10 cycle touring gadget’s I wouldn’t leave home without

Cycle touring is supposed to take you out of your comfort zone and the clutter of our modern day living. But for those of you (me included) who can’t leave home without some sort of whirring gizmo, here’s a list of my top 10. Some essential, other’s not so much.

  1. Leatherman: A robust multi-tool that helps with general  repairs or can double up as a kitchen utensil.
  2. Topeak Alien 2  multi-tool: A leatherman is a great all rounder but I always carry a bicycle specific tool aswell; complete with allen keys, chain breaker and spoke wrench. When weight is not an issue the Topeak Alien 2 will sort out most minor repairs with its 26 in 1 functionality.
  3. Smartphone: I like to share my adventure’s with the world on the fly through social media. I often use my phone to take notes for my travel writing which I can email to myself as backup should my phone go missing.
  4. Digital Camera: A bit dated now, but my Canon G10 camera has all the features of a DSLR but in a compact. A Go Pro is great for video and basic stills at high resolution. It comes bundled with a robust, waterproof housing, that’s relatively nuke-proof.
  5. Kindle: the best gadget since the invention of the automatic bread slicer. A lighweight e-reader capable of storing hundreds of books. The dictionary function has greatly improved my vocabulary. Just scroll down to the word you don’t know and the definition pops up. So simple, even I can use it.
  6. Tablet: Make sure its 3G and GPS capable. I try not to overplan my trips. I have a start and a finish. I use Google maps for plotting my route as I go. I then Google local accommodation when required. Also useful for email and work (kind of kills the point of touring, but sometimes its got to be done).
  7. Ipod: The clickwheel version over touch screen works better if you are using long fingered gloves. You can also use it as a harddrive to backup important documents like your  passport.
  8. Petzel headlamp with rechargeable battery: A headlamp  keeps my hands free while I’m busy working on my bike, cooking, reading my kindle or any other mundane task. The rechargeable battery come’s with free software which allows you to program the lamps brightness so you can gauge how long it will last between charges.  Just plug it into your computer via USB, run the software and off you go.
  9. Dental floss and a needle: Not really a gadget, but deserves a mention. Relatively strong, you can repair most camping and touring gear with dental floss and a needle.  I’ve seen a rubber duck pontoon repaired with dental floss and glue when I worked offshore in Nigeria.
  10. Small solar panel and portable battery pack: If you are camping away from any power source it goes without saying that a solar panel and battery pack will sort you out. I’m currently using a solar panel and power pack from Brunton. The solar panel is a bit bulky. The battery pack can be charged from normal power source as well. I leave the solar panel at home most of the time if I have less than three days between civilization.

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