A good stove is a must for the serious adventurer. Being able to make a warm cup of coffee in the morning or bowl of soup after a cold day of riding is priceless for me. Sometimes a smashed Clif Bar just can’t cut it. There are a only a few stoves on the market that run on gasoline and this MSR International is awesome! I originally had the Coleman Dual Fuel stove, but it was a pain to use and quickly jammed and stopped working completely. This stove works like a dream every time. It runs on regular gasoline, so you don’t have to carry extra fuel or deal with hunting down pressurized fuel canisters which may not exist in many countries.
Andrea has the REI 2+ Half Dome tent that is sadly no longer for sale. We both love it because it is large enough for 2 people and any gear we need to keep out of the rain. Some people do the hammock or bivy sack, but I’m partial to a space you can comfortably live in for a day if you’re trying to wait out bad weather. On a long overland journey, this will be your home, so it’s worth it to get a nice one. The tent below has great reviews, it’s cheap and sports many of the same features we like about our tent, but it has one great feature ours doesn’t, camouflage!
Currently when stealth camping, we set our tent up behind the bikes and then put camo covers over the bikes. These covers are cheap, waterproof and pack down small. We also use the covers in cities to dissuade thieves.
We use a long, thick bike lock to secure the bikes to each other and a tree or lamp post when possible. It’s also handy that you can thread it through the arm of a jacket or through a helmet if you want to walk around the city sans gear. I additionally have a Xena alarm lock which I put on the front brake disc to call attention to anyone messing with the bikes or covers.
A sleeping pad is a wonderful thing, I can’t imagine doing this trip without one. A good pad will keep the cold ground from leeching your precious body heat and also turns even rocky surfaces into something reasonable to sleep on. I have an REI mat that is insanely comfortable…but the valve design is poor and broke in a couple weeks. Because of that, I can only recommend the Therm-a-rest pad. I used to have a ProLite and while not as comfortable, it packs down nice and small. Personally I think it’s worth the weight and space to sleep comfortably in the dirt, you’ll save a lot of money over staying in hotels…and I actually pull my sleeping pad out in a lot of rooms to make old lumpy mattresses more cozy! Andrea has the 3/4 length Thermarest as a space/comfort compromise, you really only -need- a thick pad for your shoulders and hips, but I really like having a full pad.
After much research and debate, Andrea and I each bought one of these Kelty Coromell sleeping bags. The semi-rectangular shape keeps you warm like a mummy, but the two can be zipped together to form one giant bag if you need to huddle together for warmth. The bag is good for as low as 20 degrees and the power down fill is super warm yet compresses down easily into a small stuff sack.
I stuff everything into dry bags. You really want a waterproof exterior around anything before you strap it to your bike. We bought a bunch of the cheap Walmart Outdoor Products brand bags and their poor quality is already becoming an issue. These Seal Line ones aren’t that much more and the reviews are glowing, so I would definitely recommend trying them instead!
For items that need a more rugged bag, I use these bags from Klein tools. These are not waterproof, but are built to last. I write the contents on the outside with a permanent marker. Having my items grouped and color coded helps a lot for finding what I need.