Part 2 – What The Well Dressed Person Wears… on the Ho Chi Minh Trail

If you think I’m going a little light on clothes, you’re right. It’s because I want to take a bunch of camera stuff. Since want to chronicle and document everything we do, I also need a laptop. And since we won’t be able to get two-day Amazon delivery out on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, I’m taking two (or more) of everything: a primary and a back-up. As you go through all the stuff that follows, you may think I’m going to need a steamer trunk for all of it. Not so. As the picture below shows, it doesn’t even come close to filling up the shoe box. I guess I’ve got room for more undies.

Two GoPros – I have an older GoPro5 which I really like and a newer GoPro Hero7 Black.

GoPro Hero7 Black – I got this camera because of the phenomenal image stabilization for when riding. It’s almost as good as a full-tilt gimbal stabilization. It takes GREAT high-resolution videos and still pics. I don’t even use the highest resolutions (4K) and it’s better than many high-end video cameras. It’s tiny, light, rugged, and waterproof. If you are only going to be allowed one camera for the rest of eternity, then a GoPro is the one. Don’t leave home without it.

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GoPro Hero5 Black – The Hero5 is a great camera. I had this before I got the Hero7. This little guy has many features of the Hero7, but is two generations back. It is now my back-up but I also still use it when I want two cameras at the same time. It is by no means obsolete. I don’t want to do a whole comparison here so I’m going to just hit on the main reason I upgraded… image stabilization. The Hero5 has some stabilization, but is not in the same league as the Hero7. If you really want to see the difference, check out YouTube where there are lots of comparisons. If you are interested in getting into a GoPro then a Hero5 is a good way to check it out without mortgaging the farm.

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One other option I should mention when it comes to GoPros is a Hero4. You can get some really good deals on “refurbished” “Hero4 Silver” on ebay. You should be able to pick up one of these for sixty-to-seventy bucks.

Baby Camera – One limitation to a GoPros is that it’s a pain to get it ready to shoot. You’ve got to push this button, tap the screen, hold that button, and if you have a thick finger, you have to start all over. Don’t get me wrong… like I said, if I could only have one, that would be the one. But, a small “point and shoot” camera will get shots you wouldn’t get with a GoPro. I borrowed one for my trip to Thailand and used it all the time. I could grab it for a point & shoot and then keep going. So I ordered a used one for this trip. A forty-buck Canon Powershot has zoom and will even take videos.

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Camera & GoPro SD Card Memory – Anytime you’re doing a lot of videos, you are going to need memory to go with it. Today, tons of memory has become dirt cheap. The latest, greatest densities like 512 GByte or above aren’t cheap, but the smaller ones are. I’m recording at 1080P/30 FPS (frames per second) and that gives me a bit over 2 hours of recording with the 32 GByte SD cards that I have. I’m taking a few of these I already have so I don’t run out of memory on each day’s ride. Another reason for taking smaller SD cards is if you lose one, you won’t have such a big loss. That said, 128 GByte seems to now be giving the most bang for the buck. Click on the image and you can select any size you want.

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Baby Laptop – I almost didn’t go with this. But I want to keep a journal of the adventure. I plan to write at the end of each day… maybe first thing in the morning too. If I wait until I’m back home to capture my thoughts, then most of it will be gone. Even though I bought this specifically for traveling, I use it all the time. No, it doesn’t have massive storage or a huge display… that’s not what it is for. It’s small and light. I can just throw it in my backpack & go. So my baby laptop is going. There’s a lot of them out there now. Here’s the one I have:

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One Tera-Byte Memory Module – In case you haven’t spent your children’s inheritance yet, there’s one more thing you need to support all those pics and videos you’ll be taking… more memory. One of my big fears is that I’ll be halfway through the HCMTrail Ride and run out of memory. Yes, I’ve got a lot of SD cards, but just the same, I don’t want to have to edit and delete stuff until I get back home. So I bought a One-TeraByte solid-state disk. I’m an engineer… I design stuff like this… and I still can’t quite get my mind around a terabyte… let alone a terabyte that will fit in the palm of your hand.

It wasn’t long ago that terabytes of mass storage memory for a project would cost tens of thousands of dollars. This one only costs $170.

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Power-Pack(s) – This is an item most folks wouldn’t think about. But I’ve often gone to places where I couldn’t charge my cameras or cell phone for a day or two. Oh the horror of it all! No cell phone! Ok… I could live without a cell phone, but probably not without its camera. So I have three power-packs… two regular ones and one jumbo. I could probably get by with just the two. But… as you’ve learned, I like to cover every contingency.

The smaller two are 10000 mAh units. What that means is that it will charge my cell phone about three times or my GoPro batteries about 8 times. Since the GoPro batteries are good for about 1 hour or maybe 1.5 hours tops, you can see that one power-pack is good for a day’s riding if a GoPro is running most of the time. With all the electronic stuff I have, you can see why I would want two of these.

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I didn’t buy the “jumbo” power-pack to recharge my toys. Instead, I bought it to jump-start my car. It’s not really very good at jump-starting, though it is amazing for its size. If your car battery is completely dead, it won’t work. But if the car battery doesn’t have enough left to turn over the engine… just make it groan a little, then this unit will work. I’ve tried it both ways and it’s astonishing for being so small.

But this isn’t about jump-starting your car. It’s about charging toys on the HCMTrail Ride. This one is 12000 mAh which translates to about 4 charges for my cell phone and 10 charges for my GoPro. This isn’t as size efficient as the smaller units, but its versatility more than makes up for it. If needed, we could jump-start a CRF250L while out on the trail… so I’m taking it. I’m so impressed with this, that besides the link, I’m including another couple of pics to show you it’s size. If I hadn’t tried it myself, I wouldn’t believe it would jump-start a car.

By the way… the next two pics were taken with my “Baby Cannon” to show you how good it is.

INIU, FLYLINKTECH Power-Packs and my cell phone on notebook paper.
I guess you can tell I’m impressed with this.

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Don Duval recommended to bring along some energy bars. They are a tasty snack and great for a day of exploring. He said you can’t get these in Laos, so his recommendation is to bring a box of Clif energy bars with you. Since I have a sweet-tooth… I bought three boxes. By now, you wouldn’t expect any less of me.

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This last item needs no explanation…

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While trying to keep this short (I didn’t succeed) I’m sure I left off stuff. So if you have questions, I’ll be glad to answer them if I can. Leave your question(s) below or go to the contact me page for an email link.

1 thought on “Part 2 – What The Well Dressed Person Wears… on the Ho Chi Minh Trail

  1. Bob, this is what we needed – this, and the previous article. I look forward to meeting you and riding with you! Thank you so much for taking the time to write these.

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