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2016 Himalayan Tandem Bike Tour Gear List

***This post may contain affiliate links.***

We went on a beautiful tandem bike tour from Lijiang to Chengdu over 1200 km of open countryside.  To facilitate such a trip we had an abundance of gear for every possibility. As I grew up in the Boy Scouts, I follow the Boy Scout motto “Be prepared”. This led to our detailed gear list for our 2016 Himalayan bike tour. Our trip was only 2 weeks in duration, however, this gear list could be used for extended traveling with no time limit. All gear weights are in grams as we now live in the “enlightened” world of the metric system.  There will be future posts to review our individual pieces of gear more in depth, but for now, enjoy.

Bike and bike gear (27.8 kg)

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bikeDouble Trouble Ti Edition21,010.0
front rackLKLM front rack
rear rackJandd Extreme Rear Rack
tiresSchwalbe Marathon 700x35c tires
saddle captainBrooks B17 captains saddle
saddle stokerBrooks B17S Stokers saddle
headlightheadlight393.1
taillighttaillight102.0
bungee cords1 bungee cord78.0
front panniersLKLM Rear Panniers 54L1,816.0
rear panniersVaude Aqua 50L2,436.0
rear extra bagLKLM Rear Rack Dry Bag570.0
handlebar bagLKLM Handlebar Bag914.1
kickstandLitePro 2 legged kickstand
water storage4x water bottles367.6
bike computerGarmin 80098.0

The bike worked like a champ. Since it is coupled we were able to hitchhike with our tandem over an especially terrible section of road. We had a lot of new gear in this department for this trip and I was pretty happy with the performance overall. The LKLM front rack was very nice and sturdy for the LKLM bags that we had hanging on them. My Brooks B17 saddle was wearing out and did not seem too comfortable over the trip duration, however, Cara’s Brooks B17S worked perfectly for her. I probably just need to get a new one. We need to get a headlight and taillight that are mounted to the bike with a single switch to turn them on/off for the numerous tunnels in China. The Vaude Aqua Back Plus 50L panniers were spectacular regardless of their weight. It was very convenient to have the outside pocket full of food for snacking on the go. The LKLM rear rack bag worked well. The bad part of the bike was the LKLM handlebar bag which was hard to open and close due to the waterproof design and the mount would not keep it upright on the bar. It kept tilting forward until the edge hit the front rack. By the end of the trip the mount had started failing and we are glad it got us back before it failed completely. Overall the bike worked without any large issues.

Camping Gear (7.8 kg)

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shelterChinese cheap tent with aluminum poles, and stakes in bag1,900.0
sleeping bag JustinOzark trails 32F down bag788.0
sleeping pad JustinThermarest long pad651.0
sleeping bag CaraCampmor down bag1,309.0
sleeping pad CaraThermarest 3/4 pad610.0
Water Filter2x lifestraws99.9
KnifeLeatherman Micra w/ photon light56.2
ropeSpare bag of rope35.9
Zip Lock Bagszip lock bags20.0
Mess kit
  pot1.8L ti pot166.4
  Skillet1L ti skillet185.2
  lid1.8L ti pot lid33.7
  sporksSnow Peak Ti Sporks29.8
  knifeheavier folding knife141.5
dish towelhandkerchief35.0
stovePrimus Omnifuel441.8
Alcohol stove backup24.6
folding windscreen80.0
Fuel bottleMSR fuel bottle 33 oz w/ fuel pump320.6
Lighterslighters15.8
Head Lampmini headlamp32.9
mini flashlight59.8
spare water storage4L MSR Dromedary160.2
spare water storage10L MSR Dromedary267.0
hose62.0
Insect Repellentinsect repellent63.9
Toilet papertoilet paper35.0
Day packgeneric Chinese day pack219.0

Our camping gear was very nice and convenient. I have had the Primus Omnifuel stove for 7 years now, but have used it sparingly. It worked very well running on high grade unleaded gasoline. As long as you can source gasoline, you do not need an alcohol stove backup for the omnifuel. Switching to alcohol could significantly lower the kitchen weight, however, the gasoline is very convenient for 3rd world countries and also allows for better cooking control and speed. Our new larger 1.8L titanium pot was nice to use for dinner and was able to fill us both up. There was also one extra knife included to cut up food, but it was extra and will be left at home next time along with the extra 4L water storage. We used the 10L water storage bag one time and it was definitely worth it to camp in the most beautiful spot of the entire trip.

Toiletries (1.3 kg)

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Toiletries bagx2 one all purpose, one for Cara’s soaps44.8
Fingernail clippersfingernail clippers x239.1
tweezers11.3
Tooth brushtooth brush26.2
Tooth pastetooth paste30.0
Pack towelpack towels x2351.0
soapDr Bronners peppermint soap (all purpose soap)55.3
medicinesibuprofen48.6
Anti-diarrheal11.8
motion sickness8.9
birth control1.9
Rock Tape kinesiology tape26.6
petroleum jelly66.2
chapstick, Burt’s Bees10.0
Vitamin C35.0
smell controlfebreeze92.1
soapsshampoo93.7
conditioner99.4
deodorant56.9
razorrechargable razor121.6
girls razor21.3
Face washNorwex cloth34.0
cue-tips10.0
hairbobby pins x21.2
folding comb/brush from hotel16.3
hair ties3.0

I brought a rechargeable razor with us since it was already in the toiletries bag. This was certainly an excess as I used it only once and a cheap generic razor would be a perfectly suitable replacement. Cara brought Febreeze spray to keep the smell of our gear down, which was a good thought. Our clothes smelled horrific, however, the Febreeze wasn’t near strong enough to mask the assault on your olfactory senses.

Repair Kit (2.6 kg)

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tubes3 tubes397.0
tube patch kit2 patch kits35.4
tire boots2 home made tire boots8.9
tire leversPedros tire levers41.6
frame pumpLezyne Pump215.5
multitoolgeneric multitool with chain tool219.6
Allen Key SetSATA allen key set with T25359.4
chain lubeProLink0.0
greasegeneric grease90.0
Spoke Wrenchspoke wrench17.0
Spare Spokesspare spokes x3 286 mm20.0
wrenchesSmall spanner149.3
Crank Puller-Bottom Bracket ToolBB tool244.0
multitoolLeatherman168.2
Frame Boltsspare bolts M564.0
Zip Tieszip ties18.0
cablesspare shift/brake cable x 3m41.3
housinghousing for the bar end shifter to attach to the segmented housing15.0
shifterSpare bar-end shimano 9s rear shifter86.8
Electrical. Tapeelectrical tape20.0
spare chain links/masterlinkspare chain links / 3x masterlinks167.0
spare brake padsSpare brake pads x2 sets49.4
Sewing Kitsewing kit1.6
floss5.1
coupler toolCoupler tool77.0
threadlockLoctite Blue3.0
spare parts bagOutdoor Products green stuff sack41.0

There was a lot of weight in tools, but when a bike breaks down you have to have the tools and parts to fix it. Most places around the world are not as competent as you are at fixing your own bike. It is in our own best interest to carry the parts and tools to fix anything that happens. The spare shifter was because the front one failed shortly before we left, so I didn’t trust the rear shifter to work the entire time either. We only used a couple of spare bolts, but we used nearly all the tools to assemble and disassemble the bike for the trip. The only excess here was too much spare chain. We also did not bring the cassette cracker, though, that is probably not a required tool as it should never have to come off unless you buy a new one and then you would be at a bike shop.

Justin’s Clothing (5.8 kg)

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Cycling Clothing (4.1 kg)

HelmetBontrager Oracle helmet309.0
SunglassesFoakleys26.9
Jerseys1 Veloshine Hincapie long sleeve jersey240.0
2 short sleeve jerseys330.0
tightsPearl Izumi windproof tights with chamois354.0
shorts2 bib shorts CN Ride430.0
cycling shoesSame pair of cycling sandals Sette876.0
socks2 heavy weight wool socks176.0
cold weather feetBontrager neoprene toe covers63.0
rain jacketBontrager rain jacket373.0
Gore Bikewear function jacketGore Bikewear function jacket383.0
Cold weather glovesDefeet wool gloves84.0
Glacier Gloves137.0
Arm warmersDefeet wool arm warmers99.0
Knee warmersDefeet wool knee warmers116.0
Head coveringcycling cap26.8
DIY green fleece beanie51.9
buff34.7

Camp Clothing (1.7 kg)

short sleeve shirtGreen C9 athletic shirt145.0
travel shirtlong sleeve travel shirt178.0
Convertible pantsconvertible pants334.0
belt550 paracord woven belt184.0
Gym shorts2x gym shorts100.0
Long sleeve shirt not cottonUA long sleeve cold gear238.0
insulating jacketMontbell Alpine Lite down parka423.0
compression socksDefeet compression socks80.0

My clothing choices were pretty good, though, I could have left the tights at home. The Gore function jacket is nice, but heavy when I also have a rain jacket. Next time, I will switch to a vest with arm warmers over the wind jacket and rain jacket. I didn’t need the glacier gloves, but they would have been needed had the rain been cold. The belt seemed heavy and bulky, but was required since the pants don’t fit that well. Towards the end of the trip my Sette sandals failed with the sides of them pulling out from the sole. This got so bad that I couldn’t clip out of the pedals any more, so it became a safety hazard. They were spectacular touring shoes while they lasted, but now I will have to source new ones as the company that sold them is out of business.

Cara’s Clothing (5.7 kg)

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Cycling Clothing (3.8 kg)

HelmetConreach helmet203.0
SunglassesFoakleys26.5
case and spare lenses150.4
Jerseys1 long sleeve jersey164.0
1 short sleeve jersey112.0
1 long sleeve athletic shirt purple112.0
1 UA Cold Gear long sleeve shirt176.0
tights1 cycling tights with chamois209.0
1 pair UA regular tights158.0
shorts2 pair shorts212.0
bras5x sports bras C9367.0
cycling shoesGiro lace up shoes797.0
socks6 pair cycling socks199.0
rain jacketgeneric Chinese rain jacket185.0
insulating jacketPink generic jacket287.0
vestPTS Endo vest142.0
Head coveringheavy VT cap87.0
Vaude buff49.2
Cold weather gloveswaterproof thin gloves75.0
additional gloves found after start of tour in jacket42.0

Camp Clothing (2.0 kg)

short sleeve shirtt shirt75.0
long sleeve shirtlong sleeve t shirt228.0
Convertible pantsPink convertible pants239.0
tightssleeping tights220.0
insulating jacketNorth Face down parka507.0
underwear4x77.0
Shorts1x lightweight shorts70.0
street shoesKeen sandals434.0
compression sockscompression socks53.4

Cara’s clothing was pretty reasonable. The smaller items that are worn on a regular basis only need 3 pairs each instead of the 5-6 that she brought. This wasn’t intentional, just packed twice and forgot about stuff already in there. The heavy cap wasn’t needed as the down jacket has a hood. We both brought compression socks as an afterthought on the way to the airport, but they luxuries and not a required piece of gear.

Electronics (4.3 kg)

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CameraOlympus TG-4241.8
3 spare batteries66.4
Olympus OM-D E-M10 including grip and Panasonic f/1.7 20mm with lens cap624.3
2 spare batteries87.7
OM-D E-M10 charger27.6
mini tripod374.7
Electronics baggeneric16.0
cell phoneJustin’s Samsung Galaxy S5145.5
Chargers30000 mAh power storage pack586.8
Motorola double USB charger29.9
mini USB17.1
micro USB12.7
GPS WatchesGarmin Fenix watch Justin83.2
Garmin Fenix charger40.0
Garmin Vivoactive watch Cara37.5
Garmin Vivoactive Charger47.2
BooksJustin’s kindle207.7
Cara’s Kindle199.9
computerAsus X202E with 120GB SSD1,359.0
computer chargerAsus charger130.5

It seems like we brought a bunch of electronics, but we certainly used everything we brought besides the spare batteries. Next time we will bring less batteries, especially this area of the world where it was easy to access power for charging. Also, the 30,000 mAh power storage pack was huge and not hardly needed. 10,000 mAh is more than big enough. The big one also required us to get a ticket from check-in at the airport to allow us to carry it on to the plane because of its size.

Miscellaneous Others (4.2 kg)

walletwallet and credit cards76.4
cashBrought ~4000 RMB with us
Lockrear circle lock719.9
Sunscreensunscreen79.0
IDpassports75.5
bike caseS&S backpack case3,220.0
paper and penssmall notebook and pens52.8

The S&S backpack case worked great. There will be another post later describing its use, but needless to say we were able to transport our tandem with all racks and fenders disassembled inside the case. The backpack straps on it made it easy to carry, though it was incredibly heavy. We brought a rear circle lock that I had never installed on the bike with us only to learn that it didn’t fit with the fender, so we just carried it with us and never really used it.

Consumables (9.1 kg)

gasunleaded gas1,000.0
food3 days worth of food w/ lots of snack food5,000.0
water4 full bottles3,000.0
soapminimal small bottles of soap100.0

These are all approximate values as they did not come home with us after the trip was complete. We bought all of our camping food in Lijiang before heading out and finding out that we would be eating at restaurants for the vast majority of our food needs. It is still better to have it in case you need it.. The problem, for me anyways, in China is that snack food is not calorie dense enough to supply me with all of the needed energy for long distance touring.

Summary

CategoryWeight (kg)
 Bike27.78
 Camping7.84
 Repair2.56
 Toiletries1.32
 Cycling Clothing Justin4.11
 Camp Clothing Justin1.68
 Cycling Clothing Cara3.75
 Camp Clothing Cara1.90
 Electronics4.34
 Others4.22
 Consumables9.10
Totals68.61

Above is the breakdown of all the categories into the total weight on the bike. It is immediately apparent that our bike was really heavy with all of the touring racks and bags on it. There are lighter bags out there, but we were very happy with the quality and durability of the Vaude and LKLM bags we had for the trip. We thought we brought a lot of extra weight/gear that wasn’t needed on the trip, but as we reviewed it all post-trip, we found that our “excesses” only totaled about 3 kg of stuff.

I hope everybody enjoyed the gear list. Please leave comments if you think there are ways for us to lower how much our setup weighs  or if you see anything we missed.

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