BEST GEAR FOR BIKEPACKING

ARE YOU THINK­ING OF HEAD­ING OUT FOR AN OVERNIGHT BIKEPACKING TRIP? HERE’S A LOOK AT A FEW KEY ITEMS WE USED ON A RE­CENT TRIP NEAR CRAIGIEBURN, NEW ZEA­LAND.

Australian Mountain Bike - - Front Page - ES­CAPIST SHEL­TER 3m x 3m – 440g WORDS: RYAN WALSCH IMAGES: TIM BARDSLEY-SMITH

One of our favourite pieces of equip­ment was the Es­capist shel­ter. An ul­tra­light 3m x 3m tarp weigh­ing only 440g in­clud­ing 6 guy lines that shel­ters 2 peo­ple and gear with ease. In a pinch and pend­ing how the tarp was erected, more peo­ple could take refuge un­der it. What we didn’t know be­fore us­ing it was how well it’s made and re­in­forced at the 8 tie out points with a rub­berised wa­ter­proof fab­ric called Hy­palon. All of which are de­signed for a ski/ trekking pole to lo­cate neatly into it, we had trees but a stick cut to length would have been ideal. We set our Es­capist Tarp up in an A frame con­fig­u­ra­tion be­tween two trees and used the Es­capist bug net un­der­neath. The bug net con­sists of an ul­tra­light wa­ter­proof tent foot­print and mesh up­per that hooks up into the Es­capist tarp from the un­der­side. The in­stal­la­tion process has been well thought out and can all be car­ried out from un­der­neath the Tarp. As ev­ery­thing is ac­ces­si­ble from the un­der­side, we could ad­just the guy lines from the shel­ter of the tarp and then set our­selves up as the weather cleared. As night falls and the camp fire fi­nally starts to burn at the wet wood we col­lect, we no­tice that the guy lines are re­flect­ing the light. Su­per sim­ple fea­tures like this that save a blind stum­ble in the woods is what we like. SPARK SPII SLEEP­ING BAG $449 2 degrees Celsius – 464g Reg­u­lar <183cm The Spark SPII hails from Sea to Sum­mit’s light­est range of sleep­ing bags and is aimed at the min­i­mal­ist trav­eller who re­quires light weight, low vol­ume and warmth, yes you can have all three. To be hon­est, when we pulled the stuff sack con­tain­ing the Spark SPII out of the box, we didn’t re­alise it con­tained a sleep­ing bag. The stuff sack packs down to the size of a small tin of pineap­ple rings and was so small Sea to Sum­mit needed to de­sign a new style of com­pres­sion sack to ac­com­mo­date. The reg­u­lar length bag suits peo­ple up to 183cm and weighs in at a scant 464g. The whole line of Ul­tra­light sleep­ing bags built around the ul­ti­mate weight/warmth ra­tio us­ing mi­cro light fab­rics and pre­mium UL­TRA-DRY treated 850+ loft goose down to re­pel mois­ture that of­ten are not good for down bags. A form fit­ting mummy de­sign with full hood, foot box and a 1/3 zip there is nowhere the cool air can get in. We tested the bag right down to its temperature limit, and with socks and an un­der­shirt we were just on the com­fort­able limit, so yes the rating is quite ac­cu­rate. To get the most out of any sleep­ing bag we highly rec­om­mend a liner, silk liner prefer­ably. Not only do they add com­fort and warmth, but mois­ture

wick­ing keeping you com­fort­able while keeping dam­ag­ing mois­ture out of the down it­self. Small mea­sures like this will en­sure your gear per­forms at its best for many years. We would rec­om­mend the Spark range for any­one who wants to travel light, has limited space and wants the best warmth to weight ra­tio. A must have for bike-pack­ing, cy­cle tour­ing and overnight camp­ing ad­ven­tures. UL­TRA­LIGHT IN­SU­LATED SLEEP­ING MAT $189 – size reg­u­lar – 480g 183cm x 55cm x 5cm Get­ting a good sleep is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially af­ter spend­ing a long day in the sad­dle and need­ing to back­ing it up day af­ter day. The Ul­tra­light range shares tech­nolo­gies with con­ven­tional mat­tresses us­ing air sprung cells to keep you sup­ported. As there are so many cells, your weight is sup­ported across more sur­face area than a baf­fle style sleep­ing mat. We had the in­su­lated ver­sion that adds a layer of Exkin Plat­inum met­al­ized fab­ric to re­flect body heat back to­wards the body and a layer of THERMOLITE in­su­la­tion in­side the cells The per­fect shape to in­sert into a bivvy bag and of­fer­ing an ex­tremely com­fort­able plat­form to sleep upon, we highly rec­om­mend in­vest­ing in a qual­ity Ul­tra­light In­su­lated mat­tress when be­ing fresh the next day is paramount.

SEA TO SUM­MIT X-SET COL­LAPSI­BLE COOK SETS. X-set 21: $94.95

Re­mem­ber the sil­i­cone bak­ing trays mum has, imag­ine if they con­certi­naed down near flat and had a hard an­odised aluminium bot­tom so you could use them on a stove. The X-sets vary in pot size vol­ume and how many peo­ple you are cater­ing for in camp, we had the X-Set 21 on test as we only needed to boil wa­ter for our freeze dried Back Coun­try Cui­sine meals and stove top cof­fee ma­chine in the morn­ing. The 1.4litre pot sat neatly onto our Soto light­weight burner and boiled eas­ily in 4 or 5 mins with thanks to the se­cure lid. Hav­ing a cook­ing pot, bowl and mug around camp that takes up this lit­tle room is a god send when try­ing to ef­fi­ciently heat wa­ter and warm the weary body af­ter a long day in the sad­dle. No more dan­gling metal mugs off the sad­dle bag needed. UL­TRA­LIGHT HAM­MOCK - $139 – 155g Straps $29.95 The Ul­tra­light Ham­mock packs up into an ex­tremely com­pact stuff sack around the size of a tin of baked beans but weighs on half as much, even with the straps and tree protectors we had on test. The strap and ten­sioner sys­tem is the neat­est and quick­est to setup we have seen mak­ing this an easy item to string up and take a breather, we set ours up for a cof­fee at sun­rise and had it ready be­fore the wa­ter boiled. Quick Con­nect buck­les and hard­ware are crafted from air­craft grade alu­minum and snap to­gether very se­curely. Sleep­ing in a Ham­mock is not for ev­ery­one, how­ever when setup cor­rectly it can be a great way to re­duce bulky camp­ing equip­ment and keep dry. We would rec­om­mend that sleep­ing in ham­mocks be a 2 sea­son ven­ture as there is no in­su­la­tion un­der­neath you un­less you lug ad­di­tional equip­ment along with you. Sea to Sum­mit of­fer Tree pro­tec­tor straps, tarps and gear sling ac­ces­sories along with their Pro Ham­mocks which would be a more com­fort­able sleep­ing ham­mock should you de­cide to go down this path. Avail­able in sin­gle and XL sizes Sea to Sum­mit has cer­tainly crafted the light­est ham­mock we have seen and you can take the Ul­tra­light ham­mock as an emergency form of sleep sys­tem in warmer ar­eas or as a nov­elty for read­ing, hav­ing a few cold ones or tak­ing in breath­tak­ing views while re­lax­ing. Fur­ther de­tails: seato­sum­mit.com

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