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  #1  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Is a tent neccessary?

Hi
My route will be France,Italy,Austria,Hungary,Romania,Bulgaria,Turk ey then the usual route of Iran ,Pakistan,India and onwards.I intend to get to Turkey fairly quickly (as I have toured all over Europe)and once there I know that accomodation is cheap and gets cheaper the further East you go.Is it worth lugging a tent ,bag and mat around with all the weight and space it all takes up ?Or is there something I dont know!Opinions appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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I know weight is important but personally I wouldn't go that distance without the back-up of a tent and bag...You never know when your likely to get caught out. The tent would also come in handy if you found yourself broken down somewhere in the wilderness towards night time. Depending on when you go, there is probably no need to buy an expensive 4 season tent, a good 3 season one should be okay in summer/autumn.
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  #3  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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I'd say you won't need camping equipment if you do not intend to camp.

Accomodation is available anywhere along your route and even in case you get caught up, somebody will most probably invite you for a night or so.

I'd take an inner linen though, some beds will be dirty. Depending on season maybe a sleeping bag, too. And maybe a pillow case.

Lars
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  #4  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
I'd say you won't need camping equipment if you do not intend to camp.

Accomodation is available anywhere along your route and even in case you get caught up, somebody will most probably invite you for a night or so.

I'd take an inner linen though, some beds will be dirty. Depending on season maybe a sleeping bag, too. And maybe a pillow case.

Lars
That's pretty much on the line of what I was about to type when Lars' post popped up!

You could consider:-
Take a bivvy bag in place of a tent, as an emergency overnight stop facility + a light weight sleeping bag that folds up really small - for rough camping you just climb into that bag, wearing all of the clothing that you are carrying in any case.

Post it home when you decide that you don't want it any longer!
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  #5  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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I'd second the bivi bag option, I've used them for years, I started with a cheap green one, and then bought a Goretex which I've had for so long I can't find it on the net now, but it's similar to THIS.



I went for one with the single hoop at the opening, as it's much easier to get into in the rain, you've got a bit of room to get in and out of clothes without mooning at everyone, and I personally hated the "body-bag" feel of those without. It also comes in handy if you really can't face laying on that dubious sheet in that dodgy hotel and for a siesta in either the pouring rain or the boiling sun. I usually leave my sleeping bag inside it and roll the whole lot up together unless it's too damp. The only thing I'd do to improve it (and I've never seen it done) would be to have an inflatable mattress built in, so I had a true modern version of my dad's aussie bed roll.

One thing though, choose your colour wisely. Green is great if you want to stick it behind a hedge in a farmer's field and not be noticed, red is better if you're on a camp site and don't want to come back from the showers to find some clod in a campervan's driven straight over the top without noticing (and that's a thought that does stick in your head a bit as you bed down for the night, so park your bike close).
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Last edited by Alexlebrit; 18 Jan 2008 at 13:24.
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  #6  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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If you decide to go with the Bivy bag option I know a great place to get a British Army one from - British Military Surplus

Or this one -
British Military Surplus


I have bought 4 water containers from them and got them 2 days later.
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  #7  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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bag it!

Take a bag for sure, smaller, lighter and I found sleeping in a tent on my own next to my bike very disconcerting indeed, especially when your'e in somewhere the FCO told you not to go etc. If you hear a noise or similar you cant see, in a bag you just open your eyes, you can get up quickly and defend yourself/bike if necessary. Thank god this has only happened to me once, and once I stood up the would-be bike thieves (just opportunists who had seen the bike from somewhere I think) buggered off....
Bags are cheaper too,have used two old plastic sand bags before - admittedly the rain they kept off was matched by the sweat they kept in....
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  #8  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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I always travel with my SnugPak [Travelpak Xtreme] bag, which can be compressed all the way down to no more than the size of a large['ish] coffee tin. This, together with my self-inflating Thermarest [Prolite 3 Compact] mattress is all I need if I find myself in jam and can't get a motel or B&B room for the night. In addition, acquaintances are often more likely to take you in once they learn that you don't need their bed linen, etc. The combo is good for theirs, or anyone else's floor too! .. AND also if you end-up finding yourself in a campsite wood cabin* or a rented tent* (both are very cheap overnight options).

Lars suggestion of a pillowcase is a good one, as often the rented cabin/tent* options come with a grubby pillow but no outer case. A pillowcase could also double-up for stowage purposes from time-to-time. I like this idea - and I don't why I haven't taken a pillowcase with me in the past[?] - I will from now on though ..
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  #9  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Smile

The bivouac sac is a good backup if you dont find cheap hotels, or simply want to sleep out in a beautiful area.
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  #10  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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I would not want stuff a dirty pillow into my (reasonably) clean pillowcase and put my head really close to dirt of others - I just put my fleece in to a small pillowcase (30x30xm). Great pillow. And at least it's my dirt I'm smelling
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  #11  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Bivi Bags.. The way forward, the truth, and the light!

I've logged nights somewhere in the hundreds in a bivi bag. In many situations; From tactical ones (several years in the NZ Army), hiking, hunting, hitchhiking, Mountaineering. And of course traveling.

In the mounatains if I'm going light it's in the pack long before any tent: other than pack size and weight, it's great in very high winds because of the very low profile. It adds approx half a seasons warmth to your sleeping bag as a extra bonus.

One of the strongest points for a bivi is you don't need a survey team to find a suitable spot. If push comes to shove a bit of flat ground the width of your shoulders and head to hip long. thats all you need. I've slept under logs, hugging boulders, out in the open, anywhere! So if you are using it as a stand by, chances are if you break down it won't be a idyllic camping site. a protental problem with a tent but no sweat with a bivi bag.

And if the weather is looking good leave it un-zipped for some fresh air and a bit of star gazing. If it starts raining simply pull/ zip the flap up. Sorted.

They do have their drawbacks though;
  • If your claustriphobic; look elsewehere!
  • Wet weather; if it's raining days on end it's not a great time in a tent - 100 times worse in a bivi.
  • Condensation. Even with a gore-tex upperit will still build up in humid enviro's. So a down bag must have a moisture-proof outer. like Pertex Endurance, Mountain hardwear use Conduit SL which is amazing. (they also do a sealed bag.. almost no need for a bivi bag!!) but these are all top $$ items. worth the money in my opinion ( I have something like 14 sleeping bags in my shed - advantage of being (was) in the trade!!) A synthetic bag would be a great set up i.e. Snugpak - top bits of kit. Anything with "thermolite" "polarguard" will do famously. Ajungilak is A1
  • not for use in the tropics!
Here's the 2 biggest tips for a bivi bag:
  • Put your sleeping mat INSIDE the bivi. You'll slip off otherwise, waking up quite cold.
  • Take an ex-army ponco(cheap cheap) or a small tent fly to sling up above you. you can tie one side to your bike or a tree, whatever. It will make life positvely brilliant; If it's raining you can set there happy and dry laying in your bag with the flap un-done you can get a brew or breakie on with out even getting out of bed! With a fly you remove the bulk of the negitives of the bivi - no condensation, no claustriphobia, no flap on your face and no worries in the rain! better than a tent me thinks! In fact even if you have a tent, a fly makes a nice "porch" off the front for cooking etc. they weigh next to nothing, and cost less than that.
There two main design variations;

Hooped - They ahve a small flexable pole at head end. Like a small tunnel tent. These are good because they will keep the fabric off your face if you sleep on your back. These are a bit heavier And they usually have an opening at the end so you have to wriggle into it - can be bloody annoying!

Body bag - That's exactly what they look like. the better ones will have a "L" shaped zip that goes acroos the top (above your head) and down one side. In theory slight less weather proof but this is the type I use and it's never been a problem ( i even woke up floating in 3 inches of water with my mates sniggering quitely watching me! (great mates eh!?) I was dry as a bone !!
And if you use this type with a fly you're sorted!!

Also if you have yet to buy a sleeping bag, get one that the zip matches the same side as the bivi bag-- makes it a lot easier getting in/out (any decent manufacturer offer's both left and right zips on a bag)

If you have any questions about bivi's bags or any outdoor related kit i'd be happy to give you the no answer!

Sleep well!
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  #12  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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Stevesawol,
Well that says it all: I'm glad that you like typing as well as collecting sleeping bags!

Sparky,
How can you go without a bivvy bag after the last series of posts and recommendations??!
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  #13  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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dont forget the Humble Hammock....

If your stuck for accomodation........ the Hammock is King!

DD Hammocks | Camping Hammocks Travel Hammock Tarp Basha Tent Replacement Lightweight Brilliant! WITH Mozzy net plus can use a tarp for waterproof 'hammocking'

also if your in a "hotel' of questionable bed cleanliness ( Bedbugs n the like) a Hammock can usually be strung up dead easy and saves your Ass....Literally!

Martyn
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  #14  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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HENNESSY HAMMOCKS: ultra-light line of jungle hammocks, ultra-comfortable camping hammock /chair/ tent combo These are the best people for Hammocks I've travelled for 2 years in SE/Asai with one UNBEATABLE for weight quality and a good nights sleep.

Now here's the BUT... I also bought a Blacks Cygnus 2 person tent after spending time with the misses, a tent cannot be beaten if you plan to stay in places for more then one day at a time, you will need the extra room for your kit and unless your riding a 50cc you really won't notice the difference.

It's also a damn sight safer then a bivy bag in any country where large animals are going to be sniffing around in the dark nights hopeing to chew on a leg, the first Bivy bags were actually Body Bags used in Vietnam by the US troops as they were pretty much water proof.

Remember people YOUR safety is the No.1 Priority not weight saving.

I forgot to add I also own an Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy Bag a bespoke GORE-TEX one that's kept me warm for the last 4 years.
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Old 18 Jan 2008
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Ah But....

Hennesy are Great Lee...... But V Pricey, cheapest on ebay 99.99!

yes they are the "BMW1200GS" of hammocks but I like to think of the DD as being the XT600 of Hammocks!

Mind you saying that.. I cant even afford a DD! i use a ( wait for it) 10 Euro cotton one I got at Lidl, supposed to only hold 100 kilos ( I weigh 140KG) and it hold me and my Staffie who weighs 20Kg and has lasted 2 years so far....

stays OUTSIDE all year in all weather, the Hammock not the Dog, and just gets taken down for Travel

Martyn
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