Choosing A Tent for Bicycle Touring

93-Hilltop camping.jpgA tent is perhaps the most crucial piece of equipment that the independent bicycle tourist will carry.

It will be your home away from home, a haven from wind, rain and cold temperatures, a key to travelling on a budget and one of the few constants that appears every night as you go from place to place. Choose well and your tent will be your best friend. Pick poorly and it may be the cause of more than a few unprintable words!

There are an overwhelming number of tents to choose from. How to pick? Start by looking for a few crucial features:

  • As lightweight as possible – Tents made for car camping are like big lumps of lead! Try to find a tent that weighs between 2-4kg; towards the lighter end if you’re going solo and a bit more if you’re travelling with a partner.
  • Muted colours – A bright orange tent looks pretty in the shop but it’s hardly ideal when you’re trying to wild camp in the woods. Get something that will blend in with your surroundings. Even if you don’t intend to free camp, you never know when an unexpected rain storm or some other event will change those plans and being as invisible as possible will help ensure you don’t attract attention.
  • Packed Size – Make sure it packs down small enough to fit in your panniers, trailer or across the back luggage rack of your bike.
  • Easy Set-up – If you intend to do any amount of camping, you can be sure there will be at least one day where you’re trying to set your tent up in the dark, in the middle of a gale-force wind or with hordes of mosquitoes attacking every inch of bare flesh. This is not the time to be fiddling with 20 poles and an incomprehensible series of hoops, loops and straps. Get the simplest set-up system possible.

222-Wake up view.jpgEverything else when it comes to tents is really a matter of personal preference and your plans. For camping across the seasons, look seriously at a double-walled tent that will insulate against the cold. For warmer climates, something single-walled and well ventilated will keep you safe from bugs, while still allowing a nice breeze to flow through. Shorter trips probably mean you don’t need as much space, while on extended journeys you’re likely to value the extra room that buying a slightly larger tent brings.

A freestanding tent will let you set the tent up first and stake it out later. It also makes things easier on hard ground but we have found you can set up any tent without pegs by attaching the straps and strings that come with most tents to the rocks, trees and even picnic tables – whatever is in the area.

If you do go with a freestanding tent, don’t be tempted to leave the pegs at home. It might save weight but you never know when a storm will blow through and you need to fully secure your tent. Pegs also tend to bend or break at the most unfortunate times and it’s always best to have a few in reserve.

Here are a few tents that are tried, tested and loved by bike tourers:

Hilleberg Nallo 3GT

Home Sweet HomeOur tent of choice comes from Swedish tent maker Hilleberg. We’ll warn you now, the 2.8kg Nallo 3GT is light in weight but heavy on your wallet. Expect to fork out about $865 for this tent (the one we took on our world tour) but price brings quality and this tent, with its roomy vestibule and separated sleeping area, has never failed us. In 15+ hours of a downpour in New Zealand, we were perfectly dry. In strong winds, our tent gracefully flexed with the gusts, without ever breaking a pole. And, most importantly, we felt the durability of the Nallo 3GT (we slept over 400 nights in our first one and it was still functioning perfectly, if a little thin from UV damage when we replaced it) and the customer service from Hilleberg was top-notch. If you can afford it, you won’t regret this tent for serious expeditions. For solo tourers, Hilleberg also make the 1.5kg Akto.

MSR Hubba Hubba

MSR Hubba Hubba Green For warm-weather trips, this freestanding tent could be an excellent choice for a solo tourer or two very good friends. The MSR Hubba Hubba ($239.93 from REI) has a frame that is based around the inner layer, which means you can leave the fly-sheet off in dry weather for great ventilation and evening star gazing.

At a mere 2kg, it’s hardly going to weigh you down and in 2011 MSR brought out a green model (much better for wild camping than the earlier models, which were bright yellow). The Hubba Hubba is also excellent value: less than half the cost of a Hilleberg. Peter Gostelow is using this tent for his Big Africa Cycle.

Big Agnes Copper Spur

Big Agnes Copper Spur The Big Agnes Copper Spur tent ($499.95 from REI for the 3-person version) has been used and loved by many bike tourists, including Tara & Tyler and Laura & Russ.

It’s roomy and relatively light (2.2kg for the 3-person version). There are also doors on each side, which makes it easy to get in and out, especially if you’re sharing space with someone else.

Tarptent Contrail
tarptentThis tent took top place for solo travellers in Backpacker Magazine’s 2009 buyer’s guide and it’s very hard to find a bad word about it on the web. It weighs in at just 700g, costs a modest $199 and gets almost universal rave reviews. What’s the catch? Some people say it’s prone to condensation and can let in quite a breeze – not a good thing at higher altitudes or in chilly weather. It may also feel a bit cramped if you have to stay in it for a long time in bad weather, but then for the money you’ve saved compared to other tents, you can probably afford a hotel.

Macpac Citadel

Macpac CitadelWe recently had a chance to admire the Macpac Citadel tent that our friends Trevor & Simone are using. They’ve put the tent through its paces during a 2-month trip from Jordan to the Netherlands, and they really like it.

We think it’s neat too. There are 2 entrances to the sleeping area, and 2 porches – a large one for cooking and a smaller one for reading or relaxing. With lots of space, it seems like the perfect tent for couples – and perhaps a rival to our Hilleberg Nallo 3GT.

The photo shows you what the Macpac Citadel looks like when all the doors are closed. You can’t tell in this photo, but there are 2 happy cyclists inside, waiting for the rain to stop!

The cost of the Macpac Citadel is about €600 in Europe, compared to roughly €800 for the Hillberg. It also compares favourably if you’re tall. Andrew (180cm or 5’11”) sometimes finds his feet brushing against the end of the Nallo 3GT, while Trevor is 190cm or 6’3″ but can still stretch out in the Macpac Citadel.

On the downside, the Macpac Citadel weighs 3.4kg – a bit more than the Nallo 3GT (2.9kg). That said, if you value the ability to have your own space (and tent entrance), more than counting every gram, it could be just the ticket.

Here are even more suggestions for a good night’s sleep, from our Twitter followers:

Big Agnes Seedhouse

Christine & I love our Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2. @kentsbike

Big Agnes Seedhouse 2. Easy to pitch, light, and plenty of room for 1. Also a subdued green colour for wild camping. @cycle4india

ENO Hammocks

Our group of five or six uses the @ENOHammocks – with a little rope we have no problem finding trees in the southeast U.S. @Jonahchitty

Macpac Citadel or Macpac Minaret

Macpac Citadel – plenty of space and not heavy. The Minaret is a smaller, lighter 4-season alternative. @Oddcats

MSR Mutha Hubba

MSR Mutha Hubba is a great size for two sharing. But if weather permits I love to sleep outside in a bivvy bag! @tomsbiketrip

Rab Ridge Raider or Hilleberg Akto

Rab Ridge Raider. Light & quick to pitch, but small. If I was camping every night I’d take my Hilleberg Akto.” @Bazzargh

Terra Nova Duolite Tourer

Terra Nova Duolite Tourer is our choice as a cycle touring tent. @Davebikenotes

Vango Tempest 300

Vango Tempest 300. Cheap, ok weight, ok packsize, spacious, porch big enough for a bike with wheels off. @Aegisdesign

Vaude Hogan Ultralight

Vaude Hogan Ultralight. It was my second home during my bike ride. I had to change one zipper, the rest is still great. @Mk4220

Have some thoughts on tents, or maybe a question? Leave a comment!


  1. Becky
    3rd January 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    One feature that I would add is the ability to set it up in a rainstorm without getting the inside of the tent wet! For this reason, we recommend a tent that you clip to poles rather than a tent with sleeves. We had a really nice Northface Kestral that we loved, but there was not practical way to set it up in bad weather. We enjoyed the spaceousness of our Mount Hardware Viperline, but it was actually a little too big, and definitely a little too reflective for trying to camp in a hidden location.

  2. friedel
    3rd January 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Becky, can you elaborate a bit? We had a tent with sleeves and didn’t have a problem with the inside getting wet when we set it up in rain. Do you mean a situation where there’s a rainfly that provides the roof but the roof can’t go on until you get the poles through the frame attached to the inner tent, like the MSR Hubba Hubba?

  3. Kayleen
    6th January 2010 at 8:05 am #

    We have used the Vango TBS Spirit 200+ on several bike tours and really like it.

    It is not free standing; however that was never a problem for us as we always had a pitch site that was easy to knock the pegs into the ground.

    It has a very large vestibule that was excellent for storing our gear and then for spending time in when the weather turned foul.

    It is sturdy.

    The down sides include a low clearance of 105mm and the vestibule does not have a floor. To over come this we cut a footprint from a cheap blue tarp and then discarded it at the end of the tour.

    Condensation on the inside of the vestibule was always a nuisance, however I have a feeling that this is common with many tents.

  4. friedel
    6th January 2010 at 11:28 am #

    The Vango looks nice Kayleen, quite like a Hilleberg from the outside! Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Jonathan
    9th January 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Friedel, Andrew – hi guys, you might remember me, we met in Yazd. Interested in your comments on tents.
    I’ve always used the Hlleberg Akto for solo bike touring and just bought the Nallo 2-man which I took tramping in New Zealand. I’m disappointed with the Nallo – condensation seems to be a big problem and the big span between the 2 poles means the outer fly often comes into contact with with inner when raining. This is despite trying to make it as taut as possible.
    Am I missing something? Have you ever experienced that? Any tips for the Nallo?
    Good luck with the ‘new life’ in Holland!

    • friedel
      9th January 2010 at 10:46 am #

      Hi Jonathan, yes, we definitely remember you! I’m sorry to hear you’re not having much luck with the Nallo. I’ve asked Andrew (officially the tent ‘mechanic’) and he says that when it was raining heavily, he sometimes popped out of the tent to re-tighten it, because the weight of the rain can cause the fabric to sag a bit. He always focused on tightening it by pulling at the straps near the pegs at the front and back of the tent and where the poles slot into their little cups. We didn’t really have any condensation problems, even during long rainy days in NZ. Have you tried contacting Hilleberg? We’ve found them very responsive and helpful.

  6. Jonathan
    9th January 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Thanks Friedel. I’ll try that. Keep in touch and best wishes for the new year!

  7. fubek
    14th January 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    I have a tarptent rainbow and am very pleased with it. It’s not a tent for deep winter or heavy rain, but other than that super lightweight and sturdy.

  8. friedel
    14th January 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    I must try one of those tarptents one day. I have heard nothing but good things about them!

  9. Callum Walls
    26th January 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    KAYLEEN – I am a big fan of Vango tents but then again I am biast as I had a spell working with Vango plus they are a Scottish company based in Glasgow and designed from scratch and extensively tested! Ah the downsides to the job eh?

    The spirit 200+ is my tent of choice, also. Known as a tunnel tent I find it is big enough for me and my gear and still giving the room to manouver and still cook in the porch. I was using its bigger brother the Equinox for a short perios and could actually fit my bike in as well! Although I comprimised on the weight, and defaulted back.

    Tent shopping is a nightmare! There are so many tents! each with their own merits but I have gone through so many tents over the years and I think the Spirit 200+ so far is a keeper.

    Unfortunately the weather in the UK means that there is maybe one day of the year that we could get the use of a tarp tent. Thats where I enny you yanks!


  10. Philip Duggan
    9th February 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi guys,

    My wife, our two year old son and I are about to head off on a bike tour through Europe and beyond. Any suggestions for a tent that would be big and comfortable enough for the three of us, yet that packs up neatly? We’ve looked at the Hilleberg Nallo 3GT, but would love one that comes with two seperate sleeping compartments, if possible. Any ideas? Thanks a million!


  11. Jeff
    17th March 2010 at 3:48 am #

    Hello. Are there any good tents that will fit a bike in the vestibule? I always worry about the security of my bike when I can’t see it. Removing the front wheel might make for a better fit. Any suggestions for a suitable tent?

    • friedel
      17th March 2010 at 8:05 am #

      The MSR Velo was designed for that purpose, though it’s a bit heavy. You might be better just to carry a tarp and use that to rig up a shelter for your bike.

      What kind of conditions are you camping in that you worry about security? Maybe there are other solutions. For example, you can get a motion detector for your bike that sounds an alarm if the bike is moved.

      In a campground, there may be a shed or other secure area to store your bike.

      You can also tie ropes from the tent around the bike, so if someone picks the bike up you’ll feel the tent move.

      • Steve Jones
        11th January 2013 at 1:04 pm #

        Another reason to want to put your bike in the tent ( apart from security) is when the weather outside is cold, rainy and icy, In really bad conditions like that it’s nice to keep your bike out of it. Whether you can get your bike inside or not obviously depends on the size of your tent and your bike. My 16 inch mountain bike fits nicely in the Hilleberg Staika which is a dome tent, but only by utilizing
        the vestibule space on one side. It works very well, with no need to remove any wheels. The Staika isn’t the lightest, at about 3.8kg but it really feels like home with plenty of space, and is not something I want to compromise on when recovering after a long day in the saddle.. If the bike is ouside the idea to use ropes tied from bike to tent works well. I find that the psychological boost of being in a bright tent in miserable weather AND the ability to locate it more easily in unfamiliar terrain more valuable to me than the ability to wild camp. A dark colored tent won’t be the coolest in hot weather.

    • Lenny
      15th June 2011 at 7:09 pm #

      Mountain Hardware Ghisallo 1 has a vestibule for your stuff and a “garage” for your bike. Not ultralight (4lbs) but the small weight penalty for the added security might be worth it to you.

    • tim
      20th February 2012 at 9:10 am #

      For solo use, the golite shangri-la 3 outer, paired with an Oooknest (see allows the bike in the vestibule with room to spare. You can sit up in the inner, kneel even.. Total weight, around 1.6 or 1.7 kg.

  12. Pawel
    21st July 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Just finished a two-weeks tour in North England / Scotland with our 3-year-old and a new tent (old one gave up the ghost) and can thoroughly recommend it for light-er touring – Decathlon Quechua T4 Ultralight Pro – says to be 4 person (in a squeeze I guess), fantastically spacious for 3, lightweight (3.9 kg), huge porch and very sturdy – survived gale force winds (forecast said gusts of 70mph) and torrential downpours. Also, incredibly reasonably priced for what you get.

    • friedel
      22nd July 2010 at 2:08 pm #

      Hi Pawel, thanks for an excellent recommendation for a relatively inexpensive tent. Great to know what really works! We also carried some Decathlon stuff. Mostly we found it was good value for money, especially the clothing.

  13. Thomas Arbs
    9th October 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    Our first trip to Sweden as a couple in a 3-persons tent was followed by trips as a 4-persons family in a tent very similar in shape to the Hilleberg depicted, though apparently slightly bigger, the Our Planet Cordillera. The former weighed 3.5 kgs, the latter still acceptable 5 kgs. We travel weeks, not months, but so far the quality has seriously convinced us. The price tag on both: less than 200 EUR. Unfortunately the German manufacturer Our Planet appear to be no longer in the market, but McTrek, eBay and the internet still hold stocks.

    It is interesting to see how close our equipment lists are – while we go for only smaller tours, and today are accompanied by children, we look for lightweight, fair quality material and funny enough often come up with almost the exact same things. Ortlieb panniers, Therm-a-rest Prolites, and even the very same Topeak pump…

  14. Susie Watkins
    24th October 2010 at 9:57 am #

    Hi, great website.

    Just wondering if any of your readers have tried the MSR Mo Room. I like the design of it, but wondering if the 1500mm hydrostatic head would be enough for somewhere like New Zealand.

    • Janka Konarska
      25th October 2010 at 9:49 am #

      Hi Susie,
      I don’t have the MSR Mo Room tent you’re asking about, but I have Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 tent. And I really recommend this tent – in your case, the 3 persons version (UL3). The size is exactly the same as MSR Mo Room, but it has 2 doors (so 2 vestibules as well) and it’s more than twice as light as MSR! Still, the price is the same. Don’t worry about the material – it’s totally waterproof. They write 1200 mm, but it’s silicone treated, so it’s not just “1200 mm”. I used my tent during a 50 days long bike trip in Norway this year. It was a very bad summer, raining almost every night and sometimes the rain was really hard, yet my tent was always perfectly dry inside – I just couldn’t believe it.
      Tara and Tyler on their bike trip from England to Malaysia also have this tent. You can see the photos and their opinions on their website, which is amazing imho – I really recommend:)

      I hope this helps, good luck on your New Zealand tour! How I envy you;) But maybe one day, if… WHEN I’m rich:D

  15. Graeme Willgress
    25th October 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    I’ve gone really left field with regards to tents. I’ve been helping develop a Teepee style ultralight for an American company called Arapahoe Outdoor. They are shortly releasing their (our!!) Mark four version which will be siliconised nylon, single skin with covered diagonal two way zips and fabric tensioning system. I use a Four man (yes that’s right) which is 12 feet across the base and 6 feet tall in the centre. The new version will weigh in at, just under, an incredible 2.5 Kg including the bathtub floor, pole and pegs.
    These wont suit all situations as you need ten stakes to pitch included in the overall weight and real quality, but rocks will work where pegs wont. The teepee is a cinch to pitch and pack, has four massive vents, and enough room for about 8 to sit around and chat when it’s cold in the evening.
    I’m using this on my Round Britain trip, and have used an early version on all my tours so far. Using a 4/5ths groundsheet and a piece of polythene for the gap, I keep my bike, trailer and gear in the tent at night and still have over half to live in. Being so tall, and well vented,I can cook inside with no danger of fire, I simply peel back the poy sheet and cook on the grass, inside.
    For mosquito protection I carry a small net which I hang from the inner pole, but bugs tend to collect in the nose cone at the top and stay there!!!!
    Furthermore, it is bonded, not stitched, with stitching only in high stress areas. It sheds the wind really well and will be even better with the new fabric tensioners.
    This should be available from next year sometime, and I’d thoroughly recomend it as it gives so much space for so little weight and is strong with it. There is an eight man version for group camps as well.
    I’ll keep you in touch with its development 🙂

    • wendy knight
      7th April 2022 at 6:55 am #

      Was this tent ever released?

  16. Lorenzo
    26th October 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    Hello guys,
    I’m again asking for some suggestions to put up my gear before I leave for my next trip. I got to buy a new tent cause the Coleman coastline 2 was way too big and heavy for just 1 person.
    I realized it later after trying it in the field.
    Looking at reviews and videos here and there I guess the MST Hubba HP might do the trick for me but I cannot see it “in the flesh” before I buy it so I want to be more carefuk this time.
    The thing is it will be either a Hubba or a Hubba Hubba. I’d much rather go for the Hubba only thing is do you (guys who have seen, or better tried the tents) think I will fit in the first or should I go for the hubba hubba?
    I’m 195 cm tall and will travel with 2 front and 2 back rollers, an ultimate plus and the rack bag m.
    I don’t mind keeping the bags in the vestibule but would the interior with it’s 70 cm width be enough in your opinion?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated!

    Bye bye keep up the good work!

  17. Susie Watkins
    26th October 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    Thanks for the reply Janka. We had looked at the Big Agnus website, but I couldn’t find many shops stocking them in the UK. I like the options on the Emerald Mountain, it is heavier than the Copper Spur, but I like that there’s an optional vestibule that can be attached. It’s still lighter than the Mo Room and that’s with the vestibule and footprint and it also has the near vertical walls which is what I like about the Mo Room. I also like that it can be used with just the fly.

  18. Julien Radcliffe
    15th February 2011 at 8:16 am #

    We have used and are using the Sea to Summit First Arrow and it has been an amazing tent. The companies customer’s service has been one of the best one I have known about. The inner tent can be detached thus making the inside vertibule larger and good for cooking in bad weather.

  19. Paul
    1st March 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Thought i would put in my pennys worth! I bought a MSR Hubba Hubba but sold it again not long after as I found that it was too breezy as the inner is mostly mesh. This is fine for warmer clims but not good once it gets colder. I have since bought a Macpac Microlite, sleeps 1 person and about 1.6 klg. It has been great in wet weather and stood up to strong winds, me on the other hand couldn’t sleep all night! The inner can stay connected when errecting to the outer and the inner has a ventilation mesh which can be opened or closed.
    Just to add I also tried the Terra Nova Laser and again found it just to light and knew it wouldn’t hold up on a long trip…so back on to Ebay.
    Hope thats useful.

  20. Nico
    8th April 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Has anyone had any experience with the Terra Nova Wild Country ASpect 2 tent?

    It got a great review in Trail magazine but I’d be interested to hear from fellow cycle tourers if anyone has used it.

    It’s a toss up between that and the MSR Hubba Hubba at the moment for me. The freestanding feature of the Hubba Hubba is a bit draw for me.

  21. Graeme Willgress
    8th April 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Hi Nico
    I have an Aspect one that I use for weekends. It’s a great tent well made and easy to pitch once you have done it once. You can cross-guy it in strong winds (which works) and the door lifts up as a porch shelter giving lots more useful space for cooking etc. The inner and outer pitch together, you may find the pole velcros and clips etc fiddly initially, but you soon get used to that.
    For the cost, it’s hard to fault and if it proves anything like previous tents it will be pretty durable.
    There isnt a lot else to say really. It isnt sil-nylon, so will absorb water(as do all PU nylon tents) but is very well specced for the price, even down to the wee rubber clips that stop the zip being stressed when the door is fully open.
    The Aspect two should be the same, but with more inside space, making it perfect for touring.
    Hope that helps a bit

    • Kailin
      23rd July 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      Stellar work there everyone. I’ll keep on rneadig.

  22. Nico
    9th April 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Thanks Graeme,

    I’ll go and take a look at one at the local outdoor shop.

    It’s a choice between the Aspect 2 and the Hubba Hubba at the moment.

  23. Nation
    1st May 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Im using a Gelert solo tent. its bloody tiny, im 6ft1 and just fit in it. i do like it though. cost thirty quid off ebay, packs down to a length of thirty centimeters, with a thickness of five centimeters and weighs one kilo. due to its size i cant fit any panniers inside it so i carry a ground sheet to cover them and hide my bike. i also carry a lightweight hammock too, and i use the tent fly sheet as a tarp.

  24. Jen
    2nd June 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I am considering getting a ZPacks Hexamid tent (handmade tarp tent) or the Hilleberg Akto for solo bike touring. I know they’re quite different and I would love to own both, but for right now I have to choose one. I have an upcoming 3 month tour in the midwest area of the U.S. (July-Sept), but I would also like to do more extensive touring in the next few years…any suggestions/thoughts? Thanks!

  25. Ian
    23rd June 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I have just bought a Nallo 3 GT, along with a footprint and a Tarp 10 UL. Serious QUALITY here. Pitched it an slept in it, with the 3 dogs a few nights ago, in the howling New South Wales winds. Regardless of weather, I ALWAYS peg my tents out to the never know what the weather holds. Although a solo tourer, I like heaps of room and this tent deliers. Can fit my tourer in the vestibule with ease along with eerything else too. Brilliant tent, extremely good customer service { I bought mine direct from Hileberg }. Nuff aid !

  26. Alex de Jong
    3rd August 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    After having bought a Helsport lavvu 4-6 and a wood stove for winter camping ( I can assure you, having a wood stove takes all the pain away from camping, even in the summers we have in the Netherlands) I discovered Helsport make a 4 person lightweight lavvu. Lavvu’s are like nordic tipis, incredibly simple to set up, and the Helsport lightweight model weighs in at about 2 kg. It is a single pole model, and the beautiful thing about it is that you can stand up in it. So, in bad weather, it is an extremely comfortable tent, especially if you’re touring alone or as a duo. You can supplement with a groundsheet that you clip to the tent, but often I leave that at home as well, and just use some foil underneath my sleeping mat, and leave the ground uncovered: much better for the campsite too. It’s well ventilated, and often I cook inside, if the weather’s bad. Unfortunately it doesn’t take a stove, but that’s not the lightweight option in any case. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring a lavvu and a heatpol stove on winter tours though. It’s extremely stable in high winds, and sheds snow easily.

  27. Kai
    13th August 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I would like to ask your opinion on a few tents please. Im looking at Vango Banshee 300 and a robens Voyager 2

    This will be my 1st cycle tour , Im hoping to cycle from the UK to Germany to visit family next year.

    • friedel
      16th August 2011 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Kai, we don’t know those tents specifically, so it’s hard to say, but nearly any tent will do for shorter summer tour. We have a friend who’s touring around using a cheap tent she bought in a general department store – not fancy and a bit heavy but fine for the occasional 1-2 month summer tour. It would be great if you can check these tents out in a camping shop; then you can really see how they feel. Are they long enough for you, for example. Is the head room okay or does it feel claustrophobic? All these things are personal and you only really know when you try it out.

      • Kai
        18th August 2011 at 1:27 am #

        Im going to look at a few this weekend , Im hoping to use the tent for most seasons 🙂

    • sz
      19th August 2011 at 10:57 am #

      I haven’t seen any of these tents in real life, but…

      If I were to choose from these two, I would take the Rubens. It seems that both can be put up inner and outer together, which is essential in my opinion, but it looks like the Rubens allows you to detach the inner from the outer, which is great when breaking camp in the rain, the vestibule offers more space for your panniers, the inner is better protected when you get in or out in rain, and the inner has a vertical wall, which is important for tall people (I am tall 😉 and it creates a bigger space.

      Unless you plan to tour with a partner most of the time, because in that case you would be probably better off with a 3 person tent.

      • Kai
        20th August 2011 at 11:12 pm #

        Thank you for all the replies 🙂 I had a look at a few tents and I’m glad I saw them set up , The Banshee 300 is a nice light tent but its very small ok for 1 person with kit but a bit of a squeeze for 2 , after looking at some of the tents I’ve settled for the Vango Tempest 300 its pretty big and very roomy and it only weighs 3.45KG ( the pegs are V shape steel , will be changed ) , Only problem 2 shops had sold out 🙁 ,but I managed to get a new 2011 model from ebay and still save £30.00 🙂

  28. sandeep singh
    17th August 2011 at 11:47 am #

    i need a cheap tent for tour trecking my self

  29. Roger Jacobs
    20th August 2011 at 12:45 am #

    I took a very close look (online and real life) at most of the tents mentioned in this topic before I purchased one for my solo bike tour in Provence last 2 weeks. The tent I decided for was a Wild Country Aspect 2, made by Terra Nova. It provided excellent shelter with lots of space for both me and my luggage. Ventilation, usability, packing and unpacking etc. all top of the bill for just 150 euro. The things I especially like about it are the big side entrance and it’s general appearance unlike any other tent out there.
    The weather was hot and dry with only one major rainshower that got most of the other small tents on the camping site soaked or even collapsed. The Aspect 2 wasn’t impressed by the rain and I guess it can stand a whole lot more. So far just a great little tent.

    • friedel
      20th August 2011 at 7:47 am #

      Thanks for the feedback, Roger!

  30. Lorenzo
    18th September 2011 at 8:00 am #

    Hi everybody,

    I have been cycling the past 7 months in Japan Korea Mongolia and China, often conforatbly sleeping in my Hubba HP, however as I reached south of China my tent started to feel pretty hot even at night, even when pitching it without the exterior flysheet.
    I left the zip a tad open one night, and a spider immediately crawled in!
    As I will head further south, and spend many months along the equator I am wondering whether any of you have suggestions for a more breathable and confy alternative.
    Trying to shave off weight as well I tought of a mosquite net coupled with a hammock (Hennessy Hammock?) or really just a mosquito net, while keeping on sleeping on my old fashioned mat.
    Have you guys had any experience about this issue yet?
    Also is anybody in Asia region (or not) needing a used Whisperlite, Hubba HP, Thermarest Mat or Vaude Sleeping Back at very cheap price feel free to write to me! I feel stupid sending these things home to Europe now
    Thanks to whoever will reply!


  31. Kingerz
    27th October 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Macpac Microlight for solo and even duo use for a couple of young lovers!

  32. caleb
    17th November 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    its cool because it small and i can put it on my bycycle

  33. Graeme Willgress
    17th November 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Good choice, designed for weather just like we get 🙂
    I’ve just bought a Hilleberg Akto for my next adventure. Can’t wait to use it 🙂

  34. Nicohlas Russell
    18th November 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    You can buy some biking tents at

  35. David
    21st January 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi All,

    I’m in the middle of my trip now and our newly purchased tent & mosquito + fly fail a bit so am considering purchasing Big Agnes UL2 and shipping it over to Malaysia / Singapore.

    My only concern is that it won’t be big enough to accommodate two people with 2 x 50cm wide thermarest mats + 2 x W50xH70cmxD25-30cm backpacks (you can see them in my blog website link). Can anyone confirm there is enough space in legs or hear for them or shall I be rather looking at UL3 as a safer choice?

    Ta, David

  36. Paul
    13th March 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    An expensive option, but extremely robust and exceptionally lightweight is the Hilleberg Nallo 2. Can’t believe how light it is and how strong it is, even in high winds. Just hope it lasts a few years. Seriously good quality tent and a damn good brand.

  37. Lee
    16th May 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    I recommend the Trisar 2XL by Wild Country (Terra Nova) its a good price (is semi geodesic) and has a huge porch to store ones bike in, under 3kg’s as well!

  38. Denise
    3rd June 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Hi all We have a Hubba Hubba HP it is 4 yrs old now but leaked as we had a very wet tour in France a few weeks ago. The outer stretched so much. We find it a bit tight to fit all our gear in easily 4 paniers lids and cooking gear. Our favorite is Terra Nova Laaser Space 2 you can even stand up in it at 6ft tall. You need a footprint but even then it has a massive porch and 2 stash corners. It has survived a storm at Loch Ness and has so many guylines it seems as if it would stand up to anything we have never used them all. It is still 3kg even though we have added some more substantial pegs and added a couple of clips to the back corners They also do an even bigger version that sleeps 5 in 2 pods for anyone that has kids or a group. The downside of it is it pitches inner first. I have found Terra Nova great on service too.

  39. UTE Rentals at Melbourne Airport
    4th September 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Great tent recommendation! As a biker, weight and packed size are very important for me. I have a Mountain Hardware SuperMega UL1, a 3 season tent with packaged weight of 2 lbs. 3 oz. I normally carry a hammock (for tree populated areas) to complete my tent experience on the road.

  40. Adrian Chamberlain
    8th December 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Hi guys,

    I always appreciate your advice and your blogs. Do you have any advice since having Luke? I am looking for a Tent that is light with a separate section to put our 1 year old in. He will go to bed earlier than us. The Hilleberg looks good but they seem to lack on the window side.

    What do you now use?



    • friedel
      8th December 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      We still use the Nallo 3GT. Luke goes to bed earlier than us, but that doesn’t matter. He rarely wakes up when we get in the tent.

    • Merlijn
      8th December 2013 at 11:29 pm #

      Hi, I’d like to comment on the family tent inquiry. I’m new to this website (great site by the way), but not totally new to bike touring (though I haven’t done anywhere near the miles that you two have done). My husband and I have done bike touring with our kids over the last 5 years. It started of with one (he was 5 months old on our first family trip), and now have 3 boys (aged 5, 4 and 2).

      Personally, I prefer a 1-compartment tent for the family, rather than a separate section for the kids. Once they are asleep our kids don’t wake up when we join them in the tent so that’s not a problem. Furthermore, I find it easier to tend to them, if they do wake up at night. Also during cold nights it’s easier to check if they are warm enough (and the tent will warm up a bit more if you are all in one compartment).
      It’s not that I don’t see the attraction of some private space, but so far practicalities have overruled that desire.

      Good luck with finding a suitable tent, and enjoy touring as a family.


      • friedel
        9th December 2013 at 8:42 am #

        You make some good points! We also often have to soothe Luke at night (I think we were gifted with the world’s worst sleeper) and I don’t know how we’d do that if he was sleeping in a separate compartment. As it is now, he just snuggles up to us and (hopefully) goes back to sleep.

      • Adrian Chamberlain
        9th December 2013 at 8:28 pm #

        Just to clarify, I agree with you both. We would absolutely intend to sleep in the same compartment as our wee boy for all the reasons you mention.

        My thought was that we would use the second compartment between the hours of 7 and 9 in the evening, as somewhere we can sit, read, watch a film or enjoy the scenary. You may wonder why we could not do that outside, but being in New Zealand we would want to be protected from the “sandfly” and rain.

        Our boy is easily distracted and gets excited when people are around…. practice has shown the best way to get the wee guy to sleep is to let him drop off alone.

        The Vango 350 seems a good option but it lacks windows in the sleeping compartment. One of our real joys from previous cycle tours is enjoy the view from our tent whilst as we drift asleep.

        Thanks for your thoughts

  41. Merlijn
    9th December 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Hi Adrian,

    I can see your point for a second compartment. We’re in Scotland and have been plagued by midges (very similar I’ve been told to sandflies, but a lot smaller) while camping.

    Over the years we gathered various Vango tents, all of them (as far as I remember) have a fly sheet door in the sleeping compartment and in at least one of the doors of the outer tent. Would that not be able to function as a window?

    Also, a lot of the new Vango tents seem to have a bath-tub/riser/linked-in groundsheet. This is enough to keep midges out, and has allowed us to enjoy the evenings dry and midge-free.

    Hope this helps.


    PS If you are looking for a 3-person tent, keep in mind that Vango has very liberate measures. Depending on the width of your carry mats, a Vango 250 tent might do you.

  42. Peter Taylor
    26th January 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    I had the chance to spend a night in a Tarptent Contrail. I really liked it. I like if my tent can ventillate, the mesh wall is perfect for my needs!

  43. Thomas
    3rd March 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Singi Leightweight 2 or 3 is also perfect

  44. udi
    21st November 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    I have used several tents, but the north face tadpole I bought 18 years ago is still a great tent when I’m on my own. It has only bee used for about 100 days/nights, as I often share a bigger tent. It weighs less than 2 kg and takes me about 2 minutes to pitch (free standing) and another 5 minutes fix the fly and steak it all out. I have also had good luck with macpac tents.

    One comment resonated with me though, and that was about having a tent where a fly could be pitched first so that the inner could be kept dry. everything can get wet very quickly in a thunderstorm.

  45. Mihai
    6th January 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Hi there,
    I been following the stories of travellingtwo and recently travellingthree for a while now :).
    My wife and I have been using for about 7 years a 2 person tent Husky FLAME from the manufacturer For less then 200€, it is a tent for extreme conditions since we also go hiking hi in the mountains. Not that light at 2.8 kg but worth carrying the extra weight for the protection in very bad weather and minus temperatures (inside tent has only the top mesh). Very good for two cuddling persons. The tent still goes strong. We have been using occasionally when going with friends the Rock Empire – Alpine 3 (4 kg – is not produced anymore). Very spacious and sturdy 4 person tent, well insulated and at the same time, when camping at the sea side, very well ventilated. Also tested during sea side summer rain storms against unseen winds. Now since we are three with our daughter and planning to get the family even bigger we have opted for the Husky FIGHTER 3-4 (bought locally in RO for about 250€) witch is built similar to the Flame but has the dimensions of the Alpine 3. Both brands are Czech, hi quality for low prices worth looking for even though they sell more in Eastern EU.

    • Justina
      29th July 2016 at 11:43 am #

      Hey, I was really wondering how well Husky is performing!
      Thanks for your comment! However it seems you used just occasionally.. or am I wrong?

      I noticed Czech Producers offer things quite cheap. I was using some other Czech Tent – Loap for a while, but it is just for weekend trips, so occasionally too–..
      As we are planing now to ride for a year in every kind of conditions I want something that is well performing in rain as well as well ventilated and I could use it all year around..

  46. m
    20th April 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    I have had this tent the terra nova voyager for just under a year now mostly took out out in fair weather I decided to camp on top of Pen-y-fan 11/04/15 the wind condition’s were moderate to strong at the time’s but with this being rated a 4 season tent I was confident it would withstand the weather being thrown at it , but boy was I wrong the arch pole over the door kept being blown back onto the tent and me inside all night despite being pitched correctly the result in the morning was a broken pole and where the red pole sit’s over the two blue horizontal poles it had rubbed holes in both pole sleeves and the stitching inside was tearing through the inner tent where the pole sleeves attach, now I cannot insert the poles through the sleeves without them coming through the holes . I contacted terra nova about this they were useless after many emails and pictures of the damage were sent I had to send it off to them, 2 weeks for them to look at it and after they make a dissension another 2-3 weeks for them to repair it at my expense when it is clearly a design fault as there is no reinforcement protection where the poles overlap on the front of the tent but there is protection on the rear. Truly disappointed in there poor customer service I expected more form a British company I have lost faith in there product’s and will buy a Hilleberg for a better experience .

  47. Santiago
    30th April 2015 at 5:28 am #

    Hi,im planning a bike journey to south america. My tent is the Big Agnes lone spring 2, is easy to set up and have plenty space for me and my gear. The weight is 2.2 kg wich it is fair given their reliability and price.

  48. Steve Sylvester
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    The last several years I’ve used a hammock for cycling, canoeing and backpacking trips. It’s rigged so that I pitch the tarp and then hang the hammock under it. The ability to keep the hammock dry in this way has changed the tents I will consider. IOW, no more tents that require set up of the inner and then the fly thrown over the top, which is by far the most common style in the US. Anyway, I’ll be doing a 2 month tour in 2019 in plains and mountain states in the US, places where I won’t be able to use a hammock. After a good deal of research I’ve purchased a Hilleberg Enan. It ticks all the boxes for me: outer and inner set up together; outer only capability; light weight; quick pitch; good vestibule space for gear, etc.

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