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Old 02-17-2014, 03:00 PM   #739
DRRambler OP
AKA Albertastrom
 
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Vancouver Island
Oddometer: 838
Gear Review part 1

Gear Review

survey

Part 1 is a review some of the major items I had with me on the trip. I have intentionally kept each review as short as possible but I can elaborate if anyone is interested. Part two will cover some of the smaller items. Please let me know if there is anything I miss that you want to know about. The bike and tires will be in a separate review.

The rating system. This is how my brain works and believe me I had plenty of helmet time to think about this stuff.

Quality

A Perfect
B Almost Perfect
C 50/50
D More bad then good
E Not at all good

Usefulness

1 Could not do without it, used it all the time
2 Almost mandatory, rarely used
3 Could have left it at home but nice to have
4 Never used it

Alpinestar Scout Adventure boots

This was the only equipment donation I received and it was at the last minute. I didn't have the budget for boots so was going to use a pair of old Aplpinestar Gortex road boots. But my good pal Greg at Riverside Motosports and Parts Canada stepped up and supplied me with these great boots.



Rating B1

Absolutely comfortable from the box and really easy to walk in. Lightweight and relatively easy to get in and out of.
The left lower buckle is impossible to close unless I hit it hard which I have been doing with the heel of the other boot. This started within two months of daily use.
The left boot also is not totally waterproof. In light to medium rain, no problem. But in heavy prolonged rain my left foot got soaked all the time.

Would buy again.

Klim Latitude pants



Rating A1

Great fit, totally waterproof, no flapping in the wind, and good venting

Would buy again

Klim Badlands Pro jacket



Rating B1

Love the fit and the built in kidney belt is great to help support the weight. Generally comfortable but the collar is not a good design. Each time you put on the jacket you must make sure the collar is not turned over or it chafes. Also the elastic cuffs were a bother and I had them cut out.
There are plenty of pockets, which are not waterproof but that is not unexpected. The small zippers can be a bit stiff but they are the waterproof ones which by nature are a little tougher to move.
I'm not sure why but the sleeves are not waterproof. Perhaps the zips are leaking but this was very annoying. The main reason I bought this jacket was it is supposed to be waterproof and it eliminated a rain layer. However I was forced to don an overjacket everytime it rained. Venting is adequate in hot temps but only when in motion. It was a crazy hot jacket at sweltering border crossings.

Would buy again only after looking at other options first

Klim Element Glove long

element glove

Rating B2

This really should get a 1.5 for usefulness as it was the go to glove for almost all of Patagonia when it was cold and rainy. However it's not perfect. The main problem is the sizing but I can only blame my anatomy for that. To get a glove wide enough I had to get the XL and the fingers are too long. The other problem is the leather patch on the palm is really stiff and creates a pressure point on my hand when it is around the grips. I think this is slowly breaking in but like the rest of the glove, the break in time is very long. It's really comfortable other than that and they designed the palm to be thin for good heat transfer from the grips. They are totally waterproof and fairly easy to put on if your hands are a bit moist. Oh and the knuckles are Titanium!!

Would buy again

Shoei Hornet DS Helmet



Rating B1

I love this helmet for comfort and visibility. The peak is only useful in high sun and is a wind catcher. I removed the peak during the windiest parts of Patagonia and the difference was amazing. When I started north again I put it back on because the sun was always in front of me and it did help with the glare. I also have a Shoei RF1000 and the fit is almost identical. The only real issue is wind noise and for that reason I won't give it an A. In fact I don't think I could give any helmet an A for that reason.

And it gives me a really cool hairdo!

Would buy again

Garmin Montana GPS



Rating B1

Almost flawless until heavy rain and wind in Peru. The screen developed a bad condensation problem and then the back light totally failed. At one point even the touch screen was acting up which rendered the unit useless for a time.

I have no complaints about software or the user interface. It performed as well as I expected considering the maps I had installed. For the most part I don't use GPS for turn by turn directions. I use it to see where I am and what direction I'm going. In cities this is essential for me so I don't get turned around the wrong way. The big screen of the Montana is great if the backlight is working.
I never used the built in camera.

Would buy again, in fact I have to get this one refurbished when I get back home.

Delorme inReach for Smart Phone



Rating B1

I really like this unit. The ability to send and receive messages is an important feature for me.
In other regards it functions much like the Spot brand device. I would say that the inReach is more sensitive to overhead cloud than the Spot and therefore some tracking points did not make it. At times I had trouble sending a message if it was cloudy but almost always had eventual success.
I used the 12v power adaptor most of the time so battery life was not an issue. I did bring Lithium batteries with me so I could use it off the bike like on my Darian gap voyage.
The RAM holder held it safe but the antenna rattled in the housing so I used some tape to fatten up the antenna and secure it.Also the RAM holder was not designed to hold the 12v power adaptor so I had to make some mods.

Would buy again

Screens for Bikes Windshield



Rating A1

Peter at Screens for Bikes was kind enough to send this to me with no shipping costs.
This is one tough windshield. It performed really well keeping the wind off my chest. It did move the air flow right into my face which did contribute to the wind noise but I think it was a good trade off.
There was no vibration from it at all even though it is mounted to the flimsy headlight surround.

Would buy again

Happy Trail Teton 7.5 Panniers and racks



Rating A1

These guys are tough and really easy to straighten if you need to. After hundreds of openings and closings the latches are still perfect. The seals have taken a beating but the boxes are still waterproof and the seals are easy to replace. The mounting system held firm with normal use. With abnormal use one of the boxes was pulled off the rack. I needed to use a rock to straighten the metal enough to reinstall it but when I had access to a hammer I got it perfectly flat again.

The racks stayed solid but I must admit I had them reinforced before I left. I had read stories of cracks developing on heavily laden bikes so I took no chances. I believe this was not necessary in the long run.

Would buy again
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