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  1. #1
    Distance Rider
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    What tent for tandem touring?

    I'm looking to get a 2-3 person, 3 season tent for camping while touring on the tandem. Does anyone carry a tent that comfortably fits the tandem inside? If not, what do you do with the bike while you're camping (assuming you're at a populous or questionable campground)? If you do keep the tandem in the tent, what tent do you use and how do you keep the tandem from falling over during the night or poking holes in the tent?

  2. #2
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I don't think there is any tent that you could get 2 people and a full sized tandem in that would have an acceptably low weight that you'd want to haul it.

    You could carry a lock if you're worried about the bike, or you could just loosen the QR levers, derail the chain, snap helmet straps through the wheels and frame. Doing that will keep someone from riding off with the bike, at least quickly, and would give you enough time to get out of the tent before they made off with the bike
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  3. #3
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    I am new to the tandem scene, since we have yet to purchase our first bike. (Hopefully that will happen this weekend!).

    However, I've been adventure motorcycling for a few years, and other than the issue of storing the vehicle inside the tent, the requirements are the same: something that's extremely lightweight, packs into as small a space as possible, and is easy to set up in the dark and/or after a long day's ride when one is tired. To those requirements I add my own personal preferences for durability and high-quality fabrics and components.

    On the topic of storing the bike inside the tent: it would have be a pretty darn big and heavy tent, so were I to tour (and my stoker and I have discussed that), I myself would not plan to keep the bike inside. Maybe a few key components like the seat and post if I were really worried about them... But I would also plan to bring a high-grade lock. Not only for camping but for anytime we need to leave the bike unattended. And then I'd put the bike right outside the tent where I would hopefully hear anyone monkeying with it. (You hear *everything* when you're camping - have you noticed that?)

    For my sleeping bags, travel / inflatable pillows, as well as tents I go with Big Agnes. I love their stuff. It's relatively pricey (although not the most expensive), but if you want very light weight, great features, and packability, they're a very good bet. Their customer service is also very good.

    I have a Seedhouse 2 (a 2-person tent with a packed weight of 4lb 3oz). I will say that these tents (as well as most super-light tents) tend to run narrow. My 2-person would be pretty tight for my wife and me, but that was not a factor when I bought it since she never accompanies me on my motorcycling adventures. For tandem touring I'd go with a 3-person tent so there is not only room for 2 people, but room for the panniers, helmets, etc to be stored inside as well. (Anything you leave outside at night is going to end up dewey unless you're in the desert.)

    BA's lightest 3-person tent is their Copper Spur UL3 (4lb 12oz). List price is $499.95, but with some persistence you should be able to find something like this much cheaper online, especially if you're buying near the end of the model year (which is around now). Also eBay tends to have great deals on this stuff - Big Agnes is a popular and respected brand - and if you don't mind buying used I'll bet you could pick one of these up for $200-250.

  4. #4
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    Big Agnes tents look great. I've heard good things about them.

    I have the MSR "Hubba" tents. Actually, I have three: a Hubba (1p), Hubba Hubba (2p) and Mutha Hubba (3p). Got a good deal on closeout at REI and couldn't pass it up. Anyway, they all have a great space-weight ratio and I've been pleased with them.

    Most of the tandem dealers sell tandem covers. Lock your bike to a nearby picnic table, tree, whatever, then cover with the bike cover. I imagine carrying the cover would be lighter than carrying a tent that would fit you plus the bike. Plus, I can't imagine bringing a tandem inside the tent with me!

  5. #5
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    ^ The bike doesn't need a cover. You ride it in the rain don't you? If you're worried about the seats getting wet, a small bag to go over them works.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  6. #6
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    We carried a 4-man Eureka Timberline tent on our tandem tours and it might have almost had enough room inside for the tandem - not that we ever considered keeping it there. I always take a light cable lock along when touring and usually lock the bike to a picnic table or tree at night. It's enough to keep someone from just hopping on the bike and riding off but clearly won't stop a determined thief. But my impression is that campgrounds are very safe when it comes to theft (except for food left unprotected from the native inhabitants). If I'm using my Brooks then I cover that with a plastic bag - other seats I don't bother covering.

  7. #7
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
    I'm looking to get a 2-3 person, 3 season tent for camping while touring on the tandem. Does anyone carry a tent that comfortably fits the tandem inside? If not, what do you do with the bike while you're camping (assuming you're at a populous or questionable campground)? If you do keep the tandem in the tent, what tent do you use and how do you keep the tandem from falling over during the night or poking holes in the tent?
    We toured (self-contained) on singles on our honeymoon, and just got back from our second self-contained tandem tour. We did not lock. The tent we are now using is the MSR Hubba Hubba which has a very nice weight-size ratio, along with such nice features as the ability to put up the fly before the tent, and take it down after - thereby keeping the tent relatively dry even if it is raining at the time.

    We've not been at adequately questionable or populous campgrounds thus far to be concerned, but if we were, part of our solution would be to pass a guy rope from the tent through the frame or a wheel. Makes it hard to take the bike without disturbing the tent's occupants.

    Normally the bike rests against either its Click-Stand (TM), a non-coniferous tree, or a picnic table.

  8. #8
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    We had been using a Northface Lightspeed Long for several years. Room for two to sleep, but only one could sit up at a time. In June we went looking for a bigger tent to use for car camping. What we found was a new tent to use in both camping situations.

    http://www.thenorthface.com/webapp/w...ariationId=2LT

    Our tandem touring is done with a B.O.B. trailer, and rear panniers in the spring and fall. We never lock the bike. We do occasionally cover the seats with Ziplock bags if it looks like rain. The vestibules on our new tent are great for storing cycling shoes and gear. The dual entry is also a blessing. I would recommend the "footprint" that goes with this tent. I believe there is a three person version if you need more room.

    We focused on compressability, rather than weight, when picking our gear. 800 fill down sleeping bags and Thermorest mattresses work great. Our trailer AND gear come in at about 47 lbs.
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  9. #9
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    We agree with Merlin, no matter how little you take on a self supported trip, it will weight too much and take up too much space, we leave the bike out and cover the seats,
    R&J

  10. #10
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Big Agnes SL3 with footprint. Big enough that our double bag doesn't touch the sides of the tub bottom. Very important for rainy/foggy camping. Tent + footprint fits in a XS compression sack. Poles and pegs go on the rack, under the Feathered Friends sleeping bag and groundsheet in a medium compression sack. We bring a light 2m cable lock. Thickness of cable is unimportant. They all cut the same.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Why not get a tarp to cover the bike , like this : http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___20070

    Then get a 2~3 person tent for the people?

  12. #12
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    New MSR tent

    My local outfitter (Dynamic Earth in Missouri) just posted this pic on their facebook page, with the caption: "New MSR tent action. Think Hubba Hubba, on crack. With a living room..."

    I don't know what model this is (couldn't find it on MSR's website), but it looks both light and useful, with extra vestibule space for gear and seating. Might be overkill for touring, depending upon one's needs.


  13. #13
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    Also, if you've got an REI or EMS store near you, go over and look. Talk with a salesperson who knows what they're talking about and you'll get a good idea of your size/weight requirements.

  14. #14
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    Another vote for Big Agnes. We've got one of their Seedhouse 3's at the moment, have had others, plus bags and pads and whatnot.

    They do make a tent (model name escapes me) with a GIANT vestibule, like the MSR tent pictured above. Might be big enough. Otherwise, just throw a tarp over the bike.

  15. #15
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    I believe the big Outdoor Retailer show is going on right now, which is probably where that MSR tent pic was taken from the looks of it. That's probably why you don't see it on MSR's site yet.

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