Hill Climb To A Desert Ridge

This was a winter ride up a rutted, frozen road. The GoPro lens bends the horizon and hides the steepness of the climb up this ridge.

Moto-Camping Stool Review

The Grand Trunk camping stool is small enough to carry on your bike and big enough to give you a seat when needed. The seat area is 12.6 inches by 10.6 inches and sits at a height of 14.5 inches.

When broken down, the stool's small size comes from removing the legs. But, don't worry about losing them, they are attached to the seat frame with shock cord, just like a tent. This also makes it fast and easy to set up.

When the legs are removed and stowed with the attached velcro strap, the chair goes into it's bag and you have a package that measures 15 inches by 7 inches, and is 2 inches thick.

The stool in its bag easily fits inside my Pelican 1450 case with some room to spare. It weighs in at just 22 ounces, much less carrying a full sized folding chair on your bike.

I've used this stool on a couple of trips and I like that it's small, lightweight, easy to set up and take down. Also, it's less expensive than similar chairs on the market. Most importantly, it keeps my butt out of the dirt and pine needles during my morning coffee and that makes for a good morning in the forest.

Wolfman Expedition Saddlebags

I like soft luggage on the KLR and this summer my trusty bike is sporting this Wolfman setup. These Wolfman Expedition saddlebags are great for carrying your adventure gear or whatever you haul on your bike.

The Expedition saddlebags have been around for a while and have a great reputation. They are waterproof, durable and come in yellow or black. I like the yellow for greater visibility on the road.

Wolfman devised the Universal Saddlebag Straps which allow you to mount these bags on many different types of racks. I use these Precision Motorcycle Racks and they work fine. Installing the bags is quick and easy.

The first step is to lay the bags across the bike. Then adjust these main straps to an even height on the left and right sides of the bike.

The bags attach to the side rack with the Universal Saddlebag Straps. Each bag uses four of these, two on the front and two on the rear. Above is the front side attaching point of the right side bag.

This picture shows the two rear straps for the right side bag. These small straps work great for keeping the bag secure on the rack. Put some gear inside the bags to provide some shape while you mount them. I have found this makes things easier.  

My rain gear is stuffed in the bottom of this bag, and there is room for a lot more. Each bag has a 19 liter capacity. If you have trouble with metric conversions like I do, just remember these bags hold a lot of gear when they are carefully packed.

With the bag packed, tighten the upper and lower horizontal straps across each bag. This pulls them tight against the racks where they will remain pretty secure.

To close the bag, roll the top tightly down and secured with the verticals strap on each side. Be sure to let the air out as you roll the top down.

Finally, this "V" strap threads from the back, through a front D ring and clips on the back side again. Pull this one tight to squash down the top of the bag and you are done. 

Before starting down the road I double check all straps and ensure everything is secure. At every stop, I give the straps a tug to ensure all is well. They are normally a bit loose the first stop, but after things settle down, the straps stay very secure. 

After your adventure ride, these bags are easy to remove and store, or just leave them on the bike. The bottom line here is, I like these saddlebags and recommend them to give your bike some extra hauling capacity.   

Viking Cycle Ironborn Textile Jacket Review

The good folks at motorcyclehouse.com recently asked me for a sponsored review of this Viking Cycle Ironborn Textile jacket. They provided the jacket and I could say whatever I wanted, good or bad. After a couple of weeks wearing this jacket, here's what I have to say...

My first impression was good. The jacket looked nice, seemed solid and was heavier than I expected. I normally wear an XL sized jacket and this XL fit as expected in the arms, shoulders, and chest. The waist has velcro adjusters on each side to give the right fit for you.

Fist thing, I unzipped and removed the quilted interior liner. It's the middle of summer and while the liner looked effective for cold weather, I was not going test it.

I like a lot of things about this Viking Cycle jacket. The hi-viz shoulder and side panels contrast with the black for increased visibility on the street, The reflective strips over the shoulders will be good in low light conditions. More protection comes from the CE rated armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back pad. There are also reinforced cordura panels on the elbows and shoulders.

There are zippered pockets on the upper chest, lower sides and two inside pockets for a phone or music player. The zippers work fine and pockets are big enough to hold what I want to carry. I also like that.

The sleeves feature zippers and velco adjustment tabs at each wrist. The forearms have snaps for a tighter fit that secures the elbow armor. Near each shoulder is a zippered vent opening, and that leads to my biggest complaint with this jacket. This thing is too HOT to wear.

Front vents near the shoulders are too small

Rear vents on back are too small
The two small shoulder vents connect with two larger zipped vents on the back. It's the standard venting setup but, it does not work here. My first ride wearing this was on a sunny morning, with the temperature in the mid 70s (F). The vents were open and at highway speed I sweated through the t-shirt I wore underneath in less than 10 minutes.

A mesh lining would be cooler
This jacket is more uncomfortable because its interior lining material does not breath and sticks to your skin. Some type of mesh lining would have lessened this unpleasantness. I can't imagine wearing this all day in hot weather.

Overall, I like this jacket's look and fit but, the poor venting and lining material are not suited for warm weather. Still, this would be a very good jacket for cool weather rides. 

Coffee Fix When Moto-Camping in the Wild

I need my coffee in the morning and I want real coffee - not that freeze dried stuff. That is seldom possible when moto-camping, but these little VIA ready brew coffee packs from Starbucks are a good substitute. 

These single serving packets weigh nothing and take up no space in your luggage. But, on a chilly morning they will quickly and easily provide your morning coffee fix. Just heat up some water using a Jet-Boil or similar device and mix the coffee in your cup. The first time, I was a bit skeptical to say the least. I was expecting that freeze-dried taste, but after a sip I was a whole new man and happy that my camping coffee woes were no more.

KLR Desert Camping

Here are a few highlights from our weekend KLR camping trip. The bikes were awesome, the weather was fantastic. The first day was crazy windy, but sunny and warm on the ride out of town.

The Wolfman duffle and saddlebags held everything we needed and mounted solidly to our Precision Motorcycle racks. If you are looking for quality, waterproof, soft luggage, check out these bags.

The fully loaded KLRs were great for off road exploring. This trail was a tricky mix of loose gravel with patches of loose sugary sand. We had to be ready for anything and it was a fun ride.

I had never seen sand dunes like these and really liked this area. I half expected to see Indiana Jones leading a line of camels somewhere in the distance.

World traveler Wendi had spent some time in a desert before, but she agreed this was pretty impressive.

The wind shipped the sand up and it drifted around like snow we remember from a very cold place.

The strong, gusty wind added some challenge to setting up the tent, but it was tough enough to stand the wind. The warm, sunny day ended with a clear, cold night.

It is amazing how much the temperature changes out there. But, wearing an extra shirt was small trouble to see an amazing sunset and to watch the last of the day fade to darkness behind a distant ridge.