Welcome to our gear list V3.0. After two years and four months non-stop on the road since we left Deadhorse, Alaska in June 2016 our list has changed considerably, we’ve ditched items we thought we could not do without for a long tour and certain items have become real favourites. Were we to start back over from Alaska again, this is probably the gear we’d carry.

The list that follows is what we find to be comfortable for riding in mountain and cold desert conditions (down to -15c) typical of the Andes, that includes cold + wet (Ecuador) and very cold + relatively dry (Peru during dry season). Note that in both these regions highs in the low 20’s (celcius) are common during the day, even at 4000m, and the canyons can reach into the 30’s. This is the gear we used for Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route, Peru Divide and exploration in the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash.

A couple of notes:

• We rode the mountains in Colombia, Ecuador and northern Peru (to Huaraz) with +5c Kathmandu Pathfinder sleeping bags, as we’d sent our winter bags down to Huaraz from Mexico, way back. Often sleeping at elevations above 4000m we thought we’d freeze, but these bags were actually quite manageable as long as we slept in all our clothes (including down jackets at times), so if you want to save weight and bulk, consider this strategy. Since Huaraz it has been colder so we are happy to have warmer bags.

• We strategically lighten up at times for extra difficult sections of riding (Baja Divide, parts of TEMBR/Tres Volcanes, Cordillera Huayhuash) by sending stuff ahead with couriers. This is usually to a reliable location such as a pre-booked hostel or Warm Showers host.

Read our Baja Divide gear list, and to see how Mark packs his bike, scroll right to the end of this post.

Body
• Merino singlet: Kathmandu Seri Merino Blend Singlet
• Short sleeve merino: Kathmandu Crew Neck t-shirt
• Long sleeve merino: Kathmandu Divide Hoodie
• Long sleeve merino: Kathmandu Flinders Zip Neck
• Lightweight windproof jacket: Kathmandu Lite Ace 175gm
• Gore-Tex jacket: Kathmandu Aysen, Paclite 420gm
• Kathmandu Ultralight Down Pullover 325gm
• Kathmandu Lightweight Custom Down jacket 375gm (Has a hood – makes a big difference in cold wind etc)

Legs
• Underwear x1
• Shorts: Kathmandu Balazar x1 (for on and off the bike – I don’t carry any long pants)
• Padded cycling short liners x 1
• Merino blend long johns: Kathmandu XT Alziro
• Hand knitted leg warmers, from Peru
• Rain pants: Kathmandu Trailhead (modified to ¾ length)

Head/Hands/Feet
• Short finger MTB gloves
• Long finger MTB gloves
• Merino gloves: Kathmandu
• Insulated gloves: Kathmandu Classic Snow Glove
• Alpaca beanie, from Ecuador
• Socks (2 x thin merino, 1 x knee length, 1 x medium thickness for extra cold/wet days)
• Merino headtube (so good for cold descents and breezy camps)
• Baseball Cap (for apres-bike wear and sun protection on climbs)
• Cycling cap (keeps the wind off the head on cold descents)
• Bike shoes: Shimano XM7 (best MTB adventure shoes I have ever had – now on my third pair)
• Ankle gaiters: Salomon Trail Gaiters, High (great for keeping sand/mud/dirt/snow out of shoes)

Tech
• Macbook Air 11 inch + Thule sleeve
• Western Digital Hard drive 4TB x 1
• Power bank: Pocket Juice 10,000 mAh
• Skull Candy In-ear headphones
• Phone: Samsung J7 Prime (used for navigation with OsmAnd+ app)
• Single USB wall plug + cable
• Spare cable for charging other USB devices
• Bluetooth speaker (Altec Lansing H20 Mini)

Accessories/Misc
• Helmet: Scott Vivo Plus (best helmet I have ever had)
• Sunglasses x2 (nothing special, a cheap pair from Peru for riding and a pair of Arnettes for town)
• Homemade Gore-Tex saddle cover
• Revelate designs wallet
• Passport
• Headtorch: Kathmandu Raven 200
• Biomaxa Pro-ride Chamois Cream
• Various lightweight drybags
• Water bottles: 650ml x1, 1.0l x2, 1.2l Kleen Kanteen Stainless
• Water bladder: 2.0 litre Platypus
• Small rear light

Sleeping/Camping
• Sleeping bag: Sea to Summit Talus TSII, -10°c. 1045gm
• Silk sleeping bag liner
• Sleeping mat: Thermarest Neo Air XLite (replaced twice under warranty in the last two years)
• Silver insulation bubble foam for protecting sleeping mat, 1m x 40cm (protecting tent floor/comfort sitting outside)
• Spork
• Toiletries: cut down toothbrush, 25ml toothpaste, razor, soap scrap, sunscreen, lipbalm
• Microtowel, small
• Homemade light nylon food bag

Revelate Designs Bags
• Harness (older version)
• Salty roll
• Egress pocket front bag
• Mountain feedbag x2 (updated 1 litre version)
• Ranger frame bag
• Mag-Tank
• Jerrycan
• Prototype waterproof rolltop Rear Panniers
• Terrapin Saddle bag (only used now when my rack is not on bike i.e. Baja Divide, Huayhuash)
• Prototype drybags (for Anything Cages with Washboard straps)
Body
• Sport bra
• Bra
• Merino singlet: Kathmandu Seri singlet
• Short sleeve merino: Kathmandu Divide scoop neck t-shirt
• Arm warmers/sun protection sleeves
• Long sleeve merino: Kathmandu Flinders Crew neck
• Long sleeve merino: Kathmandu Flinders Zip neck
• Lightweight windproof jacket: Kathmandu Lite Ace 175gm
• Gore-Tex jacket: Kathmandu Aysen, Paclite 420gm
• Kathmandu Ultralight Down Pullover 325gm (one of my favourite bits of kit)
• Kathmandu Lightweight Custom Down jacket 375gm

Legs
• Underwear x 3
• Lycra leggings
• Merino blend long johns: Kathmandu XT Alziro
• Hand knitted leg warmers, from Peru
• Shorts: Kathmandu Praca hiking shorts
• Padded Bike shorts x 2: Ground Effect Sirens, Suarez (Colombian brand)
• Rain pants: Kathmandu Trailhead (modified to ¾ length)

Head/Hands/Feet
• Short finger MTB gloves
• Long finger MTB gloves
• Merino gloves: Kathmandu
• Insulated gloves: Kathmandu Classic Snow Glove
• Hand knitted Alpaca beanie, from Peru
• Pearl Izumi Barrier Lite cap (gifted to me by Hera van Willick in Guatemala)
• Neck gaiter: Kathmandu Headtube
• Headband
• Sunvisor (worn under helmet)
• Colombian cycling cap
• Socks x 2 short, x2 merino blend
• Bike shoes: Shimano MT54 (My 3rd pair of shoes. Bought in Bogota – good soles but uppers have not lasted very well)
• Ankle gaiters: Salomon Trail Gaiters, High (great for keeping sand/mud/dirt/snow out of shoes)

Tech
• Camera: Canon G7X mkII, and 2x spare batteries with charger (to replace camera stolen in Peru)
• Power adaptor: Belkin 2 port USB wall charger, 2 cables
• Power bank: Plox Elite 6000mAh
• Phone: Samsung J7 Pro (replaced phone stolen from handlebar by passing motorbike on our first day in Colombia)
• Samsung Tab A7
• In-ear headphones
• Hard drive 1TB
• Hard drive 4TB (Marks back-up)

Accessories/Misc
• Helmet
• Sunglasses x 2 ($2.50 Oakleys and $10 POCS – both bought in Colombia)
• Backpack: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil daypack
• Homemade Gore-Tex saddle cover
• Wallet
• Passport
• Various lightweight Kathmandu drybags
• Sea to Summit Event compression sack (for down jackets and spare clothes)
• Biomaxa Pro-ride Chamois cream
• Headtorch: Kathmandu Raven 200
• Water bottle: 650ml x1, 1.0l x2
• Water bladder: 2.0 litre Platypus
• Homemade light nylon food bag
• Cycle speedometer: Cateye Micro wireless
• Rear light

Sleeping/Camping
• Sleeping bag: Marmot W’s Xenon, -9°c. 1085gm
• Silk sleeping bag liner
• Sleeping mat: Exped UL7, and Schnozzle pump bag (replaced under warranty in Peru after delaminating)
• Silver insulation bubble foam, 1m x 40cm (for protecting sleeping mat, sitting outside. Has no air left in it after 2+ years!)
• Spoon
• Toiletries: sunblock, toothbrush, 25ml toothpaste, chapstick, earplugs, Mooncup, 25ml shampoo, insect repellent
• Microtowel: Kathmandu Compact Towel, medium

Revelate Designs Bags
• Harness
• Salty roll (for all my sleeping gear and tent footprint. Tent poles attached to the outside)
• Egress pocket front bag (great shoulder bag for off the bike too)
• Mountain feedbag x2 (updated 1 litre version)
• Ranger frame bag (zips still working well after 2+ years of use)
• Mag-Tank
• Jerrycan
• Nano Panniers (I got these for the Baja Divide and love them so much they’re still on my bike)
• Terrapin Drybag (strapped to rack with 2x Cactus Grippin belts)
• Prototype drybags (for Anything Cages, attached with Washboard straps)
Hana
• Tent: MSR Hubba Hubba NX – poles, pegs, footprint only
• InReach SE (used for updating our location each night, communication via satellite text/email, and emergency locator beacon)
• Go Pro Hero 3 Silver, handlebar and helmet mounts
• luminAID (solar charged light – brilliant for lighting cooking area and tent)
• Steripen Ultra water purifier (USB rechargeable)
• Battery charger (we use rechargeable batteries for headtorches and GPS)
• First aid kit: painkillers, antibiotic ointment, bandaids, steristrips, suture kit, non-stick dressings, tape, antihistamines, antibiotics, gastro-soothe
• 650ml stove fuel bottle
• Frypan and pot gripper

Mark
• Tent: MSR Hubba Hubba NX – inner canopy and fly only
• Garmin Etrex 20x GPS (handlebar mounted)
• Stove: MSR Whisperlite International
• Windshield for stove
• 1l cooking pot (cheap local aluminium pot)
• Cigarette lighter x2
• 500ml plastic bowl x2 (all eating/drinking duties)
• Knife: SOG Flash II – large blade but very light, great knife

Spares & tools carried by Hana
• Bike pump: Lezyne Micro floor drive (the best pump ever!)
• 1 spare tube
• Bike lock, lightweight cable x2 (to stop opportunists)
• Biomaxa Bio chain lube
• Toothbrush and rag for cleaning chain and cassette
• Patch kit
• 2mm allen key for brake adjustment
• Torx tool for rotor screws
• Very small adjustable wrench
• 2 x spare rack/water bottle screws and Nylock nuts
• 1 x spare seatpost binder bolt
• Small section of 10 speed chain (for serious chain breakages)
• 2 x 10 speed chain ‘quicklinks’
• 1 x spare brake cable
• 2 x spare shifter cables
• Stein Mini Cassette Lock Tool (brilliant for removing cassette without usual tools)
• Tyre boots (cut from old road tubeless tyres)
• Tubeless tyre plugs – Sides of Bacon (use small screwdriver on Leatherman to insert)
• Spare disc brake pads (2-4 pairs depending how remote we are)
• Cable end caps (x2)
• Assorted cable ties
• Length of duct tape (wrapped around pump)
• Repair kit: needles, thread (also for tyre repairs), patches and glue for mats and tent, tent pole repair sleeve
• 2 oz bottle of tyre sealant (for top ups/disasters)

Spares & tools carried by Mark
• Topeak Multi-tool with chainbreaker
• Leatherman Wingman (scissors and pliers)
• Tyre levers
• 1 spare tube
• Spare spokes (x4)
• Spare disc brake pads (x2 pairs)
• 2 oz bottle of tyre sealant (for top ups/disasters)
Mark’s photography kit.

Read a blog post about Mark’s equipment choices here.

• Sony A7RII Camera body
• Metabones Sony/Canon adapter
• Canon 16-35mm f2.8L MkIII
• Canon 50mm f1.2L
• Canon 70-200mm f4L IS
• Electronic cable release
• Cleaning kit (Lenspen, microfibre cloth, lens fluid, sensor cleaning swabs + fluid)
• 7 spare batteries (Sony batteries do not last long)
• 128 GB SanDisk SD card (x2)
• 64 GB SanDisk SD card (x1)
• 32 GB SanDisk SD card (x1)
• Thinktank Skin 50 lens case
• Thinktank Lenschanger lens case
• Lee filter holder
• Circular polariser
• .6 and .9 Lee soft grad filters + Adorama Slinger filter pouch (holds all filters)
• 3-stop ND filter
• Sirui T-024X carbon fibre tripod + ball head
• Thinktank Turnstyle 5 sling bag for carrying camera (brilliant as it can be worn as sling or bumbag)
Two Revelate panniers: Laptop, HD, cables and camera battery charger, pot, stove, food, clothes not needed during day, camera accessories (filters), sleeping mat, bowls.
Revelate Ranger Framebag: two camera lenses (inside drybags when wet), small bottle of sealant, spare brake pads & spokes, knife, spork, rear light, tyre levers.
Two Prototype Revelate Fork Bags: wet weather gear, windproof jacket, warm gloves, ankle gaiters, beanie, head tube, down jacket, spare LS merino top.
Two 1 litre waterbottles in regular waterbottle cages, bolted to Salsa Anything Cages.
Camera tripod in homemade stuff sac.
Revelate Egress: Sunblock, power bank + cable, passport, wallet, gloves, headphones, spare food, head torch.
Revelate Salty Roll: tent inner + fly, sleeping bag + liner, long johns, down pullover.
Revelate Mountain Feed Bags (x2): water bottle, snacks, Biomaxa Pro Ride Chamois Cream.
Revelate Mag-Tank: snacks and lip balm.
Revelate Jerrycan: multitool, Leatherman, chain lube.
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6 Comments

  • Madge says:

    Guess this blog is more for the professionals ? Being lazy, I’m not one of them, but I do admire your professionalism. What a great ad. for Kathmandu Love the cut down tooth brush ! Surely, you must have a medical kit for those ‘out of the blue’ emergencies ? Or do you have a ‘hot line’ to your medical practitioners ? Travel safely. Can’t wait to read about your adventures in book form !!!

    • Mark Watson says:

      Thanks Madge – yes a basic first aid kit of course. Pretty sure its on the list under ‘shared gear’. Various meds and antibiotics included. Have you seen the video yet? Hope all’s well.
      Cheers M+H.

  • Neil says:

    Very impressive lists, but clearly Hanna is not carrying enough, as evidenced by the addition of a large stack of rocks in the top photo! Love reading your blogs.

  • simon cross says:

    Hi Mark, thanks for sharing the gear update.. Recently enjoyed watching the short KTM video, important to share the real value that comes from travel and exploration in this manner, in addition to the wilderness and amazing environments that are encountered. In fact, it is the human encounters and understanding which equally motivate Solveiga and I to travel. Cheers Simon

  • Mark Watson says:

    Thanks Simon – Glad you took the time to watch the video! It was fun having the crew along to tell our story. Yes – the human encounters are a huge part of it for. They’re some of the most enduring memories.
    Mark.

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