First Bike/Bivvy excursion…. thoughts and questions

  • This topic has 22 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by  stooo.
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  • First Bike/Bivvy excursion…. thoughts and questions
  • stooo
    Member

    With last nights lovely clear sky and full moon, I decided to test out the newly built singular swift for it’s intended purpose… a spot of bike and bivvy, in the hills of tweed valley.

    I loaded up with my collection bivvy kit (see below) and headed off out in the dark, leaving behind two sleeping children and a rather bemused wife (thinks I’m mad).

    Kit selection:
    Singular Swift, rigid, 1×10 with 30t chainring.
    Saddle pack containing:
    JetBoil
    Down Jacket
    Wooly beanie
    mug
    sachet of hot choc
    pot of porridge mix (just add water)
    Mini hip flask containing a couple of wee drams of speyside malt
    Mountain Equipment Bivvy Bag
    Thermarest super light weight inflatable mattress

    I’ve got a Montane primaloft sleeping bag, in a dry sac, but couldn’t find a sensible way to strap it to the bars without it interfeering with brake hoses and leavers, or rubbing on the front tyre…. so it ended up in the back pack, with my extra water (along with a bottle on the bike) and spare tube and pump etc.

    Once I’d pedalled a suitable distance from civilisation and climbed a nice hill to find a lovely quiet spot, with no light polution and only the occasional owl for company, I settle down for the night. I inflated the thermarest and tucked myself up in my sleeping bag and bivvy, wearing my merino base layer, wooly hat, my winter bib tights, merino socks and my lightweight down jacket.

    The moon was so bright and the sky so clear that no head torch was required and I brewd up a mug of hot chocolate, topped up with some whiskey, before settling back to watch the stars through the little peek hole in my bivvy while I fell asleep.

    I slept pretty well, though woke a few times in the night with very cold feet, which I discovered the following morning may have had something to do with the heavy frost that seemed to have formed mostly on the feet end of the bivvy. The next morning, I rose to a damp mist across the valley, frosty ground and a slightly damp feeling bivvy… though my primaloft bag was still lovely and snug inside, which meant that my down jacket was too.

    What I learned…
    Jetboils are awesome
    whiskey helps you sleep (though I knew that already)
    Primaloft bags are definitely the way to go
    My feet get really cold
    I should take a bag to put my kit in overnight to keep it dry
    I love my Singular Swift

    What I’d like to learn…
    How do you sort out strapping stuff (sleeping bag?) to your bars without it interfeering with cables and hoses?
    How do you keep your feet warm?

    scotroutes
    Member

    How do you sort out strapping stuff (sleeping bag?) to your bars without it interfeering with cables and hoses?

    There are a number of “harness” type solutions from the likes of Revelate and Windcat. these often incorporate some sort of spacer. Hone grown solutions include threading the straps through a little piece of plastic pipe (creating a sort of “figure of eight” with the strap). However, for many folk it remains a bit of an issue and you may have to fiddle around with lever angles, maybe accepting something that’s less than otherwise perfect.

    How do you keep your feet warm?

    Socks? Take a pair of thick, dry socks and change into them. The ones you rode with were probably already damp. Also, check that your feet aren’t off the end of the mat. This happens with shorter mats and if you slide down a lot.

    Congratulations on getting out though. That’s a lot more important than prevaricating over what’s the best kit!

    madxela
    Member

    Wildcat or Alpkit bikepacking handlebar mounts (holders?) for drybags, also seatpost mounts for smaller drybags.

    then you can lug lots of bulky stuff no problem.

    I have metal hoses, so to stop these chafing the back of the fabric holders I wrap these in cut up innertube.

    You are inspiring me to do a winter bivvy 🙂

    billyboy
    Member

    The Revelate Harness bar luggage system is really good for tying stuff to your bars. I use it with one of their dry bags. I can get my tent, sleep matt, and sleeping bag in mine with some room left over. I’ve done about 300 to 400 off road miles in The Highlands with it this year and it sits there very solidly over rough terrain and you don’t really notice it. The only very slight issue I had was the bit of foam that stops the bag abraiding on the frame. It wasn’t big enough so I made a bigger one They are expensive…but they are usually available…..and they do work.

    jamcorse
    Member

    The bar storage thing has been troubling me too. Commercially available stuff is expensive, I’m thinking of a design involving plastic pipes and pipe fittings to create the spacer and attachment point to the handlebars, has anyone tried this?

    ivnickkate
    Member

    Well done it was a chilly night. 🙂

    Trimix
    Member

    I dont bother strapping anything to the bars. All my kit squashes down into a large camel back. Which still has a bladder and trail tools in.

    My Alpkit down bag, thermorest and bivi bag all fit in. Its light enough you dont notice it, so no need to put stuff on the bars.

    But do sleep in a different top to the one I rode in so the sweat doesnt make me damp and cold, dry socks as well.

    Friend Stu has some info on his site, he has an epic bivvy ride planned for next year get training

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    I’ve got 2 of the Wildcat bar harnesses, I had one for a year then got another for my wife’s bike. They work really well and seem to last. They’re worth getting if you plan on doing it quite regularly. The improvised methods are absolutely fine if it’s a once or twice a year thing.

    stooo
    Member

    I definitely want to get a few trips in next year… Including some big ones. I just put my name down for the cairngorm loop next May.

    I had everything covered with my back pack and seat pack last night, but don’t really want to ride with much in my back for really long days in the saddle.

    Any opinions on the alpkit harness. Vs the wildcat one?

    steezysix
    Member

    To keep your feet warm, take a 1l nalgene bottle and fill it with really hot water just before you go to sleep. Tuck in between your thighs (not your feet) and you’ll be toasty warm. You might need to reheat in the wee hours as it cools, but it means you’ll have non-frozen water to hand on a chilly morning!

    stooo
    Member

    Steezysix… That sounds genius! Must warm your blood on the way down, yes?

    steezysix
    Member

    @stooo – yeah, works really well to keep the whole lower half warm, way better than just warming the feet!

    There is quite a lot of interesting stuff on the BEAR BONES website. Well worth a look

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    Tried bikepacking with just the rucksack and it was OK for one night but I preffered getting weight onto the bike and as low down as possible for longer trips. Less ass pounding and better centre of gravity. The funny thing is after a few minutes I don’t find stuff on the bike if it’s secure makes riding technical stuff any harder. This was the set up for the last big trip:

    Edit: that’s a tent for two strapped to a Salsa cage on the bike, normally I wouldn’t have that.

    stumpytrek
    Member

    I find an Alpkit dual airlock sits nicely on the bars. Good tip I learnt is to put your bag and mat in your bivvy bag and roll them up then put in dry bag before heading out. Saves some faff and it its raining keeps the bag dryer when setting up for the night.

    bones
    Member

    Enjoyed reading that, stooo, cheers.
    Your kit will develop as you go. I generally like to pack as light/little as possible, but don’t mind discomfort.
    One thing I’ll always take, is whisky. Even after a day’s trudging through clarts, it will always lift your spirit.

    noltae
    Member

    Cold feet – My solution is a combination of heat holder socks with Western Mountaineering down booties – had to take booties off the other night as feet got too warm – and that was on a particularly grizzly night on Skye … Talcum powder helps with clammy feet also as sweaty feet can get colder quicker .. PHD booties also look good ….
    .

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Well done.
    Wish I was as brave.
    Maybe it’s time to man up… 🙂

    stooo
    Member

    I have to admit, cold as it was, it was a thoroughly lovely and calming experience.

    postierich
    Member

    Hoping to get out this winter just waiting for my Alpkit Bivvy bag to come back fro having a zip added!

    stooo
    Member

    A zip?
    Where are you putting the zip? Why are you adding a zip?

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