As we were getting closer to our departure date, we started filling out lists with what we were about to take with us. Some t-shirts, a couple of pairs of socks, a tent, a knife, some spare things and so on.
Here we just took one of each thing we knew we would use: wrenches, allen keys, a spark plug wrench (Adi would change them on the road). I also packed a gas pump with spare filters and o-rings.
Spare tubes for the wheels, a compressor and the tyre repair kit, tyre iron levers and the offroad tyres (Continental TKC 80). That was about it.
#1: Bring along only the tools you know how to use, ideally also get spares you know are prone to fail.
The tent, a super 5cm-think mattress that I don’t regret in the least having carried, 2 sleeping bags. Why 2 you ask? It’s simple… one for 15 degrees Celsius and a thicker one for 5 degrees Celsius. A ‘right’ one and a ‘left’ one, which means that I could zip them together and make a bigger sleeping bag. It’s much more comfortable because you have space to move inside of it and you can sleep even when it’s really cold (just slide inside the thick sleeping bag) or when it’s warmer (or even indoors). As a mention, both sleeping bags fit into one compression bag. I also packed a set of cooking pots, a portable stove and 2 gas canisters.
#2: Unless you are going off-the-grid or plan to be self sufficient think twice about getting cooking pots and stove.
I figured out just how little clothes one needs while on the road: 4 t-shirts (synthetic, not cotton), 4 pairs of socks for the motorcycle boots, 4 pairs of synthetic boxer shorts, 2 pairs of socks for sneakers.
Sneakers + sandals, a pair of long trousers, one pair of ‘convertible’ trousers (they have a zipper around the knees which allows them to turn into shorts).
A hoodie and a turtleneck shirt. That was about it in terms of clothes.
#3: When riding or cycling stay away from cotton.
I packed the camera, chargers, spare batteries for the camera, external battery, spare memory cards, the laptop (if you want to take your laptop on long trips make sure it has a SSD drive. Regular HDD disks might be broken due to the vibration), an external hard, cables of all sorts. I forgot the clamping-in system of the GoPro at home so I filmed having the camera attached to my helmet.
#4: Make sure you have enough storage to save your footage, if possible go with a SSD drive or a large memory card(s).
Fortunately, except for the betadine and some make-up removal tissues (don’t laugh, they’re very useful when it comes to bandaging) we didn’t use anything from our small portable pharmacy. You name it, we had it… stomach stuff, oinments, flu stuff, disinfectant and so on...
We had heard that at the Uzbek border the police officers were extremely careful and controlled luggage until the last bottle or flask, so much that you could get into trouble if you had any unidentifiable medicine on you. Therefore, in Dushanbe, right before entering the Uzbek border checkpoint we threw most of our medicine and kept only the betadine, disinfectant and some elastic bandages. Spoiler alert – the border control was not in the least what we had expected… The friendly officials checked us just like in any other previous border checkpoint.
#5: Make sure you have stomach related medicine with you especially when travelling to countries that have a very different diet. What can be a minor nuisance back home can potentially make life miserable on the road.
Of course, at the end of the trip you can’t help but ask yourself "What wouldn’t you take with you anymore?. Well, I could have easily given up:
Words of wisdom – pack light coloured t-shirts… in many places there is no shade and it’s not really pleasant to sit in the sun wearing a black t-shirt.
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