Sunday, 27 January 2013

Kit-tastic #6: Gadgets

I tried really hard to be lean and mean on the gadget front.  I remember the nightly hunt for power to recharge all the toys in Patagonia and thought I would go for something multifunctional. I worked out that my iPhone could do it all. There are apps for ebooks, offline GPS maps, blogging, photography, translation and you can even make phone calls apparently.
But when it came to it, an iPhone is not really that good if you have no signal and putting all my eggs in one basket seemed risky. So I am taking it (wrapped in a Mil-spec Gorilla case) and have specialist gear as well.
Globebuster provide route notes each day with key junctions and lat. and long. co-ordinates to important points like the car park of that evening’s hotel. Everyone on the trip seems to be using the Garmin Zumo GPS so I went for one of those. Mounted in the ‘bars in a lockable case and wired into the bike’s electrics it is designed for use by bikers wearing gloves and is fully waterproof. I’m taking maps as well but this should get me where I should be going.
Sue bought me a Kindle for Christmas. The “Paperwhite” model has 8 weeks of battery life and LED backlighting. I can fill it up with travel books, Lonely Planet Guides, novels and my own .pdfs of useful information without it getting any heavier. Nice.
My trusty Pentax Optima waterproof camera has done every trip so far. Not as flexible as a digital SLR perhaps but smaller, easier to use with no fuss and really high quality pics. A spare SD Card or two should see me OK for 1,000+ photos. The iPhone camera will do for low-res images to load on the blog.
My iPod has every piece of music I own on it so should last the trip. Plus I’ve downloaded the complete back catalogue of Melvyn Bragg’s “In our time” for educational purposes.
Most of these recharge through a USB so a Continental outlet to USB adaptor and a Continental- Turkish and Continental-Chinese adaptor should do the trick. Add in a USB outlet wired into the bike for when we are “off grid” and I should be OK.
One last thing – an Odyssey high performance battery to replace the BMW standard one on the bike. Perfect for cold starts and to power all the toys!

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