Author Topic: ultralight weight camping for audax  (Read 2634 times)


  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
ultralight weight camping for audax
« on: August 25, 2018, 02:28:02 pm »
I don't do a lot of this but I have at least tried a few different ideas.  Note, this is different to wild camping/bike packing.  I would tend to look for some shelter like a church porch or a garage forecourt.  The general aim is to get 90m of sleep and then go again.

what I've tried

1) don't take anything just sleep in a coat
2) use a silk sleeping bag liner
3) use an army surplus bivvy + self inflating mat
4) use SOL Escape Bivvy + blow up mat

1) is ok but it has to be warm / dry enough.   Also seems too uncomfortable to get more than a few minutes sleep
2) provides a surprising amount of extra warmth.  Used this for sleeping in cafeterias during PBP 2007
3) is too heavy, not particularly warm.  The mat is good though
4) weight wise is pretty good and the SOL Escape Bivvy was warmer than the army surplus one
.  The mat takes longer to inflate /deflate but is much smaller and lighter

you might like to see
Here's a spreadsheet of the various options that could be used.  I've included weights and costs but no score on how warm or water or wind proof things are

other non obvious weirdness
I always wear a buff over my eyes.  If there is no light I go to sleep.  Maybe I am partly parrot
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Oscar's dad

  • aka Septimus Fitzwilliam Beauregard Partridge
Re: ultralight weight camping for audax
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2018, 08:08:17 am »
On the 2014 Flatlands I slept for 2 to 3 hours in a wood south of Goole.  I used a Hunka bivvy, light sleeping bag and mat.  It was my first experience of bivvying and I was amazed I slept as sleeping in anythingiother than perfect conditions is not a talent of mine.


  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: ultralight weight camping for audax
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 08:25:07 am »
I haven't used it strictly for Audax yet but in my bargain basement thread I've got a review of my very light £7 decathlon sleeping bag which paired with my 3/4 length pad would do a Sterling church hall kip job.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:

Ban cars.

Re: ultralight weight camping for audax
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2018, 09:25:58 am »
I'm coming at this from the opposite route as it were as my long distance rides are usually off-road ITTs. A lot depends on how "warm" you sleep, how physically tired you are, how well fed you are, etc., even your state of mind.

In "race"* mode in summer my minimal bivy kit is a SOL Escape bivy combined with a PHD lightweight down jacket (with hood). Total weight of under 500g and takes up about 1.5 times the volume of the packed SOL. Maybe a bit harsh for concrete/stone floors. Next step up in comfort is adding a Klymit Inertia X-Frame torso length inflatable mat at around 170g, the full length is 260g. I'd comfortably get the whole lot in a small saddle bag, 4-5L or so in size.

* My race mode is basically a brisk touring pace but combined with as little faffing and stopping as possible.

Re: ultralight weight camping for audax
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2018, 10:23:02 am »
This is essentially what people do on ultra-races such as TCR

Only time I've slept during an audax is also on Flatlands.  In a bus shelter, I got about 90 minutes in an Alpkit Hunka bivvy with a slik liner and a foil blanket as a grounsheet (concrete floor, no bench).  Also had ultra-light down jacket. 

Normally, ie on TCR, IndyPac, etc, I'd have a sleeping pad as well (instead of foil blanket), but didn't bring it that time as I'd originally planned to ride through.  I've used it a couple of times to sleep before an audax, when I've ridden out overnight from London for Welsh rides.

SOL bivvy is on my list of things to try as would save space vs Alpkit. 
Also should try a modern inflatable mat as upgrade from my £5-eBay-blue-foil-backed-foam-mat-cut-in-half.  Have used the foam mat as puncture proof and to avoid extra faff of morning deflation but people tell me that is not a big issue and they certainly do pack smaller.
Would need more warmth, eg sleeping bag, on colder nights, eg May in Wales.


Re: ultralight weight camping for audax
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2018, 11:32:29 am »
I've yet to find a perfect combination.  The bits I've got fixed are bus shelter or similar (weather/wind protection) + 3/4 length mat (ground insulation and comfort). 

The bits I've not quite nailed is the "enclosure" (found sleeping bag liner too thin and didn't really work with sweaty cycling gear, bag had a similar issue).  I also found a bivvy bag not great, albeit I can see that it might come into it's own if a bus shelter isn't available.

My latest thinking is to try a down quilt (like the Alpkit Cloud Cover) as this seems to balance weight, packsize and comfort.  If anyone has experience of this approach, would be good to read them.

Re: ultralight weight camping for audax
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2018, 01:14:30 pm »
The Cloud Cover was good value when they introduced it at the £50-£60 mark, not so much now.

Fairly common amongst the mountain biking ITT riders is the Cumulus 150 quilt, in fact it's probably the most common bit of summer kit. It's been updated recently from having a sewn-in foot box to one that can be zipped open/shut. I was using mine at the weekend and I was too warm under it! It's fairly light material, I've seen one reviewer complain that it isn't light enough and that Cumulus could save weight using ultra-light fabric, so if you were reasonably sure that you weren't going to be in a breeze or wind then you wouldn't need a cover.

I use mine on its own in summer then in autumn/winter I'll use it as a wrapper around a lightweight PHD sleeping bag. I've been down to -7C in that combo which is good enough for most of the UK in most winters.

It used to be that no-one imported the Cumulus quilts, their bags are sold in the UK under the Criterion label, so you had to order from the continent but now sell them -