Dec 1, 2007 at 11:47 am #1226063
So, I am relatively new to ultralight backpacking. My parents were traditional backpackers, and taught me so I am used to a 35+ pound pack. I do a lot of canoing in the BWCAW, and would like most of the gear I purchase to carry over relatively well.
So my first question is which poncho tarp will get me the most protection as rain gear as well as a shelter. I have been looking at the Golite one and the Gatewood Cape. I like the Golite one because it is more affordable and has better ventilation. It would also be a possibility to get two people under it.
The only thing would be rain spray. Since I have a Western Mountaineering Highlight, I need to keep my bag dry. I have been looking at the Equinox bivy, which is very affordable and light but I am questioning its ability to breath. I like the VAPR bivies, but they are expensive. Are they worth it?
My ideal system of shelter and rain gear would be less than 24 oz and under 200 dollars, with good ventilation. Any suggestions would be very welcomed. I really have a limited space in my pack, so please keep that in mine. I use a little nylon daypack, for now.
I mostly plan to hike on the Superior Hiking Trail, The Colorado Trail, and Isle Royale.Dec 1, 2007 at 12:11 pm #1410933
check out the titanium goat bivy's they are great bivy's and not expensive.Dec 1, 2007 at 12:23 pm #1410934
It looks really nice, but how breathable? My one concern for a bivy is how much condensation I may get inside on top of my bag.Dec 1, 2007 at 12:33 pm #1410936
This is a new model for them that doesn't look like it is even avaliable so I am not for sure on this one. I have the TI basic bivy and it is very breathable in my experience so far. I have not had a chance to test it real heavily. I'm sure others could add some insight that have more nights out with it.Dec 1, 2007 at 1:00 pm #1410938
@earthdwellerLocale: North Carolina
When comparing the Golite Poncho/Tarp and Gatewood Cape, don't overlook the added protection that the GC offers in shelter mode. You might find that it makes the bivy unnecessary.Dec 1, 2007 at 1:02 pm #1410939
Try the highly recommended Mountain Lauryl Designs Poncho-tarp http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=32&products_id=53&osCsid=0e33c6b461ba49b5a4f642973e04c254
Will Rietveld did a great review of the spinnaker version at http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/mountain_laurel_designs_spinntex_pro_poncho_tarp_review.html
also reviewed Gatewood Cape http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/six_moon_designs_gatewood_cape_review.html
also see Ryan's article on poncho tarps in general at http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/poncho_tarp_techniques_gear_inclement_conditions.htmlDec 1, 2007 at 2:52 pm #1410946
I like the looks of the MLD tarp, but its a little spendy, because I think I still may have to get a bivy.
I usually do a lot of May and June hiking and canoing, because I like spring, but it rains a lot.
My concern with the gatewood cape is that its length might not be great enough. I am concerned that I may encounter condensation issues and that my bag may get wet from the sides. I could pitch it up off the ground, but that would mean I would need a bivy as well.Dec 1, 2007 at 4:11 pm #1410957
Conventional thinking on adequate shelter during all but the worst windblown rainstorms seems to be:
small tarp + bivy = protected
large tarp witout bivy = protected
small tarp without bivy = cold, wet and dangerous
Ponchotarps can't get too big or they would drag the ground in poncho mode, so unless you're 6 foot 6, you have a decision to make.Dec 1, 2007 at 4:18 pm #1410959
@earthdwellerLocale: North Carolina
How tall are you, Chad? I'm just under 5'9" and have no worries at all about touching the sides/ends of my Gatewood Cape when it's pitched just a few inches off the ground. I bought it from someone who's over 6', and he did find that it was too short. In cape mode, though, it's on the verge of being too long for me.Dec 1, 2007 at 4:23 pm #1410960
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
I like my Equinox bivy's breathability. I use a quilt so it works to stop drafts, in addition to spray.
I just bought a GC. I'm 6'1" and am having trouble getting it to be tall enough at the foot end so my feet don't touch it and I maintain weather protection. I'm sure there's a way, just haven't gotten there in my experiments. The protection and ventilation are fine.
ToddDec 1, 2007 at 4:29 pm #1410961
That is the main issue for me. I'm 6'2", not very wide, but still tall. I really like the enclosure the Gatewood provides, but it looks like it could be too short, without having my feet or head touch the inside.Dec 1, 2007 at 5:16 pm #1410966
At your height, you will have a problem with the Gatewood Cape. That's why Ron at SMD came up with the Wild Oasis
http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=48 (think Gatewood Cape without poncho capability but adding bug protection).
It is 2 oz heavier than the Gatewood Cape, costs $65 more, and can't be used as a poncho, but it's 8 feet 9 inches long and can be pitched off the ground so you don't touch it.
Really a nice piece of work.Dec 1, 2007 at 9:25 pm #1410978
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
You'll need a VBL for your sleeping bag ESPECIALLY if you use a bivy bag. Otherwise the condensation on the bag and the moisture IN the bag will quickly reduce its insulating R factor within just two days.
After pricing a reflective VBL from Mt'n. Hardwear ($99.!)my advice is make one from silnylon and carefully seal the seams. You'll need to make it in a mummy shape and include the mummy head area to keep your bag dry. Don't forget to make the foot area big enough by flaring it.Dec 1, 2007 at 11:39 pm #1410986
The VBL suggestion sounds like a sweaty solution unless it's real cold. I would only resort to a VBL if the dew point were going to occur inside my insulation. More breathable bivy alternatives are a much better option for most 3-season campers in Minnesota.
Generally speaking, poncho-tarps are not the best as rainwear or as tarps. But the right ones are pretty good at both. I use an Integral Designs poncho-tarp (wearing it to dry after an afternoon shower in my avatar pic). Other options mentioned are great options too. The primary drawback of the poncho-tarp is the dance required to transition from rainwear to shelter (or vice versus) during a precipitation event without soaking everything else you brought along.
Regarding bivy condensation – all bivies condensate sometimes. But not all are created equal.
* Cheap bivies made from silnylon do not breathe, thus condensating badly, but resist external moisture fairly well.
* Moderately priced Goretex or similar bivies breathe a little, condensate a fair amount, and resist external moisture very well.
* Expensive eVENT and Pertex Endurance bivies breathe well, condensate a lot less, and resist external moisture very well.
* Moderate to expensive Pertex Quantum and similar bivies breathe superbly, condensate the least, but are at best water resistant.
Bottom line, you get what you pay for. If limiting condensation is a primary concern, you will have to pay more (eVENT or Endurance), or carry a full coverage tarp (Quantum).Dec 2, 2007 at 8:31 am #1410998
At your height, you will have a problem with the Gatewood Cape.
That's why Ron at SMD came up with the Wild Oasis
(think Gatewood Cape without poncho capability but
adding bug protection).
Just a slight correction to Bob's comments. The footprint of Gatewood Cape and the Wild Oasis are identical. So if you can fit in one you can fit in the other.
RonDec 2, 2007 at 8:33 am #1410999
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
Can you sew? You can make a light and *very* breatheable bivy using Momentum 90 fabric from thru-hiker.com. Use silnylon for the floor, M-90 for the top, and mesh over the head and face. Mine is 8 ounces, and has never had any condensation. (While my hiking partner, sleeping 30 feet away, was soaked inside his Epic bivy.)Dec 2, 2007 at 10:06 am #1411006
I can sew I suppose. I have a sewing machine. I could always enlist the help of someone else as well.
I just have a a lot of time constraints.
The sewing of a bivy would seem relatively simple. I would be pleased with 8 ounces, if it was very water resistant and very breathable.
I still really like the looks of the golite poncho/tarp. It looks to have enough pitching possibilities to protect me well enough.Dec 2, 2007 at 10:16 am #1411007
Shahrin Bin ShariffMember
@zzmelayuLocale: In the shadow of Table Mountain
>>Can you sew? You can make a light and *very* breatheable bivy using Momentum 90 fabric from thru-hiker.com. Use silnylon for the floor, M-90 for the top, and mesh over the head and face. Mine is 8 ounces, and has never had any condensation. (While my hiking partner, sleeping 30 feet away, was soaked inside his Epic bivy.)
Ken, Can you share your design? or point us to a design? and share a photo?
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