Rags To Riches...What's The Best Tent For Bicycle Touring?

Is that tent supposed to look that way” The campground manager says with a curious WTF sort of tone. I am tucked inside a claustrophobic cocoon of what remains of my mountain hardware 2.1 skyledge tent trying not to laugh. However, the broken rake that I propped under one of two sewn up zipper doors in order to combat last nights rain is just too much of a site for my sarcasm.

Mountain Hardware 2.1 Skyledge in Cape Town after a year of touring (about 300 solo female cyclist sleeps)

The longer I cycle tour, the less these things seem to matter” I chuckle from inside as I attempt to unsuccessfully sit up straight under the broken poles, contort my body into a pretzel shape and crawl out the permanently open zipper door. This is sort'a normal isn't I think to myself as I stand up in the sand and straighten my new hay stack haircut, a frazzled homemade mess of locks resembling Cramer's from Seinfeld. People like me really shouldn't be allowed access to scissors. I think to myself as I run my fingers through my botched attempt at cutting off my own sun-baked hair.

(the red line is what I cycled, the dotted line is the sailing route, my apologies for the blurry map, it's the best I could do)

Despite looking like a disheveled eighties rocker and feeling vain for the first time in a long while, I chuckle “I got lucky” as the managers well meaning concern for my lack of shelter forms a worried uncomfortable grimace across his hardly 20 year old innocent face.

I was given a new Hilleberg Jannu tent under sponsorship, it is coming in the mail, it will be here soon, I'm gonna crew on a sailboat across the Atlantic from Namibia up the Brazilian coast, then cycle the Americas to finish the cycling around the world thing. The tent will be perfect..from rags to riches, baby” I chuckle, feeling the glow of immense gratitude knowing Hilleberg The Tentmakers's reputation as one of the best quality tent companies in the world.

Have you had a tent like that before?” The young manager asks looking far less concerned with my 'who needs all the 'right' gear anyway, just go with what you got' attitude. The same attitude that stop bothering to use a tent and started happily sleeping     under the stars or road out of the wind instead. 

wild camping due to broken tents, loads of fencing and high winds

'I had the tough little Vaude Hogan for the first year of this 3 year world tour, great tent but I eventually lost the poles, it wasn't worth the cost to replace them and the tent wasn't free standing which was an issue when camping on rocky ground. I also tried an OR bivy sack, nice and light but there was too much condensation. I wanted something bigger. I've slept in the ultralight MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person, it's is a popular tent, loads of space, great tent. My new Hilleberg Jannu has a half goedesic design, strong poles and top quality material... should hold up the best in the winds of Patagonia”

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 Person in Tibet, China. The material was too light for continuous use, I stuck my hand through it after 3 months

2 days later after I slept in the Hilleberg Jannu...

How's the new tent, do you get wet last night?”

The young sleepy manager asks, his orange hoody is pulled loosely over his uncombed hair. The cloudy morning sky suggests there is more rain to come. I am standing next to my new tent proudly grinning. I am pondering how a TENT got to be so puuuurdy while debating if being orgasmically happy about a tent is something to worry about.

W.E.T,... in this? No way, I loooooove it. At 3 kilos after a zipper pull replacement, it is worth every ounce” My arms flail in full participation as if breaking into a happy dance before coffee over a tent is perfectly normal behavior.

This tent is amazing, I can't believe how great it is. You really have to sleep in it to believe it, come on inside”

I utter as the manager uncomfortably grins, shifts his stance and takes a small step back. He turns and hurries off barely able to keep his flip flops on. Ooops...scared him... he either thinks there is a horney old maid trying to seduce him or that I'm some spastic over the hill lunatic with a fetish for tents...not sure which is worst I think to myself as I step through the huge tent door to spend the morning out of the rain, dry and comfy in my spacious sturdy tent thankful for my new sponsor Hilleberg!
Every now again you get the rare opportunity to come across such an amazing adventure that about the only thing you can say is WOW. Meet adventurer Anne-Sophie Rodette, presently she is tackling Patagonia by UNICYCLE



Anonymous said...

Your journey is the ultimate for testing tents for extreme conditions and durability! Thanks for sharing. I've been eyeing the Hilleberg tents for a few years - can't quite justify yet, need an epic long trip to pick the right one for that trip (bike, rowing, ...). Soon. Though you set a bar for epic that is beyond my dreams.

Loretta Henderson said...

Where will you be rowing? Converting a row boat into a pedal boat and cycling an ocean is always on my mind. I am forever looking for design ideas, any thoughts?

acid mustafa said...

Cant blame the tent after a year of hard use. Congratulation for the new tent. it looks cool, though a bit smallish. Hope the Jamu will hold on your Americas trip. Bon Voyagr

Unknown said...

Awesome that you now have Hilleberg as a sponser! Their tents are the greatest! We have one ourselves and it seems to be built like a tank. I love your stories, I can just picture the manager scurying away from you. Stay safe and hope the wind is at your back!

Mike Brockie & Judy Yeoman said...

We have a Hilleberg Kaitum 3GT. The height of luxury and bullet proof. We love it. All the best for your future plans - the sailing and the Americas. Have hiked in Patagonia and it is a magnificent part of the world.

ramling man said...

The hilleberg is my next tent.have seen lots of long haul biker with them a great home for a few yrs..tc enjoy your yurt.

Mike and Judy said...

Hi Loretta, not sure about our Hilleberg tent. A nano 3G. It is perfect for cycle touring in many ways - roomy, well designed entrances, footprint that extends into the big vestibule, lightweight..... But.
After only 14 months of continual use, the fly seems to be getting very thin as though the UV rays are getting at it. We can see tiny holes in the sunlight, and when it rains there is a mist inside which seems more than just condensation. Have used it in a Europe and Pacific West Coast of USA where the UV is nothing like our home country - New Zealand.
Also, two of the zips have caused problems although we have managed to fix them ( temporarily? ) by using pliers to pinch the sliders tighter on the zips.
Will thrash it to death but looking for an excuse to go back to an NZ designed Macpac which are a bit heavier but genuinely bullet proof. Regards

Peter Floyd said...

really great

BeatingTheBulge (BTB) said...

How did you find the Jannu in the long run? I am riding a dual suspension on a semi around the world tour and am looking at the Nallo 2 GT. Any thoughts on the Nallo? Cheers!

Benji said...

Aha, I remember when you set up that Skyledge for the first time on the streets of Nicosia. Good to know what happens to ultra-lights after one year of use!

I've been using a Nordisk (950grams) for a while and it's showing signs of use... Stretched seams and tears at stress-points.

Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"

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