Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gear Talk: What's in the pet carrier?

What's in the Pet Carrier?
Mash it under the seat!

The pet carrier is a nickname for the under-seat storage bin on a scooter, because in the US they come with a 'No Pets' sticker. Go ahead and make assumptions based on that information. My pets gave up the ghost years ago, so here's what I keep in mine.

The bin for the Vespa GTS was designed to fit exactly 2 interlocking half helmets, because what sort of Italian would want more than that. Seeing as I don't even own half helmets, I've found the lumpy figure-eight shape inefficient for anything but small or soft items. So my pet carrier holds my clothes, packed into a pretty standard 25 liter backpack that I can throw in my tent or bring in for overnight stays. I fill the gaps with my toiletries bag and mash a camp towel in what space remains.

What's in the Pet Carrier?
Fresh from laundry. The set of clothing I'm wearing and toiletries bag not pictured.

My clothing has been subject to some rotation as I absorb and ship away shirts from rallies or friends, but here's the general list:

  • 2 cotton camis, shelf bra. Warm base layers for cool temps, though sometimes I just wear one  with nothing else under my riding jacket.
  • 2 wicking t-shirts. For long riding days. I can sometimes get 2 days wear out of these before getting smelly.
  • 2-5 regular cotton t-shirts. The most fluctuation is seen here, I ship'em back to PVD or CA if I hit 5, because I can't close my seat anymore. They're typically emblazoned with scooters, motorcycles, or something RI related. Not deliberate, go figure.
  • 1 nice-ish shirt. For blending in.
  • 3 sleeveless tops. One sport/wicking, one sparkly 'for night', and uh... a cat print one I like. They pack small.
  • 1 set of wicking shorts and sleeveless top from These have proven to have excellent anti-stink and anti-swamp-butt properties, and can be worn multiple days under riding gear. I just wish the elastic waistband wasn't so tight on the shorts.
  • 1 capri wicking running tights. Go-to for comfort under riding gear, can wear 2 days.
  • 1 pair quick-dry shorty shorts. Can be worn under riding gear in warmer temps, or as cover-up for swimwear. Or for working out, which was their original use.
  • 1 pair of mid-length shorts. Old, cheap and lightweight, I don't care what happens to them.
  • 1 cotton-blend skirt. It's cute.
  • 2 pairs of jeans, one 'nicer' and one that's mostly covered in bug spray, pet hair/drool, mud, grass, and dirt.
  • 1 polyester thrift-shop dress. Feelin' fancy.
  • 1 snap-button longsleeve shirt. This has been super handy.
  • 1 Eton microlink flashlight radio. I've since moved this to my dry sack.

I keep my underthings in a mesh zip bag, just to keep them sort of organized. Mostly these are overnight-dry travel undies, that I acquired and tested out over time (hey, I've only been planning this for over a year).

  • 4 quick-dry travel panties. I usually wash these nightly when I shower, but when I'm settled in a place for a few days with easy access to laundry, it's nice to have enough not to need to handwash every night.
  • 1 quick-dry thong. It was suggested to try it. I'm not a convert but hey, it's a backup that takes up practically no space.
  • 1 boy-short style wicking sporty underwear. In FL, it was so hot I wore just these under my gear. These are most comfy for working out when I have the chance, and dry quick.
  • 1 underwire bra. For pretending I blend into society.
  • 1 quick-dry travel bra. 2 days worth of wear, for long riding days.
  • 1 cotton string bra. Looks okay under tank tops and packs small.
  • 1 sports bra. 2 days worth of wear. Also used for working out, or riding on gravel I suppose.
  • 4 pairs of quick-dry travel socks. 2 ankle length, 1 shorty, 1 taller. Completely by accident it worked out that way, but these are the most expensive socks I've ever owned so I sure am going to use them all. Also, they do actually dry overnight and I've discovered can be worn multiple days.
  • 1 bikini set.
  • Sleepwear. My old bra cami and little silky shorts. Comfort that packs small.

I've acquired a number of free drawstring polyester bags, mostly from rallies. I keep 2 levels of laundry in them. One bag has 'soiled' laundry, and it lives inside another with 'slightly worn' laundry. Y'know, to protect it from my 'clean' clothing as I slowly bake the entire backpack under my seat with the heat of the engine for hundreds of miles.

Basically, every so often the entire contents go into a washing machine. I feel like this is actually a pretty luxurious collection and I could carry less clothing, but I've used every item I have more than once. The entire contents are barely a full laundry load.

The challenge was packing for three seasons in one backpack, though it helps that I'm doing the majority of my riding in summer weather. I keep my warmer layers in a sidebag, including:

  • 1 pair of long tights. In early May and at altitude, it was cold enough that I slept in these.
  • 1 Uniqlo longsleeved base layer. In New England winter I live in these, Japanese technology FTW.
  • 1 black zip-up layer, no hood. This is still handy for in-between kind of weather, and no hood means easy under riding jacket.
  • 1 warm, comfy live-in-it hoody. Layered over my summer clothing and under my riding jacket, this is usually warm enough. Add Uniqlo base layer if additional warmth needed.
  • Steel Horse Sisterhood longsleeved hoody shirt. This was given to me at the Biker Belle event, when it was cold and rainy outside. I have a feeling it's going to see a lot more wear-time over winter in CA, because I'm mostly packed for summer.

This is pretty much all my clothing, and at any given point I'm wearing some of it. In a single day, I've gone from wearing all the layers in the mountains, to taking as much of it off as possible back at sea-level. The only real test of my wardrobe was in Florida, when I sweated through everything lightweight and wicking, and laundry couldn't keep up. Your mileage may vary.

1 comment:

  1. Hey thanks for sharing this post. I was thinking of buying pet carriers when i came across your post. I will keep in mind the things you suggested before buying one. Thanks a lot once again.