An overlander's account of South and Central America by motorbike - the trusty Suzuki DR650. Within are great travel tips and hints (2011).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Da Travel Kit!

This list was compiled in March so some usables have been used and some things have been added. A rough guide though.  This is mostly for other travellers to get an idea of what you carry.  I think my luggage is about 30 kg...which is a lot!  This is all I have and own just about and will be living with this gear for the next couple of years.

1 x Suzuki DR650 SE
Disc Lock (now replaced with large padlock as key broke in DL and I broke it off the disc in 5 mins)
Chain and padlock (bike security)
Pacsafe (Lockable wire mesh for top bag)
Various Ockie straps
1 adjustable strap for support for side bags
Lambskin (was for a baby pram - is useless and have been looking for llama skin for ass saving)
Barkbusters (protect levers mainly and hands)
Windshield (for the rain, wind and fuel economy and reducing daily rider fatigue)
Customized Electrics panel w/ GPS mount
Various tyres have been used (I like dual sport 50/50 as knobblies wear down a little quicker) Currently have a Heidenau front (Amazing distance for wear) and Pirelli MT-60 rear. Started on Dunlop knobbly duals (cant remember the name)
Homemade racks for side and top bags
Various electronic adaptions
Heated grip warmers (A MUST for a long trip, especially in the cold)

Wolfman Enduro Tankbag and rainproof cover (has been foolproof the whole trip. Amazing equipment)
55L Caribee Expedition Duffel Bag (had some straps pull out but got repaired in a local sewing shop)
2 x R Jays Super Sport Panniers and Rain covers (have been through a lot and held up well. A few repairations, especially to the rain covers as they´re always on to keep the bags clean and dry)
1 Camo Camelbak
1 drybag for food (use to throw in fresh food and bread at end of day quickly and strap onto bike before making camp)
5 gallon heavy duty waterbag

Coleman Tyl X2, 2-man tent (need 2 man for space on rainy days and to put luggage in for security - has been AMAZING, until ants ate holes in the floor in the amazon)
1 tent groundsheet (fly like material to put under the tent to keep it clean and dry)
-5 degree celsius Caribee Cosmic X1600 sleeping bag
Stainless steel Billy can (stove fits perfectly inside)
Exped Downmat 7 DLX (has been amazing until 2 cells became one the other day. Not a big problem, and will fix quickly soon. Highly recommended)
Plastic Cutlery
Blackwolf self-inflating pillow (for the head at night and saving the donkey in the day)
Coleman mutifuel stove (great item but didn´t have spare generator and i wrecked the original)
Stainless steel mug
Flexible cutting board (plate also...lost it though)
Leatherman Blast multitool (FANTASTIC!)
1 Hammock

2 jeans (1 riding, 1 going out. will cull one soon when buy proper riding pants), 1 rugby shorts, 1 boardshorts, 1 waterproof trekking pants (my riding pants over the jeans)
4 shirts (1 polyester for quick drying, 1 "enjoy the ride" shirt, 1 rugby jersey, 1 going out shirt)
3 p socks, 4 p jocks (lost 2 now, a gift for someone), 1p thermal underwear (great and packs small)
1 neoprene tshirt vest (for the cold)
Riding jacket, summer and winter riding gloves, rain wear (shoe covers, pants, coat)
1p tracksuit
1p trekking boots (HiTec Altitude) 1p crocs
Micro fibre towel

Personal Hygiene
Sun cream (a must when riding all day with your schnoz exposed to the sun)
Tooth brush & paste
Rollon deodorant
Toilet paper
Water pure tablets (never used once in South America)
Ear buds
Aftershave (for those times when you smell REALLY bad after not showering for a week)
Hairties (yeah i know...)
Antifungal cream
Tweezers & Nail clippers
Condoms (for water carrying in an emergency)
Tablets for seasickness, vitamin C, dysentry

Already had - Tetanus, Mumps, Measles, Rubella
Purchased - Yellow fever and Cholera

1st Aid
2 Condoms (water carrying literally - common in survival handbooks)
2 Glowsticks
Rain poncho
Space blanket
Joint sock
Thread and needles (One of the don´t leave home without...used many times this trip for clothing)
1 Elastic bandage
5 butterfly strips
Triangle bandage
Dysentry Meds
Strapping tape
(also have scissors, tweezers nail clippers etc)
Should have some eyewash stuff but don´t

Electronics etc
Sony FS100 Video camera
SPOT Satellite tracking device (great for emergencies and peace of mind for family - don´t leave home without)
Garmin Nuvi 1390 (Great - has extra roads than most maps and amazing for HUGE cities. Had many problems with the power inlet as this is for a car not a bike. Try the Garmin Zumo for motos)
Panasonic Lumix digital camera
iPod (great for music, a few pics and applications, and checking mail with wifi)
Compass (nothing beats old school)
Wallet (ID, medicare, university, credit and bank cards)
Spare wallet (only for day use and only has little money in it)
Small radio (pick up local radio and music)

Books & Paperwork
Spanish - English handbook
Travel guide (lonely planet or other)
Moto papers (International drivers license, Aus license, 4 laminated copies of bike rego and original, insurance papers - don´t need carnet in N or S America, later on for Europe Asia etc)
1 reading book
Various maps
2 notebooks (1 full)

Changes often but at the time the basics were:
Vegemite tube (don´t leave home without if you´re an Aussie)
Juice powders
Tea, coffee, sugar, milk powder
Assorted spices, salt, pepper
Garlic, potato etc (usually buy at end of day with bread)
Jam in a bag
Peanut butter

Stock Kit
Spanners - 17/14 mm & 12/10 mm (open ended), 19 & 24 mm (closed)
2 x 16 (?) mm sockets
Adapter Handles for spanners and sockets
3 screwdriver types with handles

Personal Kit
Ratchet spanners 8-19 mm
Breaker bar (1/4 ") and 8, 12 and 17 or 19 (for oil sump) mm sockets
Allen keys (Metric and Imperial set - damn windshield is in imperial so had to buy set just for this)
Toothbrush (chain cleaning - with kero when available or engine oil when not)
Locking long nose pliers
2 shifters (diff sizes)
2 micro screwdrivers (for electrics)
Cyclepump and airgauge
Hacksaw blade
Thickness gauge
Other pliers (with bent neck, cant think of name right now)

Spares and Consumables
Brake and Clutch levers
Service Manual and OEM Manual
Length Bicycle Tube
DID525 VM2 X-Ring Chain (110 Links) (Now using after the original did 20,000 k
Clutch Cable
Sprockets 525 41 tooth rear, 14 tooth front (1 smaller than stock) (both now fitted with spare chain)
1m mig wire
3m electric wire
Spare micro and normal fuses of various sizes
Cold tyre patch kit, fabric patches for tents etc, patch glue
Earplugs (heard many people in their mid years saying they´ve lost partial hearing as a result of riding without earplugs)
Heat insulating foam (mainly for stopping vaporlock in the inline fuel filter)
Spare paper fuel filters (not stone as I feel this was the cause of my carb troubles in Peru)
Spare oil filters
2 Spare sparkplugs
Spare front and rear brake pads (fitted now and need to buy new ones)
Various hose clamps
Spare front and rear tubes
Clutch cable switch
Zip ties
Metallic Cement
Fuel line
Chain lube
Talcom Powder
Carb cleaner spray (sometimes liquid additive for the tank. Spray is good for cleaning other things as well. Watch your eyes though!)

Music CDs (building an international collection)
2 lucky rocks from my brother (one now buried in a secret location awaiting its mate to be planted)
2 small photo albums (with pics from home and friends, and messages from friends. Great to read when you´re missing home or feeling off)
Mini tripod (pen size)
Harmonica (C key) and some printed music
1 slackline, adapter loop, 4 carabiners for setup (not used once and now moldy at bottom of bag...soon, so i keep saying!)
Universal powerpoint adapter and chargers for electronics
Eucalyptus oil (200mL for many uses and antiseptic...also smells like home!)
SureAqua straw (can drink out of dirty puddles and get clean viral free water)
Prossik cord
Nikwax and cloth (for leather)
Fishing rod, reel and assorted lures (first one broke in crash, second one got stolen...i need to get a handline. still have the reel)
Tripod stool (a luxury I love. Pull off the boots at the end of the day, cook, read...)
Money belt (not used once)
Pens and pencils
Aussie 10c coins (gifts for the great people out there that help me)
Postcard photos of bike and I (also gifts with space to write on the back)
Mouthguard (NEED to play some rugby soon)
Sudoko toilet paper (for shits n giggles)
Nylon cord
Matches & Lighter
Baby wipes
Seam sealer (for tents and other seams. was great until leaked and now is done)
THE MIGHTY AKUBRA (hat. protection from sun. collecting water. collecting food. hiding your face. making you look more gringo)


  1. Hay Brian,
    Imagine our surprise when Jo and I were having lunch in Tully and picked up the Tully Times and there you were with a short story on your amazing trip.
    We will be following your blog with interest. Give our regards to your mum & Shane.
    Have fun Rick & Jo Wells. Cairns

  2. For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.

  3. Indeed you are right my friend!! All worthwhile sacrifices is essential!