Bikepacking "Tour de Jungle" (Part 3)

"Hangover" has never been so good! But of course, it’s not about the after-effect of drinking too much the night before...

It’s about dreaming under a canopy of trees, and waking up to the jungle dawn chorus 
with a breathtaking view.


Hang above rocks, roots, and unleveled  ground... 
Hang away from snakes, spiders, and lizards...   
These are just the tip of the iceberg why tarp and hammock is our preferred choice of shelter. The benefits of sleeping in the hammock are endless... and we know that there’s always a good place to sleep at the end of a ride...

...and dream to explore again tomorrow.

"There's nothing like starting early, riding all day, watching the sun set from the trail, riding through dark wildland, dreaming under the trees, waking up to the jungle dawn chorus... and then doing it all over again.  
It's just heavenly!"   Kawanbike

 Ride...Explore...Dream...Repeat... Bikepacking Nuts

Bikepacking "Tour de Jungle" (Part 2)

The key principles of ultralight bikepacking are minimizing and finding multiple uses for gears. Hence, do it yourself (DIY) and modifying gears played a big part in order to achieve the goal.  

Here's a good example of a stainless steel bottle that doubled as a pot. A simple loop of galvanized metal banding around the bottle neck and a carabiner will act as a bail.  Combined with some simple bushcraft and improvisation using natural materials, the jungle can be a very rewarding place to explore on a bike.

 Kawan+Bike always live up to its name...
 Apart from the bike, good companions are vital to the tour.
We firmly believe that "No trail is long with good company"

and... when the going gets tough, there's always someone who is willing to cheer things up.
"Gangnam Style" was the remedy entertainment that our friend (CS) has chosen.

... And someone like Ah Chen doing what he always does, keeping the kawanbike fire burning and making sure no one goes hungry at any time. Good food and tasty beverage never fails to please... Cheers!

 Obviously, we enjoy food as much as we enjoy riding...
 Often, appertizing and lightweight don't mix when it comes to food. Coming up with bikepacking food isn't simple at all. Tried and true (before this tour). Couscous with our choice of canned foods are hard to beat in terms of convenience and satisfying. A meal like this can be done in a snap with this little ultralight DIY stove .

Bikepacking "Tour de Jungle" (Part 1)

Self-supported, lung bursting climb/push on a fully loaded mountain bike. Dark, wet, and cold night in a blood sucking leech infested jungle 550m above sea level. Sheltered only with tarps and hammocks hanged above slippery, muddy slope. Creepy night sounds, and constantly keeping our fingers crossed for no “surprise hello” from a red headed krait (nocturnal venomous snake) when out for a midnight pee...

Despite all of the mentioned challenges, three of us unanimously agreed this was one hell of a ride. We’re lovin it!

Bikepacking differs from traditional bicycle touring. Lightweight and rackless bag systems are the key ingredients, thus making trail like this manageable.

Pondering... as i ride without racks, panniers and the kitchen sink...
If the ultralight and rackless bag systems work in a wildland tour. So why not use it for traditional bicycle touring? (If i ever do one day) Travelling light is often better, covering bigger distances, and freedom to roam... almost anywhere! 

Yeah... Almost anywhere! Over the rocks, roots, and unleveled terrain...

To a place with nothing but pure nature spa and retreat in an exotic jungle hideaway...


Bikepacking "Tour de Jungle"... Kayuh Lasak 2012 ala Kawanbike

Ride... Explore... Dream... Repeat... 
more than just an ordinary Kayuh Lasak...

Update soon!

Custom wood handle for my parang

The “Tour de Jungle” bikepacking trip is just around the corner. Just when i thought everything was ready, something falls apart. My parang’s handle finally cracked after more than a decade of loyal service (not bad for a plastic handle). For some reason, this parang is one of my personal favorite. So with a help from a blacksmith, a custom full tang wood handle has given my parang a new life.

With custom full tang wood handle, my favorite parang  is now stronger than ever before and it definitely feels and looks better than the old plastic handle (pictured above). So nice... Even the housefly can't resist it.

The Making of A Jungle Bike Tour

Kawanbike's “Tour de Jungle 2012” bikepacking is in the pipeline... 
But the fun of planning, making my own gear, and testing out actually started long time before. The key principles of ultralight bikepacking such as minimizing and finding multiple uses for gears always keep me busy in a good way.

Here’s a little sneak peek into some of the new developments.

An improved version of waterproof seat bag.
A modified dry bag with added bungee cords for quick & flexible storage. 
The heavy Brooks has been a loyal companion so far & i'm happy to take him along.

 The cockpit...
Complete sleeping system (jungle hammock, tarp, ropes & sleeping liner)
under the handlebar secured with DIY handlebar harness. A fuel tank bag for
snacks, camera, sunglasses, etc.

Parangs sharpenend!
My all-time favorite multi-tasking jungle tool is in the list too, despite the slight weight penalty.

More modification and addition for the jungle hammock...  
These netted pockets also doubled as “side pull-out” for the hammock. Creating a larger interior space and increasing overall air circulation.


Of course, nothing is complete without a test in the real environment after all the works that are done indoor.

More stuff soon....

DIY Folding Handle Mug for Mini Cook Kit

When ultralight mindset isn't really right...

As ultralight trend taking the ourdoor world by storm. Probably because of a little extra weight and the rigid/bulky handle, this familiar piece of stainless steel mug is often overlooked by ultralight outdoor enthusiasts who swear by titanium when it comes to cookware, despite the price tag.

But to a budget minded outdoorsman like me, a typical titanium mug (with folding handle) that costs 40 times more than its stainless steel cousin seems rather hard to justify.

 Alternatively, with a stainless steel mug (500ml ) that costs so less (about RM 3.90 or USD 1.28), nothing can possibly go wrong. Here's a quick and easy modification i made to solve the weight and storage problems.

No power tools... Basically a hex saw (for cutting), a nail (for holes) and some old cloth hanger (for handle) will do the job. The finished product weight about 73g. With a quick search on the internet... Surprise! It's actually lighter than most off the shelf Ti mug.

The result... An additional "ultracheap accessory" that integrate seamlessly with my Mini Cook Kit that still packed up small and i'm very pleased with it.

Campaign For A Lane 2012...

Mountain biker's way...
 We like the idea of CFAL (Campaign For A Lane), but riding the same old 80km asphalt just a bit too "stereotype". So we decided to alter the traditional CFAL route to better suit our taste & yet without losing the excitement of riding with the big crowd (for the last 20+km). As non-registered biker this time, no finisher medal to take home. But a dirty bike, a pair of sore legs & a big smile on the face are good too :)

DIY Frame Bag for Bikepacking

Since bikepacking is a fairly new sport. Finding a "perfect fit" frame bag in Malaysia that fits the budget can be a long nightmare...

Even if available, i don't usually have a few hundred dollars lying around to spend on a bag. 
So, once again, my DIY mode kicked in. A homemade custom fit frame bag a la Revelate Designs was finally added to my "Rackless Carry Systems".

On the other hand, if you have deep pockets, like to shop online and happy to pay huge shipping fees... hoping for the postman to turn up at your doorstep everyday only to realize that your package has been lost in transit... or stuck in your local customs department... then... get taxed heavily for the bag you've already paid few times more expensive than those bikepackers do on the other side of the planet and... yet you still feel happy about it, then for sure a custom fit frame bag by Revelate Designs or Carousel Design Works seems like something worth pursuing.

Custom fit frame bag made possible... Thank goodness for O2's fantastic sewing skills. 
This would be the "home" for the kitchen (Mini Cook Kit) & some hot camping meals.

DIY Handlebar Harness for Bikepacking

After a much successful bikepacking to "Penang's Hidden Heritage" (click here!)

The quest for “Rackless Carry Systems” 
for my lightweight bikepacking setup continues...  

I’ve been working on a prototype Handlebar Harness to carry my bikepacking gear, 
particularly the jungle hammock/sleeping kit. The handlebar harness has been
out for testing, and so far it has held up pretty well.

 The sleeping kit stored comfortably under the handlebar with minimal 
interference to the cables.

 The design is simple, super easy to make and very versatile. 
Tent, sleeping bag, dry bag and even a plastic candy jar can be strapped and used 
at different time or trip. The velcro (to stem) and reusable cable ties (to handlebar) 
offer clean and quick setup or release. 

I like gear with multiple uses. It helps to cut down on the weight and 
add more smiles on the face.

So, why this hammock? 
It's light, cheap, practical and i still haven't found a reason not to use it.
Hammock and tarp also touted as the best shelter system to use in the jungle. 
This hammock can also be used on the ground if i choose to spend 
the night on the beach or somewhere flat. No boundaries, the sky's the limit.

My "all terrain" sleeping kit setups provide more campsite options.
 On flat ground, on a hillside, or even over a river. 
There is always a good place to sleep at the end of a ride.

Ultralight DIY Stove - Mini Cook Kit & Hobo Stove in action

 The DIY Hobo Stove finally got a tan! 

 Now that the Mini Cook Kit is fully functional for my intended use. I feel like i’m finally getting close to being happy with it. 


Putting the DIY Hobo Stove/Kit to good use... My ride has gotten even better as i find a nice spot, set up the mini kitchen and make fantastic trailside coffee under a canopy of trees.

 Hmm... With a kit like this tagged along, an ordinary day riding also can be turned into a micro bikepacking adventure, temporarily subdued the itch to get out on an overnight bike trip that seems difficult to materialize this year.