It's been just over two months since we returned from the inaugural Salty Spokes adventure and we thought it was about time that we give you guys the inside scoop on the gear that we used that made our ten week voyage possible. Through all the weather, winding roads, and grit and grime our gear made it possible to go the distance and make it through all seven countries.
The first piece of gear I am going to talk about is the 5 Owls Solo Shelter. Part bivouac, part tent, this storm proof shelter was what Ryan and I called home for most of the trip. The name speaks for itself; the shelter sleeps one person, but still had enough room to fit all of our gear and panniers which gave us peace of mind knowing all of our gear would be safe at night. The tent compartment also allows you to be able to sit up inside of the shelter which made it easy for Ryan and I to read, journal, and edit photos comfortably at night.
All packed up the Solo Shelter weighs in at 4lbs 14ounces. For us bringing a Shelter that we trusted to get us through anything the weather could throw at us made the little bit of extra weight of the shelter versus a hammock or bivouac well worth it. Plus all packed down into our dry bags it fit nicely on top of our back racks when we were riding.
The Solo Shelter set up and take down is painless! Huge plus for when we were setting up camp in the rain. The Solo Shelter also comes with a Storm Shelter Cover which kept us warm and dry during the thunderstorms we slept through in Portugal and Spain.
A couple tips from us: 1. Always set your tent on the high ground away from where water will flow if it rains. The night we camped near Muros, Spain Ryan unknowingly set up his Solo Shelter in front of the drainage basin of the wall we pitched our shelters behind, and after a night full of downpours woke up in a small lake. No matter how water proof your tent is, wake up in a small lake and your stuff will be wet. 2. When your tent gets wet, because it will inevitably will if you use it frequently, hang it up to dry as soon as possible. The longer it sits wet, the more likely it is for your tent to get mold which happened to Ryan's after a few days of sitting in his dry bag after the storm.
With all that said, if you are planning on going on a bike tour, or you are looking into getting a single person shelter for your outdoor adventures, I highly recommend the 5 Owls Solo Shelter. Compact, lightweight, and waterproof the Solo Shelters were a god send on our trip. Having a place to sleep at night that you know can handle all of the elements gives you some serious peace of mind, and after living in it for the bulk of ten weeks on the road, I can tell you it does just that.
A special thanks to 5 Owls for sponsoring us on this trip. Without your support this trip truly wouldn't have been possible. Stay tuned for some more Salty Spokes + 5 Owls collaborations in the near future.