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BLACKS

Aerolite 1000 Mummy Sleeping Bag

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7 Maps anchor

6 Cooking anchor

5 Mats anchor

4 Racks anchor

1 Bikes anchor

3 Sleeping bags anchor

For the stuff you need for cycle camping.

Bikes

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Well let’s just say that cycle campers and touring cyclists have never had it so good! Yes, the carbon lightweights get all the attention but there's a huge groundswell of robust, practical and good-looking bikes that will carry you and your gear to places and on trips undreamt of by the Sunday morning roadie.

Dawes, that great old workhorse brand, has expanded its range to include 26” wheel touring bikes (the ideal cycle camper) and also offer the Galaxy Cross, a straight bar tourer with disc brakes. Ridgeback have their 26” wheel Expedition steel frame touring bike with 1.75” Marathon tyres - an absolutely ideal long distance camping bike.  

The best place to start in our view is at Evans who hold the largest range but do take a look around as well. Wiggle do the Kona Dew: we’ve included it to show that you can get a cheap practical cycle camper for about £250 - just add racks.

Have fun - those mouth-watering goodies are our reward for decades of scraping the barrel, looking in vain for touring bikes in bike shops. Cycle camping is back!

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Tents

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You need a tent that’s light enough to carry on your bicycle, robust enough to withstand bad weather and roomy enough to be comfortable!  That’s quite a tough list for a small tent!

The ever popular Vango Banshee ticks most of these requirements and you can see it and other lightweight cycle camping tents at Cotswold Outdoor. Click here for their latest offers.

OutdoorgearUK have a comprehensive range of tents including the Terra Nova Laser - expensive but incredibly light for two persons.  

There are sleeping bags to suit every budget from about £25 - £150 (they come even more expensive but you won’t need a Himalayan four season bag for summer camping in the UK!).
Sleeping bags do degrade and compress over time so a new bag is a good investment. And don't forget - you may be spending more time inside your sleeping bag than on your bike!
Two nationally well known shops stand out as good suppliers of sleeping bags - Blacks and Cotswold Outdoor.
We’ve picked out three bags - a really cheap one from Blacks (the Quantum 200 Mummy Sleeping Bag at just £25.00), a medium range three season from Blacks, the Aerolite 1000 Mummy Sleeping Bag and another three season bag from Cotswold the Mountain Equipment Starlight IV.  

Sleeping bags and mats

Cotswold Outdoor

Racks and panniers

Cycle camping means a rack and panniers - everything else is a compromise. Panniers come in different materials and colours but are all basically the same shape. Some are fully waterproof but more expensive. Cheaper ones though can still be robust and you can put your stuff in plastic bags to keep it dry - not a bad thing to do anyway.
Start by sorting out a rear rack. Most panniers will fit on most racks but not all racks will fit on all bikes. A standard rear rack will fit on 700c and 26” wheels but will usually need rack eyes on the frame. £30 is the minimum benchmark figure. The Topeak Super Tourist DX Rack from Chain Reaction Cycles is sturdy, light and practical - notice the “dog’s leg” frame that prevents the panniers from hitting the rear wheel.
Don’t forget that if you have rear disc brakes you will need a rack that fits - the Topeak Super Tourist DX F/Disc Rear Rack from Wiggle is specially made to fit rear discs.
Wiggle and Evans both have a good range of panniers.You could start by having a look at this mid-range set from Wiggle, the Altura Arran 46. - robust, roomy, practical and a deserved best seller.
As you up your price level (and, yes, panniers are quite expensive) you’ll meet the superb Ortlieb Rollers - waterproof, colourful and repairable. Evans stock pretty much the whole Ortlieb range. The Back Roller Classics have been taken all over the world and more than survived.
And finally we’ve highlighted some Altura pannnier covers from Amazon!

What to wear

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Cooking stoves and sets

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You can choose between paper maps or GPS but an ordinary map will still get you through!

Maps, guides and GPS

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You want your bike to be in good order before you set off but you also need to be able to do a few running repairs en route.
Take only a basic toolkit to save weight: this mostly will mean a puncture repair kit and three Allen keys. You can beg or borrow more tools from campsites or ask for help from a bike shop along the way (cyclecamp is encouraging campsites to hold a few cycle tools that can be borrowed).
You’ll very rarely ever be completely stuck - bikes don’t break down in a big way very often. The three most likely problems you might face are a puncture (URGHH! see our resource page on this), a brake or gear cable breaking or losing a spoke from a wheel.
For punctures, take a repair kit, a spare inner tube and a pair of tyre levers. If you know how to use it, a chain link removing tool is worthwhile and a spoke key.
Do take spare brake cables for your bike. Here is a cheap practical one from Chain Reaction Cycles that will get you out of an emergency. It has the correct end for either drop or straight bar levers. (ask in a cycle shop if you’re not sure which) but always have this job done professionally (i.e. in a cycle shop) if you are not absolutely sure how to do it. In any case you may not have the tools to do it easily.
Other jobs on the road might include for example tightening up loose pannier rack bolts or adjusting your saddle height. Both these jobs can be done with your Allen keys. Chain Reaction Cycles has a huge range of spares and tools but Amazon also offers handy inexpensive repair kits - we highlight two of them here.
If you really do get stuck and don't even fancy mending a puncture then you could call out ETA. If you take out their cycle breakdown cover, they will come and pick you and your bike up and take you to the nearest cycle shop or railway station.  

Tools and spares

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Panniers get your gear to your chosen campsite! Some are fully waterproof but more expensive.

Cotswold Outdoor

A tent: light enough to carry on your bicycle, robust enough to withstand bad weather and roomy enough to be comfortable!

Sleeping bags need to be light enough to carry, but warm enough to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.

Take a basic tool kit with you when you go.

For that early morning cuppa, a hearty soup or pasta in the evening and a good night hot choc!

Some clothing is cycling -specific but you can get away with almost any outdoor gear, especially in the summer.


There’s more help on tents in the cyclecamp resource pages

Don’t forget there’s more advice and background information on the Cyclecamp resource page A warm and comfy night.


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Clarks Elite PreLube Universal Inner Brake Wire from Chain Reaction Cycles

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If there is one reason to go cycle camping, it’s to cook on a simple stove in the fresh air or sit on the grass and make your morning cuppa! As a cyclist, you can carry a good stove and cooking pots - you may even end up doing more cooking on tour than you do at home!

There are lots of stoves to choose from: you can start with a simple lightweight gas stove (the mainstay of lightweight campers for years) such as the MSR Pocket Rocket or buy a more sophisticated multi-stove. You won’t have problems finding fuel in the UK but check carefully if going abroad - names of fuels are different in Europe and beyond.

And then there’s the Trangia: in a class of its own, decades old and as reliable and superb as ever. It’s heavy but easy to use and will last for years. There is also the fantastic mini Trangia if cycle camping solo. We’ve picked out Cotswold Outdoor as having the best range of cooking sets. We’ve also picked out four from Amazon. There's huge range of cooking pot sets on the market, from cheap aluminium ones to much more expensive titanium and stainless steel. But even if you don’t want to cook, at least take a simple gas stove and kettle for an emergency cup of tea on a chilly early morning start!

The famous Trangia 27-2 UL from Cotswold Outdoor

It gets cold out of doors at night in the summer. That’s a fact, even in England! So you have to plan for what you might wear on the bike for actual cycling (and that usually means Lycra shorts) and what you put on in the evening. Cycling is a physical activity so it’s best to choose synthetic fibres that will wick away your perspiration. But a cotton tee shirt will really do just as well on a warm day. Rain is the enemy, not because you will get wet, but because it’s hard to keep cool and dry (or warm and dry in the colder months). While woolly jumpers are great at home, they can be too heavy to carry on your bike.

There’s lots of excellent cycle specific clothing to choose from at Evans Cycles and sometimes sales to take advantage of. Look out for a pair Lycra shorts (some are women's specific), and a cycling jersy . For the evenings (and for cold, wet days - yes they also do happen even in the summer!), you’ll need a fleecy top, You‘ve probably got one already but if you need a new one (or just want to treat yourself ) there is an excellent range here at Blacks. There are masses of colours to choose from and you can choose the right weight to layer under your rain jacket. The women's fleeces at Blacks are here.

A rain jacket is essential and it should preferably be cycling-specific - short at the frint, longer at the back. Here are some at Evans starting at around £30.00.  

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Bikes: fast enough to cover the distance, sturdy enough to carry the weight of your gear.

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The ever popular but very efficient Altura Night vision rain jacket from Evans

The ever popular good value Campingaz Twister Plus Stove from OutdoorgearUK.

An excellent lightweight gas stove - the MSR Pocket Rocket from Cotdswold Outdoor

BLACKS

Quantum 200 Mummy Sleeping Bag

Mountain Equipment Starlight IV from Cotswold Outdoor

Thermarest ProLite Regular Mat from Cotswold Outdoor

For a sleeping mat we’ve selected the excellent Thermarest ProLite Regular Mat from Cotswold. There are lots of mats on the market now but this one is a good benchmark.

Shop updated 10.02.16

The excellent 26” Ridgeback Expedition from Evans

The straight bar Kona Dew from Wiggle with rear rack mounts for £260


There’s more help in the cyclecamp resource pages

Terra Nova Laser from

Outdoorgear

Vango Banshee 200 from Cotswold Outdoor

Excellent little tent, robust and lightweight with a bright orange interior. Now reduced from £130 to just £99. Well worth getting this sorted in time for the season. A brilliant and deservedly popular cycle camping tent. Here’s the page link to Cotswold and a video of it being put up.


Product Features

   Weight: 2.25kg

   Packed: 44 x 14 cm

   Pitching Time: 7 min

   TBS II (Tension Band System II)

   All-in-one pitching

   Protex 5000m hexagonal polyester 70D fly

   Powerlite 7001-T6 alloy poles

Free UK delivery


The Vango Banshee 200 from Cotswold Outdoor




There’s more help on racks and panniers in the cyclecamp resource pages

The robust Topeak Super Tourist DX Rack from Chain Reaction Cycles

There’s more help on sleeping bags in the cyclecamp resource pages


The superb Ortlieb Back Roller Classics from Evans Cycles

Altura Rain Covers For 46/50 Litre Panniers (Pair)

Tyre levers from Chain Reaction Cycles

A good quality spoke key from Chain Reaction Cycles

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