Here’s a summary page about some of the outdoor gear I’ve accumulated over the years. Generally I have a ‘one in, one out’ policy, so I don’t have much ‘stuff‘ at any given time. I really don’t have the space for it. The goal is to buy good, value for money kit and even better if it lasts for a long time.
I’ve been a keen motorcyclist for a few years now and currently ride a 2016 Yamaha MT-09 Tracer (aka Tracer 900). It’s an 847cc sports touring bike which is great for getting out and about in Japan, seeing stuff and meeting people. The bike is mostly stock, except for the ETC unit and some Baby Face frame sliders, which are solid.
For tyres, I went for the excellent Michelin Road 5. They have great handling, and really are really confidence inspiring in corners, especially in wet conditions. I’ve been a ‘Road fan since the Pilot Road 2 quite a few years back.
I added a RAM mount, X Grip and Tough Claw for holding a smartphone as a navigation aid onto the handlebars, and use the 12V socket and a USB adapter for charging.
In June 2020, I bolted a solid Givi TRK46N top-box on for the first time for me on a bike, which I’ve come to really appreciate, even if it looks like an organ donor transportation box (apparently). I used to strap a bag to the pillion seat, which meant I couldn’t carry a passenger and the bag, so it’s worked out well.
In the Summer I use an RS Taichi Explorer Air mesh jacket, (May 2022) with an additional Forcefield back protector, some K7 Jeans from Hood Jeans (Dec. 2017) and a pair of RS Taichi Raptor gloves (September 2018), which I even reviewed. For footwear, I have a pair of Forma Flow Dry, which are light and also waterproof (February 2020).
For Winter, I have some more RS Taichi gloves, this time the RST626 Sonics (October 2018) and some RST639s which are their heated ‘e-Heat’ range (December 2020), a FirstGear Kathmandu jacket and 37.5 Kilimanjaro trousers (January 2018). Finally, a pair of Forma ADV Tourer boots – nice and warm, and again, waterproof (February 2020).
I added a ForceField CE2 Isolator back protector to the already impressive Kathmandu jacket – it comes with CE1 D30 on shoulders and elbows on the elbows but nothing on the back. I also bought a separate ForceField Elite CE1 chest protector. I find the ForceField kit to be really well made.
In May 2018 in invested in a pair of Cardo Freecom4 Bluetooth intercoms to talk to my passenger, get some navigation reminders and such. I managed to lose one in March 2021, so in early 2022 I invested in a Feecom4X which is backwards compatible.
In December 2022 I picked up a Trek Dual Sports bike, which I love to get out on – I hope it lasts as long as the 11 years my previous Trek Kaitai did (though it was pretty battered and had most of it replaced along the way).
In December 2014, got some Ortleib waterproof rear panniers which have been so useful when out with family, doing some shopping, all of that. I also have the backpack adapter so I can use these same panniers as a backpack when I’m out on my motorbike or just out hiking in the rain, which is more often than I plan.
The bike is easily enough for the kind of places I get to which is mainly asphalt, but with the odd track and beach path. Those panniers are rugged and versatile.
I have a 2015/16 Flow Blackout all-mountain style snowboard and some 2015/16 Union Contact Pro bindings for the days on the mountain. I also have some Burton Concord boots I got cheap in a sale in late 2016 as they were last year’s model (shock, horror). For many years I ran on a Nitro Atlas board and Flow bindings, both of which were great. The board is now mounted on my living room wall as a bit of a memento, and looks quite cool actually.
After many years I also replaced my jacket and trousers for the 2022/23 season, going for a Burton Swash jacket and Reserve bib trousers. I get a bit of off mountain mileage out of the jacket, and tend to prefer looser ones.
I sometimes ski on some cheap Head Cube 10 ski boots I picked up in a sale a few years back, and usually rented skis. It’s very much a second place to snowboarding for me, but still fun.
We often drive up to the mountains in our 1.5 litre family car, so I should mention we use Carmate Biathlon Quick Easy rubber ‘chains’. I’ve never really needed an SUV or 4 wheel drive car to get to most places we go.
Camping / Hiking
I have an assortment of cheap camping gear, mainly sized to fit in the car (or on the back of a motorbike) for family camps, and we sometimes rent gear depending on location. I am careful to buy backpacker friendly camping gear when I can – like my tiny stove – because it doubles up as earthquake/natural disaster emergency kit.
Including these here since I mainly use them outside! I cannot count the number of ‘scenic view + motorcycle’ photos I have, for it is many.
Currently I have a FujiFilm X-T200 (April 2020) with the kit 15-45mm lens, a 23mm prime, and a 16-80mm f4 weather sealed travel lens.
In December 2018 I received a GoPro 7black. I use the GoPros on the snowboard, the bikes and at the beaches. I find it to be a great urban camera too and using with the family given its POV style it’s proven quite sturdy.