Tuesday, 9 November 2010

You will need... pt.1

Salaries are annoying. They clutter up your bank account and raise the expectations of friends and loved ones alike. Your best bet is to treat your salary as a sort of financial 'hot potato' and move it along as fast as possible, to let someone else worry about.

What better way to do this than to invest in some high tech biking and camping gear? Don't let the protests of your significant other put you off, after all, these aren't just expensive toys, this stuff is bona-fide 'survival equipment' and as such no expense should be spared.

(For a handy guide to further excuses, check out the excellent 'Fat Cyclist')

Part 1. The tent.

Aha, the tent. Your home away from home for the days and weeks ahead. Or, alternatively, a fragile liability that you pack in your bag every morning after spending another night fending off vermin in some desolate bothy. Your choice.

There are several key decisions you have to make before buying one, however I just went for 'lightest' and let all other factors go hang. Therefore, for expert advice I'd maybe suggest visiting a shop.

So with all that tedious deliberating over with, let me introduce the Terra Nova Laser Comp, my faithful companion over the last three years.

Lets cut straight to the chase. This tent is light. Sub 1 kilo light. And thats a tent with enough space for you and all your soggy luggage. Its also double skin, so you don't end up competely soaked with condensation the next morning, and yet it stays relatively warm on cold nights.

It achieves this weight by, amongst other things, only using one aluminium pole (and two very short carbon fibre ones). It also comes supplied with a packet of bright orange titanium toothpicks, which on closer inspection turn out to be the pegs.

It pitches easily, and surprisingly quickly, no matter how tired, wet or wretched you are at the end of the day.

The downsides? I've never quite grown to trust the tent in bad (read: windy) weather. Its never actually failed me, and I could undoubtedly pitch it better than I usually do, but none-the-less, windy nights are generally restless nights, listening to the tent flap around and watching the single pole deform itself into strange new shapes under the force of relatively light winds.

Over-all though, I love this tent. It is a ticket to recklessly optimistic route planning, and the key to needlessly convoluted trips into the hills.


  1. I live in urban, wintry Canada so your descriptions of your excursions into the Highlands come as a welcome relief. I enjoy your accounts of life on a bike in Scotland and look forward to more.

  2. Why a tent and not just a bivvy and tarp?

    Just wondering - tried a few nights in a hammock on an on/off-road tour in Perthshire this year and enjoyed the extra space that a tarp offered.

  3. Yeah, they all look like good options, when I started all I knew was 'tent' so thats what I bought, and it was too much of an investment to discard when I read about other alternatives!

    However, would you really want to do upwards of 7 or 8 days riding by yourself with just a bivvy bag? Sometimes I like to shut out the rain and midgies and read a book, or look over maps.

    Conversely, the last trip I did (to be written up eventually) featured about 10 bothies, 3 hostels, and one B&B, so I could easily have left the tent at home and just bivvied. Still, its nice to be prepared for all eventualities!

  4. OK, as I've lost my password and it transpires that Google's security questions are tougher than those on my online banking, I have started a new blog based very closely on this one over at http://bigplansweecountry.blogspot.ca.

    Thanks for reading.