It’s funny how something made out of wafer thin nylon can have such a huge impact on your physical and mental well being!
Our tent is always the first piece of camping gear that gets unpacked, erected and the last piece taken down and packed away. Once it’s up and all pegs are in I always feel excited, it’s like we’ve staked our little piece of land and it is as solid as if we’d laid it with bricks. It becomes your haven and home. Once we’re inside at the end of the day, with bellies full, dishes done, evening ablutions attended to, there is a feeling of safety that is quite absurd but very real.
When we got caught in a storm on our first tour and the tent flipped over in the middle of the night I actually felt a bit guilty for having ‘mistreated’ our tent. Of course keeping the inside neat and tidy is a bit of a challenge and requires supreme discipline, otherwise you spend your whole tour ‘looking for things’. I like to have my handle bar bag next to my head at all times, followed closely by my iPad, phone and wifi router. Clothes go to the bottom end. The vestibule is nice and spacious, so as long as everything is in the right pannier there is still enough room to get in and out without tripping over things.
The ‘picking of the tent’ was a piece of cake considering there are so many different ones out there. I knew from the start that space was going to be a big issue. Two man tents are just that, enough room for two men and nothing else. So the choice of a three man tent was a no-brainer. I saw our tent mentioned in Travelling two’s Bike Touring Survival Guide. The fact it came with a front and back door had me at Hello! A quick Google search on Citadel Tent reviews and I was sold. The Macpac Citadel is just the best and I think it’ll last us a long time. You can find out more about our tent here.
Earlier in 2016 Inge decided to give solo bike touring a go. This ofcourse meant that a new, smaller, tent had to be aquired as the 3 man Macpac is way too heavy. After a weekend of researching Inge settled on a two man Vango Banshee tent and footprint, which is a piece of tarpaulin that is the shape of the tent’s ground sheet and vestibule area. It protects the groundsheet from sharp rocks and also keeps the vestibules dirt free. The Vango tent has only been on one trip so far, but the results were pleasing.
Unfortunately, our Macpac tent didn’t come with a footprint. Not to worry, ingenious Inge made one out of weed matting purchased from the local hardware store. It cost less than $10.- and is just the best thing ever. Not only do we use it underneath our tent, it is also used as a picnic rug during lunch.
The other ‘modification’ we made is to swap the thick aluminium tent pegs for super light and strong titanium ones. They look like toothpicks compared to the original ones, but being so thin means that we can leave the tent peg mallet at home.
One other thing that sort of goes with the tent are our two Walkstool camping stools. We decided that, no, we’re not teenagers any more and at the end of the day we don’t want to sit on the ground. So we carry these cool telescopic tripod stools with us. When the legs are retracted the height is perfect for attending to the stove or any other ground level tasks. Yes, it’s probably a ‘luxury’ item but I don’t think I could leave home without it. It certainly looks nice and inviting to have the tent set up with out two stools out the front!
The only problem with these stools is that you are always sitting upright. At the end of the day I just wanted to ‘slouch’ a bit more so recently i bought an Alite Monarch Chair. It has only two legs, so you become part of the chair. It takes no time at all to find the ‘sweet spot’ and then you can rock back and forth or slouch or put your feet up on a ledge. I was surprised how comfortable it is! It also weighs less than the stool, bonus!