MTB Lao Correspondence
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What type of plug do I need for Laos?
A: In Laos you will find all types of plugs, some US-style and some other international styles. Since you'll likely have one plug & maybe one outlet, it's a good idea to get a plug that offers USB charging as well. The best option is a “World” or “Global” Adapter, which you can find on Amazon or Brookstone.
Q: Garmin Battery Life--will it last the whole day? What type of external battery charging system should I get?
A: I suggest Goal Zero chargers because they're waterproof and rugged. It is important to have 12+ hours of charge daily for your Garmin just in case something happens. We will have power every night to recharge your batteries on your devices.
Q: Mosquito Nets- Do I need just a face net or a full sleeping cover, like a tent? Do I really need this at all?
A: A small net that covers your face will work great- there is no need to have a full tent. In all my trips over there, I’ve only used my mosquito face net a few times. It’s not essential, but it’s super light, cheap and would be a nice thing to have if the bugs at night get bad. Sea to Summit has face nets. Additionally, it is a good idea to use Permethrin pump spray for your clothing to keep mosquitoes away.
Q: Camelbak - I have a 48 oz...is the 70 necessary?
A: If you can carry 48 oz plus two water bottles that would work for a total of 70 oz carrying capacity. For each day you will carry food, water, bike repair stuff like a flat tire changing kit, spare parts, rain jacket, camera...Whatever you would take for an 8-hour ride w/1-2 resupply points for food & water each day. I carry most of my stuff in my Camelbak plus a few things like camera and bike tools in a Revelate Designs bag or two on my bike.
Q: Bikepacking- What will we need to carry every day with us? I'm trying to plan what bike bags I need to bring.
A: Imagine you are going out for a 100 mile ride. Be prepared to pack for that each day. They'll be long days with a couple of re-supplies.
Q: I have a good rain jacket, but not pants. Are those necessary?
A: A cheap pair of nylon pants would work if you don't already have rain pants. It can rain very, very hard there. It’s usually quite warm even when raining, but I have been caught out when the rain did turn cold.
Q: We are bringing our own bars and gels, correct?
A: Yes, if you have specific riding food you want, please bring it. Keep in mind nutritional items are heavy so plan your luggage accordingly. I suggest bringing 1-2 bars per day, plus any supplements or drink mixes if you have room. We will be stopping for food along the way, but it is likely not the type of food you are used to seeing. If all else fails, there's plenty of rice in Asia!!!
Q. Anti-Malarial- Do I need to take it? What about Japanese Encephalitis shot?
A: I HIGHLY recommend taking an anti-malarial. Japanese Encephalitis is not needed. Others are your choice.
Q: What bike should I use?
A: A lightweight, cross country type full suspension or hardtail mountain bike in pristine working order is required. The trail is rugged in some places and smooth in others. We will encounter all types of terrain including cobbles, singletrack footpaths, 4WD roads, caves and river crossings. The riding is not overly technical, but it is bumpy, unmaintained and often changes with each season. There are no bike shops or even towns to purchase items needed.
Q: What tires should I use?
A: I will be riding the Maxxis Ardent tires. Any mountain bike tires with tread for moderate off-road riding will be OK.
Q: What gearing?
A: I will be riding with my SRAM Eagle 1x12 set-up with a 10-50 cassette and 32T chainring.
Q: Will we have to carry our sleeping bag during the day?
A: As of right now, you will not need to carry your sleeping gear while riding.
Q: How much food/nutrition should we be carrying?
A: I suggest bringing 1-2 bars per day of your choice, plus some other nutritional items like GU chews, electrolyte drinks and trail snacks. There will be days where we will not see the support vehicle and I don’t want anyone to go hungry. You will not be able to buy the kinds of snacks you are used to over there, so bring what you like and then we’ll supplement with local fare.
Q: How much and what bike gear should we be carrying?
A: There are no bike shops in Laos and you will need to be self-sufficient on the trail. Items that should be in your daily pack/gear include spare parts like: derailleur hanger, derailleur, patch kit, tubes, tire, quick link, extra chain, multi-tool, tire levers, lube, mini-pump.
Q: What are the distances each day? Estimated time on the bike?
A: The route is coming together and is going to be fantastic. Due to the rainy season and other local circumstances, we won’t know the exact route until we get closer to the time of our trip. Expect river crossings in small canoes, a cave adventure, jungle trail riding, visits to small villages, plenty of interaction with locals and a total adventure. Don and I are working hard to deliver the best route that checks all the boxes of culture, history, scenery and great riding. Plan on being on your bike for 6-8 hours each day.
Q: Are there rest days?
A: We are not scheduling a rest day, but we will spend two nights in one of the villages and do a shorter ride on the second day.
Q: Do we need a water filter? How do we get fresh water?
A: We will be able to fill up water each morning. Plan on a full hydration pack and a bottle or two each day. Our support crew will supply us with extra water while we’re out riding.