“Are you sure you want to wild camp?” I said, “because after a day in the saddle a shower and a supply of drinking water is quite a nice thing to have”.
“I want to wild camp, this is supposed to be an adventure” said Sarah, my wife.
Everyone has a different focus for a cycling trip. It may be distance, it may be about height gained or epic mountain passes. It may simply be about taking the time to immerse yourself in the landscape and the solitude of being out in it. Watching the sun set and rise and taking time to be out there away from all the home comforts and distractions, instead of rushing to get going all the time. I’ll admit it, I have a tendency to put big miles into my cycle touring days, and can sometimes feel pressured to get the miles in. So this was going to be a very different experience for me.
I had this preconceived idea of what bicycle based adventures would be like before I’d even done one. I dreamt of freedom, 100s of miles of beautiful winding back roads and setting up my wild camp as the sun started to set. Before setting off on my first adventure I channeled my enthusiasm into riding a lot, getting fitter; and spent many evenings making my own tent to spend the night in. I wanted to cycle Lands End (South West England) to John O’groats (North East Scotland), and I wanted to do 100 miles a day with wild camping every night (wild camping is not technically legal in England where most of the journey would take place).
I was not adverse to buying a nice lightweight tent, I just couldn’t afford the ones I wanted. All I wanted was a small lightweight tent, something around 1kg. Less material should mean less money, but we all know that’s not how things work; less is often so much more! So whilst I wouldn’t be able to come up with something of professional quality, making it myself would keep it within my tiny budget and I also had a few ideas about saving excess weight, it all made perfect sense at the time. This is the story of the homemade tent, to act as a warning to many and inspiration to the brave – 900 miles with a homemade tent. Continue reading →