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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

Picture Gallery
Travel Plan

My Books
About Me
Media/Press Room


Photo Use Info

Read Sample Letter
Continue My Travels

Places I have been
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left

*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.

Equipment Pages Index

How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Bike Touring Shorts

Short-wave Radio
Bicycle touring lights

Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures

See My Videos Here

(see all 3 book)

Bicycle Touring Camp Sleeping Mattress Pad for Lightweight Sleeping, Backpacking, Trekking, and Bike Tours.

Self inflating sleeping pads

Closed cell foam sleeping pad

 Chair Kits

See more pages Sleeping Bags - Camping Mattress - Stealth Camping  -  The Frugal Bike Tour

Sleeping pads for lightweight camping serve two main functions.  They keep you warm when temperatures drop by insulating you from the cold ground and help you sleep better because you are comfortable while sleeping on the hard ground.  There are basically two types of sleeping pads, ones that inflate and ones that are a dense foam rubber pad.  I have owned and used both types depending on the continent.

Things that I look for when buying Sleeping Pads

- Non-sliding surface There is a real problem when sleeping on any type of sleeping pad with sliding off and becoming separated during the night.  When this happens you wake up cold or stiff from sleeping on the cold hard ground.  Some trekking camping pad makers claim to have solved this problem by including a slightly tacky surface.  This is something the cheap pads often omit.

- 3/4 or full length This is a big decision when you buy a foam rubber pad or air mattress.  This question is really about what you will put under your feet.  If you have something like a jacket to put under your feet then you may want to go with the shorter sleeping pad.  A jacket may work for short trips in warm weather but for extended outings and cold weather you will want the longer pad so there is room for your feet.  

Self inflating sleeping pads - all sizes and shapes

This type of camping mattress is probably the most popular for bike tourist.  They pack small, blow up fast and are moderately light.  Self inflating pads are very comfortable, especially considering how thin they are and keep you warm at night.  The self inflating part only gets you about half way then you have to blow up the rest with your mouth.  I have owned and used several difference models of self inflating pads including Therm-a-Rest, Big Agnes, and REI and had about equal performance from them all.  After about a year of continuous use my self inflating pads all got leaks I could not patch or unfixable valve trouble but many long term bicycle travelers and backpackers swear that theirs have lasted many years.  This kind of pad is still my first pick as long as my near future did not have me camping in the desert a lot. 

shop for:   Self inflating sleeping pads

Blow Up / Air sleeping Pad

By far the most comfortable pad but also the most fragile.  If you have back trouble, have trouble sleeping or are going in very cold temperatures this is a great choice.  I have personally used a few different kinds of these but have had bad luck with getting holes and winding up on the cold ground in the middle of the night.  Others will tell you about their flawless experience but not me.  They are lighter and pack up even smaller than the self inflating pads above but more air means more blowing and pushing the air out in the morning to roll it up.  Multiply that extra work everyday on a long trip and it starts to add up. 

shop for: Air sleeping pad

Closed Cell Foam Sleeping Pads

This is the new high tec version of an old and simple idea.  Dense lightweight foam padding keeps you off the ground and insulates from the cold.  They are not the padded air cushion of the pads above but they will never spring a leak or have valve trouble.  Not to mention there is no need for a valve repair kit or patches to deal with  those forgotten thorns under your tent.  If you are a durable sleeper and will be traveling through thorny areas like a desert or just plan to stealth / free camp a lot without the trusted surface of a camp ground than this may be what you need.  I really like that there is no fear in sitting on it around the camp fire or laying on it at the beach.  I often folded mine in thirds and had a padded seat at a camp ground picnic table or ground while free camping.  They are still pretty light but bulky and take up as much room as your tent on your rear rack. 

shop for:   Closed cell foam sleeping pad

Sleeping Pad Puncture, Leak and Valve Repair Kit

Many blow up pads come with a patch kit and some with a valve repair kit but if yours doesn't or you ran out of patches don't forget to be prepared.  

shop for:  Sleeping pad repair kit

Sleeping Pad Chair Kits, Stuff Sacks and More

The sleeping pad stuff sacks often don't last as long as the pad does so a replacement is needed.  Also, I really like the chair kits, especially if you are free camping and sitting on the ground a lot.  Anytime I think a piece of gear can be used for more than one purpose I like it.  Just be careful what you are sitting on because a puncture can lead to many cold nights. 


shop for: Sleeping Pad Chair Kits, Stuff Sacks and More



REI - Camping, Cycling, and Traveling Gear

REI Outlet Store:  Great deals on camping and bike gear

Very good prices on hard-to-find bicycle touring panniers, racks, and more.

Jenson USA - great deals on complete bicycles and parts.



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Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles

Tools and Spares

Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag


Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)

Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads

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