Question: What is your strategy for finding a place to sleep at night? What are your requirements for a good place to camp?
Bicycle travel and camping go hand in hand. You often find yourself in between towns with no option but to sleep with the trees. Being prepared for this means that camping out does not have to mean ‘roughing it’ and the less hassle it is, the more you are likely to do it and the more money you will save.
Free camping also means that to avoid unwanted attention you must make your camp well hidden. Avoid setting up camp in those popular road side rest areas as these are busy during the night with passing traffic and the bush land around them is often littered with human excrement.
If you are travelling in an area where there are trees and forests, I cannot recommend a hammock based camping setup highly enough. An example of this is the Hennessy Hammock. Being up off the ground means you dont have to pick a perfectly flat spot like you do with a tent. It allows you to push into a patch of trees, string up and be hidden from passers by. Often it is difficult to find somewhere cleared for a tent while still being hidden from prying eyes. With a hammock, once you have pushed in a few meters into the trees, you become invisible.
If it is cold, remember to lay down something insulating underneath your body in the hammock otherwise you do loose a lot of warmth. The best insulating mattress I have come across is an Exped Down Mat that inflates with a built in pump. I cringe every time I see a traveller with one of those big foam insulating pads strapped to the outside of their pack. With the exped air mat you get more comfort than a foam pad, less bulk and just as much insulation. The added bonus to having one with a Hammock is that if there are no trees around, you can sleep on the ground and use your hammock as a bivy.
A hammock with its rain cover weighs only 1 or 2 kilograms, so is ideally suited to bicycle travel. For my up-comming round the world trip, I plan to combine the convenience of a hammock with the versatility of a tent and carry both, but for shorter trips it is better to choose which suits overall and go with that.
Luke is travels around the world on a bicycle, if his information helps you in any way and you would like to donate to his trip, you can do so by clicking on the donate button in the sidebar.