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  1. #1
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    Begining tour. Item suggestions?

    Hi to all the touring mavens, I'm starting to put together a list of items for touring.
    First, my interest is the minimal stuff I can get a way with. I need to keep weight down for many reasons I won't get into. I will not be riding in the cold climates to heavy duty warmth needs are not applicable. The intention is really for CC touring with the ability to pitch camp if I feel to push a longer day. I'm planning to start with weekend, then week tours. I figure a small tent, sleeping bag. Not thinking about cooking quite yet. Any suggestions on essential items (i.e. "don't go without a.....") for such tour would be welcome. e.g. items that do double duty, rain gear. (the choices are overwhelming) No need for the gazillion dollar featherweight stuff, but a small price premium would be acceptable for reduced weight.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    To kick this off, I'll suggest you check out my favorite tent, the Eureka Spitfire 1. It gets the job done and goes the miles. Can be pitched fly only if you don't mind a bit of improvisation.The link will introduce you to the premier website for touring cyclists. Enjoy.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  3. #3
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaisoArt View Post
    ... I figure a small tent, sleeping bag... rain gear.
    So far so good.

    A tarp is a good idea.

    Don't forget a pad to put your sleeping bag on. I forgo a pillow in favor of a stuff sack with clothes I don't have on that I use for a pillow at night. You'll need the extra clothes if you get wet. Be sure to have a waterproof bag or garbage bag to keep extras dry along with a towel.

    I have a smallish tube of environmentally friendly soap that I can use to wash myself, my cook stuff and brush my teeth. What you use might be dictated by factors like whether or not you are in bear country -- in that case, you need to be scent free in your choice.

    I make due with a spork, a small stove with fuel and swedish firesteel to light the stove (it's light and small and works when wet). My lightweight cookset is a pot and a bowl. I splurge and bring a metal camp coffee mug but could make due with just the bowl.

    Don't forget bike tools for the bike and spares of things like a tire and tubes with patches/glue. I also have a light weight backpacker's multi-tool in addition to the bike specific multi-tool.

    You'll need lights for your bike and for camp. Some use a flashlight mounted to handlebars that can be removed, though I have a bike light that I remove and use as a flashlight.
    Last edited by scroca; 03-11-12 at 05:37 PM.
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    Always bring a solid spoon for ice cream.

    If you are not planning on using the tent much, and you're not in mosquito-central, you can get by with a piece of Tyvek with some grommet holes, some string, and a piece of plastic on the ground for a shelter.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Tent wise you can find cheap tents for under $30! See: http://www.amazon.com/Wenzel-Hiker-4.../dp/B002PAYHRU OR a little more money see this: http://www.amazon.com/Texsport-Sagua...f=pd_sim_sg_12 OR if you want to go dirt cheap there these tents: http://www.amazon.com/Level-One-Emer...f=pd_sim_sg_52

    Low cost sleeping bags for under $40, see: http://www.amazon.com/Suisse-Sport-A...e_sg_ai_ps_t_1 If you really want to save money you could buy a simple Mylar (looks like foil) thermal blanket for around $9 and slip it over you inside the tent.

    Low cost sleeping pad for less then $20; see: http://www.amazon.com/Wenzel-Convolu...f=pd_sim_sg_15

    Sure, none of the above stuff is top notch stuff but it only cost you less then $100 and maybe even less then $50 if you go the cheapest route and your set to go sleeping wise. And note the reviews on that stuff, none of it has a bad review. You do need to be more careful how you treat lower price stuff so you don't rip something, or break a zipper etc. But it can work. Then if later you decide you like touring and want to upgrade then do so as needed.

    I'm not sure where your going but you mentioned you didn't need to cook, but what about water? Are you going some place where they have running drinkable water? You could get a water bottle with a built in filter system like this: http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CIoBEPMCMAI

    The above are just thoughts to consider or trash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scroca View Post
    So far so good.

    ....dictated by factors like whether or not you are in bear country -- in that case, you need to be scent free in your choice.

    .
    Definitely did not think of this! Now you got me thinking. A little more info, the eventual goal is to ride LA to Miami on the ACA southern route, but my training rides will be California. I did think about snakes and biting insects, but never thought about bears!
    Last edited by KaisoArt; 03-11-12 at 06:35 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaisoArt View Post
    Definitely did not think of this! Now you got me thinking. The eventual goal is to ride LA to Miami on the ACA southern route, but my training rides will be California. I did think about snakes and biting insects, but never thought about bears!
    Bears can be a problem; read this: http://www.mountainnature.com/wildli...ampingtips.htm Also hang your food at least 75 feet from where you'll be. Clean off all food stuff even further away. Also see this: http://www.americanbear.org/awarenes...ng-hiking.html If your going to be in bear country read up as much as you can on the internet as to how to handle and prevent bear intrusions. Most state parks rarely have bears wonder in... raccoon's are a different matter and they very intelligent and can figure out how to get into food containers.
    Last edited by rekmeyata; 03-11-12 at 06:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Racoons are blody geniuses and very resorceful indeed. I'd hang my food mostly to keep it away from these guys. I usually stay in State parks and private camps so bears are usually not a problem. The rangers will tell you if they are.

  9. #9
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    If you're not planning on camping unless you need to, keep your camping gear small, light and cheap. A 9X9 bit of tyvek will cost all of $10, less if you just ask nicel at a construction site. Some specialty tyvek tape is maybe another $10 and will allow you to make very nice tie outs. Grommets don't work all to well in tyvek. A 9X9 tarp is a palace for you and your bike, but it does take some practice to learn how to pitch it nicely. Take a nice afternoon in your back yard before you try on the road in the rain.

    A closed cell foam camping pad is going to run you to cost no more than $20, but no reason to skimp; a Therm-a-rest ridgerest for $20 is much nicer than a generic blue foam one for $10.

    Sleeping bags are tougher to economize on, you really can't get a warm, light sleeping bag for cheap. If you are on a tight budget and don't mind the potential of a few cold nights, look for a bag rated to 40 degrees or so. I got a Lafuma bag from the REI outlet that weighs just a hair over 20 ounces, for $50. Of course, it's only rated down to 40 degrees, but that does cover most of my camping.

    If you don't intend to do much camping, I'd skip the stove all together and just bring food that can be eaten cold, to tide you over until you reach civilization. If you really want to have some hot food, I'd pair an alcohol stove (The Supercat is my favorite) with an Imusa mug. You can't cook, but you can prepare freeze dried meals for about $5 and 6 ounces.

  10. #10
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Scraps of tyvek..well, you better be skilled and have a back up plan if you plan to use this regularly.

    A sil tarp is nearly as light and ,any times as durable.

    Tarps however are again for the more skilled in pitching. While they can be pitched in a variety of fashions, and are light, they do have a few draw backs as well.

    I strongly suggest you do to go with a tarp for your first camping exposure.

    If you really want to get into the ul gear scene there is no better reference than backpacking light .com

    There is a huge selection of ul tent makers out there depending on your needs. I think for solo, tarptent.com has some of the best.

    If you have very deep pockets you can look into Cuben fiber for your tarps or tents.

    For sleeping, I would highly suggest you look into a neo air for a pad, the trekker comes to mind for comfort and cost.

    For light weight, down is your friend, but again comes at a price, and a responsibility to keep this dry.

    If you really want to go light, consider quilts vs bags.

    Stoves, I can highly recommend the Ti version of the jet boil if you are going to be gone more than a few days. Alcohol stoves are lighter if only going for a few days however.

    You can spend a ton of money on ul camping gear if you are not careful, but check out the articles on bpl for budget gear. With only a slight weight penalty you can save some serious money.

    Of course is you are a gram weenie, you can easily get out th door for under 4 lbs for your big 3

  11. #11
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    I've cooked full 7 oz. boxes of macaroni and cheese, french toast, scrambled eggs, oatmeal/granola, pork chops & peppers, and so on over my little self-pressurized alcohol stoves that burn about 20-min on 2 oz. of fuel. They are also so small & light I carried a few extra to have two burners at once, or to give away to interested parties. Tips are to start with the water as warm as you can get it (keep water containers in the tent, maybe in your sleeping bag if mornings are frosty) and presoak macaroni and rice in ziplock bags for as much time as you can before cooking to save fuel. Pot cozies and a good windscreen really help a lot, too.

    The new Coast Led Lenser H7 headlamp weighs just a couple oz including batteries, and puts out 200 lumen as a helmet lamp, yet dims way down to reading lamp brightness. You can save the weight of a flashlight and bike-light combined there.

  12. #12
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    For solo minimalist lightweight and ability to camp anywhere, a camping hammock (bugnet plus rainfly) is hard to beat. Just know how to use it when there are no trees around.

    Really, in North America there is very little that you absolutely need. If you don't mind a lot of discomfort, you can probably ditch just about everything but water and some money for food. And a pump/patch kit.

    The next step up in minimalism I would say is the lightest camping setup you can get, shelter/sleeping bag, and a change of clothes plus some rain gear and doodads like a cellphone and repair kit, first aid kit etc.

    Stove is not really a necessity, but can be nice.

  13. #13
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Always have a dry set of clothes and have a way to keep yourself dry, especially your feet. Even in 65 degree weather, getting wet can lead to hypothermia, trench foot, and other problems as well as a horrible time on the bike. Probably a lightweight tarp to cover your bike at night as your bike will be soaked if you don't, just like leaving it out in the rain every night. The one idea of yours is great, and it's one everyone should be doing, an overnight tours to test their equipment out.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention, if your going #2 in the wild where bears may be lurking, do so about 75 to 100 YARDS from where you sleep. If you catch fish make sure you descale, gut and clean the fish at the river or lake and wash your hands and knife at the water before heading back to camp. Any food scraps, regardless if fish or not, get buried in the area you go #2 at. Do not keep in food in your tent and wash yourself after eating so you don't carry food odors into the tent with you, bears have been known to tear tents down looking for food, and bears will open cans of pop and even beer, will drink milk, rip a cooler apart while a raccoon will simply open a cooler. When I camp at state parks I just lift the park bench/table up and place it on top of the cooler with the bench resting on top of the cooler. I use to put into the car but I saw a raccoon attempt to get into another campers car, the darn thing knew how the latch worked on the car but didn't have the body weight and or leverage to open the door, but he left nice claw scratches on the paint of a nice Acura SUV.

    Each type of bear is different, read this for more useful info: http://www.wikihow.com/Escape-from-a-Bear

  15. #15
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    I have my bicycle touring and hiking gear list online. It is really focused on my forthcoming long distance ride but it still might be helpful to work out what you don't need or need

    Andrew

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    Scraps of tyvek..well, you better be skilled and have a back up plan if you plan to use this regularly.

    A sil tarp is nearly as light and ,any times as durable.

    Tarps however are again for the more skilled in pitching. While they can be pitched in a variety of fashions, and are light, they do have a few draw backs as well.

    I strongly suggest you do to go with a tarp for your first camping exposure.

    If you really want to get into the ul gear scene there is no better reference than backpacking light .com

    There is a huge selection of ul tent makers out there depending on your needs. I think for solo, tarptent.com has some of the best.

    If you have very deep pockets you can look into Cuben fiber for your tarps or tents.

    For sleeping, I would highly suggest you look into a neo air for a pad, the trekker comes to mind for comfort and cost.

    For light weight, down is your friend, but again comes at a price, and a responsibility to keep this dry.

    If you really want to go light, consider quilts vs bags.

    Stoves, I can highly recommend the Ti version of the jet boil if you are going to be gone more than a few days. Alcohol stoves are lighter if only going for a few days however.

    You can spend a ton of money on ul camping gear if you are not careful, but check out the articles on bpl for budget gear. With only a slight weight penalty you can save some serious money.

    Of course is you are a gram weenie, you can easily get out th door for under 4 lbs for your big 3
    Lots of good info from every one. I'm not looking to do the ultra cheap camping and not necessarily the ulta light. The thing is that I have to limit my additional weight to about 35-40lbs--including bike tools. I currently have about $640 free, but what I call "unusable money". My job gave me a Christmas bonus in the form of a $500 American Express gift card, and the colleagues put together a $140 REI gift card for my birthday last Nov. I say "unusable money" because no where I shop accepts American Express. The bike store would not accept it as part payment on my new bike. I guess this forces me to the more expensive REIs out there. Anyway, the first trip is on the 24th so I have to make some quick decisions. The real problem is making sure what I get for the weekend trip will translate and be usable for the longer ones in the future.

  17. #17
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaisoArt View Post
    Lots of good info from every one. I'm not looking to do the ultra cheap camping and not necessarily the ulta light. The thing is that I have to limit my additional weight to about 35-40lbs--including bike tools. I currently have about $640 free, but what I call "unusable money". My job gave me a Christmas bonus in the form of a $500 American Express gift card, and the colleagues put together a $140 REI gift card for my birthday last Nov. I say "unusable money" because no where I shop accepts American Express. The bike store would not accept it as part payment on my new bike. I guess this forces me to the more expensive REIs out there. Anyway, the first trip is on the 24th so I have to make some quick decisions. The real problem is making sure what I get for the weekend trip will translate and be usable for the longer ones in the future.
    If your intention is to do credit card touring with the ability to do the occasional night camping, it seems excessive and unreasonable to spend too much of your weight or money on camping gear. I figure that for occasional use, light weight gear is better. No sense hauling around a five pound tent that only gets used one day, especially when a one pound tarp can do the job just as well. So to, there is no need to spend a lot of money on gear that isn't going to see much use, a nice inflatable sleeping pad might be more comfortable (ok, it is more comfortable), but if you only use it after a long day in the saddle, chances are you're going to be sleeping well no matter what.

    If you want to spend some more money, upgrading to an inflatable sleeping pad will save you bulk and give comfort. The new Neo-Air Xlite looks fantastic, at least on paper, I haven't seen one in person yet. A Silnylon tarp will be lighter than Tyvek and pack smaller too. You can also get silnylon in colors other than Dupont advertisement white. You can go for a tarp tent as well, and get an enclosed structure, although you loose some flexibility.

    I think you really need to ask what you want to do with your tour. More time spent camping means more money spend on camping gear. If you just want to use it as a contingency plan, then I wouldn't hesitate to skimp.

  18. #18
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    This tarp stuff has me confused, admittedly I've never used a tarp but knew one person only who ever has. I've camped for many years and can tell you from experience you don't want to be sleeping with just a tarp overhead in a rain because the grass your bag and pad is on will get soaking wet which means you stand a very good chance getting wet. A tarp is not a 3 season shelter, strickly a fair weather animal. I would much rather sleep in a tent that has a tub with the tent sides fastened to it to keep water out; some complain that tents have condensation which will get you wet, true if you don't properly ventilate. Also tarp tents offer zero protection against bugs, nothing like stinging bugs attacking you in huge numbers in the evening to ruin a camping trip. Some tarps you can buy an optional bug screen...get it if your wanting to go with tarps. Tarps are indeed lighter but only about a pound, and gives you that primitive approach to camping. You have to decide how much comfort you want or don't want. If your going to be out in no mans land and need the absolute lightest thing possible then get the tarp because the one pound difference is about one days worth of food and maybe you need food more then comfort, but it didn't really sound like you were roughing it that much. I still think if this is your first time not to put much money into it just in case you decide never to do it again then you won't have money wrapped up in camping gear you may never use again or maybe use one more time.

    You can get inexpensive Eureka Spitfires or Solitares for under $100 and they weigh almost as little as tarps at between 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds; or you can get nicer ones.

    Anyway that's my worthless opinion.

    However you chose to go I really hope you have a good time. I go on quite a few weekender camping/bike trips, I try to camp near water so I can fish. I fly fish when taking a bike into a lake because flies take up hardly any space, the reel sets flat without a bail to bend or break, and the rod I have a 5 piece 9' fly rod which that length is better for lakes, I have a shorter rod but since I go to lakes I never take it. But going someplace to fish or take some pictures or go hiking etc is very relaxing, don't let all the set up and tear down bug you, it really isn't a big deal.
    Last edited by rekmeyata; 03-13-12 at 01:45 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Medic Zero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    To kick this off, I'll suggest you check out my favorite tent, the Eureka Spitfire 1. It gets the job done and goes the miles. Can be pitched fly only if you don't mind a bit of improvisation.The link will introduce you to the premier website for touring cyclists. Enjoy.
    I'm sad, I can't find the fly to mine, I think I left it in the train station when I was getting all my gear together after my last trip last summer. It's a good tent. The only real minuses are that it doesn't have a vestibule, and it's not free-standing. But finding THE perfect tent seemed futile, and I was able to pick up my Spitfire for only $100.

    I'll have to read the rest of the thread to see if I have anything to add to what others suggest for a pack list. I tend to bring the kitchen sink, so I might just keep quiet as to that as the O/P was looking to keep it light!
    ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    This tarp stuff has me confused, admittedly I've never used a tarp but knew one person only who ever has. I've camped for many years and can tell you from experience you don't want to be sleeping with just a tarp overhead in a rain because the grass your bag and pad is on will get soaking wet which means you stand a very good chance getting wet. A tarp is not a 3 season shelter, strickly a fair weather animal. I would much rather sleep in a tent that has a tub with the tent sides fastened to it to keep water out; some complain that tents have condensation which will get you wet, true if you don't properly ventilate. Also tarp tents offer zero protection against bugs, nothing like stinging bugs attacking you in huge numbers in the evening to ruin a camping trip. Some tarps you can buy an optional bug screen...get it if your wanting to go with tarps. Tarps are indeed lighter but only about a pound, and gives you that primitive approach to camping. You have to decide how much comfort you want or don't want. If your going to be out in no mans land and need the absolute lightest thing possible then get the tarp because the one pound difference is about one days worth of food and maybe you need food more then comfort, but it didn't really sound like you were roughing it that much. I still think if this is your first time not to put much money into it just in case you decide never to do it again then you won't have money wrapped up in camping gear you may never use again or maybe use one more time.

    You can get inexpensive Eureka Spitfires or Solitares for under $100 and they weigh almost as little as tarps at between 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds; or you can get nicer ones.

    Anyway that's my worthless opinion.

    However you chose to go I really hope you have a good time. I go on quite a few weekender camping/bike trips, I try to camp near water so I can fish. I fly fish when taking a bike into a lake because flies take up hardly any space, the reel sets flat without a bail to bend or break, and the rod I have a 5 piece 9' fly rod which that length is better for lakes, I have a shorter rod but since I go to lakes I never take it. But going someplace to fish or take some pictures or go hiking etc is very relaxing, don't let all the set up and tear down bug you, it really isn't a big deal.
    I'm thinking tent for the same reasons you state. Though getting wet has never been something to slow me up. (I grew up in the tropics, But the wet was always warm) However, biting bug will. I have the "sweet blood" they like. I have often sat outdoors with groups and been the only on devoured by mosquitoes.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaisoArt View Post
    I'm thinking tent for the same reasons you state. Though getting wet has never been something to slow me up. (I grew up in the tropics, But the wet was always warm) However, biting bug will. I have the "sweet blood" they like. I have often sat outdoors with groups and been the only on devoured by mosquitoes.
    HHAHAHAHAHA, I know what you mean!!! Then there's also another nasty around where I live in Indiana called a chigger(sp?) This nasty is worst then mosquitoes! The bumps and itching provided by the chigger lasts about 2 months and will leave red scars for about a year before fading away, so since I go camping a lot I just have a constant flow of these red spots. Even after applying bug lotion they still go at you, and I hate using that stuff because I know it's probably not good to have insecticide on you skin, but without it I get very chewed up. They seem to prefer the last foot or so of your leg. I'll go to a campsite and fog the area's trees and grass on the campsite before laying down the tent, then use the bug lotion and still end up with chiggers and mosquito bites, but not as bad if I don't do anything.

  22. #22
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Always bring a solid spoon for ice cream.
    And for spreading spreads on bread, or eat out the jar when nobody is watching.

    Quarters for some camping showers, small flashlight or headlight (Petzl Tikkina 2 is nice), a couple of bandanas.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  23. #23
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    And for spreading spreads on bread, or eat out the jar when nobody is watching.

    Quarters for some camping showers, small flashlight or headlight (Petzl Tikkina 2 is nice), a couple of bandanas.
    I ALWAYS take a small 3 cup Moka espresso maker, I wouldn't leave home without it. I store the coffee inside the maker in small zip lock bags.

  24. #24
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    This tarp stuff has me confused, admittedly I've never used a tarp but knew one person only who ever has. I've camped for many years and can tell you from experience you don't want to be sleeping with just a tarp overhead in a rain because the grass your bag and pad is on will get soaking wet which means you stand a very good chance getting wet. A tarp is not a 3 season shelter, strickly a fair weather animal. I would much rather sleep in a tent that has a tub with the tent sides fastened to it to keep water out; some complain that tents have condensation which will get you wet, true if you don't properly ventilate. Also tarp tents offer zero protection against bugs, nothing like stinging bugs attacking you in huge numbers in the evening to ruin a camping trip. Some tarps you can buy an optional bug screen...get it if your wanting to go with tarps. Tarps are indeed lighter but only about a pound, and gives you that primitive approach to camping. You have to decide how much comfort you want or don't want. If your going to be out in no mans land and need the absolute lightest thing possible then get the tarp because the one pound difference is about one days worth of food and maybe you need food more then comfort, but it didn't really sound like you were roughing it that much. I still think if this is your first time not to put much money into it just in case you decide never to do it again then you won't have money wrapped up in camping gear you may never use again or maybe use one more time.

    You can get inexpensive Eureka Spitfires or Solitares for under $100 and they weigh almost as little as tarps at between 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds; or you can get nicer ones.

    Anyway that's my worthless opinion.
    I'm going to disagree, well sort of.

    At least factually, Tarp tents (at least commercial ones) have all the bug protection of a double walled tent; the bathtub floor is attached to the walls with netting, and it should be completely bug free.

    Tarps do have some of the problems you described, but there are easy ways to mitigate them. A 9X9 tarp will give you twice the coverage of most any tent for a fraction of the weight, allowing you space for you, your gear, your bike, and even a friend or two. While they are lighter, they require more skill to set up properly. The grass will only get wet if you pitch in a valley where water will flow though; if you take some care in selecting a site, avoiding low spots and gulleys, you can stay just as dry under a tarp as you would in a tent.

    I've spent a few thunderstorms huddled under a tarp, and I've been glad for the extra space that they provide. Two of my friends and I have spend a night perfectly comfortable, despite the driving rain with nothing but a tarp. I honestly find them more comfortable than tents, you get more space, more light, and more flexibility for the same weight.

    Of course, I've also spent a miserable night or two when I didn't pitch my tarp properly, it collapsed on me in the middle of the night, and I had to run around in the rain trying to fix it. Thankfully I was alone for that trip, or I would have felt all kinds of guilty.

    Tarps, generally speaking, trade weight for skill.

  25. #25
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    Arm & leg warmers may save a few items of clothing in warmer weather; I picked up several nice ones at the dollar store last week. Or also bring a polyester fleece jersey or jacket and have it do double duty as a pillow.

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