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Hammock or tent? Other essential gear for touring

Old 05-21-20, 02:51 PM
  #26  
phughes
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
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.
They are fantastic, but both tents, and hammocks have their pluses and minuses. Overall the hammock is my favorite, but, I did get a new tent in the mail from REI for when my mood goes towards a tent. When it is cooler out, the tent is nice since I do not have an under quilt yet for the hammock.

I can set my hammock up as a one man tent if I need to, using one tree or a pole, and my bicycle staked out on the other end. You can also carry a specially made pole and actually hang the hammock using only one tree and the pole. https://www.tensaoutdoor.com/product...hammock-stand/

I had an issue last year on tour, where a campground would not allow me to hang the hammock. they didn't allow anything to be hung. I moved on and rode another 12 miles to another campground. My hammock and tarp setup is a little lighter than my new tent, but minimal. The new tent is just a couple ounces under 4 pounds, and the hammock is under three pounds. If you add the Tensa pole, they are about the same. Edit: I just weighed the hammock setup, 2.4 pounds total including tarp, stakes, and stuff sacks.

The hammock is fantastic in the rain, I have never gotten wet despite going through some fierce storms. I have a large rain tarp for it. I can also put my bike and gear under it if I want. I can also tear down and pack the hammock and my gear in the rain, before taking down the tarp, so I can remain dry, and the hammock and gear remain dry while I pack. The last thing is the tarp, and I can shake it to get the worse of the water off, then stuff it in the sack.

I can tear down my old tent the same way, but not as easily. I don't know about the new one, I haven't set it up yet.

On my tour last year, I used the hammock for most of it. My wife came to visit me and camp on her days off towards the end of the tour, and brought my 3 man tent. I opted to keep it and use it since they were calling for some bad weather, heavy rain and cooler temperatures, upper 40s and lower 50s, hail and thunderstorms with high wind. I figured if I decided to wait out a couple of days, the room of the three man tent would be nice. It was, though I didn't wait out any days with it, I ended up at a friend's house for two days. It was nice though for the cooler nights and it was a palace compared to the hammock, considering it was a three man tent. The downside was that it weight over 11 pounds, and I was nearing the hills of Easter Ohio.

An under quilt is great for lower temperatures, but the Blackbird has a double layered bottom, allowing you to put a closed cell foam pad between the layers, giving you insulation. It works fine, but the under quilt is more comfortable.

Here is Warbonnet's site. They make what I consider to be the best hammocks for camping. This is the model I have: https://www.warbonnetoutdoors.com/product/blackbird/

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Old 05-21-20, 03:02 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Youtube vid on hammock as bivy... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j54vMKGhiQ
You found Shug! Lots of good info on his channel!
Good to see you're doing your research 😁.

Seems to me it'd be prudent to start with a tent and then consider trying a budget hammock later if you decide to try it out. With that thought in mind, note you might consider trying to find a tent that can use the same type of rainfly as you'd use for a hammock. Most tents have a rainfly specifically made for the tent, so this might not be a reasonable idea. (I had a simple cabin style tent back in the 80's that had a rectangular shaped rainfly. The tent is long gone, but I still have the rainfly and have used it with a hammock and as a backup when
cowboy camping.)
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Old 05-21-20, 03:02 PM
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By the way, REI is having a sale. I bought the Passage-1 tent from them. It is a one person tent. I chose it over some other options, like one from North Face, because it was a sort of tan color, forrest, instead of a bright color, and because its interior dimensions were slightly bigger than most one man tents. I considered the Passage 2 as well, but figured I would go with the smaller tent. I'm going to set it up in the backyard in a little while.

https://www.rei.com/product/168431/r...with-footprint
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Old 05-21-20, 03:43 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
That's a great price for that tent! Especially considering it comes with the ground cloth...
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Old 05-21-20, 05:05 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
You found Shug! Lots of good info on his channel!
Good to see you're doing your research 😁.

Seems to me it'd be prudent to start with a tent and then consider trying a budget hammock later if you decide to try it out. With that thought in mind, note you might consider trying to find a tent that can use the same type of rainfly as you'd use for a hammock. Most tents have a rainfly specifically made for the tent, so this might not be a reasonable idea. (I had a simple cabin style tent back in the 80's that had a rectangular shaped rainfly. The tent is long gone, but I still have the rainfly and have used it with a hammock and as a backup when
cowboy camping.)
Yeah, I found him nine years ago. lol I bought the Blackbird in 2011. Great stuff. I have Blackbird and a Mamajamba tarp. Great combination. The setup has seen a lot of use.
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Old 05-21-20, 05:27 PM
  #31  
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I just set up the REI Passage-1 in the back yard. The setup is easy and fast, and the tent is roomy for a one person tent. There is a small vestibule in front of the entrance suitable for your shoes and a little gear. Overall, not bad for a one person tent. I think I would like the two person version for the extra room, but it doesn't seem worth the extra weight or size, even though the extra weight and size is minimal. I have room on either side of me, and at each end. It seems as if I could actually bring at least one pannier inside comfortably, though I rarely do that anyway.

The rain fly has an opening you can open, complete with a rod sewn into the fly which is covered in velcro, that allows you to prop it open for ventilation. It also has a pocket on the inside of the tent for your phone and other items. Not bad, especially for the price. $95.99 and free shipping. The two person model, the Passage-2 is on sale for $109.99.

Oddly, the tent comes with 6 stakes, but if you want to use the guy lines, you need four more. No biggie, as I have other stakes, but odd. The guy lines are not necessary, but I like using them.

It comes with the footprint as well.





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Old 05-21-20, 08:50 PM
  #32  
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Yup, that seems like a perfectly reasonable tent. 95 u.s for us canadians adds on 35 or so, + shipping and border stuff, but not too shabby.
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Old 05-22-20, 06:32 AM
  #33  
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To save weight, bulk and money, consider a single-wall tarp/tent hybrid. My favorite is made by Tarptent. I like their simple Pro Trail model. The trade off is dealing with condensation--there's a learning curve for that. Tarp tents have become popular in the long distance hiking world in the last twenty years or so.

Also look on crazyguyonabike.com for gear lists. Mine is here. Mine is on the ultralight end of the spectrum.

Packing lists are highly personal. I would never take off on a trip with someone else's pack. But it's good to get ideas to try out.

One idea that took me years to try for myself was stoveless camping. Now I'm an avid proponent, especially for bike touring in populated areas, where daily restaurant/cafe stops can be part of the fun (and a great way to meet locals).

Most overpack spare clothing. Bike clothing is generally easy to wash and dry. A rule of thumb for lightweight packing is that you should be able to wear everything at once as part of a coordinated layering system.
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Old 05-22-20, 07:14 AM
  #34  
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Pocket shower
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Old 05-22-20, 10:28 AM
  #35  
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I use a two-person tent. The extra room is great for bags.
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Old 05-22-20, 11:11 AM
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And two person tents can be very light and compact. Double wall only. Speaking of compact, volume is as big a deal as weight because volume increases weight. Stuff that squishes down to really small is the way to go. There's a caveat: light and small = more money. It's pretty easy to spend your way to touring success. If that's an option, go for it. REI stores are starting to reopen now. You'd need to go inside to explore options and visitors will be limited.
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Old 05-22-20, 11:30 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
And two person tents can be very light and compact. Double wall only. Speaking of compact, volume is as big a deal as weight because volume increases weight. Stuff that squishes down to really small is the way to go. There's a caveat: light and small = more money. It's pretty easy to spend your way to touring success. If that's an option, go for it. REI stores are starting to reopen now. You'd need to go inside to explore options and visitors will be limited.
c.f. feller, he's from one of the eastern provinces in Canada, most likely a lot more limited in store options than a lot of us.
but yes, getting a tent one person larger than actual people has always been the accepted way to have a more pleasant living space for real life stuff or if in it with rain. Depends on the person people though.
I've personally always liked having the extra space, with another person especially.
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Old 05-24-20, 09:50 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I use a two-person tent. The extra room is great for bags.
There are a couple of problems with using a larger tent than the number of people you have. The more volume in the tent, the colder the tent is going to be. Tents donít offer much insulation but they do trap a little heat from our breath. But if you have more volume (and only one breath), you have to heat up that volume. There is also more surface area to dissipate the heat.

The other problem is bringing bags into the tent. My bags contain food and I never take food into my tent. I donít want any late night visitors looking for something to eat. My bags stay outside either on the bike or hanging from a tree. If available, my bags go into a bear box which are available at a few campgrounds here in Colorado.
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Old 05-24-20, 10:17 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
There are a couple of problems with using a larger tent than the number of people you have. The more volume in the tent, the colder the tent is going to be. Tents donít offer much insulation but they do trap a little heat from our breath. But if you have more volume (and only one breath), you have to heat up that volume. There is also more surface area to dissipate the heat.

The other problem is bringing bags into the tent. My bags contain food and I never take food into my tent. I donít want any late night visitors looking for something to eat. My bags stay outside either on the bike or hanging from a tree. If available, my bags go into a bear box which are available at a few campgrounds here in Colorado.
Most of my camping is in warmer weather, so trapping heat is not desirable. I also donít bring food into the tent. Usually hang it from a tree or in a bear/critter box if available. I once camped in my two person tent with two people, and it was crowded. A one person tent with one person would be similarly crowded.
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Old 05-24-20, 11:10 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Most of my camping is in warmer weather, so trapping heat is not desirable. I also donít bring food into the tent. Usually hang it from a tree or in a bear/critter box if available. I once camped in my two person tent with two people, and it was crowded. A one person tent with one person would be similarly crowded.
this is my experience also, warm weather and keep food out of any tent, size regardless.

but it's always a judgement call, personal call re living space, and most often, mullah, clams and buckaroos call re weight etc and wide range of tent costs.
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Old 05-24-20, 12:25 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
There are a couple of problems with using a larger tent than the number of people you have. The more volume in the tent, the colder the tent is going to be. Tents don’t offer much insulation but they do trap a little heat from our breath. But if you have more volume (and only one breath), you have to heat up that volume. There is also more surface area to dissipate the heat.

The other problem is bringing bags into the tent. My bags contain food and I never take food into my tent. I don’t want any late night visitors looking for something to eat. My bags stay outside either on the bike or hanging from a tree. If available, my bags go into a bear box which are available at a few campgrounds here in Colorado.
Not to start a big fuss or anything, but I've been doing long distance backpacks with my wife in the North Cascades for about 40 years. We have almost always brought our food into the tent with us. We tried hanging it a few times, but every time we did that, some of the food got eaten and more got crapped on, which is not a good thing on a long distance unsupported backpack. Critters know two things: hanging stuff is food and easily accessible and tents contain humans, who are dangerous. We've often gotten up in the morning in an area with other campers and observed their shredded hanging stuff. Of course the even larger problem is that there's seldom anywhere to hang anything more than 4' off the ground. How do you think that works.

Food smells: you eat dinner, you go to bed. You don't think you reek of food? You really scrub all traces of odor from your hands and face and brush your teeth? Even your clothes reek of food after you cook. We put all our food and anything with any sort of food-like odor into smell-proof plastic bags, separate from our bags, which we also bring into the tent. The only thing we leave outside are our cooking utensils and dishes and our hiking poles.

We have had 3 instances of tent chew-throughs by mice in the middle of the night, resulting in a great uproar and dead mice. We patched the holes with a small roll of rip-stop repair tape we always carry. That's irritating, but 3 out of maybe 500 tent-nights isn't too bad. And they didn't get any food!

We've done the same thing when bike touring. Only the bike is left outside, cabled to something convenient. Of course if there are bear boxes, or 20' high metal hanging frames, we use those, even easier than bagging everything. Critters can't climb metal poles. In mandatory bear canister areas, we've either left the canister outside, just sitting on the ground some distance away, or bagged it in the tent. Never attracted a bear either way. Except for that group of bears on the AT who know how to open bear canisters, I think bears know by now not to bother with them. Bears are very, very smart.

We are not unique. Here's a good article on the issue: https://www.outsideonline.com/238614...gs-ineffective
Like the guy says, "few want to talk about it." I'm willing to because I've learned how to do it effectively.
These are the bags we're using now: https://www.amazon.com/LOKSAK-Opsak-.../dp/B00UTK957K

Bike touring, this is really easy because you're not carrying 30 lbs. of food. Don't forget the toothpaste, toiletries, and snacks - everything goes in the bag before you sleep.
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Old 05-24-20, 04:07 PM
  #42  
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As I've said before, my rectangular dome tent is big enough that i can being my bicycle inside it if I want to. the front wheel gets removed and the bike rests on the front low-rider rack, I also like the tent for times when it's raining heavily and I want to sit up and read or simply sit up without touching the tent.

I think tent size like so many other things bicycling related is dependent on the individual's needs/wants.

Cheers
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Old 05-24-20, 07:00 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
As I've said before, my rectangular dome tent is big enough that i can being my bicycle inside it if I want to. the front wheel gets removed and the bike rests on the front low-rider rack, I also like the tent for times when it's raining heavily and I want to sit up and read or simply sit up without touching the tent.

I think tent size like so many other things bicycling related is dependent on the individual's needs/wants.

Cheers
what does this tent weigh?
I've always been able to sit up in my tents. 2,3 person tents, between 5 and 7 lbs.
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Old 05-24-20, 07:48 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
what does this tent weigh?
I've always been able to sit up in my tents. 2,3 person tents, between 5 and 7 lbs.
I'm not sure what my tent weighs. Seeing how it fits my needs and wants I don't worry too much about its weight.

It's like air mattress versus foam sleeping pad. I prefer the foam sleeping pad as there are no chances of it leaking after getting punctured and it insulates me from cold ground. I carry mine lengthwise on the rear rack rather than crossways as lengthwise really cuts down the wind resistance and lessens the chance of it snagging on something.

So much touring stuff is a matter of choice dependent on the bicyclist's needs, wants and budget.

Cheers
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Old 05-24-20, 08:12 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I'm not sure what my tent weighs. Seeing how it fits my needs and wants I don't worry too much about its weight.

It's like air mattress versus foam sleeping pad. I prefer the foam sleeping pad as there are no chances of it leaking after getting punctured and it insulates me from cold ground. I carry mine lengthwise on the rear rack rather than crossways as lengthwise really cuts down the wind resistance and lessens the chance of it snagging on something.

So much touring stuff is a matter of choice dependent on the bicyclist's needs, wants and budget.

Cheers
yup, no right or wrong. My 3 person tent at about 7 lbs is certainly heavy by lots of tents standards today, but it was a great price, great design....its the less expensive series of msr tents, but most importantly, it makes a great living space for my wife and i, and even after 3 weeks in it, having the extra room was just really nice. Other friends camp in a probably 3 or 4 lb 2 person big agnes, one door, tight, but they like it. I'm sure it cost twice as much as ours.
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Old 05-25-20, 06:26 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
...Here's a good article on the issue: https://www.outsideonline.com/238614...gs-ineffective.
Thanks for the link to the article. I'm a fan of Skurka, and have tried to follow in his footsteps, literally (hiked the PCT, CDT, AT, PNT, AZT, CT, among others). He has gained great wisdom for such a young guy, and is good at teaching it.
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Old 05-25-20, 10:34 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Thanks for the link to the article. I'm a fan of Skurka, and have tried to follow in his footsteps, literally (hiked the PCT, CDT, AT, PNT, AZT, CT, among others). He has gained great wisdom for such a young guy, and is good at teaching it.
That article has some valid points. I hang my food so raccoons, mice and squirrels and other assorted critters leave it alone and donít destroy my tent. Never camped in bear country, but would use a bear canister if necessary.
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Old 05-25-20, 02:21 PM
  #48  
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I have been hanging food for several decades. One night the noise of a bear climbing up the tree at 2am woke us up, we threw enough sticks and rocks at it that the bear decided to leave. We of course got almost no sleep the rest of the night but the next morning our food was fine. That was the closest we ever got to an animal problem with our hanging food.

But last summer backpacking, I tried some really cheap dry bags so I could color code my food as shown in the photo. I learned that really cheap dry bags are not dry, rain water got in. Fortunately, the stuff that needed to stay dry was in zip lock baggies.



That said, several of the people on that backpacking trail were using Ursack bear resistant sacks. I plan to bring one of those on my future trips where I need to worry about large animals getting to my food. Where I have convenient hanging trees I would hang it, but where the trees are not convenient for hanging I can tie it off to a lower tree trunk.

***

But, in this thread we are talking about camping in Nova Scotia. All the RV parks I stayed at last summer in the Maritimes had minimal threat of animals. In five weeks, once or twice during the night I woke up from the noise of an animal trying to get in my food bag, chased it away and did not have any problems.
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Old 05-26-20, 09:52 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
I just set up the REI Passage-1 in the back yard.



I picked up this same tent and a heavily discounted Klymit sleeping pad in preparation for this years summer, before the end of the world happened. Last year I gave touring a try and took a Kelty 2 person Gundison, and a lightish Thermarest pad. I was very comfortable but they added to the general overloading of my bike. I didn't get too analytical, but purchasing a solo tent and an a air mattress let me drop significant volume and at least 2 pounds off my "pack weight" for under $200, and they are not completely redundant to my other gear. My touring options right now limit me to state campgrounds so a tent is kind of necessary for privacy, and a simple free standing tent is preferable when setting up when exhausted, in the dark with inclement weather.

I've been hanging food successfully (KOW) for ever, in Black, Brown and a little bit of Grizzly country, but would like to try running a couple of smaller bear cans while bike touring to simplify camp life. I'm not sure how these cans will discourage squirrels and mice though.

I have a lockable bike cover that goes over the bike at night and when untended. I've zip tied the panniers to the bike and have a lot of gear in stuff sacks so valuables, come out every night and go in the tent. The cover is also a good multi use item as a ground cover or quick tarp bothy bag if a storm hits.

Here's a campsite from last year.

Last edited by bark_eater; 05-26-20 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 05-26-20, 10:56 AM
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phughes
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I love the Klymit pad. I have had it two years now and it has been great. I am considering one of their insulated pads now as well.

On another note, I have been considering a Tensa Solo pole for the hammock, for when I only have one tree, but they add about 3 1/2 pounds to the kit, and my hammock, tarp and stakes come in at only 2 1/2 pounds. So yesterday, I decided to try to hang the hammock using the bike in place of a second tree. I have used the bicycle to set the hammock up as a divvy, but never tried to hang it. I was able to hang it successfully. I now need to get better anchors for the tie downs used to anchor the bike. I will get some Orange Screws for softer ground, and Boomstakes for harder ground. I will then be able to use the hammock with only one tree, or pole, post, whatever.




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