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  1. #1
    Biking 4 Life vja4Him's Avatar
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    Preparing for Camping Trips by Bicycle ...

    I am working on preparing myself for camping by bicycle .... Hoping that sometime this month I will make a trial run to the closest camping grounds, Caswell State Memorial Park, California. It's only around 15 miles one way, but for me that will be quite a haul, especially loaded down with camping gear. I won't have all the camping gear with me on the first rial run though.

    Any advice on camping gear? I still need to buy the following items:

    -- sleeping bag
    -- 3 man tent
    -- sleeping pad
    -- camping stove

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    One Man Tent, one sleeping bag.
    22 days on the road.
    That's it
    There are stores everywhere. No Need to cook.

    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  3. #3
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    I haven't done any "carry your own" bicycle camping, but I do ride a 7 day camp-at-night ride every summer. I can recommend a Thermarest pad. I happen to have a big one (about 6 feet long), but there are smaller ones. Amazingly comfortable for something so slim. Be sure to let us know how your test ride goes.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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  4. #4
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Don't forget to carry a little portable coffee maker. It can be critical to help wake up when you've slept like crap on the cold hard ground.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    You may want to read the Touring Forum.
    Many posts on gear suggestions and how to carry it.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    - Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  6. #6
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vja4Him View Post
    -- 3 man tent
    Indoor parking for your bicycle I assume? Otherwise I might be tempted to go with a one man tent.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  7. #7
    Pat
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    Camping by bike is tougher than it looks. A fully loaded bike makes a mile about half again as hard to ride. You also need low gears for hills.

    Another thing is once you get to the camp site, you will have all sorts of chores. You have to set up your camp. You have to go out and buy some food. You have to wash up. All of those things take time and effort. It isn't really that bad but it does take energy.

    You can not go out and hammer yourself to exhaustion and then do your camp chores. On multiday rides, I have seen people come in, set up their tents, and just go to sleep right through dinner. Missing dinner is fatal to one's prospects for the next day's ride.

    So it is always a good idea to get to your camping location with enough energy to do all sorts of chores.

  8. #8
    Biking 4 Life vja4Him's Avatar
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    Drinking Tea Instead ....

    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    Don't forget to carry a little portable coffee maker. It can be critical to help wake up when you've slept like crap on the cold hard ground.
    Actually I was thinking on drinking tea instead. I just quit drinking coffee nearly two weeks ago, and I'm already feeling much better!

  9. #9
    Biking 4 Life vja4Him's Avatar
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    3 Man Tent for 3 People ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    Indoor parking for your bicycle I assume? Otherwise I might be tempted to go with a one man tent.
    The reason I need a three man tent is so that my two boys can tag along for the adventure ... !!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    One Man Tent, one sleeping bag.
    Gee. I always kind of thought that a 3 man tent was just about the right size for 1 man.

  11. #11
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    Here's a generic packing list from Adventure Cycling.

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/packing.cfm


    Here's Rivendell's list for "one night out."

    http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_..._one_night_out



    Over at www.crazyguyonabike.com, you can see the equipment lists for anyone who has posted a journal. Warning - some of these are folks who are traveling around the world, so they can be a bit excessive....

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/c...octype=journal

    Crazyguy also has some equipment reviews, etc.


    More at:

    Two suggestions:
    - you might try local camping/sporting good stores for rentals. Good way to try stuff out.
    - eBay is loaded with camping equipment, e.g. "Used it twice 5 seasons ago and now want to sell it...):

    Don't forget to take light so you can find stuff in the dark and possibly read at night. Especially with fall/spring camping it gets dark early...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Gee. I always kind of thought that a 3 man tent was just about the right size for 1 man.
    +1

    Unless you are an "ultra light" bike tourer, a slightly bigger tent gives you room to bring all your gear into the tent so it doesn't get caught in the rain, and so you can pack/repack panniers out of the weather.

  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Do the trip at the height of the summer.

    Back in 93 I did a 3 day trip with only a rucksack- a small rucksack. No sleeping bag- just a Bivvy bag and an extra tracksuit for night warmth.

    I was hard in those days- but I still felt cold at night.

    Meals were courtesy of Little Chef so it was 20 miles before breakfast as they didn't open till 10am, but evening meal was at a local Pub en route.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  14. #14
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Bike touring is my favorite thing! What to bring is a question with no perfect answer. It's a very personal thing - different for every person. It's a lifelong quest - I've refined my packing list after every tour, and I probably always will.

    The problem is weight vs. comfort. You want to carry the absolute minimum weight - all those little ounces add up, and you'll feel them on every long uphill - but you also want to be comfortable enough to enjoy the trip. For your camping gear, take the smallest, lightest stuff possible, but make sure it's waterproof and bug proof or you'll be miserable.

    Get the smallest tent you can and still be comfortable. I'm 6'4" and use a "2-person tent". My tent is a Microlight 2 by L. L. Bean. I like it because it's longer than the normal backpacking tent, but still light and waterproof. It's also got a mesh body, which makes it wonderful for hiding out from mosquitoes on hot afternoons. It's like a mini screen tent. It's not freestanding, but so far that hasn't been a problem. I've been through several bike touring tents. This is the best yet.

    The best sleeping bag, I think, would be down - heavy enough to keep you warm on your coldest anticipated night. Down has to be kept dry, however. I have a bag with synthetic fill and it's fine. If I had $200 to spare I might replace it with down, but I'm okay with it, it's light enough, and it has always kept me warm.

    I used a 3/4 length Thermarest pad for years and it was fine, but I have back problems that are exacerbated by sleeping on the ground. Two tours ago I found a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core air mattress. It's full-length, insulated (so you don't get cold like with a regular air mattress), about as light as my Thermarest, and much smaller when folded. The downside is you have to blow it up every night. I timed myself, and it only takes me 2 minutes of relaxed blowing. I don't consider that to be much of a hassle, and the comfort is worth it. I love it!

    I think the handiest type of stove is one that uses a butane cartridge. They're very light, easy to use, and simmer well. However, sometimes you can't find a replacement butane cartridge on the road. I would use mine for a short tour, but for longer tours I prefer one that burns unleaded gas. You can find it everywhere. I use a Coleman 442. It's heavy, but I've had it for 17 years with no maintenance, and it still works fine.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    Bike touring is my favorite thing! What to bring is a question with no perfect answer. It's a very personal thing - different for every person. It's a lifelong quest - I've refined my packing list after every tour, and I probably always will.
    What do you use for lighting around the campsite?

  16. #16
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    Here is the east an extra 8'by8' tarp with twine same of mosquito net/Kenkayak

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I like the LL Been dynamo windup light that can be hung

  18. #18
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    This is my tent:http://www.bdel.com/gear/mega_light.php.

    Therma Rest pads are comfortable and pack really small, but the old style closed cell foam pads are lighter and much cheaper (and they'll never spring a leak).

  19. #19
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    I don't camp anymore except at a Holiday Inn But if I were going to bike camp IMHO I would look at a lot of the equipment serious mountain climbers use to cook heat water and keep warm !! And ya a coffee maker of some sort . But a LOT of the stuf the climbers use would be compact lite weight and work great IMHO . A Hobo knife would be another must for me also Had one for yrs and ithere great .

  20. #20
    Senior Member RoMad's Avatar
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    I have spent a ton of time reading the touring forum. I have not bike camped, but have camped a lot, first with a motorcycle and a small tent then a bigger tent and worked my way up to a motorhome. When I do start bike camping I am going to try a camping hammock. They are like a tent that hangs in a tree. Go over to the touring forum and you can get some great info and then let us know how it works out for you.

  21. #21
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post
    Therma Rest pads are comfortable and pack really small, but the old style closed cell foam pads are lighter and much cheaper (and they'll never spring a leak).
    I remember one morning in a park in Calais. There was 1/8" of water on the floor of my tent. But at least I was dry, perched atop my foam pad.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    What do you use for lighting around the campsite?
    I have an LED headlamp that runs off of 3 AAA batteries. It's an unusual design.
    I bought two of them when I had a van I camped in. They have clips, so I put a couple of little mounts to clip them to on the wall of the van on both sides of where I slept. They were great for reading in bed. They came with elastic straps for using them as headlamps. It turns out they work fine for that.

    I bring both lights and one strap. I like having a backup light in case one fails, and also to change batteries in the dark (which is usually when I change them.) That's all.

  23. #23
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post
    This is my tent:http://www.bdel.com/gear/mega_light.php.

    Therma Rest pads are comfortable and pack really small, but the old style closed cell foam pads are lighter and much cheaper (and they'll never spring a leak).
    I used a closed cell foam pad when I was younger. They're very cheap, excellent insulation, and never leak. However, they're not very comfortable. I didn't like mine much when I was younger. Now that I'm not young, it would be unacceptable. A little comfort here and there on a bike tour can make all the difference.

  24. #24
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Brewing Good Coffee

    Speaking of coffee, for me this is a necessity. I bring a plastic travel mug. It's lightweight. I have a Melitta one-cup drip funnel. (You can find them in most large grocery stores.) I boil water with my unleaded-gas-burning stove. (Using unleaded means you don't have to worry so much about conserving fuel - you'll pass a gas station virtually every day on tour - usually many.) I pour the water through the coffee in the funnel. It's often the first thing I do when I arrive in camp. You do without a lot of creature comforts on tour - having this one is a good thing.

    The biggest difficulty I've had with this system is finding #2 filters on tour (though I've used #4 in a pinch.) Don't leave home without an ample supply. You can always find coffee, though mom and pop grocery stores often don't have good quality. It can be surprising though. In a little store in Clark Fork, Idaho, I found some local blends that were wonderful. Who'd a thunk? I guess the Starbucks thing has permeated our society. And the panhandle of Idaho is technically in the coffee-mad northwest!

  25. #25
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    I used coffee-singles bags. They look like tea bags. Folgers makes them. Not the best coffee, but very acceptable. Very convenient.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

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