Logistics of solo camping

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
Brianjeff50
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Logistics of solo camping

Postby Brianjeff50 » 17 Jul 2020, 11:14pm

I’m contemplating a LEJOG ride maybe early autumn. It would be solo and unsupported. For economic reasons and a probably misplaced spirit of adventure I think at least some of it should include camping. But not when it’s raining!
I’m interested to know how people combine minimalist camping with the hum-drum needs of the ride - kit washing, drying stuff, arriving or leaving wet etc etc - all of which I imagine is going to get tougher in this post Covid world with fewer communal camping facilities.

Jdsk
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Jdsk » 17 Jul 2020, 11:17pm

How much experience do you have of anything similar?

Have you already decided on your tent/ tarp/ bivi bag/ whatever?

Jonathan

Brianjeff50
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Brianjeff50 » 17 Jul 2020, 11:34pm

Jdsk wrote:How much experience do you have of anything similar?

Have you already decided on your tent/ tarp/ bivi bag/ whatever?

Jonathan


Reasonable experience of camping - canoe camping, car camping etc- but none of cycle camping. Pretty solid cycling experience but not of cycle camping touring. Haven’t decided anything yet about the camping element. Feel free to tell me if you think I should stick to b&bs :D

rareposter
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby rareposter » 18 Jul 2020, 7:26am

What "level" of camping? Using campsites with good facilities vs basic ones vs using a ditch at the side of the road for a powernap? Do you want to cook a meal yourself (in which case you need to plan a stop to buy food and water and have campstove, pan etc) or will you head straight to the nearest pub?

How will it be carried? Panniers, a trailer, bike-packing style?

And how much kit do you have, how much do you need to buy and if the latter, what's your budget? Buying a cheap "festival type" tent is OK for occasional use on a proper campsite in good weather but if you'll be wild camping in some remote glen of Scotland in near zero overnight temperature or heavy rain then you need a full on mountain tent! Similarly, you're not going to want to carry a luxurious 3-person tent on a bike...

Brianjeff50
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Brianjeff50 » 18 Jul 2020, 9:13am

rareposter wrote:What "level" of camping? Using campsites with good facilities vs basic ones vs using a ditch at the side of the road for a powernap? Do you want to cook a meal yourself (in which case you need to plan a stop to buy food and water and have campstove, pan etc) or will you head straight to the nearest pub?

How will it be carried? Panniers, a trailer, bike-packing style?

And how much kit do you have, how much do you need to buy and if the latter, what's your budget? Buying a cheap "festival type" tent is OK for occasional use on a proper campsite in good weather but if you'll be wild camping in some remote glen of Scotland in near zero overnight temperature or heavy rain then you need a full on mountain tent! Similarly, you're not going to want to carry a luxurious 3-person tent on a bike...


All questions I need to ask myself. But too old for sleeping in ditches so campsites but simple tent, bag and mat. If it’s wet (or forecast wet) it’ll be the under a roof option. Eating and drinking in pubs/cafes.
I haven’t explored the carrying it options but def not a trailer.
Apologies if all this sounds naive but asking the questions helps focus my thoughts.
And a lot of options could close down or open up depending on Covid.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Oldjohnw » 18 Jul 2020, 9:23am

Too old? I'm almost 71 and tomorrow I am off to spend a coupe of nights in he Lammermuirs using a bivvi and tarp. Only two nights, of course. Beyond that it would be a tent, perhaps with an occasional B&B.
John

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Paulatic
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Paulatic » 18 Jul 2020, 9:42am

The important things for me would be
A tent that is easy to erect and take down in a few minutes
Carry the means to make simple ( oats and coffee keep me going) food and drink on the campsite. You’ll be very fortunate to always find a site close to a food source. Then buy and eat that second breakfast/ evening meal on the road.
Wash your kit while you’re in the shower dry it wherever you can find. Finish it off on top of the panniers next day if needed.
Carry as little as possible ask Do I need it? At least twice.
And then ask "do I really need it" ?
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

Brianjeff50
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Brianjeff50 » 18 Jul 2020, 10:15am

Oldjohnw wrote:Too old? I'm almost 71 and tomorrow I am off to spend a coupe of nights in he Lammermuirs using a bivvi and tarp. Only two nights, of course. Beyond that it would be a tent, perhaps with an occasional B&B.


Well I’m 72 so a couple of warm nights would be my limit in a bivvi. Tent is fine but hauling wet kit around less enjoyable.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Oldjohnw » 18 Jul 2020, 12:37pm

Brianjeff50 wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:Too old? I'm almost 71 and tomorrow I am off to spend a coupe of nights in he Lammermuirs using a bivvi and tarp. Only two nights, of course. Beyond that it would be a tent, perhaps with an occasional B&B.


Well I’m 72 so a couple of warm nights would be my limit in a bivvi. Tent is fine but hauling wet kit around less enjoyable.


A couple of nights in a bivvi is enough for me, too. A week in a tent is almost too much so I have to have a night in a bed after about 5 in a tent. Good for you even thinking about LEJOG

Like Paulatic, a second breakfast on the road is what keeps me going.
Last edited by Oldjohnw on 19 Jul 2020, 7:17am, edited 1 time in total.
John

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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby bikepacker » 18 Jul 2020, 12:44pm

My cycle touring is a mixture of solo, with my wife, with others. about 70% is solo. I find solo to be the most relaxing as you are not committed to anyone else's pace and have complete flexibility to deviate when it suits you.

If it helps here are my cycle camping lists: http://www.bikepacker.co.uk/List.htm
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

Jdsk
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Jdsk » 18 Jul 2020, 2:59pm


Jdsk
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Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Jdsk » 19 Jul 2020, 10:14am

Reading list:

The camping subform:
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewforum.php?f=42

"KISS"
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=138034&hilit=KISS

"low budget camping challenge"
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=139103

Gear list:
You've got one above, and there are lots on the web. Make your own... and every time you get home check it against what you didn't need and what you wish you'd had.

Style:
Some like to stay in places with roofs and other facilities every so often, as above. Some don't. You need to decide what's right for this trip for you. With the former you can run up a debt of drying out, keeping your clothes clean, keeping yourself clean.

Staying dry:
In the UK very roughly speaking cold is miserable but but cold and wet is dangerous. That affects all sorts of decisions: having a porch on the shelter, how to erect, break and pack your shelter, clothes that dry easily, dry bags etc etc. You can dry unworn clothes on the bike, as above, but of course it depends on the weather.

Shakedown rides before the trip:
Highly recommended!
Apart from the gear (see above) you need to be able to erect the shelter when you're cold, wet, tired and miserable. Apart from the practice you might want to change lines, pegs, clips, how it's packed, add some markings etc.

Jonathan
Last edited by Jdsk on 23 Jul 2020, 12:35pm, edited 1 time in total.

whoof
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby whoof » 21 Jul 2020, 3:49pm

Look at the weather forecast for the evening and following morning they are pretty accurate that far ahead if it says it's not going to rain at all or if it's going to chuck it down. Showers are a bit hit and miss. But you should have a good idea mid-morning whether you want to camp or B&B that night.

Kit Washing
Take things that will dry quickly. A cotton t-shirt will take ages unless it's very hot and/or windy. A technical type running t-shirt will be almost dry if you wring it and will take little time on the washing line (I always take a length of string to tie onto a couple of tree/bushes at the site and some pegs). Anything not quiet dry by the morning goes on the bike so can dry whilst I'm riding along. Socks pegged to (old style) STI or bar end gear cables. Cycling shorts or t-shirt on top of the rack.
If the tent is wet in the morning and it's not raining then I try and put it in a sunny spot whilst having breakfast and packing everything else. If you carry a j-cloth you can wipe the worst of the dew off first. If I do pack it damp I try and dry it out during a food stop on the way. If you leave it too long it will smell like cat's wee.

Arriving wet
Stay in a B&B/hostel

Leaving wet
Either sit it out or see drying kit. If the grass is wet I go to the toilet block and pack things up wearing a pair of light flip-flops. then last thing wheel the bike over to the (campsite) road/path and dry my feet and put on shoes and socks. Walking around in shoes in wet grass will result in starting the day with wet feet. Some cycle in sandals, I don't like them.

Jdsk
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby Jdsk » 21 Jul 2020, 9:27pm

Excellent.

I'd add something about arriving when it's wet... it's often possible to wait for a dry moment to get the tent up and the gear under cover, and that can make a big difference.

Jonathan

PaulaT
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Re: Logistics of solo camping

Postby PaulaT » 21 Jul 2020, 10:12pm

Camping in the rain isn't so bad. I've done it lots of times. It's actually a bit of an occupational hazard when touring Ireland ;) Avoid tents which pitch inner first. There's plenty of affordable tents which pitch inner and outer together and can be erected in a few minutes but at a minimum go for a tent which pitches outer first. Take cuppa-soups. I discovered their efficacy on my 1st ever cycle camping tour of a rainy Peak District. First thing I do once the tent is up is get all the panniers inside and make myself a cuppa-soup. There's something about them that rallies you after a day in the saddle in a way that tea or coffee don't. A few years ago I came across a video by wilderness and survival expert Paul Kirtley in which he also recommends cuppa-soups so it's not my imagination :D