Bikepacking Tips – The Importance of Comfort (and Tea)

Tim Wiggins Bikepacking
Last month I wrote a piece for The Expedition Journals that referred to my 4C's of Expedition Execution: Care, Comfort, Communication, and Contingency. This post focuses in on the second of those—Comfort— in particular, the importance I personally place on having a comforting cup of tea on a bikepacking or bicycle touring adventure…

First, to add some context, here are my 4C's of Expedition Execution:
  1. Care – This starts with careful and thorough planning of an expedition, and continues with a careful and sensible approach to all aspects of its execution.
  2. Comfort – This does not mean opting for luxury; but considering comfort over potential discomfort or distress. For example, if you are wild camping in sub-zero temperatures, take the right season sleeping bag rather than opting for a summer season one to save weight—it could save you from hypothermia.
  3. Communication – Aim to keep communication as constant and as flowing as possible at all times. This supplies reassurance to family and friends that may be following your progress, but it also means you are more likely to be noted when you are in trouble.
  4. Contingency – Always plan for the unexpected, and do not be afraid to adapt and change plans as conditions demand and evolve. "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray..."

Comfort is an area that often sparks debate. When does comfort become luxury? Can you afford yourself the 'comfortable' choice considering the weight penalty?

'Comfort' for me, actually means avoiding discomfort; making decisions on kit and planning with the aim of avoiding a level of discomfort that could put a premature end to your adventure.

My biggest fear on expeditions is hypothermia—it is the single biggest killer in the great outdoors. Consequently, I always opt for the kit choice that will help avoid potential hypothermia; that includes taking a sleeping bag with the right temperature rating, extra layers, extra socks; and when possible, tea…

Comfort in Tea

Tea. This is the perfect metaphor for expedition comfort—as there is nothing more comforting than a cup of steaming hot tea on a cold and isolated mountain.

Three of my favourite pieces of kit are a JetBoil Flash, a Stanley Thermal Flask, and an Elite Deboyo Thermal Bicycle Bottle. In partnership with these, I always have a stash of caffeinated and herbal teas from Canton Tea.

Carrying a 'brew kit' like the above on an expedition or long ride can seem like a luxury; but it is worth every extra gram for the rejuvenating and reinvigorating effects it can have out in the wild. A warm cup of tea can ward off hypothermia, allow you to sleep at night, and bring fresh energy back to a tired body and mind.

Tea is a wonder drink. I love coffee, but tea is drunk far more widely across the world as a comforting, stimulating, and medically valuable beverage. The drink comes in many forms and has great versatility as a hot drink to have at any time of the day.

Here are the five teas that you will often find in my pack:
  1. Canton English Breakfast Tea – The classic full-bodied tea that delivers a caffeine kick and sets you up for a day of adventure.
  2. Canton Triple Mint Tea – A refreshing drink that can also be brewed in a flask and enjoyed cold. As a hot drink it is a wonderful way to warm up and rehydrate in the evening.
  3. Canton Wild Rooibos Tea – I have had a thing for Rooibos tea ever since my extended family lived in Kenya. The caffeine-free blend is ideal when you want a warming and spicy drink to pick you up.
  4. Canton Jade Green Tips Tea – Green tea has been shown to have many health benefits, including reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Most interesting for sports people though is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels—it could help avoid the dreaded sugar lows experienced during endurance exercise.
  5. Canton Cooked Puerh Tea – Puerh tea is a fermented Chinese tea that has been aged and matured to give it a sweet earthy flavour. It has powerful antioxidant properties and makes for a beautiful drink when served outdoors.

Tea is a comforting classic—an age-old uplifting drink. Around the world it is chosen as a beverage of choice because of its rejuvenating characteristics.

Whether you are doing a long winter ride or a month-long bikepacking expedition—making the provision to brew a good cup of tea is a golden rule for me, and something I would urge all adventurers consider. Tea offers a soothing and cheering cup of promise, which will bring warmth to more than one uncomfortable situation.

"Tea is the elixir of life…"
Canton Tea

Tim Wiggins Bikepacking Tips

Tim Wiggins Bikepacking Tips


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