Currently Using – Outdoor

Another Corner in Life

Here’s a summary page about the outdoor gear I’ve accumulated over the years.  Generally I have a ‘one in, one out’ policy, so  I don’t have too much ‘stuff‘at any given time.  The goal is buying good value for money kit which if pricey will at least last a long time.

Motorcycling Hardware

I’ve been a keen motorcyclist for years now and currently ride a 2016 Yamaha MT-09 Tracer (aka Tracer 900 and soon to be Tracer 9) – 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 mostly stock, except for the ETC unit and some Baby Face frame sliders, which are solid even if they do look kind of dull. 

I replaced the Dunlop D222 OEM tyres quite quickly, for the excellent Michelin Road 5. Great handling, and really confident in corners, especially in wet conditions.

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 from Anker for charging. The Ram mount also fits on my bicycle and with a small adapter, so I can stick my GoPro on that too.

In June 2020 for the first time, I bolted a solid top-box to one of my motorcycles, in this case a Givi TRK46N, which I’ve come to really appreciate, even if it looks like a camping cold box.

Lake Saiko with the motorcycle in front of some boats
Lake Saiko. Lake Sai (?)

Motorcycle Clothing

In the Summer I use an old RS Taichi Exceed mesh jacket (~May 2009), some K7 Jeans from Hood Jeans 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), 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, and broadly they work really well.

Cycling

In 2011 I picked up a Trek Kaitai 700c bicycle (at end of life), which I like to get out on, and in December 2014, got some Ortleib waterproof rear panniers.  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 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.

Snow

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 as a bit of a memento, but looks pretty cool actually.

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.

Powder I suspect
Powder I suspect

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 though careful to continue to buy backpacker friendly camping gear when I can – like my tiny stove – because it doubles up as earthquake/natural disaster emergency kit.

Cameras

Including these here since I mainly use them outside. I will not count the number of ‘vista + motorcycle’ photos I have; it is many.

I have a FujiFilm X-T200 (April 2020) with the kit 15-45mm lens and a 23mm prime, and so far really like it. It’s a different beast from my old entry level Nikon D3200 dSLR.

In December 2018 I received a GoPro 7black as a gift. I like to play with 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, the kids can’t really break it. Well, they haven’t yet.

Shonan beach - Summer 2013
Shonan 2013 – July