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  1. #1
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    Bivy Sack, Tent, Or Hammock For Touring?

    I want to do some touring in the future. This will probably be turing wher I camp out.
    Should I buy a Bivy sack, whihc is pretty cheap, and probably water proof, and light for around $100
    or a 1 man tent (prices/specs vary)
    or just a hammock(very cheap/light, no rain protection..)?

    any other suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Hennessy Hammocks look pretty neat, I've yet to try one though.

  3. #3
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
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    I bought a Kelty 1 man tent. It was $120 I htink and it served me well for my month trip. completely rainproof (when set up properly with a groundcloth) and finding places to set it up (its not freestanding) wasnt hard at all. I recommend it fully. A hammock wouldhave been harder to set up in a few instances, and a bivvy sack would have been miserable for the day where I spent 19 hours holed up because of rain.

    tent all the way. A pound or two saved isnt a big deal at all..

    my 2 cents
    ~Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    motel and credit card!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    motel and credit card!
    1. I don't have a credit card
    2. If I did, I am too poor to spend $$ on motels every night
    3. I want to explore remote, rural places where motels won't necessarily be.

  6. #6
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    My first tent was from REI and lasted about 15 years until I upgraded. It was about $129 and excellent quality/value. Tents are great because they can be used to store things unlike a bivvy or hammock. Hammocks need trees or other vertical surfaces and since you're up in the air, there's less cold weather protection although they'd be great where it is hot and steamy. A bivvy bag would be ideal if weight is your main concern. My little one man Cliplight was great, just enough room for me and my gear, the rainfly was big enough to cook under and it took seconds to set up. A necessity when you're traveling in wet weather areas. If you do get a bivvy bag, I'd recommend an inexpensive lightweight tarp to cover your bike and bags when it rains. If you're in the high country and even if it doesn' rain, the dewy mornings can make things pretty wet. Also, in wet areas if it's pouring down rain, a bivvy bag doesn't offer much in the way of a dry spot to read a book, play cards, etc.

  7. #7
    Senior Member denisegoldberg's Avatar
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    If you're interested in experiences with the Hennessy hammock, you might want to contact Jamie Noble - he has used one on at least one of his tours, and he seems to be quite happy with it. You can see his comments about the hammock here. If you sign his guestbook with any specific questions I'm sure you'll get a reply from him.

  8. #8
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    I use a bivy tent but in an area like Minnesota or Canada where mosquitoes/black flies will tear you apart, you might want to get a bigger tent so you can sit up and relax while the nasty blood sucking critters have to settle for being on your rainfly. Depends on the area you are going to be in. Trust me, you won't want to be outside for long in an area where mosquitoes will feast on you. Weight & size while important, is nowhere near as important as it would be for someone hiking the Appalachian trail.

    Haven't tried the hammock but since I like to sleep on my belly, I can't see them being comfy for me.

  9. #9
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    I used a two man Eureka tent. It was big enough to bring my bike inside with me. It'd be awful to wake up and find your bike and/or gear was gone.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    Hi!

    I have used a Hennessy Hammock during my last six or seven tours. I absolutely love them (I now have two)!

    As Denise mentioned I talk about using the hammock in my Crazyguyonabike journals as well as on the Bicycle Touring 101 website in the Camping gear section. Searching the Phred.org archives will also reveal some information as well.

    So far I haven't had a need to try the hammock out without trees to hang it from. In that circumstance it should work ok as a bivy sack.

    I recently obtained the insulation over and under-covers to extend the temperature range of the hammock. I haven't tried them out yet unfortunately.

    Hammocks don't work for everyone. A friend of mine purchased one and found them hard to sleep in at night, mainly because of how he sleeps. Personally I haven't had problems.

    I find sleeping in a hammock better then resting on the ground in a tent. With the optional snakeskin attachment taking down and setting up the hammock is also much faster. An additional benefit is the stealth characteristics of the hammock plus the ability to setup without needing level ground or a cleared area.

    I'm likely rambling a bit here. I've been working on a few too many web pages today! Please feel free to ask your questions if you have them!

    ~Jamie N
    www.bicycletouring101.com

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonFixed
    1. I don't have a credit card
    2. If I did, I am too poor to spend $$ on motels every night
    3. I want to explore remote, rural places where motels won't necessarily be.
    I've used Eurekas for ages and love them. I've used a Timberline (7 lb) which is a bit heavy but is a great tent overall. I watched a wall of water coming down Ten Mile Creek in the Colorado Rockies one night from an absolutely massive thunderstorm. Everyone around me (organized campground) was pouring water out of their tents and going home while I was nice and dry. I've also spent days in that tent waiting for the rain to let up (I'm a dry lander and will wait out rain if I can.) and was very comfortable. Bivy sacks feel too much like coffins to me.

    I used a Eureka Zues 2 man for 3 weeks last fall in the midwest and was pleased with it. It's a single wall tent that weighs less than 4 pounds. It did get a bit soggy because it's a single wall and you have to use something to keep the top vent open or else it seals with water as the tent relaxes overnight but overall it is a good tent that I plan on using for many years to come. It also comes with an integral vestibule so you don't have to sleep with your gear if there are two of you.

    Stuart Black

  12. #12
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    Never tried it, but I can't imagine spending more than a night in a bivy or hammock. Aside from the miserable sleeping conditions, how do you keep your gear dry if it rains when using a bivy or hammock?

    I agree with the previous poster that saving one or two pounds is not as big a deal on a bike vs. backpacking for example, where the weight is on your back the entire time and it may be worth it to shave a pound off your gear.

    I use a 1.5 man tent, non-freestanding. I think it weighs 5 lbs total with poles and everything included. When I was buying I was so concerned about weight, but in retrospect I wish I had gotten a freestanding tent even if it weighed a pound or two more. I would rather have a few extra pounds on my bike and be comfortable and feel secure in a tent, and i like having extra space to store my gear in case it rains.

  13. #13
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I use a tarp and a Sierra Design Clip Flashlight. Sometimes I use just the tarp. A tarp gives you way more living room than a tent on rainy days. I use the tent not for rain protection, but to sleep in a bug-free shelter. I set-up the tent with the door under the tarp. I thought about a hooped bivy bag but they're not cheap and don't breathe well enough. Someday I might change my Clip Flashlight for a one-man tent. This bug tarp looks very intersting but heavy for going solo.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  14. #14
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    Tent ... There is no substitute for the space and the storage options ... if you tour alone, get a 2 man tent, 1 space for you, the other for your panniers, if you tour with a friend then get a three man tent. Get one with a good fly and plenty of headroom.

    As a previous posting says, if you are stuck in the boonies in a rainstorm, a tent is the way to go ...

    My last tent was a tunnel type, lighweight and had quite abit of room, but there wasn't enough headspace, but then I am a bit bigger than the average guy ... my current tent is a dome type, but I wish the fly would extend outwards just a little more.
    I have used this tent, and find it really good.
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  15. #15
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoogie
    Tent ... There is no substitute for the space and the storage options ... if you tour alone, get a 2 man tent, 1 space for you, the other for your panniers, if you tour with a friend then get a three man tent. Get one with a good fly and plenty of headroom.
    What he said. If you choose a tent, get a bit oversized version to make sure you can fit your gear in comfortably. A (Hennessy) hammock will keep you dry in the rain, there is also very limited storage space for personal belongings (camera, wallet, that sort of stuff) inside the hammock. Other than that, your gear will have to be in waterproof bags. You will also not be able to dry your day's riding gear if it rains (not that I've had much luck drying anything in a tent either).

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  16. #16
    Long Live Long Rides
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    Agree with using a tent. Nothing like sitting in a tent, looking out the front, in the rain, sipping a favorite beverage. Makes the rain seem.....not so bad! I've used a single man bivy tent for years. It really was too small. I now have a Sierra Designs Asteroid. I like it because it only has one pole. It's big enough for two people or one person with gear. Nice opening, plenty of head room. http://www.backcountry-equipment.com..._asteroid.html
    Jharte
    Touring...therapy for the soul.

  17. #17
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    A bivvy could be miserable in the summer since it has very little airflow. A Hennessy Hammock would be better so long as there are trees where you camp.

    I second Erick L. I like to use a tarp tent with an inner net tent. Very lightweight and very roomy with plenty of ventillation. I made mine from a kit sold by Ray Jardine (rayjardine.com).

  18. #18
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    For me a hammock offers much better sleeping conditions then a tent. Here are some of the reasons why.

    1) When you enter the hammock you do so through a slit that runs about 1/3 of the length of the bottom of the hammock. When you pull your feet up the slit velcros shut behind you leaving most bugs outside. I think I once had a mosquito come in with me. She didn't last long.

    2) During my Round Lake Erie tour I spent a night in 80+ km winds and driving rain. The hammock came through the night dry while others in tents were soaked. The optional snakeskins and nice rain fly had a lot to do with that success. I have been in other storms since with the same result, a nice dry and comfortable sleep.

    3) It is possible to setup the hammock so that you can watch the stars while behind your bug netting. A simple tug of a single line can instantly put the rain fly above you should it start to rain or something.

    The hammock weighs 1.5 pounds, packs easily with no poles to worry about and can be rapidly put up or taken down anywhere.

    With respect to my gear I leave it on the bike. I carry a hennesy Silnylon tarp that I use to cover the bike when I think it should be covered. Since the tarp is somewhat camoflaged it does a nice job of hiding the bike, it's lightweight and it keeps any water off.

    Sometimes I don't use the tarp. My saddlebags all have rain covers. At night they go on and they do a fine job of protecting the bike. In the morning not having to reassemble the bike is just another benefit of this way of touring.

    http://www.bicycletouring101.com/ShelterHammocks.htm

    ~Jamie N

  19. #19
    Quietly Desperate Kodama's Avatar
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    Another voice for the x+1 man tent here (where x is the number of people that will be in it). There are several reasons, but the primary one for me is that you will spend a lot of time in whatever you sleep in. On my spring tour this year, it rained 2/3's of the time. I ended up spending a bit more time in the tent then I figured I would and I appreciated the space. I would put my water proof covers on my panniers and lock my bike to the picnic table or tree or what have you. (I can't image putting the bike in my tent) I had space to spread out wet clothes and even had a little line to hang clothes on. It was nice to be able to spend a long afternoon reading with the ability to change positions and sit up. About half way through the trip I was experiencing knee pain and needed to just take a day off. I was sick of people and just wanted to be away from it all. Being in the tent was great (oh and some ibuprofen cleared up the knee issue) like spending the day in one's room in bed. I suppose some people don't need any alone time and only hit the sack to sleep, but for me reading in bed is an important part of any vacation Additionally I do a series of calisthenics every day, and with all the wet ground on my trip it was nice to be able to do this in the tent.
    "The true traveller is without goal, it is the absence of goals which creates the ultimate traveller."
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  20. #20
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    The Clip Flashlight CD is a GREAT 2-man (if they're friendly) tent. FYI, campmor has them on sale for about $120. The combination with a tarp is a great idea. Only disadvantage is tarps and the Clip Flashlight are not freestanding - not a big deal unless you bike and camp on rock! BTW, you can use the bike as a support for the tarp - gets it out of the weather.

    I toyed briefly with getting a Eureka Solitaire or Gossamer - these are really large bivys and end up weighing as much as the Sierra tent. While they are smaller, provide excellent bug protection while you're inside them, and cost 1/2 what the tent costs, the larger tent is much more comfortable.

    I also have an old Eureka 2 man Timberline. I think the 4-person version is tall enough to put a bike inside.

  21. #21
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonFixed
    1. I don't have a credit card
    2. If I did, I am too poor to spend $$ on motels every night
    3. I want to explore remote, rural places where motels won't necessarily be.

    Zonatandem, Hate to say it but you got shut down.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

  22. #22
    Dan
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    I just got back from Seattle went by REI at the mall. I was amazed when looking at the tent and other gear, your talking ounces instead of pounds. A tent is the way to go.
    http://www.rei.com/ I must warn you though a nice elderly man from northern California referred to us as country folk. So my answer might be back woods.

  23. #23
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Here you go, my set-up. Bike is covered and my stuff is scattered all over, just the way I like it. . On rainy days, the tarp goes up first and goes down last in the morning. I can't imagine going with just a tent. If I were buying new, I'd get a "real" one-man tent from Sierra Design, MSR or Eureka to save some weight but I already had the Clip Flashlight (roomy for one, cramped for two). BTW, you can set-up a non-freestanding tent on rocky ground. I often use large rocks to secure the corners when the ground is too hard or soft for pegs.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  24. #24
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    I've been doing a lot of searching for this myself.
    No clue on the hammock
    bivy is too small
    tent: Don't get single wall unless you're going high in the mountains, otherwise the humidity will kill you. what's left is freestanding or non free.
    Freestanding: The best for weight and quality is TNF Tadpole. Under 5 lbs, lots of room, weather proof, lots of ventilation. Other good light ones are MSR Hubba & SD Hyperlite
    Non free: Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight and MSR Zoid are 2 good tents for lightness and weather proof

    I prefer freestanding tents. One never knows what the groung will be like and I hate to drive stakes into bedrock. Charlie

  25. #25
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Erick, I just looked at some of your pics at webshots. Just curious, looking at your rig loaded and I mean it looks loaded!!!

    http://community.webshots.com/photo/...93885871hrwrIg

    how much does all that weigh?

    Cheers,
    Blake

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