Seems a long time since I have been for a ride but that ends in a couple of days when I touch down in Northern Thailand to ride the superb roads there. I will be renting one of my favourite bikes again, the Kawasaki ER6N. Nimble and all day comfortable with more than enough power from it’s 650 twin.
Nan district, Northern Thailand
Hopefully the air will be mostly clear unlike the last time I rode there. After this I fly to Philippines to do a ride I have thought about many times - a kind of circumnavigation of Luzon taking in the mountain region and the northern coastal roads.
Northern Luzon island, Philippines.
This ride will likely be by 125cc scooter as not much choice in rentals. Sure there is a few bigger bikes available in Angeles city but they are old and nearly worn out so I’d rather take a modern small bike that will make it back. Besides most of the riding there needs to be at a modest pace since you are often in remote areas and road surfaces change frequently without warning.
I’m considering taking my Olympus Pen camera for this tour having splurged on a compact 20mm lens so you won’t have to suffer poor quality iPhone photos again. (well except in this post below…) However I am still travelling very light and after a couple of almost forgotten requests on how I pack everything into a small bag I have decided to finally post a few things I do in this regard.
Firstly when I previously mentioned taking only a carry on bag this applies solely to SE Asia where it is always warm. Also I always rent a helmet and if possible also rent a jacket. I mainly travel light because everything has to fit onto rental bikes without any hard cases or luggage facilities. You could try storing a suitcase at a hotel and bringing more but life on the road is more simple with less.
Below is my bag and the items I will take with me for next 5 weeks travelling – besides what I leave wearing. I wear my riding jeans on the plane, in this case the BMW city pants, a t-shirt and usually a second long sleeve shirt which is handy for inside cold planes and early morning riding. I also wear a pair of leather low cut boot style riding shoes. The mesh jacket if taken can be simply folded over my arm like a normal jacket once I remove the foam back armor which you can see resting on floor of my red main bag to be reinstalled before riding.
Bag weight is an issue now days so before arriving near the check in counter I move my camera and gps and gps external battery from bag to jean pockets. I have all my cables and chargers in a zip tie bag and move these to my small green ‘man purse’ to also lower the carry on bag weight for the weigh in which is silly as next you can load up on duty free. I use the self check in when in Asia wherever possible to avoid this but if none then it only takes a minute after which I move the items as well as the man purse to the main bag for the 20 security checks. (well 8 is record at Changi but give them time)
I purchased a set of very small plastic pump bottles from eBay and rather than buy and carry toiletries I simply fill these which are more compact and the whole set fits inside a small clear bag. I have bicycle racing ultra light weight and compact rain jacket and rain pants and bicycle racing shoe rain covers but I have rarely used them as I do not ride SE Asia in the rain seasons. Usually the only rain I encounter is a storm which can I easy sit out somewhere so I may not take these with me.
Computing wise I only bring a tablet, currently that is a Dell 8” which provides full windows so I can edit GPS routes yet it still fits inside my man purse. I have a compact triple outlet USB charger with folding power prongs which charges everything except the camera. If I take the camera I usually just bring an extra battery which is smaller and lighter than a charger. This trip is too long for that so I have to take a charger but already replaced the huge factory item with compact folding power prongs one from eBay.
Any long cables have been replaced with short light weight ones and he only item I cannot lighten so far has been the charger for my electric razor which unfortunately on a longer trip like this has to come with me and weighs far more than it should.
Lastly with clothes I never take more than 4 or 5 changes of shirts, socks, underwear. I actually choose the lightest of everything not just for weight but cooler in the tropics as well. One pair of shorts and pair of sandals rounds it out. You can get clothes washed in SE Asia for a $1 a bag or if no time in the schedule I hand wash one set every day in shower or hand basin and always carry oversized pegs with hooks to hang items near windows or air conditioners to dry.
A pair of shorty summer gloves, a summer Buff and sunglasses are also in the bag along with a small rain cover for the bag itself, bungy straps and laundry bags. Just remember anything minor you can buy along the way just make sure you have the important stuff and buy some things as needed. So there it is all together and that is my take on packing light.