First Overnight Tour – What do i bring for a good nights sleep?
Plenty of occasional campers know that pulling out the tent for a family holiday can be a bit of a pain… so how does one cut the sleeping hassle whilst on a cycling tour?
Camping for 1-2 people can actually be really easy if you have the right equipment. It also doesn’t have to cost a fortune to start out.
If you just want the summary and don’t want to read on, here is my suggestions:
Overnight Stay With Plenty Of Trees – Hammock ($20) + Sleeping Bag (Caribee $55) = TOTAL $70
If you want details, then read on!
A tent is usually the most reliable option when camping in a new location. Tents provide protection from rain, temperature and can be setup nearly anywhere there is a flat patch of ground. They also keep the insects out and provide a little extra room if you need to keep your belongings under shelter. They come in two types – Freestanding and Tunnel. Described HERE
Vango or Denali are good brands when buying in Australia. They usually average around $100 for a basic one suitable for 1-2 month trips, or up to $300 for something that will last you all year if needed.
You also have to consider bringing a mattress, sleeping bag (5C is usually pretty good for Australia) and a pillow which in combination with a tent can be up to around 4kgs.
I really enjoy taking a hammock when i know that the camp site has enough trees or poles to be able to hang for the night. Hammocks can be anywhere from $20 HERE or $80-100 for a Ticket To The Moon Hammock. I’ve used a $20 hammock for overnight stays and it worked really well! downside, absolutely no protection from the elements/rain or insects.
You do still need to take a sleeping bag if you decide to bring a hammock.
With good weather, you can just pitch whats called a “footprint” which is basically just a small tarp that you treat as a tent floor. Some enable you to also pitch a tarp over you with a single centre pole held up by pegging the tarp in such a way that there is equal pressure from all sides.
This is really just sleeping under the stars, so it’s really only recommended in the warmer parts of the year. (November – March). These are very cheap but are usually meant for an underneath layer to a tent. usually $20 – 30. HERE
I definitely recommend inflatable mats for the weight and bulk factor. They pack away easily and don’t take up much room which helps when trying to stuff them into a pannier bag. However, these mats can get punctures. I have had a $40 air mattress for over 2 years now with no airless sleeps. They come in full length and short sizes, depending on how much you care about your legs being off the ground (I don’t care that much).
Vango (cheaper) and Thermarest (More Expensive) are definitely good brands.
Sleeping pads are great because they are light and are not susceptible to deflation. This means that you’ll know you’ll have a good nights sleep the whole way through the night. A sleeping pad can also be used to relax on during the day at a rest stop because generally you’ll have them packed at the top or in easy reach.
12+ ° C
These sleeping bags are great usually because they are compact and cheap. However, don’t expect them to be very warm. Best suited for summer
5+ ° C
This sleeping bag will do you most of the in between months in Australia. I find these not very useful because you are either cold, or hot.
0 ° C
These bags are great for Australian Queensland winter. They are suitably warm and can be used in the cooler months as just a blanket if needed.
-5 ° C
These bags would be mostly used in colder climates where temperatures are set to go below 0 ° C at night.
Some people don’t care much for pillows when camping, but I really like the comfort of neck support, especially if camping a few nights.
These are the best types when watching weight because they weigh next to nothing and provide plenty of support. Some can be found here.
These pillows are great and comfy, but do take up extra space. I have one of these and really enjoy it!.
Camping doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it very easily can add up. Watch what you spend and find out if there is a better option for a cheaper price. There usually is!