When biking and camping collide – the Bikamper
The Bikamper replaces tent poles with the user's bicycle
Camping, especially when it’s not car-supported camping, is all about reducing what you have to carry with you. If someone comes along with a tent that doesn’t require poles, then that’s definitely welcome news. As its name implies, however, what Topeak’s Bikamper does require instead is a bicycle – probably a little bulkier to carry with you than tent poles, but presumably the folks at Topeak are assuming that you would have the bike with you already.
The one-person, three-season tent is made from water-resistant urethane-coated 45D ripstop nylon, with a waterproof fly. Your 26-inch or 700C front wheel slides vertically into the foot of the tent, to give it structure, while the rest of your bike is parked nose-in at the head. There, loops at the top of the canopy attach to your handlebars, while the fly proceeds to hook around the back of your seat. Adjustable-length tie-downs keep everything from blowing away.
The arrangement does look a little unstable as pictured, but what you can’t see are the fork anchors that slide into the front dropouts, then stake down into the ground. The whole thing weighs in at 1.63 kg (3.59 lbs), and stuffs down into a small pack that can be strapped to your handlebars or rack.
It definitely looks like a neat idea for bicycle tourists, so long as you keep in mind that once you’ve got your tent set up, you won’t be riding your bike again until the next morning. If you were staying at the same campsite for multiple days, this would mean that you’d have to set up and tear down your tent every day, even though you weren’t relocating.
Road bike riders should also note that they would be required to turn their dropped handlebars drops-up (yuck!) when using their bike to hold up the tent.
The Bikamper is available at various retailers, for around US$150-$200.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
When I think of bi-camping I think of something totally different. Nice to see the Olympic Icon getting some rest, though.
Judging by the location of the cross bar, I too was thinking the bike was very open-minded and had no preference what gender might sleep in the tent. :)
I would want a bit more security for my bike, so unless I could park / camp next to a solid object this would not be very practical. Modern tents and poles are very light, compact and relatively inexpensive, so this idea looks interesting, but is not likely worth the extra bucks! Besides my semi-recumbent would probably not work very well as my front wheel is only 20\" in diameter. The handle bars might come up to the same hight though, so this might not be an issue. I would rather use a trailer / large saddle bags for my camping gear and cloths etc and use a handlebar bag for a map / gps other handy essentials.
Bikamping - Well Hello to those in the lycra, while I drape myself over the handlebars, hung like jesus.
It doesn\'t look very roomy on the inside. I\'m not claustrophobic, but I do like enough space in a tent to change clothes or take a wipe down \"bath\". I\'d at least like room for a day pack in there with me, too. Having to store the majority of my gear outside of my tent with the bike doesn\'t sit well with me. It also looks difficult to get into the tent once it is set up. I can\'t tell where the door is. I\'d rather have a tent concept that allows me to connect my bike to the outer wall of the tent for security against the theft of my bike while I was sleeping.
It\'s bi-, it\'s kamp, it\'s areally unfortunate name & it looks all wrong...
Rex Alfie Lee
Hanging one end of my tiny tent from my bike is revolutionary? Really?
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