If you ain’t got much, you make sure that what you’ve got matters. We put a lot of thought in what items we brought on our bicycle tour and these are the ones that unfortunately didn’t completely survive. Here’s the full list of gear that (we) broke.
We’ll mention for each item if we believe it was a failure of the product or our own stupid fault. This list could be of help if you are researching what to bring on your bikepacking trip or bicycle tour.
Broken kitchen gear
Let’s start with our kitchen. You can see the full list of our kitchen gear here. The majority of our cooking gear is from Sea to Summit. Overall we are very happy with their stuff. It’s lightweight and pretty durable.
Sea to Summit Alpha Pan
So we completely blame Josh and not Sea to Summit for breaking our Sea to Summit Alpha Pan. He forgot to flip out the handle so the plastic grip was right over the fire. It melted and we had to peel it off, but we are still able to use the pan. Good stuff.
Mokapot and Sea to Summit X-brew
It seemed as if we were doomed to not drink coffee. The cheap mokapot we bought lasted for one day. To be expected, but still we were quite disappointed when the handlebar broke of because it had melted. The Sea to Summit X-brew wasn’t a great success either. We didn’t find the right coffee, so it tasted more like coffee flavoured tea. Not the best. After a few uses the metal filter also broke when we were cleaning it.
After a few months of cycling without our own coffee maker (we spent a lot of money in coffee shops) we finally got our hands on the Aero press Go. Of course, we forgot to buy coffee in the city and try buying that in tea sipping rural India.
Victorinox Swiss army knife
Sabina also broke Robin’s Victorinox Swiss army knife when she tried cleaning it in boiling water. ‘That will sterilize it’, she thought. Yup, it sterilized the hard plastic casing right off. Again still usable, so she still doesn’t get why Robin got pissed. The knife took payback immediately by the way, it cut her finger while flipping in all the clean blades.
MSR WhisperLite stove
Our MSR WhisperLite stove started malfunctioning in the midst of The Pamir Highway. Luckily our friend James had a spare fuel line which seemed to cause the problem. The stove comes with a small maintenance kit. If you’re going on a long tour and are travelling in remote areas like us, we recommend bringing along the MSR Expedition Service Kit.
Camping gear took a hit
Just like our cooking gear our camping gear (full list here) is under heavy duty too. We’ve camped in appalling conditions and three items didn’t proof to be bombproof.
Sea to Summit silk liner
Both our Sea to Summit silk liners tore at the bottom, but we could easily get that fixed by a seamstress. We categorize this under normal wear and tear.
Sea to Summit air seats
We used to carry two Sea to Summit air seats, but one got punctured by a small stick on the ground. We fixed it with the repair kit which worked like a charm. Now we don’t carry them with us any more, simply because we didn’t use them that often. Who needs seats when there are rocks.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2
MSR is well known for their excellent warranty service. We’ve heard many stories about tent poles snapping, bugs eating their way into the tent through the bottom and even a tent being ripped apart by monkeys on a Thai beach. Luckily we’ve only got small holes in our MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2. These are easily repaired with the repair patches. It really helps to use the MSR Footprint. It’s an extra barrier between your precious tent and sharp debris, gnarly twigs and taunting thorns.
Midway the Pamir Highway Sabina’s Vaude panniers ‘popped’ open on the seam. The glue came undone, so we had to tape the bags shut with duct tape. Luckily this temporary fix lasted all the way to Almaty where she could swap here panniers for brand-new bikepacking bags.
Wardrobe falling apart
There’s probably nothing under as much stress as our attire. We are outside almost 24/7 and our clothes are what protect us from the sometimes brutal elements. We are impressed by the durability of our cycling apparel. It’s what we wore pretty much all the time.
Fjällräven Karl Pro trekking pants
We bought the Fjällräven Karl Pro zip-off trekking pants because they promised us a durable material. It only took about two or three months for the fabric to rip and a lot of the seams to break. We barely used them while cycling, so that couldn’t be the cause. We washed the pants max once every three weeks and regularly applied new wax. Unfortunately Fjällräven doesn’t have a good warranty policy. They simply dismissed this as caused by extreme use and don’t take any responsibility. Guess we’re not buying these again.
Quoc Gran Tourer Shoes
A company that does have a great warranty on the other side is Quoc. The Gran Tourer is perfect for gravel ride but didn’t survive hike-a-biking up Tajik mountain passes. The entire sole came off and Robin had to ride with a duct taped shoe for the rest of the Pamir Highway. Quoc was really cool about it and send him a new pair. These are now being saved for future gravel rides and he now uses the Shimano XM7 for the rough stuff.
We wear wool every day, merino wool to be exact. And we almost never have to wash it. Icebreaker sent us some clothing before our trip, and we absolutely love it. It’s anti-bacterial, breathable, light weight and itch-free. Merino wool isn’t known to be very durable. The fibres are extremely thin, so we expected the items to wear down after such heavy use. So we are very impressed that we’ve only got a few small holes in our shirts. These were easy to fix with a needle and thread and a YouTube video explaining how to darn.
Icebreaker Quantum gloves
Sabina’s Icebreaker Quantum gloves didn’t work out that well for cycling. The fabric tore on all the seams, and we tried having it fixed, but they were broken beyond repair. When we head back to the cold again we are definitely investing in some cycling specific gloves. Any tips?
Robin’s biggest nightmare: a broken Fujifilm X100F
On a trip like ours there are two things that we absolutely cannot live without. First there are the bicycles. Can’t ride without them. The second is the camera’s. Capturing it all is our passion and there’s nothing we love more than sharing our adventures. Our beloved Fujifilm X100F gave up on us in Nepal.
It hadn’t been working as it should for some time. But now we couldn’t get a sharp picture at all. Also, the optical and electronic viewfinder can be alternated, but it got stuck somewhere in between. It’s pretty useless now and our expensive travel insurance isn’t covering it.
We have a warranty from the store where we bought it, but then we would have to physically return it, and we are nowhere near the store. Fujifilm also gives a one-year international warranty but Fujifilm Indonesia (where we are now) cannot repair the camera. Luckily we still have the Fujifilm XT3 to keep shooting.
How about the bikes?
If there’s anything that has been under a lot of stress (if you don’t count our bodies) it’s the bicycles. Our Avaghons have proven to be sturdy companions. Besides a lot of battle scars there aren’t any serious damages. We have never even had a flat.
When Sabina’s bike fell of a bus in Nepal the rear wheel had to be replaced, but the frame was still intact. There’s just a small dent in the top tube left. You can read more about our bikes here.
Be ready to repair it
It is inevitable that stuff will break when it is used under such challenging circumstances. You don’t go out cycling without a tube repair kit, so why not have a repair kit for other items as well. These items have helped us repair everything on the go.
|Tent repair patch|
|Repair kit for air mattress|
|Sewing kit for repairing clothes|
|Tube and tire repair kit|
|High quality tape|
|High quality zip ties|
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