Tent, Sleeping Bag & Compact Air Mattress Advice

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by twr1776, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. ineptizoid

    ineptizoid I'm scared hold me

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    +1K on the good advice already given:
    1) Yer gonna want a 2-man tent, lotsa good options here
    2) The self-inflating air mattresses are worth their weight in gold if you want a good night's sleep (I love my Thermarest)
    3) Make sure yer bag is rated well below the coldest temps you'll be camping in

    I started my motorcycle camping adventures only knowing about #3. I woulda had more fun and slept a lot better if I had known about the first 2...live and learn, I suppose.
    #21
  2. S-TrackJunkie

    S-TrackJunkie Knee Down!

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    Another Big Agnes faithful here! I love their stuff, and their customer service is second to none, ask me how I know! I have an Elk Park -20*/Dual Core BA pad, and a Walrus 2 person tent. If I wanted to get even smaller, I have a single pole bivy that packs very small, but it's small, and I only use it for back packing.

    Great advice on the bag temp rating. What people tend to think is the rating is comfort at that rating...it's not! It means you will survive, but you wont be sleeping! You will be a cold SOB at the temp rating of your bag! I plan on a 15* Big Agnes bag in the near future, as the -20* rarely even gets zipped! LOL!!
    #22
  3. twr1776

    twr1776 "Mr Awesome"

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    Thanks for the replies, looks like a consensus on the Big Agnes products. A two man tent so you can store your gear next to you is what I will be looking for.
    #23
  4. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

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    I had a Eureka Timberline for over 20 years. Alaska to Guatemala and moto camping. It sucked and leaked, there were holes in the floor, holes in the net; it was old.

    [​IMG]




    Just a few thoughts on tents. Do you want to be able to sit up inside and even nearly stand up? I have a $8 dollar 3-legged stool that I can sit on inside my tent. Do you need a free standing tent versus one that requires stakes. Star gazing? Are the tent poles too long to fit in a bag or a pannier? Does the tent have a vestibule which is good to store muddy boots and wet crap. Is weight a real consideration? A four pound tent is not as roomy/comfortable as a bigger and maybe more accommodating/versatile, yet heavier. If you back pack and camp then a smaller and more lighter tent maybe a better fit. What bike will you be using? On my KLR I carry whatever I want within reason (beer). My DRZ requires smaller and less crap.

    North Face, Marmot, Kelty, Big Agnes, Eureka and a host of others will serve you well. IMHO Big Agnes is excellent customer service, innovative and very techy. But also pretty high end $$$.

    Lastly, there is a mentality to buy up. Get a tent and then realize you want something different. Then you buy again and again. I love these folks as I buy at a major discount -used- from those guys. Then there is the mentality that this is the tent forever, spend the money up front and buy a tent that will exceed your expectations. Or is this a tent one you will use a few times per year? And of course the most important consideration besides price is how does it look? If the color/design does not appeal to you, then you will never 'love' it. Cruise eBay and Amazon as well as this flea market for great deals. Good luck.
    #24
  5. S-TrackJunkie

    S-TrackJunkie Knee Down!

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    Does the dog mind the compression bag? LOL!!:wink:
    #25
  6. RZRob

    RZRob Long timer

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    I use the MSR Hubba Hubba 2-man tent because it's light. I STRONGLY recommend the LuxuryLite cot personally instead of a pad as in my situation, the pad was too big. The cot works better. The pic below includes the pad which took up way too much space. The cot rolls up to about the size of a thermos. Don't forget your JetBoil if your a coffee addict.

    Weight & bulk are definitely NOT your friend.

    RZ Rob

    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. A2OD

    A2OD Adventurer

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    I have two tents I use a north ridge semi geodistic tent which I use whilst biking as can be pitched on hard ground.
    The other is a Vango Banshee 200 which is tiny and used as a very compact alternative but the North ridge sphinx is big enough as well.

    I use a small sleeping bag, it is non branded but if it is in the summer months I just use a sleeping bag liner.

    Sleeping matt I use a self inflating 3/4 matt saves room and keeps you warm/comfy enough as the main part of your body is on the soft part.
    #27
  8. razcob

    razcob Dromedary

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    Whatever tent you buy. BEFORE your trip, hose it down with water to test its water resistance. My friend bought a brand new Big Agnes, and it leaked bad. He exchanged that tent for the same model, and it didn't leak.
    #28
  9. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

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    I don't like cots, 'cause I get cold from the cool air underneath. Even with a sleeping pad, I still notice a difference. I have an Exped Downmat 9, which was the best $189 I ever spent on camping gear. I'm a side sleeper, and I feel just as warm and comfortable on it as I do at home. And they fit in a Big Agnes bag, too.
    #29
  10. LONG DONGER

    LONG DONGER Been here awhile

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    Decision time for me too. I used a Eureka tent on the last trip to AK, worked great, but THINK I need a freestanding tent. Looking at the Kelty Trail Ridge 2, the Eureka Apex 2XT and the Eureka Inntorest 2. Price on the Apex is good, but the tent is heavy. The Inntorest is lighter, but only 40 inches in height inside, but green for stealthiness. Then the Kelty is priced between the two, has a 45 inch height, etc. Just need to see one before I pull the trigger.

    Switched to a Thermarest pad this year. Looking at a new bag, actually had the thought of getting a down comforter to use a bag / cover. But those are about as many $$ as a cheap down bag, if not more

    Anyone have experience with the Kelty tents and down bags? :ear
    #30
  11. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    a big plus 10 on having a dry space for the front of the tent. it helps getting dressed in the morning and a good place to store dirty boots. I use the "porch" for storage for dirty and wet items, plus have cut a blue tarp to size for the door mat so to speak.
    #31
  12. longtallsally

    longtallsally Yeah I'm a chick

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    Some really good input here.

    Personally I'm a Thermarest ultralight sleeper. I love it so much I sleep on it at home sometimes if my back is wonky.

    I use a Marmot Trestles 15 degree bag. I'm sure I've wasted it from washing too much and it's lost a lot of its loft over the years.

    I'm using the ubiquitous Eureka Apex 2 tent. It's been great over the years. having both vestibules is great, it sets up free standing super quick and is just fine I guess.

    Here is something to think about- depending on space constraints and desires: look at a tarp like the one from Kelty. You could make up for a smaller tent with that and even have a garage for the bike.

    Personally here I come into the fray is that I want smaller these days. My bag absolutely squished still takes up half a pannier on the GS, and I'd like something smaller. Is down still the way to go in that regard?

    And on tents, something that is really annoying to me is the packed length of poles. I wish they were shorter.
    #32
  13. dap spackled

    dap spackled Adventurer

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    FWIW check out the Synmat 9 LC mattress. I used to be a Thermarest believer until I ran across this. It is tough, partially self-inflating with a built in pump. Packs very small. To each his own, but this mattress is more comfortable to me than any Thermarest.

    Eureka Apex 3 is my tent of choice ---- if I am staying in the same place for 2 days or more. It gives you the extra space for some gear. For strictly overnight, get the smallest, lightest single man tent you can find. ---- and also carry a bike cover. The cover will protect the bike/gear , and give you the illusion of security.

    I'm still trying to figure out the best sleeping bag. I'm leaving April 1st for Marble Canyon, Arizona for a few days to meet up with friends. The I am off in a north direction toward Moab, Arches and other notable destinations (weather-permitting).
    #33
  14. StrokedNBored

    StrokedNBored Been here awhile

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    #34
  15. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

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    Stick the brands mentioned here, all pretty good choices. Personally I'm a Big Agnes fan (Lost Ranger and Q-Core Pad) - That combination is very comfortable for me. However the Lost Ranger is only good for me to about 40 degrees, anything less and I freeze. Picked up a Mont Bell bag zero degree down bag last year as my cold weather bag. Much nicer, and it uses stretchy thread and fabric so you can kick a leg out or arm out and not be constricted. Nice bag.

    I have an older model MSR tent (Ventana), very much like the MSR Hubba Hubba, which is a great tent. Marmot, Big Anges, North Face etc. all make good tents. REI Half-Dome is nearly as good. Kelty is a little step down in quality in my opinion, as is Eureka. Not as bad as Coleman or walmart tents, but just not as refined as the others. I recommend a Clip In tent (vs. sleeves), 2 man minimum, and a BIG vestible. I have a Big Agnes Fly Creek also, which is great when I want an ultralight set-up, but the small vestibule and smaller footprint are definite drawbacks on longer trips. Being able to get all your gear under the vestibule and still be able to boil some water in it (Jet Boil!) during a rainstorm is really nice.

    Can't wait to go camping! First overnighter is just a month away.
    #35
  16. Yroc

    Yroc Been here awhile

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    What ever you choose, do not buy from REI or any company that actively supports organizations that close areas to off-road access. We are losing trails and roads every year. Just something to consider.
    #36
  17. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

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    I don't buy into the Anti-REI paranoia. Quotes from the dozen of other Anti-REI threads (May only be relative to those of us in the west that actually have wilderness areas)...
    So do you stop buying 2x4s from Weyerhauser when they close a private forest to riders because they are leaving tons of garbage and tear up reprod? If we apply the test of whether or not a business is good for off road riding how far do we take it? There are lots of resource extraction companies (oil, gas, timber, mining) that would love to see off road riding limited as they can get a lot more done when nobody is around to watch or to get in the way of their trucks/equipment. It's not just the Pataguccis of the world that don't like off road riding. Some are just more subtle about it. Every cattleman I know hates us....
    #37
  18. longtallsally

    longtallsally Yeah I'm a chick

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    Everyone hates everyone. Buy the cheapest stuff you can and find another place to ride, but just ride. Moronic political tirades and boycotts are about as pointless as our current gubment anyway.

    My personal experience with REI has been they totally understand the needs of the ADV rider, and I've never once had an ignorant tree hugger type response.

    That said, to get back on track, I never got a response to the question about bags- are the down ones still much smaller than synthetic? I'm really trying to pare down in size...
    #38
  19. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Sally's right on the money with this. My local REI even had me give them an outline for a class specifically tailored to motorcycle campers. They're a retail business before anything else.

    _________

    My wife and I have used Big Agnes product for about 10 years, and we've got nothing but great things to say about them. We did swap our BA sleeping pads for Exped brand pads a couple of years ago, however. The Expeds have larger deflation valves, and ours have built in hand pumps for inflation. It helps speed and simplify the setup'takedown process, and is a real boon if you're only camping one night in any given spot at a time.

    I swapped out my synthetic BA bag for a down bag about 18 months ago, and it's about 30% smaller overall.

    We go through tents fairly frequently, but the suggestions of the REI Half Dome and the Eureka Apex are solid. The Eureka can be had for around $125, while the REI will be nearer to $200. CAn't go wrong either way.
    #39
  20. StrokedNBored

    StrokedNBored Been here awhile

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    Agreed.

    Yes. Down bags still pack smaller than synthetic. High end synthetics are better than they usrd to be. But down is still smaller. See my pic above. That sleeping bag packs to nalgene bottle size. 45 degree though.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
    #40