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Camping on a bike tour is a great way to stay close to nature. It's a very interesting formula to avoid having to book your stages in advance. Moreover, for rides lasting several weeks or several months, it allows you to keep your accommodation budget under control.

Most cycle campers have mini tents, which are very small in surface area and very low in height. We see them in action at the campsites:

  • Due to the lack of space in the tent their panniers stay outside during the night. So everything gets damp and it's also a safety issue.
  • When the weather is nice their clothes (wet with sweat or rain) dry until the next morning on their bike or on a shrub. But if it rains in the evening and/or at night, they leave the next day wet.
  • While some have mini-seats to eat or read outside when the weather is nice, everyone eats and lives sitting on the ground or on all fours for hours. This is bearable for young people on short trips (1 or 2 weeks maximum).

We are no longer 20 years old and we usually hike for 1 to 2 months. In these conditions it is out of the question to spoil the pleasure by getting up broken and worm-eaten.

So our selection criteria were precise. They are listed at the top of each chapter below: Tent, Mattress, Sleeping bag, Table, Seat.


Selection criteria:

  • To have a sufficiently large and high living room area for:
    • Live properly in the tent on days when you stop if it rains. So to be able to stand upright and put Helinox chairs and table in the tent for eat or read… no life on all fours.
    • To put the bikes inside (security for the night).
    • To dry clothes out of the weather.
  • Chamber part for 4. This way we can sleep in it as a couple and have the space to put our unpacked belongings in a dry place.
  • Correct weight and assembly time.

First we used QUECHUA T4.1
But our 2 hikes in 2014 (where we camped permanently) revealed the VERY BAD QUALITY of this DECATHLON tent.

It became very clear that this is a tent designed to be put up and taken down only a small number of times (once a year?). It didn't stand up to our sixty or so nights in 2014 and therefore almost as much assembly-disassembly. As a consequence, leaks appeared above the room !!!

As very often the CHEAP proves TOO MUCH TOO EXPENSIVE in use since the articles are of poor quality and are not durable. Too often DECATHLON falls into this bad category, we have seen it in use for bicycles, bags, turnbuckles, etc.…

Our new research has enabled us to understand that many touring hikers were fans of the qualities of the brands of the Danish group Oase-Outdoors. Among these we have found our best compromise in the brand Robens.


The tent selected is a ROBENS Midnight Dreamer :

  • Bedroom 215 x 215 cm, living room 4.5 m² with 180 cm high… this is COMFORT.
  • Hydrostatic load 5,000 mm (the best in rain resistance)
  • Stored in a transport bag it measures 64 x 32 x 32 cm.
  • Its weight of 13,4 kg… is very correct for the quality of the fabric concerned. But this weight can easily be reduced a little, see below.

Cyclo camping - Tent Robens Midnight Dreamer   Cyclo camping - Tent Robens Midnight Dreamer - PLAN   Cyclo camping - Tent Robens Midnight Dreamer


  • Door masts are unnecessary (1.4 kg saving)
  • The supplied stakes weighing 1.3 kg can be replaced, in part, by lighter stakes for a gain of 0.5 kg.
  • This reduces the weight of the tent to 11.5 kg.
That's still 0.8 kg more than our previous tent. But our change of equipment such as mattresses and duvets (see chapters below), the fleeces actually allows us to reduce the overall weight of the tent.


The volume of life and take-away weight of the ROBENS may be considered by some to be excessive.

An Internet user, Serge C., sent us a message to thank us for the quality of our site, which he considers "a real gold mine". Beyond this friendly side, he told us that he was "a camper biker at the start and that he also wanted to switch to cycling". He therefore drew our attention to 2 biker tents which are also interesting for us cyclotourists. They are a little less comfortable in size than ours, but they have the immense quality of weighing almost half of them: +/6 kg.

These tent are the MotoTent de LoneRider and Atacama de Redverz.



Retro-reflective shrouds

No matter which tent you choose, you always end up with guy ropes to tension the canvas.

At night, these shrouds are often not very visible to you and others:

  • They can make you croc-in-legs.
  • In a crowded campsite you may have your pitch on the edge of a driveway. In this case, cars coming home at nightfall may drive too close to the guy wires… until they drive over them!
Retro-reflective shrouds

To avoid these inconveniences, there are shrouds incorporating tiny retroreflective ScotchLite type tapes. This makes the shrouds visible as a Christmas tree in the slightest light.

They can be found for example on Aliexpress or Amazon.




Selection criteria:

  • Thick enough to absorb unevenness in the floor.
  • Avoid inflation accessories (weight and dead volume to be transported).
  • Quick to implement.
  • ULTRA-LIGHT to compensate for the weight of the tent.


In 2015, we selected and bought 2 different mattresses (Sir-Madam):

But during our hike in 2019, the EXPED gave up the ghost. This EXPED has longitudinal flanges formed by welding the upper and lower sides. One night, one of these welds began to fail. The next day, under pressure, the entire length of the weld failed. As a result, two flanges became one… so almost twice as thick as the others. This total over-thickness made the mattress unusable. A replacement had to be delivered by super express to the campsite. Due to this defect, we ordered another THERMAREST. We now have the same mattresses.

    • Lightweight and VERY comfortable.
    • L=196 x W=63 x E=6,3cm; Folded 33x11x11cm; Weight 0,650kg
    • Hyper-fast inflation thanks to the optional "NEOAIR PUMP SACK" from Thermarest.


We have achieved a weight reduction of 1.2 kg for both mattresses compared to our previous Mammut D-Lux Pump-Mat..

On the other hand, these THERMAREST mattresses had a major drawback, the absence of a non-return valve. This means that you have to fight desperately every time you inflate the mattress… to avoid deflation.

Winglock Thermarest

At the end of 2020 we saw the presentation of the 2021 models from THERMAREST with FINALLY a 2 position inflation device by turning lever. This is the WINGLOCK-VALVE:

  • Normal inflation position, with ANTI-RETURN VALVE preventing any deflation of the mattress.
  • Deflation position, with the non-return valve blocked open.
  • Video HERE

We hesitated because of the price we had to pay again, even though our current mattresses were not yet worn out. But the advantage of the new device was very tempting. So we started by trying to resell our mattresses… and bingo they went very quickly at a win-win price, for us and the buyer. We were able to buy two THERMAREST NEOAIR XTHERM MAX RWin spring 2021.

We were able to test them during our entire summer hike. It's very convincing. They are really PERFECT. This time the inflation bag is included with the mattress. And this bag is even better. Previously it just slid over the inflation valve with a soft lip… so during inflation it often slipped out of the valve. Now the orifice is not a simple lip, but a hard ring. This ring clips onto the mattress valve. So there are no more problems with the bag. And the WINGLOCK valve is a real wonder. Tip-top!


Domyos Domyos

There are two disadvantages to taking mattresses that are very light in weight:

  • Lower mechanical resistance to any sharp particles in the natural soil.
  • Reduced comfort with regard to soil irregularities (stones, roots, etc.).

All this is very easily circumvented, for less than 10 € and without noticeable overweight, by placing a foldable fitness mat underneath.

Once folded they are very easily stacked together with the room and the floor mats.



Cyclo camping - Sleep bag Wilsa DOWN Ultralite 300

Selection criteria:

  • Warm, breathing.
  • Well wrapped around the head and shoulders, but can be released if it's hot at night.
  • ULTRA LIGHT to compensate for the weight of the tent.

The selected sleeping bag is a Wilsa DOWN Ultralite 300 :

  • Very powerful and VERY pleasant.
  • Folded L=27 x D=13 cm; Weight 0.675 kg
  • Gain of 0.7 kg for the 2 duvets compared to our previous ones (MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT - XERO 550)


Cyclo camping - HELINOX Table One - Dismantled   Cyclo camping - HELINOX Table One - Ready to serve

Until 2013 we hadn't found a camping table suitable for cyclo-camping.

But the release of the HELINOX Table One material conquered us (weight 600g, dimensions L x W x H: 52 x 40 x 40cm unfolded and 40 x 10 x 10cm folded).

Despite its light weight, this table offers a good surface with excellent flatness, even when loaded asymmetrically.



During a cycle ride, at camp or on a picnic, sitting on the ground, legs stretched out or crossed in a suit… the pains come quickly… back or knees.

Fortunately, for us cyclists, there are light solutions to transport and which are impeccable at the camp.

Dinner, breakfast, reading or chatting… everything happens in comfort. They are also perfect for a picnic lunch.


     Cyclo camping - SASHADO - Sitting without a seat

Sitting without a seat and without having a broken back is now possible with a little something that changes everything.

This almost nothing great is the SASHADO strap. It's super.

Under the tent our lounge area is spacious enough to use the Helinox Chair One described above.

However, if we need to sit in the bedroom area then we can do so with these Sashados with the greatest of ease.

So they will be super suitable in all circumstances for anyone camping in a small, low tent, where you can barely sit down.


Cyclo camping - HELINOX Chair One - Démonté   Cyclo camping - HELINOX Chair One - Ready to serve

In 2013 we discovered and adopted these camping chairs HELINOX Chair One (L=35cm, l=10cm, h=12cm, 940gr).

They are of superb quality and VERY comfortable, while weighing a little less than our previous Ergolife.



HELINOX CHAIR ZERO = "zero score" - eliminated

Cyclo camping - Helinox Chair Zero vs One 

In 2019 we bought a HELINOX Chair Zero. It was very tempting, considering the possible weight gain, 510g against 940g for the Chair One. But it was a huge disappointment. It is particularly unstable.

Chair Zero suffered from a huge design error. The distance between the four feet on the ground has been reduced too much. What is technically known as a "sustentation polygon" or "sustentation surface" is thus reduced far too critically. And tilting backwards is unavoidable. On flat, hard ground, not too much of a problem. Everything becomes unbearable in the real outdoors with a loose, uneven, non-flat floor. Backward tilting is guaranteed!

The Helinox Chair One vs. Chair Zero match is final. The Chair Zero model only deserves a "zero score". Note which is by definition eliminatory !!!



Cyclo camping - Siège Ergolife - Replié/déplié   Cyclo camping - Seat Ergolife - Setting the scene

Our previous chairs were ERGOLIFE of Sweden (L=40cm, Diam=10cm, 985gr).

Compared to Helinox they have the disadvantage of being more bulky (folded). Moreover it is more difficult to sit down and get up.




Remember (as long as you can still remember!!!) that aluminum is strongly suspected to be one of the co-factors in the onset and/or development of Alzheimer's disease.

It is a very tempting metal for the camper because of its lightness. But we prefer to carry a little more, but not to harm the proper functioning of our neurons!

Therefore NO food utensils (saucepan, plate, cup, cutlery…) should be made of aluminium. This was a great vogue in the second half of the 20th century. Our parents were fans of it. In the 21st century aluminium is very well recycled… Let's take advantage of it… to the metal recuperator.


The historic French brand is Camping-Gaz. Alas they have not been able to evolve. Their range can only be suitable for campers on fixed sites or itinerant campers in motorized vehicles. It is heavy and unstable. Unstable on natural ground, because the burner is placed on the gas bottle. As a result, the cooking pot is extremely high perched. The whole is therefore very unstable.

The PRIMUS brand is 'THE' reference for cooking stoves for hikers. Lightness, energy efficiency (more heat with less gas), stability on uneven ground. All these qualities are combined with the ETA series stoves.

Cyclo camping - Stove - Adapter Markill An INDISPENSIVE accessory in France: the MARKILL ADAPTER. If you cannot find a PRIMUS cartridge retailer, this adapter can be used to connect a Camping-Gaz cartridge to a PRIMUS cartridge.

What's more, unlike Camping-Gas equipment, with the PRIMUS there is never any gas leakage when the gas cartridge is assembled and disassembled.

We used the EtaPackLite model, and now we have moved on to: PRIMUS ETA SPIDER STOVE SET

  • As the stove is literally "glued" to the floor, stability is totally assured.
  • The Propane-Isobutane-Butane mixture has excellent performance in all weather conditions.
  • The pan has an external bottom with a heat exchanger. The combustion gases do not just lick the bottom of the pan and then escape into the atmosphere. They pass through a metal corrugation welded to the bottom of the pan. This corrugated part therefore serves as an exchanger and recovers a maximum amount of energy.
  • A wind shield prevents the hot gases from being blown away by the wind, and moreover it forms a baffle, forcing the combustion gases to lick the sides of the pan, ensuring even more heat exchange.
  • The extremely short heat-up times prove the reality of the absolutely exceptional heat exchange efficiency.
  • The inside of the pan is no longer coated with Teflon, which is a good thing because of its fragility. The coating is now made of reinforced ceramic.
Cyclo camping - PRIMUS EtaSpiderStoveSet - Composition
In Russian dolls everything fits in the storage bag.
Cyclo camping - PRIMUS EtaSpiderStoveSet en chauffe
Cyclo camping - PRIMUS EtaSpiderStoveSet - Heat exchanger under the pot
The corrugated heat exchanger can be seen below the bottom shield.



Cyclo camping - Insulated mug
What could be more pleasant than a good hot coffee, tea or soup… but it burns your hands. And when the weather is cool… the contents cool down quickly!

The solution: A double-walled, insulated stainless steel drum. You no longer burn yourself and you can slowly savour the contents which remain hot. Choose a model that is not too small, for example 28 cl at Amazon. It remains light (59 g) and compact.




Just bring the power from the bollard to his tent. This is covered on the page Electrical Energy.

Be careful, however, in high season, some campsites reserve their pitches with electricity for caravans and motorhomes!!!

It is interesting to ask them in advance.



WITHOUT TRAILER (on rear bags)


Without a trailer the tent bags are on the rear panniers and the sleeping equipment is placed in the front and/or rear panniers.

See details of the bags on page Luggage Transport.




CAMPING WITHOUT TRAILER : Bags ORTLIEB Rack Pack - For camping : tent, mattress, sleep bags, seats, table

On rainy days, the folded-up tent must not be allowed to wet the inner chamber or the duvets and mattresses.

Therefore everything is divided into 3 bags ORTLIEB RACK-PACK gathered in the trailer:

  • Bag 1 (24 litres): The outer tent (possibly soaked) and the poles.
  • Bag 2 (24 liters): The inner chamber whose plastic floor part may be wet.
  • Bag 3 (89 litres): Mattresses, duvets, chairs and table.



Volume compaction with VELCROS 

To store your belongings do not skimp on the VELCROS to reduce their volume and facilitate their introduction into the bags.

For example for the tent, we separate it into 2 bags. One bag contains the outer canvas and the other bag the room, the under-mattresses and a room entrance mat.

Each content is carefully folded and stacked in sandwich mode before being sautéed with very wide VELCROS (50 mm). This ensures a very high degree of compactness.



Sometimes it's hard to sleep at the campsite… because of the noise.

Noise can have multiple origins:

  • Communication routes (railways, motorways, airports).
  • People chatting loud and clear until late at night.
  • Young and old partying.
  • Children who are screaming and yet are late at night.
  • Clouds of crows in the surrounding trees.
  • Joking bells that continue to ring out the hours and fractions of hours during the night.
  • etc…

To sleep peacefully without having to do the sound police, the best thing to do is to have earplugs.

Many types and brands of earplugs are uncomfortable and/or ineffective.

Ear plugs Chutt'Pocket

IMPORTANT : In order to bear them all night long without them hurting you have to :

  • Roll them between 2 fingers to reduce their diameter over their entire length.
  • Introduce them into the ear
    • Immediately so that they don't grow back.
    • Not too deep so as not to risk touching the eardrum.
  • Keep them roughly centered in the ear canal while they re-expand to prevent them from taking a twisted position that would cause discomfort and then pain.

Les meilleurs bouchons sont ceux en photo ci-contre.

They are sold under several brands (mainly "Chutt'Pocket" and "Nuitol") but they are ALWAYS under the same presentation-drink. Don't be fooled by shopkeepers who try to boast about other supposedly identical products, it's not the case, there are big differences in efficiency and comfort.

They are sold in parapharmacy or on Amazon.




Camp site showers are almost always made up of cubicles separated by thin suspended partitions. Shower water is often collected at one point for a whole series of boxes. This means that a person's dirty water travels from one stall to the next until it reaches the nearest floor drain.

To avoid wading in the (dubious?) juices of certain types of neighbours it is interesting to provide beach flip-flops… thick enough to be high enough above the wandering but nevertheless polluting wave.



The sanitary facilities are sometimes at the other end of the campsite. In case of urgent need during the night, it can be nice to avoid a too big liberating excursion, especially if it rains.

A very comfortable solution is URIBAG.

Exists in 2 versions, female and male.


Update 08/04/2019
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