Solo Campsite Routine

The routine I set up for camping on a solo bike tour works really well, but it’s awfully complicated. Partly for reference, and partly to amuse myself, I wrote the whole thing down here!

Setting up the campsite:

  • Unhook the luggage straps that hold the backpack in place, and stow them.  (Left rear pouch.)  Move the backpack out of the way so you can open the large rear panniers.  (If the ground is dirty, place it on the seat of the bike.)
  • Open the tent pannier. (Right side, rear.)
  • Unclip the bag of tent stakes from the tent sack and stuff all the stakes in your pocket.  Leave the tent stake bag in the pannier.
  • Open the tent sack, and pull out the tent.  Leave the sack in the pannier.
  • Place the rolled-up tent on the ground a few feet in front of where you want your head to go, and unroll it.
  • If the ground is hard, get out the bike lock (Underside pocket, tent pannier.)
  • Drive in the lead stake. (The one on a guyline that goes near your head.)  Use the bike lock as a hammer if you need to.
  • Drive in the stakes to the left and right of that one, slightly less than full tautness.  (They will go taut then you drive in the remaining two.)
  • Close both valves on the tent.
  • Fetch the pump from the tent bag and inflate the tent, then place the pump back in the bag.  This should take about 90 seconds.
  • Drive in the remaining two stakes for the tent, then reposition the middle two if necessary.
  • Unzip the right-hand tent door. (The one that isn’t under the bike covering.)
  • Open the sleeping bag pannier and pull out the sleeping bag, and fling it into the tent.
  • Take the empty pee bottle out of the tent pannier, and throw it into the tent.
  • Remove the compression sack with the pillow (underside, sleeping bag pannier) and throw it into the tent.
  • If it’s not raining, take any computer or camera items you want out of the front bags and place them in the tent.  (Usually the white cable sack and spare battery at least.)
  • Zip up the tent again, temporarily.
  • If you plan to be here a while and explore on foot, fetch your off-bike shoes (underside, sleeping bag pannier) and place them in the right-hand alcove.
  • Place the backpack in the left-hand alcove (below the bike covering.)
  • Open the front right-side pocket and pull out your water sack.  Place it in the left-hand alcove.
  • Position the bike next to the tent, on the left side, with the pedals facing the head of the tent, as close as possible, and kickstand it.
  • Turn the cranks so the left pedal is facing up and out.
  • Take off your helmet and hang it from the handlebars.
  • Remove the GPS tracker and phone, and the spare battery if you were using it.
  • If there is appreciable wind, use a guyline from the stakes bag and stake down the bike, by running a cable from the stem around the seat and down away from the tent.
  • Fold the bike cover over the bike and use the remaining stakes to secure it.
  • If you got the lock out, place it in the alcove.

If you plan to cook, fetch the stove from the front right-side mesh pocket and place it in the right-side alcove.

If you have access to hot water, now is a good time to fill your thermos if you have it, for washing in the morning.

Setting up inside the tent:

  • Jump around a bit to dislodge water if necessary.
  • Unzip the tent.
  • Sit down across the threshold of the door with your butt inside and your feet facing out.
  • Remove your sandals, then rain hood, then jacket, then rain pants, then rain socks, and place them in a stack in the alcove outside the door.
  • Pull your legs inside and zip up the door.
  • Unzip the other door to gain access to the backpack and bike.
  • Open the backpack and pull out the laundry sacks:  Sleep gear, shirts, sweater, underwear and socks, etc.  Line them up against the back of the tent, with the sleeping bag in front.
  • Position the spigot of the water sack so it hangs inside the tent door, then zip up the door around it to hold it in place.
  • Get out the speakers and iPod nano, and hook them around the gear loft.

Setting up for bed:

  • Get the LED candle out of the yellow sack, turn it on, and place it up in the gear loft.
  • Take out the toiletries zipper bag and place it in one of the wall pockets.
  • Take our the sleep mask and earplugs bag, and your mouth insert, and place them in another wall pocket.
  • Pull the sleeping bag out of its cloth sack and set the sack aside.
  • Kneel with the sleeping bag where your head will go, and unroll it towards the back.
  • Close up the “deflate” valve and open the “inflate” valve.
  • Get the pump out of the yellow bag and inflate the bed.  Replace the pump.
  • Open the compression sack with the pillow and pull it out.  Punch it a few times and put it inside the sleeping bag.
  • If it’s going to be a very cold night, take all your electronics and put them into the sweater sack, then shove it down into the foot of the sleeping bag.
  • If not:  Take your bag of cables, your phone, the GPS tracker, and the spare battery and start charging things in one of the wall pockets.
  • Change into your sleeping outfit from the yellow sack:  Long johns, long-sleeve wool shirt, toe socks.  If it’s going to be a cold night, put the wool hat on.
  • If you have a hand towel in the laundry sack, pull it out and place it in a wall pocket.
  • Shove your remaining laundry sacks, plus your sweater, into the cloth sleeping bag sack, making a large side-pillow.
  • Get in the sleeping bag.

You should now have the following items close at hand, and will only need to reach an arm partway out of the sleeping bag to get them:

  • Sleep mask.
  • Earplugs.
  • LED candle.
  • iPod nano playing music.
  • Phone.
  • Water drinking tube.
  • Toothbrush.
  • Towel.
  • Sleep apnea jaw insert.

Waking up:

  • Stow the mouth insert, earplugs, and sleep mask.
  • Play some nice morning music.
  • Climb out on top of the sleeping bag and open the valve to deflate it.
  • Unzip the tent to lean out into the alcove, and wash your face with the washrag, mirror, and hot water.  Aaah!
  • Brush your teeth if you like.
  • Stuff the pillow back into its compression sack and seal it.
  • Flatten out and roll up the sleeping bag, then dump everything out of the cloth sleeping bag sack and push the sleeping bag back into it.
  • Stow the candle, mouth insert, toiletries bag, and sleep mask pouch in the yellow sack.
  • Change clothes, and put the sleeping outfit back in the yellow sack.
  • Go about your morning business.  (Breakfast? Showers? Water refill?)

Repacking inside the tent:

  • Switch off, detach, and bag the speakers.
  • Repack all your wires into the white zipper pouch.
  • Place all the laundry sacks back in the backpack.
  • Put on your rain gear in the doorway (if needed) and exit the tent.

Repacking outside:

  • Empty your gross pee bottle.  Find a toilet or a nearby bush.
  • Unstake the bicycle cover and lift it up.
  • Move the bicycle away from the tent and kickstand it again.
  • Clip the phone and GPS to the bike.
  • Fetch the bike lock from the alcove (if you got it out to drive stakes) and stow it.
  • Pull the packed sleeping back out of the tent and stuff it into its pannier, then clip it closed.
  • Re-stow the other items in and around the tent:  Water sack, stove, off-bike shoes, pillow sack, etc., until the tent is empty.
  • If it’s raining, make sure the rain cover is on the backpack, then move it from the alcove onto the seat of the bike.
  • Wipe any debris out of the tent and zip it closed, including the alcoves.
  • Open up the valves and let the tent deflate while it’s still staked down.
  • Pull up all the stakes and put them back in the stake bag.
  • Fold the tent sides inward, then roll it up from the feet to the head, driving out the air.  Wipe the underside as you go, if you need to.
  • Jam the rolled up tent inside the tent pannier and close it.
  • Clip the tent stakes back onto the tent pannier.
  • Place the tent back into its pannier.  Make sure the pump and pee bottle are in there with it.
  • Place the backpack on the rear of the bike and strap it down.

Off you go for another day of riding!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *