How to Bikepack on a Budget: Full Bivy Kit Under £ 100


[Updated 04.01.2022]

Bikepacking is a great inexpensive way to have an adventurous vacation or vacation without having to travel very far from home, but the initial investment for a proper bikepacking kit can be expensive if you just want to give it a try. However, it is possible to get everything you need to bivouac and transport your entire kit for under £ 100 if you know a few tips and tricks …

While having a sophisticated setup with lightweight frame bags, tents, tarps and all the other kits you might pair with the bikepacking ‘gear’ littering Instagram is certainly an option, it’s easy to forget that bikepacking it’s just about carrying the things you need to be able to ride somewhere, sleep at night and then ride in the morning, keeping you fed and warm throughout.

The list of basic and economical bikepacking kits

If you are new to bikepacking, you are unlikely to embark on a multi-day epic in uninhabited areas or in bad weather. If you’re reasonable, you’ll pick a few days with good weather in a location that feels remote without necessarily being remote – meaning you don’t need extreme kit levels.

We’ll break this guide down into simple sections for sleeping, eating, and transporting your kit.

Cheap sleeping kit for bikepacking

Sleeping outside is what makes bikepacking; waking up somewhere that you can only access on your own, away from anyone else is quite a special experience. It can also be quite unpleasant if you get it wrong; being cold, wet and lacking sleep will not leave you with fond memories of your adventure.

Essentially, you need to stay warm with a sleeping bag, dry off with a bivy bag or tarp, and be comfortable with a sleeping mat. It’s possible to spend an absolute fortune on high-level gear here (and this is probably the area for you) but luckily, for budget-conscious bikepackers, there is another group of users left behind. outdoors in all conditions and likes to get rid of his old gear at cut prices – the army!

Yes, the army’s surplus equipment is your best friend here. It’s cheap, easy to find, and performs well, although it’s usually not lightweight. There are different grades of surplus kit; new and unused, issued but with very light use and ultimately obviously used. We would go for the middle of these from a price / performance standpoint, but it’s a good idea to go to the store in person and inspect what you’re getting as it can vary wildly.

While a premium bivy bag can cost hundreds of pounds, a surplus British Army bag – made entirely of breathable Gore-Texno less – will cost around £ 30-40. Make sure to inspect the seams on the inside of the bag to see if there is any duct tape coming in and look good for any holes. Even when traveling in hot, dry weather, putting a bivy bag under your groundsheet and your pack will also reduce how soggy you are with morning dew.

It’s a similar story with sleeping bags – a three season bag will cost around £ 20-40 – but it’s worth being a little more demanding here as military bags can be quite heavy. If you sleep outside in the summer you don’t need a hot, bulky bag – a cheap £ 35 item will do. We have had good experiences with cheaper bags from brands such as Snugpak. Look at the weight and comfort temperature when making your choice – and make sure it comes with a decent storage bag so you can keep it as low as possible.

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Alpkit has a very good range of affordable sleeping mats – and other outdoor equipment – but the army surplus will often have even cheaper choices for around £ 20. We would always go for an inflatable mat on the foam rollers – they are more comfortable and much easier to store on your bike or bag.

If the weather seems a bit lacking, a tarp is also a good thing to have. Once again, the military surplus returns with the classic basha poncho. This is a nifty kit that can be used as a waterproof poncho to cover yourself or your kit, with a hole for the head and a hood in the middle.

They are square in shape and also have eyelets on the edges, so you can use the hood drawstring to tie up the head hole and then use it as a waterproof groundsheet or tarp. Again, it’s not the lightest compared to a premium tarp but they’re cheap – around £ 20 – and efficient.

Cheap ways to eat and cook while riding a bike

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Cooking a meal before bed or having a beer in the morning is the quintessential image of bikepacking, so obviously you will need a stove and kitchen equipment at a minimum? No so. All this is expensive and takes up a lot of space and weight, which is the enemy of the budget bikepacker.

If you’re planning your route so that you can grab a meal (and a pint) in a pub the evening before heading to your sleeping spot, then do so. The same goes for your breakfast – having a great coffee and breakfast in a cafe means you don’t need to lug around an extra kit, which will make your life a lot easier.

That said, if your planned route doesn’t allow you to do this, try to keep things as minimal as possible. MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Stove is an affordable, lightweight and functional kit, but there are counterfeit models for even less than the asking price of £ 35 for one, while a mini gas cylinder costs around five cents.

For cooking, army bowls are very inexpensive – £ 5 – made of lightweight aluminum and fit together so you can fill them with the stove and gas as well as food and other stuff. pieces and bobs. Don’t be tempted by Hexi solid fuel military stoves – apart from being a fire hazard with the potential to burn the ground you use them on, they are dirty and inefficient.

For cutlery, take a spoon – and only take food that can be eaten with a spoon. Just use one in your kitchen – titanium cutlery is barely any lighter, so there’s no point unless you really, really want to save around 20g.

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Anything that involves adding boiling water to something else is a great start to food – couscous, noodles, or pasta in a packet all have a healthy dose of carbs and are all much cheaper than meals. in a bag.

Make sure to take single-serve salt and pepper from the next gas station you visit to season things – the same goes for UHT milk cartons if you like a little in your tea or coffee. We always have instant coffee and leave the Aeropress / espresso maker at home, unless you’re the type that can’t live without the fancy bean juice in the morning. Having less weight to carry will be much nicer than just one brew that you could later drink in a cafe.

Make sure you take plenty of water – you’ll really need it for cooking, cleaning, and drinking, especially in hot weather. Fill your water bottles and / or hydration pack bladder whenever possible. Trying to get your water from wild springs is a bad idea, unless you are in an uninhabited place and can filter and boil it before you use it. Agricultural runoff can pollute water that looks perfectly fine – you probably don’t have enough toilet paper to cope with the results.

Inexpensive ways to transport your bikepacking kit

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While a fancy frame bag made from lightweight ripstop sailcloth will do the job of carrying all the kit you need, the humble backpack will do the job as well and you probably have one somewhere, this which makes it a good option of choice which is free or very inexpensive.

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The downside to a backpack is that if it’s heavily loaded, it will be sweaty and uncomfortable, which is why it’s best to try and fit as many bulky things as possible on your frame. Lidl made some really inexpensive bike bags and Planet-X and others have a cheap but sufficiently functional kit, but just tying your kit to the bike is also quite effective.

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Most sleeping bags have a storage bag, so put it in, wrap your bivy bag and sleeping mat around, then use straps to secure it to your handlebars – making sure you don’t bend or jam cables. It might not be as safe as the right stuff, but it will work.

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It is also possible to wrap items like your bivy bag or sleeping mat around the top tube if the frame design allows it. Polaris makes good inexpensive hook-and-loop straps (£ 7 for a pack) which are very versatile in securing things that way.

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If you can fit most of the bulk on the bike, a small bag should be enough to carry a change of clothes, tools, and food. Even if the weather is nice, we still think you have to take a good raincoat and a few extra insulating layers because it is often quite cold in the middle of the night. It is often a good idea to put the kit in dry bags in case of unexpected rain.

So there you have it: a solid bikepacking setup including a sleeping bag, bivy bag and most of the other things you need to get out into the wild and sleep comfortably for around £ 100.

Bikepacking doesn’t have to be an epic human-landscape struggle – it can just be a cheap and really nice way to take two or more small rides into one big one with camping. wild in the middle. You also don’t need fancy, lightweight equipment or specialized gear to try out – just the absolute minimum of money and equipment.

Finally, always remember to leave your campsite exactly as you found it – if you took something with you, take it out – and it’s also worth pointing out that wild camping is technically illegal in most of the country. UK, unless you have permission from the owner. Oh yeah, don’t forget to have as much fun as possible – now get out there and have some adventures!

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Wiley C. Thompson