Crumbs this needs some serious updating! Right, new year and plenty of kit I’ve been using thats no on the list. I thought with the new year in people might want some kind of idea or list of items needed for a basic mid week sleep out just to split the week up, and whilst its too cold for many and the sun rising later than we’d all like I’m certainly already thinking about getting out as soon as the opportunity arises. Get your gear together now and avoid having an excuse not to come and join in with sleeping on a hill top…
Ive also used this kit on my scoot LEJOG, Paris-London Ultra run and Liverpool-Leeds scoot..
- Bivvi bag.
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Pillow (optional)
- Stove (optional)
- Head torch or some form of lighting!
- Rucksack (sure you’ve a few)
- Warm clothing (woolly hat, light down jacket)
- Tarp (Waterproof sheet)
Below is the gear list of what I’ve been using, and what I’ve swapped out not because I needed to swap anything I’ve just ended up with new gear so have made use of it…
Bivvi bag from Alpkit, it’s a standard Hukka in red! £30
I sleep really warm so haven’t been using one, just running leggings, base layer, light down jacket. I did progress to a heavier down jacket in September and for Halloween sleep out I use a light summer bag (Mountain Equipment) I’ve been given a North Face super light 800 series bag (£280) which is a god send, best thing is it’s a centre zip, so sleeping on my side and being restless means I don’t wakeup with my face in the hood of the bag!
I’ve got a tiny one that only covers my torso from thermarest Its second hand found on eBay. Its the neoair version that packs down to the size of a coke can , think I paid around £60.
I’ve a big comfy down one I brought from Cotswold outdoor that’s £20, have today brought a £5 inflatable one to save pack weight and size! (Can also double as a swim float!!) I have now moved on from both of these and take a 10L dry bag and stuff my down jacket in to use as a pillow, it saves weight and means items used have more than one use.
I’ve got a expensive Jetboil (Xmas Present!) one which was £120. I’ll be honest it’s bloody amazing but don’t go blowing a heap of cash and it’s not an essential until your going alone! And we are never that far from a flipping coffee shop these days..
I’m using a range from Ledlensor amazing value for money they are light weight and super high output, everyone comments on how bright they are… I also take my rechargable front bike light with me, just in case.
Using a NorthFace 32L pack I was given in 2014 and recently wrote about, I get all my gear in with space to spare, It’s come with me on my three week scoot LEJOG and four day Ultra where I carried a tent, I’m now on the hunt for a 15L ruck sack as I want to get my gear down as small & light as possible..
I’m using a super lightweight green tarp from DD Tarps,It weights 400 grams and packs down to the size of a tin of beans. I love this so dam much, its a great in-between of tent and bivvi bags. Takes 5 minutes to pop up, can be used against hedges, over tree branches, between two tree’s or even turn your bike up side down and use it as a prop. Sticks work as well! Seriously amazing piece of kit kept me dry on many a night out. Do try these out, I spent £50 on mine but they come smaller for one person, it’s a must use item with the changeable weather in the UK.
Warm gear, I’ve not brought anything, my sleeping clothes have been: shorts, socks (have a thick pair too, just in case) running leggings (not to everyone’s taste) a long sleeved base layer, light weight down jacket and just a big silly woolly hat, that’s my kit list! Again as the Weathers cooled I moved over to a Rab waterproof microlight down jacket. I do sleep warm (or am just a fatty) so if you feel the cold always take an extra layer with you!
So below is a list of stuff, price ranges, what you can get away without using and what I think is an investment. If your new to this sleeping rough game it could take a few months to get all the gear you need to now might be good time to start ticking stuff so by spring you are fully lit and ready to smash the sleeping out vibe..
Bivvi bag. (A waterproof sack that goes over your sleeping bag, keeps you warmer & dry if it rains or you have morning dew)
Prices, decathlon do a nice cheap one for £20-£30
Or another great choice is Alpkit hukka, they do a standard size for £30, or a XL, if your a larger human or two very small humans or like extra room which is £45.
Sleeping bag, again decathlon do a nice compact one for £30, you can also look at Tesco or on eBay, you’ll not need anything huge or expensive. Try to keep pack size down and weight at below 1000g. They come with mainly two fillings, down (mostly heavier but warmer and not to amazing when mixed with water) and synthetic (not a bad choice for lighter summer use and smaller pack size) all my summer bags are synthetic they can be washed and take far less looking after..
Right, key to a great nights kip! You can pay up to £150 for these or go for a yoga mat for £5. This is the one item I’d invest in. Best types are self inflating ones by thermarest which run at around £80-£110. Again look at decathlon or halfords/Tesco. or like me the second hand ebay option. ALSO, an inflatable can be used for surfing and dabbling in the rivers after you’ve slept on it. Now that’s a multitasking tip right there!
You can use your rucksack as a pillow if you want or the other choices are simple inflatable ones or lovely posh down travel pillows. Prices between £5-£35. You might want to bring along a dry bag and your jacket can be stuffed into that to make a pillow.
Stoves, you can pick these up for £20 and by a small gas cylinder then you’ll need a kettle and fork/spoon. I tend to use re hydrated meals or pots of noodles. Real easy and simple no faffing with plates or cleaning stuff! I’d only invest in a Jetboil or something similar if you are sure you’ll be camping on a regular basis
Head torch, again you’ll pick these up from most shops if you’ve not already got one! If you’ve got the cash I’d invest but no need to spend more than £30-£40 tops…. You can get them for £5 but you pay for what you get. if you’re adventurous try candles in a jam jar!
Hope you’ve got a few of these! I guess the idea is to do these over night adventures as light as possible and not be bogged down with weight, so 20-30 litre sack should easily fit all you need in! With space to spare.. Again if you know you pack like a diva either have a word with yourself or try and borrow a larger one until you can get down to a sensible size.
Alternatively I’ve been out on a wild camp with someone who used a Ikea bag, they slept just as well as the rest of use too…. Don’t be scared to be different!
Just in case it does go cold, if your on open ground or by the sea and if it’s a clear night it can get nippy. Also for waking up in the morning we all like to be nice and snug don’t we! Doesn’t have to be crazy just a woolly hat, thick fleece/light down jacket and a waterproof just in case…..
That’s me, a quick post as i’m sat looking out at the blue inviting sky, gather your gear hunt out the last January sales stuff and get prepared for the summer of sleep outs. I must have met 100 people in 2014 from doing this its in expensive, fun makes you realize how much time we waste at home sharing at the dreamy box of death and seriously one night feels like you’ve had a extra weekend. One of the most liberating fun things to do, just warn the people you work with they’ll think your mad but will be intrigued and want to try it too.
The first rule of micro adventures is tell and invite everyone, we should all try sleeping under the stars at least once, I mean really whats the worst that can happen??