Thursday, 21 May 2020

Making a List, Checking it Twice - preparing for "Lockdown Cycle Camping"


A good plan, plus some improvisation, gives one a fair chance at success.
A bad plan (or no plan), and you are just making a rod for your own back.

So here is the first draft of my plan, specifically the equipment list.
(it will be revised as I think of things, but best to get down an outline first, rather than trying to get it perfect in one go).

There are several sections to the list:

  1. the bike
  2. camping gear (tent etc)
  3. eating gear (and food)
  4. water
  5. clothing
  6. entertainment/relaxation
  7. special items

So, addressing those in turn:
Section 1- the bike:
  • extra low hill gears for lugging all that camping gear uphill
  • luggage racks/panniers for lugging all the gear about
  • suitable tyres for loads/ gravel paths
  • lights?
I already own a BTwin Hoprider 300 (somewhat modified), so that'll be the bike ;-)
It currently has a 34t cog up front, with an 11-42 at the rear, so I can handle most hills.
(original fitment was a 28t driving a 28t, so my gearing is a good bit lower now - the original lowest gear was 1:1 ratio, but my lowest ratio is now 0.81:1. 34 driving 42 is rather similar to 26 driving 32, so you don't really need a "trick" wide-range sprocket to get gears that low.)

For luggage racks/panniers, I have a 25kg/55lb rated rack that came with the bike.
I will be using both the Bike Bins panniers we have (featured elsewhere) because of their flat tops and extra lugs for attaching bungie cords etc to them. The pair of flat-top panniers either side of the luggage rack will allow me to strap a holdall with the tent etc across the top of them.

For tyres, I have my Marathon Plus tyres fitted. Heavy, slow, and the most puncture-resistant pneumatic bicycle tyre known to man. Last thing I want is to be fiddling with punctures with a loaded bike far from home ...

For lights, it is May (so long days). I may take a set of battery lights, but as much as for a "campsite" torch as for using on the bike.

Section 2 - the camping gear:
  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • mat/airbed
  • chair?
For a tent, i have two, Both fairly small.
One is a single-skin self-standing "fishing shelter" that zips right up to form a D-shaped tent just long enough to lie down in (I am well over 6 foot tall, so for "normal" folks, there is extra room!). No guy ropes required,
I also have a double-skin square tent that is bigger, and heavier, and although it is self-standing, the sides of the inner sag without being pegged down.
Both have built-in groundsheets, and the small, single layer, tent is obviously a good bit smaller and lighter than the other, bigger, double layer, one.
I am thinking of taking the smaller, lighter, tent (the "fishing shelter").

For a sleeping bag, I have a pretty lightweight (and thin!) sleeping bag that I will use. If it isn't warm enough, I will just wear more clothes at night ;-)
In the past I have never taken a pillow with me for camping, just resting my head on a folded jacket. So I will go with that again.

Many, many, many years ago (think 40-ish) I could fall asleep on a wooden floor.
Nowadays though, I prefer my comforts, so I think I will be taking the airbed.
I camped a few times in the '90s, and found I could get a very good night's sleep with an airbed.
Probably a good idea if I pack a pump adaptor (back in the '90s, I used to just blow them up with my lungs, so if I forget the adaptor, then that is plan B).
I do have a foam camping mat (from the mid-'80s, when i used to camp with a motorcycle), but the airbed is MUCH more comfortable.

The small tent is pretty small inside, and I don't want to be either standing up or laying down all the time, so I might pack a folding chair, too, just so I can relax a bit sometimes.

Golly, the weight of that kit list is rapidly rising!

(It is now quite late in the evening, so I will continue this next time)

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