So what do I use for gear?
BIKE: a frankenstein 2005 DRZ-400-sm (Nov/Apr 2016), this bike has had a hard life… but it was all my 2016 tax return would cover. It had the inverted SM forks and 17″ rear rim, but the S front wheel. I’ve pretty much restored the headlight, wiring, ignition to stock. It was a salvage bike, and it wasn’t restored very well. I did swap in the suspension off a kickstart bike.
And prior to that, a beat up 2008 Kawasaki KLR 650 (the poor man’s adventure bike). It had a lot of km’s (82k km – been to Chile) on it, but it has been pretty solid. The only times it has let me down have been my fault. (Camshaft bearing/journal went and I sold it cheap.)
GPS: a refurbished Garmin GPSmap 78s (the 60cx died, and so did the used 78). This helps a lot, both with riding, and during the analysis afterward. I download the local openstreetmap (OSM) maps onto it via http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/ . I use OSM because the price is right, and it is accurate in the areas I ride (because I help update it). It’s on a RAM mount (the custom one for that model GPS). I didn’t bother wiring it to the bike for power as 2 AA (NiMH rechargeable) batteries will more cover a long day’s ride.
Dec 2020 update. The above link hasn’t updated their OSM data for six months, so I’ve just switched to https://www.openmapchest.org/maps/canada/ as a data source. It’s a 10 gig download (all of canada) instead of just BC or a selection of tiles, but it is far more current.
PANNIERS: I had a pair of used pelican box (1550) based panniers from a fellow rider, those were good on the KLR, but IMHO too heavy for a light bike like the DRZ. Messing around with home-made “holsters” for dry-bags … worked out moderately well… Now moved to the Nelson Riggs panniers.
RIDER: a fit, 50+ year old, mechanically inclined, overconfident, newbie (as of Oct 2015) to motorcycles.
CAMERA: Subject to change. A GoPro, my Nexus 5 cell phone. I was using a a cigarette box sized old Panasonic Lumix that goes in a breast pocket, but it didn’t care for the dust. I don’t like tank bags (I’d rather be able to jump the bike).
Other stuff. We all need our basic repair tools, e.g. start with enough to be able to repair a flat and add from there. On the heavy KLR I carried more than I do on the DRZ. I still carry a folding saw, a head lamp, lighter, pocket knife, emergency blanket, etc…