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Let’s make a bikepacking friendly Tent/Sleep System

Old 06-11-22, 03:07 PM
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Let’s make a bikepacking friendly Tent/Sleep System

Disclaimer: This thread isn’t about products already available, but a brainstorm for ideas of a product that could be.

I like to make my own gear. Mostly because products I like are missing key features that “I like/need” in a product. I have been making do with a cheap backpacking tent, Thermorest Self Inflating Pad, and a backpacking sleeping bag for bikepacking in this unpredictable weather we have been having in the Inland Northwest. For the nicer trips I have been using a tarp shelter with the same sleeping bag and sleeping pad. While these two sleep systems work, I have found a couple of issues with them.

First, I really need to watch the weather forecast and hope that they predict the weather conditions pretty accurately to make sure I have the correct sleep system.

Second, attaching all of this gear to my bike takes skill to organize and pack.

Third, when it’s stormy out I like to watch the storm all around me and my rain fly hinders my views, and trying to put tarp up… we’ll what tarp, I leave it at home to save weight…

The list keeps going on.

So, I was thinking about making my own hammock tent to try out hammock camping, and just wanted a project to fill the rainy days at home. I started making the hammock, but switched gears halfway through sewing it together because I saw the potential for this tent to become more than just a hammock shelter.

As I was getting ready to start making the ridge line last night I had my sleeping pad and sleeping bag inside the tent walls/tub when I had this crazy idea to roll it all up together… what came out was a nice compact sleep system that I could easily stuff into the. sleeping bag stuff sack.
This got me to really start thinking. We as bicycle campers make do with repurposing backpacking gear for bike touring/camping. What if the whole tent, sleeping pad, bag/quilt, poles, and fly all rolled up into a harness (built into the tent) that could be attached to the bike seat, handlebars, rack, or just dropped into a pannier.

So to get back on topic, if you were looking for a all in one simple set up tent all inclusive sleep system that could be set up in multiple configurations, what features would you want to see to make things a little easier? A rain fly large enough to park your bike into? Maybe incorporate the bike into part of the support system? What kind of gear loft do you look for (or is that even relevant when shopping)? Any other ideas?
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Old 06-12-22, 11:08 AM
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When I shop for a sleeping pad, I avoid the self inflating ones, because the foam/ whatever they use in the self inflating pads means that they will not pack down small/ take up too much space. Last year I was stupid enough to go out to California with only a hammock. I had this nifty piece of string that would be easier to tell if trees were within range to use the hammock. I never did find any trees the right distance and ended up using the tarp as a shelter. I recently put on a small front rack for my sleeping bag and recently made my own fork harnesses which make it easy for me to put my tent on one side and my sleeping pad/ inflatable pillows on the other. My weight savings ended being five pounds compared to using a lowrider rack with panniers.
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Old 06-12-22, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
When I shop for a sleeping pad, I avoid the self inflating ones, because the foam/ whatever they use in the self inflating pads means that they will not pack down small/ take up too much space. Last year I was stupid enough to go out to California with only a hammock. I had this nifty piece of string that would be easier to tell if trees were within range to use the hammock. I never did find any trees the right distance and ended up using the tarp as a shelter. I recently put on a small front rack for my sleeping bag and recently made my own fork harnesses which make it easy for me to put my tent on one side and my sleeping pad/ inflatable pillows on the other. My weight savings ended being five pounds compared to using a lowrider rack with panniers.
so, what if your sleeping pad, tent, and sleeping bag all fit into the stuff sack your sleeping bag came with? Would this interest you at all?

i will post pictures late tonight of my prototype after I get the ridge line done.
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Old 06-12-22, 03:18 PM
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I mean I am a simple person I want reasonably lightweight and compact but want to be comfortable most importantly.
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Old 06-12-22, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
so, what if your sleeping pad, tent, and sleeping bag all fit into the stuff sack your sleeping bag came with? Would this interest you at all?

i will post pictures late tonight of my prototype after I get the ridge line done.
Not a good idea. Have you ever folded up a tent that has morning dew on it? At night the entire tent is wet. If your tent, bag, and pad all went into the same bag, now the pad and, more importantly, the bag would be wet. That doesn’t make for a comfortable night. It’s also the reason I would never stuff a tent into a pannier with a sleeping bag.
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Old 06-12-22, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Not a good idea. Have you ever folded up a tent that has morning dew on it? At night the entire tent is wet. If your tent, bag, and pad all went into the same bag, now the pad and, more importantly, the bag would be wet. That doesn’t make for a comfortable night. It’s also the reason I would never stuff a tent into a pannier with a sleeping bag.
in my design, the tent, pad, and bag will all stay dry… how is this possible? The tent folds into itself and wraps up inside of the rain fly… if no rain fly is used, you will probably be wet any ways.
Also the system is modular, so you wouldn’t have to store the sleeping bag and pad inside of the tent…
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Old 06-12-22, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I mean I am a simple person I want reasonably lightweight and compact but want to be comfortable most importantly.
these three features along with simple setup and tear down are important to me as well.
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Old 06-12-22, 04:14 PM
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i dunno. my tent goes into a separate waterproof enclosure. breaking it down and packing takes just a couple of minutes.

I considered a hammock system but it weighs too much and takes too much effort to setup

Interested to see your design/prototype
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Old 06-12-22, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
these three features along with simple setup and tear down are important to me as well.
It sounds good, but probably not going to be a solid working tent at least not for a while with current tech. Not doubting you aren't capable of good ideas or anything like that but I think the technology is not quite at the point we can really do all of this in a really compact lightweight package that isn't easier done as separate items. Maybe a tent with an inflatable floor but that would probably only be good as a smaller 1 person tent that wouldn't have the comfort. Plus keeping it all dry is helpful and as Cyco said a wet tent is not fun.
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Old 06-12-22, 06:30 PM
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I like my sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent, etc., separate.

That said, what works for you works for you.
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Old 06-12-22, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
in my design, the tent, pad, and bag will all stay dry… how is this possible? The tent folds into itself and wraps up inside of the rain fly… if no rain fly is used, you will probably be wet any ways.
Also the system is modular, so you wouldn’t have to store the sleeping bag and pad inside of the tent…
Tents fold in on themselves in most all packing systems. Mine lays on the ground cloth and the tent is rolled around the tent frame. If the fly is wet due to rain, it may (or may not) go on the outside of the ground cloth. The whole roll is then placed in a bag.

…But the key point is that if the tent, the fly, or the ground cloth are wet from rain or just morning dew, the whole tent is going to marinade in the bag and get wet from inside to outside. If a sleeping bag were in that roll, it, too, would get wet. It’s just the way of water in a closed system. You could make the bag so that it wouldn’t be waterproof but heaven help ya if it rains.
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Old 06-12-22, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Plus keeping it all dry is helpful and as Cyco said a wet tent is not fun.
I can live with a damp tent. A wet sleeping bag is entirely different.
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Old 06-12-22, 09:39 PM
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Ok, so the main goal here is not to keep the sleeping bag and pad inside the tent… I said it would be possible to roll it all up into one… The main goal is to have a light weight tent that can be set up in several different configurations depending upon the terrain.

I have muscular skeletal issues that make putting up a shelter at times a real chore… especially if I just spent 4-6 hours riding. So what I look for in a tent is one that is easy to unpack, setup, and tear down. The tent must pack well for a bicycle. And lastly sustain the 40hp winds we have been having here lately…

The tent is a one man tent prototype is a one man tent that can be set up via two tent poles and two guy ropes, a tree and a pole, two trees, or just my bike and the ground. My sleep system can roll up inside the tent (although with a self inflating pad it’s kind of bulky, but my ultralight mattress makes the system roll up a little larger than just the sleeping bag alone). Because my idea to use the sleeping bag stuff sack as the case, this means the whole sleep system can fit inside the sleeping bag stuff sack, or if the tent is wet it can be packed up without the sleep system.



Tent suspended to work on the ridge line

Tub is 26” wide and 80” long… you can’t see it in the picture but there is a 6” gap between the pad and the head of the wall.





All rolled up with self inflating pad, sleeping bag and tent… too large to fit into the sleeping bag stuff sack.

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Old 06-13-22, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Tents fold in on themselves in most all packing systems. Mine lays on the ground cloth and the tent is rolled around the tent frame. If the fly is wet due to rain, it may (or may not) go on the outside of the ground cloth. The whole roll is then placed in a bag.

…But the key point is that if the tent, the fly, or the ground cloth are wet from rain or just morning dew, the whole tent is going to marinade in the bag and get wet from inside to outside. If a sleeping bag were in that roll, it, too, would get wet. It’s just the way of water in a closed system. You could make the bag so that it wouldn’t be waterproof but heaven help ya if it rains.
Yep, Never put a sleeping bag in the tent bag or in the same bag with the tent bag. Even in dry weather the tent get damp. There might be condensation inside. There might be moisture under the floor. You may or may not have the time or the weather to get it dried out in the morning. Personally I like to get rolling quickly in the morning usually before there is drying sun. Wiping up any condensation is all I have time for. I generally find that a tent rolled up with the floor on the outside is still as wet or dry at the end of the day as it was at the start even if it gets rained on or has the sun beating down on it, but I'd never press my luck by packing my sleeping bag with it.

Since I have started using a minimal hoopless bivy and tarp I have started packing the pad in the bivy most if not all of the time. The tarp generall packs separately as does the sleeping bag.
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Old 06-13-22, 11:56 AM
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My sleeping bag compresses down (no pun intended) to about the size of a football. Ain’t no way a pad and tent are also going to fit inside the compression sack.
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Old 06-13-22, 01:34 PM
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One can find very good light stuff. As above, tent should be in a separate bag. My wife and I have a tent/sleeping system which all fits into a Sea and Summit Large compression sack. The 3-person tent goes into a plastic bag and into the bottom of the stuff sack. The sleeping system is a rectangular down bag which is only down on top. The bag's bottom is a piece of flocked nylon with another piece of nylon below it, forming 2 pockets for the ultralight Thermarests, which roll up into about the volume of a quart bottle.

Of course a single person's gear can be less than half this volume. Our double bag was made by Feather Friends in Seattle. Big Agnes has come out with a full line of bags built on this principle, both in down and synthetic versions. Highly recommended. Synthetic bag 1#12oz. They also make bikepacking specific tents. Just like with bikes, one can shed a lot of weight for bikepacking simply by spending money. https://www.bigagnes.com/Gear/Sleepi...es-System-Bags

The big downside of hammocks, as was pointed out above, is the scarcity of tie points. There are many areas where the cycling is wonderful and there are few if any trees on public property, much less two the right distance apart.
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Old 06-13-22, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
One can find very good light stuff. As above, tent should be in a separate
The big downside of hammocks, as was pointed out above, is the scarcity of tie points. There are many areas where the cycling is wonderful and there are few if any trees on public property, much less two the right distance apart.
The tent started out as a hammock tent, but because of the issues you stated I decided it is to be used as a ground tent, along with the fact I don’t know if I trust my sewing skills to suspend me above the ground. This is the first time I have used a sewing machine in about 30 years.

I do plan on buying another tent… this was mainly a project to pass time with and repurpose trash. If the tent works for my needs, great, if not… no big deal as it was trash to begin with. The other thing is… how many tents do I need to own? I have three different backpacking tents, two duck canvas outfitter tents, a Gazelle T4 Plus, and a 3 room cabin tent. My wife is tired of my spending money on camping gear, especially tents.
The problem with my backpacking tents is they are all 4 season tents with very little ventilation… great for snow camping (which is when I used to do the majority of my backpacking/elk hunting until I could no longer do it). The other problem is since they are made for 4 season use they don’t pack down very small. My lightest tent is 2.5 lbs with stakes, poles, rain fly, and compression sack… but it only compresses to the size of a basket ball and uses priority poles that are 28” long when folded. Works great lashed to my 85L backpack/pack board, but doesn’t pack well on my bike.


As I said in my last post, the sleeping bag and pad don’t have to stay inside the tent, and the probably won’t…. But here is a question for all of you saying the bag should always be put away separately from the tent…. I have a sleeping bag that has a bivy cover attached to the bag… what is the difference between this and having a tent and bag packed up as one unit?

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Old 06-13-22, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
My sleeping bag compresses down (no pun intended) to about the size of a football. Ain’t no way a pad and tent are also going to fit inside the compression sack.
my bag compresses down to about the same size… I was able to make my pad fit inside the compression sack… but no room for the bag and tent… however, using my UL Air Mattress I can stuff all three into the compression sack without the fly (the fly might fit, but I haven’t started on the fly yet, that’s today’s project…
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Old 06-13-22, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
The tent started out as a hammock tent, but because of the issues you stated I decided it is to be used as a ground tent, along with the fact I don’t know if I trust my sewing skills to suspend me above the ground. This is the first time I have used a sewing machine in about 30 years.

As I said in my last post, the sleeping bag and pad don’t have to stay inside the tent, and the probably won’t…. But here is a question for all of you saying the bag should always be put away separately from the tent…. I have a sleeping bag that has a bivy cover attached to the bag… what is the difference between this and having a tent and bag packed up as one unit?
The difference is that with the attached bivy, you leave it out in the sun to dry before you pack it up. If it's wet, I dunno. Not a good idea anyway. Cut it off and use a separate bivy bag? Not really a good idea either except for that one-time bivy when you found a good ledge below the summit when it became obvious you weren't going to summit in daylight. That's what bivvies are for. It's a wonderful thing to have along just in case. In the mountains, I carry a bivy bag and appropriate extra clothing, no sleeping bag.

For non-mountaineering, nothing beats a tent with fly and a bag. Rain, massive mosquitoes, snakes, no problem. I like a tent where I can take all my bags into the tent with me. Bikepacking, that won't be much.
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Old 06-13-22, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The difference is that with the attached bivy, you leave it out in the sun to dry before you pack it up. If it's wet, I dunno. Not a good idea anyway. Cut it off and use a separate bivy bag? Not really a good idea either except for that one-time bivy when you found a good ledge below the summit when it became obvious you weren't going to summit in daylight. That's what bivvies are for. It's a wonderful thing to have along just in case. In the mountains, I carry a bivy bag and appropriate extra clothing, no sleeping bag.

For non-mountaineering, nothing beats a tent with fly and a bag. Rain, massive mosquitoes, snakes, no problem. I like a tent where I can take all my bags into the tent with me. Bikepacking, that won't be much.
​​​​​The sleeping bag with bivy I mentioned is used by the US armed forces. I have slept in the mud, snow, rain, sand, and places sane humans wouldn’t lay their heads down for a moment of rest. Packed it away wet and muddy to march on and do it all the next night. When unpacking, the outside of the bag might be damp, but the inside was always dry and warm. So no I won’t be cutting the bivy off of that bag.. ever. The bag is 24 years young and shows no signs of aging.. it has served me well.

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Old 06-18-22, 12:47 PM
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Warm Showers?
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Old 06-18-22, 10:35 PM
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Here's an interesting thread. 🙂 Those military modular sleep systems are pretty nice, but they really don't pack down well, on size. The Gore-Tex bivy part is well worth having, but a little on the heavy side.
Primaloft is the best thing now, for sleeping bags and outerwear. I have a North Face sleeping bag with it, and it's warmer by itself than my old REI overstuffed down bag. I also have some snow pants from Mountain Hardwear, with Primaloft, that keep me nice & warm in the mountains, even with my chronic arthritis. 👍

Back on topic, I found a hammock a couple weeks ago, made of a solid nylon, and though I'm not too crazy about hanging it, I immediately thought of repurposing it, as a super light bivy. I dunno how I'd get a zipper on it yet, but it seems like a good idea. Or maybe some good sturdy snaps? 🤔

I dunno how waterproof it'd be, but it would have to be at least decent, at blocking the wind. And the wind is what chills you most, once it's below about 50F.
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Old 06-19-22, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
Here's an interesting thread. 🙂 Those military modular sleep systems are pretty nice, but they really don't pack down well, on size. The Gore-Tex bivy part is well worth having, but a little on the heavy side.
Primaloft is the best thing now, for sleeping bags and outerwear. I have a North Face sleeping bag with it, and it's warmer by itself than my old REI overstuffed down bag. I also have some snow pants from Mountain Hardwear, with Primaloft, that keep me nice & warm in the mountains, even with my chronic arthritis. 👍

Back on topic, I found a hammock a couple weeks ago, made of a solid nylon, and though I'm not too crazy about hanging it, I immediately thought of repurposing it, as a super light bivy. I dunno how I'd get a zipper on it yet, but it seems like a good idea. Or maybe some good sturdy snaps? 🤔

I dunno how waterproof it'd be, but it would have to be at least decent, at blocking the wind. And the wind is what chills you most, once it's below about 50F.
I like your idea of sewing a zipper onto your hammock to repurpose it as a bivy. If/when you ever do post pictures To test if it’s waterproof or not, stretch a corner of it over a drinking glass and secure with a rubber band making a shallow pocket. Then pour some water over it and see if the fabric hold water over night. Get some seam seal tape for the seams because they won’t be waterproof or water resistant.

im hoping to get to work on the rain fly today, The bug net portion has to wait a week or two for me to order some netting and a couple of zippers.
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