RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!

Charter tent rental or personnal tent? That is the question this year.

I’ve done RAGBRAI the past two years and used PBV both times. I’ll use them again this year but my only question is: Is the tent rental worth the money? I’m thinking of buying a tent this year and letting PBV carry it to the overnight town for me. I’m thinking I want mind setting it up since the days are so long in the summer. The tent I buy will cost 25% of the PBV tent rental and setup.
Does the tent count as one of the two bags you’re allowed or do you still get to have two bags and the tent? Any input appreciated.

53 Replies

WrightBrother, March 29, 2014 at 3:46 am

It really is your choice. Sounds like you prefer to save $$, rather than pay $450-$500 for tent service. If you are fat with cash, then by all means front the money for tent service. They will set up your tent, place your two bags inside, and put your name on the tent for you. All you would do is find it in Tent City & plop down inside for a rest when you arrive. In my opinion, no it is not worth the money. It takes me at most a half hour to find my gear, locate a spot to set up, and put up the tent. That’s not worth $70/day. Yes, the two bag limit includes your tent, but if you do use PBV tent service you’ll save the space & weight that a tent would take up in your luggage.

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Michrider !!!, March 29, 2014 at 6:07 am

I respectfully disagree! I use PBV’s tent service and love it! When I roll into camp (hottest part of the day) the tent is up with my bags inside! I can relax under the big tent, in front of the big fan with a cold beverage. I don’t have to find my bags, drag them to an empty space and set up the tent. Like I already said, I love PBV’s tent service and so do 400 other Porkers!!!!

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Steve, March 29, 2014 at 8:42 am

I am right in the middle on this one. Last year I used the tent service with Bubba and this year I took it with PBV, but it was a tough decision and I see both sides of this one. I think that what swayed me was not just what I had to do each evening but also what I had to do each morning. All the gear, tent included, must be on the truck by a certain time in the morning. With tent service I can dress, brush my teeth, pack my sleeping gear, and go. No worrying about rolling and stowing a wet tent, perhaps in the rain, and in a race to get to the truck on time. I love the charters but one thing I don’t appreciate is their need to get on the road early each morning. I’d like to enjoy the late night festivities in the towns as well, but I need some amount of sleep. They make me get up earlier than I might otherwise, and having to pack that damned tent would make it even earlier.

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Michrider !!!, March 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

Steve, with PBV, you’ve made the right decision this year!

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10usstring, March 29, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I’ve done it both ways with PVV and it is nice to have everything set up after a long day. However, due to the large number of tents PVV has, they need a large open area and that means little or no shade. If you think you will have a nice nap in the afternoon, forget it. I’ll do my own tent this year, save some $ and maybe find some cool shade.

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Michrider !!!, March 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm

10usstring: I’ve done it both ways with PVV and it is nice to have everything set up after a long day. However, due to the large number of tents PVV has, they need a large open area and that means little or no shade. If you think you will have a nice nap in the afternoon, forget it. I’ll do my own tent this year, save some $ and maybe find some cool shade.

Once again I respectfully disagree. I use PBV’s tent service. For my afternoon nap, I drag my sleeping pad into the shade and nap away. Not much chance for me to sleep inside a hot tent anyway! Just wait until the sun goes down and we’ll all have camping space in the shade!!!!

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Sandaltan ., March 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Mich….are you old enough to admit to afternoon naps?? Afternoon delight ….maybe but not naps. I will check with Beverly who sees all and knows all.

RIDE RIGHT

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LawnchairMan, March 29, 2014 at 8:33 pm

There are lots of ways to do RAGBRAI. I don’t understand all the bands and sleeping late, but apparently lots of RAGBRAIers do. I’m there to cycle, meet the locals, eat and camp. Please observe the 9:00 pm noise curfew when getting to your tents, and I’ll be as quiet as I can striking my tent in the morning.

I think finding a choice location and pitching my own tent is part of the RAGBRAI experience. I meet others who are doing the same, and maybe give them a hand with their tent. I like having the style of tent I choose, set where I want, rather than conforming to one in rows of look alike tents. Since I bought a good Kelty last year, it won’t cost anything this year. I can spend the savings on massages, food or souvenirs. I can afford the tent service, but I choose to do it myself.

It only takes about ten minutes to pitch or strike. Morning toiletries and packing gear will still take the same time. So geting out early is not a big problem.

I realize that there are different ways to do RAGBRAI, but please respect others who do it differently than you. A guy pitched his tent near me last year with a black guy wire stretching about five feet out. A great tripping hazzard. A lady mentioned it to him, and he said “That’s RAGBRAI”, and left it that way. I disagree. Guy wires are necessary, but can be short and reflective. Or put ribbons on them. Please find ways to respect your neighbors. Thanks!

PS, I didn’t move his cord, but wrapped some extra reflective cord around it. Sorry for the rant, but that selfish people make me mad.

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Iceman, March 31, 2014 at 9:13 am

If you absolutely cannot afford the tent service, I understand.

But if you can, use the rental tents. I’ve done it both ways on RAGBRAI, all with PBV. I have a tent that is extremely durable & spacious and extremely easy to set up, but Mich is right. It’s the hottest part of the day and I don’t need the hassle of dragging my tent and bags back and forth to the baggage truck every day. And it’s sometimes hard to find that “right spot” to set up.

I really don’t understand all the “I’m right and you are wrong” bantering about this issue. There are not many of you out there that would go on some non-biking vacation and stay in a roach motel if, for a few bucks more, you could have a hassle free, nice place to stay. It’s your vacation. If I fly to RAGBRAI and use PBV and all its bus services, tents, etc., I figure I’ll spend a couple hundred bucks a day for the week. I’ve worked my butt off every day for the past 40 years and the few bucks more I spend on “the extras” with PBV are a very, very small price to pay to enjoy myself.

And there are other good charters out there with tent service, etc. I’ve used Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers on non-RAGBRAI week long rides and he does a great job – a few less available service than PBV, but he does a great job.

And another thing – that old nonsense about “charters get the worst spots for camping sites” is a bunch of BS. If anything, they are better. If they happen to be a bit further from the downtown action each night (and the bands and the fireworks and the drunks, and on and on), so much the better. The overnight towns make certain when that happens that there is a shuttle bus route that serves the charters – there is no way they would purposely miss out on the extra revenue from those folks.

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Michrider !!!, March 31, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I love PBV and their tent service. In the Marshalltown storm of 2012, my tent (PBV’s tent) was knocked down & destroyed. The next day when I got to Cedar Rapids, PBV had supplied me with a new tent! Gotta love that kind of service!!!!

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Amanda, March 31, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I understand you have a choice and you are asking for opinions and how others do it. So here is my two cents. I had a sherpa who would take care of putting my tent up. However due to cutbacks in my royal allowance , I had to let him go. Now I put up and take down my tent by myself. “big girl – clap clap”. It really isnt too bad and I have an adult beverage while I am putting it up. Yes I can multi-task. And that does leave more money for fun things! But however you decide will be right for you. And it would suck to have to buy a new tent on the ride. Maybe Mich would let you bunk with him! ;)

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jwsknk, March 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm

we had some teen age boys for a few years that that got in early and set up tents for people for a few bucks a day. They kind of knew who to set up together and not put the early risers tents next to the latter ones. On your own for strike and getting bags to truck, but ours doesn’t leave until 9:00. So there is another option, find a teen with the charter that wants to make a few bucks during the week.

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Michrider !!!, March 31, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Amanda: I understand you have a choice and you are asking for opinions and how others do it. So here is my two cents. I had a sherpa who would take care of putting my tent up. However due to cutbacks in my royal allowance , I had to let him go. Now I put up and take down my tent by myself.

    “big girl – clap clap”. It really isnt too bad and I have an adult beverage while I am putting it up. Yes I can multi-task. And that does leave more money for fun things! But however you decide will be right for you. And it would suck to have to buy a new tent on the ride. Maybe Mich would let you bunk with him!

Princess Amanda, you don’t have a Sherpa anymore? Your putting up your own tent? How horrible!!!! Budget cutbacks can be Hell for a Royal Girl!! So now your arranging for me to share my tent? I just hope this chick is cute!!!! I’m not really picky but I do have standards! They may be lower than hell but they’re mine!!!!

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Amanda, March 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I think I offered your tent to a guy………;)

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Michrider !!!, March 31, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Amanda: I think I offered your tent to a guy………;)

NO, NO, NO!!!!!! That’s just wrong!!!!

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