Bikepacking through Europe
In Summer 2017, Tom Pryor, James & Sam Prestwich, and Alec Bain embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime trip: to cycle the length of Europe from north to south.
Starting in Nordkapp, Norway and ending in Tarifa, Spain, the trip would take the guys from the northernmost to southernmost points in Europe. They would pass through 8 countries, taking in heavy rain, strong wind, oppressive heat, huge climbs, fast descents, and a lot of breakfast cereal.
With camping equipment in mind, the group decided that DD SuperLight Tarps and Hammocks were the way to go. Their experience from previous cycling trips, including the shorter but infamous Lands End to John o' Groats, taught them that light weight and small pack size was essential. The steep roads through the Norwegian fjords would be much kinder with a lot less weight on the bike!
Cycling 100 miles a day through northern Norway in the middle of summer felt more like struggling through a British winter. The team faced temperatures barely above 5 degrees as well as a healthy battering from multi-directional rain, which was still falling as snow on the mountains high above. Luckily, the guys managed to find some inventive places to set up their DD SuperLight Hammocks to stay dry as a bone.
Passing south into Sweden, the rain abated and the team could enjoy the wonderful views of the lakes and forests that cover over half of the total area of the country. And, of course, stopping for the night in the expansive boreal forests means that you never have to work too hard to find a quiet place to hang your hammock for the night!
The beauty of a long cycling trip is that you have total freedom over where you can start and stop for the day. Refuelling can play a huge part in this however, as thousands upon thousands of calories must be consumed every day just to keep the engine going – you must always keep in mind the need for food and call into civilization once in a while. This does not mean you have to stay in a hotel, though!
Sleep is very important to recover from a hard day in the saddle. Even where there are no trees or structures nearby, as long as you have a tarp then you can always make do with the equipment that you have to find a way to shelter. The team certainly used everything they could to make themselves a home along the way, including their bike wheels!
Now back home with nearly 4,000 miles on their legs, the team are enjoying a well earned rest. This is how the adventure stacked up in numbers:
Mileage: 3920.4 miles (6272 km)
Shortest day: 37 miles
Longest day: 133 miles
Earliest start: 5:01am
Latest finish: 23:13pm
Total climbing: 165,352 ft
Fastest speed: 49.7 mph
Largest amount of cereal eaten in one sitting: 375g per rider (>10x a normal portion)
The statistics for the journey speak for themselves, but we are glad to say that our SuperLight hammocks and tarps played a key role in keeping Tom, James, Sam and Alec comfortable on their epic journey. They are now looking forward to some more sedate hammock camping trips!
You can read the full story of the trip on the team's blog site here
This trip has certainly inspired us to get planning and get on our bikes. How about you? If you have a story to tell or pictures to share from a similar trip of your own then please share it with us through our website, Facebook or Instagram!
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About the writer
Growing up in the far Northwest Highlands of Scotland, Ewan is no stranger to the Great Outdoors. As part of the DD Hammocks team with a passion for cycling, hillwalking and outdoor sports, Ewan is super keen to spread the joys of the outdoor lifestyle to all!