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Old 01-11-10, 11:12 PM   #1
mthayer
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got another couple questions.

I working on getting my supplies for my first overnighter together. I am looking at getting two half shelters from a Army Navy store for a tent. Would that be better than getting a dome tent, or what would be a better option.
I am looking at a Coleman stove, but would like to get the opinion before I go and spend the money on it.
http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colem...uct_id=550B725
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Old 01-11-10, 11:22 PM   #2
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Everything for a bike tour needs to light weight.
So look for what is light weight and go from there.
Light weight does cost more.

I prefer a tent, but that is just me.
A Two Man tent is large enough to bring in your gear in the tent.
A total cover rain fly is best.

My first tour, Rain Fog, 46* temps at night

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Old 01-11-10, 11:40 PM   #3
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I would look for something lighter than the Coleman stove, something like an MSR Whisperlite. The whisperlite uses an MSR fuel bottle for the fuel tank, so you can switch between 11 oz., 22 oz. and 33 oz. bottles for longer or shorter tours. No need for multi-fuel capability unless you're touring in the 3rd world, just get a gallon of Coleman fuel at Wal-Mart and stash it at home, top off your fuel bottle as needed.

Other options are a home made (coke can) alcohol stove, or a Trangia alcohol stove, or a gas cartridge stove.
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Old 01-11-10, 11:52 PM   #4
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The shelter halves will work, but there are better options in my opinion. The shelter halves are heavy and take up a lot of room. They are not self-standing. They also don't have a floor. If you like that type of shelter, I think a tarp tent would be better than the shelter halves. The tarp tents will be lighter, pack smaller and probably more waterproof. That is if we are talking about the same shelter halves. The one I had in the National Guard were heavy canvas things with big bulky tent pegs. If any part of you are your gear are touching the canvas, it will leak and you and your gear will be wet.

If you want a floor to help keep the rain and bugs out, I'd recommend a self-standing tent. They are so much easier to put up. Often you can get them with bug netting so you still have some ventilation and safe from those nasty bugs.

The tents will be more expensive then the shelter halves. You can buy a tarp that is designed for light weight camping or just string up any old tarp. Again, the better quality ones will cost more, but they will be lighter and pack smaller.

But in the end, it is all just opinions and preferences. I am starting to experiment with hammock camping. Basically, it is like using a tarp tent in the air. I like it, others do not.
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Old 01-11-10, 11:55 PM   #5
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Like mentioned above already. Decent stove but a little more than I'd want to take on tour. White gas stove from MSR or a few others would be my first choice. Well my first choice would be an MSR Simmerlite White Gas stove.

Tent would also be my prefered method for crashing for the night. I'm not a big fan of mice crawling into my sleeping bag at night to keep warm. Been there and done that.

Like mentioned already.. . If money is tight you could make your own stove or buy a prebuilt alcohol stove. For touring I'd stay clear of cannister stoves unless you are only planning on shorter trips. Can be a bugger to locate them in many parts of the US. Trust me on this.
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Old 01-12-10, 12:00 AM   #6
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I would look for something lighter than the Coleman stove, something like an MSR Whisperlite. The whisperlite uses an MSR fuel bottle for the fuel tank, so you can switch between 11 oz., 22 oz. and 33 oz. bottles for longer or shorter tours. No need for multi-fuel capability unless you're touring in the 3rd world, just get a gallon of Coleman fuel at Wal-Mart and stash it at home, top off your fuel bottle as needed.

Other options are a home made (coke can) alcohol stove, or a Trangia alcohol stove, or a gas cartridge stove.
I have the Whisperlite and it is a nice stove. My buddy has the MSR Pocket Rocket I like that one also, though it is noisy. I might get that for shorter trips, I use the Whisperlite because I can get fuel almost anywhere. The canisters can be hard to find at times.

I have also built a couple of coke can stoves and I like them also. Each system has positives and negatives.
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Old 01-12-10, 04:37 AM   #7
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This one works well, but it's a little heavy for some people.

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Old 01-12-10, 08:15 AM   #8
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stoves:
http://www.rei.com/outlet/search?cat=8001&cat=8001&cat=22000001&page_size=29&cat=22000125&hist=cat%2C22000001%3ACamping+%26+Hi king^cat%2C22000125%3ACamping+Stoves

Tents - less than 4 pounds. rei-outlet usually has something good, but everything they have now is a little spendy. try backcountry.com

edit - ok, less than 4 pounds is a little strict, call it less than 5 pounds.
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Old 01-12-10, 08:23 AM   #9
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I have spent a lot of nights in shelter half tents. A lot. There are better options.

For a cheap, light, small tent, look at the Wentzel Starlight. Mine is 3.5 lbs, including the scrounged Tyvek groundsheet, and added-on vestibule made from a military poncho. It's a pain to crawl in and out of, but so are shelter half tents. Room for me at 6',1" and a good bit of my gear, and packs tiny. The Wentzel is around $35 from Campmor. Or you can buy mine for $25+shipping

For a stove, I prefer an alcohol stove made from a cat food can. My kitchen bag, including pot/lid, cup, stove, windscreen and reflector, 10 oz of alchohol, a bic lighter and 2x oatmeal pouches, 2x hot cocoa pouches, 2x teabags, 1x Ramen + salt & pepper, olive oil, weighs 1lb, 10 oz
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Old 01-12-10, 09:12 AM   #10
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I have an older model of that stove - the 442. I prefer a stove that can run on unleaded. When I'm on the road I don't want to be burdened with a gallon of Coleman fuel. They sell it in quarts now, but not very many places, and it's still more than I'd need. It wouldn't be very environmentally friendly (or safe) to dump the excess when I fill up. With my 442 I can pull into any gas station and top off for under a dollar.

The 442 is heavier than I'd like, so I recently bought a Whisperlite Internationale - the one that can burn gas from a gas station. However, my tour was cancelled last summer, so I haven't used it yet. I've heard excellent things about it, and it's lighter than the 442.

I really like my Primus butane stove, but only bring it for short tours - 2 or 3 days - when I can bring cannisters for the whole trip. It's often hard to find replacement cannisters in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 01-12-10, 09:21 AM   #11
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My choice of tent for back country travel and cycle touring:
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com...ers/mega-light

Expensive, but well made and it's a great 3 season tent. You can buy the optional floor or just take a sheet of plastic to put on the ground.

Pros: very light, compact, you can sit up inside and cook, the pole is adjustable to pitch at different heights (high up for ventilation, low down to keep the wind out)

Cons: Not free standing, need a fair bit of flat ground to pitch, $260 and the floor costs extra
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Old 01-12-10, 09:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mthayer View Post
I working on getting my supplies for my first overnighter together. I am looking at getting two half shelters from a Army Navy store for a tent. Would that be better than getting a dome tent, or what would be a better option.
I am looking at a Coleman stove, but would like to get the opinion before I go and spend the money on it.
http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colem...uct_id=550B725
You can do a lot better than a shelter half...new technology in 1865 A Eureka Timberline is a rugged but heavy tent that you can find for around $100. I've got one that is nearly 20 years old and still going strong...not that I use it much now. REI has others of similar weight for around the same price. Of course, the more you spend the less tent you get...less as in weight, not function But either the Eureka or the REI would be good starter tents.

The Coleman stove is a bit bulky for bicycle touring. An MSR Whisperlite Shaker Jet from REI is cheaper by about $10 and has a smaller footprint in your panniers.
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Old 01-12-10, 09:54 AM   #13
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Eureka Spitfire 1 or 2, depending on your need for space. Cheap, durable, double wall with lots of mesh for Texas summers, good peak height, easy up and down, light, packs tight, and blends with surroundings.

Even tho the canisters can sometimes be hard to find when on tour, I'd rather deal with that issue than the hassle of multifuel. I find that the large canister is good for about a week or more if you don't run it like a blowtorch. For longer tours, the cannisters can be mailed ahead with proper postal notations on the box.

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Old 01-12-10, 09:58 AM   #14
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You can do a lot better than a shelter half...new technology in 1865 A Eureka Timberline is a rugged but heavy tent that you can find for around $100. I've got one that is nearly 20 years old and still going strong...not that I use it much now. REI has others of similar weight for around the same price. Of course, the more you spend the less tent you get...less as in weight, not function But either the Eureka or the REI would be good starter tents.

The Coleman stove is a bit bulky for bicycle touring. An MSR Whisperlite Shaker Jet from REI is cheaper by about $10 and has a smaller footprint in your panniers.
Reading this thread, I was wondering if the Timberline was still around. A friend called mine "low tech and outdated" back in the early '80s, but it worked for me back then and they probably still work today. The A-frame design is simple, cheap to make, and sturdy, even if it makes for a slightly cramped interior.
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Old 01-12-10, 10:39 AM   #15
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You must find the sweet spot in the comfort / weight / cost tradeoff. And it's personal to you. Everybody wants sufficient comfort at the lowest weight and cost. But "sufficient" means different things to different people. And, of course, it depends on where you are touring and how much risk you are ready to accept.

If you want the lightest possible 2 man tent, for example, you can get many suggestions. If you want the most bombproof and spacious 2 man tent - hang the cost - people will suggest that. Same goes for a stove. An alcohol stove is the lightest and - even if you don't make it for yourself - is the cheapest. But a multi-fuel stove will cook your food faster and use less of much more readilly available fuel - unleaded gasoline.

If I were starting out I would decide what sort of tourist I wanted to be. Did I want to be able to ride out of trouble - to go both up and down passes to avoid camping in the snow or to make the town to avoid having to carry food and water and perhaps to avoid camping altogether? If so, I'd go with the setup nun uses. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...&highlight=rig. Of course, you'll need to be disciplined. NOTHING EXTRA. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...highlight=list. If I duplicated this rig and found that it suited my needs, then so be it.

However, if I found that I needed more stuff, I'd have to make the plunge and get at least one rack and set of panniers to carry it. This would add a net of about 5 lbs, not including the weight of the extra stuff I wanted to carry. This alone could instill the discipline to limit the amount carried. If I wanted to carry even more stuff I'd have to get two racks and pairs of panniers. And so it goes.

Welcome to the dilemas of cycle touring!
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Old 01-12-10, 11:37 AM   #16
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Or just make yourself a nice hammock. No need to find flat ground. When needed, can be used on the ground as a tarp tent. I have mine set up so that it is like a tent inside of a tarp tent. The top half is a bugnet, when going to ground, just string up the bugnet to the tarp and you'll good to go.
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Old 01-12-10, 01:59 PM   #17
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Homemade

Others have already alluded to catfood can stoves or Coke stoves. Use a search engine to search for "Pepsi stove." You'll find several recipes. Or just go and buy a Trangia stove. The advantages of these: lightness, simplicity, reliability, silent. The disadvantages: longer time to boil and limited cook time.
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Old 01-12-10, 03:28 PM   #18
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The Short answer is use what you already have. If it's just an overnighter you will get an idea of what will work and what won't, so heavier gear shouldn't ruin one night. The possible exception of the half shelter (shudder)...you could get by with a cheapish tent if cost is an issue. The Colman stove is great if weight is not a factor...depends on if you are heating water for dehydrated meals (I'd go with an alcohol stove for cost and weight) or actually cooking food from scratch (Coleman or other gas/butane stove for more heat and extended burn time).

I like camping with a hammock and tarp a lot...if there are trees for support.

If you absolutely know for sure that touring and camping is your passion...get the best you can afford.

After the overnighter you will have better ideas about what to take and what to leave behind...exactly what earlier explorers/settlers did upon setting out. The first night was spent closer in to civilization so equipment could be tested and adjustments made before fully committing themselves to the wilderness.
Most backpackers and cyclists find that they carried more than they used.
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Old 01-12-10, 06:48 PM   #19
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I am just ready to get my first tour over with already. There are just so many options and suggestions of different stoves, tents, etc. I am still trying to really decide which ones to go with. Today while I was working, I am now considering making a Nishiki Carribo I have my touring bike. It is a mountain bike, but its been converted to a hybrid style. What would be the suggestion on using that instead of my trek road bike like I originally planned on using.
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Old 01-12-10, 09:14 PM   #20
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How easy is it to put racks, fat tires and fenders on the Trek? Which bike are you more comfortable on? Do you prefer drop bars or straight bars? Can you fit panniers on the Trek without your heels hitting the panniers? Lots of people turn old steel framed, rigid (no suspension) mountain bikes into tourers and have a great time with them, it's all a question of which bike you would rather spend all day riding for a few days at a time.
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Old 01-12-10, 09:34 PM   #21
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The Trek has 27 x1 1/4 tires on it, and I have built a rear rack for panniers for it. I am comfortable on that bike, but one downside to it is the triple on the front. It has a 28-45-50 on it, which I love but I am not sure how Ill do with it on a tour. I like the Nishiki, and I modified it tonight, took a set of drop bars off another bike, and threw it on it. Since it had thumb shifters I took them and put them at the end of bars so its like bar end shifters. Yeah its negro rigged, but I took what I have and Im making it work. I am working on getting the Nishiki where its real confortable for me to ride on longer trips.
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Old 01-12-10, 10:41 PM   #22
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A lot of good info in the above posts. For a short tour use what you have. I have used a number of "road bikes" even for longer tours. The picture below is a 3 week ride with full camping equipment (my wife also carried some) on a Trek road bike. I don't remeber what the gear weighed, but it was pretty light. On this trip the bike had a 50/42/30 crankset, but I put on an 11-34rear casette. It worked OK for the terrain we encountered.

I vote with the rest of the folks who have ever spent time in shelter halves-- try something else, anything else, even an inexpensive single walled Wal Mart special. I did some of my first tours with a little green pup tent made out that platic tarp material. Back in the 70's it cost about $19.95, but it was all I could afford and I had some great times!

A comment about the Eureka Timberline. It is a great tent. Mine finally gave up the ghost after 30 years! I took the 4 person ( about 10 pounds) version on a bike trip with my son. It was the only other tent I had at that time, besides the "litttle green" one, with room for two people.


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Old 01-12-10, 11:34 PM   #23
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I've used a stove like the Coleman being considered by the OP. It's biggest drawback is that it has to be stored in your backpack or pannier with the fuel in it unless you run it dry every time you use it. It's far better to have a stove that draws the fuel from a bottle or canister as it burns the fuel. Those bottles or canisters are a lot less likely to leak fuel than that stove tank.
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