My Bicycle Camping Gear List For Iceland

Here's a look at my current bicycle camping gear such as my tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag. Items of cycle camping kit get swapped in and out depending on the bike tour.

bike camping gear list

Bike Camping Gear

As I'm preparing for an Iceland cycling trip, I thought I'd put together a list of camping equipment I'll be taking on the bicycle tour.

(You should note that this article is just about the camping gear for the bike tour. A more comprehensive list of all the bike touring gear I will be taking with me can be found at: Iceland Bicycle Touring Gear).

Like most people who go on longer cycling tours, my camping kit consists of pretty standard things.

For example, hammocks are fun and everything, but a tent is a much better, all purpose shelter for bike touring. Also, trees are in pretty short supply in Iceland, so hammock camping probably wouldn't be of much use!

Which reminds me: There is no one size fits all approach to the exact camping gear to take on a bike tour. It will very much depend on where and when you are going, how long you want the kit to last (ultralight camping gear tends to have a shorter lifespan), and how much cash you want to splash.

Cycle Camping Gear List

My typical cycle camping gear list for traveling by bike for a week or more consists of:

  • Tent: Lightweight, compact, and waterproof
  • Tent Footprint: Helps to preserve the tent's built in groundsheet
  • Sleeping bag: Appropriate for the weather conditions you'll encounter
  • Sleeping bag liner: Keeps the sleeping bag free of dirt and smells.
  • Sleeping pad or camping mattress: Provides insulation and comfort
  • Camping pillow: A camping pillow is way better than sleeping with your head on a pile of rolled up clothes
  • Kneeling pad / seat pad: A new one for me – love it!

Here's a breakdown of the specific gear I have for my current bike touring camping setup for cycling Iceland. Where I still have the invoices, I've included prices I paid, which is always fun for a bit of historical reference!

Bicycle Camping Tent: MSR Hubba Hubba NX

I wanted to buy a tent that was lightweight but also had enough room for me and my gear. After a bit of research, I settled on the MSR Hubba Hubba NX which is classed as a two person tent.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent for bike touring

I wish I'd read a few more reviews about it though. During a shakedown bike tour, the ends of one of the poles split – on the first night I put it up!

This seems to be a common problem with the aluminium poles that come with the European version of the tent. (In 2023, the European version may have different poles like the US version – allegedly these give you splinters instead!).

To say that I was annoyed is to avoid using the word p*ssed off! Even more so, when I realised I hadn't got a tent repair splint with me. So, I bodged together a repair with duct tape, and got through the rest of the tour praying it wouldn't splinter further and rip the tent fabric.

Silver tape being used as a temporary repair on my tent pole

Back from the tour, I got in contact with MSR who sent me through a couple of spare poles as well as a couple of splints for free. My guess, is this happens a lot!

This meant though, that I had to replace the tent pole by loosening the shock cord, unknotting it, taking out the old pole, fitting a new one, and tying the shock cord back together.

I think I've done a good job, but if I'm to be honest, there's going to be a little niggle in the back of my mind that a pole is going to split or the shock cord will ping free during this Iceland bike tour.

The irony being of course, that I bought a slightly more expensive tent for peace of mind! Fingers crossed this Hubba Hubba NX doesn't let me down!

Price: Bought this in 2021 I think it was around 450 Euros

Related: Camping Captions

Tent Footprint: MSR 2 Person Tent Footprint Large

The footprint acts as a groundsheet to go under the Hubba Hubba tent. It helps to keep water out of the relatively thin bottom of the tent, and also prevents the integral tent groundsheet from wear and tear.

Price: Unsure

Bike Camping Sleeping Mat: Sea To Summit Ether Light XT

Over the years, I've mainly had foam sleeping mats. Which, I must say, suck quite a lot when on longer tours!

As a side sleeper, finding a comfortable sleeping mat is a bit of a problem. But, it's a problem that this Sea to Summit Ether Light XT solves nicely.

Sea To Summit Ether Light XT

I've used it a few times now, and it gives a comfy nights sleep, although it can be a bit squeaky in the night when I move. The Ether Light is easy to inflate, packs down quite small and is light.

Price: When I bought this in August of 2022, the price I paid was 120.15 Euros.

Camping Pillow: Sea To Summit Aeros Pillow

I've moved on from putting my head on a carrier bag full of dirty clothes to use as a pillow when camping on a bike tour. And boy, do my neck and quality of sleep thank me for it!

For a few years, I'd been rocking a cheap but cheerful Karrimor camping pillow, but this upgrade to a Sea to Summit Aeros pillow is a game changer!

Sea To Summit Aeros Pillow

Designed to attach to the inflatable Ether Light sleeping mat, it is very comfortable, and once I'd used it, was difficult to see how I'd been getting by without it all these years.

Price: When I bought this in August of 2022, the price I paid was 24.99 Euros.

Bike Touring Sleeping Bag: Rab Neutrino 400

Trying to choose the best sleeping bag to take for a cycling trip around Iceland was no easy matter. I am starting my Iceland cycling route in late July and finishing at the end of August of 2023, when the Icelandic weather is “at it's best”.

The thing is, this can still mean cold nights, and perhaps a little snow in the highest passes. I decided on a down sleeping bag that has a good warmth to rate ratio. I also think that the company I bought the Rab Neutrino 400 from had really mis-priced it.

In fact, I emailed Rab to ask them if the retailer I ordered the sleeping bag from was legit because it seemed too good to be true. It was, they said, and so basically I got the Rab Neutrino 400 down sleeping bag for about half price.

Price: When I bought this in Autumn 2022, the price I paid was 206.99 Pounds

Sleeping Bag Liner: Decathlon Forclaz Silk Liner

This weighs in at 110g, and serves more than one purpose. The obvious one, is that a sleeping bag liner acts as a barrier between your body and you sleeping bag.

As a result, you only need to wash the sleeping bag liner from time to time, and don't have to endure a smelly sleeping bag. Sleeping bag liners are also easier to wash than sleeping bags, particularly down ones.

This silk liner also adds an extra layer of insulation on the inside of the sleeping bag which might be useful during cold Icelandic nights! In Europe in the summer, perhaps I could get away with just sleeping in the liner, particularly in Greece where I live!

Price: Unsure

Kneeling Pad: Decathlon Forclaz Foam Pad

20 or 30 years ago when I first started bike touring, I might have laughed at the idea of taking a sitting or kneeling pad with me as part of my bike camping gear. A little older, wiser, and appreciating the little comforts, it's well worth taking along!

decathlon kneeling sitting pad

I can use it as a sitting pad on a cold rock for a seat, sit on it in front of my tent, and kneel on it as I take things in and out the tent. In short, it's the little things in life that put a smile on your face, and this is one of them!

Price: Unsure

And that's the basics of my bicycle camping gear! As you might notice, I've not mentioned my cooking system, which will have a separate post.

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