Bikepacking – Tarp or Tent?

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  • Bikepacking – Tarp or Tent?
  • jonm81
    Member

    At the end of the month I am doing a 4 day bike packing trip from Maidstone to Poole.  I have both a light weight one man tent and a tarp.  I’ll be staying in either camp sites or official bivi spots.

    The big question is which one do I take: Tarp or Tent?

    STW – Help me decide!

    lotto
    Member

    Tent for 4 days.

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez
    Subscriber

    Tarp – unless it’s hosing down or blowing a hoolie.

    In this weather, just a bag.

    chevychase
    Member

    I’d take my tent if I was in any way uncertain of the weather I reckon.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    Tent if I’m going to be on a site.

    montgomery
    Member

    What’s an ”official bivi spot’?

    jonm81
    Member

    Looks like the consensus so far is for the tent.

    Montgomery – This is the official bivi / wild camping place on the South Downs Way

    https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way/accommodation/high-titten-wild-camping-plot

    Biking with too much stuff/weight is no fun.

    Bugs at night are no fun either.

    I normally take my tent.

    TheBrick
    Member

    What’s an ”official bivi spot’?

    One where you are hounded out for not having a bivi card?

    Premier Icon kiwicraig
    Subscriber
    whitestone
    Member

    campsite without toilet != wild camping 🙂

    If you are using campsites then I’d use the tent.

    CraigW
    Member

    Looks like that “wild camping site” has a shed, so you could use that to shelter under as required. eg for cooking.

    For that sort of site, I would just take a bivvy bag, no tarp.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    campsite without toilet != wild camping

    Indeed, I’d be concerned about the amount of shit in the area and just pitch somewhere else (not too close)

    philjunior
    Member

    If it’s a site, I would take a tent as there’s a lot more chance of insect fun. Particularly if you have a lightweight tent already.

    jonm81
    Member

    Yeah, wild camping is a bit of a stretch hence describing it as an official bivi.

    The tent only weighs 1kg so will take that I think.  The tarp is lighter but I don’t really fancy being eaten alive by insects.

    Depends on the weather.

    Cold and dry -tent

    Wet – carefully chosen spot for bivi + tarp

    Warm and dry – just bivi bag.

    The problem with a tent is you don’t actually get much useful space in them. But they’re not really that much heavier either (maybe +500g, the weight of a small bottle of water). But it is warmer when its below zero. The downside is my bivi bag is waterproof but the tent like most tents let’s water through if you lean on the sides (impossible to avoid in a 1 man tent).

    whitestone
    Member

    In the tarp vs tent debate there’s the usual fixation on weight but there’s also effective usable space to consider.

    We’ve a Terra Nova Lasercomp, it weighs 900g and is at best a 1 man tent but you can squeeze two inside if they are good friend or are married. If you do that you can’t use inflatable sleeping mats as they take up too much space and the walls of the tent start to hem you in – it’s bad enough just one person when using an inflatable mat.

    Compare with something like the Alpkit Rig7, weighs 550g but add poles and pegs and you are looking at 700g. There’s actually masses of room for two and with a bit of careful pitching you could get three under it. If it was midgey then our bivy bags which have built-in anti-midge panels are 170g so that’s 1040g.

    For 140g extra the tarp is much more usable, particularly for two people. It and the bivy bags take up about the same space as the Lasercomp (I’ve not done a direct comparison.) If I was on my own then the tent becomes a valid option.

    Mounty_73
    Member

    I have gone from a tent to a hooped bivi bag, to a bivi bag and now I am going back to a tent…..I do love the bivi, but I never seem to get any decent sleep….for 4 days of uncertain weather, I would go with the tent option.

    fergal
    Member

    Not sure what the midgies are like around the M25, but for Scotland it is a no brainer.

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    4 days? Including campsites?

    tent.

    and I have a bivvy bag/tarp, single skin tent (Lunar Solo) and 2 tents to choose from.

    tent.

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