• Come the end of April, I plan on hitchhiking through Europe in Turkeys direction. If I get that far I shall have to see what happens and where the road takes me - heading further east would be fun!

    I'm basically after advice as there must be people here that have done simular? I'm planning on couchsurfing/using hostels but for the odd occasion I may get stuck out I'm tempted to take a 1 man tent, sleeping mat and bag. Is this worth it? Want to travel light as possible.

    Any advice or inspiration would be much appreciated! :D

  • Some of the modern synthetic bags are as good as down , and do not have clumping issues , and dry out quicker if they get damp, on the other hand synthetic dont compress as well for packing , and do not last as long but thety

    are cheaper. Also no birds were hurt in their manufacture .

    North face 'Cats Meow ' best synthetic sleeping bag I ever owned , used for winter climbing trips .They say its 3 season , but more like 4 too me .

    Mountain Equipment down bags are not cheap , but very good . I have 2 , a 4 season , and a 5 season.

  • Regarding hitchhiking, this is a really useful site, not sure if it is updated anymore but the information is golden, gives specific info on each country and their customs towards hitchers.

    I have done it around Norway, France and Spain. Norway people actually stop without you sticking your thumb out, super helpful, France is good too but Spain is much like the UK, 1 OUT OF 99!

    Always smile and don't look depressed ha!

    Always think about giving the driver a safe place to pull over. So just before a verge if you are on a corner or a blind spot.

    We slept on an old boat we found.


    Hitching in the rain!


    Slept on people's mountain lodges a lot, looked after them, just enjoyed the views.


    Food was always good!


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  • Buy a top quality secondhand (used) sleeping bag, rucksack, kit where possible. Lots of folk change their top notch camping kit like we change our sox. Down or hollow fibre dossbag fill is irrelevant if good quality and your sensible. If your hiking, dossing, sofa surfing the risk of loosing, getting kit stolen or damaging kit is high. You can save hundreds buying secondhand (used) hiking/camping equipment. Also you can sell on on your return.

    A good lightweight bivibag will always save the day. If your sleeping where there’s ground snakes, crawlies, scorpions etc a tent can be a god send. But tents are bulky and weighty just like a bIvi, bedroll, camping mat or a hammock. It all comes down to weight not making you miserable, if it’s too heavy to lug around. Too bulky to sit on your lap in crowded vehicles or uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.

    I recommend a waterproof rucksack, dry bag or rucksack rain cover. Relying on a dry sleeping bag and clothes could be essential. Learn how to pack your rucksack well. A little planning goes a long way.

  • Buffalo and a lightweight plastic sheet:-

    Pertex and fleece buffalo bags......heavy but windproof, wicks extremely well and kept me warm even when damp in my hitchhiking days.

    Clothes placed between the inner and outer of a buffalo sleeping bag would dry out by morning.

    Heavy and bulky but does not suffer the negatives associated with feather or synthetics that rely on loft and perform poorly when wet or compressed.

  • Good shout on the buffalo stuff Zendaze , Paramo make same sort of stuff . I have always gotten to hot to cope with the cloths .

  • A self inflating mat such as a thermarest , if you want ultimate luxury on your travel s . I think you can get an atachment to make into a chair . A good mat will mean you need less of a high rated bag , so horses for courses . The ground can get blimmin cold !

  • I was looking at the alpkit dIrtbag mat which should keep me warm and comfy. My plan was to set a 3x3m tarp up as a lean to but with some tucked under the mat as a groundsheet. That should keep me out of the wind and rain! It's tricky decidIng on a sleeping bag as I'm hoping to head to warmer countries and it'll be slowly turning to summer but I don't want to end up freezing to death!

  • A good 3 season + plus down sleeping bag would do the job, preferably with a full zip so as in warmer climates can be used as a throw over/

    Can be picked up second hand

    I find from personal experiences that the newer down bags are far easier to dry out, as are treated.

    Also the bivi bag a good idea and light weight tarp

  • Yeah, I'm hoping to travel light, but relitavely comfortable. I'm thinking sleep is one of the most important to prioritise! Might leave the stove behind, will be plenty of places to eat, cook etc. Just the sleeping gear and clothes mainly.

    No idea on timeframe but I'd love to atleast reach turkey!

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  • I'Ve been a member of bushcraftuk for nearly 10 years now I think, I'll keep my eye out on the classifieds but you can pick a new one up from sports direct for £100. Nearly bought one this evening but wasn't sure if it'd be too small once I've got a sleeping bag, mat etc in there. Should be fine though, I'll make it work lol!

  • If you are certain of keeping things dry then two cheap two season bags could work a treat or a decent tropical bag plus a cheapy. Makes it easier to dump one when you realise you are warm enough and carrying excess bulk and weight becomes a chore.

    Layering sleeping bags works well and even a 3season bag will be too much most of the time.

    You will absolutely boil in a micro tent when the sun falls upon it.

  • Seven years ago I invested in secondhand one of these: US Army modular sleeping systems


    Back then it was £45 plus ebay postage. it’s two inner sleeping bags with a outer gortex bIvi bag. They all sync together to work over a variety of climates. I can’t recomend these enough for rough sleeping. They are bulky but the compression sack has twice the usual number of straps to really compress the size down. I dare say it will last me a lifetime and I could sleep out in the coldest of UK winters even in the pouring rain. Rated down to minus 30 and they often come up on eBay from UK sellers for around £65 here’s one from the states, ebay listing number 321320443080

  • I'm hoping to reach TurkeY woOfetty swiftly, within a couple of weeks which will mean I'm there mid May. Temperatures should be around 25c in the day and down to 13c at night. Increasing as summer arrives! So a bag rated down to 0c should cover me plenty right? I just don't wanna end up higher up sleeping outside and get cold, nor do I want to lug around unnecessary gear.

  • Any surplus sleeping bag fabric not required to wrap your body can be laid on.

    That’s what I like about the USA sleeping system. Although it’s slightly more bulkier then a middle of the road down or hollow fibre 4 season sleeping bag. It can be used in 4 different formats.

    1) Gortex bag with abundant sleeping mats

    2) jungle sleeping bag with Gortex groundsheet and seriously good under sleeping mat

    3) 3 to 4 season sleeping bag, Gortex groundsheet, meadium sleeping mat.

    4) artic weatherproof/breathable sleeping system with built in groundsheet.

    Dry bag for all your gear in torrential rain.

    Emergency, survival floatation system in the event of a flood or river crossing.

  • If i was doing what youre planning on id get an ex army/expedition waterproof hooped zip up bivvy bag(why carry a tent) and a decent inexpensive sleeping bag.

    A bivvy will keep you dry and warm and enough room in them to keep your backpak and clothes in with you if you need to wildsleep, but will roll up tight.

    Snugpak supply expeditions and the army special forces with sleeping bags and theyre good value and inexpensive

    Ive got the most extreme bag snugpak do, down to -50 to - 60C Antarctic model bloody good kit but Ive got a basecamp and softie elite too which are both good bags for wide range of temps summer down to -5 ish and around 40 squid and compress quite well.

    They also do some warmer climate bags that fold up very small in the palm of your hand.

    Point is you dont have to spend a fortune to buy effective kit.

    Mammut do some decent lightweight summer /scandi / alpine hiking bags and you can often pick them up for a fraction of their brand new price.

    The most important things for hiking or hitching any distance are decent backpack and quality boots.Make the wrong choice or forced into the wrong gear its an inescapable misery(first hand experience)

    If youre going to be off the beaten track then shelter ( bivvy), warmth (sleeping bag, warm/waterproof clothes)backup emergency food rations for if youre miles from anywhere thats open are equally important.

    If it doesnt fit in or on a 60ltr backpack leave it behind.

    The rest you can adapt to as you go along.

  • Thanks for the informative post! I've got an alpkit Dortnag self inflating mat and a karrimor sabre 45lt that should be delivered today. I'd prefer a cheaper sleeping bag because of it gets fucked by the rain or anything, it's not the end of the world. I'll look into those bivis?..

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