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Bikepacking/Cycle Touring Tent

Old 06-25-20, 04:56 PM
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zebkedic
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Bikepacking/Cycle Touring Tent

One of the most often asked questions in the group is what tent should I buy. While not the cheapest tent to get into, this tent was specifically designed for bikepacking/cycle touring people like you and I. I've been really impressed so far so if you considering what tent to use, I think it is 100% worth the investment.

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Old 06-25-20, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by zebkedic View Post
One of the most often asked questions in the group is what tent should I buy. While not the cheapest tent to get into, this tent was specifically designed for bikepacking/cycle touring people like you and I. I've been really impressed so far so if you considering what tent to use, I think it is 100% worth the investment.
The Fly Creek is worth considering as well. It’s a bit lighter, packs just a little smaller and is significantly cheaper...about $70. Both are designed for bikepacking. I have an older model...2010...in a single person size. It’s still packs very small for the older version.
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Old 06-26-20, 03:02 AM
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My current bikepacking tent is a Tarptent Double Rainbow which comes in at 1,252 grams (my measured weight). I carry it in a Sea to Summit 20 litre dry bag attached to my Revalate Designs Harness. I also have in the bag, my sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow and liner for the sleeping bag. It has worked out well for me so far.

You can see the setup here (yellow drybag upfront).


Barker Inlet - Day 2-07 by Aushiker, on Flickr
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Old 06-26-20, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
My current bikepacking tent is a Tarptent Double Rainbow which comes in at 1,252 grams (my measured weight). I carry it in a Sea to Summit 20 litre dry bag attached to my Revalate Designs Harness. I also have in the bag, my sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow and liner for the sleeping bag. It has worked out well for me so far.
You can see the setup here (yellow drybag upfront).
Barker Inlet - Day 2-07 by Aushiker, on Flickr
thats impressively bonkers. Pretty darn cool how your whole sleeping system is that little volume.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:42 AM
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There are dozens of top quality ultra light tents out there. And if you do not like what you see, wait a few weeks and a new crop of designs will show up.

I have a couple that were designed for use with trekking poles, but since trekking poles are not convenient to carry on a bike I cut regular tent poles to the correct length for those tents, cut them to fit in a pannier when folded.
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Old 06-26-20, 07:43 AM
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Big Agnes copper spur bike packer. The poles are shorter and when packed up it is made to attach on handle bars even drop bars. Got a place to hang your helmet under cover but not in the living area.
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Old 06-26-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
My current bikepacking tent is a Tarptent Double Rainbow which comes in at 1,252 grams (my measured weight). I carry it in a Sea to Summit 20 litre dry bag attached to my Revalate Designs Harness. I also have in the bag, my sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow and liner for the sleeping bag. It has worked out well for me so far.

You can see the setup here (yellow drybag upfront).
I would never carry my tent with my sleeping bag. I’ve had many mornings where my tent is wet from either dew (doesn’t happen all that often in Colorado) or rain. It’s not always possible to wait for the tent to dry before having to leave in the morning so the tent may get packed wet. Drying a tent at the next campsite is mostly trivial. Drying a sleeping bag would be very difficult.

I use a harness as well. I don’t like the Sweetroll design from Revelate for the reasons above. I can’t figure out how to keep my sleeping bag dry in contact with a wet tent.
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Old 06-26-20, 10:01 AM
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I agree with Cycommute. Here in PA unless you hang around camp for hours in the morning your gonna be packing up a wet/damp tent also with bugs and dirt on it. Keeping my sleeping bag dry is top priority especially in winter. I will often times pack it in it's own dry sack then put it in a waterproof pannier. Overkill I know but beats shivering through a cold night in a damp bag.
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Old 06-26-20, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Thruhiker View Post
I agree with Cycommute. Here in PA unless you hang around camp for hours in the morning your gonna be packing up a wet/damp tent also with bugs and dirt on it.
This PA native agrees. On my last completed cross-PA tour in September of 2017 (Erie to Philly) my tent was damp/wet every morning despite no rain. Serious fog/condensation in the air every night.
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Old 06-26-20, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The Fly Creek is worth considering as well. It’s a bit lighter, packs just a little smaller and is significantly cheaper...about $70. Both are designed for bikepacking. I have an older model...2010...in a single person size. It’s still packs very small for the older version.

​​​​​​​I did consider the Flycreek as well, but having camped in some really rocky locations where staking was quite difficult, I opted for the Copper Spur for freestanding ability.

Last edited by zebkedic; 06-26-20 at 12:14 PM. Reason: change
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Old 06-26-20, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by zebkedic View Post
I did consider the Flycreek as well, but having camped in some really rocky locations where staking was quite difficult, I opted for the Copper Spur for freestanding ability.
I’ve never had an issue with staking out my Flycreek. I stake my tent every time I pitch it and I live in an area that is basically on large rock. This is typical of the campgrounds in my area

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

The rock I used to pound in my stakes is in that picture somewhere. I didn’t even know that campsites came with grass until I toured in South Dakota about 20 years ago.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:30 PM
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I had some issues at Big Bend Ranch down in Texas, but I've been able to usually find some places to stake as well, but that one changed my mind a bit
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Old 06-26-20, 10:05 PM
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I am quite happy with my BA Fly Creek UL2. Sure maybe not the most compact for bike packing but in my Arkel GT-54s it fits in fine with a little extra space on top for stuff in the tent sleeve.

I like that it is lighter than some of the 1 person tents I was looking at, at the time and probably still is in some cases. Plus it seems to be spacious enough for me and certainly would be excellent to have a cuddling companion but maybe not as spacious for 2 people who like each other but aren't in love enough to be more intimate.

I hope those Bikepacking stakes become available at some point for older versions, maybe they are and I didn't notice. I don't really need them but would be nice at some point if I do rackless trips.
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Old 06-26-20, 11:17 PM
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Thanks. Took a bit time and money to slowly replace the old gear with much lighter and packable alternatives.
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Old 06-26-20, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I would never carry my tent with my sleeping bag. I’ve had many mornings where my tent is wet from either dew (doesn’t happen all that often in Colorado) or rain. It’s not always possible to wait for the tent to dry before having to leave in the morning so the tent may get packed wet. Drying a tent at the next campsite is mostly trivial. Drying a sleeping bag would be very difficult.
Of course and if the tent is that wet I can easily move the bag to the saddlebag, but that is not a common outcome so it spends most of its time upfront.
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Old 06-26-20, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I would never carry my tent with my sleeping bag. I’ve had many mornings where my tent is wet from either dew (doesn’t happen all that often in Colorado) or rain. It’s not always possible to wait for the tent to dry before having to leave in the morning so the tent may get packed wet. Drying a tent at the next campsite is mostly trivial. Drying a sleeping bag would be very difficult.
Of course and if the tent is that wet I can easily move the bag to the saddlebag, but that is not a common outcome so it spends most of its time upfront or if the saddlebag is full I carry a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil dry sack for the bag. Either option has worked so far.

Last edited by Aushiker; 06-26-20 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 06-28-20, 11:14 AM
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I have a Fly Creek UL2...not a big fan of it. Got into ultralight and moved over to a double-wall pyramid for more versatility and nearly half the bulk and weight... usually use a fallen branch for a pole. I’m sub 30L for ~3 days self-supported (various modes of transport) and reasonably comfortable with stove, shower, bar, chair, 2.5” mat/pillow, fan, solar, etc..
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Old 06-28-20, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by reppans View Post

I have a Fly Creek UL2...not a big fan of it. Got into ultralight and moved over to a double-wall pyramid for more versatility and nearly half the bulk and weight... usually use a fallen branch for a pole.
What tent are you using that is “half the bulk and weight” of a Fly Creek UL2? There aren’t many tents that can go half the weight of the Fly Creek. That would be a 15 oz tent and I’ve never seen a tent that is less than a pound...at least not one that isn’t a claustrophobe’s nightmare.

Originally Posted by reppans View Post
I’m sub 30L for ~3 days self-supported (various modes of transport) and reasonably comfortable with stove, shower, bar, chair, 2.5” mat/pillow, fan, solar, etc..
Okay, I’m confused. Shower, bar (what kind of “bar”), chair, fan and solar in less than 30 L? Along with the other stuff you need? Where do you put it? This bike

DSCN1255 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

has a 3 liter pocket up front, a 15L bag for my sleeping bag, a Fly Creek UL1 tent (7L), a Oveja Negra Super Wedge (4 L) and a Revelate Design Viscacha (15L). All told, the volume is 44L. I’m also carrying a 14L Osprey hydration pack which has my tools. That’s got the volume up to almost 60L and I have no room for anything other than food, clothing, tools, food, and sleeping stuff. In fact, my food situation was such that I boosted the volume on my last trip with the addition of two 4.5L fork bags and two 3L micro panniers.

2020-01-26 16:51:13 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Total volume now 75 L and I still wouldn’t have any place to put a shower much less a chair, fan or “bar”.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
What tent are you using that is “half the bulk and weight” of a Fly Creek UL2? There aren’t many tents that can go half the weight of the Fly Creek. That would be a 15 oz tent and I’ve never seen a tent that is less than a pound...at least not one that isn’t a claustrophobe’s nightmare.



Okay, I’m confused. Shower, bar (what kind of “bar”), chair, fan and solar in less than 30 L? Along with the other stuff you need? Where do you put it? This bike

DSCN1255 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

has a 3 liter pocket up front, a 15L bag for my sleeping bag, a Fly Creek UL1 tent (7L), a Oveja Negra Super Wedge (4 L) and a Revelate Design Viscacha (15L). All told, the volume is 44L. I’m also carrying a 14L Osprey hydration pack which has my tools. That’s got the volume up to almost 60L and I have no room for anything other than food, clothing, tools, food, and sleeping stuff. In fact, my food situation was such that I boosted the volume on my last trip with the addition of two 4.5L fork bags and two 3L micro panniers.

2020-01-26 16:51:13 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Total volume now 75 L and I still wouldn’t have any place to put a shower much less a chair, fan or “bar”.
I think BA fibs a bit... they spec 2lbs 5oz total for my FC UL2, but somehow my sample weighs 5oz more, then add another 5oz for the OEM footprint and it’s 47oz. My pyramid, inner net tent, polycryo footprint, and stakes weighs 25oz, is more versatile and comfortable (for me), and it all packs into a 2.5L stuff sack. Free-standing poles are the big difference in bulk and weight.

Of course, to pack within 30L, you need minimalist gear, AND you need to heavily multitask. For example, I use Everclear for stove fuel, and with powdered ice tea mix, make Vodka Sweet Tea drinks (my ‘bar’); an Evernew/Sawyer bladder with spare cap w/holes drilled in is my daily ’astronaut’ (<1L of water) ‘shower’.

Pictures are worth a 1000 words: 5lb/10L of core camping gear and the creature comforts of that gear; add 14L for changes of clothing, camp sandals, 4 days food, and 1 gal water for backpacking out of a Deuter Trail 24L ..... or ADVMoto touring. This is the fan w/ timer set-up... optional depending upon weather forecast.

I mostly short bike-tour where a bike has the advantage over motor vehicles.... and that’s in densely populated urban and shoreline areas where parking, campgrounds, and accommodations are very difficult to find, crazy expensive, and/or impossible without reservations made long in advance. For that, I prefer a this 30L folding bike rig which can be wheeled inside like a baby stroller keeping it safe from theft, easily multi-modal, and also that I can hike/carry deep (up 1/2 mile) into the woods for stealth camping.

This will be my 26L gravel bike/bikepacking rig for rail trail/tow path touring (when I get around to it) but I don’t like long-distance rural road touring like most of you.... I’ll rather take an ADVmoto for that. Here’s a specialized Bladepacking rig idea for true airline carry-on (incl room/board/transport) touring urban areas with good bike path infrastructures, ~ 2/3rds the efficiency of a bike (but I need brush-up my skate skills).

I also have a minivan rigged as stealth camper, a 16ft Feathercraft folding sea kayak, and Alpacka packraft that can all be mixed and matched in combination with the above.

Hope that covers it. If you keep it small, light, and stealth enough - a LOT more options open up for those infected with and outdoor wanderlust.

Last edited by reppans; 06-29-20 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 06-29-20, 10:09 AM
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Reppans, good overview and good photos to illustrate things.
I've been riding a tricross now for ten seasons, and just remarked to a friend the other day how much I still enjoy riding it. Have had 28 slicks on it nearly the whole time, but I just like how it handles at any speed, and can take wider tires.
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Old 06-29-20, 10:45 AM
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Good review & video. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 06-29-20, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
This PA native agrees. On my last completed cross-PA tour in September of 2017 (Erie to Philly) my tent was damp/wet every morning despite no rain. Serious fog/condensation in the air every night.
Another PA person that agrees.
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Old 06-29-20, 11:53 AM
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Going to try out my new REI Quarter Dome SL 2 later this week. Taking it on the road without ever taking it out of the sack. I like to live on the edge.

Last edited by indyfabz; 06-29-20 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 06-29-20, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Going to try out my new REI Quarter Dome SL 2 later this week. Taking it on the road without ever taking it would the sack. I like to live on the edge.
Every trip I go on, I put up my tent first before I go. I have several tents so sometimes use a tent I have not had up for half a dozen years. Last year before my backpacking trip, I put up my tent and found that the clear plastic window in the fly over the vestibule came unglued from the fly. I was glad to learn that at home instead of on a backpacking trail.
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Old 06-29-20, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Going to try out my new REI Quarter Dome SL 2 later this week. Taking it on the road without ever taking it would the sack. I like to live on the edge.
you payz you money, youz takes yor chances

I've got a few tents, and have been known to switch out the lighter pegs, plus a spare or two for really staking out the fly if really bad weather, so I never trust that stuff has been put back properly...
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