Dec 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm #1253437
I've got it narrowed down to two bivy sacks that I like. There are pros and cons to both. Your vote decides. I'll leave this open till for 24 hours. Let's call it 8:00PM EST tomorrow 12/24/2009.
Don't cast your vote based on cost. Both are within my price range. Cast your vote and tell me why you went with one over the other. That's it… here they are. Feel free to vote for another bivy not listed. Thanks everyone.
Mountain Laurel Designs 2010 Alpine Bivy
Left Side Zip
Mountain Laurel Designs Soul Bivy Side Zip
70d Silicone Coated Ripstop
ETA – It might be helpful to know that I'll be using this along with a tarp 75% of the time. The other 25% will be a stand alone bivy sleeping system. I've also recently purchased a quilt from Tim Marshall made of mostly cuben fiber and momentum90 that I will add to my sleeping setup. My sleeping pads are either a NeoAir regular or an Exped 9 deluxe.Dec 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm #1556509
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
The Soul would be my vote for under a tarp.
But you may not need a bivy if the quilt is made of cuben and momentum as it is kind of a bivy/quilt combo already.Dec 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm #1556512
Why the large, are you tall?
I'd go with the Soul side zip. I see the Alpine bivy as less useful year round. The Soul has netting to give you a bit more airflow when it warms up some.Dec 23, 2009 at 6:04 pm #1556518
I would go for the Integral Designs….oh, wait.
I would go for the Soul with the bug netting should you use this all year round. If only for winter – get the Alpine.Dec 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm #1556523
If you relay on the vocal minority to make your mind up ,you could end up with a hammock.
FrancoDec 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm #1556524
I am going to change my answer. Go with the Alpine and use a bug head net if required. An eVENT Soul Bivy is over $350. I understand that you are willing to pay for this but $350 is outrageous.Dec 23, 2009 at 7:21 pm #1556531
@raymondLocale: SE US
Go with the soul.Dec 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm #1556554
As I understand it:
soul weight – 8.5(base)+1.9(event top)+1.5(70d floor)+.75(large size)=12.65 oz. This is probably slightly low since the size upgrade probably adds more weight once you are using the heavier floor and top fabrics – I see that the size upgrade on the alpine adds 1.5 oz.
Alpine weight – 11.5+1.5(lg sz)+.75(zip)=13.75
soul cost – 255+30+95+25=405
alpine cost 250+20=20=290
The way you have the soul configured I see not much difference except the netting. I expect they are within an ounce in reality. So you are paying $115 for the netting is what it looks like to me. So if you truly don't care about the cost, get the Soul.Dec 23, 2009 at 11:19 pm #1556566
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
My MLD Soul Size Zip is pretty much configured the same way as what you are thinking, except that I have the discontinued 2.0 Silnylon bottom.
Between the two I still think that the Soul Side Zip Bivy is the nicer of the two, but maybe heavier if you factor in the removable wire hoop in the head area and generous amount of head netting.
Cost wise, the Alpine Bivy seems like a better value that can not be ignored in my opinion.
Love my 13 oz bivy and it will be the only bivy that I may have in my life because I think that it is so well made. I think that it is worth every penny that I paid.
Good luck to you on your decision.
My vote for you is the Soul Side Zip Bivy if cost and weight are not key factors, but that you like the features of the Soul Side Zip.
-TonyDec 24, 2009 at 12:34 am #1556571
Yes sir. 6'4.5"Dec 24, 2009 at 2:38 am #1556576
Last time I compared the Soul Zip used the 2 layer event, while the Alpine used the 3 layer. If this is still true, then the Alpine wins every time.
As soon as it comes in yellow I'll order one.Dec 24, 2009 at 5:28 am #1556587
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
"Last time I compared the Soul Zip used the 2 layer event, while the Alpine used the 3 layer. If this is still true, then the Alpine wins every time."
Am I the only one who thinks that a waterproof quilt in a heavy bivy under a tarp is a bit overkill?
If you have to have the bivy, I'd go for the most breathable to at least relieve some of the water vapor/condensation.
It seems to me that the standard momentum topped Soul bivy would be a better choice.Dec 24, 2009 at 5:55 am #1556592
While it would be overkill when using a tarp and cuben quilt, this is not always my setup. I'm not afraid of bugs, so venting is always an option. At times I will use this as a stand alone bivy sleeping system. No tarp. At times I will also use a winter sleeping bag when temps drop below 15F. Maybe I should have two bivy sacks. That is an option.Dec 24, 2009 at 6:25 am #1556597
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
The Soul Side Zip is my choice. I like the ease of entry and exit combined with the generous netting. I doubt any other bivy will ever replace it, for me. I, too, think that eVent in conjunction with a tarp is overkill, and even the 70d floor is too… unless you regularly camp on sharp objects.Dec 24, 2009 at 6:34 am #1556600
What would be the deciding factor for you to go with or without the tarp? Weather, site selection, etc.?
Both of those bivy's are very robust. With being robust comes weight and $$$.
Let's say your shelter system choice is based on weather. In this case, you bring a tarp and have adequate protection from rain, snow, etc. This would, theoretically, negate the need for an eVent top, saving weight and money. On nights where there is no call for precip, you could just break out the bivy. This is all speculation on my part, as I'm not sure this is your intended plan.
If your decision on tarp or no tarp is based on site selection (i.e. – not be able to find a spot large enough to pitch a tarp), then your standalone bivy should be robust.
For me, I've had great success, in perfect and nasty weather, with a solo sized tarp and water resistant bivy.
If I could throw other options out there, I would say take a look at the MLD SuperLight and the TiGoat Raven bivys. The new Superlight will fit your NeoAir, and DJ at TiGoat is working on a new Raven bivy that will fit it (but, call him… you'll have to give him specifics as the current version on the website would not fit a Neoair).
If I had to cast a vote, I would vote for the Soul Side Zip as I've seen one of these, and they are really sweet. Plus the netting gives more venting/warm weather functionality.
Let us know what you go with and good luck!Dec 24, 2009 at 6:41 am #1556601
@ Rod – forgot about the 2ply v.s. 3ply eVENT. Then yes, the Alpine Bivy provides even greater value in my opinion.
With respect to staying perfectly dry with a tarp pitched low and a non WP bivy, it will depend on where you hike. Having extensive experience hiking where YOU hike, stay with a WP bivy. Most commentary omits the reality of horizontal, shifting direction, horizontal rain!Dec 24, 2009 at 7:32 am #1556608
Another vote for the Soul Side Zip bivy. I have one in Momentum, because I use it under a tarp or in a leanto. Get the Event option if you need more waterproofness. Very well made.Dec 24, 2009 at 8:54 am #1556635
With no empirical data at this point I will throw in a vote for the Soul side zip. I just purchased a Soul side zip for use under a DuoMid, which I also just purchased. I have not used them in the field yet, so thus the reason I have no empirical data. All I can say is that the setup works well from second hand info (my buddy has been using the same system for a while). With this system the standard Soul with the Momentum top is more than sufficient.Dec 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm #1556714
Going the eVENT route means you are getting less breathable bivy that will be warmer for summer use which is normally when the majority of use comes from. Rather then buying a bivy model based on less then 25% of use, I'd rather buy one for the 75% and be more comfortable more often.
I normally sleep out in my bivy sack leaving the tarp packed up. I use a MLD Grace Solo Tarp in cuben fiber. Considering how light it is, I've never seen the reason to leave it home and thus always carry it for emergency use.
It seems to me, that what you are doing is buying a very heavy bivy sack (anything over 8ounces is too heavy in my opinion) for the off chance of leaving home your tarp and encountering bad weather. But by carrying such heavy bivy sacks, what you are doing is almost adding the weight of a small cuben fiber tarp. So I'm not getting the point in what you are doing since you aren't going to save many ounces.
Just get a MLD Superlite Bivy (which is what I carried on the PCT this year) and a cuben fiber tarp and just carry them both. If you think the MLD Grace Solo tarps are too heavy, then get the MLD monk tarp which still will work in an emergency.
If you really insist on the 2 you are looking at, get the alpine bivy since you mentioned something about winter camping. I personally think that it will be too warm for summer use though.Dec 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm #1556717
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
I love my MLD Super Light Bivy
I went with the XL large size because I thought I would be using a NeoAir mattress but I ended up returning the NeoAir to REI. I have used it (the bivy) for 23 days on the JMT with a 1" Montbell 5' long mattress and Montbell pillow and 32 degree F Summerlite sleeping bag and loved the setup (inside my Squall Classic GossamerGear tent). It gets cold enough on the JMT that having a bivy inside a tent is great.
It got down to about 25 F one night.Dec 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm #1556770
I've decided that I want the Alpine Bivy because of the 3 layer eVent fabric. I also want the Soul Bivy because of the bug netting. Compromise.
I've sent an e-mail over to Ron asking if I could get a custom Alpine Bivy with added bug netting. If he can do it, i'll buy it. If not, I have an offer from a member here who has the Soul Bivy in the configuration I desire. Let's see what happens.
I've also decided to order a SuperLight Bivy with all net only hood size large. I got to thinking about my needs. I need something a little less heavy duty sometimes and there is no need to carry the extra weight for a redundant setup. I will take the bivy that best suits my needs for the given situation.
I thank you all for the help with my decision making process. I don't really need help making decisions, but I was able to get insight on issues I hadn't settled. Ron can thank you all for the extra money. Ha! :D
ETA – Ron not Rob.Dec 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm #1556771
"I've also decided to order a SuperLight Bivy with all net only hood size large."
If you haven't looked at the SMD Meteor bivy, you might want to. Other than a simple bug net bivy (which MLD sells), the Meteor might suit your needs better than the Superlight with net hood, as it's got an even bigger net hood.
FWIW.Dec 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm #1556780
Most likely the majority (>50%) of bivy users combine a bivy with a tarp and therefore would be able to balance weight with other characteristics such as breathability and rain resistance. Therefore this majority would be able to maximize the comfort of a material that breathes in as much as your bivy would be to protect against overspray and rarely direct exposure to rain. I tested a Tyvek bivy last spring with good results and hoping to lighten my shelter gear and combine it with this Tyvek bivy. This “FYI” only. I have no interest in the company and paid for the bivy that I tested. Therefore no conflict.
This bivy weighs a little less than 6 ozs.
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