anniversary gear review

There was a fair bit of gear replacement in the last year. Mostly just wear and tear. Only two equipment things have been an issue: a less-than-skilled BMW mechanic in Lima that cost us diversions and delays and the continuing saga of Garmin.

So, a gear review. As usual there’s not much to review as I continue to reduce the quantity of ‘things’ I have. One day I’ll get down to 112 litres, camping gear included (panniers 31 X 2, duffel 40, tank bag 10). So I have 15 litres to shed.

The Wolfman 40L duffel. I’m surprised: there were some creases showing a year ago that are no worse. Still dry and no hardware failures. I cut off the carry-straps and swopped the shoulder strap for one with better end-fittings and a small padded center section.

Giant Loop 10L tank bag. Finally failed. The #10 zip made it through. UV eventually caused the window to crack and then disintegrate at the seams. But a great bag and I replaced it in NZ (more accurately, my daughter did) with the same one.

Klim suit. A controversial subject with mnay different opinions so I’ll tread lightly. My Rev’it wore out in Peru. Zips, velcro and textile all succumbing to old age. No problem, it had been a soldier despite the old-school concept and construction. The replacement came down to either Klim or Rukka, although I saw a decent-looking Held jacket on a friend in Bariloche later. I went with Klim as the top Rukka was underventilated. First impressions were correct: no way could you construct an outer pocket that way and ensure waterproofness. The suit is very, very heavy. The pant fit didn’t work for me so I had it altered in Lima. I threw out the kidney belt and knifed out the inner cuffs. The whole D3O impact armour idea is the wrong solution in my opinion. The suit is over featured for us. The positive is durability. It’s showing little wear except at the pant cuff. There will be no great suit as long as they’re made as garments are.

Gloves. I continue to get through a pair of summer gloves every 4 or 5 months, which I suppose is fine. My new winter gloves from Held, marketed as warm and dry were very cold. I had to buy inner gloves in Argentina.

Boots. My Sidi’s wore out at the toe stitching and were replaced in Santiago. I love this boot and was happy to replace it with the same.

Technology. The Macbook Pro is maxed and we’re waiting for a terrabyte Air (soon I hope) at which point we’ll swop. I broke the iPad mini and replaced it 9 months ago. We lost the Lumix in southern Colombia and replaced it with the same model in Lima. So not great on my part. We added a Sony RX100 point-and-shoot and it’s fantastic, as the reviewers promised. Iridium sat phone remains unused.

Tools. I got fed up with the standard small torx wrench for the wheels and oil filler cap and bought a huge 12″ monster with a plastic handle.

Lucinda. I can imagine no other. She’s a better bike than I am a rider.

Now the bad bit:

In my opinion, Garmin continues to be the anti-Christ of navigation-assisted travel.

We replaced the Montana unit in NZ after Garmin support admitted (after almost year of denying) that it was possibly screwed. $899 NZ

Plus the Garmin power mount on Lucinda wore out. This was a particular pain because re-wiring in the new unit required pulling the tank, etc. After labor around $200 NZ

Plus we thought we’d give their expensive map another try in NZ/Australia. Mistake. After all they charge a huge $189 AU for the Aussie/NZ map saying:

This product provides detailed road maps and points of interest for your device, so you can navigate with exact, turn-by-turn directions to any address or intersection.

Nice pitch, but the reality is that trying to build a route with this map is a nightmare. I’m approaching Cairns and here’s what the map looks like
Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 1.39.00 PM

If you look closely you’ll see that most yellow or orange road here has a twin with it. One of each of them is wrong and doesn’t exist. No idea which one. The whole country is a similar fiasco. So despite their promises of accuracy I’m now using (free) public OSM maps again.

So every part of the Garmin program, unit, mount and software has failed us. They deserve the bad press. I’m not alone. There’s a guy from L.A. who’s doing an RTW on a Ducati Panigale (!) and I saw his reply to a comment on his ride report the other day that made me laugh
garmin rant

And because his crazy ride is otherwise so upbeat, we’ll end there
"                               "


One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. fred,

    Great Pictures. best regards fred

Leave a Reply