April 7, 2015
Rally season kicked off two weeks ago with the first ever March Moto Madness event in Washington state. It was just outside Olympia, WA in the Capitol National Forest. Big thanks to Greg, Fletch, Chet, and all the other folks who made it happen. The rides and evenings were really well organized and everyone had a total blast. I have no doubt this event will become a major gathering spot for PNW riders in the years ahead. We’ll definitely be there again next year.
MMM was a perfect opportunity to dust off our rally/show gear and figure out how we’re going to display all the new 2015 products. With the new Backcountry 30L duffle and 25L Panniers, plus the two new Reckless bags and the new BMW adapters, we have a lot more items this year than last. We threw together this new shelf display, but unfortunately didn’t have time to paint it before heading North.
Here’s what the display actually looked like all setup at MMM. We even brought some of our apparel prototypes, which was helpful not only in terms of collecting early feedback, but also because I got to ride with them for two days in a row. I came back with a whole bunch of notes and revisions.
One of the evening presentations at MMM on a trip through South America.
Pulling back into my house from March Moto Madness I saw 7 big boxes from MSR. Our order finally showed up! I was like a fat kid in a candy store.
I was headed out for 4 days of riding/camping and I was really hoping all this stuff would show up in time. Here’s a few pics of some of the stuff we got:
The drinking nozzle for the Dromedary Bags, so you can use them like a normal hydration bladder in your pack.
The Solo 2 Cooking kit.
The Whisperlite Universal. Finally a Whisperlite that can run either a) off unleaded fuel from my gas tank or b) canister fuel. I’m a big fan of camp stoves that run on unleaded gas. But they do require more maintenance. It’s cool that this one can do either.
First thing I did was swap out the canister jet for the unleaded jet.
So now my extra gas is also my camp stove fuel. I don’t generally need the extra gas due to the size of the safari tank on my KTM, but I do use it for starting the fire at night, and it’s handy to have a 1L fuel bottle to siphon gas for smaller bikes, like the KLX250 that Amarett was riding.
Lastly the new MSR Hubba 2 person tent. The name comes from it being a “hub tent” meaning that it has only one pole, so it sets up super fast. It’s an awesome tent, even if the name is kind of cheesy. And it comes with this detachable gear shed which is really perfect for moto.
Unfortunately I couldn’t setup the rainfly in my living room, let alone the gear shed.
Another nice thing about the MSR tents is that they come with their own compression sack with 3 proper compression straps. Here’s what the two person Hubba looks like WITH the gear shed in the same compression sack. That’s a 1L bottle next to it. This tent packs small and light. I’m looking forward to trying out the 1 person version with the gear shed on my next trip in a couple weeks. I think the 1 person with a gear shed might be the ultimate light-weight solo moto camping setup.
Getting ready for the upcoming trip, I needed some new tire irons, so I swung by the local Yamaha dealership, and they were in the process of swapping out their wire-grid displays for new pegboard displays. Perfect timing, since we have all this new MSR stuff to display. $300 later I had a whole stack of wire grid panels and pegs and baskets, in addition to some new tire irons.
Our new E-Z up and flag finally showed up as well.
It was raining so we tried setting it up in the shop, but that didn’t work out to well.
Here’s what it looked like outside.
The new wire grids are perfect for the MSR merchandise.
We also got a sample shipment of these really cool magnetic buckles from a new vendor that we’re thinking of integrating into our tank bag attachment system. It’s hard to see just how cool these things are from a photo, so we shot a couple quick video clips instead.
Last Thursday, armed with all the new MSR stuff and our new riding apparel prototypes, I took off for my trip. The idea was to take a bunch of photos of all the gear in action and give some detailed feedback on the blog. Just one small problem, I forgot my camera AND my phone charger. So instead of taking a bunch of pics and reporting back, I had a totally disconnected trip with no camera, no phone, no music. Just riding, camping, reading, fires, and hot springs. I gotta’ admit, it was kind of nice to disconnect like that.
Pulling back in on Sunday, I shot this quick video of unpacking the Reckless 80L. We’ve been getting a bunch of questions about what fits where, so hopefully this will help. Obviously there was more food, water, and whiskey in there when I left, but you get the idea.