Eight products to not leave home without | Riding Gear + Equipment | Tested
Andy ‘Strapz’ White reveals the eight products he never leaves home without
After a lifetime on the road and 20 years in the game, you’d think I’d be Mr Sorted. But like most of us, my time on the road is often spent in a state of disorder – spare gloves here or there, what’s that doing in there and where the hell did I put my house keys? It’s not helped by the fact that I’m usually always testing a new product, or trialing a new improvement which means I rarely leave home with the same luggage set up. But regardless of where they’re stashed, what I have worked out is there’s a handful of items I can’t talk myself into leaving at home.
The Americans call them Tail Packs but, since I don’t have a tail, I prefer Seat Bags. We’ve been making AA Bagz for about 15 years and I’m chuffed with the design which has evolved over that time. It straps to any bike, sucks in a shirt load of gear and is designed to be lived out of. Any area of the bag can be accessed in a couple of seconds without disturbing the mounting system and I know it will always be there at the end of the day. There always seems to be a little corner left to wedge a can or two into.
The top flap is not only a storm cover but a place to stash wet weather gear, a jumper or a map. The side pockets are angled so I’m not fishing about in a little black hole, and it even meets requirements for carry-on luggage.
I reckon waterproof gloves are designed to get me home on a wet day not keep my mits dry for days on end. Because once my waterproof gloves get a decent soaking, they feel damp and cold and it lingers day after day. My RainOffs will not only keep me dry for days on end, but they’re also the first thing I drag out when my pinkies start to turn into blueys. Made of a light, stretch, cotton-backed vinyl, they come in two finger configurations; two-finger (Mr Spock) style or one-finger style which separates your pointer from the outside three. Me, I’m a two-finger guy.
About 10 years ago I decided I was sick of starting the day with a wet bum so, using a tent fly as inspiration, I developed a small and lightweight bike cover. Only designed to keep the controls and seats dry, I find it also keeps fiddly fingers and sticky beaks away, too, and I stash helmet and jacket under it when I’m camping to free up space inside my tent. The cover packs away into its own bag which is permanently sewn to the rear of the cover and it fits everything except the huge luxo-tourers.
I came across this long-sleeve mid-layer jacket when I need to replace a soft shell which I stupidly by not closing a bag properly! Constructed of layers of windproof merino, clever stretch panels and a weather-proof outer shell. Yep, they’re expensive, but so is all top-quality kit and when you get as much use from a product as you do from this, I reckon they’re worth every cent. Where it under your jacket and you’ll never feel cold again and where it to dinner that night when you get to where you’re going – just don’t lose the bloody thing!
Industrial hearing loss seemed to be an inevitable by-product of growing up in the 70s. Rock music, motorcycles and ringing in the ears was normal. Nowadays, I won’t ride to the shops without protecting what hearing I have left. The best system I have found is by Earmold. It uses a two-part silicone which is injected into the lug’ole where it sets. It is removed, machined and sealed, and ready to use in about an hour. On longer trips I use a set with a Bluetooth receiver installed so I can rock out while it ride.
$39 (pair of 1250mm)
As silly as it sounds, I will always take a pair of Strapz with me even if I don’t need them. Ranging from 750mm to 2500mm, I’ll always throw in a pair of 1250mm jobbies, cos I’ve found them to be the most useful. And how would it look if I stopped to help another rider and didn’t have a pair of Strapz to loan them cos their bungees had failed!
I always pack to many pairs of socks, despite having our exclusive Merino over-the-calf efforts. I hate cold feet and so I make sure I even have a back-up for the backed-up back-ups. And it pays off when I fall off in creek crossings, of which I have too much experience of doing.
Held Sambia gloves
This mob have been making gloves since the late 1940s and I can tell you they’ve got it right. Sambia are a summer weight adventure glove featuring a kangaroo leather palm. If you haven’t experienced the feel that old hoppy lays on, you’ve got to try it. I can vouch for its dye stability, too, I have never had a black hand after a damp or sweaty day out. The side seams never cross the finger pads and, unless I undo the wrist closure, I can’t get them off.
1/95 Brunel Rd
Seaford, Vic, 3198
(03) 9786 3445