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Glamping Not Camping

Blog Date - 14 July 2014

I went to a rally this weekend, the Millennium 2000BC Caveman Bash 2014 to be exact. After some calculations and discussions with the gf I realise this is the first proper rally I've done for about 6 or 7 years, maybe I need to get out more huh? What I notice around the camping field is a large number of large tents, plenty of trikes and a surprising number of larger capacity motorcycles complete with tow balls and trailers. 

a large blue tent and a small trailer at a motorycle rally
Stand up tent and trailer, quite a common sight this weekend.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhh, when I were a lad to see a motorcycle with a tow ball and trailer was as rare as hen's teeth on a blue moon. There were trikes around but they were not a common site. We all used to camp in nasty, flimsy canvas ridge tents where if you or any item in the tent touched the material it would immediately leak, if it wasn't already leaking. The lucky few had those horrible thin foam ground rolls that would soak up moisture, the rest slept on the grass or at least a sheet of plastic. We'd have tea out of a dirty cup from a dubious looking urn and the sugar would have discoloured lumps in it. The ability to sleep was not brought on by comfort and warmth but by alcohol poisoning. I don't drink so sleep didn't come that much.

a collection of modern tents among the motorcycles at a rally
Even without a trailer the modern tents are larger and lighter.

Now as an older and possibly wiser man I do like a few comforts. I know there's food and refreshments available but I like the option to make a brew and a snack if the mood takes me so I had my stove and some supplies. My tent is nylon and altogether larger, comfier and waterproof. I have a self inflating mattress to place on my sewn in groundsheet and a sleeping bag designed for sub zero temperatures. I can leave my wet boots and bike gear in the porch area and keep my sleeping quarters clean and dry. It not a bad place my tent, what I could do with though is a butler service.

ren's vango equinox 350 tent, not big but big enough
My tent. Not big but it's still the lap of luxury compared to the old days.

To look at some of the tents on the field I daresay butler service is not far off. Large full standing height dining areas complete with carpet lead off to bedroom(s) filled with deep luxurious air beds covered not with sleeping bags but duvets and sheets. Gas powered cooking facilities have several rings and an oven. There's a table, chairs, crockery and even candles to set the mood. How about a fridge in the trailer? Still not enough? Well then a heater too in case it gets cold later on. 

a tall large tunnel tent with a motorcycle parked outside
"Would you like me to put the motorcycle in the garage tent sir?"

This level of luxury is the exception, not the rule. However for most of us the standards have vastly improved since the (not so) good old days. What's going on? Are we all getting soft? Is the rally going biker getting a bit wet behind the ears? That's one way of looking at it, I prefer to see it as the modern rally biker is utilising the improved modern equipment. Tents are better, sleeping bags are better, there's some great equipment available these days and it's all getting lighter and therefore easier to transport on the bike. 

several tents of various sizes and style in the rally field
Large and small they're all still better than the old canvas tents.

None of us are getting any younger either. There are some younger riders on the scene but if I'm honest most folks are already into their 40's and many are into their 50's and even 60's. When you're 23 getting into a tiny tent that's soaking wet and freezing cold is an adventure. At 42 it's a miserable, horrible nasty feeling that leaves you wondering if you'll ever wake up again. I can't imagine it gets any better at 52 or 62. When I see the luxurious nylon palaces I might tease the occupants for "living it up" but only because I'm envious. 

a simply nylon sheet with 2 poles, camping provisions for one rider
The YOUNG man with this rig is doing it real old school

Now, the last feather in the cap will come with the portable en-suite toilet rather than yesterday's milk carton. 

PS - Thanks to the boys and girls at Millennium for a well organised and most splendid weekend.

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Reader's Comments

Chris said :-
Hey! Have you tried any more biker tents since this post? I'm looking for the best one. So far I'm looking at one called Goose Wingman of the road. Have you heard of it? www.wingmanoftheroad.com

Thanks!
www.wingmanoftheroad.com ...
05/07/2018 12:54:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
HI Chris. I suspect your link is an advert...but I'll let it ride because of one thing. The tent you're looking at...(or advertising...)

I kind of like the idea of using the bike as part of the pitch, and that's about it.

First off the tent is tiny, essentially it's a one man tent.

There's no porch. By using the bike to hold up one of the "doors" you've created some additional shelter. However picture yourself on a cold wet and windy evening trying to cook on a gas stove with just a tarp above you. A porch keeps the wind off allowing cooking to happen and keeps the rain out making life more pleasant.

Considering the tent is essentially a one man tunnel tent the pack size is akin to most smaller 3-man dome tents.

And finally, unbelievably, remarkably, surprisingly - the weight! At 10.9kg it is twice the weight of my 3 man tunnel tent with porch. 10.9kg should see me in a stand up tunnel tent.

I suspect it is very very high quality. This means it will last a long time. Sharon and I have looked at high quality and therefore high cost tents. We both came to one simple conclusion. They're great - but!! In a world where thieves cut holes in tents to steal things or thieves steal expensive tents...having a cheaper tent is not a bad thing.
05/07/2018 20:06:43 UTC
Rod said :-
I am with you Ren.
I have a middle range two man tent with a porch, which I use for myself an my wife. This gives a good balance of space and comfort, and does not take too long to pitch. When I travel alone I take a cheap two man tent which sleeps one OK but is very tight for two. This tent will pitch in under 5 minutes and is dry in most weather but leaks a little in heavy rain. I keep a bivvy bag and a small tarp with this tent just in case!
If you are strapping a tent to your bike and then leaving it parked up unattended, then cheaper is the way to go.
05/07/2018 20:58:35 UTC
 

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