Sunday, 23 February 2014

Camping Equipment Kit Check For Honda C90 Adventure Trip

Over the last few months I have slowly been getting together all the kit that I require for my 3500 mile journey on my Honda C90.

Some of the kit I all ready have, as a camper of some time I all ready had a good quality sleeping bag which was fit for purpose.

But the rest of the gear I had to buy as there are a few considerations when camping on a motorbike. It has to be light and small!

So the first thing I had to buy was a tent, I opted for the Vango Banshee 200. A two man tent but once all my gear was inside such as panniers, motorcycle gear etc there was only room for me and my sleeping bag.

I trialled the tent out recently in stormy weather and it held up well, keeping me dry and warm. The heavens opened and with gusts of wind in excess of 60mph I'm confident it is up to the job.

The list of gear I have bought is quite long, all though I had a camping stove, which is great for when I'm wild camping in the Pajero I needed a small lightweight/compact version. Also one that I could run a propane/butane mix cartridge from as when I last camped out using the portable gas cooker using just butane cartridges at -3 to keep swapping the cartridges over every couple of minutes just to boil a kettle was a bit of a pain!

So after a bit of research I bought a Highlander Field Valve Stove. It basically just screws into the Coleman C500 propane/butane mix cartridges and it works a treat.

To cook with I'm using tried and tested Army mess tins, robust, lightweight and cheap. Together with a Trangia 0.6ltr kettle. I did buy a cheap 1ltr kettle but the plastic handle broke on day one of my two day trial of kit. So was binned as being not fit for purpose.

My sleeping bag is a 3 season bag, which having used down to -3 kept me plenty warm enough and I was sleeping naked, so with a layer of clothes it shouldn't be a problem if it is colder. I bought this from Mountain Warehouse and if I remember it was less than £30.00. The spec say it is a "Mountain Warehouse Summit 300 XL" with a comfort temperature of -2 which I can personally vouch for and an extreme of -18. It's mummy shaped with hood and draw cord and a little pocket at the top which I keep a torch in. It is also very roomy, as I have often said I'm a big lad and there is plenty of room to move about inside. I cannot fault this bag and would be more than happy to buy another.

For my kit trial I bought a cheap foam sleep mat from Go-Outdoors. I wasn't too sure how it would work, but this was why I decided to trial things before I set off, and I'm very glad that I did.
The mat worked extremely well at insulating me from the cold ground, however it made my hip bones extremely sore and that was after the first night. So today I tried out Vango Ultralite 3/4 self inflating mat. It is certainly comfortable. At this point I'm not sure if I will take both or just the Ultralite. The size of the Ultralite does mean that it is small enough to fit in may panniers which is a huge saving on space!

I have also recently bought a couple of items for the trip which as they haven't arrived yet remain untested!

After watching many motorcycle adventure stories on YouTube I decided I wanted to capture some of my trip on video. So a bit of research later concluded that the best camera to do this would of been a GoPro but this did come with a hefty price tag, and to be honest I just could not justify the price.

So the search continued and after reading all the reviews decided that a generic copy would do the trick. So this is the one I opted for "My Chosen Camera"! At £49.99 if it lasts the trip then it would be money well spent. The camera comes with a variety of mounts so I should be able to get some good shots as I trundle around the UK!  I added a 32 Gb SD card which should be enough for a days filming at sporadic intervals!

I also decided that a watch would be a good idea, as when my phone went dead I had know way of telling the time, so not wanting to spend a great deal I decided on a Casio digital watch that had a few bells and whistles on it, but for less than £20.00 reckon it will do the job well enough without breaking the bank.
Now on previous camping trips I have always found that drying out a towel after a shower or wash was always a problem if moving off straight away. In the Paj it was strung up over a couple of bungy cords and it dried out as I drove along. As I'm on a motorbike this would cause a slight problem. I found that being in the tent that a normal towel would just not dry out. However my small microfibre hand towels did. So I have bought a larger version in the hope that this will dry quick enough to be packed away dry and not stink in the process. I bought a Milestone Large Towel which untried at the moment will hopefully do what it supposed to do!

For lighting my gas stove I have matches, but these can obviously get wet, so looking at fire steel flint strikers decided that as they were so inexpensive it would be daft not to have one. 

I also thought that as I could find myself in an isolated situation with a motorbike that has either broken down or that has decided that it is fed up with carrying my fat arse around and deposited me in a ditch that an emergency foil blanket may well be a good idea. I all ready have a first aid kit that I bought a while ago which I keep in the car at all times which will be coming with me.

As for storage on the motorbike I all ready have a set of panniers that I bought from ebay second hand at a cost of £25.00 a zip is a bit dodgy on one of them but they work well and for my trip will see me through. A top box is all ready fitted, a tad small but again it will do for the trip. I bought a waterproof bag from a local Army/Navy surplus store for £15.00 which is just big enough to keep my clothes in and my sleeping bag. This is strapped on the seat behind me. The front of the bike will have another carry rack mounted which will have a shopping basket attached to it to hold spare fuel and tent, but it will also have two small bags attached either side which will carry all small/loose items that I will be taking with me.

I couldn't decide on what type of bags to get but finally came across these small shoulder bags which have a multitude of pockets and zipped compartments. I've bought two, one for either side.

I also decided that it would be a good idea to get a portable charger for my phone, just in case the 12v charging system on my bike should fail, I should be able to get two to three charges out of it, which should get me out of trouble if the worst should happen.

So all in all I have spent a small fortune on this trip! I haven't added it all up but by the time I have completed the trip I reckon it will of cost me around £2000 !!!

I could of had a holiday to a small island in Malaysia but no, I'm trundling around this country on a 20+ year old moped!

But, none of the kit will go to waste, as I do intend a few more adventures during the year so to be honest it is money well spent and not begrudged at all.

My kit list is increasing and will no doubt either get bigger or get smaller as the time for departure gets nearer.

Don't forget you can donate to my charity by clicking the "Just Giving" button near the right hand corner of this blog page.

Also I would like to point out that all the cost of the kit is being met by myself. Any money donated is going directly to "Help For Heroes" not a penny is being spent on the trip itself!

I'm sure I've missed a few items off, but if any of you seasoned travellers can think of anything I have omitted then please get in touch!

Till later...............


  1. Jools, this trip sounds really exciting, and I'm sure you know what you're doing so I hesitate to criticize, but the amount of kit you'll be loading on a small bike is rather concerning me. Up to passing my driving test four years ago I'd ridden one of these things for years - well more than one really as they are notorious for being stolen by joy-riding teenagers - and it doesn't take a great amount of weight to render them top heavy and unstable on the steering, especially if you put something on the front, so please be careful.

    Also think about the weight factor - your own and your kit - with regard to travelling on roads which go uphill for any distance. Too much weight and the bike will struggle to reach any decent speed and the engine will be working flat out. For such a long trip I would suggest getting breakdown cover if you haven't already got it - hopefully you'll never need it but better to be safe than sorry.

    Also, one little thing which bugs me - the C90 is not a moped and I hate to hear it called that. A moped is one of 50cc or less or which has pedals to initially start the engine - hence the name, mo-ped. The C90 may be small, it may not be very good-looking compared to larger bikes but it's definitely not a moped. Mine was even referred to as being a scooter on many occasions, which it certainly isn't! Going off the photos on your last post yours looks pretty smart so I hope it survives the marathon trip unscathed. What will you do afterwards, keep it or sell it on?

    1. Hi Eunice, good to hear from you - yep have been concerned about the weight issue but loaded it up with all the gear and to be honest it felt stable and ran like a dream even on some really steep hills!
      I'm going to be keeping it as I really do like riding it, plenty more trips to be had later on in the year!
      I know what you mean about what you call it, motorbike, moped, scooter? On the V5 and for taxation it is actually classed as a bicycle!

  2. Must admit C90s are great little commuter bikes. At one time I worked at seven different places and would have been lost without mine to get around on. I never liked riding in the rain though, always found it a really unpleasant experience, so I was glad when I passed my driving test and could stay dry going to and from work.

  3. Hello Jools,
    I to am a bus driver based in Shaftesbury I work work for a company called Shaftesbury & District at Melbury Motors. I live in a "Living van" on site and have done for a while, I'm also in the process of doing up a caravan to live in later on so I can take my "van" to the rallies I like to go to, got an old tractor I use to tow it, I drove to Lands end and back on it. "Blogspot traactor travels".
    I've been following your blog for a long time now with interest, you've had quite a journey in many ways !
    I to have also spent many hours watching and reading what people get up to wth C90's and so I biught one (Chinese copy) from yeovil after seeing it on your blog, I aslo got the link to "Gobi girls" which fired my interest no end.
    I'm currently getting mine ready for a long journey in the summer but your blog is a good source of information for me so do keep posting, and I wish you the best of luck in your adventure.

    1. Hi did a search and couldnt find your blog! If you could let me have the full link would like to have a read! How are you finding the Riders Cub?

    2. Hi Jools, you could try copying this address and putting it in your browser, should work! Been a few years since I looked at it.

      I'll let you know about the scooter its only just been assembled !

  4. Found your blog, that was a bit of a journey! My Uncle once did the whole of the UK in a horse drawn gypsy caravan! You mentioned Liam - Not Liam Stacey by any chance? Went to school with him, last time I saw him he was out at Henstridge?

  5. Glad you found it ! Given half a chance I'd be doing something like what your uncle did but I think I'd stick with the tractor. Liam and his partner were very instrumental in me doing that trip dont think it would have happened otherwise. Liam is still at henstridge but he pops up here alot to say hello and stuff.