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Cooking Kit n Sleeping Bag Advice

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Beanie, 28 May 2008.

  1. Beanie

    Beanie New Member

    Inspired in part by some of the touring tales i've read on here, i'm planning 3/4 days of cycle camping in Northumberland towards the end of June.

    I've done B&B touring before but this will be my first camping trip and i would really appreciate some advice from more experienced folk on the following few subjects.

    1) What temperature rating should i be looking out for from a sleeping bag? I can't see me wanting to go camping outside of May - September.
    2) Was thinking of getting a Trangia cookset. How easy is the burner to use (i can't even do a bloody barbeque!)?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Amanda P

    Amanda P The CycleChat user formerly known as Uncle Phil

    1) It really depends on how much you want to spend and how hot or cold you tend to get when sleeping. I get cold easily, especially at night, and I'd go for a 3-season bag. It can get quite cold in the wee hours, even in June. But if you're the kind of person who sweats in a T-shirt outdoors in January, you'd be quite happy with a 2-season bag or maybe even just sleeping under your jacket.

    If you're just trying camping, no need to spend a lot on a down bag. If you get cold, you can pile spare clothes on top of yourself after all, or just wear some clothes inside the bag. Longer-term, if you find your bag isn't warm enough, you can get a fleece liner for it.

    On a side issue, the bit of a sleeping bag that's underneath you as you sleep gets squashed by your weight, so provides no insulation at all. For this reason, even in summer, you'll want some sort of sleeping mat. You can get a foam one for a fiver, and you should. It's much more comfy than sleeping on the ground too.

    2) Trangias are very easy indeed to use. There are no moving parts. Someone will be along in a minute to say that they're too slow, that you can struggle to get fuel for them etc etc. But they're light, the lookalike copies are quite cheap and serviceable, meths is easy to get in the UK (even Northumbria), they're pretty safe, and there's nothing to go wrong. Plus there are no wasteful empty gas cartridges to carry around.

    The only difficulty can be getting the meths alight (especially in very cold weather), but a little patience and you'll do it. (Tip: use matches; you'll burn your fingers if you try to use a lighter).

    Trangias are kinda slow it's true. So the advice when camping with one is to pack it at the top of your bag. When you set up camp, the first move is to set up the stove and get some water on to boil. By the time you have set up your tent, shaken out your sleeping bag, trimmed your toenails, and whatever else you deem essential preparation for the night, your water will be boiling and you can have your brew.
     
  3. jags

    jags Über Member

    hi beanie,i bought myself a optimus crux gas stove great bit of kit the only problem i have with it is the arms are to small hard to balance a pot on it ,but still a great stove im only going to be boiling water cant cook .
    field and trek have good on sleeping bags
     
  4. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    I wont answer about the bags as I never did really understand the rating system and mine is often to warm!

    I have the trangia 27 non stick and it works great for a solo (poss two) campers. Get the non stick it's way less hassle to clean I reckon. You dont need to be a chef either to get results, but you do need to be organised, especially if you end up cooking under a fly sheet in bad weather. One thing I added to my kit was a simple small fry pan which doibles as a lid. I now have too fry pans and two small pots. I cooked all kinds of things and got pretty adventurous. You do need to accept that things take a while longer than an electric hob though. One thing I dont like about the trangia is how easy it is to burn yourself when adjusting the flame with the burner flame/lid adjuster, you need to be careful. Apparently ther eis a gas converter kit available which means you can use the trangia as a meths burner or with a gas cannister...might me worth a look?
     
  5. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    The gas converter for the Trangia is well worth it if you are car based. On the bike I preferred to use the meths burner, which is a lot lighter. The converter only works on the refillables and even the smallest of those is a fair weight.

    One thing the Trangia doesn't do at all well is fry. The lid is too far from the flame. I know many people are fixated on bacon for breakfast but I found it better not to fry any food when I'm camping - you get grease spots all over the tent and you can't wash your stuff without hot water and detergent. It's not the healthiest way to prepare your food anyway, if you bother about such things.
     
  6. Trangias are great. They're one of the few stoves that work better in a high wind, and they're stable enough to cook on far - from - level ground without falling over: try that with a gas stove and a heavy pan! As others have said, they're not great at frying and they're not that quick, but I wouldn't use anything else. If you're really organised, you can fit your whole kitchen into it - mine contains two sets of cutlery, a small bottle of washing up liquid, a pan scourer and a teatowel and a tub of matches.
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Über Member

    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    sleeping bags

    Each persons metabolism is unique and whether one sleeps "hot or cold" is the big question to address before buying a bag. As a backpacker/cycle camper, I've shivered in my 4 year old down bag (rated 0 deg C) in the Peak District in mid Sept (inaccurate rating IMO). I've just bought an Alpkit Pipedream 400 down sleeping bag which weighs 780gms and is rated to -3 deg C. I'm told that with a silk liner it will go to -5. It has a full length zip so can be used as a quilt in warmer weather.
    A good nights sleep is paramount after a long day in the saddle so don't "economise" on the sleeping bag (like I've done in the past).
     
  8. Alves

    Alves New Member

    Location:
    Perth
    I'm a fan of Trangias too. I tend to use the mini version (theyre cheaper and ...smaller google "mini trangia" to see one) when I'm cycling and the bigger version when I'm in the mountains. I tend to only use it to boil water for tea and porridge in the am and cook pasta or rice (& throw in Tuna or cheese) in the pm and it is adequate for this and can be stored in a small pan which I use to eat from.
    I definitely would advise going as light as possible as you'll remember the hills on the bike longer than the gourmet cuisine you made with a complicated stove and set of pans. It does however depend a bit on what you enjoy though, cooking at the campsite, pub meals and simple hot drinks or just eat carry outs and sarnies (you deserve better!) there are lots of combinations esp on a short trip where you could easily have all your evening meals in a cafe or pub and still not spend too much.
    Again my advice would be to go light as poss.
     
  9. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Sleeping bags - unless you need something extreme, which you won't for your trip, it's much more versatile to have layers as others have said i.e. a pertex or silk liner.

    Don't forget a hat and gloves! The hat in particular can make one season's difference and makes it easier to keep your head the same temperature as your body.
     
  10. JackE

    JackE Über Member

    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    camping

    I used Trangias for years but have moved on to an ultralight gas stove, a titanium 0.75 ltr pan and a ti mug (total weight around 300 gms, about a third of the Trangia). By the way, it's a lot easier to clean a titanium pot than an aluminium one, even the dreaded porridge is a breeze.
    If you are a fan of meths, then the lightest, most fuel efficient alcohol stove on the market is a Caldera Cone (weighs 48 gms). (Google Winwood Outdoors). It has got rave reviews in the hiking mags.
     
  11. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    I use Camping Gaz. It's very quick and clean but I only boil water for tea or pasta.
     
  12. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    does the cone fold flat?..it looks a little difficult to pack in a pannier if it doesnt.
     
  13. wallabyhunter

    wallabyhunter New Member

    Location:
    Perth WA
  14. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    Hey Wallaby,
    I don't know but you could always buy a French Gaz one on arrival which will be available freely.
    ps. Your Google map route seems to show the USA. You are aware that Boulogne is in Yurp, aren't you?:smile:

    I'm in the Brittany/Loire region from July17 for a couple of weeks. May see you there?
     
  15. wallabyhunter

    wallabyhunter New Member

    Location:
    Perth WA
    Web site still under construction, still trying to figure out the Google maps link. Thanks for the reply. The cannisters have a screw thread, not for goumet cooking, but boils water in a flash. The burner (MSR) wieghs 0.000000001gms (almost) so I may bring it anyway. If the cannisters are n/a I can always post it home.

    Sorry just read the Brit/Loire bit. I'll be the one on a Paul Hewwit Cheviot with an Aussie flag fluttering behind. BTW just how much drag do'se a 6x4 flag produce?

    http://www.letourgb.com/