Lois on the Loose

The Kit

What worked, what didn’t… learn from my mistakes!

If there’s one subject that keeps adventure motorcyclists arguing ’til sunup (in a friendly way of course) it’s that old chestnut – the luggage system. I have never met a globetrotting biker yet who claims to be perfectly happy with their load-carrying set-up, and I’m no different. The system I used on my Americas trip was, if I’m perfectly honest, a bit rubbish, so for my African jaunt I was determined to learn from my mistakes. My previous arrangement was too high and too heavy, or as Chris Scott so entertainingly described it in his latest edition of the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, ‘about as stable as the Uraguayan peso’!

 

 

 

 

In summer 2005 I had the pleasure of spending my honeymoon on a 3000 mile ride around Western and Eastern Europe. My luggage set-up was a plastic Givi top box and a couple of rucksacks slung over the seat of my Yamaha XT225. This confirmed my suspicions that soft panniers were the way to go for my Africa trip, plus one lockable compartment for valuables, such as cameras, passport etc. There’s no way the Givi box would cope with the rugged roads of Africa, so I found a lightweight aluminium box for just 60 quid from a company in Leicester called Potterton’s Cases (founded in 1896!). It seemed perfect for the job, except for the fact that it wasn’t watertight, so I slathered it with bathroom sealant in preparation for the tropical downpours of Central Africa The box was bolted to a steel rack, made by rally and overland expert, David Lambeth, who also fitted the bike with a 22 litre tank, a screen and an exhaust guard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the panniers I bought a set of Andy Strapz Expedition Pannierz. These 40 litre bags were the answer to my luggage prayers – made from tough, truckside canvas with a waterproof coating, they’re simple and rugged, and according to Andy Strapz, ‘born from a life on the road’. Six years on from my Africa trip, I am still using them as my everyday panniers.

And of course, the finishing touch was to fit the all important sheepskin on the saddle!

Time on your hands? Here’s my complete kit list…

Camping Equipment

Lightweight one-man tent

3 season sleeping bag

Thermarest Inflatable sleeping mat

 

Tools

Sockets: 8,10,12,13,14,17,19,22

Combination spanners: sizes as above

Mole grips

3/8″ drive ratchet

ΒΌ” drive ratchet

Extension bars

Spark plug remover

Bit holder

Various bits – flat head, cross head, allen head

Tyre pressure gauge

Tyre levers

Multimeter

Leatherman tool

 

Bike Related Items

Puncture repair kit

Cable repair kit

12v pump

Luggage straps

Bungee straps

Cable ties

Gaffer tape

WD40

Oil

Grease

Rags

Manual

 

Spares

Spark plug

Front and rear brake pads

Front and rear wheel bearings

Head and tail light bulbs

Main fuses

Clutch lever

Front brake lever

Ignition key

Inner tubes

Complete gasket set

 

Clothing

Lightweight jacket

Leather gloves

Waterproof jacket and trousers

Helmet

Scarf

Lightweight trousers

T-shirt

Jumper

Undies

Socks

Leather boots

Flip-flops

Swimsuit

Sunglasses

 

Personal Kit

Camera, lenses, film and mini tripod

Head torch

Maps

Plastic map case

Small calculator

Notebook

Diary

Pens

Address book

Reading and guide/phrase books

Compass

Watch with alarm

String

Sewing kit

Earplugs

Rubber bands

Small padlock

Length of metal rope

Matches/lighter

Safety pins

 

Toiletries

Travel towel (or a tea towel will do the job)

Soap

Shampoo (and conditioner!)

Hairbrush

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Mirror

Universal sink plug

Lip salve

Sunblock

Moisturising lotion

Minimal make-up (you never know who you might meet!)

 

First Aid Kit

Plasters

Various dressings

Various bandages

Micropore tape

Tweezers

Antiseptic cream

Painkillers

Re-hydration salts

Multivitamins

Insect repellant

Anti-malarial tablets

Antihistamine tablets

Rubber gloves (ooh doctor!)

Syringes

 

Documentation

Passport

Carnet de passage en douane

Driving licence

Vehicle registration document (V5)

International driving permit

International certificate of motor vehicles (ICMV)

Travel insurance

Multiple copies of all the above

Scanned copies of all the above emailed to myself and friends/family