By Tim Notier
Here is a brief list for those motorcycle enthusiasts in your life. These are some of our favorite items which have served us well on our round-the-world trip. We are not sponsored by any of the products below, and bought each item ourselves with our hard-earned money. These are simply our fair, honest opinions after putting them through hell over the last two years.
- Phones are so expensive, even more so when waterproof. But for our GPS-dedicated device, we needed one. The Kyocera Duraforce had been unbreakable for over two years. But before we left to Africa, I upgraded to the Kyocera Duraforce XD that has a larger screen. For less than a hundred bucks, with the addition of Google offline maps, OSM+, iOverlander, and Maps.me, this, in my opinion, is the best navigation set-up available. It is waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof, and life-proof. Plus, if stolen, you are only out ~$90 compared to $500-$1,000 or more.
- Navigation is key while riding, and keeping our phone locked in place is essential. After a bit of trial and error with other products, we bought the Perfect Squeeze, and it has kept our phone sturdily in place over potholes, river crossings, corrugated roads, and Latin American speed bumps (a.k.a. sleeping policemen) throughout our journey.
- To charge all of our electronics while we are wild camping for multiple nights in a row, we bought an EasyAcc Portable Charger. It has four USB outlets, and we can charge both of our phones, and both or our Senas at the same time.
- Magnetic Charging Cords come in real handy. They take away the wear and tear of constantly plugging in and disconnecting your gadgets. And if you keep your phone or GPS plugged in while riding, the bumps of the road can ruin the port. Please check these out, they are cheap and very convenient.
- For questionable tap water, we use a SteriPen Adventurer. This little gadget is great when you are uncertain of water quality. A quick bath in UV light kills more than 99.9% of harmful microorganisms. This makes us (and our stomachs) feel much better when drinking from questionable sources.
- To save all of our pictures and videos, we wanted a solid-state external hard drive. We had purchased the standard disk drives, and they failed us. You definitely do not want that happening and loosing all of your glorious footage!!! We bought a MyDigital SSD drive, and it has served us flawlessly. For a smaller, more portable thumb-drive, we each have a Samsung 128 gig flash drive. It's perfect for saving documents and other easier access items quickly, and is unbelievably small.
- To avoid snatch-and-grab would-be thieves while we walk around markets, or leave the bike unattended, we have two Big Panther carabiner locks with a metal bungie. We use them to secure our helmets, boots, and jackets to the bike. I also put a Grip Lock on the break lever so no one can push the motorcycle from where I left it. Both of these cheap deterrents help prevent people from snagging our stuff.
- A lot of people see our Hip Bags in photos and ask, “Where did we get those from?" We bought them cheap on Amazon, and there are plenty to choose from. Marisa uses hers as a purse around her shoulder when going around town, and then strapped to her leg while on the road.
Under the Tree
- Communication on the road is important. And even more so, being able to listen to music. We have the ever so popular Sena Bluetooth Headsets and have been impressed with them from the beginning. Hours on the road have dramatically changed for the better when listening to anything from Guns and Roses to Jack Johnson, or in Marisa's case, it's one big epic movie soundtrack as she meanders around the world.
- Our G4Free chairs have been some of our favorite bonus items we have. From sitting down at campsites, on beaches, or even hours-long roadblocks, we have never regretted bringing these with us.
- Cooking on the road is also important. The MSR Whisperlight stove has been unstoppable and seems to be the go-to product for long distance travel. Paired with the MSR liquid fuel bottle, it can burn any fuel, and is pretty much hassle-free with the right maintenance. We do also carry an extra fuel pump, just in case the original acts up.
- Water sources abroad are not always the cleanest, so to filter the muck, toxic minerals, and E-coli out, we have now upgraded to an MSR AutoFlow Gravity Water Filter. It sure beats the hell out of hand pumping our old filter that felt like I had thrown my arm out after every 2 liters. But from cooking to making the essence of life, coffee, it has served us very well and kept us healthy here in Africa. For extended camping, we just fill up our 6 liter MSR Dromedary bag to have plenty of water on hand.
The "They have been really good" List
- As a middleweight camera, not a DSLR but not a standard point and shoot, the Panasonic Lumix G7 4k mirrorless camera has been an amazing piece of hardware that has captured all of the great images that we have taken along the way. I love this camera.
- For “action" videos, we splurged and bought a GoPro Hero6 (I know, it's expensive, but man is it worth it). It takes amazing footage and is much more reliable than the cheaper $100 range action cameras, two of which we went through before purchasing the GoPro. Plus, it has amazing stabilization and slow-motion.
- Communication and tracking is both important to us as well as to our families, so we bought a Garmin inReach Explorer. With our data plan, we've been able to track our journey every turn of the wheel. We can also text (SMS) from anywhere in the world. And if something horrible were to happen, there is also an SOS button that will send the troops directly to our location. But most importantly, Marisa's mother knows exactly where we are each and every day.
- If you're trying to receive the Best Christmas Present of the Year award, check out Mosko Moto's line up of Motorcycle Panniers. These bags have solved many of our luggage issues and have survived the nightmare that we've put them through. When a great company, that is run by riders like you and I, come up with a flawless luggage system, you bet I am going to bang pots and pans and scream their name in the streets.
For a more detailed list of every item we bring with us, along with our ratings of what has worked and what hasn't, check out Our Gear page.
And for any visual inspiration, check out our Photos for Sale.