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Old 09-28-08, 05:45 PM   #1
Dheorl
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Rough camping

Now the only bit of rough camping I've ever done was sleeping in a bivouac when I was a kid and it was guaranteed to be nice weather.

I was wondering however about what equipment people took if they do wild camping. I'm planning on doing an off road tour sometime next year in europe and will be staying in hostels/hotels some of the time but wanted to try a bit of light weight camping.

Now I have done walking expeditions so know the kit to carry for that, but that has always been using proper mountaineering tents... something I'd rather be able to do without.

So do I really need anything apart from a tarp to keep the rain off and a bivi bag to keep the moisture out (as well as the obvious down sleeping bag inside to keep the warmth in ) or is that about it? Oh and maybe a few short lightweight poles just incase there is nothing to attach the tarp to.
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Old 09-28-08, 06:35 PM   #2
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You have the basics clearly in mind. Just add a ground pad and some bug netting or look at the Tarptent Contrail which makes for a compact and lightweight shelter for your rough camping.

http://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html
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Old 09-28-08, 06:55 PM   #3
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So do I really need anything apart from a tarp to keep the rain off and a bivi bag to keep the moisture out (as well as the obvious down sleeping bag inside to keep the warmth in ) or is that about it? Oh and maybe a few short lightweight poles just incase there is nothing to attach the tarp to.
Bivy sacks are not much fun to spend time in and you'll end up putting a lot of moisture into your down bag unless the temps are very cold. A lightweight tent is much more comfortable and doesn't have to weigh a whole lot more than your bivy sack.

If you just want to use a tarp - get a big enough one so you get full coverage and then you don't need the bivy sack at all. Your setup will be much lighter and more comfortable.

You'll have your bike to attach the tarp to at one end if you use a kickstand/centre stand and you'll be able to come up with something at the other end with a bit of ingenuity you don't need any poles at all.
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Old 09-28-08, 07:24 PM   #4
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You have the basics clearly in mind. Just add a ground pad and some bug netting or look at the Tarptent Contrail which makes for a compact and lightweight shelter for your rough camping.

http://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html
The tarptents are great. They're light and very compact.
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Old 09-28-08, 07:30 PM   #5
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The tarptents are great. They're light and very compact.
I tried one for a few trips, but I found it didn't handle windy situations well and heavy rain was an issue as a light mist in the tent ended up soaking my down bag. It started to rip at the bottom where the single peg anchored it. I sold it and bought a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 which isn't heavier and offers all the benefits of a freestanding double walled tent.

The size & lightness of the tarptent is impressive and I wanted it to work, but I don't want to spend a ton of energy setting up my shelter or have to worry about what the weather is going to do.
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Old 09-28-08, 07:36 PM   #6
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The upside to a bivy is of course the size and lightweight. The downside is if you are stuck in one all day during a rain storm. I used a bivy during a month long tour with good results but now I prefer something like a 7x5 tent where I can actually sit up. Some people tour with tents large enough to put your bike into at night (8x9). It's just really preference, go with what is comfortable for you. But do I agree with Vik, you want something that sets up real easy & takes down real easy in the morning.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:43 PM   #7
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I tried one for a few trips, but I found it didn't handle windy situations well and heavy rain was an issue as a light mist in the tent ended up soaking my down bag. It started to rip at the bottom where the single peg anchored it. I sold it and bought a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 which isn't heavier and offers all the benefits of a freestanding double walled tent.
What tarptent were you using, was it a generic one or one made by Tarptent. The Seedhouse weighs 3lbs which suggests that you had a pretty heavy tarptent.........

Tarptents like the Contrail have good ventilation so condensation is not a big issue. I use a Contrail and I've added a couple of extra lines and it's very solid.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:53 PM   #8
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a foam pad for the cold, a ground cloth, a sleeping bag, a tarp, and a mosquito headnet -

all pack up small and light.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:44 AM   #9
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I tried one for a few trips, but I found it didn't handle windy situations well and heavy rain was an issue as a light mist in the tent ended up soaking my down bag. It started to rip at the bottom where the single peg anchored it. I sold it and bought a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 which isn't heavier and offers all the benefits of a freestanding double walled tent.

The size & lightness of the tarptent is impressive and I wanted it to work, but I don't want to spend a ton of energy setting up my shelter or have to worry about what the weather is going to do.
I think Vik is right on. When I tour, so far I've only brought a bivy sack, but have been in pretty fair weather. I recently just got done on hike 230 miles in CA's Sierra Nevada's (where it didn't rain on me once in the ~20 days I was there), and saw a lot of people there using tarp tents, and I think that was the PERFECT tent for that sort of thing, but am not sure if I would trust one of those back home in New England where it can rain pretty hard.

I think it just depends on what the weather is going to be like where your going when your going there. If its only going to rain occasionally, or only for a short while in the afternoon, then the tarp tent would probably be a great way to go light, yet still be prepared. If you think the wind might howl at night, or don't know if you'll be able to get a few steaks in the ground, then a more traditional 1 man tent might better suit you.

I saw a lot of tarp tents on that hike, and liked that Contrail probably the best. Its definitely on my wish list for now, but its not going to be a full out replacement on my freestanding tent.
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Old 09-29-08, 04:00 AM   #10
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Well I've got all the usual camping gear in terms of thermarest/sleeping bad and will definatly be taking the bag becuase where I go quite alot of the mountain huts bedding sn't hugely nice.

I'm planning 2 tours though and the one which will involve some camping will be nearly completely offroad on a mountain bike so I really do want to keep weight to an absolute minimum.
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Old 10-02-08, 10:40 AM   #11
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Have you tried a hennessy hammock? I stealth camp and I find them extremely comfortable. Click on my stealth camping journals link for more info.
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Old 10-04-08, 05:33 PM   #12
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The weight saving for a tarp over a lightweight tent is not that great - especially if you end up carrying a bivvy bag. I'd go with a tent you can sit up in.
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Old 10-04-08, 06:16 PM   #13
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Surely it depends on where you're camping in Europe, and at what time of year?? In winter, or in one of the more northern countries, I reckon a small tent would be a better bet than any bivvi bag, tarp or hammock system.
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