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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: 6400
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.
_________________________
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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#98252 - 06/19/08 03:13 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6400
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
So far (almost 5 years), I've had no problems with dog toenails and silnylon tent floor. I do keep my dog's toenails clipped as short as possible and clip them every 10-14 days (frequent clipping makes the "quick" recede so you can cut them shorter). I'm more concerned about the dreaded Labrador tail-wag when he wakes up in the mornings, which I keep thinking is going to rip the tent apart! It hasn't yet, which is a tribute to Tarptent (former tent) and to Six Moon Designs (current tent).

As for dirt, I comb my dog (there's a small pocket comb in his pack) at bedtime. He loves it; it prevents his bringing any creepy-crawlies into the tent; and it keeps a lot of loose dog hair out of the tent. I also keep a small size packtowel in my dog's pack in case he's wet. My dog is part of my sleeping system to keep me warm! If he should get really muddy at bedtime (something I work hard to prevent--he's normally leashed in camp), he would be sleeping outside well away from me, whether I'm under a tent or tarp!


Edited by OregonMouse (06/19/08 03:16 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#98253 - 06/19/08 03:14 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6400
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
DELETED--sorry about double post!


Edited by OregonMouse (06/19/08 03:17 PM)
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#98254 - 06/19/08 04:49 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: OregonMouse]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
You have one lucky dog getting all this attention.

My dog is always getting dirty since as a beagle (and my lack of trainging) she goes all over the place and at a minimum her feet will get all muddy (there are alot of streams in colorado).

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#98255 - 06/19/08 07:50 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
johndavid Offline
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Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
In my limited experience, dogs as companions or whatever, while camping, are an extremely good reason for bringing a bivouac sack, as well as a tent or shelter lacking floor.

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#98256 - 06/19/08 08:36 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: johndavid]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
That is what my friend does anyways. It allows his dog to research any noises that come across (aka...scare away the bears <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />) and keeps his stuff cleaner.

I am looking into the hammock setup now since I got lots of trees in the rocky mountains to work with. I just have to figure out what I would do with my poor dog.

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#98257 - 06/19/08 09:02 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
jaiden Offline
member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 123
Quote:
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.


Not sure if anyone mentioned this, but many tarp tents have no floor.

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#98258 - 06/20/08 07:44 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
I've recently become a hammock camper and I love it. Just be warned there is a real problem with a hammock in cold weather. You lose a LOT of heat from under you. You need a CCF pad between you and the hammock at least and maybe an underquilt. If you do that then it should be fine.

My guess is that your dog will just curl up under where you are hanging. That way he'll be protected from rain/snow by the tarp that you put over your hammock and he'll be close to you. No wind protection for the dog of course but that's what fur is all about.

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#98259 - 06/20/08 10:57 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Heber]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I don't understand comments above about REI. It's true that they don't carry lines of smaller manufacturers, many of whom make very nice stuff. But generically speaking, they do sell a complete range of gear.

Also, I don't understand comment that tarp/bivouac sack combo is heavy.

Is the idea that the bivvy adds weight? But you've got X amount of protection from weather/cold from a bag/bivvy combo and Y amount from same bag alone.

For example, a one-pound sleeping bag and a one-pound bivvy offers perhaps the equivalent protection of a two-pound sleeping bag alone (and more resistance to abrasion and wear, and more compressiblity).

I'm sure that my example isn't at all precisely correct (will vary with weather conditions), but it's generally illustrative and logical. If bivvy is used in lieu of groundsheet, it becomes even more signficant.

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#98260 - 06/20/08 11:20 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: johndavid]
Glenn Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
"Heavy" can be a relative term, usually measured relative to an equivalent tent. In fact, I used to use a tarp/bivy combo because it was the lightest solo option out there. Back then (10 years ago), the only solo tents had about 20" of headroom and were little more than bivy sacks with poles; as a result, you were stuck carrying a 6-pound two-person tent for solo use. So, I used a bivy sack and a nylon (not silnylon) tarp that "only" weighed about 4 pounds - unbearably heavy by today's standards, but ultralight minimalist back then.

Until about 4 years ago, I used a bivy/siltarp combo that weighed 2 or 3 pounds (depending on whether I used the REI Minimalist or ID Salathe bivy). I continued using it until the advent of the Zoid 1, and eventually the Hubba, Seedhouse SL1, and similar tents. Now that solo tents weighing only 3 pounds (and full-featured Tarptents weighing less than 2 pounds) are available, I've made the switch to a tent. For the same weight, they seem a lot more convenient and comfortable to me. So, even though my tarp/bivy combo remained at the same weight, it became "heavy" relative to the tents that are available.

Not sure if that's what was meant above, but it's one way to think about the semantics.

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#98261 - 06/20/08 12:55 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Glenn]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
The Sierra Designs Divine Light solo tent was sold by major retailers for at least ten years, starting in the 1980s. It weighed about 2.5 pounds. A coated nylon tarp from REI in 1970s, of roughly 10x10, weighed about the same.

Currently SilShelter is listed at one pound and is marginally useful for two people. I don't especially recommend it, but it's not uniquely lightweight.

IOne can use a somewhat lighter sleeping bag when it's paired with a bivvy than when not paired with a bivvy.

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#98262 - 06/20/08 02:50 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: johndavid]
Glenn Offline
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Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Somehow, I missed the Divine Light; I did own another Sierra Designs tent back then (I forget which one), that replaced a Timberline 2 with 2 sewn-on vestibules - talk about heavy! I probably bought whatever the local outfitter had on sale (this was in my still-paying-for-the-kids-college phase of my life) that was lighter than the Timberline. The Clip Flashlight was another lightweight option, but I never liked the way the fly door let water drip into the tent when you got in and out in the rain.

When I got tired of lugging the SD around, I found the Minimalist/tarp combo at an REI while visiting my son in Massachusetts - the price was right (less than $100, I think), and I had a little more disposable income (the son was in Massachusetts because he took a job there after graduating - one less tuition payment each year!), and I used that until I replaced with a Salathe bivy (2 pounds, but a waist-length bug net!) and - believe it or not - an ID Silshelter tarp! Like you, I liked the shaped tarp option better than a flat tarp. For one thing, I could pitch it easily by myself; flat tarps could be a little frustrating, especially if I was using hiking poles instead of a ridgeline between trees. For another, it didn't require guy lines.

I also agree that a bivy will add a little warmth to a sleeping bag, letting you get away with a lighter bag; so will a solo tent. You can also use a lighter bag by choosing to wear all your insulating clothing at night. That's why I chose a 30-degree bag instead of a 15-degree bag for winter use: I have down booties, down pants, and a hooded down sweater that can make up most of the difference.

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#98263 - 06/20/08 05:43 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: johndavid]
wandering_daisy Offline
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Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2751
Loc: California
I do about half my trips with a bivy alone. But I do not agree that a one pound bivy plus one pound bag has the warmth of a 2 pound bag. The bivy is not about warmth - but weather protection. My experience is that the bivy tends to squish the optimum loft in my bag and also adds condensation on the inside - both reducing warmth. I would guess that my bivy would at best only add about 5 degrees to "warmth". My bag has a dry-loft cover so is fairly good at wind protection by itself. The main reason I do not do the bag alone, even if rain is not expected, is that the bivy keeps the bag clean. And I do not have a dog! I am as capable as a dog of accidently stepping on my bag with a big muddy boot.

In my opinion, if you can do it with a simple weatherproof bivy alone (OK for me as long as I only have to tolerate brief storms - typical afternoon thunderstorms and if the mosquitoes are gone) the wight savings is substantial. Once you have to add a tarp, groundcloth, mosquito net, or get into the fancy bivies with the poles -- you may as well get a light weight tent or good sized tarp (if floorless is OK if no mosquitoes) or tarp-tent. If you have the $$, there are some awesome light tents - some under 3 pounds.

There is an added problem with a bivy at freezing temps. If an evening drizzle is followed by hard freezing, you will get a coat of solid ice on the bivy- enough so that it will not breath. This has happended to me a couple of times.

An advantage of a bivy is that in high winds, you do not have to worry about it blowing down. Some friends of mine got stuck in as storm on Mt. Rainier and the gal with the bivy actually fared the best.

You probably will end up like the rest of us - owning a tent, bivy and tarp!

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#98264 - 06/20/08 09:14 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: wandering_daisy]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I only used the above example as an illustration, and noted that that it may not be an accurate depiction of reality. The equation, which is really NOT an equation, will vary a great deal --- a whole lot ---according to conditions.

Also, isn't warmth and "weather protection" ultimately the same thing? No wind protection, Might get cold. Wet? Might get cold. Bag trashed by mud? Might get cold. Et cetera.

I've heard dry-loft might be pretty good, & does many of the things I'd want a bivvy to do. I've no experience with the stuff. But I think a bivvy is more versatile, and not necessarily more expensive. (???) .

Both together might be redundant.

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#98265 - 06/21/08 08:05 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2751
Loc: California
Have you used a bivy before? I personally can sleep OK in a bivy - many people cannot. I definitely sleep better in a tent. If you toss and turn, bivies are problematic. I suggest you borrow one and try it for a while if you have not spent several nights in a bivy before. Also, be sure to try it in poor conditions - perhaps a cold rainy night in your backyard. And in snow if you plan to use it in snow.

I initially bought a bivy for mountaineering - truely bivouacing on mountains. Also at that time, the lighest weight tents were still in the 4-5 pound range. I use the bivy now for backpacking simply because I have it. Given the development in light weight tents, hammocks and tarp systems, I probably would now choose one of these.

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#98266 - 06/21/08 08:08 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: johndavid]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2751
Loc: California
Dry loft and a bivy are not redundant if you anticipate getting frost on the inside of your bivy. In more mild conditions, yes, it is redundant. Dry loft will not keep you dry in a hard rain. It is more for dew and frost and really dry snow. After having a dry-loft bag for years, I would not ever buy one agian. I do not think it is worth the considerable extra cost.

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#98267 - 06/23/08 06:52 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: wandering_daisy]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I currently sleep on my side with my legs spralled out. Under this condition a bivy would not really be the way to go. I am trying to train myself to sleep on my back, not because of bivy camping but because that is just healthier for your back and neck. It is hard for me since I have 'restless leg syndrome'. It is hard to tell what is causing it. I have found that after a long day of hiking though I don't really feel the effects as long as I don't stay up to late reading or something.

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#98268 - 06/23/08 07:05 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: Glenn]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I have talked with my "friend's friend" who works for REI and this is what I have to say.

First of all, he has a 15lb 'full' load when he goes backpacking. Looking at his gear, I now realize that I can do that myself w/o as much sacrifice as I thought. There are so many awesome light-weight options out there, that I didn't even know about. To be honest I think he is more comfortable then I was with a 40lb pack because he had really cool misc things that really came in handy.

He has a 2lb bivy and a 32 degree down bag. He said that he can go 3 season in the Rockies with no problem. He is a little guy like me so I can trust his opinion. I am a little weary though because that seems very aggressive, especially for the Rocky mountains. It is known for its quick afternoon thunderstorms and light snow at nights. Waking up with a couple inches of snow isn't very uncommon.

In an above post it was mentioned that you can just wear good insulated clothing when you sleep and you will be fine. I was told that this isn't a good idea in a down bag because you defeat the purpose of releasing heat into the bag which then heats you up. I did see that his list was down clothing though. I don't think that down clothing for me in the Rockies is a good idea though so I would have to figure out another techinique.

Gossomer has this sweet 19 ounce solo tent that is just insane. I think I might get it, but I really have my heart set on a tarp/bivy combo for many reasons.

It was also stated above the the integral design 8x10 silshelter was not recommended and I would like to ask why? It seems like a very nice tarp to have.

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#98269 - 06/23/08 08:32 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Regarding the Silshelter: I never saw anything particularly wrong with it; I used it a number of times with a bivy, and was really quite pleased. (Well, except for that one moment that I accidentally kicked over the pole that was inside, holding the foot end up. A little cursing and grumbling, and things were just fine.) I only quit using my Silshelter-and-Salathe system when they finally came out with a tent that was equally light and versatile (the Hubba.)

As far as clothes, you bring up a valid point: you don't want to wear bulky clothes inside a tight-fitting bag. If you do, you just end up compressing all that down, and accomplish nothing. However, if the bag has some extra room (not tons, just enough for that mostly-not-confined feeling), you can wear some light insulating garments inside. For example, my WM Megalite bag doesn't fit tight when I'm wearing my synthetic long johns. So, I can, if I need to, wear my light down sweater and pants (NOT a full, Michelin-Man style down suit!) inside the bag and gain some warmth. The weight of garments that would be appropriate for this would be something like the Montbell UL Down Inner series clothing.

Also, I don't go out intending to rely on my clothes. Since I have a 30-degree bag, I normally plan on nights no colder than 30 (or 25, since the bag's rating is conservative.) However, for those unpredictable times when the temperatures drop to 20, I know I can wear my clothes in the bag and stay warm. In effect, my safety margin is in my clothes, not in the bag itself. That works fine where I am (the Ohio Valley), where forecasts are generally reliable. I don't know whether this clothes-as-sleeping-system will translate as well where you are.

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#98270 - 06/23/08 09:18 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I own a SilShelter and tend not to use it. Other than that, I'm neutral.

I mostly find it's too small for my personal preference. I'm Not totally crazy about the door either, but it works. Might also mention that for weird reasons, it's a relatively fussy thing to pitch, though not a big deal after you've done it a few times.

Personally, I never think of a bivvy as a tent substitute. I think of it as a nearly indispensible (for me) sleeping bag accessory.

To my way of thinking, just personally again, I'd never want a bivvy that weighed more than about one pound.

Works absolutely fine to wear clothing inside bag, as long as they're not wet.

You want enough effective insulation to be warm, and not so much that you become hot. That's the ONLY ISSUE regarding warmth. Whether it's clothing, or a sleeping bag, or bivvy, or some combination, that isn't relevant to sleeping warm.

Since temperatures are generally coldest at night, and one produces least body heat while sleeping, one makes most efficient use of total insulation poundage by wearing all clothing to bed. That way, you can carry a somewhat lighter sleeping bag.

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#98271 - 06/23/08 09:44 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo [Re: freakinaye]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Gear choices need to complement your style.

I prefer only the Integral Designs Unishelter for exposed ridges above timberline.

The Ti Goat bivy with a poncho/tarp is a good all around combination for the Colorado high country.

For places like the Grand Canyon a Jacks'R'Better 8'X8' tarp and umbrella are a good combination.

You really need to hike enough to develop a style before you drop a lot of cash into high tech specialized gear.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#98272 - 06/23/08 12:34 PM possible list [Re: freakinaye]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I have come up with a possible list of gear that I now need to critique and see if it will work for my current wants/needs.

I really like the gossamer backpack because many of the features of the pack for comfort is used from other items such as sleeping pad, socks, etc. which equals less weight.

The shelter is questionable because it is small but from the pictures seems to be very well designed and should be able to handle conditions in the Rockies short of heavy rain/snow.

Other people have stated that tigoat makes a good bivy and beside from the ugly color seems to serve the good use as well as being light weight.

the sleeping pad is the lightest I can find while still maintaining some form of comfort. I just wonder how it will do as the 'support' for my pack being wrapped around the inside.

I welcome all of your scrutiny, so feel free to let me have it <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Keep in mind I am looking for 3 season backpacking in the Rocky Mountains. If you would replace any of the gear, please give me a name or link or something so I can compare it.

Backpack:

http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/sho...2fe30ea4fd18ac5

http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/Miniposa.html (*)

bivy:

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

http://www.titaniumgoat.com/Bivy.html (*)

shelter:

http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/sho...511b3e1735d93cd

sleeping bag:

http://www.rei.com/product/731789 (*)

http://www.rei.com/product/763294

sleeping pad:

http://www.rei.com/product/750996?cm_re=...0Sleeping%20Pad

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#98273 - 06/23/08 01:35 PM Re: possible list [Re: freakinaye]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Just one thought. I don't know about the MLD Exodus pack but the miniposa uses a closed-cell foam pad as part of the structure of the pack. This is actually a pretty common strategy with lightweight packs. You will want to make sure your pad and your pack work well together in that way.

Having said that you may want an additional pad (like the POE you mention) if it get's very cold at night. But if both pads are going to be only torso length (the one that most people use with the miniposa is a torso pad) then you'll want to think about putting something under your legs or they will get cold. Sometimes you can use your pack or something. Myself I tend to make one of the pads a full length pad and the other can be a torso length.

However bear in mind that I'm not a pad expert. I moved to a hammock for back comfort so I've never really found my "pad zen".

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#98274 - 06/23/08 02:39 PM Re: possible list [Re: Heber]
stevetoney Offline
member

Registered: 10/01/03
Posts: 45
I've also been through the bivy/tarp/tent debate and trials.

I do not get out as often as I would like (waiting to retire and move out west to my favorite climes), but I've tried numerous setups over the years. As has been stated it's a personal thing that one has to have some comfort with and in the end you will likely need or end up with more than one setup for varying places/times of year, etc

Having said this.. I have a Integral Designs Unishelter EXP bivy and one each of their silnylon tarps (5x8 and 8x10). I'm not so good with the tarp setup so using the 8x10 work better if there is real weather. This combo works and I used it well on trips to Rocky Mountain Nation Park. I use the bivy on my climb of Long peak for 2 night in te boulder field.. I took the tarp down and only stayed in the bivy on night 2 durng a hecka of storm with boomers the wind was steady 30-40 with 70 mph gust. The tarp was flapping so loud I could not stand so I reached out and cut it down and shoved the pile under a rock - then snugged up in the bicy alone. My friend were in a 3 season dome tent that the wind was blowning flat and snap a pole -- they had not really guyed it out well for this type weather..

As noted, I bought this setup prior to the new crop of solo tents.

Having done this and know I can, I have since gone mostly with the comfort of a tent.

I have gone through several tents and donate to the boys scout as my taste or needs have changed..

I used biblers (own an Awahnee that I used a lot in the North East winters when I lived in upstate NY) - these expedition Bibler and ID tents are superb for winter use.. A bit heavy for other season

For most trips, I now use a Tarptent Rainbow -- as long as I want some ventilation and breeze this is my current shelter of choice..

I used a Tarptent cloudburst on another multiple day RMNP trip - nice tent - work well, but one night I found myself wanting a tent that did not have so much mesh exposure -- it was windy and became quite cold..

When I want to shut out the "mountain drafts" in the rockies/sierra in September/October without the likely of prolonged rain or extended heavy snow, I now use my Black Diamond light house. I just bought a Hilleberg Soulo and like it a lot as a bomber solo tent, but I think it will be used for future winter trip -- simply too heavy for fall rockies/sierra.

I likely will also try the Hilleberg Akto as a bomber solo shelter. I'm doing a multiple day trip in the Tetons in September and one folks going has an Akto - so I'm going to try it out one of the nights on the trail to see if these is worth

Some of these are expensive options,but they are well made product

If I was going to buy a bivy as sleeping supplement / emergency verus a primary bivy/tarp -- I'd probably look for a lightweight model made out of eVent..

I have an unused Lunar Solo - I'll let go for $75, if interested

As you can tell I'm bad about buying and trying new stuff

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#98275 - 06/23/08 03:05 PM Re: possible list [Re: Heber]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I'm sure your choices are essentially fine. I recommend that you get and use everything on the list. You've obviously thought about all of it carefully and are all set. That's totally worthwhile and good and furthermore your judgment is obviously very sound.

However, as long as you're asking:

I much prefer a "full-coverage" design for a tarp. Unlike your choice, these are fully adequate as 4-season shelters and AREN"T necessarily heavier (not by more than a few ounces) than the tarp you've listed.

Though I'm not super-fond of my SilShelter, it does offer more protection (and is slightly larger) than what you've listed. As a superlight four-season shelter, here are some better choices than the SilShelter: GoLite Shangri-La 1 and Shangri-La 2, which seem very nice. Outdoor Research Night Haven looks good also. And of course there is the Black Diamond Beta Light.

There are plenty of similar things out there with "full coverage" that are plenty light weight and which make fine four-season shelters.I own Golite Shangri La 3 (formerly "Hex") and an older, MSR Twin Peaks (like a Betamid, only heavier and slightly larger). Neither are precisely ultralights, and I mostly prefer the Hex, even for solo camping.

It's not just that your choice is inadequate for winter.

When the wind blows during a rainstorm (as it typically does) having a door and a roof that can extend to the ground is most welcome. Such a tarp also offers some protection from insects (when carefully pitched), and one always has option of pitching it high off the ground -- if mainly ventilation is wanted.

I would argue that a bivvy as tent substitute in any season isn't reasonably viable at all, although it will work in some fashion. Obviously a bivvy (which I always carry and use) is a possible choice as one's sole winter shelter, but certainly it is not optimal for this, and potentially a horrible mistake.

To worry about whether you fit comfortably inside a bivvy, as compared in size to a tent, is to miss the point entirely. (Do you fit inside a sleeping bag?) It's a "sleeping bag accessory," an extra and very useful outer shell for your bag and sleeping pad

.....It's NOT a tent.

Also, I confess to being suspicious of the pad you've listed, and will stick with a more traditional design. In summer, lately, I've taken to mostly using a backpacker's folding "chair" in lieu of pad, though it's not terribly warm or comfortable or light weight as a pad. I just really like the "chair" function when awake and it does the job when sleeping.

Also, I like a zipper on my bivvy sack. Probably just a mind-thing for me. I imagine it makes it neat and easier to seal out the buggies and dirt and wet, when leaving bag inside the thing in camp, which is probably 15% of why I love bivvies.

Am also somewhat traditionalist regarding packs, at least insofar as wanting an extendable lid. You can shove stuff under and inside a lid, making it handy, but my prejudice is perhaps mainly a matter of habit. Lid also can be left at home or in camp if desired.

I'm all for lightweight and minimalist gear, but there may be a point, somewhere, of DIMINISHING RETURNS. Where this point is reached, I don't know. But food is what kills ya, weightwise, and water if you need to carry it, and it's toughest to cut that stuff down.

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#98276 - 06/24/08 07:00 AM Re: possible list [Re: Heber]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
The gossamer packs comes with a small pad that can be used exclusively for the backing. I can use both my POE and the torso pad since the torso pad only adds like .4 oz.

I still am debating hammocks. I think the only reason why I don't do it, is because I am beginning to see that my dog might be my only backpacking companion and it wouldn't be good to leave her alone below me. Hammocks do seem like the way to go. I am all about sleeping comfortably and I haven't heard anything negative about them (except non forested enviroments not working...but that is a mute point).

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#98277 - 06/24/08 07:03 AM Re: possible list [Re: johndavid]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I have been debating the different tarp types. There are the ones like I listed that are made to be setup just 1 way but cover the most space with the minimum required weight. Then there are the flat ones that can be setup however you feel like it. They are more heavier, more difficult to setup but have the most options. The "full coverage" tarps like the Integral Design SilShelter is pretty nice and weighs just over a pound. I have been considering that one the longest and might just stick with it but I still need more research and to talk to more tarp packers (I don't know to many people. My friends are either heavy packers or minimalists).

Thanks for your list of tarps. I have looked at al of them and am still researching. My list may change some, but I think I am on the right track.

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#98278 - 06/24/08 07:11 AM Re: possible list [Re: stevetoney]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
You mentioned lots of new stuff to research now <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Just to say again...my intention of going bivy/tarp or just bivy doesn't have as much to do with weight as much as just being outdoors more and seeing the country, even in teh middle of the night. I am a super light sleeper so when I hear something outside my tent, it takes forever to go back to sleep. I am not worried about the bugs cuz I will make sure I have the right minimalist bivy with a mesh for protection.

I really have my heart set on a back weighing at the maximum 20lbs. If I can achieve this with a 4 season bivy and a 3 season tarp, then the extra weight won't really matter as much I guess.

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#98279 - 06/24/08 07:18 AM Re: possible list [Re: freakinaye]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Quote:
The gossamer packs comes with a small pad that can be used exclusively for the backing. I can use both my POE and the torso pad since the torso pad only adds like .4 oz.

I still am debating hammocks. I think the only reason why I don't do it, is because I am beginning to see that my dog might be my only backpacking companion and it wouldn't be good to leave her alone below me. Hammocks do seem like the way to go. I am all about sleeping comfortably and I haven't heard anything negative about them (except non forested enviroments not working...but that is a mute point).


Depending on the size of the dog, it can easily get in most hammocks with you, and there's some extra warmth. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Some people's dogs appear to have no troubles sleeping on their own pad under the tarp/hammock. A two person hammock like the ENO double would probably suit a person and a big dog well enough.

Most hammocks also double as a bivy. The Claytor in particular seems suited to this. Hennessy hammocks can be propped up with trekking poles as a bivy/bugnet. Check out the manufacturer websites for pictures.

Not that I'm on the sales team for hammocking, just saying there are options.
_________________________
"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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#98280 - 06/24/08 07:48 AM Re: possible list [Re: freakinaye]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
Some of my thoughts:
PAD:
This requires several nights of experimenting. Everyone is sooo different.
I used to have the POE pad on your wish list. It was OK. The 1st one leaked; POE fixed it. I didnít like the valve placement; uncomfortable. Then I got the Torsolite http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/torsolite_inflatable_sleeping_pad.html It is much more comfortable for about 1oz more.

Before I forget, the pack you picked--- I have the similar Mariposa. Just use the $8 sit pad in the pocket/frame and take out the fiber poles. It fits very well then (when packed correctly). And that sit pad is so convenient for kneeling, sitting, using under your feet at night, etc.,

Also, for the same comfort and less weight, I use the GG Nightlite Torso http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/nightlight_torso.html with bumps down (3.5oz). On top of that I put an open cell egg crate pad bumps up (1.5Ēx11Ēx17Ē 3oz). This fills in the spaces/grooves/curves in my back.

However, for shorter trips, I have been loving the 3/4 Prolite 4 (16oz). I have found it to be more comfortable than the full length Prolite 4!

TARP/BIVY:
I was in the Rocky Mountains last year and happened upon mosquitoes galore! Ouch! I couldnít wait to get into my GG Classic Squall. Then I had room to move and breath, stretch, relax, read, etc., I canít imagine being stuck in a tight-spaced bivy (though it should protect).

The tarp you picked (Patrol Shelter) looks nice with the spectralite (6oz). Take away your bivy and add their bug net (Serenity Shelter)-- maybe it would be more comfortable; a nice 12oz solo shelter! But I wonder how fast they deliver? Email them. I asked about their climashield quilt and they said it would deliver in 10 weeks; too long for me <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />.

On another note, that offer by Steve below (Lunar Solo), looks mighty tempting for bad weather and bug protection with room to sprawl out in.

BAG:
24oz for a 30F bag sounds good. I wonder if thatís an optimistic temperature rating though. My 850 Fill Western Mountaineering bag weighs the same and also rated at 30F. I would think the WM to be warmer since it has higher power of down.

May you be able to get out and backpack soon!

-Barry

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#98281 - 06/24/08 08:02 AM Re: possible list [Re: stevetoney]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
Since you have spent many days backpacking in the rockies...can you tell me if my bivy/tarp/bag is a wise choice? I am not looking for a 4 season solution...just a mid-may to mid-october solution. During early spring and late fall I will most likely not go above 10k in elevation just because hiking in snow really isn't that much fun <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#98282 - 06/24/08 08:11 AM Re: possible list [Re: BarryP]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
your recommendations are comepletely in line with what I am looking for <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

My only worry is when you say to ditch the bivy and go with the bug net. That is fine assuming that I don't require the extra protection of a bivy during stormy nights. If I have complete confidence in my tarp then this is not an issue. I think the only way I will ditch a bivy is if I have something like the SilShelter where I can get every side to touch the ground. If I do that, then I mind as well just go with a tarp tent or the gossamer "TheOne". I also think that if I ditch a bivy I better go down to the WM 20F bag which isn't that big of a deal. I just have to make sure that my shelter/bag/pack all come together in perfect harmony <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I welcome all comment from tarp packers who say they are 100% satisfied with their tarp and don't require the extra protection from a bivy.

The .6oz spectralite seems cool but I wonder about the protection it offers since it is so light. Do you think it can survive alpine weather in the rockies? It seems that it won't last through a windy thunderstorm but I could be wrong. If it does, the weight is crazy and I can just go with their other larger tarp and seriously ditch the bivy.

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#98283 - 06/24/08 08:13 AM Re: possible list [Re: lori]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I think I might do research on this then. I only have a beagle, so the size isn't a problem, it would just be the mud that I would be concerned about. If anything having her in my hammock would keep her from wondering off in the middle of the night and getting lost. You know how those beagles can't ever keep still <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#98284 - 06/24/08 03:44 PM Re: possible list [Re: freakinaye]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I just remembered something else about the Silshelter: there's a bug liner made to go with it, as an insert. It's all mesh and weighs 19 oz. Given the full-coverage nature of the Silshelter, the Bug Liner (which can be pitched separately) might be a better choice than a bivy? It would certainly have more headroom, and be wider; it might be just the ticket for stargazing on a clear night.

I had one, but only used it once. Getting in and out was a little tricky (the hiking pole partly blocked the door opening), but it was pleasant enough once I got in. I think I'd have gotten the knack of it fairly easily if I had used it more. Before I got more experience, I ended up with the Hubba (same functionality) and was happy to pay the pound for the extra convenience (Hubba=3 lbs; Silshelter & insert=2 pounds.)

The Silshelter and Bug Insert might just be a good solution if bugs are a problem. If they weren't, I might be very tempted to go with the Silshelter and a solo groundcloth (also an ID product - under Accessories; available in various sizes.

The Silshelter is probably the only tarp I'd consider using without a bivy; the bivy protects against any spray that blows in at the open ends of the tarp. If the Hubba hadn't come along, I'd still be using my Silshelter.

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#98285 - 06/24/08 06:44 PM Re: possible list [Re: freakinaye]
stevetoney Offline
member

Registered: 10/01/03
Posts: 45
Yes, a tarp/bivy/bag will work.. I've only been to the rockies August-October as I have to fly out there from the east coast so not much spring experience..

As I noted, the rockies are where I've used the bivy setup the most..

I was rained on at some point every night I've spent in a bivy on one of the RMNP trips

If I had to choose only one shelter.. I'd get a solo tent, if you want your dog inside get a lightweight two person or a biggest solo carefully seeing how much floor space you are after.

I now lean more toward bomber tents in the mountains having enjoyed storms and some snow dumps... My tarptent are used in the forests in milder months where the mesh and ventilation are welcome

I've had some enjoyable winter hiking trips, but they have only been good if the snow is good and not anywhere near melting slushy and the temps are not prolonged really really cold..

I had a 5 day stretch in the NE where most temps were below zero or in single digits.. learned a lot on that trip on dealing with cold on a mulitple day trip, but it was not fun....

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#98286 - 06/25/08 07:18 AM Re: possible list [Re: Glenn]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
If I was considering the SilShelter and the bug tent then I mind as well just go with a single wall solo tent or something that is significantly lighter. The best tent choice (for me anyways) at an amazing 19oz overall is Gossamer TheOne.

If I was going tarp/bivy I would have to keep the weight close to the same otherwise I am not really benefiting in anyways except for perhaps more versitility depending on condisions which is a good thing to think about. Weather is the Rockies may not be predictable but pretty easy to plan for depending on the time of year.

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#98287 - 06/25/08 07:21 AM Re: possible list [Re: stevetoney]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
yeah...I have learned that if you are going to change your backpacking gear going UL or whatever, start in the middle of summer and slowly change it out looking at the conditions. I am considering going all-out but it would be a very big deal that I shouldn't take lightly. I think I will go overboard on warmth knowing that it won't get that bad and slowly start sheding excess clothes weight and I get more comfortable.

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#98288 - 06/25/08 08:14 AM Re: possible list [Re: freakinaye]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I use full-coverage tarps almost exclusively and always take a bivvy. You'll find that without snow (or dead leaves, etc.) to bank around edges of such a tarp, wind chill can occur, even with edges carefully staked to ground. To say nothing of rain splash, drips, or unexpected drainage patterns.

These alone are reasons enough to include bivvy with these shelters. Also with floorless shelter, bivvy makes it possible to dispense with ground sheet, a potentially significant weight savings. This may or may not suit the individual's taste.

Also, the added warmth and weight of a bivvy can, to some extent, be subtracted from the weight and warmth required of a sleeping bag.

Also, bivvy offers peace of mind for temporary bag storage in camp. Shelter can blow down, camp invaded by plague of centipedes and arachnids and maggots, and bag remains clean and dry inside bivvy, which also makes stuff-sack redundant and useless.

With snow, a full-coverage tarp can be fully sealed from wind and is an entirely effective winter shelter.

At the other extreme, if you want a set-up where you can look around outside, just raise the edges a few feet off the ground and leave the door open.

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#98289 - 06/25/08 03:51 PM Re: possible list [Re: freakinaye]
jaiden Offline
member

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 123
Quote:
yeah...I have learned that if you are going to change your backpacking gear going UL or whatever, start in the middle of summer and slowly change it out looking at the conditions. I am considering going all-out but it would be a very big deal that I shouldn't take lightly. I think I will go overboard on warmth knowing that it won't get that bad and slowly start sheding excess clothes weight and I get more comfortable.


good idea. You won't die from carrying too much weight, but you will die if you freeze. I would rather carry an extra pound of down than an extra pound of food. It will take you a few days to die of thirst, a few weeks from hunger, but only a few hours from cold/heat/exposure.

UL and SUL are a process, not a magic formula. You can't just copy the gear list of experts and be ready for anything. I'm not saying to buy heavy and bomb proof, but it's good to take certain precautions, even if it means extra weight. For example, I carry a 16oz nalgene bottle because I know I can fill it with boiling water and it will keep me warm at night in a pinch when stuffed inside my clothes/bag. Sure that's 5 ounces I may not need, but it's a safety net. I also carry a poncho tarp in addition to my primary shelter, so I have a backup if a tree, airplane or space alien falls on my hammock and destroys it and manages not to kill me in the process. A little extra sil nylon or down doesn't weigh that much. Maybe some day I'll trim down, but with a 4 season base weight between 13 and 18 pounds, I think I'm light enough for now. I brought back 3 pounds of food from my last trip, and it would be a lot easier to fix THAT than buy (for example) a cuben tarp to save 8 ounces at a cost of $300.

but that's just me. YMMV.

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#98290 - 06/26/08 07:54 AM Re: possible list [Re: jaiden]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
On another token you need to be able to enjoy your trip. If you are carrying to much weight and in my case destroy my knees the first day, then the trip is ruined and I may not want to go out again for quite sometime. Luckily I atleast have an understanding on what to bring and during the warm summer months in the Rockies, the list of warm gear isn't all that necessary (depending on altitude and location of course). I still need to get a pack down to a a maximum weight for 20lbs and that is simply because I need YUMMY food <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> I can't be like my friend and live on oatmeal, and potato flakes the whole trip <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#98291 - 06/29/08 01:50 PM best bivy tarp combo (REALLY??) [Re: freakinaye]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Are there REALLY this many people on this forum using bivys & tarps?

Why not a lighter, well ventilated 1 person single wall tarp/tent shelter W/ sewn-in floor?
To me bivys are for winter use in snow shelters. The only bivy material I'd consider is eVent. Everything else, even the best Gore-Tex, has too much condensation, especially for down bags.

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

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#98292 - 06/29/08 02:48 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo (REALLY??) [Re: 300winmag]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Quote:
Are there REALLY this many people on this forum using bivys & tarps?

Why not a lighter, well ventilated 1 person single wall tarp/tent shelter W/ sewn-in floor?
To me bivys are for winter use in snow shelters. The only bivy material I'd consider is eVent. Everything else, even the best Gore-Tex, has too much condensation, especially for down bags.



Eric,

I think many of the ultralighters using a "bivy" are using what you might call a sleeping bag cover -- not a true mountaineering waterproof bivy sack. These UL bivies have a waterproof bottom made (usually) of sil-nylon, and a breatheable nylon top, often with a large mesh panel for ventilation. They are *not* waterproof and must be used under a tarp in bad weather. Goretex need not apply <g>.

So why bother? The bivy adds warmth and excellent wind and water resistance to the bag, allowing a smaller tarp and/or worse weather. The mesh bug netting keeps the bugs out.

Sure, I could get a Tarptent Contrail for the same weight (24 oz) as my bivy and tarp combo. But I like the combo for the versatility and the space. I can use the bivy by itself cowboy camping, or in an AT shelter in the summer, when the bugs would otherwise drive me nuts. Add the tarp in rainy or cold weather, and I get large amounts of covered space for myself, my gear, cooking, eating, sleeping, etc.

Here are two photos:

http://tinyurl.com/33nw6a

http://tinyurl.com/32duop

and a link:

http://tinyurl.com/2gqmew


Hope this helps clarify things.

--Ken
_________________________
--Ken B

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#98293 - 06/29/08 06:14 PM Re: best bivy tarp combo (REALLY??) [Re: kbennett]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
My personal system is what it is, and it's certainly not unique, but I definitely have my prejudices that certainly aren't derived from Moses....

One of my main sleeping bags in recent years, is Western Mting "Highlite" that weighs 17 ounces. I like it pretty well, but the shell material is horribly delicate. By itself, it's "rated" at about 35 degrees.

Regardless of what bag I'm using, I bring an 18-ounce bivvy, somewhat as described immediately above. One VERY clear advantage is that the bivvy compensates a lot for the super-light shell of the Highlite.

The bivvy also adds a lot of warmth (more, or less, DEPENDING on wind and other factors) tons of versatility (usable with various bags or alone) and of course, obviously, doubles weight of sleeping system using WM bag.

Almost always, lately, I use one or another floorless "tarp shelter," specifically either Golite Hex, MSR Twin Peaks, or the SilShelter from .. that Canadian company...

I normally dispense with a grounsheet. As I haven't managed to investigate Tivek and use builders plastic, or similar material (or my Korean War-era shredded army poncho). THIS FACTOR ALONE is more than compensation for extra weight of my particular bivvy.


The notion that a bivvy is an alternative to a tent is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to my system. Personally I'd never use a bivvy as sole shelter, even if mine were theoretically suitable, which it is NOT. I think this notion creates MASS CONFUSION about potential advantages of bivvy sacks. Hearing people compare square feet of the floor of a bivvy with that of a solo tent, to me, is crazy.

There are times, rarely, when I don't use any shelter other than bivvy, but not when weather is truly inclement.

These high-end bivvys with poles are as heavy as certain tents. I consider them mere curiousities.

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#98294 - 06/30/08 07:08 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo (REALLY??) [Re: 300winmag]
freakinaye Offline
member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Colorado
I am just looking for the same thing that other bivy/tarp packers use. They want more room then can be offered with a single man tarptent and they want the option to change their sleeping systems depending on conditions. My main reason is I want to be able to look around me in the middle of the night when I hear some weird noise <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#98295 - 06/30/08 07:57 AM Re: best bivy tarp combo (REALLY??) [Re: 300winmag]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
Are there REALLY this many people on this forum using bivys & tarps?

Why not a lighter, well ventilated 1 person single wall tarp/tent shelter W/ sewn-in floor?
To me bivys are for winter use in snow shelters. The only bivy material I'd consider is eVent. Everything else, even the best Gore-Tex, has too much condensation, especially for down bags.

Eric
Yeah, I'm totally into bivy and poncho/tarp. It's not lighter because I use a 2 pound CF gortex bivy, but I love the versatility and openness and freedom of crashing just about anywhere, the whole sleeping like a deer thing. Haven't dealt with severe bugs yet.

The exception is when I hike with my daughter in summer I bring her small tent, just barely big enough for the two of us but very comfortable for her and, and uncomfortable enough for me to stay alert. If anyone is going to get their feet poked at it will be me. With her along you see I am worried about stuff like West Nile and Lyme disease, but also bears. Bears are not a serious threat here in New Brunswick, but with a child so small you never know. They eat young moose, so why not? It's not like the nylon would stop a bear. I just feel better knowing she is zipped in and less likely to roll off into harms way. I'm hoping this is a language that bears understand; 'I'm keeping my kid close, don't mess with me.' I also try to smell a lot louder than she does. That ain't difficult, but I avoid using stuff on her like lemon flavoured bug spray. This just seems right. Not alot of real data on such things. Never enough.

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