What I Packed for the Mawson Trail

The first thing I did after getting home from the Mawson Trail was to unpack everything and take grid photos on the dining table. #asyoudo
This is as much as a resource for myself as it is for any people planning their own Mawson Trip or an alternative bikepacking trip.

What I packed reflected the following:

  1. I was not camping (no sleeping bag, sleeping mat, or tent).
  2. I was travelling in a remote area so would be unable to easily get mechanical assistance.
  3. Clothing choices reflected the expected weather conditions.

I also am aware that I could have brought less cycling clothing, casual clothing or even fewer tools. I’ve tried to explain my choices where it feels relevant. I am planning a follow up post covering more details about my trip and the planning of that. This post is just what I carried.

CYCLING CLOTHING

Cycling Clothing

Everything I chose to pack was based on the expected temperature range of 18-33 degrees and rain showers forecast for the first few days. This looks like a lot of clothing but bear in mind that you are wearing an entire outfit while you are on the bike. I wore everything I packed over the trip except the merino neck warmer – it wasn’t cold enough.
I really liked being able to wear the right outfit for the temperature with two different thickness undershirts , two different length sleeve jerseys and the windvest. However, I could have traveled lighter and only brought one set of kit. On the days where there were rain showers I kept my rain jacket easily accessible strapped outside my bag rather than packed away.
I was so impressed with my shoes as I usually only wear them for short periods in CX races, I felt really comfortable despite the long days. People often recommend a less stiff sole shoe for touring but I had no issues with a carbon racing shoe. Comfort should be a theme for everything you pack, if you’re travelling at 20kph and riding 100km+ per day you want shorts that are comfortable for 5+ hours. Think about it!
In writing this article I realise how many manufacturers don’t sell summerweight long sleeve jerseys, it’s disappointing because they are so good for sun protection. If you can’t find a true lightweight jersey you could go with sun sleeves. I also recommend a windvest with pockets for access to your phone/wallet etc.
Good gloves are a must for the corrugated roads, my short finger gloves weren’t great. I chose to wear photochromatic sunglasses so I didn’t need to bring spare clear lenses for early morning starts.
This is a personal choice but I found cycling jerseys with pockets much better in my opinion than casual tops. It was easy to keep my phone, wallet and GoPro in my jersey pockets than stashing it elsewhere and a fitted jersey doesn’t blow around in the wind.

CASUAL CLOTHING

Casual Clothing

Another category where I wore everything I brought but I still could have packed only one bottom and one top rather than two of each. Packable puffy jackets are great. I had the merino socks for cold nights and I also wore them on the bike one day when my cycling socks hadn’t dried in time.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology
  • 1 × Mobile Phone with PopSocket and Telstra PrePaid SIM
  • 1 × Cycling Computer
  • 1 × GoPro
  • 1 × Front Light
  • 1 × Head Lamp
  • 1 × Large Capacity External Battery Charger
  • 1 × Wall Plug with 2 USB Sockets
  • All associated charging cables (not shown)

Shockingly I can’t take a photo of my phone with my phone but I have to recommend getting a popsocket to make it easy to take photos one handed. My Huawei P30 has a good camera that also takes wide angle photos, which is nice. I installed RideWithGPS App and downloaded the Mawson Trail as an offline map. I also bought a cheap prepaid Telstra Sim to reduce the likelihood of having coverage issues in an emergency but my Optus Sim had pretty good coverage on the trail anyway.
John used the Lezyne Mega XL cycling computer shown in the photo above, that was easily able to handle route navigation for the Mawson Travel and offline street maps for the entire Mawson Trail area. My Garmin 510 crashed every time I tried to load the route and can’t do street maps so I primarily relied on the trail markings. The front light and external battery charger were pretty much only for emergencies.

TOOLS / PUNCTURE REPAIR

Tools / Puncture Repair (for two people)
  • 1 × Mini Pump
  • 1 × Allen Key Set (1.5mm – 8mm)
  • 1 × T25 Torx Key
  • 1 × Chain Breaker
  • 1 × Quick Link Tool
  • 2 × Spare Quick Links
  • 1 × Spare Hanger
  • 1 × Spare Tubeless Valve
  • 2 × Spare Valve Cores
  • 1 × Valve Core Removal Tool
  • 1 × Sachet of Carbon Paste
  • 2 × 15mL Squirt Lube
  • 2 × 65mL Sealant
  • 1 × Spare SPD Cleats
  • ~5 × Zip Ties
  • 1 × Pliers\Cable Cutters (not photographed)
  • 1 × Small Roll Duct Tape
  • 1 × Larger Tube of Rubber Cement (12mL)
  • 1 × Spare CR2032 Battery
  • 1 × Tyre Plug Kit (with plenty of plugs)
  • 2 × Spare Tubes
  • 1 × Tube Repair Kit
  • 1 × CO2 Charger
  • 2 × 25g CO2 Canisters
  • 1 × Set of Good Tyre Levers
  • 1 × Tyre Boot

Everything listed above was for John and myself (2 people). After carrying all these various tools and puncture repair supplies we ended up having only one small puncture which sealed itself. The only servicing I had to undertake on the bikes was relubricating chains, retightenting headsets after corrugated roads and reinflating tyres when the tubeless lost some air. The only tool I wish I had brought was a 4mm torque key for tightening the stem bolts to the correct torque when retightening the headset rather than tightening by feel.
The plan for managing any punctures was as follows:
1. Pucture seals itself with sealant in tyre
2. Seal puncture with tubeless tyre plug
3. If can’t achieve seal use tube
4. When reach destination for the night repair larger cut with tyre boot + rubber cement and use the larger CO2 cannisters to reset tubeless
5. If any tubes need to be repaired use tube repair kit
Fortunately we didn’t get past step 1 on this trip.
The Bontrager MiniCharger is such a fantastic packable pump for bike packing. It functions as a mini-stand pump which makes it easy to use, I highly recommend it.
With the ultrafine Mawson dust coating everything, regular relubrication of chains is a must. It was required every 1-2 days.

TOILETRIES

Toiletries
  • 1 × 50mL Shampoo
  • 1 × 50mL Conditioner
  • 1 × 1/2 Bar Soap
  • 1 × Roll On Deodorant
  • 1 × Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
  • 1 × Scrunchie and Hairties
  • 1 × SPF Lipbalm
  • 1 × Sunscreen

Nothing exciting to say here, chamois cream would be the other thing if you use that.

MISCELLANEOUS

Miscellaneous
  • 1 × Antibacterial WetWipes
  • 1 × Pairing Knife, Splade, Spoon
  • 1 × Toiletpaper and Antibacterial Hand Gel
  • 1 × Microfiber Towel
  • 1 × Insulated 800mL Bottle
  • 1 × Non-Insulated 1L Bottle
  • 1 × Tube of Electrolyte Tabs
  • 1 × Wallet

Because my bike didn’t have a heap of mounting points, larger drink bottles were a must for stretches of the Mawson with limited refill points. I carried additional bottled water in my jersey pocket for the extra long stretches.
I brought toilet paper and didn’t need to use it, you were unlikely to travel more than 50km without finding a toilet. I brought cutlery but didn’t use it as I ended up buying easy to eat things. I brought a microfiber towel and didn’t use it because the caravan parks supplied linen/towels. I used the wet wipes to clean my bike.
The electrolyte tabs were great BUT they were constantly shaking around in my bag and erroding the tabs into a pink electrolyte dust that got EVERYWHERE… not sure how to avoid that
unexpected outcome.

FIRST AID

I dont have a photo of the first aid supplies because John carried that as I was carrying all the tools and puncture repair supplies. But here is broadly what we were carrying as I recall. We didn’t need any of these supplies.

  • Snake Bite Kit
  • Stuff for Grazes: Medisponge, bandaids, gauze, scissors, hyperfix, etc, etc….
  • Water purification tabs (may not need to pack this)
  • Medication: Neurophen, Panadol, Cold & Flue

One thought on “What I Packed for the Mawson Trail

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