What considerations do you need to make when deciding what to include in your kitlist?
To get the right packing setup, I have to consider how often I’ll use something, how many different uses it has, how long it takes to use, how easily I could source and buy it on the road, and how heavy it is.
I also have to consider what my race goals are. By that I mean am I racing to win or am I racing just to finish the race. If I was out to win it I would probably take more risks and leave more stuff behind that is unlikely to be used.
Does experience change your view of what is necessary over time?
I actually seem to be packing more now than I used to! Perhaps I’ve I realised that certain things are really important – for example suncream. I never used to take it because it’s heavy and it only has one use, but I use it everyday and its now a regular part of my pack.
Are there many items that although you think could be useful, you’ve left at home anyway?
Yes, lots! One example would be my schrader – presta valve adapter. It would have allowed me to pump up my tyres at petrol stations using their pumps, but I don’t actually need it because I have a pump with me anyway. I also left my sleeping mat behind – although I may regret this one. It would have insulated me from underneath and provided comfort, but it takes a while to blow up, so I decided to go with the sleeping system I know; my sleeping bag and bivi.
What impact does the route, or your chosen course, have on what you decide to bring?
The climate in different areas massively influences my choice of clothes and also sleeping equipment. It will be hot in most areas but in some more mountainous regions I am expecting it to be a lot cooler, so I’ve had to accommodate for both – which means more weight.
What impact does your intended speed have on what you decide to bring?
If an injury I’ve been carrying doesn’t stop me I want to finish the race and have a good time, so I brought a medium amount of stuff. If I was out to win it I would take more risks and take less stuff – especially my sleeping equipment, which would be cut down a lot.
What system do you use to store your gear?
It basically comes down to how accessible an item needs to be. I always ask myself while I’m packing: Will I need this while riding? If the answer is yes, I will put it in one of the bags that I can access when on the move. If the answer is no, it will go into the handle bar pack or the saddle pack.
Paula (far left) with her Adventure Syndicate teammates
Bubble wrap sleeping mat – easy, fast and light!
Down sleeping bag
Long sleeve merino wool top
Supernova USB plug
All electrical cables
Exposure Joystick light
European USB wall plug adapter
Spare inner tubes
Puncture repair kit
Tyre repair kit
Spare mech hanger
First aid kit