Jun 04, 2022
In Bike Packing
A few answers to the questions that get asked a lot :) Q. What is fastpacking? A. The objective is to enjoy an overnight mini-adventure. You really don't need to take much with you. It's not about how fast you ride, it's about how quickly you can pack your bag. No-one is timing that, by the way. Q. Do I need a stove? A. If you can live without hot drinks, then no, you don't. Even if you can't live without hot drinks, check if someone is willing to share theirs - you could offer to take something else of equal mass and share that with others. Q. What about cooking? A. Either take stuff you can re-hydrate with hot water, or (preferred) come to the pub/chippy/cafe with the rest of us. Or eat the snacks you brought from home or bought at the shop (You did bring some as a fallback?) Q. Do I need a tent? A. It's the UK, so we think you are going to need some kind of shelter. The absolute minimalist shelter is a bivvybag, just like a breathable waterproof outer layer for your sleeping bag. The simplest of these don't cover your face, so you may wish to get one with a hoop. Do think about whether you are OK with rain on your face, most find it is quite annoying when you are trying to sleep. Q. What is a tarp? A. This is a step up from a bivvybag, and gives the best amount of space for the least weight. It's a waterproof sheet with various lashing points. There are no poles so you improvise a shelter using available things - your bike, a fence, a tree or bushes maybe, then peg out the rest. You do need to know what you are doing with these. You'll need a groundsheet, or a bivvybag, and there's nothing to stop the wind blowing through so they're a bit cooler than a tent - so that's a perfect choice for the summer months then :) Q. OK so now I want a tent and don't want to spend megabucks as I may not like camping? A. We would guide you towards Alpkit. PCC members have used and recommend the £129.99 Soloist which weighs 1.2kg and packs to 12cm x 42cm. The £159.99 Polestar is also in use by a few members. It weighs just 980g and packs to 11cm x 42cm - but does need poles sorting out, so ask Stuart or Neil if you are interested in one of those. Q. Will I be OK with panniers or a backpack? A. You'll be OK with panniers if the route is 'Easy'. They tend to jump around and get snagged on things when the route gets bumpy, and that could destabilise you. Some systems lock on to the carrier very positively and they're much better. If you're used to cycling with a backpack, that might work as an alternative but backpacks tend to compress your breathing. Need I say, it has to be big enough to pack all your kit. Q. Is that all of the FAQs? A. It is for now, we'll update if more questions get asked.