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The Gear

The trip is not only about bikes, but also about the gear we took with us, and there is a lot of it. This section explains our choice of equipment and how we us it. For the moment it is more of an introduction, detailed reviews will come later on, as we get to use and test the material.

The filming stuffs

So we wanted to take great pictures and videos while travelling…

To match our expectations, we needed quality gear. It was a big challenge for us as we were filming and taking pictures with amateur equipment. We felt so lucky when Canon decided to join the trip, and later on TSE imaging, Degreef & Partners and Silicon Power. The four of them covered every aspect of what we needed and allowed us to exploit the full potential of our journey. 

Canon provided us with 3 different size and quality cameras that are the Canon Powershot G5X, the Canon 5D mIII and the Canon C300 mII as well as lenses to make this photography and videography project possible. For more infos on our Canon cameras, check the related page !

With all the great stuff that canon equipped us with, we needed proper secondary equipment to use it the best way possible.

First we needed a good tripod and fluid head. That’s where TSE imaging came to us with their Sirui line of tripods. More specifically, they provided us with the BCT-2003 tripod, combined with the BCH-10 head. We have to say it is a perfect match. The combination is short enough to fit on our bikes but has an expended length long enough to get over crowded areas. It is as lightweight as a photography tripod should be, but as robust as a video one needs to be. It handles our 5D and our C300 perfectly, in every kind of terrain. If needed, there is a spreader to fix the legs together and be sure that they won’t move, even for long shots. The head has the ability to regulate its fluidity to different degrees, and is really sturdy. The head has a very convenient little light to make the levels in low-light conditions. The tripod and the head are very resistant to dust, snow and rain. Nothing will alter its capacities and coming from us crazy boys, this is not an understatement, trust me ! Little extra : the tripod legs have little straps to fix them together for transport. It is very helpful to be sure they don't move with all the vibrations from our bikes ! All together, it is a perfect companion for extreme travel documentaries like ours and we really recommend it.

On the side, as we have to be really efficient at some point, we needed a solution for smart and quick stable shoots. This is where Degreef & Partners came into action and provided us with the fantastic Gorrilapods, a lighter one for the G5X, and a sturdier one for our 5D mIII. It really nailed it in some on-the-go situations. More than that, it enabled us to get some cool shots from any part of your motorbike or any branch in the trees surrounding us. It always comes handy at some point !

Along with the Sirui tripod and head, TSE imaging also provided us with an amazing Konova K2 slider and motorized M1 Pan/Tilt head. This amazing combination, though a little bit space and time consuming, helped us surpass ourselves and get the most out of the places we are staying in, with day or night moving timelapses and crazy travellings. It really gets your production to another level.

To compel with this amazing equipment, Degreef & Partners provided us with a extraordinarily easy to use Hähnel Giga T-Pro II remote control for our 5D mIII. It allows us to accomplish the motorized timelapses we spoke about earlier, to record shoots with the three of us and to use our Bulb setting with the insurance of not getting troubled image in the end. It really is a game changer when you need to get your hands off the camera !

One part of our adventure is about people that stand out of the ordinary. We want to interview them and share it with the world. When performing interviews, good sound is a must ! We needed a good solution to record audio if we wanted these interviews to be of high quality. TSE imaging found an amazing solution for us : the Azden i-coustic Pro XD. This small, lightweight and qualitative wireless microphone system allows us to take our production to a next level and get a really good, grain-free, sound from our interviews. It connects directly into our 5D, which is quiet efficient and they charge through USB ! A must-have for our video productions !

Having a lot of filming gear means having a lot of batteries to charge. This is a burden when you are travelling every day. Once again, TSE Imaging solved the problem by providing us with FX Lion batteries and chargers. This Chinese brand is of surprisingly high quality. They last for days and are able to output D-Tap as well as USB. With their own cables, it enabled us to charge all of our batteries and phones for days not worrying about when the next access to electricity would be. Not to say that these batteries are foolproof and will never let you down (they stayed in our motorbike side-cases, which are subject to a lot of vibrations and bumps but never failed us).

To get the maximum out of our filming gear, TSE Imaging provided us with Athabasca filters, which proved to be a must-have ! The gradient ND’s allow us to really nail our landscapes, not burning anything in the sky and keeping the details everywhere else. They are next to our lenses and we can’t stop using them. Classical ND filters are also of help when the sun is so bright you can’t get a decent depth of field. Once again, this is the kind of equipment that brings your production to the next level. More than that, the Athabasca holding system is really easy to put in action and it is solid as a rock. You can trust it in every condition for holding and keeping your filters safe.

Another type of filter we used from TSE Imaging and were of absolute need for us were the HOYA protection filters. We put them on every one of our lenses and even took spare ones with us… and we are so happy we did! As we use our cameras in all kinds of terrain, especially sandy backroads, it better be equipped with this kind of filters otherwise the lenses might get in big trouble ! They protected them from dust and scratches without altering the quality like no other filter. We are very grateful for that !

Finally, with the cameras we have, especially the C300 Mark II that produce 256Gb of data in 90 minutes in 4K Log-C 2, we needed large storage capacity to save all our rushes. We are glad to have a partnership with Silicon Power that provided us with shockproof, waterproof and dustproof hard drives. We couldn’t be happier. The 3Tb A85 Armor hard drive has a large capacity, which is great to lower the number of hard drives we took. Thanks to their robustness, their offer us the peace of mind that our data will sustain the roughness of our journey. Silicon Power did not only gave us hard drives, but also C-Flash 1000x memory cards to shoot with our 5D Mark III. Robust as the A85, our pictures won’t get corrupted and the 128Gb of space allow us to shoot all day long without worrying of unloading the cards. Peace of mind is priceless, and Silicon Power offers it to us.

The camping stuff

It is not only a trip, it’s also an adventure and we want to keep our daily plans to the minimum. Beside for the big cities, we never have plans for where we will sleep or what we will eat in the evening. We get up, pack our gear and ride till the sun sets, when we start looking for a place to put the tents or a house where we can sleep for the night. This is why we carry everything we need to face any situation. We would like to thank the team of the Lecompte Shop place Flagey, in Brussels, for the time they took to explain us the use of our gear and their wise advice to choose the products that are best fitted for our journey.

Namely, we have two MSR tents for two persons each, the 4th place being taken by all our gears that we pile up together at night. The tents aren’t that large, we can barely fit two of us in one, thus each night someone else get to sleep alone. When the weather is good we can use the ‘tarp’, it is mostly a large and steady curtain that can be used as a small tent or to cover the bikes if we want to keep them out from the rain or out of sight.

Sleeping-wise, Thibault and Donald did not bring sleeping bags from Belgium, since they were in a big rush in the last days before the big flight. Instead, they use rabbit fur curtains they bought in India. Unfortunately, despite being really comfy and soft, it proved to be not enough to keep them warm at high altitude. Léopold has a sleeping bag for average temperatures, that is good enough most of the times. We all have a light cotton sleeping pod, that is very useful when the hygiene of the sheets is doubtful or just when the night is warm. We all sleep on an inflatable mattress that we use a lot, to compensate for a lacking bed in a sleeping room or to sleep on the floor when someone opens their door for us.

To cook we have a very handy MSR omnifuel stove that can be used either with gas canister or with auto fuel. We can always take a little bit of fuel from our bikes to cook the diner. We bought all the kitchenware in a market in New-Delhi and we are fully equipped, from the espresso machine to the steaming pot, passing by the frying pan and the authentic ‘shashlick’ skewers, to cook the meat as the locals. We have a small axe to chop wood for the campfire that can also be used as a hammer. To catch the diner, Donald brought a fishing rod but he has yet to catch a fish.

Finally, one of our best ally for this trip is the Lifestraw Go, a water bottle with an integrated straw that allow us to drink from any water source. When we drink out of the straw, the water is purified and safe to drink. It allows us to stop along the road to take a sip from a fresh waterfall or just take water from any tap. We also have the Lifestraw Steel, a product which is compact and perfectly fits on our bag pack when we are hiking in the mountains. We can then travel light and drink water directly from any water. It fits perfectly on the side of our camera back, always in reach. The Lifestraw Mission is perfect for when we are camping to filter the water for washing our food or to cook. For the Go and Steel, the water has to be aspired while the Mission uses gravity to filter the water. A pot is under the filter and it fills with 5 liters of clean water in one hour. When riding in dust for hours, it is really a pleasure to wash our face with crystal clear water and then make tea without any residue in it. Our partnership with LifeStraw is really a game changer! we don’t have to worry about our drinking supplies and surcharge our already packed bikes with liters of water. Furthermore, this reduces our ecological footprint. We are devastated to see beautiful landscapes ruined by disposed plastic bottles and we are glad not to be a part of this anymore.

The clothes

Biking clothes

Since we never owned a motorcycle before planning for the trip, we had to start from scratch. We contacted several bike shops and had a very good feeling with IPstore, they really understood the soul of our project. We will be traveling with vintage bikes in every kind of conditions, from the Iranian deserts to the cold passes of the Himalaya, and need to be dressed appropriately. They equipped us with beautiful Ixon leather jackets that have a vintage look but are in fact super modern. We wear them every time we ride and since they are modular, with a winter insert, we can use them for hot as well as for cold weather. They are exactly what we imagined. We also have reinforced pants, a pair of jeans, that are ideal for everyday riding and a pair of pants with mesh insert, for when we we will cross the hottest areas. Two pairs of gloves, a leather one, super comfy for the hot weather and that perfectly matches our jackets, and then a waterproof and hot winter pair, for when the wind is strong or it is raining. Dry fingers while riding in cold rain is the best thing a biker could have. For when it is really cold, we have special under layers, such as a full face and half face balaclava and under gloves. With all those extra items, we can really respond to any kind of weather. To complete our look of vintage rider, each of us has a pair of cool looking googles, with little cushion that protect us from the dust when we are on the dirtiest roads, or that just make us look awesome while on the bike.

Now, the part of our protective equipment that served us the most so far, are the Sidi Adventure Boots. We already fell several times and had some minor accidents. Every time, we walked away from it as if nothing happened . With other boots we might have broken one of our feet or be injured for several days. Even though they protect the feet in every direction, they are very comfortable and walking for a few kilometers with the boots is no issue at all. We cross many over landers with the same Sidi boots and we all agree that they are ideal for adventure motorcycling.

Technical clothes

Because our cargo space is limited, we need very efficient clothes that are solid, lightweight and comfy. We are very lucky that Columbia has heard of our project and has decided to make us ready for battle. We will have the chance to test their product during the trip, and believe us, they will be tested thoroughly. The most useful one is the OutDry Ex Platinum Rain Gear, it is a complete set of jacket and pants that we can put on top of our riding gears. When the first sign or rain appears, we quickly put them on and with the addition of the Ixon winter gloves we stay dry. The Titanium t-shirts are made of a ultra light fabric, that is micro-perforated, to keep us cool even when the sun is intense. The pants are very useful, slim fit and well adjusted they are perfect to drive all day or for hikes in the mountains. For the resting days, we have a set of light pants, that can be transformed in shorts, perfect for walking around the cities or hiking.

We got two pair of shoes for different use. First, a pair of Vulc N Vent sneakers that are perfect for walking around the city or for short walks. For longer walk in rougher terrain, we prefer the Titanium dry-out shoes, totally waterproof and very rugged we can go for longer treks in the mountains and cross rivers with no fear of wet socks. We still dont understand how the sweat can go out and the river can’t get in, but believe us, it works!

Casual clothes

Because everything in life is not about technicality, we also have casual clothes with us that we like to wear because they are comfy, classy and of good quality. Our friends from Elpidea believed in this project from the beginning and wanted us to wear their clothes for the trip. We are very happy about it because their brand DNA is all about nature, durability and adventure. We fell at ease in the clothes and we think that the clothes feel at ease in this adventure. We have long sleeves t-shirts that can be used under our jacket to retain the sweat with the high fiber cotton that keeps our jackets odor free, handy for long trips! The short sleeved t-shirts are of great use for the days without riding, to tan our arms and get the adventurer’s tan lines!

To ride in style and with our eyes well protected, our friends from Karün, a Chilean sunglass company, provided us with amazing sunglasses from the Ocean collection that are made of reclaimed fishing nets. They have proven to be very solid, withstanding the pressure of the helmet on the side and the many projectiles and bees that plays kamikaze while riding. They are also light enough to sit comfortably on our nose for the whole day. For when we are in the cities, we have beautiful wooden glasses, that have an inimitable style. While Thibault and Donald choose the Patagonia with green salmon skin on the side, to protect them from indirect sunlight while shooting with the cameras, Léopold has beautiful Kona Silver with delicate silver inserts on the sides. Both of them have Carl Zeiss optics, so we see crystal clear through them, from dusk till dawn. We would like to emphasize on the quality of the lenses: while riding on bad roads, we need to calculate the best trajectory for our bikes well in advance and with the Carl Zeiss glasses, we can really distinguish all the holes in the road.

Lastly, other friends from Sixtine's gave us very comfortable underwear that we wear everyday for the long hours of riding. They are colorful an brighten our days as soon as we put them on.

The bags

Carrying all this gear is not easy on a everyday basis. Fortunately we have a lot of practical bags to put everything in it. All the Kappa bags have been given to us by IPstore, the official importer for Belgium. The Lowepro and Pelicase are from Degreef & Partners.

Our big and general bag for our personal stuffs is the Kappa WA404S 50L bag. The bag is large, waterproof and sand proof. This comes very handy when riding on dusty roads, the whole bike might be covered in dust, our stuff inside stay immaculate. They are very durable despite enduring a lot of friction while resting on our side cases.

As a smaller bag, the Kappa WA406S 15L is useful to carry our cantine or the video accessories. Both the Kappa bags come with many ropes and point of attach, to easily and steadily fix them on the bikes.

The Kappa LH201 & LH200 tank bag are the most used ones. They are always on our side and can carry a lot of sensible equipment, from our passports to our phones, batteries, maps, Karün glasses, L/C/K notebooks... They are easy to put on the bike with their strong magnets and easy to take off when we leave the bikes for a short period.

The Kappa KVE 37L K-Venture side cases are indestructible. They protect our legs when we fall and what is inside as well. We have made custom racks for them in India, using the stock Kappa handle. While locked, it is impossible to remove them from the bikes without the keys, so we can easily leave them overnight. They are loaded with spare parts and other heavy equipment, allowing us to have a low center of gravity despite all the pile of luggage.

To protect our most sensible equipment we have three Pelicases, two 1650, one for the C300MkII and the 24mm Cine lens and the other one for the Konova Slider. The third one, 1510, is smaller and is used to hold our hard drives, memory cards and other sensible accessories. They are very convenient to transport and to put on the bikes thanks to, once again, custom made racks in which they fit perfectly. For us it is really a peace of mind to know that our material is protected by such durable cases.

Coming to our soft camera bags, the LowePro ProTactics 350 AW is usually fitted on top of one of the Pelicase and protects the 5D Mark III and several lenses. This bag is stuffed with attach points, so we can fix it anywhere or put anything on it. From the LifeStraw Steel to the Steiner binoculars and the Gorrilapods, you name it, it fits on it. We opened the back zip thousands of time already, not always with care, and it still works perfectly. This bag is the most convenient photographic backpack we ever had. A small cap to make it waterproof is included and once the zip closed, the bag is totally dust-proof. You can believe us on this one, it went through tough conditions.

The LowePro DroneGuard CS 400 protects our precious DJI Phantom 4. The bag holds the drone firmly and has a lot of spare place to put even more things in it. Since the bag is easily accessible on top of one bike, it holds the rain gear and cold weather equipment that can be accessed in a few seconds. The bag offers good protection for the drone and is very lightweight.