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  #1  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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camping equipment suggestions for South America?

Hi Hubbers,

Im about to embark on a 6month trip along the panama highway. Chile, argentina, bolivia, peru, ecuador and columbia. maybe further if money lasts. To save money along the route im thinking of camping and cooking my own foods.

Can anyone suggest good one man tents for the varying climate and terrain of these countries?

Is it easy and worth while camping along the way compared to staying in cheap hostels?

Can anyone recommend a good stove burner and other useful equipment?

Is there anything equipment wise i should nor leave home without?

Cheers,
Eddie.
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  #2  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Personally, I find one (1) person tents too small. I'd go with a two (2) person tent. I have a Hilleberg Nallo GT2 (6lbs.). It comes with a large enough vestibule to leave wet riding gear outside the sleeping area and you will still have enough room to heat up a meal in case you get stuck in a 2-3 day "soaker".

I also use the Coleman Multi-Fuel stove, Model No. 550B725 and Coleman Peak1 "squarish" aluminum pot and cover. The stove fits nicely inside the pot for transport.

As for camping in general in Central- and South America, IMO, it is pretty simple to find places to stay and eat relatively inexpensive. I'd use at tent as back-up only. But, that depends on your wallet and flavor.
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  #3  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Chile sells a whole lot of camping gear at a good price, the brand name is called 'Doite'. From them I purchased all of my stuff including stove etc. Check them out here: [url=http://www.doite.cl/]Doite 2.0 - Cat
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  #4  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Lots of free camping in Arg/Chile but we found we didn't camp from Bolivia north until costa rica as the accommodation is very cheap or it was too hot/sticky. Also lots of people around in these countries even when you think you're the only one there
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  #5  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Tent: 2 man for sure: you'll be glad of the space. Design-wise, I'd go for a decent brand self-standing tent (it can get very windy in places, and the ground may not always be solid enough for a tunnel tent)

Inside get a decent sleeping bag, and a mat to sleep on.

Stove: A petrol/white gas stove is good because you never run out of fuel. However, a multifuel stove can give you more options should the need arise: it never did for us, mind. MSR make nice steel cooking pots, too.

However, the cost of a decent tent and sleeping gear would pay for quite a few hostel stays and save you packing space...! You could just stay in accomodation all the time: that only means that you need to make it to a town with places to offer.

Personally I prefer the flexibility so we got a geodesic tent, a multifuel stove.... and stayed in hostels a few times too!

Enjoy the trip!
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  #6  
Old 20 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiep View Post
Im about to embark on a 6month trip along the panama highway. Chile, argentina, bolivia, peru, ecuador and columbia. maybe further if money lasts. To save money along the route im thinking of camping and cooking my own foods.

Can anyone suggest good one man tents for the varying climate and terrain of these countries?
As others have said. Get a two man tent. The cost increase is minor and one man tents really only fit one man and nothing else. I've done a long trip in a one man and after rainy days you will definitely want to not have to snuggle up to your wet gear. Also, as others have said. You want a self-supporting tent. Some tents only stay up when pegged down and you can't do that in loose sand without special pocket things that you fill with sand or rocks to take the place of the pegs, which is yet another thing to carry.

I HIGHLY recommend the REI Quarter Dome T2 Tent at REI.com . Lightweight, and pretty easy to set up even if you're the only person.

However, as others have said a good tent isn't cheap. That one's $269, but at an average of fifteen dollars a night that'll pay for itself in 18 days. You'll also need a GOOD sleeping bag because it gets cold at night in high altitudes (Bolivia). I've gone with a bag rated down to 25 deg. F plus a liner that'll add another 25 deg f ( Sea To Summit Thermolite Reactor Extreme Mummy Bag Liner at REI.com ). I believe this is a good arrangement for two reasons. 1) bags start getting very expensive very quickly as you head below about 30 degrees. 2) by using a liner to get the extra warmth you don't have to have a sleeping bag that'll boil you on warmer nights.

Keep in mind that there is no standard for sleeping bag temperature ratings and the general rule of thumb is that it'll keep you alive at that temp, but probably not comfortable, and there's no telling how much thermal clothing users are expected to wear to survive at the lowest rated temp.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiep View Post
Is it easy and worth while camping along the way compared to staying in cheap hostels?
I think it depends a lot on how dedicated you are to actually using the tent as much as possible. But, I think yes. $15 seems to be a decent average price from what I've read (Please correct me if I'm wrong folks) and as I said above. The tent would pay for itself very quickly at that rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiep View Post
Can anyone recommend a good stove burner and other useful equipment?
You can definitely get cheaper ones but I've read the reviews of pretty much every stove on the market today and the Optimus Nova Multi-Fuel Stove at REI.com comes out far above the rest. I haven't used mine very much, but I like it so far. I would note that the first time you use it it's a little finicky and takes some practice to get the hang of starting it up. The alternatives tend to have issues with stability, or heat control. The Nova is a really well made product.

Related useful equipment: We LOVE the GSI Pinnacle Dualist Cook System at REI.com They have a single person version ( GSI Pinnacle Soloist Cookset at REI.com ) but honestly it's not that much smaller, and if it were just me I'd rather have the spare bowl. The sporks that come with it are lame though. Get yourself a good quality spork (not kidding. Loved mine on the last trip). The Dualist advertises that it "Includes a rugged stuff sack that doubles as a sink or wash basin". It sounds like a gimmick, but it isn't. Really helps when you've got limited water and need to clean. Some of the reaaaaally compact stoves may actually fit in one of the bowls but the Nova does not.

On the last trip I decided I'd forego a sleeping pad. I regretted that decision every night. Now I've got this: Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite Sleeping Pad - Regular at REI.com I like it better than your standard roll ones for a number of reasons: 1) the egg carton shapes means that it actually ends up being thicker than others when you lay it out. 2) it takes up the same amount of space as the roll-up kind. 3) it's a lot easier to keep a square from rolling away than a circle. 4) you can easily fold it into different configurations. When I have to sit on the ground for a while I just fold it into a rectangle three layers thick and sit on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiep View Post
Is there anything equipment wise i should nor leave home without?
One atypical thing I always carry is one of those sandwich sized disposable tupperware containers. Great for carrying your leftovers in.

You can never have too many Dry Sacks. Ok, you can, but we've found a bunch of cheap dry sacks and now most all of our stuff sacks are dry sacks. ALWAYS keep your sleeping bag in a dry sack.

The BeadBrakr ( BestRest Products, LLC - BeadBrakR ) does everything it claims. We've got F650 GSs which have notoriously hard beads to break but I swear it is trivial with the BeadBrakr. Plus it includes tire irons.

More importantly though is good gear for your body and a real first aid kit. We use this one ( Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Weekender First-Aid Kit at REI.com ) but we've added a few things. You can definitely make your own with the same contents cheaper, but as we've found through experience, when you're stressed and hurt you aren't generally thinking straight or patient enough to hunt for what you need. The clearly labeled pockets on this bag really help you find what you need when you're stressed. The book that comes with it is actually a REAL book, not some crappy pamphlet like most first aid kits have. Of course, I doubt many people actually read it before they need it but....


The On The Road video sold here at HU ( http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/store/dream ) has a really good section on building a first aid kit. I thought some of it was a bit excessive until I read ride reports where people go into hospitals with broken bits and are sent out to go buy their own gauze. We keep it packed, refill anything we use, and hope we never need it for anything too serious. There's also a large SAM splint in my panniers and a few finger splints in the kit (they come in packs of 3).
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Old 20 Sep 2010
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Thanks everyone for there input! Thats some great information to take away and digest.

I think i will be commited to camping as it seems to make the whole experience a bit more realistic. Then again im sure i will take up the opportunity for a cheap hostel here and there. Even if i only camp one day in every three it still means ill use the tent 60times!

Do people tend to stay in designated camp sites and road stops or do they just ask people if they can camp on their land?
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Old 20 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiep View Post
I think i will be commited to camping as it seems to make the whole experience a bit more realistic. Then again im sure i will take up the opportunity for a cheap hostel here and there. Even if i only camp one day in every three it still means ill use the tent 60times!

Do people tend to stay in designated camp sites and road stops or do they just ask people if they can camp on their land?
While a cheap hostel here and there may be a good idea I find that after about a week on the road spending a day just lounging about in a good clean hotel room, or anywhere else where you can comfortably relax, do nothing, and not have to worry about others, really helps me to recharge.

I think where you camp is largely dependent upon what country you're in and how densely populated the area is. We're doing the Americas starting in December and our plan is to rough-camp whenever possible. Just find a place we can pull off the road and not be seen. If the area's too populated we'll just ask permission to set up the tent on someone's property or grab a cheap room. In the US I just do campgrounds because i feel US folk are too damn uppity about being on their land unless you can really hide yourself well.

I've found it hard to get a bead on what *most* people do with regards to setting up their tent since *most* people try and avoid camping whenever possible. The prevailing advice seems to be to just try and keep out of sight if you're not in an official campground. Things to consider are that you don't have to dig a hole to bury your poop when you stay at a campground, and they'll usually have running water (showers are good things ). That means a lot of convenience, and not having to carry as much spare water (cooking and cleaning uses it quick). Many have electricity somewhere too.

If you're going to be rough-camping a lot I'd suggest you figure out how to recharge all your electronic devices from your bike (without draining its battery). We've got adapters to recharge our headsets and phones (for the apps not calls) every night from the bikes. Laptops pretty much suck when it comes to power but the iPad has awesome battery life and can be recharged from the bikes. We just use a compact bluetooth keyboard which barely adds any space. We like to use notebooks for the diary stuff because technology seems to break-down when you most need it but pens and paper are reliable and ubiquitous. Camera batteries seem to last forever so we'll carry a spare but plan on recharging them just when we do take a day off in a hotel.
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  #9  
Old 9 Oct 2010
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Hi Hubbers,

Thanks for the advice. Im still unsure on what to go for as my local store has this tent on special offer

Banshee 200 | Tents | Vango

i Know that vango are a good make of tent but concerned as its a tunnel tent? Its main advantages are that its only 2kg in weight! I can get it for £63 british quid a steel for a decent waterproof two man tent. Im not the biggest of people so one man in a two man like this with my gear should be ok i think!

Any ideas????
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Old 9 Oct 2010
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Seems a really good price, I've got something similar and I've made up my mind that my next tent will be semi-geodesic or at least crossed poles, it's not just that they are self supporting but they have more internal space as the walls are more vertical. I'll make do with mine for a year or two yet, it has been tried and tested in foul conditions, but is a bit cramped and sleeping with your ear-ole directly under the fly is testing when the rain is hammering!
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Old 10 Oct 2010
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I use a cheap dome tent (with a proper fly) and it works great! It's 2 man tent so I can store all my belongings inside. It is a little small so I have to sleep diagonally however that means it packs up smaller.

In my opinion you'd be better off spending less on the tent and buying one of those luxurylite beds.

Last edited by PocketHead; 10 Oct 2010 at 01:34.
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