Sunburn trip to Morocco is because I went on the same trip with the same tour operator, MotoAventures, earlier this year.
On the last day I asked Sam Christmas to take a shot of some of the kit I used. This is a bit of a guide for anyone going on our trip or a similar one. All this stuff is recommended by me. Some of it's new (helmet and gloves). Other items I've used for years. G
1. Hydration system.
Not essential, because you can simply carry a bottle of water in a bag and take a glug when you stop for a breather or to take a photo, but a straw you can suck on makes things easier. I bought this when I was training to run a marathon and dug it out for this trip. I stored it inside my trusty Kriega rucksack, because I like to carry my notepad and other nick-nacks. Kriega do hydration packs and also retro fit bladders to fit into most of their existing rucksacks if you already have one.
2. Knox Cross Shirt body armour.
I can't remember how long I've had this, but it's years. I wear it when riding BMX and off-road motorcycles. This armoured shirt is one of a few British company Knox offer. Thumb loops are essential to keep the arm protection from moving as soon as you hit the deck, uncovering your unprotected corners. Not cheap at £199, but very good quality and shows no signs of wearing out despite a lot of abuse.
Also look at the Icon Stryker Rig.
3. Fox Knee Armour
Rather bulky, but cheap (at £22) and stayed in place. I wore a part of old Nick Ashley cotton trousers and a Fuel Motorcycles long-sleeve shirt over the top of my armour, because I'm not keen on the MX look and didn't have it anyway. MotoAventures have some clothing for rent if you need it.
4. Oakley goggles
£30. Had them about eight years. Nothing fancy. Were already a bit scuffed.
5. Dainese Huge Air gloves
These £52 gloves, aimed at the off-road market, didn’t bunch up, didn’t stick to sweaty hands, always easy to pull on and off. My hands blistered, but I’ve never used a glove that would’ve helped considering my death grip in the desert. There are cheaper options. MX shops have sales on at this time of year.
6. Long MX socks
I bought these Fly socks in Utah on a 8000-mile cross-country trip when my boots wear chafing. Since then I've used them every time I've raced. You can pick up socks like these at any MX shop for £10-15.
Bought a day into my Morocco trip and, perhaps, a day too late. MotoAventures sell these for €10. Get yours as soon as you arrive. They act as an extra layer of protection to stop calluses across the top of your palms.
8. Knox Cross Shorts
Literally saved my ass when I crashed a BMW into a South African garden. All-day comfortable. I use these for BMX too. The armour is slotted into pockets and comes out so you can wash them. Now superseded by Guerilla shorts.
9. TCX 2.1 Boots
I asked a friend, who'd been on a MotoAventures desert trip before, if I could get away with Blundstones (that I'd worn on my Benelli trip through Africa) or brogue boots (that I'd worn for a 16-day off-road trip with MotoAventures in South Africa). I was told, definitely not. So I dug out these TCX 2.1 boots that I'd ended up with, but rarely worn.
On the first day I couldn't buckle them up or barely even walk in them. By the end of the trip I loved them. I haven't worn them since though.
A better compromise for road riders who don't ride off-road regularly, could be the Icon 1000 Elsinore or Prep boots.
10. AGV AX-8 EVO
Brand new before the trip, the lightest helmet I’ve ever worn, at just 1150g. It is comfortable for eight-hour hard days, from day one. I love it.
Also take lip balm; glucose sweets or jelly babies or similar; camera or camera phone.
Wicking long underwear is recommended, to wear under armour, but I did without it.
Swimwear and light, casual shoes.
Travel light. The hotels are smart, but no one is judging you for wearing the same shirt for three nights.
Even though you camp out for one night you don't sleeping bags or anything.
If you missed out on Sideburn's Sunburn trip but still fancy going to Morocco for some desert kicks, the tour company we are working with are offering other tours in early 2015. Go to MotoAventures.com for more info. They're also exhibiting at the forthcoming NEC bike show in the UK. G