Having been ridiculed by my indoor climbing partner last week upon announcing our Spartan kit plans for the two week adventure, the logical progression must be to share it with even more people. He seemed particularly disturbed that we would only take one set of cycling clothes; well we can only wear one right? It’s maybe not ideal by when you’re carrying it uphill, weight is weight. And if the round the world cycling record holder can do it in one set of gear, we can make it through two weeks.
We’re trying to strip it down to the barest essentials. This means minimal clothing, probably no cooking gear and just enough to keep the bikes moving in case of trouble. It’s hard to compromise on sleeping equipment though, because if we can’t get a decent nights rest we are really scuppered. When I rode to Paris last summer I opted not to take a sleeping mat because it wouldn’t fit into my single pannier, and hey, I wanted some clothes to wear when I got there. What a mistake. I should have known how much colder that would have made it trying to sleep in my tent. On the way down I improvised with the days newspaper scrunched up beneath me, and had the luxury of a foam PMU hand for my upper body by the time I was headed back north. Of course being France in July I survived, but I’ve learnt from the mistake, this time I’m taking my faithful thermarest.
It looks as though we will take the two man tent I already own, last used on a week long hitch hiking adventure in Italy*, to keep costs down. But I have also been looking into the options around using tarps and bivvy bags, again as a way of trying to save some weight. I’ve seen some pretty cool looking set ups with a tarp sheet set up over the wheels of an upturned bicycle, quite a neat solution. And of course the beauty of using a bivvy bag would be the ease with which we could crawl into them at the end of the day, absolutely no fuss. The weight savings are not so great with a tarp compared to the tent though, and the thought of bivvying for two weeks straight isn’t so appealing. I’d be interested to hear what sleeping arrangements other people have used when doing lightweight touring, and no checking into a hotel every night isn’t an option! I’d love to hear what set ups you have used, please comment below!
*We had an amazing time hitching around Northern Italy for the Giro d’Italia this year, check out the resulting video below.