INTRODUCTION


Below you can find a list of my key camping gear along with my thoughts from using them day in, day out. These items makes up an important part of my gear so I have put a lot of thought into what works for me. Below you can find the gear that came out of that process.

That being said, I am always on the hunt for new gear to try and improve my ride. If you have come across anything that you think raises the bar, let me know in the comments below.

A full list of all my gear can be found by clicking here.

If you found the gear journals / lists useful, a free way to support this site and my travels is to use the amazon links on this website. I receive a few pennies on the dollar of your amazon purchase (at no extra cost to you) which go toward buying my next bag of oats :)


GEAR


1.  Tent

Brand: Hilleberg

Name: Nammatj 2 Person

Link: Click Here

The Good

  • 4 season tent capable of carrying you through almost any environment
  • Ventilation windows at an equal height on each side of the tent allow air to pass through
  • Washing line to dry and air clothes out at the end of each day (very helpful!)
  • Roll up front door allows for maximum ventilation on the hot days and nights
  • Strong zips mean you don't have to worry about them breaking or jamming
  • When fully staked, the tent can withstand incredible wind speeds (Iceland is the worst I have encountered and the tent was floorless)
  • Inner and outer tent pitch at the same time so no risk of water getting in as you pitch it
  • Inner tent has a thin mesh door along with a thick one allowing for ventilation while keeping insects out
  • Strong material greatly reduces the chances of any tears (especially important when pitching with no ground sheet)
  • Front vestibule able to be pitched over the bike to help secure the bike when camping in areas where theft is of concern
  • Two side pockets at the entrance to help with organisation
  • Green colour greatly helps with stealth camping

The Bad

  • Heavier than other lighter 3 season tents which would be suitable for the majority of weather conditions
  • With the tent being a tunnel design, pitching on hard surfaces (e.g. cement) is not possible
  • The tent can become a sauna on a hot day with no breeze (even when all doors open)

Would I recommend? Without a doubt!!!

Spending almost every night in my tent, I'd have to say this small pitched space is about as close to home as I get. I spent many many hours researching and asking for advice and eventually landed on the Hilleberg Nammatj. Have pitched it in all kinds of conditions from hot summer days to ferocious winds in Iceland, I'd have to reclassify camping with this tent as 'Glamping' (that being 'glamour camping'). The tent has performed far above my expectations and I expect to carry this thing all the way around the world.

In terms of pitching, I have read a number of solo bikers say they opt for a 1 man tent as it's easier to find flat ground to pitch it on. I have found this not to be an issue with this tent - the way I see it, you need the same area as the one man tent to actually sleep on. If you have a big bump in the floor next to you or one vestibule can't be pegged fully out due to trees it's no big deal. I have even found a large bump next to you can be a great natural table to sit your laptop or food on. Bonus!

Ventilation varies greatly depending on the doors you have open and the weather conditions. Firstly, I must say the options for ventilation on this tent are second to none. With the windows on each end lining up + the door open, you can get a serious air flow through this tent. As expected, with everything closed it will hold the most heat but of course condensation becomes a serious issue. The sweet spot I have found is to have both windows fully open on the outer tent, the door open (weather permitting) and just the mesh doors closed on the inner tent. You'll get maximum airflow (helping greatly air out your clothes each day) while still keeping those evil bugs out.

One thing I will mention, and this goes for all my gear but especially the tent, is that I take great care in looking after it. You should too. If you get the good gear expect to empty your pockets so in my mind it makes sense to look after it. Hopefully I'll be the guy who in 10 years proudly proclaims my Hilleberg still works (almost) as well as it did when I bought it. I have read reviews like that. Great care involves the full life cycle of your tent:

  • Pitching it - make sure there are no sharp rocks/sticks that can puncture a hole and keep it out of the sun
  • Using it - make sure you keep the zips off the ground and free of any dirt and ESPECIALLY sand
  • Packing it - do your best to pack it dry or dry it out as soon as you can

2. Sleeping Mat

Brand: Exped

Name: Down Mat 9

Link: Click Here

The Good

  • Comfortable and on the large side, reaching from my head to my feet (I'm 183cm / 6 foot)
  • Incredibly warm, with minimal cold creep up from the snow / ground
  • Able to quickly inflate using the pump bag with no risk of moisture inside the mat that can freeze at night
  • Compresses down to fit comfortably in my Revelate Saltyroll

The Bad

  • Very warm bed that holds heat so expect to sweat in hotter climates
  • The pump bag does take some practice to fill the mat efficiently
  • Sand and grit can compromise the air seal of the mat

Would I recommend? happily!

The Exped Down Mat was purchased to replace the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite which I had carried through Central America. The XLite held up incredibly well, it packs down tiny and is something I would use again for a 3 season trip. I however was looking for a 4 season mat and landed on the Exped mat. Despite being heavier and bulkier than the XLite, I'm surprised how little extra bulk and weight can transform a mat from suitable for a cool night to the go-to mat for temperatures as low as -38C / -36.7F (according to the Exped website). I'm headed for some pretty cold regions this winter so I'll be sure to update this section with how it held up.

In terms of comfort, I'd say the Exped is above the XLite however the main determinate I find with mat comfort is the pressure you fill it to. The trick is to not fill it fully but till it's almost full with a bit of give. I then press on the bed and let out little bits of air till it's just right. Think of it as the difference between lying on a hard floor (the mat fully inflated), a hard bed (the bed full with a bit of give) and a soft bed (the bed full with a bit of give and then a little more air let out). Tinker with it for a few nights till you have it just right for you.


3. Sleeping Bag

Brand: Feather Friends

Name: Ibis EX 0 Sleeping Bag

Link: Click Here

The Good

  • Incredibly warm with a rating to -18C / 0F
  • Wide around the shoulders so it doesn't feel restrictive to movement and you can happily layer up
  • Compresses down in a compression sack to sit comfortably on the Revelate Terrapin Holster / Terrapin Drybag
  • Ability to hook feet cavity under your sleeping mat to keep your feet warm and unsure the bag doesn't move at night

The Bad

  • Bulkier than my lighter quilt for 3 season riding but as bulky as you would expect a sleeping bag with sub zero temperature ratings
  • Slight smell despite putting it through the washing machine

Would I recommend? For sure!

Having the Feather Friends Flicker 20 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag for 3 season use and the Peregrine EX -25 Sleeping Bag for the dark, dark depths of winter, I carry with me the Ibis EX 0 for 4 season use where it doesn't fall too far below zero. Firstly, in regards to the Flicker 20 UL -  is a mighty fine quilt, keeping you warm on reasonably cold nights (-10C / 14F was the coldest night I have used it with light layering). It packs down super small and the ability for it to zip totally open makes it a great 3 season item.

The Ibis EX 0 to date has sit comfortably on my bike in a 20L Sea-to-Summit Compression Dry Sack and kept me well above what I need to stay warm, especially partnered with the Exped Down Mat. The ability to hook the foot pocket under the down mat I have found very handy; when you're too hot you can throw the sleeping bag off but it never moves to far away as the foot pocket works as an anchor.

When partnering the sleeping bag with my silk sleeping liner, I have found a hot pocket of air is held within the liner and a second within the sleeping bag. Loose the sleeping bag and you still have the sleeping liner hot pocket. Team up the sleeping bag and silk liner with a few layers and you have a sleeping system that can carry you through some pretty horrendous winter nights.


Interested in more Gear Articles? Check out the latest below:


If you found the gear journals / lists useful, a free way to support this site and my travels is to use the amazon links on this website. I receive a few pennies on the dollar of your amazon purchase (at no extra cost to you) which go toward buying my next bag of oats :)

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