Hill People Gear Forums
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralBivouac SacksBivouac Sacks
Previous
 
Next
New Post
5/27/2016 1:31 PM
 

I'm hoping to get some input on bivy bags.

I've been using a USGI Goretex Bivy bag for a couple of years now. I couple it with a poncho, since it's my preferred piece of rain gear, to sit under and so I don't have to zip things up all the way when it's raining. 

Unfortunately the USGI bag is heavy heavy heavy at over 36.33 ounces according to my little kitchen scale. I'd like to remove some of that weight from my pack (I could carry a tarp tent and the poncho for a lot less weight!) and increase the breathablilty of my bivy and would like your recommendations for a bivy made out of Event or some comparable material. I have two real requirements. The first is that bivy has a mosquito net of some sort on it that can be covered up when needed. The more I can just open it up and use it as a bug net in warmer weather the better. The second is no poles - a loop to pull the netting up by will suffice for me.

Being able to stake the corners and tie a sleeping pad down on the inside are features that would be "nice to have" but aren't deal breakers. 

I've done the whole ultralight water resistant breathable bivy under a poncho thing and have the skills to pull it off in nasty weather but it's to much work. I like the concept but with the ability to pitch my poncho how I want almost regardless of weather (normally this means a half pyramid pitch or lean to) and still batten down the hatches if necessary due to swirling winds or a shift in the wind means more to me than being as light as possible.

I'm looking hard at the Borah Gear: Snowyside Event Bivy for the features and price but price doesn't matter within reason if the features I want are there since I'll keep the thing for many many years.

 

 

 
New Post
5/27/2016 2:18 PM
 
Be interested to see how this goes. Every time I take a run at the bivy concept, I run weights and decide that a fully enclosed floorless shelter makes more sense. However, a friend of Alpendrms showed up at overland expo last weekend and was doing the bivy thing. He's got a lot of outdoor experience including high mountain travel so I pushed him on the choice of using a bivy. He admitted that a lot of it went back to his 10th Group days when it was nice to be bivvied up in a hide site -- something you couldn't do with a tent. FWIW, he said his favorite bivy is still the USGI one even though he was traveling with a single hoop OR one.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
5/27/2016 3:20 PM
 
I admit, my reason for liking the bivy is I'm just lazy and hate setting up breaking down tents and tarps. I have Catoma Bed Net or whatever it's called that's nice when camping off of the motorcycle because it gives a little privacy and just pops up on its own. Unfortunately it packs into a funny shape and is heavier than I'd like. I use a MLD Trailstar for when I want a solid "tent." .

I find that the bivy keeps heavy dew and random showers off that pop up in the night so I only set up the poncho if I want it or think I'll need it to keep the bivy open to control condensation. Normally I just stuff my down quilt in there, strip to base layers, and crawl in because most nights it doesn't rain anyway. The bivy adds warmth to the quilt and stops drafts.

The USGI bivy has been a very pleasant surprise. I've only had condensation issues a couple of times in the foot box and around my face. But I've had those issues with a water resistant breathable bivy from TiGoat as well. Sometimes there's just no stopping it I guess.

My only gripes with the USGI bivy are the weight and the lack of built in bug netting. The Goretex fabric has actually worked pretty well for me considering how terrible the experts say it is. I suspect this is because I "cheat" and keep the top open when I can.
 
New Post
5/27/2016 3:38 PM
 
*Note: I have not done this just passing on others experiences.

I know a lot of people have made their own bivvy sacks from tyvek (house wrap material). What seems to be the most useful design is sewing up a 3/4 bivvy and then sewing velcro to the seams to secure the last 1/4 of the bag after you are in. I think with a little creativity you could add bug netting to it too.

Pros:
Cheap
Lightweight
Custom
Waterproof

Cons:
Not breathable. You will have to leave enough material to cover your head if raining hard but still be able to vent breath out.
Loud at first (if you run the tyvek through a gentle cold wash it will soften the material and the crunching sound will go away)
Easy to puncture on a stick.

Here is a quick generic link to making a tyvek bivvy. http://www.instructables.com/id/Tyvek-Bivy-Sack-for-CampingHiking/

Side note: if interested do a seach for tyvek teepees and tents. There are some pretty cool designs out there.
 
New Post
5/27/2016 5:14 PM
 
I've never gotten on the Tyvek bandwagon. I have thought about doing a similar bag using a Driducks poncho since the Driducks material is very breathable and very waterproof. Unfortunately it's pretty fragile.
 
New Post
5/27/2016 6:40 PM
 
So far I've narrowed it down to these options:

+Keep the USGI bivy and deal with the weight since I don't carry much anyway.
+OR Micronight Bivy @ 18 ounces made from Pertex Endurance WPB fabric.
+Borah Gear Snowyside Event Bivy @ 12.9 Ounces (I'm skeptical of this weight since some reviewers said there bivy weighted 24 ounces with an Event floor.
+MLD Soul Event Bivy @ 14.5 ounces but $$$ compared to the other options.

I'm leaning towards the OR because of the full netting in the head area but I'm leary of the Pertex Endurance fabric until I've done some more research on it. If I were going to make a bivy this one is what it would probably look like but I'd prefer Event.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 5:58 AM
 

An alternative option and slight departure from an actual bivy could be this:  https://www.sixmoondesigns.com/tents/...

Even though it requires a pole, it's still extremely light.  At 24 oz, it's heavier than most modern bivy sacks, but a lot lighter than your USGI model, and you gain the added benefit of room to sit up, space for some items you might want inside with you, and protection from both precip and bugs.  I have the Lunar Solo, which I can pitch using either a carbon fiber pole or a single trekking pole.  I'm very happy with it.  I've used a lot of bivy sacks over the years...an OR Advanced, USGI, a Snugpak SF (which I still use as a down sleeping bag cover in winter), and a Black Diamond one modified for use on alpine rock ledges...I sewed in a full strength runner on both sides at waist level, so that I could be tied into the belay anchor while sleeping on narrow ledges.  I was recently issued an OR Helium bivy, but I haven't even opened it.  The Lunar Solo meets my needs for a small footprint and low weight, with room to be comfortable.  Like my SF buddy that Evan mentioned, we used to use bivy sacks a lot, especially for hide sites and also in mountain ops.  No doubt that they are easy and not much fuss.  That said, to be able to have an ultralight shelter that also provides some adequate living space can be a real plus.  Might be worth considering as an option.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 6:56 AM
 
alpendrms wrote:

An alternative option and slight departure from an actual bivy could be this:  https://www.sixmoondesigns.com/tents/...

Even though it requires a pole, it's still extremely light.  At 24 oz, it's heavier than most modern bivy sacks, but a lot lighter than your USGI model, and you gain the added benefit of room to sit up, space for some items you might want inside with you, and protection from both precip and bugs.  I have the Lunar Solo, which I can pitch using either a carbon fiber pole or a single trekking pole.  I'm very happy with it.  I've used a lot of bivy sacks over the years...an OR Advanced, USGI, a Snugpak SF (which I still use as a down sleeping bag cover in winter), and a Black Diamond one modified for use on alpine rock ledges...I sewed in a full strength runner on both sides at waist level, so that I could be tied into the belay anchor while sleeping on narrow ledges.  I was recently issued an OR Helium bivy, but I haven't even opened it.  The Lunar Solo meets my needs for a small footprint and low weight, with room to be comfortable.  Like my SF buddy that Evan mentioned, we used to use bivy sacks a lot, especially for hide sites and also in mountain ops.  No doubt that they are easy and not much fuss.  That said, to be able to have an ultralight shelter that also provides some adequate living space can be a real plus.  Might be worth considering as an option.

 

I do have a couple of other shelter options but I've grown to prefer the ease of setting up camp with a bivy. If I'm going to take the time to set up the SMD I'd just set up my 18 ounce MLD Trailstar and have a palace. http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/...

I found that I spent a lot of nights in just the water resistant bivy when I was trying the whole super ultralight thing. The ease of setup is what I like and with the USGI bivy I can pitch my little tarp how I want it and only if I want it. It's always a shame to have to completely sacrifice a great view due to how the weather is coming in so, more and more, I've found myself picking the heavy Gore-Tex bivy out of the gear pile as my "luxury item."

I'm adding the OR Aurora bivy at 23.5 ounces to my short list since it looks like the Microlight bivy is out of production. I've found a couple in stock but the reviews aren't real good. I suspect the Aurora bivy breaths pretty good since it's 3 Layer Gore Tex.

 
New Post
5/28/2016 7:24 AM
 

Yep...there are trade-offs either way.  In South Africa last year, I used a Catoma IBNS bivy with a Bushcraft USA silnylon tarp...worked well and gave me lots of options.

Here is one more to look at, the sale price ain't bad, either:  

http://www.backcountrygear.com/bivies...

Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 3:58 PM
 
I had completely overlooked that one alpendrms. Thanks for the headsup.

It's a shame manufactures don't use a standardized test to show breathability of a fabric.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 6:35 PM
 
The USMC Improved Bivy is pretty sweet if you can locate one.  30 or so ounces, built in bug net.  It has a "rip-able" U-shaped, coil-type double zipper that goes down to about your waist on each side.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 6:56 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
The USMC Improved Bivy is pretty sweet if you can locate one.  30 or so ounces, built in bug net.  It has a "rip-able" U-shaped, coil-type double zipper that goes down to about your waist on each side.

 

That's the Catoma IBNS I mentioned above....yep, it's pretty good, but the OP is wanting one without hoops or poles.  One nice thing about the IBNS is that it pops right up on its own.  The tricky part is twisting it the right way to fold it back up for the sack.  Bit of a learning curve with it.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 9:14 PM
 
alpendrms wrote:
Take-a-knee wrote:
The USMC Improved Bivy is pretty sweet if you can locate one.  30 or so ounces, built in bug net.  It has a "rip-able" U-shaped, coil-type double zipper that goes down to about your waist on each side.

 

That's the Catoma IBNS I mentioned above....yep, it's pretty good, but the OP is wanting one without hoops or poles.  One nice thing about the IBNS is that it pops right up on its own.  The tricky part is twisting it the right way to fold it back up for the sack.  Bit of a learning curve with it.

 

The USMC version has "malleable" wires, not a hoop.  No "trickery" required like folding up that USMC bednet.  I guess I should post a pic.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 10:31 PM
 

Hmm...I don't think I've seen that one.  I end up seeing a lot of the kit the Marines get as that I am very close to Quantico. Sometimes it ends up in the local mil surplus.  Yeah...if you find a pic or a link to it...be worth seeing, anyway.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
5/28/2016 11:47 PM
 

I've used the MSS bivvy a good bit and still like it but don't use it as much because of the weight. I used it a lot when convenience, stealth or minimal footprint where important. I tried cutting out the floor and replacing it with silnylon and replaced the zipper with a lighter one but it was still heavy.

I don't care for the new USMC bivvy, I found the cut pretty narrow (this coming from a skinny guy) and the zipper opening was pretty fussy, you can always find the zipper pull on the MSS because it has a fixed track, on the USMC bivvy bedtime you can leave the zipper pull somewhere morning you (or worse, middle of the night you) can't seem to find.

when I need just a little protection I've been happy with the SOL escape bivvy but it is not a long-term substitute for a real bivvy.

 
New Post
5/29/2016 12:44 AM
 
I keep looking at a Borah Gear Snowyside eVent bivy, but I move a lot when I sleep, and i'd probably roll off the mountain in a bivy. That and I don't like things on my face when I sleep.
 
New Post
5/29/2016 1:24 AM
 
I h've also heard good things about the Borah scnowyside. I sent a message to the owner and he said there would be a tarp+bivvy special some time this early summer. I'm probably going to pick one up then.
 
New Post
5/29/2016 5:12 AM
 
I went down the bivy sac road awhile back, I won't be going back down it again....LOL I ended up with a Rab Ridge Master which as far as bivy's go I was really happy with. I do not like a gore tex bivy at all, I find the condensation in a gore tex bivy is as bad as it gets. The rab and one of the OR (I can't remember the name) are eVent, which I find breathes better than gore tex. I really did like the mesh side door on the Rab, it breathed extremely well. s

With all that said, I still do not like them. Adding at tarp as been talked about above and this is something that I also tried. But, I came to the reality pretty quick that I ended up with a sleep system that is almost as heavy as an ultralight tent and took way more time to setup.

For the weight of some of the ultralight systems that are currently offered, I personally feel that a bivy setup just doesn't make much sense. Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Bear Paw make cuben fiber shelters that have far more usable space and are lighter than most bivy setups. Sure, cuben fiber comes at a price, but for me it also is durable, lightweight and has far more usable space and can be vented far better than a bivy. Most good usable bivy's come with a pole and stake setup, these all add weight,

Anyway, just my two cents on it. Good luck in your search, that half the fun to begin with.
 
New Post
5/29/2016 8:53 AM
 
I've found the same thing. Bivy setups often become as heavy and bulky as carrying a light tent. For planned camping, I've gone to a light heart solo (very similar to the six moons one listed above).

However, in my SAR pack, I have reduced my tarp/bivy combo to being a SOL escape bivy with a bag liner or jungle bag and bcusa tarp (not the sil version). I'm considering adding a couple grommets to the bivy to improve air flow, but haven't made that happen yet.
 
New Post
5/29/2016 8:46 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:
The USMC Improved Bivy is pretty sweet if you can locate one.  30 or so ounces, built in bug net.  It has a "rip-able" U-shaped, coil-type double zipper that goes down to about your waist on each side.

 

This is also known as the Catoma Bed Net and is one of the shelters I have. It's a great shelter and very nice hwne camping off the bike but it's bulky and heavy with the rain fly at 4.5 pounds.

I could probably forego the fly and pair it with my Trail Star in some conditions for a very nice shelter.
 

 


 
Previous
 
Next
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralBivouac SacksBivouac Sacks