As a novice to camping, cycling, and gadgets of all kind, organizing all my gear has definitely been the biggest hurdle for me. I cannot yet conceptualize that actually cycling through Africa might be any more cumbersome than that.
After weeks and weeks of visiting cycling and outdoors stores, researching online, and box after box of mail ordering, finally everything on my “to buy/get/organize” list had gone from red to yellow to green. My room had been filling up with piles and piles of stuff. The greener the list, the bigger my mental despair: How was I possibly going to fit all that stuff into my two duffel bags?!?!
TDA allow every rider to bring two 90l-duffle bags, each weighing no more than 23kg, as well as a spare set of non-folding tires. That will get transported on one of their trucks. Obviously—looking at the image above—I had assembled 200% of my allowance! And that was no surprise because I had a lot more items on my packing and gear list than TDA recommend on their packing list. Afraid of new decision-making, I dragged out the eventual packing for weeks, until time was running out and forced me into action.
Step 1—compartmentalize everything into stuff sacks. And what a transformative step that was! It instantly turned the mess—both in my room and in my brain—into a somewhat more lucid image. I had gotten heaps of little garment cases from MUJI, and I cannot emphasize enough how much I love them for keeping things organized. For toiletries, documents and gadgets, I’m using simple kitchen/freezer ziploc bags and find them equally useful.
Step 2—arrange everything neatly inside the bags. It took me two turns, but eventually the miracle unfolded in front of my eyes: I managed to fit everything into my bags! And the zippers closed without effort! Because TDA suggests that if one needs to sit on the bags to close them, then they are too full. . . . Well, not mine 🙂
Step 3—check the weight. Each of my bags nicely came in just above 20kg! Visualize a crazy girl excitedly jumping up and down—that was me! Admittedly, maxing out my allowance won’t make it any easier to lug those bags around, but hey, don’t you worry—I’ll surely learn that lesson the hard way 🙂