Currently Using – Outdoor

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I thought I’d have a short page about the outdoor gear I’ve accumulated over the years.  Generally I have a ‘one in, one out’ policy, so  I don’t carry too much ‘stuff‘.  Opinions are welcome in the comments.  I can’t really afford really expensive stuff, so value for money is the goal.


I’ve been a keen motorcyclist for a number of 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 things and meeting people. The bike is still stock, except for the ETC unit and some Baby Face frame sliders, which are solid even if they do look kind of dull.  Tyres are now the excellent Michelin Road 5s.

One of the few things I’ve added is a RAM mount, X Grip and Tough Claw which is excellent for holding my smartphone as a navigation aid, using the 12V socket and a USB adapter from Anker for charging. It also fits well on my bicycle and with a small adapter I can stick my GoPro on it.

As for gear, it’s based around value for money and safety really, nothing exotic.

For the summer I have an increasingly old RS Taichi Exceed mesh jacket and some K7 Jeans from Hood Jeans, then a FirstGear Kathmandu jacket and trousers (Jan 2018) for the winter.

For gloves, I have some Icon Patrol gauntlet gloves for the winter and rain, and some RS Taichi Raptor leather and mesh ones for the summer. Boots year round are Icon SuperDuty 4.

I also added a ForceField CE2 Isolator back protector to the already impressive Kathmandu jacket (comes with CE1 D30 on shoulders and elbows) and I bought a separate ForceField Elite CE1 chest protector.

I recently (May 2018) invested in a pair of Cardo Freecom4 Bluetooth intercoms to talk to my passenger, and other bits. Seem to work OK.


In 2011 I picked up a Trek Kaitai 700c bicycle when it was at end of life, which I like to get out on, and in December 2014, I picked up some Ortleib waterproof rear panniers.  Those panniers are fantastic, and I have the backpack adapter so I can use these same panniers as a backpack on my motorbike or just out hiking in the rain. The bike is OK for the distances and places I go, and for that it’s been decent value for money.


To enjoy the mountains, I now 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.

I sometimes ski a bit, on some cheap Head Cube 10 ski boots I picked up in a sale a few years back, and an old pair of carving skis I got from a friend. It’s very much a second place to snowboarding for me, but still fun.

We often drive up to the mountains in our 1.5litre family car, so I should mention we use Carmate Biathlon Quick Easy rubber ‘chains’.

Camping / Hiking

I have an assortment of cheap camping gear, mainly sized to fit in the car / back of a motorbike for family camps, and frankly, we sometimes rent gear. I am though careful to continue to buy backpacker friendly camping gear when I can – like my tiny stove.

The Audio and the Visual

I have an old ‘entry level’ Nikon D3200 dSLR which I bought in October 2012, having sold my trusty old D40 (from 2006).  I have 3 lenses for it – a 35mm prime which is my favoured lens, a 55-200mm zoom and a used 18-55mm VR kit lens I got cheap.

After years of abusing and finally selling my GoPro Hero2 then it’s successor a GoPro Hero 5  in December 2018 I received a GoPro7 as a gift 🙂  which I like to play with on the board, 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, the kids can’t really break it. Well, they haven’t yet.

I also have a Zoom H1 audio recorder, as sometimes I just want to capture the sounds, and not the sights, and I often use it for taking memos, recording waterfalls and such if I want to make a video and have better audio. Obviously my phone can do this, but the H1 quality is impressive.