Tara Front rack and Cargo Evo back rack (Laura)
- Tubus Ergo Front and Cargo back rack (Ciarán)
- Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers (front and back)
- Ultimate 6 Classic Medium Handlebar Bag with map case
- Atlantic Equipment, handmade backpacks and carry equipment.
- Tundra 2 Moss Green tent
- Marmot Never Winter 30F 600 down sleeping bag
- Sea to Summit Thermolite reactor cotton sleeping bag liner
- Thermorest sleeping mat
- Cocoon Ultralight AirCore Pillow
- MSR Dragonfly Stove
- White Box Alcohol Stove
- GSI Bowls
- Utensils- cheese grater, spatula, chop-sticks, forks, knifes and spoons, spice box.
- Whiskey flask!
- Olicamp Space Saver Cup
- GSI Hard Anodized Extreme Mess Kit
- Montbell coffee filter
- Sea to Summit 4 Litre Bladder
- Scrubba Wash Bag
- Plastic egg container
- Montbell foldable stool.
- Light chopping board
- Petzl Tikkina Headlight
- 10 meter cord rope
- Silva Compass
- Leatherman Wave
- Sawyers Mini Water Filter
- Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
- Fishing rod, reel, lures and plugs.
- Olympus Camera
- Canon 70D
- Go Pro 3+
- Gorilla Pod
- Kindle Paperwhite
- iphone 5
- Tecsun PL-380 Radio
- Garmin 450t
- Spot Gen3 Tracker
- Merino wool under-layers and t-shirts.
- Down Jackets and fleece jacket.
- North Face Rain jacket (Laura) Pole Wards (Ciaran)
- Keen sandals and trail runners
- Bungee cords
- USB Cables and plug adapters
- Frisbee, chess and a pack of cards.
- Spare tubes, tools and bike parts
Reflection on the gear.
We spent a lot of time researching, testing and analysing what to bring with us on our Mongolia to Ireland trip. Generally everything we brought performed well and did the job it was meant to do. However, there were a few items of gear that didn’t perform as well as others, and would let us down occasionally, to quite often.
Mountain Equipment Tundra 2
The tent (which we think is no longer manufactured by the makers) was just about the right compromise of weight and size. We always had our panniers in our front porch, leaving nothing outside the tent, other than the bikes. It performed ok, it withstood gale force winds in Mongolia and Scotland, severe frost in Poland and heavy rains in Slovakia, with a little condensation and dripping. However, the seams near the peg holes started to stretch and tear and the zip eventually stopped working altogether by the time we got to the uk.
Thermaorest Prolite Sleeping Mat
Resting and having a good night’s sleep was important to us, so having a comfortable, insulated and light sleeping mat was essential. The Thermorest sleeping mat work sufficiently. When inflated it was thick enough to allow me to sleep comfortably on my side. It worked pretty well in insulating you from cold ground. However an air bubble formed at the top of the mattress, which got bigger every time the mat was inflated. It got so bad, that I was no longer lying flat but almost sitting up as the air bubble expanded to the size of a small football! I struggled on until someone suggested I contact Cascade Designs, manufacturers of Thermorest, along with many other outdoors gear. After contacting Cascade Designs and stating my problem, they sent me a new mat within a week. Problem sorted and back to comfortable sleeping again.
Myself and Laura enjoy our food and like spending time cooking (check out our recipes here). Having a stove that allowed simmering and regulates temperature was essential to allow us to make stews, soups, porridges etc. To us, the MSR Dragonfly was the ideal fit. Cycling home to Ireland was a thoroughly enjoyable, stress free and laid back experience, however my blood pressure would rise every time i had to use my Dragonfly stove! It just did not function the way it should. Everything from igniting, simmering and changing the fuel jet seemed to only work on it’s own choosing. I serviced and cleaned it regularly, but still it continued to break my heart. It got so bad that my spare minimalist hobo alcohol stove became my go-to cooking stove. It wasn’t until we arrived back in Ireland that we found out what was wrong with the stove. We contacted CascadeDesigns, who manufacture MSR products. They told us our ‘brand new’ Dragonfly that we bought before our trip, was actually over ten years old! Again, with great customer service they replaced the faulty stove with a brand new up to date model which is now firing on all cylinders and helping satisfy two hungry cyclists again!
GSI Hard Anodized Extreme Mess Kit
Of course being ravenous hungry cyclists, our eyes were never bigger than our stomaches! Our GSI Hard Anodized Extreme Mess Kit pot and pan were solid, compact and durable but just weren’t big enough for two people. Despite being reliable, dispersing heat equally across it’s base and the non-stick coating lasting the duration of our trip we always had a longing for more after most meals! Great pot and pan, but next time we’ll get something bigger! (check out our tips and advice for cleaning pots without water)
Sea to Summit 4 Litre Pack
We frequently had to carry a few days supply of water cycling across Mongolia. Settlements where there was a well were few and far between and a lot of the fresh water lakes, rivers and streams were dried up as we crossed mid-Mongolia. So whenever we could get water we filled up as much as we could. We both had a Sea to Summit 4 litre Pack which was strapped to our back rack and fitted snuggly over our gear. It has a tap which allows for easy filling of water bottles etc. Out of use you could simply roll it up.
Scrubba Wash Bag
Keeping our clothes clean was a challenge but the Scrubba wash bag rose to the challenge. It’s a dry sack with a plastic washboard inside. You just add your clothes, some heated water, soap and baking soda, close it up, let the air out of the air valve, massage the bag for a few minutes, open up and let the dirty water out, rinse with clean water and hang out to dry!
Petzl Tikkina Headlight
The Petzl Tikkina Headlight was essential during the dark winter months when we’d struggle out of the tent for the annoying sleep interrupting pee! It’s simply designed, durable, with an LED beam that’s strong enough to allow you to see clearly about 5 metres ahead of you. The battery lasted the duration of the trip, about 5 months.
Sawyers Mini Water Filter and Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
You can never be sure of the quality of water that flows down, what you think is an idyllic mountain stream, or indeed flowing out of a tap. We learned (after one horrific experience in Mongolia) to use the Sawyers Mini Water Filter and Aquamira Water Treatment Drops whenever we had the slightest doubt of the quality of water we’d be drinking or using in our food. Both worked great ( the Treatment Drops had a slight taste but really not too bad.)
Cameras: Canon 70D and Olympus OM-D-E M10
Myself and Laura are keen photographers, and enjoy capturing moments of beauty, tranquility and madness along our travels. We brought with us a Canon 70D with kit lens and Olympus OM-D-E-M10 with a Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens. The prime lens on the Olympus was quiet restrictive as it doesn’t allow for zoom but was cheap, light in weight and the image was relatively sharp. Quality wise, the Canon 70D picture and movie capability is hard to beat, but it’s a hell of weight to be carrying. The Olympus on the other hand is a lot smaller, robust and compact with decent movie and picture quality, it’s just a pity wide angle lens are so expensive for it.
Tecsun PL-380 Radio
As much as Laura enjoys my riveting conversational skills, there are times when she’d rather listen to the local Mongolian weather forecast or Romanian hip hop! On such occasions, she can tune into radio stations using the Tecsun PL-380 Radio! It was great having this when we were in the middle of no where and had no access to world news, we could pick up the BBC world international service and listen to news broadcasts and documentaries. The great thing about this model is the rechargeable batteries can be charged in the radio via a usb port( which i did using my dynamo hub generator). So if you need batteries for other devices, the battery recharging capabilities of the radio saves you bringing a separate battery charger.
I’ll get around to writing about other gear later!
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Thank you for all your lovely stories and advice
Next year is my 60th birthday and I am taking on my biggest challenge to date
Mongolia down to and around Australia
Keep those pedals turning
All the best
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Good luck Gary! It’s going to be an epic adventure!