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The Campsite

The Campsite could be a hidden field,  a desolate beach, a mountain top or a plain old caravan park. All have been known to be frequented.

 

The individuals campsite set up has become a bit of a firm discussion favourite with L.O.S.T riders. At the campsite you get to chill out, warm up and chew some fat each night before eventually (very drunk) retiring to your canvass covered pit. It is also the place where all the crap you have been lugging about gets a chance to be lauded to your peers. Many of the L.O.S.T 'gadget offs' have happened at the first nights stop and is a chance for the guys to pimp their often ridiculous and very recently purchased new essential camp aid.

 

Campsite comfort is definitely a must. Dry, warm, and comfortable are essential and not just in June. The gear the guys take out nowadays is invariably 4 season stuff. This means we can camp in comfort throughout the year.

 

The following key areas are here for fun but remember quality camping kit lasts and works, everything else is a waste of money and can potentially spoil or shorten your enjoyment at anytime of the year...lol

 

Tents

 

Tents can be bought relatively cheaply nowadays but like all things you get what you pay for. The majority of cheap offerings available from the likes of Argos or Asda etc (maybe even Proper Job!) offer nothing more than a warm weather shelter. They do not repell rain of any significance and there is nothing worse than getting wet in your sleeping bag and having to live in it for a another couple of days... 

 

Packed size is often a factor when choosing a Tent but don't be put off by a slightly larger size if its going to do the job required of it  A twin skinned tent i.e. separate flysheet is the best arrangement as this adds a substantial extra barrier to penetrating rain and is also warmer to boot. Normally, a one or two man tent is fine and breaking a two man tent into parts if you are going to share later is a great way of spreading the load. 

 

Check that your tent has all the parts before you set off (Russell). Pinching everyones tent pegs or poles is frowned upon even if funny in the morning. 

 

Ive had my one-man 'Terra Nova' tent for over twenty years and it is still in as good condition today as the day I bought it. No leaks and all original parts. It may have been a little costly to start out with but it has paid for itself ten fold to date. 

 

 

Roll-mats

 

An only ok sleeping bag can often be saved by having a good quality roll-matt underneath it. You lose more body heat through the floor than through anywhere else.  Don't skimp on 'R' rating and get one that works to at -5'c at a minimum.

 

A variety of bed mats are available to choose from and getting a balance of good warmth , comfort , size, weight and cost is not an easy balance to achieve, but do select one that meets your needs in this order (and this applies also to buying a Sleeping bag).

Warmth is always the critical factor to consider first. I'd much more prefer to be uncomfortable and warm over comfortable but freezing my knacks off. Comfort is quite a personal taste thing so try out a mat if you can before choosing but some mats do take a while to reveal their weaknesses. The packed size of a roll mat is important to me. Luggage space is limited on a scoot and some of the inflatable beasties can be huge. Keeping size and ultimately the overall weight down is certainly important if you want to maintain good handling out on the road.  

 

Ranging from basic foam 'scout' type mats through self inflating and insulated varieties and into the full on inflatable matrimonial mattresses  (Mr Steve Moody) The choice is enormous . Be warned that the larger does not always mean warmer. comfortable yes but warm, no. the large inflatable types can be cold as the air in them does nothing to insulate from the cold floor and just instead becomes a large icecube. Similarly, the thin foam types can also be cold through a lack of thickness and bony elbows. The best mat I have used over some thirty years of winter camping has been The Thermarest inflatable variety.

 

That said, I have finally succumb to the need for both maxed out comfort and warmth so went for the Down filled 'ExPED' inflatable mat. Awesome design, uber warm and and just perfect comfort. It is expensive though but if cared for will last 10 years easily.

 

Sleeping Bags

 

In my opinion, the best bags are down filled. Ive had a few true 4 season extreme synthetic bags in the past and they are warm but they are also massive and therefore not great for carrying. An equivalent performing Down-filled bag would be half the size and weight and that is a lot when space is at a premium.  That said, Down bags do need to be cared for so If you are a 'throw the scoot in the garage and leave your luggage on your scoot for three weeks after a trip' type then they are not for you. The latest Down-filled bags have started using Hydrophobic Duck Down that is water repellent to some extent. Combined with a waterproof outer shell they are now a lot better at keeping the damp out.

 

The modern synthetic-filled bags have begun to be more competitive in the weight and size stakes and both Rab and Mountain Equipment do excellently performing 4 season synthetic bags that aren't the size of your scoot when packed. 

 

When choosing a Sleeping bag . Look for the 'Comfort' temp rating. Do not look at the 'Extreme' or 'Comfort limit' ratings. Extreme means the temp at which it can no longer prevent Hypothermia. Who wants to get close to that??  The Comfort limit rating is the temp at which you will feel cold.  Whereas the 'Comfort' rating is the temperature at which you will experience maximum insulation and comfort that the bag can offer. Get as low a 'Comfort' rating that you can afford. A good 4 season bag needs to be comfortable at a minimum of -5'c and this will keep you warm in the harshest of UK weather.  

 

I prefer to use a 4 season bag all year round. I will unzip or use as a blanket in the summer when its warm but in the Winter I can survive an extended stay in the cold and remain toasty without the need for packing liners or extra clothes. 

 

 

Personal Essentials

 

Its simple, a torch and a bog roll will do it .. nothing else will be essential...

 

 

Cooking gear 

 

Bring a Mug, Tea and coffee is a constant necessitity, I always take a small MSR stove that works on a multitude of fuels if needs be. Quick and light. A simple Kettle or Stainless mug will suffice. Its surpising how many peeps actually got a little stove knocked away in the panniers. 

 

If your running gas stoves? remember they so freeze up.. We experienced this at the last Icilces Challenge. Saying that I was too cold to be bothered to get mine out of the pack. Stoves are good.

 

 

Eating utensils

 

A spoon, A knife and a fork is just handy

 

Media and Music

Phones and Speakers are the order of the day 

 

 

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