By Tim Notier
- Navigation is key while riding, and keeping our phone (so much better than a dedicated GPS) 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, and every Latin American speed bump throughout our journey.
- Phones... so expensive, even more so when waterproof. But, for our GPS-dedicated device, we needed one. The Kyocera Duraforce has been unbreakable. For less than a hundred bucks, and the addition of Google offline maps, OSM+, iOverlander, and Mapps.me, this is in my opinion the best navigation set-up there is. Waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof, life-proof. And if stolen, you are only out ~$90.
- Communication on the road is key. And even more so, music. We have the ever so popular Sena Bluetooth Headsets. We love them! Hours on the road have dramatically changed for the better when listening to anything from Guns and Roses to Jack Johnson. We can communicate with each other and also listen to our own music separately. In Marisa's case, it is one big epic movie soundtrack as she meanders around the world.
- To charge all the nicknacks when we are wild camping 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. Great investment. For emergencies only, we have a Rugged Geek Portable Jump Starter. We thankfully have never needed to use this on the trip, but it did successfully jump the bike back to life in the cold midwestern winters.
- 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 use a Survivor Filter. Make sure you bring extra filters with you, after a year of use the filters need to be changed. But from cooking to making the essence of life, coffee, it has served us very well and kept us healthy. For extended camping, we just fill up our 6 liter MSR Dromedary bag to have plenty of water on hand.
- 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. They are great as a purse around Marisa's shoulder, and then strapped to her leg while on the road. I keep my smokes, stickers, and other loose items inside that are constantly needed to be within arms reach.
The "They have been really good" List
- 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.
- To save all of the pics and vids, 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 is perfect for saving documents and other easier access items quickly, and is unbelievably small.
- To upload all the images, and create our movies from all of our footage, we also wanted a SSD computer. Splurge #2... we bought a Macbook Air. With the bonus of iMovie, I am very happy with all of its capabilities, and knowing that it can bounce around and still function like the day we got it.
- 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. I think it's the best out there.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Please let us know your experiences with the gear you use in your travels, and if you have any additional input on the items above.