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I plan to retire in March. My girlfrined bought me a back packers tent for Christmas. Apparently I must have mentioned something about taking a trip on the bike and tent it. I have never done this before so I need some suggestions on what I should be taking. I have a good sleeping bag. I don't plan on cooking so I should be able to travel a little on the light side.
I will be doing this alone unless one of my buddies decide to go.
Thanks for any help.

Jim
 

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That ground can be awful hard and cold. Take a blow up mattress of some kind. Here's a link to some examples. The examples are from a Canadian store but will give you an idea of what to look for. Don't get a foam pad - they are a pain to pack. Get the blow-up kind.

Some light would be handy - the ones you can wear on your head are very useful

Water at campsites can be a mixed bag. You might want something like one of these. I mean the cheaper ones.

Definitely take bug repellent. How are you planning to get coffee in the morning?

Finally, the advice to take a one night trip or two to see if you'll like it is very good. A lot of people get carried away by the romantic notion and find they don't like it at all. If you have a sleeping bag already, consider the mattress and light. The mattress is good even if you are just crashing at a friend's place and the light is handy around the house - much better than a flashlight.

Take a friendly disposition. When you are camping a lot of the entertainment is just wandering around talking to the other campers and swatting lies... oops... flies with them.

Finally take a good, thick book.

Happy camping.
 

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I'd add a plastic ground cloth the size of the tent. It will help keep your tent in one piece. I'd also add a self inflating mattress for use under the bag and a travel pillow. Good comfy sleeping makes for good camping.

Minimally I'd add a water container and cup if for nothing else brushing your teeth in the morning. Plus a towel for wiping down things. A radio with weather capabilities. Plus dry bags to keep things in. There is absolutely nothing worse than being in the rain all day and then finding out your sleeping bag is soaked!
 

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I go two up camping with my wife some and my buddies and I make trips every May to various places like Big Bend and Deal's Gap.

First, you want to have a light and small packing tent. I use a 2 man REI tent with the water sealed tub sewn into the bottom. When rolled up it fits nice and snug between the windshield and handlebars.

Next, your going to want to pack wet weather gear in one saddlebag.

Then, pack misc tools, maps, etc in the other saddle bag.

Hopefully you have a sissy bar and a bag to put the rest in. Its possible to pack a queen size air mattress under a sissy bar bag and ride two up. THIS pre-wife picture shows the bike in this configuration. If you look close you can see the mattress resting on taillight with sissy bar bag on top of that. Riding two up we were loaded down pretty good.

That was the only time I took an air mattress...was too much trouble. At Deal's Gap I decided to bring a thin chair instead and a nice sleeping bag rolled up tight. Wal-Mart sells cinch straps in their camping section that will help cinch bags and other items into smaller cylinder shapes making packing easier. HERE is a pick of the Roadstar camping out at Deal's Gap.

Make a list and then cross off the non-essentials.
 

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gotopage69 said:
You should plan on taking a few one night camping trips at first. You will soon find out what you want to take and not take.
I second this suggestion. I did alot of primitive type camping when I was younger. When I mentioned to my DW that we should go camping (14 years ago) I took her to the local state park campgrounds for a weekend. Now we own a 20ft Trailer that sleeps 6! (4 adults and 2 dogs!). She won't go the primitive route.

Bruce
 

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Therma Rest sleeping pads seem like a lot of money, but they are worth every penny, invest in a good nites sleep and be fresh for the road!

Peace.....Brad
 

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I have only one bike camping trip under my belt a looong time ago. But I currently do a lot of backpacking and will be bike camping again soon. So here are my thoughts on gear:
Backpacking equipment is a great place to start. But keep in mind that the big bucks in backpacking go to make the stuff light. You won't be huffing it up hills, just stuffing it in your luggage. So look for lower priced backpacking gear and you'll save gobs. A 2-pound sleeping bag is great for walking, but for biking a 3-pounder is just as good, and probably no bulkier -- and less than half the price. Same goes for stove, cook set, tent, etc. Check out campmor.com if you don't have a good outfitter in your town. (If you do, support 'em!)
Another recommendation is to go with a self-inflating sleeping pad, like a Thermarest. Blowing up air mattresses is a pain, and they really don't insulate nearly as well as a much more compact, reliable self-inflator. You'd be surprised how comfortable a 3/4" Thermarest is compared to a 3" air mattress.
Next: don't feel like you have to be as self-sufficient as a backpacker is. Carry enough for your next meal, two at the most if you want to lounge around camp the next morning. You've got fast transportation with you, not a four-day walk to the next trailhead. The majority of bike campers I've talked to don't bother cooking in camp, they just hit the meat-and-threes. That saves a lot of packing! If you are going to cook in camp, go simple. Save the gourmet meals for the welcome-home outing or car camping.
Another: even if you're happy with a itty-bitty backpackers tent to sleep in, get a small lightweight plastic tarp and some parachute cord to rig up as a rain shelter. It'll give you more room to move around in if -- no, when --it rains, and can be handy strung up over a picnic table if you're in an official campground.
Next to last: dry is of first importance. Warm is important but you've got to have dry duds to put on when you get to camp.
And last: one-night shakedowns! Very important to try everything out before you're dependent on it.
Have fun. I can hardly wait myself.
 

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Like several have said, start slow and small and close to home, work your way up.

Therma-rest brand inflatable matt, best camping money you will ever spend.

Good leak proof, study tent, cozy comfortable sleeping bag, 2nd best camping money you will spend. Put your clothes in a stuff sack, you can use it for a pillow.

I would do some cooking, coffee in the morning, heat up some snack and hot choc around the campfire at night, small things will make a big difference. You can get very small light stoves nowdays. Plus if you have to stay near resturants, etc, you will not see the best sights.

The best camping is far away from prepared food, etc. Last thing you want is to have to camp in the middle of a bunch of mobile homes, er, excuse me, RV's with their dam generators, tv's, AC units and screaming kids all night long.

They can't hear all that silly racket, but you in your tent will hear every single little sound and not sleep a wink.

8)
 

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Man, what a question. Call me at home at 205-338-6461, and I'll tell you what I have learned. Jim Mann.\

Last May , 5 of us went on an 8 day camping trip, my first on a bike.
I have an ACE 1100. 1st, I bought a Mustang Seat with a drivers bikerest, and a Cobra backrest/sissy bar with a luggage rack. I took along three packs and a day pack. The first duffle bag rode horizontal on the passengers seat, and it held my tent ( 9 x 7 ) footprint, my inflatable mattress, my inflator, my groundclouth. On top of it, I had my sleeping bag packed ( in a waterproof brag ). The second bag, strapped to the passenger seat, held my extra clothes and toiletrees bag. On top of that, I had a daypack with my day stuff, medicine, rainsuit, camera, other gloves, etc. All in all, a wonderful trip. Jim
 

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I like to do the over night thing, it's a ball.
Ride out 2,3,4 hundred miles and pitch a tent. The next day ride back, it's great.
Best thing to remember is you're on a bike so pack light if you can. A T-bag or some kinda satchel on the pillion and a tent strapped under the head light and away you go.
 

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Do a search on this topic. Their was a very long interesting string on this subject about 6 months ago. After reading the last one I started looking at trailer hitches and small trailers. Havent pulled the trigger yet but still might. Trailer will hold a little bigger tent, aluminum cot, chairs, etc. you can camp without being miserable. I'm to old for the damp ground myself. I would really like to be able to walk the next morning, it's hell gettin old.
 

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I'm headed camping this coming Friday, weather permitting. I will be pulling my trailer loaded with my camping gear. I've done the bike and tent thing and made it fine thorough 3 states but pulling a trailer is so much easier and fun.

Here is what my trailer looks like loaded:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v324/mlsa3/IMG_0001-2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v324/mlsa3/IMG_0002-2.jpg

I have all of my camp dishes, barbque grill, charcol, lights, stove, 2 self inflating mats, two sleeping bags, two chairs, tent, floor for the tent to sit on, cooking utensils, food, etc....enough to camp and be comfortable.
 
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