Guest blog: Gary & Rachel's world record e-bike ride – the tent

Published by Lyn on 7 April 2015

Gary and Rachel Corbett are attempting to set a world e-bike record using the EuroVelo routes through Europe. In his latest blog, Gary writes about the tent they'll be using.

ebikes camping

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As someone who has been a keen outdoorsman/camper for close to 50 years – ever since I joined the Boy Scouts as a very naive 10 year old – I've prided myself on my camping ability.

Wild camping in difficult terrain – no problem, camping above the snowline – no problem, survival camping with minimal provisions – been there done that, camping equipment knowledge – above average, can start a fire without matches – fluked it once.

Anyway, you get the drift. Over the years I have done a lot of camping in all sorts of places and in all sorts of weather conditions. Basically I love camping and have always taken every opportunity to get acquainted with the great outdoors – basically it is the ONLY way to get close to nature.

It is also, I have found, the best way to get a great night’s sleep. I don’t know what it is, but no matter where I camp, if there is a gale blowing outside, if it is snowing or pouring rain or even if I am in the middle of a noisy campground, once I crawl into my sleeping bag in a tent I sleep like a log.

As we near the April 23 departure date for the start ouf our ebike world record attempt, one of the many things I'm looking forward to is being able to camp for a year. Essentially this means two things: one year of great sleeps and the chance to camp in an array of amazing places on a nightly basis.

It was therefore with great anticipating that Mrs e-Bike Cycle Tourist and I travelled to a friend’s farm last week to test drive our newly purchased Vango Omega 3-person tent in preparation for our upcoming cycling adventure.

The European designed Vango tunnel-style tent had been purchased after much deliberation after finally deciding it ticked all of the boxes for us to be able to live in it for a year.

tents for cycle camping

Gary and Rachel's troublesome Vango Omega 3-person tent.

Essentially it provides plenty of sleeping room, has a generous 1.35 metre head height, has a separate storage/sitting area and weighs just over 5kg.

Given that the camping retailer where we purchased the tent did not have one on display, we were keen in the extreme to test drive our new purchase and to actually see it in the flesh. Would we have any problems erecting our new home for the first time? No way! I have owned an estimated 15-plus tents of all sizes, styles and makes over the years; it would be a piece of cake!

“Should we read the instructions?” inquired Mrs e-Bike Cycle Tourist?

“No need,” was the confident reply.

“Maybe a YouTube instructional video?” she continued.

“You have to be kidding, it’s a tent not a skyscraper,” I scoffed.

Anyway, I bet you know where this is going. After scratching my head for 10 or so minutes after unpacking the tent bag, I meekly conceded that “yes, it might be a good idea to read the instructions”.

After another 45-plus minutes – you read right - of reading and rereading the instructions and battling with a howling wind that insisted on trying to blow our new purchase into tomorrow, I finally came up with a great idea …

“Why don’t we see if there'ss a YouTube instructional video on the internet?”

Two instructional videos later and it all became clear – you don’t put up the inner sleeping quarters first and then erect the outer tent over it – as I have done with every tent I have ever owned. No, no, no, you put up the outer tent first and then finally hook up the breathable sleeping quarters under the protective outer skin.

How to erect a Vango tunnel tent


Brilliant, who would have thought such complicated instructions could in fact be so simple. Anyway, just 20 or so minutes later our new home was proudly standing for the first time and was the centre of all of our attentions.

The bottom line is that we are delighted with our purchase and are confident it will serve us well as we cycle 16,000-plus kilometres throughout the UK, Europe and Scandinavia in an attempt to set a new world e-bike long distance record.

And in case you were wondering, yes I had a fantastic night’s sleep.

We'll be following Gary and Rachel as they make their way across Europe – including France – on their e-bikes. You can see their website here.

See our cycle camping section for more top tips for camping throughout France.

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