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bivy recommendations

Tents, tarps, sleeping bags & general campsite gear

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azdesertfather
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bivy recommendations

Post by azdesertfather » Nov 08 2008 11:56 pm

Am looking into a good bivy, wanted to know what those of you out there who have used them recommend or don't recommend. I'm thinking about picking up a used one as winter approaches, as a good one can add 10 degrees temp around you while you sleep. Not sure if that is true with all brands, however.

I see there is a Montbell Breeze Dry-Tec that's only 6.3 oz. REI has a minimalist one that's 15 oz, but I wonder if these hold in heat as well as others? Ebay seems to be inundated with Goretex camo bivy's, as well.

If you're using one, please chime in ;)

thanks...
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau

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azbackpackr
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 09 2008 5:13 am

I have a Gore-tex camo bivy, USMC issue. (I think that these were actually manufactured by The North Face for the Marine Corps. I didn't buy it on ebay, but got it from a family member who's a Marine.) I tried using it in the fall in the rain in the Grand Canyon, but it was WAY too hot! For that event, I rigged a small tarp over my head so I wouldn't have to be all the way down inside of the thing. I think this same bivy might work well in winter to add warmth to my 3 season sleeping bag, so that is why I never sold mine on ebay! It also might work well out here in Yuma where I'm spending the winter, for a windy winter campout in the desert, when the temps are below 40 degrees. However, I didn't bring it with me, I brought my solo tent instead, which is way more comfortable as you have useable space to sit up in out of the wind.

I personally don't think I could stand to sleep inside of it all zipped up in the rain! Yikes! Major claustrophobic attack! However, with the addition of a tarp, or in cold, windy weather it might do well. Also, it is not as ultra-light as the other ones you've mentioned.
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fairweather8588
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by fairweather8588 » Nov 09 2008 3:47 pm

Bivy sacks depend a lot on the person, some wont hike without them and some hate them, and it doesn't help that there is about a half a million different types and configurations that you can have. For your first one, I wouldn't recommend spending a lot of money on one, just go to REI and get one, if you don't like it (like me) you can always just go back and return it for a full refund (like I did)
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength

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te_wa
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by te_wa » Nov 09 2008 7:59 pm

if you know you want a bivy - the popular choice for most veterans and ULers is the Titanium Goat Ptarmigan bivy. IF money is not an option, some awesome products made by Mountain Laurel Designs.
:D

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mttgilbert
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by mttgilbert » Nov 09 2008 8:43 pm

I have an REI Minimalist bivy, a Sierra Designs Aurora bivy (4-seasons) and an Outdoor Research Aurora Bivy. I like them all for different things, if you're not sure if you will like using one I would recommend borrowing one from somebody you know (rather than buying and then returning one). They are a little tight and take some getting used to. I use the minimalist only for keeping bugs out, there's too much mesh to really provide a lot in the way of warmth. The Zagori is great for winter, it's really breathable and has a moldable hoop over the face to keep the top off my face. The only problem is that it's a little heavy, the upside is that it adds a lot of warmth to my bag (maybe more than 10 degrees, I don't really know...). The OR Aurora is a nice in-between bivy, it has a good mesh face that can be tied up to keep it off your face and the clam shell like design holds in the heat well. I use it for the cooler seasons.

I'm fairly lucky that I have a job that let's me collect gear like this. If I had to recommend only one bivy (that I have) that would do as much as possible for the best price I would probably go with one of the Outdoor Research bivys. They are a little heavy, but they hold up forever. If I had my choice for a new bivy I would probably go with Tewa's recommendation for the Ptarmigan bivy.

There's also another option; if you are handy with a sewing machine, a bivy's not that difficult to make and Sixmoon designs has a free pattern available on their website. Ultimately if price is the deciding factor and you have the equipment then I say this is really the best way to go. And this way, you get exactly what you want, and making stuff is fun!
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Jeffshadows
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by Jeffshadows » Nov 10 2008 8:39 am

I have one of the Gore-tex military ones like azbackpacker, but I stopped using it many years back after it realized that it actually retains a lot more moisture than it repels. Now I've been using the OR Advanced for about two years. It's a solid little unit and has plenty of headroom. I manage to pack by ruck down below my feet and still have plenty of wiggle room, even with it fully closed...
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by mapit » Nov 10 2008 10:29 am

If you can frequent Laradas in mesa,from time to time they carry the brit Army bivi ,it is slightly bigger than others but has few moisture issues.also it is dirt cheap,under $20 but it is a case of get lucky.I used to carry the two sections of old pup tent .they general can be rigged as bi sack with some tree branches.

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hikeaz
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by hikeaz » Nov 10 2008 10:59 am

I've had a couple of OR bivies, but I agree that they hold moisture at least as good as repel it. Kinda like all of the supossedly 'breathable' rain jackets out there.
Are you considering a bivy for the weight savings over a tent; or maybe use it in addition to a tarp in cool weather?
kurt

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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by RedRoxx44 » Nov 11 2008 6:56 am

I've used a Black Diamond Lightsabre bivy for several years on a couple of my 60+ miler solo trips and liked it just fine. I have had some condensation issues in it one time in the Gila in a steady overnight rain, my sleeping bag got damp but didn't affect it's ability to keep me warm ( Western Mtn Ultralight). It is not a very durable bivy tho--- I am rough on equipment and now it sports a couple of small holes patched by electrical tape and Shoe goo.

I just recently purchased a Big Agnes 3 wire bivy on sale I think at Campsaver. I have not used it but seems very nicely constructed, fully seam sealed, and more sturdy materials. It is absolutely huge compared to the Lightsabre, I have not weighed it but from info I have found is about 5-7 ounces more weight wise.

Most folks say why not get a 2lb tent like BIg Sky or a tarptent with a floor or netting or whatever. Bivy's are an acquired taste-- getting in and out, claustrophobia etc. For me I like the campsite selection freedom, and in winter the extra warmth they seem to have, and of course packability and weight. I carry a piece of sil tarp to string up if able to make a sheltered cook area in bad weather.

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pencak
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by pencak » Feb 18 2010 10:45 pm

Here's the setup I use: http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=120237
or http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=121720

Outdoor Research Aurora Bivy with a siltarp. A small elastic cord holds up the bivy off of my face. No moisture issues, super warm. It was 28 when I went to Reavis Ranch and I was fine, however, the 25 degree morning was borderline.
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azbackpackr
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 19 2010 5:01 am

Which siltarp do you have? Thanks for posting your photos. I do have a bivy, and don't think I would use it in summer, but I can see spring and fall, using a tarp, as long as the whole arrangement would weigh less than my solo tent, which is around 3 lbs. I am planning to get new hiking poles (mine are cheapies) and a tarp eventually, anyway.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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pencak
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by pencak » Feb 20 2010 8:00 am

I got an Integral Designs SilTarp 2:
http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_ ... N=12711363
They list it at 14oz but mine weighs 17.5oz because I've pre-attached lengths of line to it so it's easier to set up. One thing about set-up and take down though; it's light like a butterfly wing and any wind catches it. If the wind is more than 5mph then it starts to get unruly. My game plan is to set up the poles with the central line and pre-place the rocks I'll use for tying down the corners before pulling it out of the bag. Setup is not too bad even in some wind but take down is a different story.

One more thing...
You have to waterproof the seams yourself. It makes sense to at least do the center seam.

Another thing relating to the Bivy subject. Integral designs has a huge selection of them:
http://www.integraldesigns.com/product. ... cttypeid=1
Some of them are almost 3lbs but they've got a lot of them.
Pencak aka Larry Rudd
"I think I'm a verb"
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pencak
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by pencak » Feb 20 2010 8:36 am

I think I'm narrowing down my wish list on this item...
Big Agnes 3 wire (thanks to RedRoxx44)
http://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Detail ... reBivySack
Integral Designs eVent Unishelter
http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_ ... N=12711363

Both have the hoop over the face. I'm not claustrophobic but when my Outdoor Research Aurora Bivy isn't tied up, waking up with it on the top of my face is unsettling. I'm leaning toward the Integral Designs bivy because of the weight.
Pencak aka Larry Rudd
"I think I'm a verb"
Buckmaster Fuller

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davis2001r6
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by davis2001r6 » Feb 20 2010 10:10 am

I had the Black Diamond Lighsabre one Redroxx mentioned, only used it on 1 trip but I found it too small for me. When I inflated my big agnes air mattress my legs had no room at all in the thing and where squished in there. Glad to hear the one that Big Agnes makes is larger.

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azbackpackr
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Re: bivy recommendations

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 20 2010 7:29 pm

Yikes. I am pretty sure I could not handle sleeping in one of those things. Although I don't think of myself as being claustrophobic, that thing looks positively coffin-like. I have a USMC issue bivy sack, can envision sleeping in it on cold night with tarp overhead, but then I ask myself why not use my solo tent which I can sit up in and has no wind or rain blowing in? No wind, no heavy rain, I sleep under the stars anyway.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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