1, 55 litre soft duffel bag – the bag that everything else went into when I had to get on a plane; worked well, could fold up into almost nothing and store in my locker without taking up too much space.
6, 10 litre dry bags – one each for 1) bike clothes, 2) casual clothes, 3) cold weather stuff, 4) spares and tools, 5) medicine, 6) washing and hygiene stuff – this worked very well; stuff was easy to find quickly; it made packing the locker quick and easy and made setting up and tearing down camp efficient.
1 small backpack – I took a small North Face Borealis bag. I used this for my computer, electronic stuff and valuables. It worked well.
1 post bag – I took a Topeak 5 kg seat post bag. The fitting broke on the second off road day. Waste of space. I borrowed a small, camelback sized backpack that I used for the rest of the trip that I carried spares and stuff in. I don’t like carrying things on my back when I cycle but ended up doing it for lack of any alternative.
1 top bar bag – I took a small Topeak top bar bag that velcroes to the headset and the top bar. I put sanitizer, a Swiss army knife, ORS sachets and lip balm in it. Worked well.
1 cable lock – served its purpose. Locked the bike every night.
Multi tool – I only took 1, it had allen keys and screw drivers on it. It was useful. I left behind the one with torque wrenches on it. I could have used this when I had to replace a disk brake rotor. But it was easy to borrow one.
Assorted small tools – small screw drivers (slot and Philips), 4 tire levers, small pair of needle nose pliers, spoke wrench, chain tool -mostly stuff I carried with me on the bike. The Tour is well equipped with tools for major and minor work.
Chain lube – I took one bottle of wet lube. I didn’t use much. The Tour people give everyone a bottle of dry lube. Given the conditions this worked better and I used a lot of it.
4 one-litre bottles – broke 1 the first day out but never again. The other 3 lasted me well for the rest of the tour.
Mini pump – good quality pump; no flats on the road so didn’t need it myself but did lend it to others who did.
Spare bottle cage – I did not take a spare bottle cage but should have. I broke one.
Cable ties – a few dozen of varying sizes. I used several and gave many more away. Very useful for quick fixes.
4 sets of BB7 Disc Brake Pads – used two sets.
Disk brake rotor – needed one but didn’t take any so had to get one off a sectional rider who had an unused spare.
2 Schwalbe marathon plus 700 X 40mm tires – used these off road. They were great. Only 1 puncture and that was in camp not on the road.
2 Schwalbe marathon plus 700 X 28mm tires – used these on road. They were also great. No punctures.
2 Bontrager cyclcross tires – 7700 X 35mm – didn’t use these at all since the Schwalbes worked so well.
15 spokes – had my wheels trued twice and didn’t brake a single spoke, so didn’t need them. But have broken many spokes before so would always take them.
3 Patch Kits and 2 dozen extra patches – didn’t use any myself but gave almost all of them away.
Bar tape – took and used one extra but could have used two.
1 Seat Clamp and 1 seat post – didn’t use either.
1 Saddle – I broke a saddle in Kenya and was glad I had a spare.
1 Shimano10-Speed Cassette 12 – 32 (original was 11 – 26)– I used this and was glad I did. I only had two chain rings on the front (52 and 34) so didn’t really have a granny gear. The larger rear cassette helped. But I still had to work harder than most on the hills. I would rethink gearing if I did it again.
4 sets of derailleur cable – I used three and gave one away. Very useful.
4 sets of brake cable – replaced brake cables once.
2 metres of derailleur cable housing – used half and gave some away.
2 metres of brake Cable housing – used half.
2, 10 Speed chains – used both and bought another en route to have a spare.
8 Tubes 700×28/32 – didn’t’ use any but gave a couple away.
12 Tubes 700×35/42 – used one, gave a couple away.
1 Shimano 105, 10 speed front derailleur – used it and was glad I had it. Could have used two since the spare got bent and had to be hammered back into shape.
1 Shimano 105, mid-cage rear derailleur – I didn’t take this but needed it and had to order one to be delivered en route.
2 bottom brackets – I needed one after only 4000km. I needed another about 3000km from the end when a mechanic tightened the existing one too much and mashed it. I had to order one en route.
1 MEC Tarn 3 person tent with groundsheet and fly – glad I had the extra space. Poles and pegs were good quality. The mosquito netting ripped early on. I sewed it together and it worked fine. The fly also ripped early on. The material was not the non-rip type so it ran on for a bit until I repaired it. The zips were nylon and did not work well. They were a total pain. I gave the tent away at the end of the Tour. I would choose something else next time.
6 extra strong spare tent pegs – somehow I didn’t lose or break any pegs so didn’t need them, but I did lend them out on several occasions.
Small rubber mallet – very useful; there is some tough ground out there.
2-season sleeping bag – I chose to go with a 2 season very lightweight (rated at 5C) sleeping bag. It worked quite well but I did have to wear almost everything I owned on some of the colder nights – but then so did most people.
MSR plastic dishes, 2 high sided plates (1 big, one average), 1 cup – these worked fine; it was good to have the bigger sized dishes with sides on them; you eat a lot and you balance things on your knees – no tables.
Plastic Ikea cutlery, fork, 2 spoons, knife – worked fine.
Swiss army knife – always good to have, especially the bottle opener; but after carrying it with me for four months I forgot to pack it away and had it taken away from me at the airport when I flew home. Sad, but my fault.
1 LED headlamp – had a powerful one, worked very well; used 15 AAA batteries in it over the four months (it takes 3).
1 stuff bag camping pillow – packed up very small and was a very welcome thing to have. Sleeping well is very important.
1 silk sleeping bag liner – I didn’t use this very much. Some people used theirs instead of a sleeping bag when it was warm. But since I live in Africa and am tropicalized I didn’t feel the heat as badly and used my sleeping bag every single night.
1 thermarest luxury-lite cot – a bit of a phaff to set up and take down every day bur very comfortable to sleep on, so a very welcome bit of kit. After 4 months though it is very much the worse for wear. Wont’ last much longer.
1 lightweight, mutli-fibre towel – not the fluffiest towels in the world but did the job and took up very little space.
1 rain jacket/windbreaker – I forgot to take this and wish I hadn’t.
1 warm wicking jacket – forgot to take this and bought one en route. Very much needed.
1 long sleeve cycling jersey – I used this a lot; very much needed.
1 long sleeve base layer – I used this a lot and could have taken two. They are lightweight and don’t take up much space.
1 pair of arm warmers – I used these a lot as well.
5 short sleeve jerseys – I used them all. You sweat a lot and they get smelly and filthy.
3 pairs cycling shorts – I should have taken at least 4 pairs. Some times you ride for 8 days straight. This meant I had to wear my shorts 3 days running. Two days is ok. Three days is less than ok.
1 pair long cycling tights – wore these often in the mornings and then would take them off when it warmed up.
8 pairs lightweight cycling socks – used them all.
1 pair MTB SDL shoes – all I needed. They got dirty and the laces wore out but they lasted well. I would take a spare set of laces (if your have shoes that use laces).
1 spare pair of cleats – I didn’t need them but several people did.
4 pairs short gloves – used them all. They get as sweaty and dirty as your jerseys. Get well padded palms.
1 pair long gloves – used them frequently, especially on cold mornings.
Sunglasses – bit the bullet and bought prescription Oakleys. Didn’t wear them every day but was glad I had them.
Neck scarf – wore it fairly frequently, good both against cold and the sun.
1 pair long hiking pants – wore them often.
1 pair short hiking pants – wore them often
1 pair short sports pants – wore them often.
1 bathing suit – used it more than I thought I would.
1 fleece – forgot to take so bought heavy sweater in Egypt before I left. Fleece would have been better.
1 long sleeve jersey – wore it often.
4 t shirts – and bought a couple more en route.
Shirt with collar – didn’t take one but it would have been useful at times.
4 pairs boxers – of course.
1 pair long underwear – forgot to take; would have been good to have.
2 pairs warm woollen socks – used these as well, mostly to sleep in.
2 baseball caps – forgot to take; picked one up en route; hats are very useful when the sun is out.
1 pair hiking shoes – took a lightweight pair and wore them out.
1 pair flip flops – forgot to take; they would have been useful.
Sewing kit – took a small one but could never find it when I needed it.
Passports – I have three, carried them all and used them all.
Yellow fever certificate – not asked for it once, but always good to have.
10 photos – used two.
Insurance certificate and policy – didn’t need fortunately, many people did.
Credit cards – used mostly cash until we arrived in Nairobi, then mostly credit and debit cards.
Cash – took $2500 and spent about $1500. But also put about $2500 on credit cards.
Photocopies of all docs – took them all but they became quite ragged since I carried them in my backpack while riding. Never used them. Used originals when I needed ID.
Notebook and pens – didn’t need notebooks, used laptop; should have taken more pens; lost one, broke one etc.
Macbook and power supply – hard drive died in Khartoum; finally got it repaired during rest days in Arusha. Good to have when it was working.
Samsung galaxy smartphone and charger – excellent; bought SIM card in each country; used it only for phone calls and texts. Many people used the data feature on their smartphones so could update blogs and send emails wherever there was 3G. I had to wait until we found wifi, which was infrequent and often slow. I think next time I would use the data feature on a smartphone.
Kindle and charger – used a lot, was excellent; is not backlit so you need a headlamp.
Garmin Edge 500 and charger – worked well for two months then the battery seemed to die.
GoPro Hero HD 2 and charger – used it as we were leaving the pyramids and then once more. Just didn’t get into it. I’m not much of a photo taker anyway. Others who had them used them much more often and with good results.
Solar charger – very useful on the first half of the Tour, after that it was easier to find power outlets.
Sanitiser – took two bottles, didn’t use much. There is hand washing soap and water on all the support vehicles. Used this a lot.
3 Tooth brushes – used two (lost one).
Toothpaste – used two tubes.
2 packs baby wipes – didn’t use any, gave them away; preferred bucket baths or water left over in a drinking bottle. On the second half of the trip showers were available most days.
Comb – didn’t need for a couple of months (had hair cut off in Cairo).
Nail clippers – took two pairs; take big ones.
Razor – tried to shave every few days at least.
Shaving cream – useful for shaving.
Lip balm – take stuff with sunscreen added, used a lot
After sun cream – used once.
Chamois butter – took two tubes and didn’t use any. Had chafing during last month but use nappy cream instead, works better.
Nappy cream – used Sudocrem; works well.
Soap – used small soaps from hotels.
Shampoo – used small bottles from hotels.
Antimalarial Tablets – took Larium.
Antibiotic for travellers diarrhea – Ciprofloxacin 500 mg, 10 tabs – didn’t use.
Antibiotic for wound infection – I have a Penicillin allergy so took azithromycin (250 mg, 60 caps); used one dose for leg infection.
Simple painkillers – took Brufen; used a couple of tablets for a headache once.
Anti inflammatory – took Brufen; didn’t need.
Throat lozenges – took Strepsils; didn’t use.
Anti-diarrheal – took Imodium 12 caps; didn’t use.
Anti-spasmodic – took Buscopan 10 tabs; didn’t use.
ORS – took lots and used at least 1 packet a day; excellent for replacing salts and electrolytes from excessive sweating.
Antiemetic – took Metoclopramide 10 tbs; didn’t use.
Ear drops – took Garasone ear drops; didn’t use.
Eye drops – took Ciloxan eye drops; didn’t use.
Zinc cream – took big pot of Sudocrem; used for nose, lips and saddle sores; very good.
Moisturizing cream – took E45; used once.
Anti inflammation (saddle sores) – took Voltaren cream; didn’t use.
Antibiotic cream – took Bactroban; used once on leg infection, didn’t help much, ended up taking a dose of antibiotics.
Disinfectant spray – took alcohol swabs; used quite a few for scrapes and scratches.
Sunscreen – took one bottle of SPF30; didn’t use any; gave away.
Clinical thermometer – didn’t take one; didn’t need one.
Malaria test kit (2 per kit) – took one box; didn’t use.
Nasal spray – took Otrivin; didn’t use.