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Old 08-06-11, 11:45 PM   #1
Brusilov
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Advice on Touring Supplies needed

Hi everyone. I apologize in advance if the post seems too long.

I live in Miami, Florida and am planning to make a trip down to Key West, about 160 miles away. I might cut it shorter and ride to Marathon instead, but I've been planning this tour for a while. I'm mostly testing the waters because I want to see what it's like to make a light extended tour as I have interest in biking to Texas to go see family. You know, have an adventure along the way.

Anyway, point is, I'm fresh out of high school and don't have a job, so my budget is extremely low. I plan to 'stealth-camp' as I believe it's called, on the vast stretches of beach along the way to the keys. However, the problem is that it rains intensely down here in the Summer. I know for a fact it will rain on my trip, perhaps every day. It would be in my best interest to find some sort of poncho that can double as a tarp, so that I'm not forced to carry both, though I suppose it wouldn't be a big deal either way. Can you guys recommend an inexpensive poncho/tarp or just an inexpensive and light tent that's served you well for touring? I have things to get me from point A to point B, but have absolutely no camping supplies. I don't want to carry some sort of pop out tent; I would rather simply carry a tarp with grommets and build a shelter myself. I've seen a few grommeted poncho/tarp's on Amazon but they aren't well reviewed, so I thought you all might shed some insight on it.

So far I have a rack, set of rear panniers, medical kit, lots of canned food, a camelbak, spare tubes, pump, sunscreen, soap, mosquito spray, and some parachute cord. I figure I still need a mess kit (I'm having trouble finding a good one) and maybe some matches; other than that, the tent, and a good book, would you guys say I'm still missing anything? I see all these riders with massive packs on the rear of their bikes and feel as though I must be missing something, because my list doesn't seem to stretch very long. Nevertheless I'm planning to get a racktop back and front rack/panniers when the budget allows, but at current I've only got 60$ to my name.

And also, what's the incidence of blowing out tires on the road? I was planning to pack 2 or 3 spare tubes; am I being conservative or a little too cautious?

Last edited by Brusilov; 08-06-11 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 08-07-11, 12:02 AM   #2
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I carry three spare tubes, as I have had three flats more than once.

I carry a 2 man hot weather tent and an air mattress.
With a 2 man tent I can put my panniers and trunk bag inside each night.



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Old 08-07-11, 12:33 AM   #3
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Well even though it's not really what I was looking for, what brand is it, and how much does it cost? Do you pack the whole thing into your trunk bag?
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Old 08-07-11, 01:29 AM   #4
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Hi

There is a fair few articles/forum posts at BackpackingLight on poncho/tarp combos. Well worth checking out in my view. If one or two of the member only reviews are of interest let me know your email address by PM and I will see if I can help you out.

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Old 08-07-11, 04:46 AM   #5
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Most bike-able ponchos are too small to make a tarp + you may need a waterproof after you setup camp.
Use your poncho as a groundsheet.
I have used a cheap military style nylon tarp . You could trawl the light industrial units for some thick polythene sheet. Market stalls use cheap tarps, where do they buy it from?
You may need some tent pegs for sand or a penknife to make some or some bags you can fill with sand for weights.
Most of my early day of touring were done using cheap military surplus gear.

For a tyre blowout, you can make a boot, some tough material to wrap around the inside of the tyre. Fibre-reinforced packing tape is good, it doesnt need to be adhesive so used bits are fine.
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Old 08-07-11, 06:17 AM   #6
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Canned food is too heavy and bulky. Buy food along the way.

You'll probably need a sleeping bag for your long trip, if not your short one. You'll probably want a sleeping mat of some kind, to keep the cold of the ground away and provide a little padding. A foam mat is better than nothing, most people use a thermarest or other blow-up camping mat. Consider if you'll need protection from mosquitos as well as rain - that's always kept me from using a tarp shelter instead of a full tent.

Rack packs/trunk racks aren't very practical in my opinion - better to leave the back of the rack open to strap on your tent and sleeping bag, or use a dry-bag stuff sack (or trash compactor bag) to as stuff sack for whatever you want to load there.

Try craigslist and secondhand stores for used camping gear, and ask all your friends if they or their parents have anything you can borrow. Your "mess kit" doesn't have to be camping specific, other than the stove - you can get a pot and a cup and a fork at goodwill/salvation army. If your budget was a little higher, I would suggest www.rei-outlet.com and www.departmentofgoods.com as good cheap sources of camping gear.

Most people bring at least one change of bike clothes and a set of off-bike clothes, rain gear, a few bike repair tools and spare parts, sometimes cooking gear, a towel & toiletries... it really starts to bulk up fast, so don't pass judgment on those big panniers until you get all your stuff in a pile and see how big it is.

$60 is not enough budget for the trip, let alone outfitting the trip. You need a little reserve money (credit card) just in case something goes wrong.

Is it legal to sleep on the beach? Find out beforehand, because you're going to be pretty miserable if you get rousted by the police every night.
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Old 08-07-11, 07:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brusilov View Post
Well even though it's not really what I was looking for, what brand is it, and how much does it cost? Do you pack the whole thing into your trunk bag?
I know.

Coleman 2 man Dome tent: $40
http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Sundom.../dp/B0009PVTLU

Hot weather camping fan. $6 at K-mart
http://www.aftproducts.com/5_Desktop...02696afd1.item

Got the panniers on sale for $14 a set
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...9_10000_202599

My bike set up:

Front panniers contain, Tent, ground cloth, rain fly...air mattress, pillow, 5" fan
Rear Panniers contain, clothes, rain gear, food, 3 extra water bottles
Rack trunk contains, bike repair items as tools, tubes, Tent poles under trunk bag.
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Old 08-07-11, 08:58 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=10 Wheels;13046660]I know.

Coleman 2 man Dome tent: $40
http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Sundom.../dp/B0009PVTLU

Hot weather camping fan. $6 at K-mart
http://www.aftproducts.com/5_Desktop...02696afd1.item

Got the panniers on sale for $14 a set
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...9_10000_202599

I have the Nashbar ATB panniers, and they've held up for several years now. Are they as nice as Ortliebs or Carradice? No, but I only paid 14 bucks for them also. Plenty of pockets, plenty of space. Probably the best deal on panniers around.
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Old 08-07-11, 09:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brusilov View Post
Hi everyone. I apologize in advance if the post seems too long.

I live in Miami, Florida and am planning to make a trip down to Key West, about 160 miles away. I might cut it shorter and ride to Marathon instead, but I've been planning this tour for a while. I'm mostly testing the waters because I want to see what it's like to make a light extended tour as I have interest in biking to Texas to go see family. You know, have an adventure along the way.

Anyway, point is, I'm fresh out of high school and don't have a job, so my budget is extremely low. I plan to 'stealth-camp' as I believe it's called, on the vast stretches of beach along the way to the keys. However, the problem is that it rains intensely down here in the Summer. I know for a fact it will rain on my trip, perhaps every day. It would be in my best interest to find some sort of poncho that can double as a tarp, so that I'm not forced to carry both, though I suppose it wouldn't be a big deal either way. Can you guys recommend an inexpensive poncho/tarp or just an inexpensive and light tent that's served you well for touring? I have things to get me from point A to point B, but have absolutely no camping supplies. I don't want to carry some sort of pop out tent; I would rather simply carry a tarp with grommets and build a shelter myself. I've seen a few grommeted poncho/tarp's on Amazon but they aren't well reviewed, so I thought you all might shed some insight on it.

So far I have a rack, set of rear panniers, medical kit, lots of canned food, a camelbak, spare tubes, pump, sunscreen, soap, mosquito spray, and some parachute cord. I figure I still need a mess kit (I'm having trouble finding a good one) and maybe some matches; other than that, the tent, and a good book, would you guys say I'm still missing anything? I see all these riders with massive packs on the rear of their bikes and feel as though I must be missing something, because my list doesn't seem to stretch very long. Nevertheless I'm planning to get a racktop back and front rack/panniers when the budget allows, but at current I've only got 60$ to my name.

And also, what's the incidence of blowing out tires on the road? I was planning to pack 2 or 3 spare tubes; am I being conservative or a little too cautious?
Do not follow people with massive packs. It is wise to pack as little and as light as possible, because weight is the archilles heel when it comes to climbing any hill if you have any there.

First, the tarp and poncho combo. You will not get plenty of reviews of this kind of setup because people always want creatures comfort, which means bigger annd higher ceiling tents etc.. No one considers a bivy sack and a tarp, which when combined wisely with your bike can also be turned into a comfortable makeshift tent!

If you are stealth-camping, skip the tent option. Unless you have something like Tarp Tent by Henry Shires, most tents sticks out like a sore thumb out in the open. Easily spotted and not easily camouflaged. If you want to stealth-camp, it is better to stick with a tarp and bivy sack arrangement.

What you have ignored is your bike! Use your bike as part of your tarp structure, by leaning it against a tree, pole, or anything that stands up. If you do not carry a cable lock to secure it to a structure or a tree, hang a pannier with canned goods to to secure it from leaning into you. Or you can carry trekking poles to make a structure. Shaping the tarp is key to keeping you dry. For shelter under the tarp, a cheap bivy sack is easy and small to carry (size of a pop can) and can be warm and dry.

I usually do tarp and bivy sack setup myself during summer month camping. I use a cheap plastic ground sheet that I get from the warehouse of my companny and then use Siltarp; a parachute material tarp.
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Old 08-07-11, 12:35 PM   #10
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Got the panniers on sale for $14 a set
I got the exact same Panniers on recommendation from an earlier thread on this site; I sure wish I had been able to secure that deal. I ended up paying 40$ for mine.

Quote:
You'll probably need a sleeping bag for your long trip, if not your short one. You'll probably want a sleeping mat of some kind, to keep the cold of the ground away and provide a little padding. A foam mat is better than nothing, most people use a thermarest or other blow-up camping mat. Consider if you'll need protection from mosquitos as well as rain - that's always kept me from using a tarp shelter instead of a full tent.
Well, in the Summer months it's usually 90 degrees during the day and around low 80's at night, so I'm not too concerned about keeping myself warm. If anything the soft, cool, dry sand will be very welcoming after a day of riding. It might potentially be something to contend with on my longer trip, so I'll see if I can borrow a sleeping bag from someone. I'll certainly bring a healthy amount of mosquito repellent, and maybe see if I can't throw some sort of netting or something over my openings. I would probably just set up a hammock or sleep under stars or something, but the truth is my primary concern about setting up a tent is just to keep myself dry from the rain. My budget doesn't allow for those nice tents, so I'll stick with a tarp and some rope for now. Simply using the poncho as a ground-sheet and packing a cheap tarp is a good idea, though, I'll try that.

And yes, my budget is rather low. I'll probably ask my mom for a little more, but as I said this is more of a test-trip, and I won't spend much time enjoying myself and seeing the sights. I'll instead save it for my potential trip to Texas, and ask my dad to give me the money for the trip that he'd otherwise spend on air-fare.

I plan to pack lightly on food because I know I can just stop and pick up more along the way, but maybe I'll try substituting some of those cans for some light bags of potato powder, crackers, or energy bars or something. Something that worries me more is water; the heat index of South Florida climbs towards 105 degrees at the hottest points of the day, and I expect that I'll be sweating bullets and fatiguing pretty quickly. I imagine that a lot of a person's carrying weight is in water - what's a reasonable amount to pack and how do you carry it? A bunch of water bottle cages? Maybe a water bladder in one of your panniers? The risk of dehydration scares me, given those long stretches of empty road.
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Old 08-07-11, 12:50 PM   #11
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4 bottles would be good, I carry 6. I don't alway have them full.

Did a tour to The Rio Grand River and drank one bottle every 6 miles. It was Hot.
I borrowed a tent, panniers, and a sleeping bag for my first tour.
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