5 OF OUR BEST CYCLE TOURING TENTS
5 OF OUR BEST CYCLE TOURING TENTS
Bike-packing or cycle touring is a fantastic way to see the world, allowing you to cover distance while immersing yourself in your surroundings. But aside from a bicycle (and strong pair of legs) a decent, lightweight tent or bivi is one of the most important pieces of gear to make your adventures in the saddle a success.
We asked travel expert and keen cyclist Simon Bryant to give us his top 5 cycle touring tents.
If you're mountain bike-packing, then weight and size of the tent is crucial. For the summer months, I would use a bivi bag, such as the Rab Storm Bivi or, for colder conditions, the Rab Alpine Bivi.
Bothy bags are great as during nasty weather - you can enclose yourself into the bags and keep all the rain out. For wild camps, these are discrete and have almost zero pitching time. It also allows you to cook whilst being in your sleeping bag - a huge benefit as it sometimes allows the user the leave their insulated coat at home.
Combine both bags with a Thermarest Neo-Air Xlite or a Multimat Adventure Air and you have a comfortable sleeping system that will come in under 1kg.
An Osprey Talon 33 rucksack is an ideal starting point for a bag to carry all you items in. It should comfortable fit in your sleeping system, food/water (most of the time, you'll only need 1.5l of water as you can easily fill it up from streams with a little bit of forward planning) and your bike tool kit (no need for spare clothing!). Strapping an 8l Sea to Summit dry river bag to your seat post or handlbar is a great way of carrying lightweight items (sleeping bag, bivi bag, etc).
Road Cycle Touring
Again, weight is important with road touring but as it is generally carried in panniers than on your back, you can carry a tent for a more comfortable night's sleep.
Two man tents are ideal for cycle touring, giving you just a little bit of space to organise yourself or take along a friend! I personally wouldn't worry about trying to fit your bike inside a tent if you're cycle touring, bikes will cope outside in the rain (just carry a sturdy lock if needs be).
The classic Vaude Terralight is a great tent for either bike packing or cycle touring. It is quick to erect and gives enough space to sleep two people. It packs down reasonably well and weighs just under 2kg. It is also very stable, so it will still be standing proud after a stormy night!
While a little heavier than the Vaude Terralight and with a little less space, the Vango Helix tent is a great choice for the UK, as it pitches inner and outer together. This means that if it's raining during pitching, the inside of the tent will stay dry but it is a tight squeeze on the inside, so best for campsites that have a kitchen/social room that you can spend you evenings in. Its low design will make it stable during a windy pitch.
Finally, for those who like to tour by themselves, or have their own personal space, its hard not to reccommend the Hilleberg Enan. It will survive the worst of the weathers during the winter, but it can be opened up and well vented for the summer. It's a lightweight tent (sub 1.5kg) that will give plenty of years' service, so think of it as a long-term investment. It will pitch inner and outer together, so again, ideal for the UK when it will generally rain whilst pitching and it has a surpringly large porch area for such a small tent, a great place to store kit during the night.
You can check out Simon's cycle touring blog here.
About the Author:
Mike Humphreys - Online Content
Mike is a keen cyclist, snowboarder, trail runner and walker. He has travelled extensively, spending a year living out of a van in New Zealand before joining Ellis Brigham four years ago. Can usually be found walking his dog or tortoise.