Category Archives: Camping

Choosing a Lightweight Sleeping Bag

Today’s sleeping bags offer a huge and growing variety of features and designs. Even the least kit savvy person could point out that they come in two varieties; synthetic or down insulated, but, even though this may be one of the most important choices to make, it’s by no means the last. For ultralight touring in particular there are many variables that can add or reduce weight to your bag beyond the filling type and quantity. Here is a breakdown of of what I think are the most salient.
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Wild Camping Essential Tips

Wild camping, sometimes called free camping, stealth camping or guerilla camping, is my favorite way to spend the night when cycle touring. It has led to some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences on my tours and after well over 200 nights of practice this is how I have learned to do it.

Begin Hunting For A Wild Camping Spot

Start looking for a good spot early on. I tend to start the hunt about 2 hours before I know I’ll be forced to camp – any later and I’ll be cooking in the dark. If I find one straightaway, even though it’s a bit early, I will often take it. Don’t pass up a good spot an hour or two before sunset unless you’re confident better ones lie ahead.

Several times I have been over optimistic about the camping opportunities that I imagined were just around the corner to later be found scrabbling around on sharp rocks at sunset, trying to find a flat spot to sleep on, and cursing my cavalier attitude. Continue reading Wild Camping Essential Tips

Light Weight Cycle Touring Tent Alternatives

Tarp for cycle touring
Ultra lightweight tarp for cycle touring

One of the heaviest items when you are cycle-touring is your tent. Good tents will have a double lining and adequate leg room to keep you dry and allow you to stretch out. Of course you can manage with a single skin tent and leg room might not affect everyone but there’s a few alternatives worth mentioning. This is one of them.

This is my tarp. It’s a hugely versatile piece of kit and very light. It weighs 545 grams and comfortably covers an area big enough to sleep three people. Another one can be used on the ground if you wish, but a bivy works well to keep your sleeping bag dry if you’re on damp ground. I use the MSR AC Bivy or a second tarp just to protect the sleeping bag from the damp and any rocks and sticks, etc, from ripping it. Continue reading Light Weight Cycle Touring Tent Alternatives

Trangia Stove Boiling Speed Test and Review [Updated]

If you think that Trangias are slow then you must have been talking to my friends, they’re always telling me how painfully slow they are, and how useless they become at high altitude. The thing is, despite this common criticism, my experience has always been very positive.

Trangia 27-1 UL
Trangia 27-1 UL

I think Trangias are very fast. I can’t prepare the food for it faster than it can boil a pot of water. I’m the weakest link, I’m the bottleneck in the process, the Trangia runs rings around me so here I want to test how fast this cooking stove really is and give my Trangia 27-1 UL review. Continue reading Trangia Stove Boiling Speed Test and Review [Updated]

Micro Adventure

cycling on a snow day
the least appropriate type of bike

Anyone that spent early February in England will know that the country was blanketed under heavy snow for a few days. Knowing this was on the way, and putting my trust in the weather reports, I rallied the troops and decided it was time for a micro adventure.

The plan; to ride from my house to Bradgate park just north of Leicester and camp out with a few friends in the snow. I was eager to test out the MSR AC Bivy and a new sleeping bag from Alpkit so this forecast cold snap was irresistible. Continue reading Micro Adventure