For the Grumby’s next downsize, what could be more cozy and intimate than our over-sized studio apartment?
- Smaller apartment?
- Modest RV?
- Tiny House?
- A Tent?
And what’s the advantage of going from small to smaller, anyway?
Wait – What’s a Hubba Hubba?
A Hubba Hubba is not a type of yurt, or a tiny house, or the smaller version of Portland’s Footprint Apartments. The Hubba Hubba is the backpacking tent that will be one of our primary shelters while we’re out on Undaunted Porridge. With floor dimensions of 84 inches long by 50 inches wide, it’s just the right size for a daily rest that’s both bug-free and dry. And since neither of us is 7 feet tall, we’ll have storage space at our feet. What doesn’t fit in the tent will fit just fine in the generously-sized vestibules.
Transporting Our New Home
The packed dimensions of the Hubba Hubba are 7 x 20 inches. When you take out the tent poles, it’s even smaller. I will carry the tent body and fly in one of my rear panniers, and Mr. G. will carry the tent poles on top of his rear rack. The total weight is less than 5 pounds … not bad for a cozy downsize!
Mr. Grumby and I are used to sleeping on a queen-sized mattress, which is 60 inches wide. How will we maintain our sleeping comfort in a tent that is only 50 inches wide? Our solution: the Big Agnes Q-Core SLX. This pad is a luxurious 4.25 inches thick, which is perfect for side sleepers. And with two 20-inch wide pads, we have 5 inches of spare room on either side (water bottle cubby!). It’s 72 inches long, which gives us plenty of head and foot room.
What About the Living Room, Kitchen, and Bathroom?
Good question! The Hubba Hubba is definitely spacious enough for some evening reading, and even getting dressed in the morning. But whether or not we are in bear territory, food in or near the tent is a no-no. In most campsites our kitchen and living room will be a picnic table or a group gathering spot.
Campground bathrooms vary from flush toilets with hot showers to pit toilets and a central water spigot.
If we wild camp, the bathroom will be a cathole and kitchen may be a few rocks and a log or two to sit on.
Wherever we camp, we will adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles.
Home Away From Hubba Hubba
Where will we sleep if the weather is too foul for the Hubba Hubba or if we just feel like staying in a place that’s bigger than 84 x 50 inches?
One of the options we’ll be exploring is connecting with other touring cyclists through an organization called Warm Showers. From the Warm Showers website:
What is the Warm Showers Community?
The Warm Showers Community is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. People who are willing to host touring cyclists sign up and provide their contact information, and may occasionally have someone stay with them and share great stories and a drink. All members agree to host others either now or in the future, but for some members hosting may be in years or even decades in their future.
We’ll also be visiting relatives in Omaha, NE and Missoula, MT. And once in awhile we’ll stay at an Air B&B or a hotel.
How About Initiating Kindness?
Adventure cyclist and travel writer Willie Weir believes there’s a better alternative to campgrounds and hotels. What Willie has dubbed as ‘initiating kindness‘ involves knocking on a door at the end of a day of riding. When the door opens, the Grumbys might say something like, “Hi. We’re riding our bikes from Kansas City, MO to Portland, OR and wondered if it’s OK to pitch our tent in your yard?”
During a 2-week bike trip with his friend in New Zealand, Willie knocked on the door of a purple church.
I knocked on the door of the church and was greeted by Father Leo. When I asked him if we could pitch our tents on church property, he said he could do us one better and offer us beds for the night. Father Leo was quite a character, and kept us up late telling us stories about the townsfolk and explaining the rules of cricket … The next morning, after hearty bowls of oatmeal, Father Leo walked us out to our bikes. “Thank you, lads for stopping in. Between Sundays it can get lonesome here. God bless you.”
Right now, this idea feels a little uncomfortable. But hopefully curiosity and the desire to learn about the communities that we ride through will open us up to similar opportunities. We had the opportunity to meet Willie a few weeks ago at the home of some veteran bike tourists we have met in Portland, and he encouraged us to veer off the beaten path and to initiate kindness. We’ll definitely keep a copy of Willie’s book Travels With Willie on our Kindles as a source of inspiration and wisdom.
The Downsizing Advantage
We’re currently living in an apartment that is pretty small. It’s described as a one-bedroom, but is really an oversized studio with an alcove that’s just big enough for a bed and 2 nightstands.
So – what’s the advantage of going from small to smaller?
That remains to be seen, but what I imagine is that that we might recover the natural fascination with the world and appetite for learning that we’ve lost to the numbness of adult routines. Since the time that we spend inside the Hubba Hubba will be limited, we’ll have time to focus on our new life at 10mph. There will be sights to see, sounds to hear, interesting people to meet, and local foods and beverages to savor.
And that 84 x 50 Hubba Hubba probably won’t feel too small at the end of the day.