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Tent alternative

Old 03-15-23, 09:25 PM
  #1  
Imaginos
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Tent alternative

My tent and pad come in at 4.5 lbs. The tent is tiny and the pad is not that effective.I found a fold up cot that also weighs 4.5 lbs.I知 thinking my down bag inside a bivy sack(that I have and have never used) on a cot might be more comfortable than the tent.I plan on being a fair weather bike camper for the most part so this might be ideal.Any thoughts?

$100
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Old 03-15-23, 11:02 PM
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If you think your tent is tiny, bivy sacks can make one quite claustrophobic. I have never had a good night's sleep on a cot. They sway, not that comfortable and in cooler weather, you'll still need some type of insulation. I would shop for a new sleeping pad
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Old 03-16-23, 12:17 AM
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I would not know about sleeping in Alaska... I mean that's way up in North Texas. I do know that a little gem like that could be worth the weight if sleeping on the rocks in West Texas. I am thinking, small cot, mosquito net and a tarp... So whats the weight now...
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Old 03-16-23, 12:25 AM
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You'll still need to put a pad on the cot, otherwise your back will be cold.
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Old 03-16-23, 01:43 AM
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Thermarest cots may be the lightest but more expensive.
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Old 03-16-23, 05:37 AM
  #6  
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Buy a better pad. There is a reason 99% of people camp in a tent with a sleeping pad.
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Old 03-16-23, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
If you think your tent is tiny, bivy sacks can make one quite claustrophobic.
There are bivies that are like little tents and bivies that are more like sleeping bag covers. I find the latter while smaller to not be so claustrophobic because they can just move with you. The hooped ones that are like tents Not all that different than just being in a mummy bag any way. Basically the more minimal the better in this regard. My Borah Side zip is 7 ounces. I use a bug bivy on hot weather trips. My Ti Goat Ptramigan Bug Bivy weighs 5.3 ounces. I do generally use a tarp with the bivy In good weather I may not pitch it, but keep it close and have pulled it over me and my gear when unexpected showers have hit. I have several different tarps that weigh between 4.9 and 12.3 ounces. I ultimately decided that if there is much chance of any bad weather i like the luxury of the big tarp. Not only is it roomier under it, it is drier and can be pitched higher for head room and still be dry.

I have never had a good night's sleep on a cot. They sway, not that comfortable and in cooler weather, you'll still need some type of insulation. I would shop for a new sleeping pad
Yep. A good sleeping pad is as comfy as sleeping at home in my experience most places. I have only been a few places where I couldn't find a spot where I could get comfortable due to rocks and that was when backpacking in certan parts of the NE US. That particular cot doesn't look like a quality item. I've looked at reviews for cots in the past when I had back issues that have since been sorted out. I came to the conclusion that a pad was a better answer, for me, but that if you want a cot you should splurge on the Thermarest.

BTW, I love my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite (size R) at 12 ounces. There are newer models and they are probably nicer, but I have had no need to shop for a pad in a number of years.
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Old 03-16-23, 06:35 AM
  #8  
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Nemo Tensor Ultralight pad. Light and extremely comfortable. Keep the tent especially if sleeping in warmer temps in bug season.
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Old 03-16-23, 06:39 AM
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I use a cot when car camping and use two pads on it. I don't think I could sleep on it without at least one pad.
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Old 03-16-23, 06:47 AM
  #10  
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Thermarest neoair lite full size is only 16 oz. As long as you are not camping in very cold weather, this is what I use backpacking.

Pad 16 oz
Tent 20 oz
20F Quilt 20 oz

For a bike, I would need to buy carbon polls for a few oz. But right around 3.5 pounds

I would consider a hammock before lugging a bed. But a hammock does not work so well out West.
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Old 03-16-23, 07:11 AM
  #11  
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You did not say what you use for a sleeping pad. Have you tried one of the modern air mattresses. In the past decade, they have gotten quite good and are quite reliable in the ability to hold air.

I used to use the shorty self inflating pads, they were a miracle invention compared to the 3/8 or 1/2 inch closed cell foam I used decades ago. But in the past several years I have only been using the newer air mattresses, have not used one of my self inflating pads for years now.

My preferred air mattress is no longer sold, so I won't mention it, but I can say from experience that REI and Thermarest make some good ones. There are other brands too, but I have not used them so can't cite them from experience.
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Old 03-16-23, 07:48 AM
  #12  
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IMO: Using a bivy sack when the mosquitos are thick is miserable. You have no relief from the mosquitos unless you are completely enclosed in your bivy - head included.

I prefer a hammock with mosquito netting, but there are plenty of issues with hammock camping. You certainly don't save any space or weight with a hammock compared to a lightweight tent and sleep system.
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Old 03-16-23, 08:09 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by mtnbud
IMO: Using a bivy sack when the mosquitos are thick is miserable. You have no relief from the mosquitos unless you are completely enclosed in your bivy - head included.
Hot weather with biting insects and a regular bivy can be pretty bad. A bug bivy isn't so bad. It requires a tarp for any precipitation though.
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Old 03-16-23, 08:47 AM
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this does not add up. this cot is too heavy. 4.4 pounds for a cot + 1 pound for a bivy with appropriate netting , 1 pound for a sleeping pad = 6.4 lbs

compared to your current tent and pad at 4.5 lbs you are adding more weight. Additionally, bivy sacks are guaranteed to hold condensation enough to make trips longer than one nighters very difficult because your sleeping bag will be wet and will lose insulating value. You would need to dry your bag and, being in Alaska, that is not a guarantee to count on sunshine on the day after your trip.

Additionally in mosquito prone environment a bivy is for the hardcore dudes. Even though the mosquitoes may not get inside your bivy (if you get a bivy with netting) you will hear them landing and buzzing right next to your ears all night. Fun stuff.



Originally Posted by Imaginos
My tent and pad come in at 4.5 lbs. The tent is tiny and the pad is not that effective.I found a fold up cot that also weighs 4.5 lbs.I知 thinking my down bag inside a bivy sack(that I have and have never used) on a cot might be more comfortable than the tent.I plan on being a fair weather bike camper for the most part so this might be ideal.Any thoughts?

$100
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Old 03-16-23, 10:13 AM
  #15  
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The solution is to get a better/lighter tent, mat and sleeping bag.

My set up is as follows
Tarptent Protrail 1.5lbs
Thermarest Neoair 0.9lbs
Montbell UL down hugger sleeping bag 1.4lbs

So just under 4lbs and I'm very comfortable.
You can't choose the weather so you need to be prepared for rain and cold and insects. A tent solves all the problems that bivies and tarps have with insects and an 30F sleeping bag/quilt will
be good for the extremes of 3 season camping.

Last edited by nun; 03-16-23 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 03-16-23, 12:23 PM
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Tbh,i did cheap out on my pad.I’ll likely upgrade.Regarding the cot versus tent,you guys have provided a lot of good info and stuff to consider,thank you.Bikeforums is an awesome resource.

POWERLIX Sleeping Pad – Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat, Ultimate for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking – Airpad, Inflating Bag, Carry Bag, Repair Kit –...
Color:Orange & Black
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Old 03-16-23, 10:02 PM
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I do like my cot, sometimes, I still take a pad on top but honestly I would rather have a nice tent and a nice sleeping pad which I have both of or in nice weather my hammocks. Get a Sea To Summit Pad specifically for comfort this one: https://seatosummit.com/products/com...t-sleeping-pad. I have had one for many years now and have had a bad back for many more and I sleep well on this pad. I will say it has improved since I got mine with the Pillow Lock System but I bet I could get that separately now. It is not a lightweight pad for sure but it also isn't really just a single pad it is essentially two pads in one and yeah well worth it.

I need to actually weigh my cot though, looking at the specs online it shows to be heavier than the one you are looking at and I don't believe that to be true not that it is light but they are suggesting a little under 5lbs and it feels much lighter. But it was a co-worker who was getting rid of a bunch of camping stuff so it came out to be really cheap.

Bivouac sacks just are an emergency sort of deal or for really minimalistic pursuits I would not want it while bike touring maybe bike packing races but I don't do those and comfort is key for me anyway. I like my nice Big Agnes now three person tent more space and if I decide to invite someone else in a little less space but plenty of space for 2 and some gear. My old BA tent was a 2 person and very light I decided a little extra weight and a good deal more room was worth it and I also wanted a bike packing version so it would be smaller.
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Old 03-17-23, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Bivouac sacks just are an emergency sort of deal or for really minimalistic pursuits
As a bivy user I'll comment to say that I agree to some extent at least. I have a hard time imagining anyone who would use a cot simultaneously using a bivy.

Also, folks think of those hooped little thing that are kind of mini tents when they say bivy. If not that then thing that weigh a pound or more. There is another class of bivy that weighs less than half a pound and is more like a sleeping bag cover in thet it moves around with you. It is just a light fabric envelope with mesh to let your breath out and some air in. There is also a bug bivy that is mostly mesh, but requires a tarp for any weather protection at all.

As a minimalist, I enjoy sleeping in the open when it is nice and the bugs aren't biting. With my bivy setup I can start out sleeping on top of everything. If it gets cooler, I pull the zipped open sleeping bag over me. Cooler yet, in stages, I climb in, zip up, get in the bivy, and pull the drawstring on the bag so I am breating through a small opening if it gets really cold. I typically have a tarp and if there is a chance of showers I pitch it. If I don't pitch it I keep it handy to pull over me and my gear in the event of a surprise shower. It isn't for everyone, but it can be nice.
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Old 03-17-23, 06:25 AM
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Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated is my favorite pad ever. Very comfortable and very durable. But not for penny pinchers.
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Old 03-17-23, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Imaginos
Tbh,i did cheap out on my pad.I値l likely upgrade.Regarding the cot versus tent,you guys have provided a lot of good info and stuff to consider,thank you.Bikeforums is an awesome resource.

POWERLIX Sleeping Pad Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat, Ultimate for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking Airpad, Inflating Bag, Carry Bag, Repair Kit ...
Color:Orange & Black
If that pad is the pad you find to be ineffective, then I have no suggestions, as that looks like it is thick enough to work very well as an air mattress for camping use. I think I would be very comfortable on that.

Somewhere in storage I have a cot that I have not used for over a decade. I do not think my cot would be any better than a good air mattress. Maybe you will get lucky and find a cot that works for you.
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Old 03-17-23, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
If that pad is the pad you find to be ineffective, then I have no suggestions, as that looks like it is thick enough to work very well as an air mattress for camping use.
I thought the same, but... Maybe the picture is misleading? Also I know that when I tried various pads thickness wasn't always a great indicator for comfort. Trying several of the same thickness I found that some were more comfortable than others. Stiffness of the material or pattern/design of the baffles can make a big difference.

Also there is proper inflation. Perhaps he isn't filling it to the optimum inflation.

To the OP...
Have you experimented with lower inflation? Fill to where you think it should be and let air out until you are almost or just bottoming out. Experiment with slightly more or less air than that. Getting it just right makes a big difference.

Do you have an REI or other store nearby that stocks a good variety of quality pads? Going in and trying them out, including some experimenting with inflation level may give you a good answer. It might even be worth a road trip.

FWIW, there is probably a reason that 99% or probably more of bike tourists and backpackers use a pad rather than a cot. I am not including hammock users, but even many of them use a pad if they don't use an underquilt.
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Old 03-17-23, 09:34 AM
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I would avoid a cot. As a lot of people have said, the problem might just be your pad. Here are my set ups, in case that's helpful.

Hammock: I have a Hennessey Hyperlight Asym Zip with a Dutchware suspension. The weight comes in a about 1.8 lbs. In the summer (lows around 50) I'm good with a 46 degree sleeping bag and no pad. In the shoulder seasons (lows down to 30) I'm good with a 28 degree bag and a 2' x 3' piece of 1/4" foam, as long as I have enough clothes on.

Bivy + Tarp: I have a Borah bivy with a bug net (5.3 oz) and a short Uberlite Pad (6 oz). If there's a chance of rain I'll bring a Zpack pocket tarp (4 oz) or a Kammock UL Kuhli (11 oz).

The bivy does better in cold and windy conditions while the hammock is far better in warmer and buggier conditions. I almost exclusively bikepack / tour with the hammock and backpack with the bivy. I find the flexibility of the hammock makes touring a lot easier, since I can cut into almost any small patch of woods off the road and make a camp. Also, the tarp set up (especially for the pocket tarp) gets tricky without hiking poles, which I don't have on my bikepacking / touring set up. On the other hand, the bivy is great in that I can sleep in open exposed areas (like summits).
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Old 03-17-23, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
If that pad is the pad you find to be ineffective, then I have no suggestions, as that looks like it is thick enough to work very well as an air mattress for camping use. I think I would be very comfortable on that.
Scroll down:

https://power-lix.com
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Old 03-18-23, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Not much real detail there. They don't even list thickness. Also no reviews. So it is hard to tell much about how well it works out. It "looks like" it could be comfortable though.
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Old 03-18-23, 07:34 AM
  #25  
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Usually when I sleep on an air mattress or a self-inflating pad, I have exerted myself that day and am tired enough that I only notice how if feels for the couple minutes it takes me to fall asleep. After that I am more inclined to notice if I am chilled or too warm, the surface I am sleeping on is hardly noticed.

Exception, I have slept on hard wood floors with a half inch thick self inflating pad. That hard wood was really hard. Generally soils felt much softer under a thin pad like that than a wood floor.

Before I bought my first modern air mattress in 2013 or 2014, I used shorty self inflating pads, always used shorty length. I could put clothing under my sleeping bag for my feet and knees, that was good enough. That suggests that I am not that picky for sleeping surface. I would never notice the presence of a pea under my mattress.

I used to do a lot of winter camping, sleeping on snow in Minnesota when I was in my 20s and early 30s. That was before the self inflating pads existed and air mattresses then were either very poor quality or weighed a LOT decades ago. For winter camping where I was sleeping on snow and ice, I used a shorty half inch thick closed cell pad under an inch and a half thick open cell pad. And spare clothing under feet and knees. Under that I had a space blanket. Any high spots in the ice under you would stick up higher into the insulation and your body heat would melt the high spots during the night.
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