Lightweight camping setup recommendations

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mnichols
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Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby mnichols » 26 May 2019, 9:33pm

Looking for some recommendations for a lightweight camping setup for Northern Ireland in June.

Won't be cooking, wild camping. I think I need a tent, mat, and sleeping bag

This tour may/may not happen. Flights are booked and non-refundable, but i need to cancel all my hotels and b&bs before the cancellation period to avoid losing more money

I probably won't know if I can go until the day before, so having some stuff will give me the option to still go if I can

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Gattonero
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby Gattonero » 27 May 2019, 10:27am

Have a thought on what you're using at the moment, and see what you can remove and what you can absolutely not live without.

Shelter:
Consider how much protection you'll need, i.e. if there are midges or lots of bugs do not consider a hammock or a tarp.
Low weight and bulk comes at the expense of living space, but this is very debatable! Some people need a 2+ tent for themselves alone, others are fine in those "hooped-bivy" coffins.
Personally, I like the classic A-frame or pyramid tents. The 6-moon Lunar has enough space for me and is small and light, but some people may not like a single-wall tent.
The Luxe HexPeak is a good Q/P pyramid tent, with lots of space and good protection.
If was me, I'd trade better rain&wind performance over condensation, the latter can be reduced by a wiser pitch and ventilation.

Mat:
IMO, this comes before the sleeping bag! You can have the most insulated bag, but becomes pointless when goes in contact with the cold ground.
Get the best sleeping mat you can, with an R-value of at least 3, this will allow you to sleep well even on freezing ground.
The shape and thickness is all a personal choice, you only know what works for you. NeoAir, Exped and others do nicely insulated mats that have a tickness of 6-7cm which is decent, if you want to stay below the 1/2kg weight you're probably not too far from a £100 tag price...

Sleeping bag:
As above, you may want a mummy-shape, or a square type, or just a quilt.
I use the latter, it's shaped to form a leg/footbox so leaves plenty of room to move (I turn a lot while sleeping) and it's useful even outside the tent. Prices vary wildly, you can find decent sleeping bag for less than £100 when on offer, or spend over £300, or spend very little and make your own quilt.


With a careful choice, you can stay well under 2kg weight and 10lt volume for the 3 pieces, with a good comfort.
Last edited by Gattonero on 27 May 2019, 10:32am, edited 1 time in total.
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RickH
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby RickH » 27 May 2019, 10:28am

I've got a couple of Vango tents & have been pleased with them - they work well enough, seem reasonably made, aren't too heavy & not expensive. For "moving on" camping I generally use a Banshee 200 (nominally a 2 person but really a comfortable 1, especially if you want to keep your stuff inside the tent) but if I'm going to base myself somewhere for a few nights I have a Zenith 300 (more space but more bulk to transport). Both have a relatively unobtrusive green coloured flysheet.

Chat Noir
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby Chat Noir » 27 May 2019, 12:09pm

Good quality lightweight camping gear tends not to be cheap, it needs to keep you dry and comfortable, you need to be able to sleep well and you want stuff that packs small. Here is a good website to look at, although you may want to be sitting down when you see some of the prices: careful exploration will find some equally good kit at more reasonable prices elsewhere https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/ .

The mat is easy: thermarest neo air. Expensive, probably plenty of similar quality and cheaper alternatives these days but it works for me. Packs small, mine weighs 480g and have used many times, including in the high mountains. Only issue I can think of it can be noisy if you're a restless sleeper.

Lightweight for me is under 1000g for a tent, whether cycle touring, on a climbing trip or a long distance walk. Plenty out there, but usually at a price. Bivi bags offer cheaper and slightly lighter alternatives and they are quicker than tents at the start and end of the day but if you don't get on with them they can be miserable places. I have an old goretex bivi bag that weighs 700g, keeps me dry and warm but not somewhere to spend hours either side of sleep unless you really have to.

There are those who like their space inside and those who are happy to be more compact. I manage with compact, ‘coffin’ style. The small space will be warmer but good organisational skills essential. I can read comfortably in this, keep my gear inside and sleep well but you need to be able to dress and pack in a confined space – does not suit everyone. I’ve had a Vaude Power Lizard for several years now, weighs 895g and surprisingly resilient for a lightweight tent. The price isn’t as shocking as I expected when I just googled it but there are now many tents that weigh less than this. If on lightweight trip with my partner we take a Vaude Hogan UL, good 2 person tent weighing 1900g, but not too heavy for solo touring.

Haven't used a non-down sleeping bag for years, down is more compact and it keeps me warm. I’ve never had a problem with down getting wet. Shopping around there is a good range and some very competitive prices. For very lightweight or summer use I use a Mountain Equipment Helium 250, weighs 735g. I always use a silk liner, keeps the bag cleaner for longer and me warmer (pulling it over your head provides instant warmth). I take a lightweight down jacket on trips to provide warmth at the end of the day, especially if it’s been wet or cold and this also provides extra warmth at night, either laying it on top with the arms wrapped underneath to keep in place or wearing it. If cooler conditions on lightweight trips I use a ME Helium 600, weighing 1070g and sometimes take both.

Finally, I take a small inflatable pillow, weighs 40g and tucks neatly and securely under the hood of the sleeping bag.

Good luck.
Dawes Galaxy 1979; Mercian 531 1982; Peugeot 753 1987; Peugeot 531 Pro 1988; Peugeot 653 1990; Bob Jackson 731 OS 1992; Gazelle 731 OS Exception 1996; Dolan Dedacciai 2004; Trek 8000 MTB 2011; Focus Izalco Pro 2012

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horizon
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby horizon » 27 May 2019, 12:57pm

I think lightweight camping is a bit of a misnomer as cycle camping is already incredibly light weight. Having said that, to go down from 26 kg (my last trip) to a more reasonable amount may not be a bad idea. But then we get into the problem of definition: what actually is "camping"? For me, it isn't bivouacking and it should include a small amount of preparation equipment for say, a hot drink. And some sleeping cover. But excluding the cooking stuff means that the basics are just tent and sleeping bag (BITD I used to camp with no mat). A summer sleeping bag can weigh .5 kg (June, NI), a tent 1.5 kg. So that's camping at 2 kg. Everything else (lights, fleece, toothbrush etc) you would carry anyway. A motorhome by comparison weighs around 2 tons. Funny old world.
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Gattonero
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby Gattonero » 27 May 2019, 4:20pm

Summer makes it a lot easier in terms of bulky equipment.
There's less need for warm stuff and one change of clothing and underwear is often enough, washed when arrived at the campsite and dry the day after.

I.e. this is a typical setup for a 3-4 days in late spring/summer, does not include bike tools (in a small saddle bag) and clothing that's actually worn (i.e. a windjacket stays in the jersey back pocket)

Image

and weights this
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It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

mnichols
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby mnichols » 27 May 2019, 10:00pm

Thanks for the responses. Plenty to think about

MrsHJ
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby MrsHJ » 30 May 2019, 8:37pm

I have the new bikepacking copper spur from big Agnes, a vesper bag/quilt from thermarest and a tensor Mat from nemo equipment. These are seriously lightweight and not cheap but between them fill about half a pannier. That’s all you actually need except for a light source at night. I also take a small picnic kit or cooking stuff depending on the type of trip but it’s not essential if you’re happy to buy food as you go.

hamster
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby hamster » 31 May 2019, 9:58am

Light /strong / cheap : pick two.

I go for somewhere in the middle: Wild Country Zephyros 2 man tent (cramped for two, nice for one), jetboil if not cooking (hot drinks, noodles, boiled egg) or MSR Whisperlite for real food. I'm thinking of going away from inflatable mats back to foam ones which are lighter and less fragile.

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pjclinch
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby pjclinch » 31 May 2019, 2:03pm

hamster wrote:Light /strong / cheap : pick two.


or Light / Strong / Spacious: pick two

hamster wrote:I'm thinking of going away from inflatable mats back to foam ones which are lighter and less fragile.


Something like a Neo-Air is lighter than a foam mat, and much less bulky (and IME a lot more comfortable). But making a plain foam mat fail is a pretty rough job!

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hamster
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby hamster » 31 May 2019, 4:40pm

Neo air is around 350g, while a mat is around 300g, although I run with a 3/4 length one which is less. I'm just sick of blowing the damn things up again at 3am. Agreed on the bulk though - but it's only a pain if I am taking a bivi bag rather than the tent, otherwise it rolls around the tent.

rotavator
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby rotavator » 31 May 2019, 6:30pm

hamster wrote: I'm just sick of blowing the damn things up again at 3am.


My Thermorest Neoair had become permeable to air (i.e. slow leaks from numerous miniscule holes) so I sent it back, following advice from MrsHJ OTP, and got a brand new one sent to me which was a great result.

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Gattonero
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Re: Lightweight camping setup recommendations

Postby Gattonero » 1 Jun 2019, 10:34am

hamster wrote:Neo air is around 350g, while a mat is around 300g, although I run with a 3/4 length one which is less. I'm just sick of blowing the damn things up again at 3am. Agreed on the bulk though - but it's only a pain if I am taking a bivi bag rather than the tent, otherwise it rolls around the tent.


Mine has never leaked, if yours does you should send it back.
I won't compare a 6cm plush mattress with great insulation with a 1cm foam that most of the times will have very little insulation properties (incidentally, Thermarest makes a foam mat that has a very effective insulation value)
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...