Total weight: ~ 26 lbs / 11.8 kg
I carry many things on my bike, all equally important to me (else I wouldn’t be carrying it!). As much as I’d like to unplug from the world, I still want to capture and share thoughts about my trip, communicate with family and friends during my trip, and do research along the way about where to go and what to see. Plus, I think having some connectivity is good for safety in the case I might find myself in need of help somewhere. On this page I’ll discuss the electronics I carry with me, which includes all of my camera equipment.
Sena 20S Bluetooth Headset
Purpose: Many. Mainly used for listening to music while riding.
I list this first because I use it the most. The Sena is OK technology packaged in an awesome, easy to control device (even with medium thickness gloves). Through a Bluetooth connection with my iPhone and my motorcycle, I can 1) listen to the radio, 2) listen to and control iTunes (in which I have about 6,000 songs), 3) make and receive phone calls, 4) ask Siri questions on my iPhone, 5) hear alert tones from motorcycle (like low fuel level), and 6) receive voice guidance from my moto’s GPS navigator. I can also pair my Sena with others who use them for rider-to-rider communications. I really enjoy this product! Thanks Sena!
Personally, I prefer plugging in my own ear buds over the supplied in-helmet speakers. I find the fidelity much better and, with the ear buds, I can block out a lot of noise. I also prefer to use the adhesive mount over the clamp. I wear a Schuberth C3 Pro helmet and the two just did not fit “right” enough to suit my taste using the clamp.
Mid-2014 15” MacBook Pro
Purpose: Many. Mainly used for email, trip research, and video editing.
My MacBook and I are like peanut butter and jelly. I use it daily. I use it for surfing the web, email, and keeping my schedule straight, but what I really like about the MBP is the video editing power. Using Motion 5 and Final Cut Pro X, I am the weak link the man-machine interface. I really like the intuitive feel and seamless integration of all things Mac (yes, I am a fan boi!) I also use the MBP to upload my pictures to SmugMug and create all my LovingLivingAdventuring.com blog entries.
Purpose: Few. Browsing the web as I nod off; roadside maps; checking email when I don’t want to break out the laptop.
Some people have asked, Why the MBP, iPad and Kindle? The iPad has a unique function, which is to bridge the gap between the iPhone (too small) and breaking out the laptop (getting wifi, e.g.). The iPad is especially useful to me when I am in my tent and done reading my Kindle and just want to check things, like my email or the next day’s weather. I think in the end I find myself most justifying carrying the iPad because it’s light (maybe a pound) and packs tightly.
Purpose: Reading, which I enjoy.
So, the Kindle really did change my life. After getting my PhD, I eased back into leisure reading and my better half suggested the Kindle. Wow! Very light, easy to read and use, and works great in all ambient lighting conditions. Plus, the world really is at your feet with an always on 3G connection (paid for by the purchase – no recurring charges) to Amazons huge library. I use the Kindle primarily to read while going to bed or during periods where I am waiting around for something.
Purpose: Safety and security. I also use it to communicate with my better half when out of cell range as well as share my position and track on LovingLivingAdventuring.com.
If I listed my electronics in order of importance, this would be first. I would not travel in faraway places without it. Why? Several reasons, but the most important reason is that with InReach I can summon help if I need it nearly anywhere on the planet. And by help, I mean from one extreme giving me advice in a pickle to actually plucking me via helo from a really nasty situation (like a broken back). The InReach uses the Iridium satellite network to communicate, which keeps me “connected” on the other end to an operator that not only has my GPS location, but also has access to a global network of rescue assistance. The SOS button on my InReach is much like calling 911, but without a phone or connection to the Internet. Yes, I do have a premium for the insurance that provides this level of comfort, but it is totally worth it to me and my better half.
Second, I use the device to communicate with anyone via SMS, from anywhere in the world. I also use the device to give Facebook and Twitter updates.
Last, I use the device to update a public-viewable map with my track and position, which I share on LovingLivingAdventuring.com. With this feature, I am hoping that other like-minded adventurers see me coming and send me a note to hook up and say hello.
Purpose: Phone calls, text messages, checking email anytime; backup maps.
Well, it took a month of Sundays, but I finally “paid off” my contract and have an unlocked cell phone. Now I can get pretty much any pay-as-you-go sim card as I travel through each country.
GoPro Hero 4 Black
Purpose: Taking video.
I have come to love my GoPro. I use a selfie stick, but also have several mount points on my motorcycle as well as my helmet to take video of my travels. I pair it with a GoPro remote, which I mount on my handlebars, so selecting when and what to record is a breeze—and I don’t end up with hours of video for that “one” shot.
dji Phantom 3 Drone
Purpose: Be cool; make me famous. Haha, no, just for taking a different kind of video.
Everyone takes pictures (and I am not the greatest of a photographers) and videos. But few people take aerial shots (in 2.7K video) of what they are doing and where they are. Although the Phantom takes up a lot of room on the bike, I felt I could sacrifice skivvies for it (which I did not have to!). Beyond being really easy to fly, the Phantom has several features which are just amazing. For instance, it has a “Follow me” mode, where I set the altitude and view angle, then just take off, the Phantom staying right with me. It also has a “Point of Interest” mode where it will circle, on its own, an interesting subject, always keeping the view on the subject as it circles above. The “novice features” I really like, too, like auto-takeoff, auto-return to home, auto-land, and just hovering in place whenever you take your hands off the controls, thanks to GPS.
Canon EOS 70D Camera with 18-135mm and 70-300mm lenses; tripod
Purpose: Taking pictures and videos, lots of them.
So, everyone knows Canon makes good cameras (as well as Nikon and others). I chose a good one because I wanted a lot of features (not auto mode) to take pictures and videos. I wanted high resolution, high ISO, and the ability to hook up a microphone for audio recording. The lenses I carry offer me the ability to take a wide range of shots. I upload all of pictures to SmugMug and then link to them when I make blog or forum posts. The videos I save off to an external hard drive (see below).
RavPower USB Charging Brick – charged on the bike
Purpose: Charging devices off the grid.
My BMW has an easily accessible Powerlet just to the right of the dash. While riding, I charge this brick with that outlet (with the brick in my tank bag) and then use it to charge all of my devices during the evenings. It holds enough charge to charge my iPad, my iPhone, the GoPro, and the GoPro remote. When I need more juice, I simply connect a USB charger to a SAE battery charging cable already on my bike, but I have not had to do that often.
GS911 BMW Diagnostic Tool
Purpose: Monitoring my moto
I keep this with my tool kit and use it to troubleshoot fault codes and reset the service reminder after I change my oil.
(2) SP Armor 2TB portable hard drives
Purpose: Store pictures and videos.
I carry these hard drives to match my workflow for pictures and video. On one hard drive, all raw video and pictures go. Once I upload the pictures to SmugMug, I’ll delete them to make more room. The videos are sucked into my Motion 5 and Final Cut Pro X libraries on the other hard drive. I chose these hard drives because they are of the “rugged” type and I have been very happy with them.
Charging plugs and cables
Purpose: Charge and connect electronics
I carry a case that holds all my plugs and cables, as well my hard drives, charging brick, and GoPro accessories.