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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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Old 14 Sep 2009
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Sleeping on a beach in SW France

Just wondering - will I need a self-inflating sleepmat for a sandy beach? I'm thinking the sand will still be warm from the day, but you know what they say about how cold it gets in deserts, so does the same apply for southwest France I wonder? Will be flopping down between Beziers and Perpignan.

The reason I'm asking is, I'm traveling really light with just a carry-on bag, so want to leave as much food space as I can for when I get there. I'm only going for four nights (£2 return) and will stay permanently on the beach - maybe moving along a bit if I get bored or if it gets noisy. Not sure about the legalities of it all, but I'll deal with that - or them with me - when I get there.

Along with some simple cooking stuff, me trollies and some of the usual suspects, all I'm taking is a one-season sleeping bag that will go into my ex-army 'Goretex' bivi bag. The bivi bag will take the rain, but I'll also take a lightweight tarpaulin which will allow me to 'live' in case of poor weather. Some rain is actually forecast, but that's the luck of the draw I suppose so I'll take my chances.

Any response welcome. Thanks.
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Last edited by teflon; 14 Sep 2009 at 17:29.
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Old 14 Sep 2009
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Firstly, this is really south of France, rather than the south west. Usually that refers to the atlantic coast areas. Where you are going is highly urbanised and not at all sure how you will fare on the beach. maybe a bit farther onshore you might find a more secluded area with reeds. These make a really warm 'mattress' also offering the possibility of making yourself less conspicuous.
ATM I am looking for a 'bivvy bag' ( sleeping bag with waterproof cover and hood) myself, without much luck. There are ways to make sand warm by night, but these all require a bit of privacy which I doubt you will find. If I were you I would include a fleece to make a bag liner if you can possibly find the room.
Wednesday the forecast is for over 1 inch of rain and 13c temps.. less wet the rest of the week.
You might find rolling the bag up in a thin sheet of plythene helpful. No need to bring it back.
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Old 15 Sep 2009
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Thanks for the info. I expected it to be 'touristy' but thought there'd be bigger gaps between the busy bits. A quick look at GoogleEarth has now given me a clearer picture and I've now pencilled in what looks like a reasonable place to start, though I don't want to plan it if you know what I mean. If push really did come to shove and it actually became a worry, then I'd just change the whole idea and hire a cheap car and live in that - though the essence of the trip was to keep it really simple.

It's all a bit of a recce really, with the possibility of making it a regular thing. My normal travel costs are less than £20 from my front door to the destination airport and back again. I could possibly do a week long 'beach holiday' in the south of France for less than £10 a day - as long as I stay put. It's an experiment. My ultimate would be to do it for less than £50.

What problems are you having getting a bivi bag? Is there a specific type you wanted?
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Old 15 Sep 2009
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I want one that is waterproof(ish) definitely so underneath and with an erectable hood and flyscreen for insects. Just cant seem to find one. I dislike intensely sharing my sleeping space with insects...
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Old 16 Sep 2009
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I was in a camping shop the other day looking for a gas adaptor and I saw a 'Jack Wolfskin' bivi shelter for about £90. Picked it up out of curiosity. Reasonably light, though I thought it packed a bit long - but then I haven't seen any before and want everything to fold down to the size of a peanut. Not a whole lot more expensive than your basic ex-army and a lot cheaper than some other shelters I've seen. Good luck though. It's all personal isn't it.
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