Ray and I did a training ride / campout this weekend to Ray Roberts State Park. It was between 45 and 50 miles each way, and we stayed in the park on Saturday night. It was a good chance for us to get some miles in fully loaded, and I'm sure we learned a few good lessons (I know I did).
Us ready to leave Ray's house. (No, we didn't buy the same bike on purpose)
We got to the park pretty late due to 15mph headwinds and stopping for dinner at Sonic. It sure was worth it though!! We got there in time to set up the small portable TV and watch the Jaguars-Patriots game...my Seahawks had already lost by then.
Here's a shot of our campsite in the daylight the next morning. Those hammocks sure are easy to set up, even in the dark. You can't tell from the picture, but it got down to 30 degrees Saturday night.
On to the lessons learned.
1) I had read that the underside of the hammock needs some extra insulation. I wholeheartedly agree now. I had brought a thin reflective sheet (car sunshield), but I couldn't keep it under me very well, so my backside was fairly cold, even though my 20 degree bag kept the rest of me warm. Next time I'll have an inflatable pad strapped to the bottom of the bag to help with this.
2) Since there were no clouds, we both left the rainfly off. I think this was a mistake, as it probably would have held in some extra heat. Next time, the fly goes on the hammock if it's cold. I had ice crystals inside the hammock when I woke up!!
3) Need to bring warm socks and hat. Socks for sleeping in (as opposed to regular cotton), and the hat for while riding (Ray brought one, said it made a world of difference).
4) Need to bring chapstick. My lips are pretty chapped today. This seems like it's always on my mental "what to bring next time" list. It should be a no-brainer, but I forget it every time.
Anyway, enough rambling. As my first bike camping trip, I'd say it was very successful. I'm pleased by the amount of stuff I can get into my smallish panniers, and it didn't take a lot to get used to riding with the bike loaded like that. Looking forward to the tour even more now.