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 quite 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. That’s why I have an ETC unit.
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.
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).
In the Summer I use an RS Taichi Explorer Air mesh jacket, (May 2022) with an additional Forcefield back protector, some K7 AAA Jeans from Hood Jeans (Sept. 2023) 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 part of 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 and allegedy more compatible with Sena units.
In December 2022 I picked up a Trek Dual Sports bike, which I love to get out on.
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 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 which is my main lens these days. I also have a manual focus 7Artisans macro lens too.
After over 11 years with GoPro action cameras from the 2, 5 and 7, in Summer 2023 I switched to the DJI Osmo Action 4. I like action cams for what they do, and still get a lot of value out of them.