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  1. #1
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Bike Camping Basics & Equipment?

    I love to camp up here in AK, but I've gone car free for the past year and really miss being able to get out of the city. This weekend I'm planning my first bike camping trip. I'm just making a short run south of town to a part of the Chugach where you can ride your bike into the woods several miles. I know the area very well. Trip length is only about 25 miles each way, and I plan on taking it pretty slow. I do NOT have a good touring bicycle yet. I don't have the $$ to get a touring bike at this point, unfortunately.

    My tentative plan is to use tarps and the bike itself, along with trees, in lieu of a standard tent. I've used tents in the past but found them heavy, cramped and annoying. Has anyone tried using their bicycles as one "wall" of a tarp tent? Am I smoking crack with this idea?

    My general equipment is as follows:
    --Cruiser bicycle with basket and two rear racks, can carry as much as needed.
    --Various foodstuffs, not conserving really conserving weight--lots of fruit, pilot bread and such
    --Three wool blankets, ground tarp and top tarp.
    --Tea making equipment
    --Simple tin can sterno heater. Will not get hot enough to sterilize water, but works well at heating.
    --Water supply plus basic pump filter
    --Baileys
    --Carbine
    --Pipe
    --First aid kit
    --Chopping blade
    --Possibles bag with lots of basic string, tape, knife, wraps, fire starting stuff, etc.
    --Bike repair kit with two spare inner-tubes, hex wrench, spare seatpost and some basic tools.

    Anything else come in handy while bike camping?
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    How's the mosquito situation where you are?


    Down here (a few days ago before the 8 inches of snow fell) if you slept outside with just a tarp over you, someone would have found just your skeleton under the tarp because the mosquitoes would have eaten you alive.

  3. #3
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Good point! I've got deet, but this time of year they're not all that bad here. They will be later on in the summer.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline
    Good point! I've got deet, but this time of year they're not all that bad here. They will be later on in the summer.
    You might also consider mosquito netting. Mosquito netting + tarp might work all right.


    You've got TWO rear racks?? How is that possible?

  5. #5
    Senior Member slowjoe66's Avatar
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    Dude, if you don't like a tent, you should really consider a hammock. Ultra light weight, bug prooff, low impact. I would surely have one now if I hadn't already invested in a good light 2 man tent. Check this out:
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=1385&v=FK
    I don't have a solution but I admire the problem!

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    Why have a tarp above you if a) it's not going to rain b) no worry about bugs? Sleeping under the stars is great. Can you see stars in AK during the summer? I'd love to be cycling in AK right now.

  7. #7
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Sorry, I meant to say I have a rack and two rear baskets.

    Weather is iffy. It goes from drizzle to bright sun, so I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  8. #8
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    I haven't used my bike as a wall, if by that you mean parallel to my body. I have used the bike many time as one pole. Basically I lean the bike away from the peak of the tarp, and do a half hitch or just a couple of wraps around the seat or top tube (a horizontal), then drop the rest of the cord down to a low bush, rock or peg. That will hold up one end of the tarp with enough height for comfort without needing a pole or much of anything else. The other end either goe up to a tree or down to a stake depending on available struture or the height I want the tarp.

    Here is something else for your arsenal of tarp skills:

    http://www.ray-way.com/tarp-nettent/pitch/index.shtml

  9. #9
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline
    My tentative plan is to use tarps and the bike itself, along with trees, in lieu of a standard tent. I've used tents in the past but found them heavy, cramped and annoying. Has anyone tried using their bicycles as one "wall" of a tarp tent?
    I wouldn't use my bike in any way in which it may fall onto me in the middle of the night. Last thing you need is to take the end of a handlebar with 30 lbs behind it slamming into your temple at 4 am.

  10. #10
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    My #1 rule of travelling: always have rope.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  11. #11
    Dead Men Assume...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline
    My general equipment is as follows:
    --Cruiser bicycle with basket and two rear racks, can carry as much as needed.
    --Various foodstuffs, not conserving really conserving weight--lots of fruit, pilot bread and such
    --Three wool blankets, ground tarp and top tarp.
    --Tea making equipment
    --Simple tin can sterno heater. Will not get hot enough to sterilize water, but works well at heating.
    --Water supply plus basic pump filter
    --Baileys
    --Carbine
    --Pipe
    --First aid kit
    --Chopping blade
    --Possibles bag with lots of basic string, tape, knife, wraps, fire starting stuff, etc.
    --Bike repair kit with two spare inner-tubes, hex wrench, spare seatpost and some basic tools.

    Anything else come in handy while bike camping?
    What the @#$% sort of list is this? Three wool blankets? Chopping blade? Carbine? Spare seatpost?

    You're only going 25 miles each way not out to tame a continent.

    I'd try to borrow a spare sleeping bag and ditch the blankets. Should save some weight there. I'd also ditch the spare seatpost...I don't know of anyone who's had to change their's on a tour.

  12. #12
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Wait... 25 miles?

    you need a patch kit, water bottles, an iPod, and preferably some mind-altering substance of your choice for the denouement. That list is a tad jacko for 25 miles.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  13. #13
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I suspect he's taking the Carbine because in Alaska, you can tell you are in Kodiak bear country by the bear scat that contains bike parts, bells and smells like pepper spray!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  14. #14
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    what's a Carbine?

    ditto the ditching of the seatpost.

    and ditto the "get a sleeping bag from someone".

    have fun!

  15. #15
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
    what's a Carbine?

    ditto the ditching of the seatpost.

    and ditto the "get a sleeping bag from someone".

    have fun!
    A carbine is a short *****
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  16. #16
    40 yrs bike touring
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    I have used the bike as a support for a tarp on several trips. I flip the bike upside down after strapping the front wheel to the down tube to prevent movement. I also strap down the rear brake lever to keep the rear wheel from rotating. I then tie guylines to the bike and stake out the bike to keep it in place. Then I configure the tarp over the bike for maximum height and coverage depending on the winds and rain expected using a 9x12 or 12x12 silnylon tarp weighing 18 to 24 ounces. Upgrades can include poles to hold up one end or corner for more light and/or ventilation. Mosquito netting along the bottom edge provides complete decadence.

    I learned this from a longtime Canadian touring friend who used the tarp/bike combo while riding offroad from Jasper, Alberta to meet me at Crested Butte, Colorado in 1987.[An early Divide Ride explorer.] His tarp weighed 12 oz and used no poles or netting but he really traveled ultra-light.

  17. #17
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctos
    I have used the bike as a support for a tarp on several trips. I flip the bike upside down after strapping the front wheel to the down tube to prevent movement. I also strap down the rear brake lever to keep the rear wheel from rotating. I then tie guylines to the bike and stake out the bike to keep it in place. Then I configure the tarp over the bike for maximum height and coverage depending on the winds and rain expected using a 9x12 or 12x12 silnylon tarp weighing 18 to 24 ounces. Upgrades can include poles to hold up one end or corner for more light and/or ventilation. Mosquito netting along the bottom edge provides complete decadence.

    I learned this from a longtime Canadian touring friend who used the tarp/bike combo while riding offroad from Jasper, Alberta to meet me at Crested Butte, Colorado in 1987.[An early Divide Ride explorer.] His tarp weighed 12 oz and used no poles or netting but he really traveled ultra-light.
    I can see how this would save a few ounces on poles, and be safe, IF you run guy lines from bike.

    I've used tarps myself for many years. I started using silnylon a few years ago. This year I broke down and bought a Tarptent Squall II. It's really a tent with nearly the ventilation of a tarp, plus insect protection. Its huge for one person + gear. Much more roomy than the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight it replaced - at less than half the weight. I considered making one myself, but decided it was worthwhile to get the design that Shires has evolved to over the years.

  18. #18
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    If you do it my way it falls away from you not on you, and so far mine has never fallen. If you put it upside down with my set up the bags fill with water, everything falls out, and the brake cables get pouched, but I know people who wouldn't have that problem as they are rigged. Also tarps are often pretty long I doubt it would fall on one even if itcame the wrong way.

    Cosmoline is the stuff you have to scrub off the ***** when it has been stored in a crate for a long time. A bit like afterbirth mixed with baby poo. Useful stuff though.

    Do you have a 45-70 guide ***? Cosmoline?

  19. #19
    See You Down The Road
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus
    My #1 rule of travelling: always have rope.
    Yes, always have rope..some twine,or something like it....

    I was on my cross Canada tour in 1986 and in the middle of the Rockie Mountains my rear rack broke its top cramp and pivoted back over the rear wheel,I took the twine I had and tied it back to the frame.

    This fix lasted me the rest of the whole three month tour with no problems.

    Take rope

  20. #20
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    Cosmoline - how about some duct tape? It would be useful for making quick repairs. Also, I've been told that it can be used for making an emergency repair if you get a slash in your tire. Put the duct tape on the inside of the tire over the slash (and under the inner tube) and it should be strong enough to get you back home. I've added duct tape to my bike repair kit.

  21. #21
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Always carry rope. I carry parachute cord. Last weekend I was about 15 miles from home and my seat came loose and both of my sets of allen wrenches were at home. The nose of the seat kept coming up and sticking me in the you-know-what.
    I tied the nose down to the frame with the cord and made it home fine.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  22. #22
    See You Down The Road
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    This is all good,but if your distances get longer.......Toilet Paper

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