It is with great pleasure and some trepidation that I can introduce the revamped MSK III.
While in Kyrgyzstan I contacted Scott Felter of Porcelain Rocket. He is a sole trader working out of Calgary, Alberta. He makes frame bags, these are made to measure and fill the central triangle of the frame, are about 10 – 15 cms wide and can be used instead of panniers. The premise is that you put the load in the middle of the bike this keeps the weight central, as always putting heavy objects as low as possible, this helps to keep handling deviation to a minimum. I have the El Gilberto.
One of the main problems with using the central triangle is the loss of 2 water bottle holders that’s 3 litres, but I do have a 4 litre Ortleib water bladder which I am sure I can strap somewhere. I have also bought a ‘Mission Control’ This is a bag strapped under handle bars, to carry light stuff like sleeping bag and some clothes. So these bulky light items are taken out of the back panniers. I will be discarding my front panniers and pannier rack.
Additionally purchasing a small top tube bag which holds essentials, camera, wallet etc.
Here is where the trepidation happens, I am retiring the Arkel GT54 panniers, they are brilliant but so heavy and and big, encouraging me to carry more, I am now into trying to keep everything as light as possible. I will move the Ortlieb panniers to the back, I have to say I am not a big fan of the Ortliebs, they have holes in the bottom where they crashed against rocks while doing some off roading; but they are light, we will see if they are large enough. I have glued some motorbike innertube to the bottom so when I put the bike down or
lean it against a wall the holes don’t get any bigger. Also sewn on a pocket taken from my old Arkel panniers. I am hoping that actually they are going to be too large; this will allow me to replace them with some smaller lighter Arkel panniers. I will be discarding my bar bag (at last) I have never liked it and have kept it for convenience and a place to put my St Christopher given to me by my friend Rash. I will of course be relocating the St Christopher. I am hoping that freeing up the forks from panniers will make handling more nimble.
Most people are cautions and keep the old setup just in case it does not work or is not liked. But as always I am throwing caution to the wind and just going straight for the new setup. All equipment surplus to requirement is being taken home by KK, her help is so much appreciated.
I have also purchased a new tent and am retiring the old Hilleberg Staika, not because of the faulty zips, these can easily be replaced but because of the weight it’s 4kg, I am replacing it with a Terra Nova, Voyager, still a 2 man tent but half the weight of the Hilleberg, how good it is will be seen in future months.
I have bought an American army (so it says) hammock, it has in inbuilt mosquito net. I am trying to get off the ground where the termites are, just in SE Asia. SE Asia is blessed with many trees and so stringing it up at night should be easy. I have a plan in mind that when I get to Paul’s house in Thailand I will be able to rest the tent there for a week or so while I’m off riding up north, and go as minimal as possible, then pick up the tent on the way down to Singapore. When I get to Australia I will be back to the tent.
Hopefully this revamp will drop the overall weight by up to or possibly more than 5kg. Always hard to tell with the varying weight of food and water.