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Hammock or tent? Other essential gear for touring

Old 05-21-20, 03:05 AM
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sprocketss
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Hammock or tent? Other essential gear for touring

Hi folks, getting back into bike touring after several years and need a refresher and a new gear list. I will just be staying around Nova Scotia this summer doing short tours so... hammock or tent... suggested models for both.

I have a nice old school Miyata mountain bike. I do find the forum hard to search when looking for bike touring equipment lists. Can you post your bike and weather equipment lists for short tours.

In these uncertain times money is a consideration.
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Old 05-21-20, 05:37 AM
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if money is a consideration then a tent setup is cheaper. I use both - depending on mood and topology.
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Old 05-21-20, 07:29 AM
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have you ever spent the night in a hammock? I haven't and am pretty certain my back wouldnt like it, which would defeat the whole purpose of lighter weight and the money spent on a hammock trying it out?

tents--there are so many options out there, and so many prices. Its like everything in life, cost vs quality vs weight vs how much you want to spend vs how often you'll use it.....etc etc

places like Mountain Equipment Coop are a good place to at least familiarize yourself with quality tents-they dont sell inexpensive poorly made stuff---you'll at least see what you're up against. Roughly 300 cad + for a good one man tent at the very MINIMUM and then up.

sure, Canadian Tire will have cheap stuff, but they wont work well or last and they'll weigh a lot more

good luck doing researching
of course, remember that after a few nights camping and not using a motel, you will save easily half the cost of a good tent.
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Old 05-21-20, 08:10 AM
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You don't just buy a $50 hammock and sleep in it. Maybe in 100 degree heat but anything else is dependent on a draft of air on the underside of the hammock which ranges unnerving to flat out CBS (Cold Butt Syndrome)

You need an underquilt and a top quilt and a tarp - as such the hammock setup is usually not a lighter option than tent but it all depends on how you choose your components.

There is a technique in how you pitch and sleep in a hammock which does not result in back ache. Some might say to he contrary that hammock sleep is more comfortable than a tent sleep
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Old 05-21-20, 09:01 AM
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Some gear lists Bike Touring & Bikepacking List Breakdowns - Here We Go!
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Old 05-21-20, 09:05 AM
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If you sniff around, for $100 US, you can purchase a very nice 2 person tent that will serve you well. A decent camping hammock will set you back more. Though you might not need an expensive under quilt for summer use, you will need at minimum a foam pad for bottom insulation. I've used both shelters over the years and found that I didn't save any weight or carrying bulk by using my hammock. So it comes down to if you prefer sleeping in a hammock or tent, but in the end I found the tent generally more forgiving in use and set up. YMMV
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Old 05-21-20, 09:20 AM
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do you already have a rack and panniers? Have you ever carried stuff on this bike. If its a mtb and a suspension fork, that complicates things for front panniers.
do you have a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag that doesnt weigh 10lbs?

all of this stuff will add up to a certain amount, but there are reasonable options out there price wise, and while not the lightest , will still be ok.

you'll have to start looking at adding up what you need and then you'll have a better idea of what outlay of cash will be required. There are very reasonably priced campmats and sleeping bags that will work, same with the tents--a big range of prices, but a comfortable camp mat is worth it, just from a sleep quality side of things, worth it even more depending on your age and body stuff, completely varies person to person. A summer sleeping bag wont be much, but checking out camp mats in person might be hard now due to stores not being open as before, so unless you have camping experience in tents on campmats that you can relate newer stuff to, it may be hard to know whats good for you.

and some people sleep fine on whatever, others not.
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Old 05-21-20, 11:13 AM
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I find hammocks more comfortable, but there is no real weight savings by using a hammock. You don't need flat smooth ground to set up a hammock, but you do need something to hang the hammock from. Developed campsites don't always have good spots to hang. On the other hand if dry camping, it can be nice to not hunt for the ideal site to set up a tent. If camping with others and sharing supplies, a tent will save space and weight. I agree a good sleeping pad is probably going to be the most important part of your kit. When using a hammock, you'll need either a sleeping pad or an underquilt. I'd avoid buying a single wall tent because they're prone to condensation issues if you're not careful.

Whatever you buy, I'd be mindful of how mosquitoes can ruin a night's sleep. You can save lots of cash by purchasing a no name tent or hammock off of Amazon if your conscience allows, but you want to be sure you get something that is decent and will keep the mosquitoes out.
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Old 05-21-20, 11:29 AM
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I like my hammock for sleeping, a gentle rock to sleep is quite nice. However a tent can sometimes be more versatile when you don't have two places to hang. I have certainly had times where a hammock would not work but in the times it has hooooboy it is nice.
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Old 05-21-20, 11:32 AM
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I spent five weeks bike touring Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick last summer. Mostly camped in RV parks that had tenting areas, but stayed a few nights in Provincial Parks. When up on Cabot Trail stayed at a couple National Park campgrounds.

In other words I was not hiding in a forest someplace. I am not sure if there ever was a place I could have put up a hammock where I camped last summer. But tenting was pretty easy.

Some of the Provincial Parks had hike in campsites, and when such sites were available I chose those to be more isolated from the RVs. Some of them might have had trees for a hammock, but that would be unreliable at best.

Site below was at a park in Antigonish, nice park (Whidden Park) for a private park and was close to shopping being in a community. If there was a second tree in the right spot, maybe you could have hung a hammock?



There was heavy rain when I was there, some of that grass field was under water but I knew the rain was coming so I picked the highest spot in the tent area and my tent site stayed above water.

Bring bug repellent. Bugs can bite through knit bike jerseys which I learned the hard way.

If you need anything from a bike shop, I found Cyclesmith in Halifax to be quite helpful.

I am not from Canada, if you are you might want to talk to the people at MEC to see what they suggest for camping gear. The MEC people I talked to at the store in Halifax were knowledgeable. For my trip, I flew in and out of Halifax.

The campsite in photo below was a hike in site at Five Islands Provincial Park, overlooking Bay of Fundy. The really nice sites like that one get reserved in advance. I was lucky to get two nights at that site.



I never made reservations for any of the campsites I stayed at. But, my last camping night was July 8. Thus, my trip was completed before most of the campgrounds got busy. I noticed that the campsites and roads appeared to be busier after Canada Day, so if you are there during peak season, finding open campsites on weekends might be more difficult.

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Old 05-21-20, 12:10 PM
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Nice photos above.
Not sure about the Canadian parks but here in the states, be aware that some state and private campgrounds are no longer allowing things to be attached or hung from their trees, including hammocks or even a lean to. I've run into that a few times which forced my hammock to become an impromptu bivy, for which it was not comfortably designed.
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Old 05-21-20, 01:22 PM
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Thanks for all the awesome and detailed replies. Leaning toward a tent, the reason I asked about a hammock, I have spoken to people that swear by them.
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Old 05-21-20, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Thanks for the link!
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Old 05-21-20, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
do you already have a rack and panniers? Have you ever carried stuff on this bike. If its a mtb and a suspension fork, that complicates things for front panniers.
do you have a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag that doesnt weigh 10lbs?

all of this stuff will add up to a certain amount, but there are reasonable options out there price wise, and while not the lightest , will still be ok.
Thanks for the reply, long story that I do not want to go into right now. I use to have some sweet gear but I am now starting from scratch. First warm day in a while so I do not think I am missing summer yet...
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Old 05-21-20, 01:31 PM
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I prefer a tent but that's because I don't like to be a meal for black flies or mosquitoes and I like to stay dry if it rains. I have a small rectangular dome tent I can bring my bike inside of. I take the front wheel off and the low-rider rack keeps the bike upright. I also use a tarp over the tent if I'm certain it's going to rain. That way I can take down the tent and pack it away dry.

Cheers
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Old 05-21-20, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I spent five weeks bike touring Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick last summer. Mostly camped in RV parks that had tenting areas, but stayed a few nights in Provincial Parks. When up on Cabot Trail stayed at a couple National Park campgrounds.

Bring bug repellent. Bugs can bite through knit bike jerseys which I learned the hard way. >> Yup, live here >> I have an intimate relationship with the insect kingdom

If you need anything from a bike shop, I found Cyclesmith in Halifax to be quite helpful.
Thanks for the tips!
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Old 05-21-20, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I like my hammock for sleeping, a gentle rock to sleep is quite nice. However a tent can sometimes be more versatile when you don't have two places to hang. I have certainly had times where a hammock would not work but in the times it has hooooboy it is nice.
Hey veganbikes ya, I've heard good things about hammocks. There was a worker on the land where I work that spent the whole summer nights in a quiet grove of trees. Very serene...
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Old 05-21-20, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I prefer a tent but that's because I don't like to be a meal for black flies or mosquitoes and I like to stay dry if it rains. I have a small rectangular dome tent I can bring my bike inside of. I take the front wheel off and the low-rider rack keeps the bike upright. I also use a tarp over the tent if I'm certain it's going to rain. That way I can take down the tent and pack it away dry.

Cheers

Good advice
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Old 05-21-20, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
I find hammocks more comfortable, but there is no real weight savings by using a hammock. I agree a good sleeping pad is probably going to be the most important part of your kit. When using a hammock, you'll need either a sleeping pad or an underquilt. I'd avoid buying a single wall tent because they're prone to condensation issues if you're not careful.
Ya, heard good things about hammocks tho I am leaning towards a tent. Another up vote for a sleeping pad.

Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
You can save lots of cash by purchasing a no name tent or hammock off of Amazon if your conscience allows, but you want to be sure you get something that is decent and will keep the mosquitoes out.
I like your ethics!
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Old 05-21-20, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Nice photos above.
Not sure about the Canadian parks but here in the states, be aware that some state and private campgrounds are no longer allowing things to be attached or hung from their trees, including hammocks or even a lean to. I've run into that a few times which forced my hammock to become an impromptu bivy, for which it was not comfortably designed.
Youtube vid on hammock as bivy...
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Old 05-21-20, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Ya, heard good things about hammocks tho I am leaning towards a tent. Another up vote for a sleeping pad.



I like your ethics!

If you are getting a sleeping pad I highly recommend those from Sea To Summit most comfortable I have been on and much easier to inflate.

Hammocks though are the way to get the best sleep ATMO.
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Old 05-21-20, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
you'll have to start looking at adding up what you need and then you'll have a better idea of what outlay of cash will be required. There are very reasonably priced campmats and sleeping bags that will work, same with the tents--a big range of prices, but a comfortable camp mat is worth it, just from a sleep quality side of things, worth it even more depending on your age and body stuff, completely varies person to person. A summer sleeping bag wont be much, but checking out camp mats in person might be hard now due to stores not being open as before, so unless you have camping experience in tents on campmats that you can relate newer stuff to, it may be hard to know whats good for you.

and some people sleep fine on whatever, others not.
Nope, beside the ridged frame Miyata Mountain Bike starting from scratch. Thanks for the valuable advice!
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Old 05-21-20, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
If you sniff around, for $100 US, you can purchase a very nice 2 person tent that will serve you well. A decent camping hammock will set you back more. Though you might not need an expensive under quilt for summer use, you will need at minimum a foam pad for bottom insulation. I've used both shelters over the years and found that I didn't save any weight or carrying bulk by using my hammock. So it comes down to if you prefer sleeping in a hammock or tent, but in the end I found the tent generally more forgiving in use and set up. YMMV
Thanks for the great advice, happyfeet gave me a nice link to equipment lists...
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Old 05-21-20, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
if money is a consideration then a tent setup is cheaper. I use both - depending on mood and topology.
Thanks, now leaning towards a tent.
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Old 05-21-20, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
have you ever spent the night in a hammock? I haven't and am pretty certain my back wouldnt like it, which would defeat the whole purpose of lighter weight and the money spent on a hammock trying it out?

tents--there are so many options out there, and so many prices. Its like everything in life, cost vs quality vs weight vs how much you want to spend vs how often you'll use it.....etc etc

places like Mountain Equipment Coop are a good place to at least familiarize yourself with quality tents-they dont sell inexpensive poorly made stuff---you'll at least see what you're up against. Roughly 300 cad + for a good one man tent at the very MINIMUM and then up.

sure, Canadian Tire will have cheap stuff, but they wont work well or last and they'll weigh a lot more

good luck doing researching
of course, remember that after a few nights camping and not using a motel, you will save easily half the cost of a good tent.
It depends on the hammock. I have a Warbonnet Blackbird, which has what they call a foot box. It is an extended area on the foot end, extending out to the side. It allows you to sleep sort of diagonally across the hammock and fairly flat. It is very comfortable for me, more so than my other, regular hammock. I definitely sleep better in the Blackbird hammock than in my tent, and I use both.
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