5 things you wouldn’t expect in our panniers…

When we were getting ready for our big Adventure (find out more about that here) we checked out loads of other cycle tourers’ kit lists to help us think about and decide what we could/should take*. The research started out interesting (except we did waste a lot of time getting sidetracked – cats on bikes, who knew…?) and quickly turned into overwhelm with our wish list getting longer and more unrealistic. So we decided to break from the norm, and tell you about the things you wouldn’t expect to find in our panniers…
(We do have a proper grown-up kit list coming soon if you’re interested though…!)
1. Mikey the dinosaur
Yes, we’re carrying a dinosaur. You want proof? Here:


We’ve got 2 young nephews in the UK who (rightly) think we’re just having a big holiday. They have NO idea where El Salvador is (nor did I before 2014…) or even that there is a place called the Grand Canyon and so to keep them up to date with where we are we send them photos of Mikey in various places and poses. He’s climbed an enchanted rock in Texas, helped Matt repair a puncture in Baja and paddled in Lake Atitlan to name a few. He’s a very Adventurous Dinosaur. We love that this shows the boys that there’s a big wide and exciting world out there and inspires them to have their own adventures one day.
2. A Fake computer

Oh it works alright, perfectly in fact, it’s just not a proper computer… Everyone who sees it thinks we’ve got some ridiculously chic, new fangled mini-computer but it’s an iPad mini and a keyboard case. It’s perfect for us, it’s light and does (nearly) everything we want. The only thing that would improve it is if it had a USB port.

3. A Power shower
Well ok, Power might be stretching it a tad. More a Steady But Not Particularly Powerful Pocket Shower. We often camp or wild camp but we hate going to bed after a day on the bikes dirty, salty and ming and so often rig this up to give us a proper clean. Much to the delight of the ladies when Matt’s showering… An alternative that we’ve seen is just a bottle with holes in the lid which I’m sure works nearly as well! It’s light, easy to hang up and means we don’t have to buy and dispose of wetwipes so much.
4. A canvas painting
You can take the designer out of the UK… etc. We were given this by the family we stayed with in Guatemala when we stopped to learn Spanish for 2 weeks. It’s painted by José (the father) and luckily it’s lightweight because it’s staying with us until we can find a way to get it home where it’ll eventually adorn a wall in our house and be a reminder of that part of our trip.
*LGADFS Transparency Policy Notice: The eagle-eyed may know that this is actually in a map case on Matt’s handlebar bag, not a pannier, yes we agree, it’s a slightly misleading – but eye-catching – headline (thank you Unprofessional Adventurers!) 😉
5. A Pot Cosy
“WTF is a ‘Pot Cosy’?” I hear you cry. Well it’s this:
Pot cosy
Pot cosy and mug cosy to boot!
It’s a homemade (as if I needed to say that) insulated um, cosy, for a, um, well, a pot. We use this genius piece of kit EVERY DAY to either finish cooking our food or keep food/water hot. It saves on fuel when cooking because instead of cooking say, pasta on a constant flame you just get the water to a rolling boil, then take it off the heat, pop the pot in the cosy and let it do it’s thang, eg. Cook for a few more minutes and voila! Any carb works the same way – except brown rice maybe, that probably doesn’t but who’s got time for that anyway… Thank you to our friends at shesnotpedallingontheback for this little gem of kit advice!
So that’s our 5 slightly random things in our panniers. We wouldn’t be lost without them, but they are part of our little life on the road.  We also got carried away and as an added bonus, because we just had to share them here’s…
5 things we absolutely couldn’t live without on our trip:
  • Duct/Duck tape – If it moves and it shouldn’t (plus fixing sunglasses)
  • WD40 – If it doesn’t move and it should (plus cleaning chains)
  • Water filter – we’ve saved a small fortune and many plastic bottles from the ocean 😇
  • Bike/helmet mirror – Now we’d be lost without one. It helps with knowing when there’s a big truck coming behind you and you’re going to have to dive off the road. This only happens occasionally if you’re reading mum…
  • Bungees – For securing kit, for securing bikes, for a washing line, for EVERYTHING


Everything in your panniers has to have a purpose – maybe you don’t use it every day but you’d be stuck without it – you don’t want to be carrying unnecessary weight up mountains, GET RID! As a designer I do take this a step further though and so, in the words of William Morris,  ‘Have nothing in your house (pannier) that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ See, I can justify anything…
*For those of you looking for an actual kit list we will be doing one soon… But in the meantime, what we’ve found out/realised is that what you start out with at the beginning is never what you’ll end up with – there’s always something that you forgot, something that breaks or something that just hadn’t crossed your mind but makes bike life that bit easier (ahem, pot cosy!). But that’s the point, you can probably change/add/throw things away en route. It may cost you money or weight but don’t let kit be a reason you’re not starting an Adventure!

6 thoughts on “5 things you wouldn’t expect in our panniers…

  1. Pingback: The Ultimate – very special and highly unique – cycle-touring kit list(s) of joy… – Let's go and do fun stuff…

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