Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

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oneten
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Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby oneten » 4 Sep 2015, 7:09pm

I want to embark on a tour taking in part of the North Sea Cycle Route trough the Netherlands and Germany. Originally this would have extended to Copenhagen but plans have changed so I will stay in N Germany. I want to camp if possible and stay in the odd hostel when weather is bad.
A couple of people have expressed surprise about the camping element and advised me against it but what do seasoned cycle tourers think?
I only have a very basic tent, self-inflating sleeping mat and a reasonable sleeping bag. I will take a warm pullover and a blanket - maybe even a hot water bottle!
I would've liked to have gone in the height of summer when it was warmer but it's only now I have the opportunity and the circumstances to go and I want to grasp the nettle. Is it such a bad/mad idea? Anyone offer any advice or experiences of touring and camping in the region at this time of the year?
(Reasons of economy dictate camping as the affordable option but wife is naturally worried).
Thanks!

beardy
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby beardy » 4 Sep 2015, 7:30pm

April to October is fine by me, some people like camping in the winter.

I have had October nights so warm that I had the sleeping bag and tent door open. At other times it reminds you that you are almost in November.

Keeping dry is always the secret/problem, getting wet in July or August isnt much of a problem.
Getting soaked on a bitterly cold October night is.
It also depends on your kit as well as your experience, my kit is aimed at summer but can stand temperatures down to zero if that happens overnight. Some kit can cope with much lower temps than that but other kit isnt good for anything but warm summer trips.

FarOeuf
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby FarOeuf » 4 Sep 2015, 7:47pm

I camp all through the year. Have also done a winter cycling trip through Norway, camping. As Beardy says, keeping your sleeping kit is the main challenge. People have different operating temperatures, so what you need to take is largely going to be based on your personal experience. I'd leave the blanket behind though, and maybe swap it for some (quick drying, try Decathlon) thermals. The blanket will no doubt just soak up moisture (and become heavy), but the thermals will keep you warmer and dry quicker. If you do get drenched, and your kit is wet, then I'd head straight to a hostel and dry out. Quicker you dry out the quicker you can camp again. It takes a very long time to dry out your kit with body heat alone.

But, rest assured, as you're not going above the arctic circle, if you do have a cold night it's only a matter of a few hours shivering till you can thaw out in a cafe. And if it all gets a bit cold and wet you can hostel it out, or head south. Campsites will be closed, so you'll need to wild camp I'd assume. It gets dark quite early too, so batteries for your head torch.

The experience you'll gain from this trip (nay, expedition!) will be invaluable to your summer camping; you'll wonder what all the fuss is about when the weather is warm!

oneten
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby oneten » 4 Sep 2015, 9:09pm

Thanks to both of you, Beardy and Faroeuf for your encouraging comments and useful advice. :P Thermals sound a great idea rather than a blanket too. To be honest, I'm not an experienced camper apart from short spells in the UK, but that doesn't mean I can't start somewhere. My tent is only single thickness without a fly sheet - can't afford anything better ATM, whereas the 2 man decent one I own is way too heavy for a bike.
I've also been looking online at Stayokay hostels in the Neverlands and YHA 's in Germany and prices are reasonable.
I'd've signed up for 'Warm Showers' but would have difficulty reciprocating hospitality as we live in a flat with only 1 main bedroom and no garden in which to pitch a tent.
At the moment, with the slightly colder turn in the weather, I'm feeling the cold a bit even at home :? , but I'll be warm while on the move cycling and can get tucked up after having pitched the tent. :)

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horizon
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby horizon » 4 Sep 2015, 9:45pm

It's well worth picking a cold night in September at a local campsite to see how you get on. But as other(s) have said, it is the closed campsites and shorter days that make camping out of season a bit more challenging (and occasionally miserable).

I alwys take a hot water bottle when camping in the UK. What you need to remember is that sleeping bags keep the heat in - they don't make it. So if you are a chilly person (and we all differ) then you might want a source of heat as well as a good bag. A hot water bottle is ideal, subject to the usual safety warnings about using a stove in the tent if you do - carbon monoxide and fire. A companion is useful.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

cjs
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby cjs » 4 Sep 2015, 10:02pm

Sep & Oct will be fine temperature wise if you are using a 3 season bag with decent comfort temperature and a reasonable mat. (the mat insulation can be boosted by adding a cheap decathlon foam mat underneath)

It sounds as if your route is not too hilly so I would not worry too much if you want to take the sturdier tent.

To save a few bob you could pop inland at times and use free camp sites https://sites.google.com/site/paalkampeerders/ although really you need a GPS (phone or other) when you get near, them to find 'em - they are not signposted other than a pole, in a clearing, in a wood! I have been using them for a few years including several this week and intend some next week. See attached map. If you want the co-ordinates in a GPX file - PM.

As for Warmshowers, just register and go for it. You have nothing to loose at all, just be honest with your circumstances. Over the last 4 years I have hosted many guests and only 3 out of around 10 were in a position to host others themselves when they returned. 1 couple talked their mum into hosting in Colombia some time after their UK tour - as a system payback.. and another young couple who stayed in June lived in a very small flat in St Petersburg and could not host and who could blame them, some parts of that city you just do not want to cycle in :)

Good luck now...

polecamp.jpg
Kind Regards
Chris...

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horizon
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby horizon » 4 Sep 2015, 10:49pm

cjs wrote:
It sounds as if your route is not too hilly so I would not worry too much if you want to take the sturdier tent.



That was my thought too.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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pjclinch
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby pjclinch » 5 Sep 2015, 12:38pm

oneten wrote: My tent is only single thickness without a fly sheet - can't afford anything better ATM


You quite possibly can... Not exactly my Desert Island Choice, but nothing obviously blatantly wrong with the likes of http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/vango-soul-100-tent-d1212068?id_colour=108. Without a separate inner on a cool, humid night you might well find yourself in condensation city.

I'd prefer something with a bigger porch (helps keep the inner totally dry), but it's better than the "nothing" available with a single skin.

Pete.
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FarOeuf
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby FarOeuf » 5 Sep 2015, 1:10pm

I use a single skin tent in winter sometimes, they suffer far less from condensation. No problem, so long as it's waterproof.

EDIT: on multi-days in wetter/colder weather your tent will be packed up along with the outer, which will make the whole thing wet. This means that in the colder evenings you'll be unpacking a wet tent and it won't have time to dry out. The single skin tents tend to dry quicker and the condensation rolls off quicker (especially if you shake it out). Pros and cons of both, but both will work fine.

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pjclinch
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby pjclinch » 5 Sep 2015, 7:50pm

You'll get the same amount of condensation in each given the same basic venting: the difference is that drips come off the roof on to the camper in a single skin and on to a lightly proofed inner in two-skin. A two-skin ought to be a smidge warmer too, and the inner can stay drier when you're going in/out in the rain.

Pete.
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FarOeuf
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby FarOeuf » 5 Sep 2015, 9:29pm

pjclinch wrote:You'll get the same amount of condensation in each given the same basic venting: the difference is that drips come off the roof on to the camper in a single skin and on to a lightly proofed inner in two-skin. A two-skin ought to be a smidge warmer too, and the inner can stay drier when you're going in/out in the rain.

Pete.


a lightly proofed inner??? which inners are waterproofed, lightly or otherwise?

the point being though, that as soon as you pack the tent away it's all wet (inner and outer). and having the inner and outer wet is less preferable than just the outer being wet, because without an inner you have much more internal space.

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pjclinch
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby pjclinch » 5 Sep 2015, 9:47pm

FarOeuf wrote:a lightly proofed inner??? which inners are waterproofed, lightly or otherwise?


From Hilleberg's FAQ:
all of our tents consist of an inner tent of breathable water-repellant fabric that is attached to a waterproof outer. This design decreases condensation and increases insulation.

My Saunders inners have all been similarly lightly proofed, and it's easy to demonstrate by seeing drops from the tent roof roll off the inner when someone trips over a guy.

FarOeuf wrote:the point being though, that as soon as you pack the tent away it's all wet (inner and outer).


"Doctor Doctor, it hurts when I do this!"
"Then don't do that"

If you want to pack a dry inner in a wet outer and make it all wet that's entirely your option, but you don't actually have to do it that way. Alternatively, unhook the inner, fold it so the groundsheet is on the outside of everything and then you can pack it so it stays pretty much dry. Worked with Force 10s back when I was in the Scouts about 35 years ago, still seems to work now...

FarOeuf wrote:and having the inner and outer wet is less preferable than just the outer being wet, because without an inner you have much more internal space.


That is indeed the case, but it's damper and cooler. Which if you're trying to keep warm and dry in winter might not be the best option.

From Outdoor Gear Lab (see http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/4-Season-Tent-Reviews)
One Wall or Two?
The number of walls is possibly the single biggest contributing factor that will affect your tent's versatility, weight and packed size.

Single Wall – The lightest, most compact and typically least comfortable type of tent design. These are usually best for alpine climbing and high altitude mountaineering where low weight and minimal bulk supersede all other factors. They are best in below freezing temps if it's precipitating or drier conditions if it's warmer because of their often poorer moisture management and condensation buildup, i.e. in wetter conditions more condensation will build up on a single wall tent than a similarly designed double wall tent. But again while single wall tents are overall less versatile, they can't be beat for weight and and packed size so they are an excellent option for shorter trips.

Double Wall – Heavier and bulkier, typically 40-50 percent more on average compared with their single wall counterparts. Double wall tents are typically more comfortable and designed to be more spacious for more extended trips, and more versatile. Best for mountaineering expeditions, winter camping, base-camping and polar exploration. Double wall tents work better than single wall tents in most three season conditions and are almost always designed with more features to make it nicer to hang out in, making them a choice for trips where comfort, livability or extreme weather protection or the most important factors.


So, yes, single walls definitely have advantages in some situations, but not obviously for what the OP seems to have in mind.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

oneten
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby oneten » 6 Sep 2015, 10:32pm

Thanks everyone for posting lots of great tips and advice. CJ's free campsites sound very useful and I will register with 'Warmshowers' too. If the weather turns bad, then there's the hostel option as well. I've ordered a couple of the German Esterbauer maps, one of the first stage of the Northsea Cycle Route and a second one from Bremen to Fehmarn. They list campsites and hostels with phone numbers and addresses which will be handy.

As for the tent, despite Pete's recommendation that I get a double skin tent which would be preferable, I'm going to stick to the single one, partly due to finances as well as time constrains - I'm setting off in just over a week's time. I think Pete, a hot water bottle will be the order of the day - or rather night.And no, Horizon, I am very wary of taking a stove anywhere near a tent, let alone inside one due to the fire and carbon monoxide risk.

Yes Faroeuf, plenty of batteries for the head torch plus my wife's bought me a nice little hanging LED lamp with variable dimmer switch.

Must admit, I'm quite excited about the trip now and with the prospect of camping in reasonable conditions.

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horizon
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby horizon » 6 Sep 2015, 11:10pm

oneten wrote:And no, Horizon, I am very wary of taking a stove anywhere near a tent, let alone inside one due to the fire and carbon monoxide risk.



I am sure you are though as soon as I've come up with a good way of heating a small tent I'm off to Dragon's Den!
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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pjclinch
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Re: Advisability of camping in Sept into October ?

Postby pjclinch » 7 Sep 2015, 8:20am

oneten wrote:I think Pete, a hot water bottle will be the order of the day - or rather night.


If you have a water container that can do hot water with minimal chance of a spill, just use that wrapped in a spare bit of clothing.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...