Jan 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm #1267224
I haven't seen this discussed in much detail besides a couple random comments in other threads. I don't like to use trekking poles so ditching the tarp, guilines, poles, and stakes out for a heavier bivy would actually save me weight. Weight aside it seems like it might be a good idea if only to simplify my gear list.
Does anyone use a waterproof (goretex, event, etc..) bivy and go tarp free?
What are your experiences?Jan 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm #1679993
I only do that in the desert with clear weather forecast.Jan 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm #1680000
I've seen a UK blog where a guy uses a WPB bivy (probably event) in combination with a teeny tiny tarp over his head. The tarp was similiar, if not based off of, the MLD Mini Dog Tarp (http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=122). MLD even mentions using their tarp for such a purpose.
I think the idea is that you can vent out the top of the bivy this way since it will be rare that you'll have to zip it all the way up. I have no clue is this would be enough venting to make it worthwhile though so maybe someone else can help you there if you're interested in pursuing this option. Of course you'll still need to find some solution to propping it up. I guess one solution could be a carbon fiber arrow shaft that doubles as a pack stay maybe? 2 arrow shafts joined together? Random stick?
It'd make for a convenient place to tie bug netting off to as well.
This could be a great opportunity to make a DIY version out of some cuben since it'd still be pretty cheap.Jan 3, 2011 at 12:48 am #1680014
In the places where I go hiking, the weather is either good enough to bivy or bad enough to require a tent. A tarp never comes into the equation.Jan 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm #1680164
What is the reason that more people don't bivy in the rain? Is it because there would be condensation issues? Or just because they would be miserable being trapped in the bivy for too long?Jan 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm #1680181
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
If there's any chance of rain, it sounds like a bad idea to me.
Even with a perfectly WP/B bivy, I'd hate to lie there with rain pounding down directly onto the bivy and feeling the pressure as each drop hits. Would very rapidly drive me nuts. The overhead hoop or tie-out would lift the bivy far enough above my head that I wouldn't feel the drops, but I'd sure hear them. Could be like having your head in a bucket while someone taps on the outside.
No thanks.Jan 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm #1680189
@tippymcstaggerLocale: North Texas
I read the book. That was enough for me.Jan 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm #1680200
Enough for you? As in it put you off bivying sans tarp?
I read it and was totally inspired. Especially inspired to stealth camp with my bivy on the the tops of ADK High Peaks.
If you're only out for a weekend, you can bivy in most wet weather as long as it isn't too severe. You just have to be a little weird. Like me.Jan 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm #1680203
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
I actually have it on order and look forward to the read. As a long time hard bivy user, I am lookig forward to the discussion. Unfortunately, there have been more times than not, lately, where I woke up with lots of condensation when I thought I should not have, even with the latest and greatest fabrics.Jan 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm #1680212
Alex, just a heads up: the book is not overly technical. And it's very British (i.e. it advises you keep a stiff upper lip while sleeping in a soggy bag and then dry out at the pub or bothy).
However, it is well written. Very charming and funny.Jan 3, 2011 at 6:01 pm #1680219
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Yeah from the online sections I read I got that feeling, and I am all about "drying" out at the pub ;)Jan 4, 2011 at 9:36 am #1680384
bivying without a tarp or other such overhead protection poses several problems in adverse weather IMO
– ingress … getting into a bivy without a tarp is a bad idea in the rain … remember that you need to take off your wpb jacket as well
– spash … unless yr bivy fully seals up rain will splash through the opening
– condensation … if you do fully seal up, condensation is usually an issue
– lack of working space … with a tarp you can cook and hang clothes in relative comfort .. with a bivy, anything or any body part outside gets wet
id want a small tarp at the very leastJan 4, 2011 at 9:46 am #1680387
Fun book, BTW.
You could do what Ryan Jordan does when bivving without a tarp. He moves the head of the bivy under a big spruce and keeps the front fairly protected.Jan 4, 2011 at 9:59 am #1680393
david … that of course brings about the question about camping under trees in windy conditions … or in winter with marshmallows hanging off the branches …
not to mention all the birds waiting to play "hit the bivy" =PJan 4, 2011 at 10:11 am #1680399
Eric – these are the reasons that Bivying is so much fun. ;)Jan 4, 2011 at 10:22 am #1680401
Well spruce don't drop as many branches and Ryan is still updating his Blog so the survival rate is reasonably high… ;)Jan 4, 2011 at 10:58 am #1680412
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
I heard an interview with Ronald Turnbull (author of said book) and after listening I was extremely discouraged from using a bivy, at least if any enjoyment was to be experienced in it's use.Jan 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm #1680438
I just don't see a lot of weight savings in going w/ a "waterproof" bivy
you can get into the smaller tarps from 4-8 oz depending on material, lightweight breathable bivies in the 4-7 oz range
the tarp/bivy combo gives you so many more optionsJan 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm #1680440
It's more about the experience, than absolute weight savings. I could argue just going to a solo cuben tarp at 5oz is best.
Realistically, however, in truly crappy sideways rain, a small tarp and a non waterproof bivy will likely not cut it.Jan 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm #1680449
His style of backpacking does seem a little odd. It's like an extreme version of the 24 hour overnight:
1. Eat supper at a bar
2. Hike to the top of a mountain with only sleeping gear and bivvy (no food)
3. shiver all night (so that you can wakeup every hour and look at the stars)
4. Hike out the next day
5. spend the next night in a hotel
6. rinse and repeat
I think it would be much more enjoyable if you brought food for an extended stay, and didn't sleep at the top of an eff'n mountain. I guess I'll just have to try it out myself.Jan 7, 2011 at 6:07 am #1681357
"What is the reason that more people don't bivy in the rain? "
Your quilt/sleeping bag gets wet when getting in or out of the bivy in the rain, and so can happen to your pack contents. Also, if it's raining heavily, making food under tarp is so much nicer than making food under bivy.
On the other hand, only thing I lose when tarping bivy-free is the view to the stars. If I really felt that I needed the temperature boost from bivy for my sleeping bag, I still could wrap the tarp over the sleeping bag.Jan 7, 2011 at 7:15 am #1681377
Haven't read of this specific bivy enthusiast, but I kind of get it. I prefer a tarp, since I almost exclusively camp in/near trees where it's easy to use.
If there just maybe might be rain that night, but there's currently a nice clear view above me/across a lake/valley I prefer to set up my tarp a couple feet back in the trees and then just grab my bag and pad and walk a few yards to sleep with the stars and view, and be ready to move if I have to, shoes and light source beside me.
It sucks setting up your tarp after it starts raining at night, and it sucks not spending the night under the stars whenever possible.Jan 7, 2011 at 7:26 am #1681379
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Or set up your tarp, then undo it from the stakes at your foot end and place the tarp on the ground above you. Then if it starts raining it takes a few seconds to set up.
Helps to have those flourescent orange stakes so you can find them.
The only bad thing about star gazing, is it's maybe 10 degrees colder in the open compared to a sheltered spot under a tree. And dew gets on your bag.Jan 7, 2011 at 7:40 am #1681382
"Or set up your tarp, then undo it from the stakes at your foot end and place the tarp on the ground above you. Then if it starts raining it takes a few seconds to set up."
That works too, and that's roughly how I do it with the rain fly on my Clip Flashlight 2 double walled tent when I use that. It's just my personal aesthetic and use, and most of that use has been in canoe country of MN, where I like sleeping out in the open away from trees when possible (so harder for me to set up the tarp in my "ideal" spot). Also when I was guiding my clients all had big tents so they got first dibs on tent pads and I often was left with a place to hang a tarp but that wasn't as comfy to sleep on and a bunch of spaces just wide enough for my bag away from the tent pads out in the open. I pitched my tarp on my paddle sometimes, but preferred trees.
"The only bad thing about star gazing, is it's maybe 10 degrees colder in the open compared to a sheltered spot under a tree. And dew gets on your bag."
Yup.Jan 7, 2011 at 9:23 am #1681404
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I tried another option, the Black Diamond Tripod bivy, which is really a hybrid of tent and bivy and I didn't care for it. Weight and complexity were equal to a tent and it was expensive, even a used one. There was still no room for gear, the wet-entry/exit issue, and cooking was the same if not worse.
I've considered trying a bivy with an umbrella, giving a little protection for cooking and popping your head out. It is only weight-effective if used as an umbrella for the rest of the trip. Something like one of the pop-up beach sun shelters would be cool– no pitching and still in the "throw it on the ground and climb in" vein.
Either would still meet/exceed a tarp for weight. I set my Gatewood Cape as the benchmark for my shelter choices: 360 degree protection, plus rain gear and pack protection for 11 ounces. No poncho tarp/bivy combo can match it for weight, cost or comfort. It does require space, sticks, strings and stakes.
IMHO, bivys are for emergency use. I carry an AMK rig for day hiking "what if I get caught out for a night" backup.
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