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Ultra-lightweight Camping

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by tredder, 11 Apr 2008.

  1. tredder

    tredder New Member

    Location:
    East Anglia
    Hi, I am thinking of ditching the tent and going with a mat, bag & tarp (square flysheet) for a lightweight tour of the Netherlands.

    Has anyone considered/done this? What are the gotcha's?
     
  2. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    Location:
    S of Kendal
    I've used a tarp for a lot of my trips, both on bikes and in the mountains.

    Firstly, you need more than just your sleeping mat under you if it is wet. I used a largish sheet of lightweight spinnaker type nylon, but one of those blue poly tarps from a DIY shop work well, They're not completely water proof, but are rugged and if it gets trashed on stony ground you can get another along the way.

    In the mountains, I always have the convenience of having walking poles with me to hold the tarp up. Usually on campsite you can find a tree / fence, (Holland?) although some of the more up tight UK /German sites don't like anything attached to trees. You can always use the saddle of your bike, but you will need a small double sided velcro strap in order to lock the front brake on. (Useful at other times touring as well).

    You do have to 'put stuff away' in panniers if you are going to leave things under the tarp when you nip into town, etc, to provide the same level of 'visual security' you would get from just zipping up the tent. But ultimately stuff is as secure (ie not much!) as in any canvas structure. I have used a ten foot length of thin boat rigging wire run through all the pannier loops and bike with a padlock as some deterrent against opportunist scally wags, but it's only a token gesture. The reality is I've never had anything touched in Europe or the US in 30 years.
     
  3. Eurostar

    Eurostar Über Member

    Location:
    Brixton
    I tried it, gave up and went back to a tent. Bivy bag = very claustrophobic, nowhere to spead out your stuff, which is all very well when it's dry, but hopeless when it's wet. And there's no privacy when it comes to getting dressed etc. Which is OK if you're out of sight of people I suppose.

    A lot of it is psychological. My tent is huge and feels like home. The bag/tarp combo makes me feel quite vulnerable.

    My tent weighs under a kilo and packs to nothing, and is free-standing, so I feel as I've got the best of both worlds really. OK, I could save 400 grams or so if I went back to the bag/tarp. But I'd really rather not.
     
  4. JackE

    JackE Über Member

    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    camping

    Eurostar,
    What tent do you use that is under a kilo?

    Tarps are too "draughty" for me and I, too, prefer a bit more privacy in my advancing years. Midges and other beasties are a major problem with tarps as well.
    Sometimes the weight of the tarp, bivvy bag and ground sheet is more than a lightweight tent.
     
  5. toontra

    toontra Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Have you heard of Henry Shire's Tarptents? The Contrail, for example, has sewn-in groundsheet, is fully netted and still comes in at well under a kilo.
     
  6. Eurostar

    Eurostar Über Member

    Location:
    Brixton
  7. Magna

    Magna New Member

    That looks like one hell of a tent.
     
  8. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

  9. orbiter

    orbiter Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    Has anyone got experience of these? Vango Ultralite - £99 or Terra Nova Laser - £180
     
  10. Eurostar

    Eurostar Über Member

    Location:
    Brixton
    I need to get a LOT of use out of it to justify it. And I ought to if i ever get away on my much delayed RTW trip. I just hope it lasts. I managed to break one of the carbon poles but the company replaced it at no charge. They didn't even want to know how I'd broken it.

    I'm also hoping the tent will be a kind of performance aid because I'll be able to go faster by doing without panniers. The tent squashes down to the size of, say, a very small melon, so it can go in the saddlebag. The poles can live on the seat stays.
     
  11. JackE

    JackE Über Member

    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    I have heard of Henry Shires Tarptents, I am tempted by their "Rainbow" but am still not sure about single skin tents in British conditions. I have just reduced my tent weight from 2.1 to 1.4 kgs by buying a 2nd hand Lightwave t0 Ultra. I'm working towards a sub-kilo tent but it may take a while!!
     
  12. OldSeagul

    OldSeagul New Member

    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    If you are going in summer when it's warm and not raining, you might find this okay at £22: http://www.hyperoutlet.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=4602&ID=107

    It packs small, although it is 1.5kg, and it's more for use as something to take to a music festival and leave there, but it's serviceable as something to sleep in as long as it's not raining hard or very windy. Fits okay on the rear rack with a couple of bungi cords. Cheap enough to buy a new one every summer.
     
  13. jely

    jely New Member

    Location:
    London
    I just bought the terra nova laser last week... have pitched it in the backyard but unfortunately haven't given it the hard test out yet... looked good in the garden and protected me from the unexpected hailstones on sunday though which i guess is a good start!!