Anker PowerCore+ 26800

The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 is Garry’s latest acquisition.

It’s an ultra-high capacity power pack that is compatible with iPhones, Android phones, GoPro’s and most other USB-charged devices!

the search

After looking around at the various power packs that are on the market, Garry came upon the Anker power pack range and the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 in particular.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800
Three charging oulets

After reading some favourable reviews and its ability to charge different USB items at the same time with its triple outlets, coupled with the number of times it’s able to charge something before needing a recharge itself, Garry just had to buy one!

The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 coupled with the Anker quick-charge wall charger means it charges twice as fast, Garry’s first charge took 8hrs. And its Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0: Using Qualcomm’s advanced Quick Charge 3.0 technology, PowerCore+ allows compatible devices to charge 85% faster! It also has a bank of lights allowing you to know how much charge is in the unit.

It’s a bit bulky measuring in at 180x80x24mm and a bit heavy weighing 590g, but with all these power hungry items that we all seem to need these days it’s charging abilities far out way its weight and size! And should come in very handy on Garry’s next tour particularly if he ends up camping wild!

field test

To test the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 out Garry decided to take it on a little tour.

Garry was camping out for three nights and four days in some pretty cold conditions, but the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 performed better than expected, bearing in mind the cold temperature! In that time Garry managed to keep his phone, which was in constant use and his GoPro which was also being used to film the tour completely topped up.

He even charged them both from the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 on his return home to see if he could run it out, but the very useful led display was still showing more than half of its power left!

Anker PowerCore+ 26800
The LED’s showing how much charge is left

A very useful piece of kit and Garry can’t wait to take it on a longer tour, knowing that he will always have plenty of power to keep everything fully charged.

Samsung Xcover 4

Garry’s newest phone is the Samsung Xcover 4.

Samsung Xcover 4 phone
The Samsung Xcover 4

After Garry’s old phone packed up, he needed to get a new one, so he started to look at the different Samsung phones around. (Garry’s had a Samsung for several years now and wanted stick with them!) After looking around, he quickly realised that most new phones have built-in batteries that can’t be changed by the operator! Garry had a separate battery and charger for his old phone and perceived not having a separate battery on a new phone as a bit of a pain!

Having a separate battery and charger allowed Garry to leave the battery on charge, be it in a hotel room, campsite toilets or from the Busch & Müller IQ2 charger on his bike, and still meant he was able to use his phone. He remembered what it was like before having a spare battery! Leaving the phone in campsite toilets to charge, where he then worried as to whether it would still be there when he returned!

The search

Garry looked at several different models including the new Samsung Galaxy X9, but with Garry’s lifestyle that seemed to be a bit too fragile! There was one phone however that stood out and seemed to suit most of Garry’s needs, the Samsung Xcover 4!

The Xcover 4 has a water and dust-resistant body and is designed to stand up to everything from extremely high and low temperatures to mechanical shock, rain, ice and sand! And it has a changeable battery!

Samsung Xcover 4 keys
The front keys that allow for easy operation when wearing gloves

The Xcover 4 also has several hard keys on the front making it easy to use when wearing gloves or if you have wet hands. A double tap on one of the keys opens the camera, very useful when Garry’s cycling along and wants to take a photo! Another key on the side operates a torch!

The Xcover 4 isn’t one of Samsungs latest models it’s about a year old, but as was previously said it suits Garry’s need!

MSR Hubba Tour 2

MSR Hubba Tour 2 bag

 

The MSR Hubba Tour 2 is one of MSR’s new tents for 2017, and it reminds Garry a lot of his old MSR “Velo” it’s what Garry has been searching for ever since his old MSR “Velo” simply wore out!

MSR Hubba Tour 2
MSR Hubba Tour 2

Garry see’s this new MSR Hubba Tour 2 as an updated version of the old MSR Velo with some significant improvements!

One major improvement is the ability to pitch the tent with the inner tent attached allowing the inner tent to stay dry even in the heaviest of downpours!

It must also be one of the lightest tents for its size weighing in at only 2.74 kilos.

The exoskeleton pole system on the MSR Hubba Tour 2
The exoskeleton pole system

The setup of the tent is also swift with MSR’s exoskeleton pole system, although Garry’s still not convinced of the longevity of these (time will tell!)

Pitching the tent is a case of pegging out the four corners assembling the exoskeleton poles, inserting the poles into the four corners, clipping the flysheet to the poles, assemble the single pole for the vestibule, inserting that into its sleeve and peg out, that’s the basic setup complete!

Watch Garry’s YouTube video

 

Because of the Hubba Tour 2’s lightweight, everything feels a bit delicate, the guy ropes are just like pieces of string, and the flysheet is very thin! So, to test the tent out Garry set off to the Isle of Wight for the night fully loaded as if he was going away on tour.

Thorn bike all ready and loaded to go away
All ready and packed to go away

It was a rather blustery day with the wind blowing at a steady 22 mph. Once at the campsite Garry was unable to find a sheltered pitch and was forced to camp in a rather exposed pitch at the top of a hill!

Setting the tent up in the wind wasn’t a problem, and as Garry has already said it is a quick setup. Because it was so windy, Garry put out all the guy ropes to add stability which as we all know you’re meant to do each time you camp, but do we if moving pitch each night?

Inside The Tent

Once the tent was up Garry unloaded his bike and found that there was plenty of room for both him and all his panniers.

Inside the MSR Hubba Tour 2
Plenty of room inside for both gear and people

Having the large vestibule means that if it has been raining and all your gear is wet, you can put everything in the lobby and keep the inner tent completely dry. It also allows you to get out of wet gear before entering the inner tent. It also provides somewhere to cook if the weather is a bit inclement outside, providing there is plenty of ventilation of course!

Cooking inside the MSR Hubba Tour 2
Cooking inside in inclement weather

The inner tent is an ample size with good headroom, and the two doors provide each person with an entrance, or if the wind changes direction in the night the other door can be used.

As This is the two-man version there is loads of room; however, for two people, it could be a bit cosy! (But as we all know if your cycle touring it’s always best to have a two-man tent for one and a three-person tent for two)

On the night, Garry was trying out the tent for the first time the wind got up and was gusting at more than 30 mph, but the MSR Hubba Tour withstood this and was unscathed in the morning, although Garry didn’t get too much sleep, at least the tent was ok!

MSR Hubba Tour 2
The MSR the morning after
Summary

In summary the MSR Hubba Tour 2 suits all the requirements of a cycle tourist! It has a fast setup, which can be setup while raining and still maintain a dry inner tent. There’s plenty of room to store panniers and bags. It has a square footprint which from experience is better for wild camping as it enables you to tuck away out of site more easily and it’s very light!

Now that Garry has found the MSR Hubba Tour 2 he’s looking forward to doing more adventure cycling and cycle touring in the coming months!

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Flying With A Bike

Flying with a bike can be a nerve-wracking experience! I remember the first flight I took with the bike it was a harrowing experience! Would my bike get damaged in fact would it even arrive!

History

I’d been cycle touring for nearly four years, and I’d always avoided going anywhere that involved taking a plane, but now I was planning to cycle around the world, and I knew that this would require a few flights!

Now that I knew I was going to have to fly I decided that I needed to try it out on a smaller trip within Europe, so at least I would have had some experience of taking my bike on a plane. Plus it was a good excuse to go away!

I’d done my homework and found out that British Airways allowed you to put the bike in a giant plastic bag, so there was no need to dismantle anything. The only thing I had to do was to take the pedals off and turn the handlebars! Perfect for a first flight I thought, thinking that the ground crew would see that it’s a bike and be a bit more careful, as opposed to it being packed up in a box which might get thrown around!

Bike packed for flying
All packed up ready for my first flight with a bike in 2011

The bonus of putting the bike in a bag was that I could cycle to the airport and pack it away there.

Panic Over

All my worrying was completely unfounded, and my bike arrived at the airport in Spain without a scratch on it!

Bike in an airport
At the airport in Spain

Since that first flight, I’ve flown many times, although I still get a little nervous before check-in, although once my bikes checked in I relax.

How to pack the bike away.

After sourcing a box from a local cycle shop, usually, they’re more than happy to supply you with one for a small fee, Although sometimes they’re just glad to get rid of them and will give you one for nothing.

Loosening pedals
Loosening the pedals

While at the shop getting the box I also get them to crack the pedals (loosen them). Pedals can be quite hard to undo particularly if it’s been a long tour so getting the shop to loosen them with a pedal wrench is the easiest option.

As explained in my previous post Planning A Bicycle Tour subheading at the end of a tour I find a quiet spot at the hotel.

Dismantling

Firstly, I remove the pedals that were loosened by the shop before turning the bike upside down. (The photos were all taken at home, so I’d undone the pedals myself)

Deflate a tyre
Deflate the tyres slightly

Next to get removed are the wheels and deflate the tyres a bit as they expand while in flight. It is also a requirement on some flights.

After removing the wheels, I’ve got some plastic tubes which I decided were needed when I packed my bike away for the first time in Istanbul. (They sit in my tool bag permanently now) The wheel axles are put through the tubes and then put back on the bike just as a bit of added protection against the forks getting squashed.

Plastic sleeve with axle
Plastic sleeve that goes over the axles
Bicycle forks
The axles along with the sleeves are put back on the bike

The racks and mudguards are the next parts to be removed.

Socket
Handy socket I added to my tools on my first trip to India which fits all the bolts

After I’ve removed something I always replace the bolt back into the hole it came from, that way when it comes to reassembling the bike you know where everything is and you don’t lose any!

Bike brake block
Replace the bolts back into the holes they came from

I don’t bother removing the chain I just put it in a plastic bag and tape it to the frame, making sure that I don’t put the tape on the frame.

Extra Packing

Once the bike has been stripped down, I always put extra padding on the forks, chain ring and rear forks for extra protection.

Padding on vulnerable parts of a bike
Extra padding on vulnerable parts

I also wrap all the parts that I’ve taken off in bubble wrap. That way they’re not all knocking against each other when in the box.

Bicycle racks and wheels wrapped for protection
Racks and wheels wrapped for protection

Next, the bikes turned up the right way, and the saddle lowered. Just before dropping I draw a pencil mark on the stem, so I know what height to put it back at when I reassemble.

Seat stem
Mark the position of the seat stem

Finally, I turn he handlebars, and everything gets placed in the box and securely taped up.

Cycle in a box
Everything neatly in the box
Reassembling

Reassembling is a reverse of the above. When reassembling the bike it’s a good idea to put a small amount of oil on each bolt. As this aids in the dismantling the next time you fly and helps avoid any bolts becoming seised.

Oil
I always put a splash of oil on all the bolts when I reassemble