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  • Writer's pictureClotaire Mandel

Lil' gear update

Small update of the equipment before taking the road towards Asia and finally the Americas. Between the wild spaces of the North and the south American high plateaux, I'll have to carry enough food and water for more or less long periods.

All this while being versatile, efficient and light.

Moreover, I took advantage of being in Melbourne to have access to everything that is possible to find.


Bedrock sandals. I was a keen sandals for a long time, and money lacking, used anything else I could get my hands on as long as it didn't cost an arm.

These are not cheap, but I'm glad I bought them.

The sole is really solid, and the grip is absolutely perfect with the pedals as when walking.

The fastening system is really efficient. And if I was a little afraid of the rubbing and irritation of the cord between the toes, I walked enough with them to validate the system.

The only difference with the Keen is probably the front protection, which is very useful when cycling, especially to avoid hanging up your toes. It happens and it hurts. So you have to be a bit more careful.

Less material too, almost nothing, so very quick to dry. This makes them really compact and ready to be strapped on anywhere.

And the advantage compared to many sandals on the market is that they are quite discreet and can be worn in the city as well as in the whop whops.

Lezyne micro floor pump

I had been advised to buy a model from topeak that was a little cheaper to save a few euros. But I finally came back to it, the other one having become perfectly useless and ended up in a bin in Hanoi.

One of the tools/accessories for which the price often means something.

A quality pump allows to inflate quickly and efficiently. It allows you to play with inflation when the surface changes regularly without it being a chore. Not to mention punctures.

As far as tubeless tyre installation are a concern, this is probably the closest thing to a high pressure pump. You can actually remove the end cap with the adapters and connect it directly to the tubeless valve. The flow rate is higher because the outlet is much larger.

It's probably the best one in travel pumps range. It's more expensive, heavier, bulkier, but definitely worth it.

You only have to hold to realise the difference, the other pumps seem like toys next to it.

1.9L klean kanteen

I wanted to maximise my water carrying capacity without having to turn everything upside down. There are few options between 1.5 and 2L in terms of water bottles.

I had looked at the Klean Kanteen 1.9 but I was afraid of several things: the price, the weight and the fact that it would never fit where I wanted it to.

In fact, it fits almost perfectly. But the vibrations moves it slightly and often the chain was touching a bit. With a bit of thought, the solution was to move it forward so that the chain wouldn't rub. With a piece of cardboard, the tent footprint or whatever.

And finally, I simply changed the side of the small shovel to move the bottle forward, and magic, it goes.

Pricewise, everything is debatable, but I got it on special, so it's not catastrophic. And it's also the price to pay for a metal bottle.

Without plastic since the bottles spend the year outside, in the sun, and I imagine it's not fantastic to drink water enclosed in plastic under a blazing sun, even if it's BPA free.

It allows for more efficient thermal regulation too, avoiding any taste or smell, although the Nalgene ones are pretty impressive.

As for the weight, it's lighter than it looks.

Compared to a Nalgene, considering the fact that it's metal and not plastic, it's pretty impressive.

I don't mind carrying a few extra grams to take a little more care of myself and prevent future problems when they find that the BPA substitute is just as carcinogenic...

Importantly, you can also use it as a kind of pot by heating water on a stove, wood stove or campfire. In case of emergency.

It's always that much more that you can't do with a plastic bottle.

And let's face it, it looks pretty sexy.

Katadyn befree

This is what I only used during my journey across the African continent. Then at the end of its life, I replaced it with a steripen, with a saywer mini in the back up.

I find the sawyer completely useless. Unless you don't mind cleaning it every day and waiting 30 minutes to filter a litre. I wouldn't even comment on the water bag that comes with it.

Anyway, I've been lugging this filter around for years without ever using it. I've cleared it out with no regrets and will use the befree again as a backup.

I love the steripen, although it's not a filter but a purifier. So I find that the two go together perfectly, and allow me to deal with many possible situations.

Simple to use and clean, effective and not too expensive, it is almost perfect. The lifespan is a bit short but even if you use it every day, it might last long enough to justify the price.

The lifespan depends on the quality of the water you are filtering as well. If the water is relatively "clean", it will last much longer than if you filter earthy water.

A word of advice, don't buy the 0.6L model, the shape and the welds of the bag mean that it won't last very long, unlike the 1L which has no corners or "seams".

Note that the nozzle, which is the filter itself, is also fits with the hydrapak bags. By having a 3L hydrapak as a water bag, you increase your filtration capacity as well as your storage capacity.

Video kit

I have in mind to film my route through the Americas, and potentially my way back to France after that. Video is becoming almost necessary now to present a project on the way back. And it's fun too, even tho it takes time.

I was lucky enough to be offered an Iphone 11 plus that was a bit broken visually, but working perfectly. With a tripod and a microphone, we'll see what we can achieve!

Tie bow anchor

A bit out of stock everywhere, I finally found them in Bali, and here they are, sitting on the bottom of the fork.

There was this screw that was useless and that I felt could become useful. So, it works like that on my bike but it depends on the placement of the screw threads on yours.

Simple, light and effective, you can pair them up to attach a dry bag, or separate them like me and attach a jar of peanut butter or tubeless sealant. Or whatever you want, really.

Extra down under bag

There are a few brands that offer this kind of model these days, but the prices are frightening compared to what it is. Still, I wanted to use this space with a similar system. This one is simply a decathlon pump attachment system coupled with a dry bag. And it works very well ! It doesn't move, it costs less and it's more versatile. Because yes, the two are independent of each other, if you have a problem with your dry bag, you can change it, and it doesn't cost 70 euros.

Subjected to the elements, I wanted to put some material in there that wasn't afraid of water.

But what's inside?

Inside, the new hydration kit

There is a 600ml titanium mug + 3L hydrapak bag + 2L platypus bag + katadyn befree filter.

This allows me to have easy access to my water bag and filter. The choice of a titanium cup may be questionable, but here's my thought:

- Its shape and rigidity makes it a perfect frame to attach anywhere you want

- It weighs only slightly more than a folding plastic cup, and if you buy smart, it doesn't cost much more

- Unlike the plastic cup, this one can also be used on the fire if you need to cook or heat water

- The hydrapak is compatible with the befree filter, and several water bags mean you won't be stuck if your only water bag is punctured.

So : fast, efficient and versatile. All within easy reach, securely fastened to the frame.

Offlap stuffs

I like small brands run by passionate people. This is the case with Offlap, which is working hard to find ingenious and aesthetic solutions for cyclists.

I have adopted several small things.

The little pockets to put medicine, notebooks or even souvenirs gleaned on the road. The little tool kit that attaches to the frame, and the little dyneema ones to store everything and nothing.

Designed for bike commuters, I also have the waterproof backpack, which I use mostly in the city, here in Melbourne and later in Canada. However, it's just a bit too small to be a perfect companion on the road as a back-up riding bag. But other models are in the works, to be continued!

Designed in Tokyo, and available here.

Sensor NEO1R led headlamp

My dear Petzl headlamp having given up, I had to find another one. And after comparing, I found this one, with a perfect weight/power ratio.

The two things that were necessary for me were the red light and the USB rechargeable battery.

The only thing I don't understand is the USB C charging cable, not very practical. Just another cable to carry.

Schwalbe G-one In Bali I had only found tractor tyres, but presumably that won't be useful until I reach South America. So to be more efficient on asphalt and rolling gravel, I adopted the G-one, found at half price.

To be continued!

Titanium pan

A small frying pan for sautéing some vegetables, making an omelette or pancakes. It's a small addition, but a life-changer if you want to eat a variety of foods and especially the pleasure of stir-frying vegetables and soybeans with a little soy sauce.

I had one a long time ago, which disappeared along the way. But the desire to cook a little more and better is felt, so back to the pan!

Sea to summit folding bowl

In the kitchen series, back to the plate as well. The previous one was lost too, so I decided to get another one to make cooking easier. Having only one container that can be used as a pot and plate is not very practical. And upside down, it makes a good cutting board.


That's it for the small changes of equipment with which I leave for Asia and the Americas. The idea is to be always more efficient and versatile.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate !

In a few weeks I'll try to publish some bikepacking hacks for everyday life on a bike.


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