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Old 01-25-08, 10:39 PM   #1
kopid03
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Bike Camping

Hey guys, this spring a few of my friends and I would like to start biking and camping where we end up (hopefully without having to pay). Since a lot of you have experience with this sort of thing, I was just wondering if you could post one or two things that you've learned from your experiences over the years. It can be anything about touring, equipment, camping, I'd appreciate any help. Thanks a lot.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:48 PM   #2
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Take a book or radio there is nothing worse then being in your tent and it is raining and you don't have anything to listen to or read.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:11 PM   #3
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If you camp where I have, I will never do it again without a dog. Bear drag your tent off with you in it, nothing beats that barking dog for a good nights sleep. Off road they love to tag along, I made mine pack her own food.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:37 PM   #4
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Have fun, don't set a rigid schedule, and make sure all your gear is in good working order for the conditions you're likely to encounter.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:49 PM   #5
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crazyguyonabike.com
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Old 01-25-08, 11:57 PM   #6
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I've asked police where I could camp. One station let me camp on their lawn.
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Old 01-26-08, 12:00 AM   #7
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+1 peppergrinder.

get a compass, stick it on bike. learn to carry bike upstairs. one hand handlebar, one hand on backwheel under brake.

mutate night vision (no get a crap load of lights and reflectors but don't use them)

im know im robbing from someone here tho i don't know who. its good advice nontheless
4 evils
cars, rain, darkness, badroads. 2 is okayish, 3 dangerous, 4 (better have been a very good person in life)
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Old 01-26-08, 12:12 AM   #8
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Keep your gear weight low and you will cover more ground and have a more enjoyable experience. One way to do that: when buying new gear like a tent or sleeping bag, get (or make for yourself) the lightest one you can afford.

I suggest making (http://zenstoves.net) an alcohol stove because they are the lightest and easiest type of camping stove. They do have downsides though so you can look into that for yourself.

Also, after your first trip, separate your gear into piles of what you used and what you barely used or didnt use at all. Unless the unused items are safety related, don't bring them next time.

If you are stealth camping, setup out of sight from any road or footpaths. Also if stealth camping, sometimes its nicer to eat dinner at an open area and then go setup your secret camp later on, so you don't have to cook at the camp site. In the morning you can pack up and ride for a little while and then once it warms up a bit outside you can find a place to stop for breakfast.
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Old 01-26-08, 12:13 AM   #9
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Have a look at our Tips and Tricks sticky:

Tips and Tricks

Most of the suggestions posted in this thread are already there.

Last edited by Machka; 01-28-08 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 01-26-08, 12:30 AM   #10
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My response depends on your age. I'm 23 and just did my tour in 2007. I didn't take a sleeping bag or pad. I had my bivy and a heavy duty solar blanket. There was not one night after a day of riding that I didn't find a place on the ground that I thought was comfortable. Sometimes all it takes is 30 seconds to look around, and then kick some rocks out of the way before laying down the tent to get a nice place to sleep. I saved a couple pounds in camping gear, packed easier, and made setup/tear down quicker. Plus I got the added feeling that I was really roughing it. Besides, all you need is some spare clothes for a pillow and you're comfortable. You sleep real easy after 10 hours on the bike.

Really consider what you really NEED, and not what you think you need.
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Old 01-26-08, 12:31 AM   #11
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The late Ken Kifer's bike touring page

http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/

Great stuff
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Old 01-26-08, 08:54 AM   #12
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If you're weekend camping, try and end up someplace you can build a fire. Really, there's no point otherwise. For camping, you don't need a lot. A rack for your sleeping bag, a daypack for your gear. Keep the cooking simple, preferably something you can cook on a stick. Sausages of any description are great. Spread the pieces of the tent around to your buds so one person doesn't get stuck carrying it all. If no one has a tent, get a tarp(s). Carry a stout piece of line. If someone breaks down and it can't be repaired right there, you can tow them to a shop or home. But never let 'em forget it. Oh, and by all means, take a camera and again, keep it simple. There's no need to cover every base on this sort of foray. The longer you stay out, the more you need to think about it and the more you need to carry.
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Old 01-26-08, 03:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kopid03 View Post
Hey guys, this spring a few of my friends and I would like to start biking and camping where we end up (hopefully without having to pay). Since a lot of you have experience with this sort of thing, I was just wondering if you could post one or two things that you've learned from your experiences over the years. It can be anything about touring, equipment, camping, I'd appreciate any help. Thanks a lot.
Be ready for any conditions you are likely to encounter.

Have clothes that will enable you to ride in cold, and in cold rain.

Don't have dodgy wheels, racks or other equipment -- breakdown-free, reliable gear makes for much better trips. (If you are not mechanically experienced, it would probably be worthwhile to have someone who is -- maybe a good mechanic -- go through your bikes, with the understanding that you want reliability. If you don't know of any good mechanics, REI service departments are probably a better bet than random bike shops, some of which do not have the quality you want here.)

Know how to do the most useful basic repairs and maintenance.

Last edited by Niles H.; 01-26-08 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 01-26-08, 07:43 PM   #14
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thanks a lot for the help guys...i'm looking to buy a different bike this spring, looking for a used one in the $500 range or a little more. what features are good for a touring bike as opposed to just buying a normal road bike?
just for more information, i'm 20 and in college, so i dont' have a whole lot of money to play with.
Since I will only be going on one night trips mostly, I was thinking about buying MRE's with the chemical heaters so I wouldn't need to buy a stove. Anyone have experience eating MRE's? I figure I could handle them once a week, but I wouldn't want to eat them for days straight.
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Old 01-26-08, 07:54 PM   #15
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thanks a lot for the help guys...i'm looking to buy a different bike this spring, looking for a used one in the $500 range or a little more. what features are good for a touring bike as opposed to just buying a normal road bike?
just for more information, i'm 20 and in college, so i dont' have a whole lot of money to play with.
Since I will only be going on one night trips mostly, I was thinking about buying MRE's with the chemical heaters so I wouldn't need to buy a stove. Anyone have experience eating MRE's? I figure I could handle them once a week, but I wouldn't want to eat them for days straight.
There is a lot that could be said here. I've gotta go soon though. There are others here who can offer lots of good information on these things.

You might consider doing forum searches with the search features that are available here. Or you could do advanced searches using Google, and limiting the domain to bikeforums.net.

There is a good thread about "cooking-free" foods that might help regarding stove-free touring.

There are various threads about finding good quality used (including older, long-chainstay, full-braze-ons) ATBs for use as touring bikes (or MTBs -- 'ATBs' is really more appropriate in the present context, though).

There is a lot of good archived information.

Last edited by Niles H.; 01-28-08 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 01-26-08, 08:57 PM   #16
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When you're at your bike shop, tell them what you want to do and how much you can spend. They'll be able to help you out. They may even have some suggestions you haven't yet considered. Before you do this, you'll need to know a little about where you're planning to go, whether on paved roads, gravel or trails and whether you'll be on mostly flat land or in hills and mountains. You also need to have an idea of the gear you'll take, its weight and bulk.

Also, as others have said, make sure your bike is in good condition before you go and make sure you or one of your friends can fix things that break down.

I haven't done tours with MREs partly because one of the joys of camping is cooking. I've often made my meals using just one pot. Later, after I've washed it out, I'll use it again to make some tea in the evening. Stoves don't weigh all that much. In the past, I've traveled without a stove but I don't want to do that anymore.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:06 PM   #17
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I am plaining for my biggest ride to be at the end of summer. It will be three days in a row, looks like it will be about 100, 90, and 60 miles, or any other combination that adds up to the total, just thought I would want a short day by the end. Would it be in my best interest to to back-to-back long rides on weekends to get ready for this? and how long would I want to go in training?
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Old 01-28-08, 06:09 PM   #18
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Take a book or radio there is nothing worse then being in your tent and it is raining and you don't have anything to listen to or read.
Needing bug spray or sunscreen and not having it is worse.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:17 PM   #19
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For women, tupperware saves going out in rain or cold to pee, wouldn't tour without it!
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Old 01-28-08, 06:22 PM   #20
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I am plaining for my biggest ride to be at the end of summer. It will be three days in a row, looks like it will be about 100, 90, and 60 miles, or any other combination that adds up to the total, just thought I would want a short day by the end. Would it be in my best interest to to back-to-back long rides on weekends to get ready for this? and how long would I want to go in training?
Yes, back-to-back long rides on weekends would be a very good idea.

I'm not sure where you're at now with distance, but the sky is the limit on the distance of your training rides. You've got lots of time to work with. Gradually build up over the spring and early summer and then, once you're feeling comfortable longer distances ... do a century (100 miles) ... do another one a couple weeks later ... do a double century one weekend (200 miles in one day), do back-to-back centuries on another weekend ...

The more long distance cycling you do to prepare, the easier your tour is going to feel.
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Old 01-28-08, 06:40 PM   #21
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The rivendell bike page has a lot of good stuff on it too.
www.rivbike.com
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Old 01-28-08, 07:54 PM   #22
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I am plaining for my biggest ride to be at the end of summer. It will be three days in a row, looks like it will be about 100, 90, and 60 miles, or any other combination that adds up to the total, just thought I would want a short day by the end. Would it be in my best interest to to back-to-back long rides on weekends to get ready for this? and how long would I want to go in training?
One possibility is to try some overnighters. You can leave on Saturday mornings and return Sundays.

You can test things out, start with shorter trips, and see how far is far.
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Old 01-28-08, 08:26 PM   #23
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Will your big end-of-summer ride be on the Labour Day weekend? If so, you need to start doing some planning for it fairly soon. It's the last long weekend of the summer and the campgrounds are almost always full. Also, the traffic can be terrible on that weekend. If you're using that weekend, pick a less traveled route where you don't think the weekend warriors will want to go. And be prepared to do wild camping.
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Old 01-28-08, 09:24 PM   #24
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it wont be labor day, it'll be the middle of august most likely. and i'm hoping to be able to stealth camp everywhere i stop, just to save on money.
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Old 01-30-08, 02:01 PM   #25
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It isn't as hard as it tends to look in the beginning. Once you get a bit of practice and experience, it will start to seem more natural -- more like a picnic at the beach, and less like some sort of daunting expedition.

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