Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bicycle Lean-To Shelter

I usually camp early or late in the season. This bike camping trip is going to be among the hottest camping trips I've gone on, period. We're also going to be on bicycles.  My parents live very close to the route, and I've arranged for dad to be on standby to provide SAG, water, an air-conditioned vehicle, or anything else we may need in the case of some emergency. All of the folks who are apparently still in for this weekend can do this. They've ridden in heat like this before. That said, they aren't riding fully loaded bikes, and they usually have an air-conditioned home to look forward to at the end of the trip. Here, we're just going to have more heat, sun, and EVEN MOAR HEAT.

My usual backpacking tent is a junior dome tent my grandmother got me more than half my life ago. I just never grew to 6 feet in height, so I can fit in it with most of my gear very comfortably. It's got a ventilated top and a ventilated door, but they don't do very good at keeping the air moving. When it's above 80 degrees overnight (like it will likely be for a good part of the night Saturday into Sunday), the thing feels like a sauna. I contemplated using a hammock and mosquito net for this trip, but trees are kind of sparse near the campsite, bug screens are expensive and I would have to buy one. I'm looking for something lightweight that will give me some shade during the day, cover from rainfall if it rains at night, and mostly something that has lots of airflow for sleeping under.

I'm going to improvise.

I have a few rain ponchos that came equipped with brass grommets at the corners. They were $5 or so: cheaper than good silicone-impregnated nylon ponchos and better than those "trash bag" ponchos you find for $2 each at the sporting goods stores.

With 2 ropes, 2 bungees, 4 tent stakes (simulated by heavy objects on my patio), a bicycle and a poncho, I made a lean-to shelter that should give me shade in the day, rain cover (just in case) and a pack weight of way under 1 pound. Well, except for the bicycle part. The edges can be brought down to ground-level to form a back wall/roof and two enclosed sides, with a little finagling. I have two identical ponchos like this, which can also be used together. That obviously takes up more pack space.
Mockup: Bicycle / Poncho Lean-To Shelter

Mockup: Bicycle / Poncho Lean-To Shelter

I'm still debating whether or not I'll use this setup with my bedroll on bare ground or just go with the tried and true dome tent I've always used. Part of me likes having a shelter that keeps the creepy crawlies away, but it's likely going to be roasty no matter how we camp.

1 comment:

Josh Mitchell said...

Hey, at least bring the tarp . poncho... if you can make it work, great. If not, you've got the dome as backup... I may grab one of my tarps / ponchos and see how it lays over the Madsen...

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