The photograph below has been inspired by BikeTourGlobal on Instagram doing something similar. That said, it follows on from the photograph that I posted to CyclingEurope.org back in February (which is also at the foot of this post) showing all of the equipment I will be taking with me when I set off from Tarifa in southern Spain on the 9th April, destination Nordkapp in northern Norway. So, here it is; the technical equipment ‘required’ (I’m sure some people will disagree with some of my choices) to maintain a quality online presence while cycling across a continent:
So what’s in the picture? Well most of it is obvious but some less so. Working from the top left hand corner we have…
- Canon EOS 100D digital SLR camera with 18-55mm lens
- Battery charger for the above (& lead under the 2nd lens)
- Canon 40mm lens (which, when fitted to the 100D body makes for about the most compact SLR camera on the market today)
- Power Monkey Extreme battery pack (and charging lead under camera lead). I also have a small solar panel that I will be taking
- SpareGoogle/Android phone locked to Vodafone UK (and charging lead)
- GoPro handlebar mount
- GoPro Hero 4 Silver camera, case and 3-way mount / tripod
- Spare door for GoPro case
- Charging cable for GoPro camera
- Two Apple charging cables
- Micro SD (used in GoPro camera) converter
- Mini iPad
- Wireless keyboard for mini iPad (charges with same cable as the spare phone)
- SD card reader for iPad
- Continental adapters
- Two Apple plugs
- Two 16GB SD cards (with a third in the SLR camera)
- iPhone 6, unlocked (not actually in the picture – just the case as I needed something to take the picture itself!). A bike mount will also be taken for the iPhone.
So, any thoughts?
Here’s the picture with all of the equipment (excluding clothes):
A few thoughts
Mains plugs (dull eh). Take Schuco plug chargers and mains leads – the plug is smaller and no adaptor needed!
Why 2 lenses for the Canon – the focal lengths overlap. Perhaps a fixed wide angle would be best and then digitally crop.
Your Canon will connect directly to the iPad with the Apple to USB adaptor – possibly the GoPro too..
Will the Canon charge its battery (slowly) through USB
Does your iPad take a SIM? – if so why take 3 items that connect to the mobile network….
Also how are you going to ensure it all stays dry?
Thanks for the comments Barry. Here are my responses:
“Mains plugs (dull eh). Take Schuco plug chargers and mains leads – the plug is smaller and no adaptor needed!”
Never heard of these. Wouldn’t I need to retire are the leads?
“Why 2 lenses for the Canon – the focal lengths overlap. Perhaps a fixed wide angle would be best and then digitally crop.”
Two lenses are better because of the flexibility they give. While on the move (i.e. cycling) I’ll keep the 40mm on the camera and have it on hand (and the other lens stored away). However, when visiting a place on a day off for example I’ll use the larger lens. Yes, they overlap, but digital cropping doesn’t give the same effect that you can get by being able to change the focal length.
Your Canon will connect directly to the iPad with the Apple to USB adaptor – possibly the GoPro too..”
The small reader is indeed small and not much bigger than a lead itself. The GoPro links with an app for the iPhone and iPad and this is a possibility but the speed of download can be low compared to just doing it directly from the micro SD card & the SD reader.
“Will the Canon charge its battery (slowly) through USB”
No. The USB point on the camera is marked ‘out’. Mains charging is very quick.
“Does your iPad take a SIM? – if so why take 3 items that connect to the mobile network….”
No. It’s only WiFi. I don’t see the reason why people buy SIM tablets when it’s easier (and cheaper) to tether them via a personal hotspot on the phone. The spare phone is a precaution should I lose/damage the other one, especially when travelling in more remote areas.
“Also how are you going to ensure it all stays dry?”
If you look at the picture I took in February of all the equipment (at the bottom of the post) you’ll notice various waterproof boxes and bags. In addition the Ortlieb panniers are waterproof. The GoPro is waterproof.
I’ve a similar pile though I’m aiming for a bit more off grid ability. Definitely take the camera Andrew. Even my Sony smartphone with a 20mp sensor doesn’t come close to the performance and creative freedom my Olympus OM-D I’m taking allows. I’m starting off with 4 charged camera batteries though. No spares for you?
How does the solar charger work out for you? I use a B+M USB Werk hub charger which I find gets a smartphone back to full charge from the previous day by about lunch time. The remainder of the days cycling then tops up a USB battery pack. Everything I have is USB rechargeable except a Macbook Air. There’s certain things I need a laptop for and the Air weighs not much more than an iPad. If money was no object and they weren’t currently quite a bit slower than the Air, then the new 12″ Macbook would be in my pannier as those are USB powered. I can almost get away using just an Android tablet; I’ve a Sony Z3 compact tablet, it’s just more difficult than a laptop. Tried an iPad and found them severely lacking for remote work but I’m sure you’re not going to try to maintain Linux web servers while on your tour! The Sony phones and tablets have the advantage of being waterproof too. A property I hope not to need.
It’s about time I got my blog going. Departure date is fast approaching. Less than 2 weeks to go for me.
Thanks for that Shaun. Where are you going? Good luck! Andrew
Roscoff, through France down EV1, Hendaye, Pamplona, Zaragoza, Teruel, Valencia, Alicante. Starting April 4th.
Yes, sorry, I think you’ve told me that before. Perhaps we will bump into each other en route… 🙂 Enjoy your trip!
Really interesting post. Can I ask how you connect to the internet while in the more remote locations?
You can indeed! Mobile phone coverage is pretty good nowadays in Western Europe (although there are always surprises when you arrive in a populated area and find no 3G). I’d say that 3G in France is, for a reason that I can’t understand, a better kind of 3G than I’m used to using back in Britain. Here in Spain (I’m currently in Cádiz learning some Spanish) is more like British 3G…
Anyway, to your question! Obviously if there is no mobile coverage, so be it. In those areas however, campsites and hostels respond and usually provide a good service (I found this to be the case in the north-west of Scotland last year). Offline maps are available to download and I’m planning on using a service from Komoot (there’s an app for iPhone and Android) during my cycle this year. It’s also worth noting that if you use a service like Strava or (in my case) Cyclemeter to track where you’ve been, you don’t need access to mobile internet to do this. The track will still be recorded using GPS coordinates (and there’s no escaping them!) and then when you do arrive in a place at the end of the day with Internet access you can upload it.
Hope that answers your questions. It is, on occasions, nice to escape the Internet cloud that surrounds us nowadays. The frustrating this is that the escapes are enforced upon you and usually don’t coincide with where you want them to be…
Wow, thanks for the detailed reply! I guess balancing the contrast of “getting away from it all” with maintaining an online presence (your website is great btw) is one that constantly provokes thought. Inspiring trip, I look forward to following your progress.
As you asked Andrew…. I castigate myself for carrying so much tech stuff, but how much of this stuff could you ditch if you fully exploited an iPhone 6 Plus and added a few select apps and accessories for it? Have you considered this?
None of it is required. And yes, much if not all could be done with any decent smartphone. But would it be done ‘well’? I’m not quite so sure… 😄