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tents: slightly off topic, but still cycling-related!(48 posts)

tents: slightly off topic, but still cycling-related!JS Haiku Shop
Oct 9, 2002 5:24 AM
ok, so i'm considering camping next year during out of town trips instead of staying in hotels. i haven't camped since i was in the single digit ages (though i still act that way often), and have no idea about camping gear.

the tents i'm considering are all less than the price of two nights of $70 hotel rooms--so, let's make the ceiling $140, including shipping and any directly associated accessories--extra stakes, weather/rain accessories for the tent, beer, you know...

here's one for only $80, not including shipping. keeping in mind that i'm doing this only casually, only a handful of times per year, and carrying the tent from the car to the campsite (probably less than a few yards), what's the real difference between this one and one twice its cost?

here are more.

remember, the goal is to offset hotel costs by camping. really, the goal is to be more "earthy" about the trips, and add a little challenge and interest (i'm not an outdoorsman by design).

your advice and experiences are most appreciated!

TIA, and tar-tar!


p.s.: what other stuff will i need? i'm talking essentials here...perhaps a camp lantern, some beer, you know...essentials...
Check thisEager Beagle
Oct 9, 2002 5:27 AM
Comfort and style..

No need for a lantern - takes up beer space.

Don't forget to pack some de-hydrated beer for emergencies.
I've heard these are a nightmare to setup/breakdown in rain (nm)Kristin
Oct 9, 2002 5:31 AM
Can't see whyEager Beagle
Oct 9, 2002 5:39 AM
I've not used this exact model, but similar ones - you just string them up, and get in - with practice <30 seconds.

Tough break if you have no anchor points, but you can use walking poles as supports.
You can use walking poles a supports?Kristin
Oct 9, 2002 6:01 AM
I can't imagine they'd be strong enough and wouldn't fall over? How would you make that work?? Do you trek much? I've only day hiked so far, as I am still buying gear...and because there aren't many places worth treking in the US. I'd love to try it in England some day though.
Certainly can.Eager Beagle
Oct 9, 2002 6:18 AM
There is a bit on the linked site about it. The way I have done it is peg your rope to the ground or similar, then thread through the handle of the poles (it's best with two each end - or a stick and a pole, or a pole tied to a stump/wall - whatever) and make a bi-pod each end in lieu of a tree. You can also put it on the ground, and just use poles to support the roof bit a couple of feet in the air in the same way.

Yeah - done loads of it esp in the Army - I first used these hammocks in the Jungle where they are great, as you are off the ground and away from most of the "nasties". I find them really comfy too.

Oh yeah - if you have telescopic poles, remember to crank then up real tight before you get in, or you just look stupid fast...

In the UK I'd stick to a tent/bivvy bag - it's generally windy, very wet, and there are surprisingly few trees in many of the places it's nice to walk. IMHO hammocks are really best in hot places.

A nice combo though is a small string hammock, and bivvy bag - nice and comfortable, and warmer too. I have a nylon mesh one that folds to about 1/2 a coke can and weights about nothing. You can also use them for hanging sleeps if you are rock climbing.
come to California...PeterRider
Oct 9, 2002 3:32 PM
if the John Muir trail is not worth trekking, and much nicer than England... then you're really difficult.

I've seen pictures of Muir.Kristin
Oct 10, 2002 7:31 AM
I long to hike the redwoods. I was just in California and hoped to spend some time in Crescent City, but I had no control over my schedule or the plans. One day soon I'll return--God willing--and see the Northern California redwoods. Oregon, along the Columbia Valley and the coast, is worthy of exploring as well. Too bad is so cold up there or I'd move in a heartbeat.

The US does have some of the most beautiful, natural scenery available. I guess what I meant when I said there isn't good trekking in the US is that you can't trek for an entire day thru the country side, never see a block of asphault, end up at a small village, take a room and a hot bath, then repeat the next day. You can do this in England for several weeks. The US has too many shopping districts and super highways to cross. We tuck our forests away, miles from civilization. Once we arrive at a grand forest, we are cut off from society, so we must isolate.
perhaps TOO earthy :)JS Haiku Shop
Oct 9, 2002 5:47 AM
but, i like your thoughts about beer.

dehydrated beer: just add beer.


re: tents: slightly off topic, but still cycling-related!Nigey
Oct 9, 2002 5:40 AM
I'm not sure you want to use a tent for touring? Will you be putting in on the back of your bike? If so, pay really, really careful attention to the pack size..... I've had great luck and would recommend -they seem to have pretty good prices and good service. Other things I'd look for:

tent ventilation -cheaper tents won't have windows and you'll wake up with condensation all around you.....

DO BUY seam sealer -and apply it once you get the tent -if you don't, believe me you'll regret it in a rainstorm (and it will happen!)

Consider at least buying a groundsheet as well -though I'm unconvinced as to their worth, for the cost they are worth having -plus of course my camping touring tent has never had a wet floor.

Other obvious tip: when you buy the tent, practice putting it up and down (which you should have to do anyway if you use seam sealer, right?). You don't want to find out how to put it up or find out some parts are missing when you're at the end of a long day!

Finally, big on my list of recommendations is a mattress to sleep on -the thermarest self inflating ones are excellent, if a little bulky (you can get a smaller 3/4 version which is all you need when you go touring anyway). 3 season tents are perfectly adequate unless you're doing winter camping. Don't forget sleeping bags -like tents -can be very bulky, so choose wisely if you're going to tour.

good luck!
thanks! good stuff. and no, not touring. just camping...JS Haiku Shop
Oct 9, 2002 5:48 AM
before and perhaps after rides. the tent would live in my car whilst i'm on the bike.

Groundsheets are goodKristin
Oct 9, 2002 6:11 AM
I have been thankful to own one on a number of occasions. Last years Hilly Hundred for one. They basically mowed down an old field for rider camping. But they left lots of small stumps/weed branches sticking up everywhere. My ground cloth suffered about 7 holes, my tent...only one. Also, using the groundsheet/footprint will help you keep the bottom of your tent clean and will extend its life.

One tip about groundsheet size...choose one that is at least one inch shorter on each side than your tent base. If it rains, the water will run under the ground cloth instead of pooling up between the cloth and tent.

My final tip, worth a cool million: Always, ALWAYS put up your rain fly. Doesn't matter what the forecaster says.
Thermarest - go full length if car campingklay
Oct 9, 2002 9:58 AM
Finally, big on my list of recommendations is a mattress to sleep on -the thermarest self inflating ones are excellent, if a little bulky (you can get a smaller 3/4 version which is all you need when you go touring anyway).

The Thermarest are excellent. They beat the ol' air matresses you may have used as a kid.

One thing about the shorter ones. My wife has complained about the 3/4 length Thermarest. We have done some cool weather camping (night time temps down to 30F and camping on 6' of snow). She has complained of cold feet because the pad ends at her knees. Even last week, in the North Cascades, when it dropped to 40F, she was cold. Since you are car camping, you really don't need to worry about the bulk.

As for the origianl post. I'd also lug along the following:

- camp stove and fuel (I like the MSR stoves)
- candle lantern (they can burn for 9 hours and aren't overly bright)
- matches
- roll of TP and papertowels
- some pots and pans
- One of those headband flashlights for trips to the loo or cooking in the dark
- couple of lawn chairs
- bottle of port
- handfull of plastic bags for trash
- a towel
- a tarp and some rope if it looks ike rain
you know, my list might not apply to you. You may want to check at someplace like They may have a list of the "essentials". Work from there

Anyway, camp once or twice. You'll probably end up leaving things home as you get more experience.

bottle of port?ColnagoFE
Oct 9, 2002 10:15 AM
i'm more of a tequila or schnapps fan myself.
Depnds on the ambient temperature...klay
Oct 9, 2002 2:09 PM
Below 40 = schnapps
41 to 60 = port
61 to who the hell cares = tequila

To avoid extra weight and clanging bottles in your first aid kit, check the weather report before you leave.

re: tents: slightly off topic, but still cycling-related!jrogers
Oct 9, 2002 5:49 AM
Seems like a decent deal as long as you aren't going anywhere really frigid. As for it being difficult to set up, I am not sure why that would be- I have set up very similar looking tents in short times (in fact, we still used old A-frame tents on my August trip to Alaska). Just do the best you can to make sure that the tent has a decently waterproof base and rainfly or come with some cheapo tarps.
Find one that's easy to setup/breakdown!!! Go to REI and try some out before you purchase.Kristin
Oct 9, 2002 5:59 AM
The number one thing I would look for in a tent one thats simple to collapse--nothing that has poles to remove and must be folded, rolled and stuffed.

I've been camping and hiking/riding for a few years now and when I purchase my next tent, my primary objective will be to find one that can be broken down & setup quickly. This will extend your play time--especially on that last morning when you want to ride/hike/climb/whatever and then must return to break camp. And ESPECIALLY when its raining. Plus, if its easy to collapse, then you can take home to clean more sweeping out/washing down at camp.

Other things I've found useful:

Camp Stove. Learn from my mistakes. I decided to do the open flame/fire pit cooking. You can't imagine how amazingly tiresome and messy this is--plus it takes a while to get your food done. Buy a decent two burner camp stove.

Collapsable Water Jug. You'll thank me later.

Two pairs of camp shoes--incase it rains

Thermarest. This will save your butt/back for ride time.

Cotton Balls. To stuff in ears when the whip-er-wills begin to add their $.02--ALL NIGHT LONG. Or for when that phrat party starts up.

One Rubbermade plastic storage container. Keep all your camping crap in one place. Include in container: Pots/pans, a camp dish, knife, spoon, set of utensils, cup, extra ground cloth, tinder, small ax, flashlight/candles, waterproof matches, poncho, small first aid kit, small cutting board, rope, 3-4 innertubes, small phonebook with criticle numbers, water jug. Keep all this stuff in the box all the time and just store it. Before you leave, just throw in your non-perishable food.

Also, think about posting the same question on's discussion board. These guys are thru-hikers mostly, but they'll have good tips.
you get what you pay forColnagoFE
Oct 9, 2002 6:06 AM
The Colemans and other types of tents you get at places like Target or Walmart are just fine for occasional car camping, but not always the best if the weather gets extreme. I bought my last 2 tents from LLBean and they have served me well. Have been caught in some nasty thunderstorms with heavy winds that would have brought down a lesser tent or at least caused it to leak like a sieve. What you get is pre-sealed seams, better materials that last longer, and better designs in some cases. If you're going to go backpacking then you have to consider weight and lighter usually = more expensive. Also if you are going to camp year round you'll need a 4 season tent which is designed much more ruggedly and will cost big $. Stuff like North face. Will this just be camping by yourself? For the last Ride the Rockies I bought one of those "solo" tents from EMS on sale for about $70. Kept the rain off me and stored a bit of gear inside, but not much room for anything other than sleeping in it. Really light too so it would be a good choice for backpacking or loaded touring.
Sleep.Len J
Oct 9, 2002 6:07 AM
Two most important things about camping:

1.) Tent must not only be easy to set-up/tear-down, it must, (Must) be waterproof. Nothing is worse than having everything you own soaking wet.

2.) Get the best sleeping bag pad you can afford. Trying to do an endurance ride with little of bad sleep is not fun. Sleeping on the ground can be comfortable or not.

Cheap can equal leaks.Turtleherder
Oct 9, 2002 6:07 AM
I have found that generally the cheap tents will work for short overnight trips unless you get into real bad weather. The cheaper tents do not have a high quality weather proof fabric or seam sealing and will leak in extended rains or heavy downpours. They also tend to be heavier. Another place to check for good prices is I have bought extensively from them and have always been pleased.
Question...I just went thru thisKristin
Oct 9, 2002 6:21 AM
I have used my cheezy $140 Coleman for years. It had its first real weather test on Labor Day. Despite a gorgeous forecast, it poured hard for 6 hours. And the tent leaked like a sieve. I ended up sleeping in a 4x4 dry spot hugging all my gear.

I assumed that the tent just needed to be re-sealed. I began the process of treating it, but based on your post, I'm wondering if I should just invest in a new tent? My seams are NOT re-inforced in the Coleman and it is a bear to break down. Do you think the seam sealer (Kenyon) would be sufficient in another torid rain storm? Or is it a waste of time/money?
new tent needed..dotkaye
Oct 9, 2002 8:48 AM
no amount of seam sealer will keep the Coleman dry in a good rain. Cheapo tents aren't worth spending money on.. I have four tents, one of which has given me much misery on wet nights (North Face Big Frog). Two of the others have been through African monsoons and Alaska rain without trouble.

LL Bean's dome tents are a good deal, also REI often has closeouts on their tents. Should be able to get something for under $200 that will actually be waterproof.

Things to look for:
1. seams should be taped
2. flysheet should cover the tent fully, not leave big gaps around the edges, or expose the door
3. zippers on the flysheet should not be directly above the inner tent - in a good rain, all zippers leak

The original geodesic dome is about the best allround tent design, IMO. Modified domes on the pattern of the N. Face Big Frog etc tend to have flysheet zippers that allow leaks to develop and drip on the unsuspecting camper's head. Good for desert camping but unreliable for anywhere there's precipitation.

For car camping the Sierra Designs Stretch Dome is a good tent. My next backpacking tent, to replace the N. Face horror, will be one of these:,Camping,Hiking/Tents/PRD_81060_2955crx.aspx
Got to add to this:Nigey
Oct 9, 2002 9:22 AM
I bought a tent for $60 back in 1991. It looks like one of those medieval tents used in jousting -you know the four sided sloping slightly to a roof section.

But believe it or not, it's been the best tent -it's survived many camping excursions, and the biggest surprize has been it's solid record of being waterproof. It really has amazed me -the worst downpour was at the Finger Lakes, NY, when on a trip with some other people. Everyone's tent except ours leaked.

I wish I knew its secret... Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can get a bargain!
re: tents: slightly off topic, but still cycling-related!MJ
Oct 9, 2002 6:14 AM
REI has a number of own brand tents which will do the trick - like many things cycling - a minimum spend is required to enjoy the pursuit - $140 just gets you in the game - Sierra Designs Clip/Flashlight is a great value tent

the minimalist approach says use a tarp or plan a trip when you're sure of wet free weather - camping in the rain sucks regardless of how flash your gear is

I have a North Face Road Runner (2) purchased for $220 - it's seen me and my better half through some particularly difficult conditions and is a great three season tent

I second the ground sheet, 3/4 thermarest, sealant and sleeping bag suggestions - if you're car camping go with a lantern and a big flashlight - if you're backpacking think headlanterns - think sandwiches and coolers rather than cooking in camp when car camping (except for portable BBQ which is designed for car camping...)

try your luck over at the Outdoor Review board - they have great tent reviews and a helpful cast of characters
Book those motel rooms. The tent sounds like a headache. (nm)onespeed
Oct 9, 2002 6:19 AM
ThermaRest is to tenting as shorts with chamois is to cyling.dzrider
Oct 9, 2002 6:20 AM
Nothing costs so little and adds so much to the comfort of the experience. Get one or something similar. Our family, with 2 boys 15 months apart, got 14 years out of a Eureka tent. I think the Sunrise 8 for $109.00 looks like a good value for your stated purpose.

The price of tents goes up with storm-proofing, lightness, vestibules, and durability. Since you don't plan to carry it on your back or bike to remote areas where there aren't nearby motels many of the features that make tents pricier won't matter very much. With a car nearby if the weather is bad enough you can sleep in the car or drive to a motel in an emergency.
Check REI.Becky
Oct 9, 2002 6:21 AM
REI makes some great tents (the Clipper and the Half Dome 2 come to mind) for not alot of coin- less than $170. If you join the REI Co-op for a one-time fee of $15, you can get 8-10% back (depending on how you pay) in the form of an annual dividend check.
I prefer aluminum poles to fiberglass. Fiberglass is prone to crack in cold conditions while aluminum has always seemed a little more forgiving to me. A decent rainfly (one that covers the whole tent) is worth its weight in gold in a shower or storm, as is a groundcloth under the tent.
As for other essentials, spring for a Thermarest pad, not some no-name POS. The base models start around $55 or $60, but I sleep better on my no-frills Thermarest than I do on my mattress at home. Try a few out to see what fits best.
A 3-season sleeping bag is nice, depending on the time of year that you're camping. A headlamp (about $35) is convenient for pitching a tent in the dark rather than holding your flashlight in your teeth.
Since you're not worried about weight or the like, everything else can be junk you have around the house. The last time my husband and I car-camped (before/after FarmAid 2002), we packed a cast iron skillet for pancakes :)

Good luck and happy hunting!

something else to think about.....Becky
Oct 9, 2002 7:11 AM
....when buying a tent. Do you want pole sleeves or pole clips? It's really a matter of personal preference, but it can make a big difference. I've discovered that I greatly prefer clips, so I made sure that the tents I considered had clips, not sleeves. Again, just something to consider....
I also vote "clips"...<nm>klay
Oct 9, 2002 10:00 AM
Go to REIlsg
Oct 9, 2002 6:29 AM
they have a good line of house brand equipment that will fit your needs. I got a tent from there 2 years ago and use it primarily as you plan on, saves a lot of money over hotel. The $80 tent you showed looked like it needed stakes to support the rainfly. I think you would want a rainfly that attaches to the tent frame because you will probably camp at sites with tent pads and it can be very hard to get stakes in the ground. You will also need a ground cloth, an air matress with some sort of pump, a light weight sleeping bag, and a small lantern.
What kind of vehicle do you have?MB1
Oct 9, 2002 6:41 AM
I have a really nice tent that fits into the back of a small American pick-up truck (Chevy S10 longbed or similar size). I no longer have the truck....wife hates camping....

True story, Miss M rode her bike across America. The trip included 5 or so days of camping out when there were no other options. On her return she burned her sleeping bag and swore "Never again." Guess my camping days are over.
What kind of vehicle do you have?JS Haiku Shop
Oct 9, 2002 7:39 AM
honda civic 2 door...

does it work without the truck?


Kelty V2 or VortexAttacoa
Oct 9, 2002 6:52 AM
~ $125, 2 vestibules, 2 doors, plenty of venting, around 7 pounds. Lifetime warranty.
re: tentstarwheel
Oct 9, 2002 7:15 AM
I do a lot of camping -- mostly car camping now, but I used to backpack a lot. If you're not going to be carrying the tent on your bike, get a tent that will be large enough to move around in comfortably. Dome tents are really nice in this respect and are easy to put up. We have an LL Bean 6-person dome tent and it was very reasonably priced. Even though there are just 3 of us, I am glad we got the 6 and not 4-person tent for the extra space. It rolls up into a fairly smally stuff sack, perhaps 2" long by 10" wide.

As others said, REI is also a nice place to shop for tents. I also have a Kelty 2-main tent that I got on sale at REI for about $100. It is very simple to put up and fine for single camping, but it would be a tight fit for two. Make sure you get something large enough for a second person (if at all expected) and all of your gear (including beer). The size of a rolled-up 2-man tent is not that much smaller than a 4-man, and it's not that much cheaper either, so you might want a bigger one just for the extra space when put up.
ooo ooo I used to camp all the time!ishmael
Oct 9, 2002 8:06 AM
I recommend a cot if you want to sleep as well as possible. Cheap and foldable and easy to carry from the car. Also those green, double burner, foldable stoves are really nice, cost about 70bucks and make it a lot more fun. Bring canned tuna, pita bread, cream of wheat packets and canned fruit( these are super easy to make and impossible to screw up) good for back up. Beer is good, chess is good if you plan to stay awhile and goes well with the beer.
I've had very good luck with a Hillary purchased at Sears....maximum15
Oct 9, 2002 8:24 AM
in 1986. Still going strong and it has been through some real downpours with no leaks. My wife loaned it to a friend in 1988 who took a 3 month, camp the US trip. So this tent has been in almost every state with no problems. It looks very similar to the Coleman 9x7. I find it tall enough to dress in while standing (important), doesn't leak (very important), and extremely easy to put up -- even in the dark.
The Sierra Designs Meteor Light CD is the best BACKPACKING tentKen of Fresno
Oct 9, 2002 8:28 AM
you can buy for the money. It can be had for about about $180 and has won numerous awards beating other tents costing a lot more. I have one and like it much more than my more expensive North Face 3 season backpaking tent. Backpacker Magazine calls it "quite possibly the ideal tent for three season backpacking" and gave it their Golden Choice Award for 2001.

If you are going to be driving and just need something you can throw in the trunk maybe one of the tents you mentioned would be ok. But you plan to take in with you on the bike you need to be concerned about weight and size. It's actually nice to have both kinds of tents. I have a couple small tents for backpacking, but am still looking for a bigger cheap one just to thrown in the trunk. If you need a "backpacking" tent I have couple new ones left that are for sale. Click here. if you're interested.

Best of luck,
Lots of great advice...Brooks
Oct 9, 2002 9:30 AM
I've been camping since before I could walk (I'm 45 now). I don't do much backpacking anymore, mostly it's car camping with the wife and the Taurus. Kristin had great advice with the Rubbermaid box and things to throw in. Get a good cooler too. Good advice on tents too, so I won't go there. However, for camping on out of town trips, if you fly you can't bring gas stoves and lanterns on airplanes. And it doesn't matter how much you clean out the fuel, the airlines will confiscate them. Stoves that take the butane cartridges are ok as long as you buy the cartridges at your destination.

Have fun, it's a great way to enjoy the outdoors!
Just bought this one from Campmorjs5280
Oct 9, 2002 10:04 AM

It's cheap but has some nice features like a gear loft, is a good size, and well ventillated. It replaces another CostCo cheapy (used moderately over 10 years) because the door zipper broke. Since I camp mostly in the desert, ventillation is very desirable. When it rains in CO or UT, it usually won't even dampen a piece of toilet paper. If it does rain hard, well, I'll probably be in the car quickly. I like domes because they are spacious and easier to set up. If you plan to share a tent with one other , make sure you get a 3 person tent so you'll have a place to store gear inside. Plus when the wee-wee fairy hits (and it will because of beer) you won't have to crawl over each other. I don't like vestibles for storing gear, too exposed.

Second the Thermarest, worth every penny. Bring ear plugs and maybe a travel mask to keep out the early morning light. I slept out 3 straight weeks this spring and these insured I slept well more than any other. You'll want a good sleeping bag too. I have a 0 degree bag and a liner. I generally sleep on the liner (on top the Thermarest) and use the bag as a comforter. This worked well for 30 degrees this past weekend in Taos and 80 degrees this spring in Moab/Gooseberry/Sedona. You can get multi-temp bags now too, just flip it over and it can be a cold weather or warm weather bag, very cool. Camping is fun, it adds to the experience. I love showers but usually you can find a commericial campsite or go to a truck stop (surpriseingly nice facilities and very clean) and pay a few bucks to get one when you really need it.

Check out (sister site) for reviews, info, etc. Here's a link to the partner stores which will make Gregg happy (included REI, Sierra TP, etc.) . . .
Ditto the ear plugs!Turtleherder
Oct 9, 2002 10:42 AM
The ear plugs are essential if camping next to other people. I was really happy I had them this spring in Peru when the three girls in the tent next door all started snoring in harmony!. It was actually very entertaining, but I appreciated the ear plugs when it was time to get some shut eye.
Earplug reviewKristin
Oct 9, 2002 1:47 PM
I'm the lightest sleeper you ever did meet. I've tried just about every kind of earplug out there. Here's what I've learned:

1. Avoid wax ear plugs. They form a seal around your outter ear and work marvelously for keeping noise out; but they can damage your ear. I used them to combat a college roommate with sleep apnia (sp?), but I almost went deaf after 5 weeks. (Of course, this would have resolved my sleeping issue.) The doctor said that forming a vacuum on both sides of ones eardrum is bad. Well duh?

2. Foam plugs. The foam plugs that the airlines give out are useless. They didn't do a damn thing for me. The heavier 30 decible contstruction ones work okay, but not ideally.

3. Hard plugs. Hard foam plugs work well for keeping out noise, but they irritate your ear after a couple hours. Imagine using them for several days? Absolutely not ideal if you sleep on your side.

4. Cotton. This is my top pick. Make sure its 100% cotton. It insulates from noise better than the foam type and I can use cotton for serveral nights with only slight irritation. I basically tear a cottonball in half and wet the end just a little with water. Its cheap, and you don't have to worry about saving them/finding them in the morning.
a tiny bit of additional adviceMelMo
Oct 9, 2002 10:56 AM
Get a free-standing tent if possible--stakes and lines are a pain and will likely cause you to trip and break your neck after a few of those essential beers.

I like clips. We have an REI Half-Dome 2, and it sets up in about 2 minutes, no matter how groggy you are. It's not exactly spacious, though, so if you plan to hang out in your tent and weight is not a consideration, go for something taller (the Taj 3 looks nice at REI, and I think it's on sale now).

For shopping, nothing beats, though sometimes you can find good deals at Sierra Trading Post. Campor has cosmetic defect Thermarests at a great discount. For info, you might try in addition to outdoorreview.

Always take a gallon or two of water if you can. We went camping in a well-equipped state park (full services, right?) and had to boil water all weekend because of some mystery contamination. If you're driving anyway, it's worth the piece of mind to toss in a couple of jugs of water.

I'll second the ear plugs, especially if you're camping the night before a big ride and really need the sleep.

40+ years camping experienceSteve98501
Oct 9, 2002 12:10 PM

At first I thought you were going to bike tour, in which case I would recommend the 19 ounce 8*10 tarp from Campmor instead of a heavier and bulkier tent. It's the lightest rain protection I've found (exellent ventilation), and sleeping under the stars is best on clear summer nights anyway. I have an 8 1/2 * 10 car camping tent by Eureka that is over 20 years old and going strong, but I often now use either my Sierra Designs Clip 2 or 3 when out alone. Thermarests are golden, and for car camping get the 25"*75"*2" Camp Rest model. It's more comfortable than most motel beds and provides good rest from long days of riding. I used mine on two cross state tours. A lantern is OK for car camping, but not essential since it stays light late in the summer. Guess it depends on your latitude. But have a real good ice chest cooler so you don't have warm beer after long rides on a hot day. Beer, chips, and salsa elimates the need for cooking. I used to take a 2-burner gas stove, but have backed off. The little Coleman Featherlight 400 backpacker's stove is simple and reliable to heat up a dinner that was prepared at home, then frozen and stuck in the ice chest with the beer. After a day of strenuous riding or hiking, I'm not into extravagent cooking. Have fun!
I second the Colman Feather stoveColnagoFE
Oct 9, 2002 12:21 PM
Is that the one that allows you to use either unleaded gas or white fuel? Works great as either a backpacking stove or a car camping stove. Boils water--even at altitude--really quick. If you'll never do anything but car camp though a 2 burner tabletop model might be a better choice.
Picking nits...Brooks
Oct 9, 2002 1:23 PM
Boiling water at altitude is easier than at sea level due to less air pressure. Boiling point temperature is lower the higher you go. It just takes longer to actually heat something. Car camping: two burner Coleman. Backpacking/cycle touring: lots of choices of featherlight stoves. I like MSR Whisperlight.
I investigated about tents 2 weeks ago...PeterRider
Oct 9, 2002 3:29 PM
Well, I am quite concerned about weight since I want to use it for backpacking too.

Well, the 2 I found the most attractive were
- REI clipper
- LLBean ultra light.

There is a good website with reviews at

re: tents: slightly off topic, but still cycling-related!ripper
Oct 9, 2002 9:51 PM
my tent recomendation should sit well with the derosa king and the serotta ottrott croud. i have a Garuda (dana designs) Trikaya single wall tent..$750. it is hands down the most bomb proof piece of outdoor equipment i own. 40+ mph winds, no problem. torrential downpour, dry and cozy. 3 feet of fresh snow, a hibernating bear was never more comfortable. if you have the means i highly recommend getting one.
thanks, all! much information...JS Haiku Shop
Oct 11, 2002 5:07 AM
and, not an unexpected collection of advice: from a $5 tarp and string to a $750 deluxe model. ugh!

i'll have to print this out and put it under my pillow for a few nights. maybe the info will seep in and sort itself out. "osmosis".