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#98227 - 06/18/08 12:57 PM best bivy tarp combo
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
The lights bivy that I can find that comes with a waterproof bottom is:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/oware_drawcord_bivy_sack_dwr.html

I am looking for the lightest bivy/tarp combo that will still keep my dry and safe during those moments in the colorado mountains that it decides to snow in the middle of July.

I don't really have a problem finding the right tarp....looks like weight will be between 6-13 ounces for something that protects from rain. I want to keep the bivy around 6 +/- 3 ounces. I don't want a partial bivy because this bivy will be the only ground cover I have for my sleeping back. The drawstring bivies seem pretty cool because I lose the pole weitht and I can just hang it from the top of my tarp and still keep the mesh off my face.

I appreciate any suggestions.

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#98228 - 06/18/08 01:31 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
You can compare bivies all you want for specs; but actually using one with your gear is where it will matter. You'll need to try them out before if you have'nt owned one to see if it is 'for you'. Lots of people want uber lite, then find it too fragile, restrictive, etc. Think lying on your side cooking under your tarp while in your bivy. That makes a difference, as opposed to having to expose your sleeping bag to the elements.
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#98229 - 06/18/08 01:43 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Earthling]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I just want to know if there are other bivies that are as light or lighter so I can compare them. This is the only one that is under 8 ounces that I have found so far.

The best part of having a bivie/tarp combo is if it isn't raining and I am hot, I don't need the tarp and I am cooler then the tent people. I think bivy/tarp gives you the most options to work with depending on the weather and location.

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#98230 - 06/18/08 01:53 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Backpackinglight is THE cutting edge of backpacking when it comes to gear and technique. It's not the end all be all, but if you have questions that reference only their products why not inquire from the folks who design and make them <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

Folks here use and make their own gear, as well as buy commercially made stuff. But BPL gear is very technical in nature and not considered gear for novices, ahem, not that you are, ahem <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#98231 - 06/18/08 01:56 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Quote:
I just want to know if there are other bivies that are as light or lighter so I can compare them. This is the only one that is under 8 ounces that I have found so far.

The best part of having a bivie/tarp combo is if it isn't raining and I am hot, I don't need the tarp and I am cooler then the tent people. I think bivy/tarp gives you the most options to work with depending on the weather and location.


The above paragraph makes me think you have little to no real experience with the system you are asking about <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

"I don't need the tarp, and I am cooler than the 'tent people'." says it all <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I'm one of the uncool tent people, so let's let one of the cool 'bivy people' answer you. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#98232 - 06/18/08 01:58 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Earthling]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I hear what your saying <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I also don't believe in sites that you need to pay for in order to get advice to buy gear, but then again that is my own opinion.

I would be considered a novice "lightweight" backpacker but an experienced backpacker. I am just tired of heavy packs and trying to do research to get the best 25lb pack (including food/water/fuel/etc) with the best comfort...you know...what everyone else is trying to achieve.

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#98233 - 06/18/08 01:59 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Earthling]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
that is why I am asking <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

If I was experienced and knew what I was talking about, I wouldn't be asking this question <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#98234 - 06/18/08 02:08 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Heintooga Offline
member

Registered: 04/15/02
Posts: 470
Loc: GSMNP
_________________________
...ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein... (Jeremiah)

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#98235 - 06/18/08 03:14 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Quote:

I am looking for the lightest bivy/tarp combo that will still keep my dry and safe during those moments in the colorado mountains that it decides to snow in the middle of July.



"Dry", and especially "safe", are two very subjective terms that mean different things to different people.

Noticeably absent from your requirements is the word "comfortable". Are you looking for something that will just keep you alive? Beware of sacrificing comfort and safety in the pursuit of shaving ounces.

Most of the uberlite bivies attain their low weights partially because they are lower volume and/or smaller in girth. If you're a big person their girth may constrict you. They may also compress the loft in your sleeping bag thus lowering its insulation value.

Check out Ti Goat, a site sponsor. They make a very light bivy.

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#98236 - 06/18/08 05:15 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Trailrunner]
Heintooga Offline
member

Registered: 04/15/02
Posts: 470
Loc: GSMNP
Quote:
Check out Ti Goat, a site sponsor. They make a very light bivy.


I had one for a few months and it's the best for the price/weight but it only comes in the Great Grape color.
_________________________
...ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein... (Jeremiah)

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#98237 - 06/18/08 08:24 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Are you definitely trying to go ultralite, and reduce weight to the absolute minimum? If not, send me a private mail with your email address, and I'll share my gear list with you. It's designed for a 13 pound base weight (for summer - it goes up to about 18 for cold weather, depending on how much of the clothing I'm wearing), and it uses light gear rather than bleeding-edge ultralight gear. (Mostly, it's the Fast and Light MSR line, and Patagonia clothing.) I'm also toying with a 10-pound version using a tarp and bivy. It's designed for conditions I encounter in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, so it's probably not entirely adequate for where you hike, but it might give you something to start with and modify that's lighter than your traditional load, but doesn't require you to go hardcore ultralight.

I've used a lot of Gossamer Gear, Tarptent, and other true ultralight products; they're well-made, but I found them a little too fiddly for my taste. They do work well, but I found that it was taking more time than I liked to spend to make them work well. So, I backed off a step and, with food for 4 days and a quart of water, carried just a few ounces short of 25 pounds for an early spring trip to Mt Rogers in Virginia (5,000 feet elevation, temperatures in the 40's and 50's.)

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#98238 - 06/19/08 06:45 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Earthling]
jaiden Offline
member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 123
Quote:
Quote:
I just want to know if there are other bivies that are as light or lighter so I can compare them. This is the only one that is under 8 ounces that I have found so far.

The best part of having a bivie/tarp combo is if it isn't raining and I am hot, I don't need the tarp and I am cooler then the tent people. I think bivy/tarp gives you the most options to work with depending on the weather and location.


The above paragraph makes me think you have little to no real experience with the system you are asking about <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

"I don't need the tarp, and I am cooler than the 'tent people'." says it all <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I'm one of the uncool tent people, so let's let one of the cool 'bivy people' answer you. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


I think he meant "cool" as in "less hot" which would probably ring true.

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#98239 - 06/19/08 08:23 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heintooga]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
wow...those are light backpacks.

I am starting to see a trend though with UL gear and that is if it is super light, it is mainly because of lighter, more "fragile" equipment and the size is pretty small.

I know have more research to do then I thought <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

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#98240 - 06/19/08 08:30 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Trailrunner]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I am 5'10", 150lbs so I can fit into most of those lighter, smaller items. I do want to be comfortable though so this is something that I have to figure out. It is hard trying to figure out what you want since all the good stuff you need to buy over the internet. I have REI here but they don't have the lightest bivies available. Atleast they have the 7 ounce tarps so I can see how they would fit my needs.

I don't want to go minimalist...I just want to have the lightest pack possible while still having a level of comfort. It seems that a "full" 25lb wouldn't be very difficult to achieve and still maintain comformt. Going that low was just changing out the 'big 3'. I think I can go even lower as I swap out other items.

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#98241 - 06/19/08 08:31 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heintooga]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
Anyone have any experience with the different types of bivies. The drawstring that hangs from the tarp seems pretty nice and super lightweight.

I want to see how light I can go before I start dealing with "fragile' gear that falls apart in rugged terrain.

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#98242 - 06/19/08 08:54 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
You are exactly right there. Ultralight stuff is, in general, more fragile than "normal" gear.

Several things to keep in mind about going ultralight: (1) there is more than one way to do it and (2) everyone goes heavy in SOME area.

So the thing to do is examine your own style (which may change through time) and decide what you need to be tough and what you can go ultralight on. For instance if you do a lot of off-trail "bushwhacking" then you may want a sturdier (and therefore heavier) pack because the thin materials of many ultralight packs can get torn by thorns, etc. The same principle applies to your clothing. A 3 oz windshirt works great but can't deal with thorns and bramble.

Shelter is another area where you have to examine your style and preferences. I tend to go very light in this area -- no tent, just a tarp with my bivy or hammock. That's for two reasons: (1) sleeping is the only thing I do in my shelter (hate being cooped up) and (2) I tend to camp in forested areas, not mountaintops, so I don't feel a need for the total wind protection a tent can provide.

I tend to go heavy on clothing and rain gear because I live in Missouri where it rains a lot and things don't dry out fast once they get wet (and I'm a wimp about wet socks, pants, etc). So I either have to keep dry or have something to change into at night.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to do it the way I do. I'm just pointing out that your style will determine where you can save weight by carrying less substantial gear.

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#98243 - 06/19/08 09:03 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heber]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I hear you and want to hear these kind of opinions. I don't really plan to change out my clothes just yet. I have put them through some good use and I am happy with them in my current enviroment. I don't really think they are very heavy anyways. I mainly need to go light on the 'big 3' items cuz what I am have now just plain sucks.

I am starting to do research for a pack now. I gotta really get out and check the qualifty of some of these packs. I have looked into the granite gear packs and one is 2lbs 5 ounces and seems really durable.

I want to go tarp/bivy for weight and I hate to be couped up in a tent (I am just like you) I want to see nature even when I am sleeping <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> It is just fortunate that they are also lighter, so I mind as well take the stress off of my bad knees. Going UL is also do largely to bad knees and backs and I refuse to quick hiking, so I gotta work it with UL gear <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I have already discovered that I can bring less clothes and I am changing my eating habits with my own dehydrater which will be really fun to play with.

Depending on what bivy I get will effect what sleeping bag I get but I am thinking about the REI sub kilo 20f at 1lb 13 oz. It seems pretty light and I am small enough that I don't think the size will bother me.

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#98244 - 06/19/08 09:10 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Here's another thought for you with regards to sleeping bags. You can save a lot of weight by having more than one. Remember there are more seasons than one. Many people carry too much weight by getting the warmest bag they will ever need and using it all the time. But a warmer bag is a heavier bag, all other things being equal. No need to carry a 20 degree bag in the summer (or even most fall and winter days). So get a nice warm bag like the sub kilo you mention for winter and a much lighter bag, or even a quilt or just a bag liner, for summer use.

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#98245 - 06/19/08 10:15 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heber]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
In recent years I mainly use a bivvy and a tarp shelter, and often dispense with a groundsheet.

I think bivvys are highly over-rated as a complete shelter, and greatly under-rated as a "sleeping-bag accessory." Offers various advantages that I much appreciate.

Mine is OR bivvy with a waterproof bottom and water-resistant top. Don't need a waterproof top, and has relatively good breathability and somewhat economical price.

It weighs about one pound, so it's not really what you're looking for, and regardless, it's been discontinued for several years. Don't know what will replace it.

A super-ultralight might be too delicate for my taste. I sortta like the "iron-clad" notion when sleeping on a pile of muddy gravel...but not too sure. OR sold me, somehow, on their coated fabric used for the floor. Don't know that it's really all that great, but it seems somewhat heavy duty.

I do like the OR zipper configuration pretty well: an arch at end of bag, rather than across the face. One is probably not better than the other.

I wish it had a somewhat wider girth.

I think it compresses my winter sleeping bag, and also if it were wider, it would be easier to store minor bits of stuff, etc., inside while in use. Obviously this would add some weight, but otherwise there would be little downside.

I find it surprising that very few manufacturers offer more than one girth size.

This isn't a critical consideration, but just a pet observation of mine.

As for tarps, personally I prefer a "shaped" tarp shelter with integral door, which tend to be heavier than the simple rectangle, or designs with open ends.

I have a SilShelter that I've used a fair bit, but have mainly moved to larger designs after getting cooped up in the thing for a while.

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#98246 - 06/19/08 11:35 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heber]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6369
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Heber, you may not have noticed that the OP is from Colorado (Freakinaye, it would be nice if you put that in your profile). (S)He _will_ need a 20-25 degree (accurately rated, which, as you know, most bags aren't) bag for summer--high in the Rockies it can and often does get below freezing any night of the summer. By late August-early September, it's down around 20-25* every clear night. For winter (s)he would need something that goes well below zero.

Freakinaye, I have heard several complaints that the REI Sub-Kilo, like many inexpensive bags, is more like a 30* bag than 20*. You might want to check gear reviews on http://www.backpackgeartest.org/ and other places before buying anything. If you're planning to invest in super-ultralight gear (most of which is super-super-expensive because of the high-tech lightweight fabrics like cuben), you might as well go for a Western Mountaineering bag, which is well worth the extra $$$. In your place, I'd spend my money there first and get a less-expensive (and adequately sized) tarp. Weight-wise, you'll undoubtedly save more with the better bag than you'll gain with the cheaper tarp. Properly cared-for, the better bag will last longer.

There are lots of excellent articles on gear on the home page of this website which, IMHO, is the best place to start. I got my base weight down to 14 lbs. by using the "27-lb, 7-day Gear List" article there, without sacrificing comfort or safety. A person who sleeps warm and is comfy with a thin pad could probably get closer to 10-12 lbs. base weight.

BPL has a forum which is free and the best place to ask specifically about the stuff BPL sells (which, judging from my own comparison shopping, is not necessarily the best nor the lightest and often not the best value for your $, so do shop around). It has a free section for Reader Reviews. It also has a section for people to respond to BPL's own reviews. Even though "official" BPL reviews require a subscription, you can get a pretty good idea of their general drift by reading responses to the reviews. A few of the folks on the BPL forums are pretty extreme about how light they can get. For me, having encountered horrific conditions many times while growing up in the Rockies, what some of them advocate is a bit scary.

Another good place to read up on gear is Mark Verber's Recommended Outdoor Gear. He is a regular poster on BPL, but not one of the extremists. He appears to keep up-to-date on new gear and update his website accordingly. He freely admits his biases (a good thing, so you know where he's coming from!) but covers a wide range of brands and also suggests less expensive alternatives for those on a budget. Even better, he gives lots and lots of links to manufacturers of lightweight gear.

My own take is that by the time you add together tarp plus bivy or ground cloth plus bug net, you have at least equalled and often exceeded the weight of the lighter weight tarptents, such as those made by Tarptent, Six Moon Designs and Gossamer Gear. That's especially true for me, because I need a bug-free space in my shelter for my 80-lb. dog, who is part of my "sleep system." Your Mileage, of course, May Vary.

I think the others here are correct; don't go too SUL too fast. You need lots of experience with something in between traditional (heavy) and SUL before finding yourself stuck in an August snowstorm and high winds at 11,000 ft. with inadequate gear.

The most important thing is to do a _lot_ of research before you invest in anything. You seem to be doing that, which is great! But you need to expand your sources to a lot more than BPL and REI. A good start is that you came here! Use the links in the "Portal" on this website (and shop with them if you can to support this site!) and also the links to manufacturers in the Verber website. Also, be prepared to order stuff and send it back if it isn't what you want (try it out in the living room and, if you have one, in your back yard). The extra freight charges are a small price to pay for getting exactly what suits you.

REI, for the most part, sells heavy traditional-type mass-market clothing and gear. If you're trying to lighten up, it is definitely not the place to go for most items. What they call "Ultralight" is definitely heavy! They don't carry two of the best brands around (for some things), Western Mountaineering and Montbell. As a high-volume retailer, they obviously cannot carry any of the outstanding lightweight gear made by a number of US "cottage manufacturers." Unless you find what you want on sale or with a 20% off coupon, much of what REI carries is less expensive elsewhere. I'm not saying don't shop there, but do take your scale (my local store hates me for that!) and comparison-shop online before you buy.
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#98247 - 06/19/08 12:40 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: OregonMouse]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
Thanks for the detailed reply.

Another reason I was considering bivy/tarp is because I want to bring my dog with me as well and I am afriad over time she will tear up the bottom of a lightweight tent.

grossamer seemed to have a UL tenttarp which was really nice. I am keeping that option open. To be honest I am really impressed with his site and even considering 2 of their packs.

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#98248 - 06/19/08 12:41 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: OregonMouse]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Ah, good point. I hadn't checked for location. Colorado is certainly different from Missouri which means my advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Here the night temperatures are in the 70s in the summer. No need for any kind of bag at those temps. Not true in the mountains where 50 degrees is a warm night.

Having said that I did grow up in New Mexico and I know that not all camping in the rocky mountain states is alpine camping. Colorado isn't all peaks! There are some nice valleys too. So there may still be a need for a lighter weight bag for summer and a heavier bag for winter.

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#98249 - 06/19/08 12:44 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Quote:
Thanks for the detailed reply.

Another reason I was considering bivy/tarp is because I want to bring my dog with me as well and I am afriad over time she will tear up the bottom of a lightweight tent.

grossamer seemed to have a UL tenttarp which was really nice. I am keeping that option open. To be honest I am really impressed with his site and even considering 2 of their packs.


With a dog I think a tarp is the way to go. Get a good sized tarp (8x10 would work) and there's plenty of space for you in your bivy and your trusty dog by your side. I suppose some people might bring a dog into a tent but I can't see that myself.

Yeah I love gossamer gear. They are a cool company.

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#98250 - 06/19/08 12:47 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heber]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I pretty much need to plan for light snow and avg 20 degrees at night. It can get colder, but I am not ready to go hiking that early in the year yet. I have only so much money to spend at a time <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#98251 - 06/19/08 12:50 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heber]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
My dog gets dirty to fast, and I would like to stay as clean as possible. When I took my dog with me in my tent, I had to clean it out all the time and it was annoying. I was so jealous of my friend in their tarp. Even when it snowed that night, I had extra water weight on my tent and his little tarps was dry quickly after a 5 minute break laying it out.

I do agree thought that a bivy/tarp combo can be alot of weight, which is why I am doing lots of research to keep that down.

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