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#134929 - 06/09/10 10:55 PM Two serious bivy questions
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
After hours of research both here and elsewhere on the internet, I find myself with questions not necessarily addressed in other threads.

I'm looking at the REI Minimalist Bivy combined with the Lafuma +45 deg. bag for summer in the big mountains of the Northeast (ADK, Whites, etc). I already own a Cocoon silk liner adding 5-10 deg. more warmth. So, my "combined rating" should be around 30-35 deg., perfect for most summer nights in the mountains, and hopefully, by using a 45 deg bag with the liner and my clothing, I give myself options to help prevent overheating and thus condensation. Here are my questions

#1. Are bivy's, and specifically the REI Minimalist, really truly waterproof? As in, could I lay out in a teeming rain with no tarp and not get wet (other than condensation, which is question #2)? I understand the REI bivy has a mesh face opening, which I'll easily seal up by rigging my poncho over my photo tripod and placing that over my head. But other than that, is it the real deal as far as waterproof goes?

#2. To battle condensation, I figure on the Lafuma 45 deg. bag with the silk liner (making it a ~40 deg. bag). I'm a fan of bringing more clothing and thus a lighter sleeping bag. I'd rather have clothing that I can move in to keep me warm than a heavier bag that keeps me immobile. So if it gets chilly, I add my fleece and if it gets real cold, fleece lined soft shell plus boiling water in a nalgene. However, I've heard bad things on Lafuma's loft, so maybe I should stick with the Lafuma 30 deg. bag I have now? I'm just worried about overheating and condensation. I know some is inevitable when using a bivy, I just want to minimize it through intelligent planning smile

If I pull this off, I save something like three pounds. Three entirely beautiful pounds, gone from my pack forever! Not to mention the ease of use and setup, real handy for a photographer who routinely rolls into camp well past the glorious hours of sunset. I'm not concerned with any other aspects of the bivy as I am Spartan camper, and my daylight hours in the woods are always spent hiking, rain or shine, since I only get to get out so often in a year that I make the most of each and every day spent on the trail!

Thoughts on this idea, or any others?

Here are links to both the REI Minimalist Bivy and the Lafuma 45 deg. bag.

Bivy http://www.rei.com/product/794292
Sleeping Bag http://www.rei.com/product/798906

Thanks everyone!


Edited by gregpphoto (06/09/10 10:55 PM)
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#134934 - 06/10/10 12:46 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Firstly, Lafuma bags are notorious for being generously rated; I wouldn't be surprised if the +45 degree bag is more like a +50/+55 degree bag. Secondly I do not put much stock in the stated warmth of bag liners-- perhaps a couple (1-3) of degrees, but certainly not "5 or 10".

Lastly, warmer sleeping bags do not need to be heavier and I wouldn't be surprised if all the extra clothes you bring doesn't weigh more than less clothes and a good quality warmer bag-- and lets face it any summer bag is not necessarily considered a "warm" bag and also how much clothing does one really need to bring for summer camping; but I digress.

IMHO, I wouldn't like to be in a +45 degree Lafuma bag in below freezing temps.

Anyway to answer your questions:

#1. Most "good" bivies tend to be waterproof on the bottom and breathable on the top-- the top doesn't need to be waterproof since the tarp, correctly pitched in a carefully chosen location should negate the need for a completely WP bivy. I use a one from TGoat, weighs in at around 8oz and costs about $120.

It should be noted here that the mesh opening is for bug protection and I do not know what you aim to achieve by rigging your poncho over it-- in fact that would be counterproductive the problem you addressed below.

#2. Condensation is pretty much a way of life with tarps/bivies and single wall shelters. Secondly condensation is inevitable in completely WP bivies-- hence why most opt for a breathable top shell. Obviously ventilation and site selection has goes a little way to reduce condensation

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#134936 - 06/10/10 01:00 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: ChrisFol]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
So the REI and most other bivy's are not meant to be used alone, without a tarp? What's the point then? It eliminates ease of use and a lot of the weight saved. And if this is the case, can you point out a completely waterproof bivy?

The extra clothes I bring don't add up to more than a bag that most people could afford. Sure, you can get a bag that's lighter. For $350 and up usually. In the mean time, I'll bring an extra $50 fleece thank you!

What I intend to achieve with the tripod and poncho is actually the opposite of counter-productive. Think about it. The poncho, draped over and secured to a tripod, gives me a whole lot of room to breath into. Rather than breathing into the bivy, I'm breathing into a big open space. This is obviously only for when the weather forces me to do so.


Edited by gregpphoto (06/10/10 01:03 AM)
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#134938 - 06/10/10 01:21 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Originally Posted By gregpphoto
So the REI and most other bivy's are not meant to be used alone, without a tarp? What's the point then? It eliminates ease of use and a lot of the weight saved. And if this is the case, can you point out a completely waterproof bivy?


I do not know of anyone who would take a bivy without a tarp-- certainly not when they expect precipitation

Generally it is the other way around. I always take a tarp, but I do not always take a bivy. To me a bivy is a piece of gear that is only needed in extreme inclement whether.

-How does carrying a tarp eliminate "ease of use"-- I can set up my tarp and take it down in around 2minutes. You would be hard pushed to set up a doubled-walled tent this quick.

-As for eliminating weight savings. My tarp, bivy and stakes weigh in at 19.6 oz. Most tents weigh double this! I can also drop the bivy (as noted above) and my shelter drops to 12.8oz. Pretty dam light!


Originally Posted By gregpphoto

The extra clothes I bring don't add up to more than a bag that most people could afford. Sure, you can get a bag that's lighter. For $350 and up usually. In the mean time, I'll bring an extra $50 fleece thank you!


What is with this notion that light gear is more expensive! Take a look at Campmor's +20 down bag ($120) or REI's SubKilo for around the same price. This is only $20 more than your Lafuma and $50 fleece but offers a better warmth to weight ratio.

Originally Posted By gregpphoto

What I intend to achieve with the tripod and poncho is actually the opposite of counter-productive. Think about it. The poncho, draped over and secured to a tripod, gives me a whole lot of room to breath into. Rather than breathing into the bivy, I'm breathing into a big open space.


A tarp, around 10oz and $80 will give you a bigger space and offer better protection. P.S. You are still breathing into the bivy-- you face is facing the mesh and you are still exhaling out of the same space. The poncho does nothing but deflect a bit of rain. Personally I use a bivy when I expect heavy down pours and in bug season-- the rest of the time, I leave it at home.

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#134941 - 06/10/10 07:02 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I've used the Minimalist,and it's my second-favorite bivy, after the Integral Designs Salathe. I like the Salathe because it has a waist-length mesh panel, which adds a lot of ventilation; the panel is covered by a full weatherproof flap, which completely closes off the mesh (no open face like the Minimalist.) However, this comes at a cost: the Salathe is a pound heavier and a couple of hundred dollars more expensive than the Minimalist. I used the Salathe once without a tarp (surprise rain storm) and stayed completely dry.

I never used the Minimalist without a tarp, because of the open face, so I can't absolutely say it's waterproof. Besides, in a prolonged, 8-hour heavy rain, I wouldn't trust any bivy not to let water sneak in somewhere; it's just the nature of the beast that, unprotected, you'll let water in anytime you get in or out. I always carried a 6x8 or 8x10 silnylon tarp - half a pound or so, and pitched it A-frames style; the bivy was a defense against bugs and against the light mist or rain that blew or spattered in under the tarp. I also used a tarp for reasons unconnected to the weatherproofness of the bivy: it gave me a protected place to cook. It gave me a dry place to get in and out of the bivy, without letting rain in while I did so. It also gave me a dry place to change clothes, sit around, pack and unpack (The tarp got taken down last, stored in an outside pocket of the pack, and the hiking poles I used to pitch it went in my hands - the inside of the pack stayed dry. It went exactly opposite when pitching the tarp.)

Back when I used a tarp and bivy, I saved 2 - 3 pounds over the tents that were then available. Nowadays, with the 2-pound solo tents like the Fly Creek, Carbon Reflex, and any model Tarptent, I no longer use a tarp; the tents are just too much more convenient.

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#134943 - 06/10/10 08:46 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: ChrisFol]
Roocketman Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 203
Originally Posted By ChrisFol
Firstly, Lafuma bags are notorious for being generously rated; I wouldn't be surprised if the +45 degree bag is more like a +50/+55 degree bag.


In recent years, Lafuma has adopted the European standard test methodology for the sleeping bag temperature recommendations.Independent (qualified) test laboratories conduct the tests using heated copper "bodies" in accordance with the detailed procedures of standard EN 13537.

In the last few years, many US manufacturers have also adopted this standard for setting the temperature ratings, thus eliminating the "lie game" by the low cost manufacturers who adopt the standardized rating system. I think even Slumberjack bags - famous for weight and temperature rating lies in the past, will go with the new system. Maybe not, because the audience they sell to is not sophisticated, but rather "economically focused" on low cost, and are more often car campers rather than backpackers.

Yes, it was true in the past (before EN 13537) that Lafuma temp ratings were "optimistic", but when REI adopted the EN system, they had to change temperature ratings or redesign the bags they were selling, for one example. There are others.

Lafuma went to EN standards in about 2008 ( my "guest" bag is a January 2008 Lafuma rated to the new standards at 30*F - and nobody has complained)

I'm not selling you on Lafuma. I am selling you on understanding today's temperature ratings. Ask about the certification of the temperature rating of any bag you want to buy. If it isn't EN 13537, then think about the purchase and try to do more research on the specific manufacturer.

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#134944 - 06/10/10 08:58 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: ChrisFol]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By ChrisFol
Originally Posted By gregpphoto
So the REI and most other bivy's are not meant to be used alone, without a tarp? What's the point then? It eliminates ease of use and a lot of the weight saved. And if this is the case, can you point out a completely waterproof bivy?


I do not know of anyone who would take a bivy without a tarp-- certainly not when they expect precipitation

Generally it is the other way around. I always take a tarp, but I do not always take a bivy. To me a bivy is a piece of gear that is only needed in extreme inclement whether.

-How does carrying a tarp eliminate "ease of use"-- I can set up my tarp and take it down in around 2minutes. You would be hard pushed to set up a doubled-walled tent this quick.

-As for eliminating weight savings. My tarp, bivy and stakes weigh in at 19.6 oz. Most tents weigh double this! I can also drop the bivy (as noted above) and my shelter drops to 12.8oz. Pretty dam light!


Originally Posted By gregpphoto

The extra clothes I bring don't add up to more than a bag that most people could afford. Sure, you can get a bag that's lighter. For $350 and up usually. In the mean time, I'll bring an extra $50 fleece thank you!


What is with this notion that light gear is more expensive! Take a look at Campmor's +20 down bag ($120) or REI's SubKilo for around the same price. This is only $20 more than your Lafuma and $50 fleece but offers a better warmth to weight ratio.

Originally Posted By gregpphoto

What I intend to achieve with the tripod and poncho is actually the opposite of counter-productive. Think about it. The poncho, draped over and secured to a tripod, gives me a whole lot of room to breath into. Rather than breathing into the bivy, I'm breathing into a big open space.


A tarp, around 10oz and $80 will give you a bigger space and offer better protection. P.S. You are still breathing into the bivy-- you face is facing the mesh and you are still exhaling out of the same space. The poncho does nothing but deflect a bit of rain. Personally I use a bivy when I expect heavy down pours and in bug season-- the rest of the time, I leave it at home.


What on gods green earth is the point of a bivy if it's not waterproof? Seriously, what is the point of it? To waste money and add 5 degrees of warmth? If it's not waterproof, why not just sleep out under the stars in your bag with a groundcloth? I'm about to make my own bivy, and make it waterproof for real. Maybe just make some kind of plastic body-condom lol.

My plan for the mesh was to fold it away and hence not be breathing into the bivy or the mesh. Trust me, I may be new to a bivy but I understand the concept of condensation and how eliminating my breath from hitting the bag will reduce the amount of moisture I wake up to.

How does a tarp destroy ease of use? YOU HAVE TO PITCH IT! I'm laughing harder than you can imagine right now. Good luck coming into camp past dark every night and having the will power to properly set one up, as opposed to laying down a bag and hopping in. I only use my shelter for sleeping, so for christs sake, I JUST WANT SOMETHING WATERPROOF. I dont wanna bs around it, I want what I want and if no one is intelligent enough to have created one yet I'll have to make it myself.

You say you would never take a bivy without a tarp, but then you say you would only take the bivy for extreme inclement weather. That doesn't add up to me, care to explain?

Finally, in regards to the sleeping bag, you missed my most important point. I can move around and hike in my extra clothes. You are stuck still in your warmer sleeping bag.


Edited by gregpphoto (06/10/10 08:59 AM)
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#134945 - 06/10/10 09:02 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: Glenn]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By Glenn
Back when I used a tarp and bivy, I saved 2 - 3 pounds over the tents that were then available. Nowadays, with the 2-pound solo tents like the Fly Creek, Carbon Reflex, and any model Tarptent, I no longer use a tarp; the tents are just too much more convenient.


Thats what Im saying. Its silly to put effort into rigging up a tarp (I've always had such terrible times with tarps) and laying out a bivy that, when you add up cost and weight, isn't so far behind a full blown solo tent! And if you're talking bivy/tent hybrid, jesus, they weigh LESS than some tarps and bivy's!
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#134948 - 06/10/10 11:43 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
There are two kinds of bivies:

1. Truly waterproof bivies made for mountaineering -- used when sleeping on the side of a cliff. Often made of Goretex, they close up completely. They can weigh as much as 2 pounds.

These are not very breathable, and not very useful for lightweight backpackers. The REI Minimalist is this sort of bivy.

2. Water resistant bag covers used by UL hikers under a tarp. The bivy adds wind and splash protection, and a fair amount of warmth, but requires a tarp for actual rain protection.

I like this sort of bivy because it's so versatile. It can be used under a tarp in bad weather, by itself on cold clear nights, and inside an A.T. shelter.

I don't think the #1 style of bivy is particularly useful for a lightweight backpacker. The #2 style is much more useful, and can be had for under 8 ounces. Along with a UL tarp, the total sleep system is under a pound.
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#134949 - 06/10/10 11:49 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By gregpphoto


What on gods green earth is the point of a bivy if it's not waterproof? Seriously, what is the point of it? To waste money and add 5 degrees of warmth? If it's not waterproof, why not just sleep out under the stars in your bag with a groundcloth? I'm about to make my own bivy, and make it waterproof for real. Maybe just make some kind of plastic body-condom lol.
...

How does a tarp destroy ease of use? YOU HAVE TO PITCH IT! I'm laughing harder than you can imagine right now. Good luck coming into camp past dark every night and having the will power to properly set one up, as opposed to laying down a bag and hopping in. I only use my shelter for sleeping, so for christs sake, I JUST WANT SOMETHING WATERPROOF. I dont wanna bs around it, I want what I want and if no one is intelligent enough to have created one yet I'll have to make it myself.

You say you would never take a bivy without a tarp, but then you say you would only take the bivy for extreme inclement weather. That doesn't add up to me, care to explain?

Finally, in regards to the sleeping bag, you missed my most important point. I can move around and hike in my extra clothes. You are stuck still in your warmer sleeping bag.


Take a deep breath...

We're not trying to tell you what to do. Some of us have been through the whole bivy or not exercise before. Some have used them. I know people who do use them. I don't, and I'll tell you why.

People who say they would not take a bivy without a tarp and only take the bivy if they expect weather are not using the bivy as the primary shelter - the tarp is the primary shelter. The bivy is an add on to prevent side or foot end splash in a really pouring down rain.

The questions I would ask myself before using just a bivy - if it is pouring down rain, I'm inside, and I have to pee, what do I do? How do I keep myself and the sleeping bag dry? Where is my pack and the rest of my gear? The answer would be the pack is inside the bag I used for a pack liner, my rain jacket is probably in there as well, and now I have to open the zipper, open the pack liner and risk getting a lot of stuff wet while I'm fumbling around exhausted looking for my light. Which was probably inside the bivy bag but has somehow wandered away under me and into the foot, so then I'm spending more time getting wet looking for the #$%@ light...

If I am on an extended day hike that takes all day, I take the tarp. Not the bivy.

I know you don't like tarps. I'm not even going to suggest that you spend some of the research time looking at the wonderful knotless setup I've found that makes a tarp dead simple to hang, because I'd rather you not think I'm stupid for suggesting it. But there are actually reasons some of us prefer a tarp over other shelter options.

I take a tarp and bivy when on SAR efforts - the bivy is only present in case I am forced to spend a night in the field instead of returning to base camp AND it starts to rain. Otherwise I sleep on the pad under my quilt, no bivy. In good weather, the tarp doesn't even come out.

On leisure backpacking trips I much prefer the more palatial setup of a hammock and tarp - I can stay dry and comfortable while cooking and lounging in the rain. I don't have to try (and fail) at sleeping on the ground (something I do very poorly, and only able to when exhausted) and I don't have to spread all my gear out to dry. I don't lie awake having claustrophobic panic attacks. I don't even have the tarp over me most of the time - I watch for shooting stars until I fall asleep.

Bivies shine for people who need a very bare bones, small footprint waterproof shelter - like climbers who wedge themselves into a ledge on a cliff at night.

If you have not already, look beyond the usual OR and MSR stuff - Six Moon Designs, Mountain Laurel Designs, Titanium Goat and other cottage manufacturers will have very light ones. Montbell has a breathable waterproof sleeping bag cover that a friend uses with his tarp. If not for the huge sticker price on the SoulLite at Mountain Laurel, I would have picked it up for the SAR pack - less than five ounces with a zipper. But the most I could justify for emergency use was a yard and a half of lighter goretex on sale and a yard of silnylon for the bottom, sewed up on my gear makin' Kenmore by me.

And btw, there are wearable sleeping bags and wearable quilts. Feathered Friends makes a very high quality bag with arm holes and closable foot end hole. JRB makes a poncho quilt and add-on sleeves and hood. I use a regular down rectangular quilt and have worn it around camp as well. Just have to be careful if someone builds a fire not to get too close.
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#134950 - 06/10/10 12:23 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
First, I will admit that I did not read all the previous posts in detail so you question may alredy be answered to your satisfaction.

I use a "basic bivy" although not the REI brand. Bivys are designed to be weatherproof WITHOUT a tarp. The tarp is more of a comfort item - if it really rains, you are stuck in the bivy without any way to even stick your head out to cook. If you can accept that (I do) then the bivy alone is fine. I use a WM Antelope bag - it has the water resistant coating. The bag is rated for 10-degrees. I also have a synthetic 45-degree bag. For coastal hiking where temps range from 55-60 degrees at night I use the synthetic bag. For mountains (Sierra and Wind Rivers) I use the down bag. I simply do not own a mid-temperature rated bag.

There always is some condensation, particularly at the foot. Therefore I would not use this system for a long trip in constantly wet conditions. You really need to have some sunshine to dry the bag out occassionally. On the coast, I take every opportunity to air my bag - when the sun peeks out, I stop and haul out the bag and dry it, even when on the trail.

The only serious condensation problem I had was when it rained hard, then froze and the bivy was coated with a layer of ice. I have stayed essentially dry in the bivy in very heavy downpours.

The Sierra are perfect for bivys - pretty low humidity with short duration thunder storms and minimal creepy-crawlies. I do use a tent during peak mosquito season. You do have to be comfortable with being really "out there".

I see little point in the bivy plus tarp. If I feel I need this set-up I simply use my tent. My bivy only weighs 1 lb 6 oz total. A bivy is not for everyone. You certainly sacrafice some comfort.

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#134952 - 06/10/10 01:00 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: kbennett]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Originally Posted By kbennett
There are two kinds of bivies:

1. Truly waterproof bivies made for mountaineering -- used when sleeping on the side of a cliff. Often made of Goretex, they close up completely. They can weigh as much as 2 pounds.

These are not very breathable, and not very useful for lightweight backpackers. The REI Minimalist is this sort of bivy.


Think situations where you can not even sink a stake. Where you need to weight the bivy with rocks to keep it from blowing away when you are not in it.

I have two bivies in this category.

Integral Designs Unishelter for winter = 40.8 oz.

Mountain Laurel Designs Alpine bivy for summer = 12.5 oz.

Originally Posted By kbennett

2. Water resistant bag covers used by UL hikers under a tarp. The bivy adds wind and splash protection, and a fair amount of warmth, but requires a tarp for actual rain protection.

I like this sort of bivy because it's so versatile. It can be used under a tarp in bad weather, by itself on cold clear nights, and inside an A.T. shelter.

I don't think the #1 style of bivy is particularly useful for a lightweight backpacker. The #2 style is much more useful, and can be had for under 8 ounces. Along with a UL tarp, the total sleep system is under a pound.


I think the state of the art now for this type is KatabaticGear BristleCone:

http://katabaticgear.com/shop/bristlecone-bivy/

_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
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#134959 - 06/10/10 02:37 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
For several years my 3-season sleep rig was a goretex bivy (Early Winters), down "liner" bag (Eddie Bauer) and pad (various)--kept in place inside the bivy. The system really worked well, both in/under a shelter and out in the open on mild nights. I tried to avoid sleeping in the rain without something overhead because I was never comfortable with the rain banging an inch from my head, plus one had to avoid awaking in a puddle. I recommend at least having a small tarp.

Once much lighter sleeping bags became available I migrated away from this setup, but still recommend it as a very adaptable system. It's nice, for example, to sleep atop the bag but still protected from bugs inside the bivy.
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#134963 - 06/10/10 03:56 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: kbennett]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
How is something completely storm proof not useful for a lightweight hiker? Furthermore, you're sleep system checks in under a pound. So does the REI bivy. Not how much does your system cost? REI Minimalist is $90.

Originally Posted By kbennett
There are two kinds of bivies:

1. Truly waterproof bivies made for mountaineering -- used when sleeping on the side of a cliff. Often made of Goretex, they close up completely. They can weigh as much as 2 pounds.

These are not very breathable, and not very useful for lightweight backpackers. The REI Minimalist is this sort of bivy.

I don't think the #1 style of bivy is particularly useful for a lightweight backpacker. The #2 style is much more useful, and can be had for under 8 ounces. Along with a UL tarp, the total sleep system is under a pound.


I do plan on bringing a very small tarp to cook under and store gear, and perhaps to cover the head region. I would be highly interested in a knotless tarp, because that's my whole gripe: I hate setup. Boo hoo whatever, I'm totally willing to sleep Spartan but I just hate having to work for it! So the bivy seemed like a great option for me. But again, unless I can get a fully yes or no answer as to whether or not this particular bivy (REI Minimalist) is 100% waterproof. I don't care about breathability, that's why I'm going with such a lightweight bag.

So, YES OR NO, is this bivy 100% waterproof? Sounds like it is, but I want to be sure before I commit to anything.

And as to answer your situation: I know where I put my light, and since I'll have either a poncho or a mini tarp covering my head, I can slide out that way to get out. Furthermore, it's water, not bubbling acid. If I get a little wet, I get a little wet.

Originally Posted By lori
Originally Posted By gregpphoto


What on gods green earth is the point of a bivy if it's not waterproof? Seriously, what is the point of it? To waste money and add 5 degrees of warmth? If it's not waterproof, why not just sleep out under the stars in your bag with a groundcloth? I'm about to make my own bivy, and make it waterproof for real. Maybe just make some kind of plastic body-condom lol.
...

How does a tarp destroy ease of use? YOU HAVE TO PITCH IT! I'm laughing harder than you can imagine right now. Good luck coming into camp past dark every night and having the will power to properly set one up, as opposed to laying down a bag and hopping in. I only use my shelter for sleeping, so for christs sake, I JUST WANT SOMETHING WATERPROOF. I dont wanna bs around it, I want what I want and if no one is intelligent enough to have created one yet I'll have to make it myself.

You say you would never take a bivy without a tarp, but then you say you would only take the bivy for extreme inclement weather. That doesn't add up to me, care to explain?

Finally, in regards to the sleeping bag, you missed my most important point. I can move around and hike in my extra clothes. You are stuck still in your warmer sleeping bag.


Take a deep breath...

We're not trying to tell you what to do. Some of us have been through the whole bivy or not exercise before. Some have used them. I know people who do use them. I don't, and I'll tell you why.

People who say they would not take a bivy without a tarp and only take the bivy if they expect weather are not using the bivy as the primary shelter - the tarp is the primary shelter. The bivy is an add on to prevent side or foot end splash in a really pouring down rain.

The questions I would ask myself before using just a bivy - if it is pouring down rain, I'm inside, and I have to pee, what do I do? How do I keep myself and the sleeping bag dry? Where is my pack and the rest of my gear? The answer would be the pack is inside the bag I used for a pack liner, my rain jacket is probably in there as well, and now I have to open the zipper, open the pack liner and risk getting a lot of stuff wet while I'm fumbling around exhausted looking for my light. Which was probably inside the bivy bag but has somehow wandered away under me and into the foot, so then I'm spending more time getting wet looking for the #$%@ light...

If I am on an extended day hike that takes all day, I take the tarp. Not the bivy.

I know you don't like tarps. I'm not even going to suggest that you spend some of the research time looking at the wonderful knotless setup I've found that makes a tarp dead simple to hang, because I'd rather you not think I'm stupid for suggesting it. But there are actually reasons some of us prefer a tarp over other shelter options.

I take a tarp and bivy when on SAR efforts - the bivy is only present in case I am forced to spend a night in the field instead of returning to base camp AND it starts to rain. Otherwise I sleep on the pad under my quilt, no bivy. In good weather, the tarp doesn't even come out.

On leisure backpacking trips I much prefer the more palatial setup of a hammock and tarp - I can stay dry and comfortable while cooking and lounging in the rain. I don't have to try (and fail) at sleeping on the ground (something I do very poorly, and only able to when exhausted) and I don't have to spread all my gear out to dry. I don't lie awake having claustrophobic panic attacks. I don't even have the tarp over me most of the time - I watch for shooting stars until I fall asleep.

Bivies shine for people who need a very bare bones, small footprint waterproof shelter - like climbers who wedge themselves into a ledge on a cliff at night.

If you have not already, look beyond the usual OR and MSR stuff - Six Moon Designs, Mountain Laurel Designs, Titanium Goat and other cottage manufacturers will have very light ones. Montbell has a breathable waterproof sleeping bag cover that a friend uses with his tarp. If not for the huge sticker price on the SoulLite at Mountain Laurel, I would have picked it up for the SAR pack - less than five ounces with a zipper. But the most I could justify for emergency use was a yard and a half of lighter goretex on sale and a yard of silnylon for the bottom, sewed up on my gear makin' Kenmore by me.

And btw, there are wearable sleeping bags and wearable quilts. Feathered Friends makes a very high quality bag with arm holes and closable foot end hole. JRB makes a poncho quilt and add-on sleeves and hood. I use a regular down rectangular quilt and have worn it around camp as well. Just have to be careful if someone builds a fire not to get too close.


Edited by gregpphoto (06/10/10 03:58 PM)
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#134964 - 06/10/10 04:13 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
The fabric IS waterproof, but there is a big hole where you enter/exit that is NOT waterproof.

I had an REI Minimalist years ago but returned it because it was cut a little narrow to allow my 20 degree bag to fully loft.

Match the tool to the job. The Minimalist is a good choice for short alpine trips.
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#134967 - 06/10/10 04:43 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Most of us here do not use stand-alone bivies for the reasons we've cited, which is why you're not getting an answer about this particular model. Instead of abusing long-time posters on this forum who are, whether you like it or not, trying to do you a favor, why not try it out yourself?

Just buy the thing and test it during a couple days' prolonged rainstorm. One good thing about REI is that you can always return the item!
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#134968 - 06/10/10 05:11 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: OregonMouse]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Whoopieslings.com (go here for guy lines specifically, otherwise click on the store from the top of the main page) - you can get a knotless set of guylines with or without the tensioner, which is very nice to have with a silnylon tarp - in a wind the tensioner keeps the tarp from ripping and overnight silnylon sags a bit, so the tensioner takes up the slack if you stretch them when you pitch. Opie also sells a continuous ridgeline if you pitch between trees - also knotless, can be used with toggles you bring or just sticks you pick up off the ground. I was dubious about the prussiks holding, but they stand up very well under tension, and I have used the line in 10+ hours of ongoing rain. If you have questions email Opie and he is very helpful.

My usual tarp on the ground setup involves a trekking pole, groundhog stakes, no guy lines, and a whole lot of rocks over the tarp corner guy out loops. Having the wind yank the corners of the tarp off the stakes because you did not put fifteen pounds of rocks on the corners when the wind is gusting from all directions was the only real problem I had.

I'm sorry you don't like what information you're getting... but there are reasons we all use what we use, and a lot of it has to do with the environments we choose to hike in. Clearly you haven't been holed up for 72 hours in driving sideways rain bucketing down on you - let's hope you never are.
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#134969 - 06/10/10 05:12 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
As a follow-up, I looked at the REI bivy specs and have a couple thoughts: The Elements fabric is used in their affordable rainwear and is undoubtedly PU WPB, which has less breathability than Goretex or especially eVent. Waterproof, yes, but I'd be cautious about condensation in high-humidity situations. I also see nothing about taped seams, so plan on hours of seam-sealing.

Have to say, it's a lot of bivy at less than a pound.

Cheers,
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#134972 - 06/10/10 07:44 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Roocketman Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 203
After seeing your emotional outburst on the Bivy, I suggest that you try to educate yourself somewhat.

I suggest a book called "The Book of the Bivvy " . It is written from the British point of view for hiking in a rainy environment.

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Bivvy-Ciceron...3312&sr=8-1

This is for hikers who use JUST the bivvy for shelter.

After reading it, you may understand what some people here are trying to tell you.


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#134978 - 06/10/10 09:54 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Bushman Offline
member

Registered: 07/01/09
Posts: 122
Loc: California
http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=134

I would use this in a rain storm.

Yeah man everyone here is trying to help you avoid what they might have been through...me I almost always have to find out myself. So go buy a bivy and sleep on your lawn with the sprinklers on all night laugh

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#134979 - 06/10/10 10:06 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By gregpphoto

But again, unless I can get a fully yes or no answer as to whether or not this particular bivy (REI Minimalist) is 100% waterproof. I don't care about breathability, that's why I'm going with such a lightweight bag.

So, YES OR NO, is this bivy 100% waterproof? Sounds like it is, but I want to be sure before I commit to anything.


If you don't care about breathability now, you will. Make a bivy out of plastic garbage bags and then spend a night or two in it. Then tell us you don't care about breathability.

I have 20+ nights in a Minimalist. The fabric is waterproof but the zippers (and there are many) are not. The most waterproof bivy in the world won't keep you dry when you have to open it up to pee during a storm in the middle of the night.....unless you have a tarp over it. A tarp big enough to cover most of it....not just the head.

My feeling is, your planned setup looks good to you in theory but you may be disappointed when you try it out in the real world.
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#134981 - 06/10/10 10:20 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: Bushman]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Bushman,
he he giggle smile
yup, I'm always trying to get people to test gear under the sprinkler or in the shower.
Look, being in a storm in a bivy sucks - ok - you won't sleep and you probably will get wet.
Jim smile
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#134983 - 06/10/10 11:00 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: Jimshaw]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
man...this guy is really angry about this bivy.

People are trying to give well thought out advice, and they get e-shouted at.
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pick two

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#134985 - 06/10/10 11:49 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: lori]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Perfect. I know the facehole is not waterproof, so I will rig up a poncho over my tripod to keep my face dry.

Originally Posted By food
The fabric IS waterproof, but there is a big hole where you enter/exit that is NOT waterproof.

I had an REI Minimalist years ago but returned it because it was cut a little narrow to allow my 20 degree bag to fully loft.

Match the tool to the job. The Minimalist is a good choice for short alpine trips.


I won't have to face 72 hours holed up because I only have x amount of days per year to hike, so when I go, I go. Unless there's constant lightning, I'm hiking. Thanks for the link to the knotless lines though, will be checking that out if need be.

Originally Posted By lori
Whoopieslings.com (go here for guy lines specifically, otherwise click on the store from the top of the main page) - you can get a knotless set of guylines with or without the tensioner, which is very nice to have with a silnylon tarp - in a wind the tensioner keeps the tarp from ripping and overnight silnylon sags a bit, so the tensioner takes up the slack if you stretch them when you pitch. Opie also sells a continuous ridgeline if you pitch between trees - also knotless, can be used with toggles you bring or just sticks you pick up off the ground. I was dubious about the prussiks holding, but they stand up very well under tension, and I have used the line in 10+ hours of ongoing rain. If you have questions email Opie and he is very helpful.

My usual tarp on the ground setup involves a trekking pole, groundhog stakes, no guy lines, and a whole lot of rocks over the tarp corner guy out loops. Having the wind yank the corners of the tarp off the stakes because you did not put fifteen pounds of rocks on the corners when the wind is gusting from all directions was the only real problem I had.

I'm sorry you don't like what information you're getting... but there are reasons we all use what we use, and a lot of it has to do with the environments we choose to hike in. Clearly you haven't been holed up for 72 hours in driving sideways rain bucketing down on you - let's hope you never are.
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#134986 - 06/10/10 11:49 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: taM]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By taM
man...this guy is really angry about this bivy.

People are trying to give well thought out advice, and they get e-shouted at.


I'm from New Jersey what do you want from me? smile
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#134991 - 06/11/10 12:32 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: Bushman]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Bushman
http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=134

I would use this in a rain storm.

Yeah man everyone here is trying to help you avoid what they might have been through...me I almost always have to find out myself. So go buy a bivy and sleep on your lawn with the sprinklers on all night laugh


I'd use that in a rain storm if I had my nice tarp with me.

Otherwise I'd be heading for the car and not caring how wet I got on the way. (I keep a dry set of clothes in the car.)
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#134992 - 06/11/10 12:35 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted By gregpphoto
Originally Posted By taM
man...this guy is really angry about this bivy.

People are trying to give well thought out advice, and they get e-shouted at.


I'm from New Jersey what do you want from me? smile


A willingness to listen to and learn from the seasoned veterans of whom you've requested advice would probably be a start... shocked
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#134995 - 06/11/10 01:05 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: taM]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Originally Posted By taM
Originally Posted By gregpphoto
Originally Posted By taM
man...this guy is really angry about this bivy.

People are trying to give well thought out advice, and they get e-shouted at.


I'm from New Jersey what do you want from me? smile


A willingness to listen to and learn from the seasoned veterans of whom you've requested advice would probably be a start... shocked


I know taM; I do not see the point of people who come on here seeking advice but in the end all they are seeking is what they want to hear.

So here goes-- sure go ahead and purchase a completely waterproof bivy to use in tempretures above +32 degrees-- you will have an awesome time! The Minimalist bivy is the way to go for your needs! Happy trails.

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#134998 - 06/11/10 06:59 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
"Unless I get a fully yes or no answer,..."

OK, to answer fully: NO.

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#135000 - 06/11/10 07:50 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Originally Posted By gregpphoto
How is something completely storm proof not useful for a lightweight hiker? Furthermore, you're sleep system checks in under a pound. So does the REI bivy. Not how much does your system cost? REI Minimalist is $90.


This question has been answered several times.

Originally Posted By gregpphoto


I'm from New Jersey what do you want from me? smile


I was raised in New Jersey, and I don't yell at people who are trying to answer my questions.

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--Ken B

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#135002 - 06/11/10 09:52 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
MarkNM Offline
member

Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Pompton Lakes, NJ
Originally Posted By gregpphoto
Originally Posted By taM
man...this guy is really angry about this bivy.

People are trying to give well thought out advice, and they get e-shouted at.


I'm from New Jersey what do you want from me? smile

I'm 27 and was born and raised in NJ. I also have respect. Don't crap on my state please...
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#135006 - 06/11/10 11:20 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: Glenn]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By Glenn
"Unless I get a fully yes or no answer,..."

OK, to answer fully: NO.


You say no, others say yes. So I wasted everyone's time, including my own, because I'm still at square one. Did not know REI lets you use gear and then return it, so that's what I'll be doing.

I have no aversion to listening to those with good advice to give. But when the advice is inapplicable to my situation, I will disregard it. I don't care about tarps, I want a waterproof bag to slide into and not have to worry about anything else. If no one can point such an item out to me, I will look elsewhere or perhaps make own. Thanks anyway!
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#135007 - 06/11/10 11:57 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I use the OR (Outdoor Research) Basic Bivy. REI sells it. It is 1lb 4 oz. - a bit more heavy and expensive than what you may want. It has a Gor-Tex top and coated nylon bottom. I have used mine in a lot of wet conditions and it does not leak. I do have to check it and occassionally patch small pin-size holes. Bivys are on the ground and tend to get rough use (roll around at night- bump up against sharp sticks, etc). It does gather condensation inside. I feel the Gor-Tex works well in this application- however I do not find Gor-Tex good for jackets where you are producing more sweat. If you are a very sweaty sleeper, you may get more condensation inside.

Only you can determine if the waterproof-condensation balance is suitable for your use. Each brand of bivy is different.

So if the one you are trying does not work, you may want to try the OR bivy.

I can certainly relate to your desire to not fuss with setting up a tarp or tent. I love how I can just plop down in the bivy almost anywhere because it requires such a small area of flat ground. One time near Palisade Lakes in the Sierra I got caught in pouring down rain with breaks between downpours. I was only half a mile short of my desired campsite. I hopped in the bivy and hunkered down when it rained, and moved when it was dry - reaching my destination where it only took minutes to hop in. And if you do not like the feel of the first site you pick, just move - no hastles at all. That said, I would not want to spend a week out in a bivy if it were to steadily rain every day.

Good luck. I think that even if you end up going to a light tent, owning a bivy is a good thing - really adds to your backpacking flexibility. I do not use mine all the time- but sure like to have it when conditions are right.

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#135010 - 06/11/10 12:17 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Originally Posted By gregpphoto

I have no aversion to listening to those with good advice to give. But when the advice is inapplicable to my situation, I will disregard it. I don't care about tarps, I want a waterproof bag to slide into and not have to worry about anything else.


The advice is perfectly applicable to your situation. Many hikers have tried the "waterproof bag to slide into" and found that it doesn't work well. The reasons are listed above. If you wish to disregard the experience of other hikers, then you may do so, but your responses have been aggressive and rude.

I present to you the State Bird of New Jersey. Enjoy your hikes.
_________________________
--Ken B

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#135011 - 06/11/10 01:02 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: kbennett]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Aggressive maybe, but I don't think I was rude to anyone. If I was, then I apologize. The reasons listed contradicted my reasons for owning a bivy in the first place. I'm a cold sleeper, so overheating shouldn't be an issue. I'm a spartan camper, I don't care about comfort so long as I'm not damaging my body (I have some lower back problems from time to time). I never have to worry about being tentbound for any period of time because as I've stated numerous times, I don't have the luxury of allowing any wasted days in the wilderness. I've been working 6-7 days a week for six months now, with only a week off. So when I'm in the woods I'm always hiking in the daylight hours, regardless of the weather. And I don't get up to pee in the night either smile

If "I present to you the state bird of New Jersey" is in reference to the middle finger, then I love it!

Originally Posted By kbennett
Originally Posted By gregpphoto

I have no aversion to listening to those with good advice to give. But when the advice is inapplicable to my situation, I will disregard it. I don't care about tarps, I want a waterproof bag to slide into and not have to worry about anything else.


The advice is perfectly applicable to your situation. Many hikers have tried the "waterproof bag to slide into" and found that it doesn't work well. The reasons are listed above. If you wish to disregard the experience of other hikers, then you may do so, but your responses have been aggressive and rude.

I present to you the State Bird of New Jersey. Enjoy your hikes.


Edited by gregpphoto (06/11/10 01:03 PM)
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#135050 - 06/12/10 02:09 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: taM]
Bushman Offline
member

Registered: 07/01/09
Posts: 122
Loc: California
Imagine if we got in to HAMMOCK CAMPING wink
edit : Really if I could hold a pee in all night I would get a bivy too. Before you talk about spartan stuff you need to live on a beach for a summer and in your car during the winter...
welcome to the forums, people only help you here and joke around and thats how its is. thanks

edit: wandering daisy touched on is, but if its raining for more than two days, a soggy tarp or tent is better than a soggy bivy. Its defiantly something to think about. Also you trip-pod tarp idea is cool-multi use items is what I try and do.


Edited by Bushman (06/12/10 02:24 AM)

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#135077 - 06/13/10 12:36 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
jps1021 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 58
Loc: Vegas

Man, a lot of crude that's spilt over from the Gulf to this post, eh?

Well, here's my thoughts.

On the bivy:

Most bivy sacks are waterproof top and bottom (GoreTex, eVent, various laminates). Some are really just covers, but read the specs and info on the tags, catalog, web page, etc... It will tell you if its waterproof or resistant or just not.

Condensation, yes you'll get it at bit. Then again, you'll have condensation in your bag in a tent and inside the walls of a tent. Something you'll have to deal with regardless of your sleep setup.

Now, I never had used a bivy until I bought one of the REI Minimalists this past winter for $70. Now, I don't even want to use my tents when I'm car camping. Just sooooo much quicker and easier to set up and tear down (or just to open the valve on the air pad and throw it all in the back seat). Not to mention the space and weight savings. And having the mesh laying on my face at times does not bother me a bit. Plus, I'm in the desert and want to be able to have a way to keep myself enclosed so nothing crawl, slithers, etc... in thru the night!

I think one of the sticking points is that of the weather. Well, just pay attention to the forecast for where you are going and if it should be good with no rain, take the bivy, indeed. If there may or will be weather coming thru, take a tent or take a bivy and tarp setup. If you have the right size tarp and setup, you'll keep yourself and all your gear dry while around camp.

As for the LaFuma, I took a chance and picked up one of those for $40 too. Got to say it's a joke at its rating. More like a 55-60 degree travel bag. No way I could even use that here in the West at 8-9000 feet in August. I used it, and it worked fine over the winter, as an overbag. I'll use it for that, a travel bag for sleeping on the floor or perhaps summer low-desert camping. But that's all it can do for me. However, there are a lot of AT thru-hikers and the like that love the bag. And when you're talking about using this in the East where there are 95 deg days with 95% humidity, only dropping down to 70-75 deg at night, that bag will do just fine. Just don't expect this thing to keep you warm anywhere near that 45 degree rating. Not even with the few extra degrees of warmth the bivy and some light clothing will give you.

Now you could do what you are saying and try to use the LaFuma and a liner, in addition to the bivy. But that actually adds up to more weight (Lafuma and liner) than you would have with a quality down or synth bag that would definitely keep you warm down to 40 or 45 degrees.

Final thoughts: If you have the money, take the shot and just buy 'em (You know what everyone else can do and where they can go!). Remember, if it doesn't work out, you can still buy something else. And, the more gear you have, the closer you'll be to having the perfect match of gear for any conditions and environments you'll be going to play!

Just Explore and Enjoy!

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#135078 - 06/13/10 12:38 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods

You are now officially in charge of research.

Buy it, try it and report back.

Full trip report expected including environmental conditions.

Enjoy.
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If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't. Either way, you're right.

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#135092 - 06/13/10 02:26 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
OK, now you're changing the parameters and trying to apply my answer to it. Your question was: "...unless I can get a fully yes or no answer as to whether or not this particular bivy (REI Minimalist) is 100% waterproof..."

It's not. It can't be with a big mesh hole over the face. Thus, my answer: NO.

Now, it appears you're wanting to take that very specific answer and make it my answer to the use of bivies in general. You can't - go back and read my earlier post. In case you don't care to do that, I'll summarize: there are waterproof bivies out there; the Minimalist is not one of them. They'll only be waterproof until you open them in the rain to get in or out; then water will get in - unless you use it in combination with a tarp.

I'm not interested in starting or feeding a argument, or making you any more irritated than you appear to be, so this will be my last post on this particular subject.

I encourage you to make your own decisions - that's what I usually do. Good luck in finding the shelter that's perfect for you. I found mine: MSR Carbon Reflex 1; I just spent the whole weekend hiking in the rain and sleeping in it in the rain. Not a drop got in on its own, and there was no noticeable condensation, even fully buttoned down (though wet rainsuits, etc., did make the inside a bit moist - no way to avoid that.)

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#135130 - 06/14/10 04:16 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: jps1021]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
I already own the Lafuma 30 deg. bag, so I might stick with that instead of the 45 deg bag. My hiking is mostly Northeast, but in the mountains. Most nights in the Adirondacks between 2-3000 ft. gets down to 50s and 40s almost every night I've been there (in August).

Originally Posted By jps1021

As for the LaFuma, I took a chance and picked up one of those for $40 too. Got to say it's a joke at its rating. More like a 55-60 degree travel bag. No way I could even use that here in the West at 8-9000 feet in August. I used it, and it worked fine over the winter, as an overbag. I'll use it for that, a travel bag for sleeping on the floor or perhaps summer low-desert camping. But that's all it can do for me. However, there are a lot of AT thru-hikers and the like that love the bag. And when you're talking about using this in the East where there are 95 deg days with 95% humidity, only dropping down to 70-75 deg at night, that bag will do just fine. Just don't expect this thing to keep you warm anywhere near that 45 degree rating. Not even with the few extra degrees of warmth the bivy and some light clothing will give you.


I guess you missed my initial post where I addressed the mesh opening: "I understand the REI bivy has a mesh face opening, which I'll easily seal up by rigging my poncho over my photo tripod and placing that over my head. But other than that, is it the real deal as far as waterproof goes?"

Originally Posted By Glenn
OK, now you're changing the parameters and trying to apply my answer to it. Your question was: "...unless I can get a fully yes or no answer as to whether or not this particular bivy (REI Minimalist) is 100% waterproof..."

It's not. It can't be with a big mesh hole over the face. Thus, my answer: NO.


Edited by gregpphoto (06/14/10 04:17 PM)
_________________________
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#135138 - 06/14/10 04:56 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
Instead of draping the poncho over a tripod, why not just pitch it as a tarp?
_________________________
http://ducttapeadk.blogspot.com

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#135158 - 06/14/10 10:49 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: DTape]
gregpphoto Offline
member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 23
Loc: New Jersey
Well thats the plan if I'm needing to cook. If I roll into camp and I eat and then it starts raining, I need not string it up seriously. The only thing I use shelter for is to sleep under. I go to bed well past hikers midnight because I really enjoy night photography, and I'm up before the sunrise of course. So I spend 6-8 hours in the bivy a night, period. If I'm breathing, I'm hiking! As far as comfort goes, I don't care much for it or against it. As long as I wake up and my back isn't crinked, I'm happy. And as long as I find somewhat level ground, it usually works out as such.

Originally Posted By DTape
Instead of draping the poncho over a tripod, why not just pitch it as a tarp?


Edited by gregpphoto (06/14/10 10:50 PM)
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#135229 - 06/16/10 08:46 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions (Hmmm...) [Re: ChrisFol]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
BIVY> I'd look for a good eVent bivy, at least one W/ an eVent top. You'll need the extra breathability in certain conditions.

BAG> As long as the bags are rated by the European "EN" standard (as explained in the reply below) they SHOULD be as warm as advertised.

MATTRESS> A thick Neo-Air or other tubular mattress will take up too much room in the bivy so get a Thermarest foam filled type, the lightest you can find.

FINAL NOTE: Look at a light solo tent like the TarpTent Contrail or Moment instead of a bivy. Extra insulating clothes will serve a dual purpose. Keep you warm on cold mornings and evenings and also in your bag when sleeping. Think of these warmer clothes as a safety item.Since they are "camp clothes" and you don't have to worry about sweating them up they can be down insulated pants and jacket to save weight and space.


Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#135231 - 06/16/10 09:29 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Sounds to me like you already have aLL THE ANSWERS, WHY ASK!

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#135270 - 06/18/10 01:31 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
HikerJoe Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/25/10
Posts: 5
Loc: Indiana, USA
Greg, it seems most readers didn't get the point, you don't want to set up a tarp! I understand your frustration with the replies. I am also from NJ and the last I heard the Goldfinch was the state bird! Although I think a vulture would be more appropriate given NJ politics! I confirm the return policy of REI, you can even get a good deal on returned gear if you can get to one of their garage sales. I use a tarp with a "BivyBag", something REI made in the '70's it has Polarguard insulation on top with a breathable fabric. The bottom is water proof coated nylon with a sleeve for a pad. It works great. I asked REI about reintroducing this product but they have no recollection of ever selling it. (I have the REI tag for proof). I digrees, buy the bivy, try it out, experiment, if it does not keep you dry, return it and try something else. I am always making changes to my "kit". For more favaorable responses to your ultralight technique, try the BackPacking Light website: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/index.html?id=SIEXUJYW:65.116.201.10 They camp they way you suggested to most of the time. I don't know why everyone got so testy with you here. Have fun. Do youpost your pictures anywhere?

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#135272 - 06/18/10 01:47 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: HikerJoe]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By HikerJoe
For more favaorable responses to your ultralight technique, try the BackPacking Light website: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/index.html?id=SIEXUJYW:65.116.201.10 They camp they way you suggested to most of the time. I don't know why everyone got so testy with you here. Have fun. Do youpost your pictures anywhere?


Yeah, considering a lot of the posters here are also major posters there, and the majority of BPL uses tarps, and BPL is known for it's hospitality, I am sure that you will get more favorable responses at BPL.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#135275 - 06/18/10 02:11 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: HikerJoe]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By HikerJoe
Greg, it seems most readers didn't get the point, you don't want to set up a tarp!


No, you don't get the point. We understand he doesn't like a tarp. We have also (many of us) made the same consideration and came up with a whole list of reasons for NOT doing what he wants to do, and told him so. If he does not want to use that info, that's his choice.

No one at BPL is going to advocate doing something that would get a hiker in trouble, despite their ounce counting minimalist ways. Which is why they went to all the trouble of creating a cuben fiber 5 oz tarp - it says something that they go out of their way to create the tarp that weighs the least amount rather than just saying, who needs a tarp? Go without! No problem!
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#135277 - 06/18/10 02:44 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: HikerJoe]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The problem was that the OP was being quite rude at rejecting the advice of a number of experienced backpackers who have, at one time or another, tried using a stand-alone bivy and very promptly quit doing so, for the reasons we have cited. He doesn't have to take the advice, but at least he could be polite about it! I for one suggested several pages ago that he just buy the bivy, try it out and return it to REI if it didn't work for him, but that didn't stop his rather rude posts. This thread has gotten nowhere in three pages, why don't we put a stop to it?

I can just imagine the kind of response the OP will get on BPL if he takes the same tone he has here! I'm a BPL member, so I won't have to imagine it if he does go there. grin


Edited by OregonMouse (06/18/10 02:48 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#135896 - 07/06/10 03:41 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
gregphoto,greetings from another photographer and once neighbor of yours (chief photographer, Wilmington, DE News-Journal in 1960s). I'm afraid I'm late to the party (long hike followed by long hospital stay -- mercifully unrelated) but I think I can offer you some encouragement with your plan. Big difference, cameras were my work, rarely took them on the trail.

First, I do not know the specific equipment you are considering,but I do know bivys. and have the experience to offer "proof of concept."

I have backpacked since c.1950, and have essentially always used some version of the bivy/poncho system. Rarely ever carried a tent, though I've used several types of bug-net.

I started with the military blanket bag and Egyptian cotton (water resistant) cover. Military poncho rigged lean-to usually was enough to stay dry enough and shelter pack and boots (if the wind direction held). Later, I used a Thos. Black & Sons sleeping bag cover ("Icelandic"-water resistant) as a bivy with a very light down bag. Used lightweight commercial poncho just as above.

In 1996 I thru-hiked the AT for the first time. I used an Integral Designs South Col Bivy. It was 27 oz., breathable top, waterproof bottom. It had bug-net face, and could be completely closed (I never did). I was delighted with it, and rarely felt the need to rig my poncho. However, one night, the poncho was committed to another use, and I was out, wide open through a very long night of absolutely driving rain. I was never able to identify for certain where the rain got in, but I slept in a puddle. Fortunately, it was not very cold, and I was using a synthetic bag at the time. I found I had to open the side zip a bit to breath. My pack and boots were deeply soaked.

Like you, I used layers and a very light bag (Cascade Designs, 40 degrees fahrenheit, bit over a pound). I never got cold, so I cannot be exact, but it was clear that the bivy was giving me several extra degrees of warmth, probably about six or maybe even eight. I was warm when I reached out and grabbed a frozen water bottle, twice.

In 2006 I thru-hiked again. By now I had hiking poles, a very fine, well-thought-out oversize poncho and very light bivy (also very well thought-out, about 5 oz, breathable top, waterproof bottom) both by Ron Bell of Mountain Laurel Designs (also a former photographer). The poles and Ron's innovative poncho gave me several new ways to pitch quickly, so I have not tried the bivy in an extended downpour (it did hold up to several unexpected and fairly heavy showers). If the weather seems "iffy" I will stake down the bottom corners of the poncho and accordian-fold it over the foot of the bivy so I can pull it up for serious rain or to cut serious wind.

In reasonable weather, I still do as I have for years, just throw down my bedroll, maybe rock down the poncho over my boots and pack, and tuck in. Usually, I leave the bivy partly open. Incidentally, did the same thing as a journalist with Special Forces and Ranger unit training exercises. With the Marines, active duty, it was usually just roll up in the poncho and poncho liner, similar, but lots of condensate.

I think this constitutes enough experience to justify a few flat statements:

First, all bivy's (even cotton) will condense to some degree, in the right circumstances, but working the way I have described, I think I remember it being a serious nuisance about once(it's only a problem if it keeps you awake, or soaks your sleeping bag dangerously).

Second, I can't quite imagine that any bivy would be totally, completely waterproof in an extended downpour (you have to breath, get in and out, etc.), but the South Col is close. (I suspect that Ron Bell's little gem is is fairly close, but not quite ready to push it).

Third, I think you are on the right track for sure. The tripod with poncho arrangement gives you shielded breathing room in a storm, and solves the other weaknesses of the bivy alone, shelter for pack and boots, and, using poles and a couple of stakes would also allow you to easily solve another problem, shelter for your kitchen. I say go for it!!!

I also note that what I'm saying and suggesting is not very far from what wiser heads have said to you above. But I do like your idea.













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#136014 - 07/10/10 04:10 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: lori]
ghdfans2010 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 3
Loc: VA
I want to say that I do not know of anyone who would take a bivy without a tarp.

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#136028 - 07/10/10 04:10 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: ghdfans2010]
CWF Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 266
Ryan Jordan takes a bivy without a tarp all the time. He will but the head end under a large pine tree and keep that area dry.

As do climbers.


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#136033 - 07/10/10 07:53 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
chimpac Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 148
Loc: alberta,can.
The only reason I would carry a bivy is to keep out flying, crawling, biting bugs.
If these bugs are not a problem a tarp does the keeping dry, cool or warm part very well.
So then why not take a bug proof tent? ans. Doors are open to much and tent gets full of mosquitos and it is a full time job killing them. A tent has walls and is to hot in summer.

A tarp can keep the rain and sun off in summer and is cooler than a tent.


Edited by chimpac (07/10/10 08:29 PM)

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#136045 - 07/11/10 11:06 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: CWF]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Currently Ryan Jordan uses a custom (cuben fiber) version of the Lightheart Solo tent, as shown on his blog. The previous shelters shown on his blog have been floorless pyramids. I looked at several of his gear lists on Backpacking Light and the lists in his book, "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping." Even his "SUL" (under 5 lb. base weight) lists include a tarp or a poncho tarp and a Momentum/Silnylon (water repellent, not waterproof) bivy. I am curious where you found a list of his that uses a stand-alone (waterproof) bivy. Certainly the combination of a lightweight tarp and a water repellent bivy is lighter than most stand-alone, waterproof bivies!


Edited by OregonMouse (07/11/10 11:07 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#136054 - 07/11/10 01:17 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: OregonMouse]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
This is sort of late but - I see absolutely no reason to carry a bivy with a tarp unless you carry the bivy to keep bugs off you and a square yard or two of mosquito net will do that and weigh only an ounce. Also, sewing some mosquito net to the ends of a tarp will keep bugs out and if you like, make a short mosquito net "skirt" around the bottom so you cacn raise the sides too for ventilation. No need for zippers, just make the bottom loose to crawl under and weigh it down with gear when inside.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#136058 - 07/11/10 03:02 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: Jimshaw]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
If nothing else, this thread proves that there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Of course, some ways of skinning it work better than others, and what you think of as "better" depends on whether you prefer to end up with a really nice, neat cat skin, or if you just want to get the job over as quick as possible. grin

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#136067 - 07/11/10 05:42 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
OK, I'm a tenter, not a tarper (at least in bug season). I think the reason the BPL folks take a bivy (really just a bag cover) is because they take little tiny tarps so need something to keep the splash off their sleeping bags. Certainly if I took my 8 x 10 foot tarp, I wouldn't need a bivy!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#136072 - 07/11/10 07:59 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
chimpac Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 148
Loc: alberta,can.
Yes a net keeps the mosquitos from biting but is nice to have an aparatus to keep it off your skin.You can hang it some way or carry some light poles for hoops. Is there any other way to do it?
Most sleeping pads and bags should be on a waterproof ground sheet. So now that is half a bivy.
If you sew in a pocket on the ground sheet to slip the bottom half of the sleeping bag and pad into, then you will not slip of the pad. Then put in another pocket to put what ever you use for a pillow into.
All that is left to do is put in some zippers to join the net to the ground sheet to keep out the ants and other crawling things. One thing leads to another all the time adding weight and more stuff.
I have got an expensive bivy but it is hot and does not breath good enough. To stay cool in hot summer, an all net tunnel bivy would be nice.


Edited by chimpac (07/11/10 08:20 PM)

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#136074 - 07/11/10 08:46 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: OregonMouse]
CWF Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 266
Ryan is testing the Lightheart for BPL. He doesn't own it.

In any event, here are just a few quotes from Ryan himself regarding bivvies:

"However, consider the advantages of a bivy sack like the Unishelter: absolute simplicity in pitching and the emotive rewards of sleeping under the stars while remaining protected. My favorite feature about the Unishelter is the ability to remain warm and dry, securely cocooned inside the shelter, reading a good adventure story or writing in my journal, while a storm rages only inches from my head! It brings you in closer communion with nature's fury and makes you appreciate it in a more intimate way. The experience is capped by waking to clear skies, unzipping the door, sitting up, and brewing morning coffee while snapping photographs of the sunrise. "

"The eVENT floor of the Overbag/Bivy allowed me to flip the bivy over when using it as a standalone shelter in driving snow and rain. This allowed me keep the hood opening facing downward and protected from moisture entry. I was not able to do this with the Micro Bivy, because its coated floor would have resulted in prodigious accumulation of moisture in the bivy resulting from condensation."

"Below treeline, with the Micro Bivy, I simply moved my pitch so that the head end of my bivy was protected under the shelter of a tree or bush."

"For years, ultralight backpackers have scoffed at bivy sacks, claiming that outrageous psychological disorders will afflict the occupant. "Claustrophobia!" says one. "Modern day sweat lodge!" says another. Still others punch their calculators and thus deduce that bivy sacks offer space-to-weight ratios that, given the state of modern-day ultralight shelters, are as outdated as their HP-35's.

But what of it?

The bivy sack, in its purest form, provides a weatherproof shelter with a simplicity that has yet to be benchmarked by another design. Only in a bivy sack can you lie in the warmth of your sleeping bag and watch a meteor shower while being protected from wind and dew. Only in a bivy sack can you roll over in the morning, open one eye, and get a horizon-to-horizon overhead view of a magical sunrise. And only in a bivy sack can you arrive in camp, crawl in, and go to sleep: no stakes, no guylines, no poles, and no "good pitch" to survey."

"Now, I'm down to three shelters that I actually use on a regular basis:

A small bivy tent (my current favorite is the Nemo GoGo, at 1.9 lbs)."

Here is a picture and discussion around his ID Micro-Bivy:

http://www.ryanjordan.com/weblog/2009/07/pine-tree-bivouac.html

Note that all of these comments are for waterproof bivvies without a tarp.





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#136075 - 07/11/10 08:53 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: CWF]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
overhead sunrise watching? I watch the sunrise by turning my head (usually to my left) and peer through the bugnetting of my hammock. It is funny, all of those "benefits" he describes I appreciate fully with my hammock. HYOH
_________________________
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#136081 - 07/11/10 11:15 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: DTape]
CWF Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 266
Especially where there are no trees, eh?

Honestly, leave the hammock baiting to another forum. This is about bivvies.

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#136091 - 07/12/10 03:46 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: CWF]
ghdfans2010 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 3
Loc: VA
This is sort of late but - I see absolutely no reason to carry a bivy with a tarp.Do you think so?

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#136095 - 07/12/10 10:58 AM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: Jimshaw]
DJ2 Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1347
Loc: Seattle, WA
I would use a bivy under a tarp for added warmth.

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#136106 - 07/12/10 01:44 PM Re: Two serious bivy questions [Re: gregpphoto]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Clearly there are as many opinions on this subject as there are hikers. The important thing is to go out there, experiment, and find out what works for YOU.
_________________________
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

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