Travels By Trike

The Continuing Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle


Over the years I have gone through lots of gear. It seems that every year products get better. Here are some observations of the gear I've replaced.

Amazon Kindle ereader - This is a wonderful product and weighs less than a paperback. It is so nice having a library of books to carry on tour without sacrificing the space or weight. My model wasn't backlit and required light to read. I now use a Google Nexus 7 tablet with an Amazon Kindle app.

Asus eeePC - I loved this little netbook. Great size and handled the road well. Unfortunately, CGOAB doesn't allow e-assist journals and I started my own website for my US tour. The screen on the netbook was too small for web design. I replaced it with a MacAir 13" laptop. Even though I no longer tour with e-assist I still enjoy working on my own website.

Canon G10 camera - This was my first 'real' camera. It is a good size and shoots in RAW as well as other formats. I did have trouble with the lens cover not opening completely when turning on. Somehow I got a scratch on the lens that couldn't be fixed.

Exped downmat 7 sleeping pad - Exped makes high quality camping equipment. This mat is filled with down and uses a special pump integrated into the mat. The mat provides 3 inches of thickness and weighs 3 lbs. The mat packs small into a 6x9 inch bag. It has an R-value of 6 which is great for camping in colder climates. I don't often camp in cold weather and am now using a newer Exped synthetic filled mat that weights less than 2 lbs.

Garmin 705 - This is a pricy gadget at $400 but I really like having a dedicated GPS unit to record my route and riding stats. I also use the Garmin road maps that are available on mini SD cards. These maps also include attractions, accommodation, grocery and lots of other information. At the end of rides I upload the data to Garmin Connect and Map My Ride sites. After 3 years the battery died and couldn't be replaced. I upgraded to the Garmin 800.

itouch 4 - While touring in Cambodia I lost my iphone when I didn't notice it had fallen out of my pocket. Ooops! ATT asked $300 to replace it or $175 to cancel my contract. I canceled my contract and bought an itouch. The itouch offers everything the iphone does except the phone. While touring out of the country using the contract is too expensive anyway and I always rely on Skype for calls. The itouch is great for that and also takes amazing video. My Google Nexus 7 tablet has since replaced the itouch 4.

SONY Nex-5 camera - This is the camera I bought to replace the Canon G10. My intention was to get 'more serious' about photography. This is a 4/3 mirorless camera and I toured Asia with the 3 lenses that were offered - 16mm pancake, 18-55mm and 18-200mm zoom. The Sony takes really good images and is fairly quick shot to shot but switching out the lenses was more trouble than I was willing to take on. The pancake and 18-200mm were sent home after a month on tour. I also discovered I didn't like using a lens cover. I often take pictures while riding and replacing the lens cover requires both hands which I found annoying. Finding the perfect touring camera can be difficult and is highly personal.

Verizon mifi hotspot - I used this on my US tour and really liked it. It works with 5 devices at once. The hotspot uses cell service which is convenient but significantly slower than broadband. The unit came in handy when I couldn't find wifi especially camping. My contract with Verizon ended and I didn't renew. On my Asia tour I bought a Huawei hotspot that will accept a SIM card.

VIO pov hd helmet camera - I have a real fascination with helmet cams. This camera is corded to a handheld control panel which I thought would be good if the camera ever came loose from my helmet. The control panel comes with a display screen so you can see what is being filmed. The camera is very lightweight. There is also a simple wireless control on a wrist band so you don't need to hold the bulky control panel. Unfortunately, my head bobbed noticeably while riding. The resulting video made me feel seasick watching it. The image quality is good but this is a technology that is improving quickly and better cameras are available. I've lost so much weight my head doesn't bob anymore and I may try another helmet cam.