Gear / Hard Goods / Tech / September 4, 2013

Topeak Bikamper: Bike Supported Trail Bivy

IMG_7452

Topeak Bikamper $225

www.topeak.com

The Good: No poles means less bulk on the trail. More head space than a traditional bivy tent.

The Bad: Very dependent on anchor points to hold it all together, soft ground is an achilles’ heel for this tent.

The Ugly: The words that bounced around my skull as I tried to get all the pieces put together the first few times, there are a lot of elements to setting up this tent.

Tents come in all shapes, sizes, and layouts to fit just about any adventure.  From ultra-light to fully loaded there’s a tent for that.  Topeak’s Bikamper is a 1 man bivvy tent designed with a unique twist – it uses your bike as the support structure, eliminating the bulk of poles completely.  This tent uses a double-pronged stake secured to the forks to anchor the front of the tent, and the front wheel slides into a pocket at the foot to hold that side up.  The screened tent is easy to access with a large side zipper, and is well ventilated.  The included rain cover was fast and easy to cinch down over the bike seat and secure near the feet. There’s not much room inside to stow gear and sleep comfortably, and the rain cover only really stretches over the bike itself so be prepared to pack light and sleep with all gear inside if weather is anticipated. bikamper_diagramWe took this tent out for a spin in Northern California and set it up in a few different scenarios to see how well it did. It packs down into a small bag that is nice to stash on a back rack or cinch to the handlebars, and without bulky poles it really stays low profile when packed.  In the soft duff next to a ridge trail vista point, the tent was very difficult to set up due to the dependence on multiple anchor points to keep tension where needed (like the fork spikes).  I could not get the fork spikes to really hold well in the soft dirt, and so the bike kept pitching over while pulling on the foot.  Also, the two main anchor points on the end kept pulling out causing the wheel to fall over.  After some very careful maneuvering, I had the tent set up for the most part, but a lean against the inner wall once again collapsed it on me. Once relocated to the hardest ground I could find, the setup went much better, but also, I was on the hardest ground I could find so a few comfort points went out the window there. Once familiar with the steps and set-up, and also aware of the need for solid dirt, it was much easier to pitch the tent, total time less than 10 minutes.

IMG_7438

This unique design that works in a few specific scenarios, namely when a bike is coming along, and it’s ok to commit it to holding up a tent instead of leaving it free for that afternoon ride.  While the design is interesting and caught our attention, in practice it seems to be too limited to really shine as a versatile travel bivy. For this price, there are quite a few lightweight bivy tents that aren’t limited to biking adventures.

 

Email Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Digg Delicious Reddit

Tags:  Bike bike tent bivy tent topeak travel ultralight

Bookmark and Share




Previous Post
Keen Marshall Mid Waterproof: "One of The Most Comfortable Boots You'll Ever Wear"
Next Post
Gummy Goodness: Trek Tech's Favorite Caffeinated Chews



David Skinner
David Skinner
is a normal guy. With a wife & two kids, adventure has to come close to home. It’s a good thing he lives in Northern California where a short drive in any direction will land him near the water, a trail, or a mountaintop. His passion for adventure comes from a growing up in the Trinity Alps, and a few trips to the other side of the world. With about 10 years of paddling behind him and mountains all around, he’s ready to share a fun take on what makes this world a wonderful place to explore – one adventure at a time. Contact him at david@trektechblog.com




You might also like




0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



More Story
Keen Marshall Mid Waterproof: "One of The Most Comfortable Boots You'll Ever Wear"
Keen Marshall Mid WP, $140 keenfootwear.com The Good: Lightweight and one of the comfiest hiking shoes you’ll ever...