I’ve been fiddling around with my trusty old Nomad a fair bit this last few days in view of my imminent return to the High Atlas, Djebel Sahro and western fringes of the Sahara. Planning on a very much off-piste trip as much as possible having been twice before but both times on a bit of a mission, this time plan to spend a bit more quality time exploring backroads, tracks and trails. With that in view I’ve modified my setup slightly to use Ortlieb’s small ‘front’ panniers on the rear of the bike, loads of clearance and less weight, together with a custom frame-bag from Alpkit. Tent and sleeping bag are in usual spots on top of the rack and on handlebars respectively. I also picked up a top-tube bag from Alpkit, it’s pretty tiny but is a perfect fit for my water filter (yes I know, UV steripen blah blah etc etc but I’m very much a fan of old fashioned robust things that don’t need batteries/charging etc etc). The frame bag presents a problem for water bottles so this morning made up a couple of stainless steel adapters for the low-rider bosses on the fork such that I can attach a pair of King stainless cages and some stainless bottles (better in hot environments). Those together with the under-the-downtube bottle and my 10 litre Ortlieb water bag, last used to full capacity in the deserts of Argentina, should see me good for some dry stretches I’ve been eyeing on the map.. and there is still scope to lash on a couple of 2 litre plastic bottles each side of the tent if it came to it.

my trusty old Nomad.. 12 yrs old with heaps and heaps of miles on and still just brilliant.

I’m rather pleased with the setup, total gear weight is just 12kg including the bags themselves and my camera clobber etc, and kitted for some cold nights in the desert. The weight distribution is nice, bike feels good. Fully loaded less food I have either a completely empty frame bag or an almost completely empty pannier.. so lots of room for food. Taking the little woodburner again and in recognition that there might not be much to burn in some places quite happy to just cart a load of bread, nuts, dried fruit etc – all of which are readily available :-) Shame I’m only going for a few weeks, the Nomad hasn’t been anywhere since Patagonia and I’m itching to take it for a good, long journey again.. but got a busy winter lined up. Next year however plans are already afoot :-)

water carriers..
not exactly hi-tech engineering… works great though :-)
my favourite 9spd Dura-Ace thumbies :-)
every time I gear up for a trip it’s an opportunity to replace a bit of old, worn out kit.. this time it was a new Brooks Cambium saddle and a 190gr down jacket from PHD :-)

4 thoughts on “Fiddling…

    • hey, I did look at buying a steripen and saw a lot of reviews from folk saying you either got a good one or a bad one, good ones are really good but bad ones fail early in their life.. warranty would cover it but it’s not the kind of thing to find out with first use on a longer trip so decided to stick with my filter. as for the camera, guessing you mean my x100s,.. not really new any more but yep :-)

  • Hi there, just seen a pic of your Alpkit frame bag on your Thorn.I’ve been thinking of getting one for my Sherpa.How have you found the bag ,are they waterproof ? What model is it,can i buy one off the shelf or are they custom made.
    Any info would be great
    Thanks Stuart

    • Hi Stuart, I think the bag is great, seems really well made, tough and good value – they are custom made but the process is quick. there are instructions on the ordering page for the bag ( about how to make the template. I bought the narrowest version with no additional pockets – just simple, and very happy with it.
      as for waterproofness.. it has a sealed zip and the fabric is waterproof but I cannot comment on whether it would let water in if completely submerged. I would say it is probably to all intents waterproof under normal riding conditions (rain, the occasional rivercrossing). emphasis on probably although I have not experienced leakage – Alpkit would be better placed to confirm degree of waterproofing.

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