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.
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 :-)