Glad to see some questions coming up finally. The safety gear played a major role in bringing us back home without any broken bones or limbs, apart from being blessed by God. We all took a number of falls, some serious ones as well, but every time it was the gear which saved us. Although, the safety gear was sometimes very cumbersome to wear, specially in the heat, as it blocked free airflow, making us sweat, but it paid us back very well in the long term. No biker should be thinking of going onto adventure touring without complete protection. We are lucky to be in Pakistan where we can buy this stuff pretty cheap as compared to what riders pay in Europe or USA for the same gear.
As for the V-Strom's tyres, you are right, they are road tyres. They didn't do well at all on the wet, muddy, finely graveled dirt tracks. The rear wheel kept freely spinning and skidding in such sections. A couple of years back, I was in the Burzil Pass area, and rode hundreds of kilometers off-road along the Shingo River and further onto the off-shoot tracks leading towards the Line of Control in Shaqma and Buniyal sectors on the same bike without so much trouble. Reason being that I had mounted proper off-road tyres having a very aggressive knobby tread pattern.
I have that set lying spare with me and I intentionally did not switch over to them as initially we had plans only as far as Kalam. The Badawi Pass crossing idea came up only at Kalam. These knobby tyres have problems of their own on highways and metal roads. They become very noisy at speeds over 100 kph and they don't make a smooth ride either. Moreover, these knobbies don't last very long, maybe something like 8000 to 10,000 kms at the most. I hope this clarifies your questions.