Two Islands – UK & IOM: Camping Equipment Set Up

Posted on Jul 11, 2015 in Bikepacking, Camping, Cooking, Evening

This is some of the camping equipment I used for the Isle of Man trip.  For additional details about this trip, check out this project.

Hot Meal Before Cold Rain - photo - Rob Vandermark

We’ve got this system down to a pretty fast and light setup.

  • Tent:  Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3at 1,640 grams, 58 ounces, including:
    • Tarp
    • Footprint
    • Stakes x 5 – the tent has about 12 stake placements but I’ve found we can get away with just 5.  That’s not perfect for heavy rain, or more specifically drying out after heavy rain; more stakes improve air flow through the tent.
    • 2 lofts
  • Sleep system:  1,150 grams, 41 ounces.  Given how much trouble I have sleeping, I invest a lot in trying to be as comfortable as possible.
    • Sleeping bag @ 570g.  Big Agnes Pitchline UL 45.
    • Sleeping pad @ 450g.  Big Agnes Q-Core SL.  Super light, super small, and extremely comfortable.  Inflatable.
    • Pillow, inflatable @ 85g.  Big Agnes Q-Core SL.  Gram for gram, one of my favorite sleeping items.  Very compact; inflatable.
    • Liner, Silk @ ~45g.  I used to think liners were a waste of time.  Now I know they’re great, particularly when it wet out or really warm.  I sometimes use it as a ponco at camp.  They are also good when you’re really dirty from six days of riding.
  • Parka @ ~200g.  The waterproof parka has become one of my favorite items for bikepacking.  It’s sort of like a   It serves many purposes:  mini tent when you get stuck in torential rain while riding; keeps you dry at camp when you’re not in the tent; keeps the bikes from getting completely waterlogged during overnight rains
  • Compression bags, two waterproof at ~70g total.  All these items and more fit into the two bags.  I typically carry 2 mediums.
  • Straps, x 4, for mounting compression bags onto the custom frame rack @ ~75g total.  Including one spare strap in case of failure.
  • Headlight:  Weighs 24 grams.  Works really well.
  • Camp Lantern:  A small battery lantern that we can hang in the tent or use for cooking.  Maybe a luxury to remove from the travel list.

On this trip, for the first time we had rain get into the tent – in between the footprint and the underside of the tent.  By the end of the last morning the sleep pads and some other stuff was pretty wet.  Given how much it rained every night I was impressed that not more water got in the tent.

We didn’t need a lot of light support because sunrise was 5 am.  Sunset was 10 pm so we had tons of light!

New Items and Tests:

  • Waterproof socks:  I borrowed Patria’s once and found them to be really great.  If for no other reason than having dry feet at camp – while it’s raining nonstop.

Improvements for the next trip:

  • Camp footwear.  Historically I’ve bikepacked with only my riding shoes and two or three pairs of socks and that is all.  Only once have I carried camp shoes.  I’m going to try and find a super-light camp shoe because when my riding shoes are soaking wet from rain and it’s 2am and I have to use the john, putting on wet shoes is a real trial.
  • Trench for rain water flow:  Typically, in order to avoid rain water getting under the tent, Ill dig a trench around the edge of the tent.  I don’t carry a shovel anymore so I have to get creative about how to dig a trench in all kinds of earth.  The ground we were on at Isle of Man site would not be trenchable with anything but a true metal shovel.

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