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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Choosing a Lightweight Cycle Touring and Bikepacking Tent

By Talyn Williams
17, May, 2010

bikepacking tent

Weight vs comfort. It's all relative and it all depends on the adventure.

We've put this guide together to help you decide which bikepacking tent is right for you.

Deciding exactly what to pack for a bikepacking adventure is all part of the excitement. Optimising your cooking setup and analysing your sleep system to save weight and minimise your pack size.

Do you take your full repetoir of camping gear for ultimate cycle touring comfort? Or do you go minimalist and ultralightweight for off the beaten track and off-grid bikepacking?

Chances are your bike is going to be between 9-13kg, with a sweet spot for the rest of your gear coming in at 5-10kg, any more and you're probably over doing it.

The decision on what to take, and which tent to pack, ultimately comes down to the rider (or riders), and the length of the adventure. So let's get started...

In This Guide:

  • Ultralight Bikepacking and Wild Camping

    • Weight Saving Tips

    • Bivvy Bags, Hammocks and Tarps

      • Kloke

      • Hunka and Hunka XL

      • Mora

      • Rig Tarps

    • One Person Bikepacking Tent

      • Soloist

    • Ultralight Tents for More Than One

      • Ordos 2/3

  • Bikepacking and Cycle Touring Tents

    • Versatile and Lightweight Tents

      • Tetri

      • Jaran 2/3

    • Spacious Cycle Touring Tents

      • Viso 2/3

Ultralight Bikepacking and Wild Camping

Getting away from the roads often means a night in the wild. If that's the case, get prepared for wild camping by thinking about what else you might need. We recommend taking loo roll for a night in nature.

Unpaved and less travelled paths make for slow going in any case. Try keeping your kit to a minimum and, as a general rule, the shorter the bikepacking trip, the lighter your rig can be.

With some practice and fine tuning, you should be able to get all your kit (including the bike) under 18kg, with experts riding events like the Welsh Ride Thing often coming in at around 15kg.

- Weight Saving Tips

  • Choose a lightweight bike frame - there's an 830g difference between a medium Transmitter and Transmitter Carbon frame

  • Use lighter bike luggage - you could save up to 150g by using the UL-R range rather than VX21

  • Pre-cook and vac-pac your food - this could prevent the need for 300g of cooking equipment (a tip learnt from our own IT guru James)

  • Minimise baselayers - one set for on the bike, one set for off the bike. The weight savings here could be endless

  • Ultralight sleep system - If it's just you, there's around a 600g saving by going for a lightweight bivvy and tarp over the Soloist one person tent

- Bivvy Bags, Hammocks and Tarps

Often a popular choice for the fast and light setup, bivvy bags or hammocks coupled with a tarp offer the greatest weight savings and the lightest shelter at just 565g (not including pegs or para-cord).

There are still options though...

Kloke Bivvy Bag

  • Price - £119.00

  • Weight - 265g

  • Fabric - 3-layer waterproof 7d nylon

  • Packed size - ⌀ 20 x 12 cm

Hunka (Hunka XL) Bivvy Bag

  • Price - £47.00 (£64.00)

  • Weight - from 330g (490g)

  • Fabric - 2.5 layer waterproof Ripstop nylon

  • Packed size - ⌀ 13 x 15 cm (⌀ 16 x 23 cm)

Mora Hammock

  • Price - £35.00

  • Weight - 515g (including tree straps)

  • Fabric - 20d nylon

  • Packed size - ⌀ 7 x 16 cm  

There's so much you can do with a tarp. Whether you're bikepacking alone or with friends, you can configure a tarp in a multitude of ways to suit the ground, surroundings and weather. 

Rig 3.5 One Person Tarp

  • Price - £59.00

  • Weight - 300g

  • Stuffed size - 8 x 10 x 14 cm

  • Open dimensions - 2.4 m x 1.4 m

Rig 7 Two-Three Person Tarp

  • Price - £99.00

  • Weight - 550g

  • Stuffed size - 8 x 18 x 18 cm

  • Open dimensions - 2.4 m x 2.8 m

- Soloist One Person Bikepacking Tent

At 1.2kg it's not the lightest option, but the Soloist offers a great deal of benefits for the added weight. If you're wild camping and the weather has turned, you're going to get a much comfier sleep, and being well rested could mean covering more ground the following day.

Easy to pitch with enough space inside to sit up makes the Soloist an easy choice for comfortable and lightweight bikepacking. Splitting the weight across your bike will also help you feel more stable whilst riding.

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