Oh Murphy

“Expect the unexpected” they say!
I suppose it wasn’t meant to happen just on your driveway!
Just a small scratch but it made it to the inner structure of the Tyre.
Riding like this on soft sand and slow speeds is no issue.
But with these extreme high temperatures and high speed on the motorway,
thats a recipe for a blowout.
So changed it out of precaution. Better safe than sorry.

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Garmin Overlander

One of the key elements in our way of travelling, “Overlanding”, is the ability to discover remote locations, find adventurous small roads, camp on isolated places and be far away from everybody else. In theory the only thing you need is a good detailed map like a topographic map. This will tell you everything you need to know about a the terrain you are roaming. What kind of surface height, is it a dead end road, … I’m a big fan of using plain old maps, we use them on all our hikes. I’m quite skilled reading and interpreting topographic maps.
Even if you are using digital apps or specialised GPS devices, knowing how to read and interpret a map is key. Most advanced GPS devices also use topographic maps so that’s a skill you won’t waste your time on. If you want to know more on reading and understanding maps head over to the Navigation reading list.

The downside of paper maps is that they become outdated at a certain moment. In Belgium for example some regions haven’t been updated since 1995, a lot has changed since then. Another issue is bringing a whole library if you are travelling wide areas.
And last but not least, if you are wandering around the continent and just go where the wind blows, it’s kind of heard to prepare a set of maps if you have no destination set out.
Luckily we moved over to the digital era and tons of apps with updated digital topographic maps are available. I have some of them on my phone: GAIA GPS, Topo GPS, etc…
But i’m not a big fan of using those apps as main source of navigation. I like to use my phone for music, calling, looking up information of the area we are in, messaging in the car, … and you need constant cellular connection to navigate. Now I know you can download pieces of maps to your device but as mentioned before, if you don’t know where you are heading, that’s no use.

One of my most anticipated buys from the last few years was definitely the Garmin Overlander. I’ve seen similar devices on youtube channels in Australia and the United states but could get anything near that functionality here in Europe.

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All day ride set up

Since I’ve been doing some longer distances and all day rides, I’ve come to conclude that I needed to change the packing configuration of my bike. I gave it some serious thought and looked into different items that I could or prefer to use. The most important thing was the fact that I want it to be modular. Meaning that I have different options for different rides. I want the bike always to be as less bulky as possible. I also know I’m a gear hauler, I probably take too much with me, especially rain and warm gear.
I don’t mind riding in the rain but I do like to stay dry & warm on my body.

The main problem I had during the last couple of rides was shortage of water. I drink a lot during my rides, carrying two bottles of 0,8 litres isn’t enough for me. That ‘ll get me trough half the day maybe three quarters. That’s still a fair amount of the day that needs water. The easiest way is to look for a house or someone outside his house and ask for a refill. That’s how I managed it up till now. But it sometimes took me quit the detour to find someone at home or even someone willing to do so. Corona times didn’t make that any easier.

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What about a rooftop tent?

Since everybody is looking for alternative ways to spend their holidays and I received a ton of mails and phone calls asking for advice on rooftop tents. #corona
I decided to write it all down.
One of the biggest and most important decisions in building your overlanding rig is the choice of your rooftop tent. There are a wide variety of models and options available, i’m not going to dig in that pile. I’ve done it once when I was out looking for my exact match and it took me quite a while. To write out a guide for every situation and everybody’s needs would take me forever.
But what I do want to point out is what the pro’s and con’s are related to traveling with a rooftop tent. << read the full article >>

Solar powered mobile office

Last week I was out in the field finally working again. One of the first jobs after the Corona mayhem!
And I was really happy with my solar powered mobile office! Charging camera’s, drone batteries, laptops on nature’s abundant power source!

Thanks to the guys at Gitrax for the advice and installation.

I’m running:
– Wattstunde daylight sun power solar Module 120W
– Victron 75/15 controller 15A (MPPT) & Bluetooth dongle (smartphone connection)

New Shoes

Can’t gravel without a descent pair of tyres. I was still riding my Road Schwalbes with an anti-puncture layer. To be honest, they did just fine! But all those gravel rides deserve a good tyre. So I mounted the tyres that initially came with my bike. Not only are they perfect for gravel rides, they sure look good as well on the bike!
Can’t wait to ride these!

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Roof top tent festival 2019

A little throwback to the “Daktenten festival 2019” or “Roof top tent festival 2019” In Schipborg where I was interviewed about my setup and how we travel. Here’s my outtake of the video. (The full report can be viewed here.)

All tough most of the people visiting the Daktent festival are loners and tend to go out and explore alone or with the family, such gatherings are a great opportunity for us to meet equally minded people.
Talking about our adventures, plans, experiences, get new ideas and do some gear-talk and just hang around the fire! I’m really looking forward to both the Dutch & Belgian edition this year. I’ve met awesome people there and really looking forward to meet up again!

I sincerely hope that the Corona crisis won’t interfere with these plans!

We didn’t made it to Scotland but went to Portugal instead, you can see how we used the offroad trailer on vacation, without the kids this time! (yay!)

Useful links

Hiking essentials

I wrote a little bit about my favourite backpack and what I put in it for our Hikes.

There are millions of articles written about this subject, you can fill whole libraries on this. There are also tons of variables that have impact on what’s in your pack. What’s very important is the kind of hike you are going, the weather you’re facing and the terrain. read more >>

Garmin GPSMAP 66

Garmin GPSMAP 66

Next to an analog compass, the Garmin GPSMAP 66 and by extension the whole GPSMAP series is a fundamental piece of equipment for every outdoor enthousiast. The 66 being the latest flagship model model but even the 64 and 62 models are still as useful as the latest model. Specs vary a little bit but the basic functionality is as solid as a rock. The only reason I upgraded my 64 is for the bigger screen and syncing over Wifi. But i’ll get to that later.

This is a must have device in your EDC pack. I use it on hikes, long vacations, city trips, business trips, adventures, … I often even carry it on a day day base to remember places and locations. I hear you thinking why don’t you use your smartphone for that… True, but since I keep track of everything in Basecamp, it’s just a simple sync and everything is where I want it. From the smartphone I have to convert the GPS coordinates from degrees to UTM and then manually create an waypoint in Basecamp and with the right batteries the GPSMAP will outlast your smartphone! But we are running ahead of things, that’s for later, back to the beginning.

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