Henry Shires upcoming shelters
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Sep 28, 2005 at 2:19 pm #1342162
Neil, Bryan, or anyone,
more specifically, do you have experience using a seam-sealed BD Lightsabre bivy as the primary shelter in all night moderate-to-heavy without a tarp? how ’bout in lighter all night rain, or intermittent light-to-moderate rain? if so, how did it perform in the rain? thus far, i’ve not taken the chance and used mine in that fashion due to the the Nextec disclaimer on their fabric’s water resistance. when rain is expected for the weekend, i resort to either other bivies. haven’t wanted to chance ruining the weekend or 3-day trek by counting on Epic in conditions that may not be appropriate. would appreciate anyone’s input on this matter. thanks.Sep 28, 2005 at 2:42 pm #1342163
Disenchanted w/ the breathability of gore-tex and eVENT solutions for UL one jacket rain/wind protection–I’ve been using a FF Jackorack Epic jacket all last Summer and into this Fall. It does not breathe as well as my pertex windshell but it has proven to be no slouch,either, and much better than PFTE laminates under load. It also has stood up to countless thunderstorms in the Sierra,Cascades and Wallowas during this time. Sealing the seams helps.
A really long rainstorm causes leakage under packstraps. But 95% of the time… Epic is my favorite all in one W/B fabric. And it dries so quick even when it has surpassed the apparent saturation point.
My BD Epic tent (a Lighthouse) is my favorite tent shelter—I’m really happy w/it’s performance under fire (well, rain and snow, anyway) as I’ve stated in probably too many posts on this board. I mostly second Nell Bender’s observations. Keeping it clean is important, but no big deal in execution. The Epic tents I’ve used have stood up to very long periods of rain ( and snow) w/o leakage and only mild condensation but I’ve not used them in warmer, high humidity, lower elevation settings where I think Epic would be at a disadvantage (anecdotal
evidence). Too me, Epic’s biggest negative is that it can’t be seam taped– so you do have to seam seal yourself.
I think that Henry is right to consider the use of Epic in future tents. It holds a lot of promise and it has a very good track record.Sep 28, 2005 at 5:54 pm #1342173Neil BenderMember
I also have a BD Firstlight, which I sealed inside and out. I tested it under simulated heavy rain by suspending a hose nozzle up in a tree. It took several hours for minor leaks to occur along the seam lines (which is why I bothered to seal the inside as well). I haven’t retested the double seal job yet. I also blasted the side walls directly with a hose and it is possible to create a fine mist inside. I’ve had worse condensation raining on me under silnylon tents that are closed up. Under a lesser spray setting overnight the tent repelled all the water falling on it. The tent dries out really fast too.
A bivy sack may be less secure than this as you might be more actively touching the fabric inviting capillary action. Bivying in heavy rain with just a sack isn’t fun, for 5 more ounces you might want to consider one of Nano tarps soon to spawn from the amazing disappearing camp paraphernalia sold here.
You could set it up in your shower and try to simulate the expected rain conditions.Sep 28, 2005 at 6:21 pm #1342176
as Ron Bell of Mountain Laurel Designs says ( of his remarkably fine Epic Soul Bivy)–use it under a tarp
in prolonged nasty wet conditions.Sep 28, 2005 at 6:40 pm #1342178Jon SolomonBPL Member
I have a homemade bivy with an EPIC top and a silnylon bottom. It wouldn’t work against exposure to heavy rain.
I also have another homemade bivy that adds a layer of primaloft beneath the EPIC. That’s a fantastic combination, and I think it saves weight over a bivy plus synth overquilt option. I really wish BMW would offer something like that.
And, once again, when are those Cocoon quilts coming available?Sep 29, 2005 at 2:02 am #1342189
thanks all. really appreciate the input.
have been using a custom Epic Soul bivy under a poncho tarp if rain is expected. guess i won’t be trying either the custom MLD Epic Soul bivy or the Lightsabre alone.
thanks again for all of your feedback.Sep 29, 2005 at 5:36 pm #1342225Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Hmmmmm that looks awfully nice. Keep it up Henry!!!!!!Sep 29, 2005 at 8:36 pm #1342228Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
I’ve used a Lightsabre bivy a bunch. I’ve drawn the straw to do BPL’s big bivy review to come out in the spring, so I’ve had a lot of fun since last winter testing various fabrics and bivy designs.
The Lightsabre is awfully weatherproof – at the head end. Where the fabric touches the bag, less so, but generally, I would not have a problem using the bivy as a sole shelter for summer backpacking in the Rockies or Sierras where nighttime rains are usually pretty light. Even in the worst storms, when I did get some water seeping through, it only really wet the outer shell of my sleeping bag, and the whole system was quick to dry in the summer sun.
It sheds snow even better. One would think this is a great winter bivy. However, epic crashes pretty bad at subfreezing conditions. I’m not going to get into the science behind it too much here lest I divulge all the neat stuff coming out in the articles, but suffice it to say that condensation freezing in the interstices of Epic and its breathability decreases over time through a sub-freezing night. It’s not a bad choice for subzero conditions (where emitted vapor doesn’t recondense in the pores) or for above freezing conditions (where condensation doesn’t freeze in the pores) but woe to ye that depends on it in that 15-25 degree range on a still, humid night. It can get ugly. And this isn’t unique to the Lightsabre, but to any epic bivy.Sep 30, 2005 at 12:20 am #1342231
You mentioned about the suboptimal performance of EPIC in the 15-25F range on a still, humid night. Does this extend to tents as well?Sep 30, 2005 at 1:25 am #1342232
[blanked out/deleted prev. posted info]
sorry. read posts in wrong order and replied to Ben before reading all of the posts to this Thread. Dr. J had already responded with the same info about Epic breatheability & the cause of it – i just hadn’t read it yet. so, i just “deleted” my redundant info about cold weather breathability both Epic tents and bivies which came from a many months old personal email reply from a BPL Staffer. again, my apologies for needlessly adding to this Thread.Sep 30, 2005 at 4:47 am #1342234Glenn RobertsMember
@garkjrLocale: Southwestern Ohio
I actually bought a Lightsabre once – it never made it out of my living room. It took nearly half an hour to set up, and it was just too hard to insert the poles into the thing. I’d get one in, and the other would pop out. I’d try to put that one back in, and had to exert so much pressure that I was afraid I’d break the pole. It was virtually impossible to pitch from a standing position – I ended up sitting cross-leggged on the floor, bracing poles against my knees, questioning whether the designer’s parents had actually been married. No way was I going to spend this much time, energy, or frustration in the field. It was returned to the vendor the next day.
This isn’t the first poled bivy I’d used – I never had this kind of problem with the OR Advanced (Deluxe?) bivy or the ID Unishelter. Was I missing some trick that made setup a lot easier, or is this just something you learn to live with?Sep 30, 2005 at 4:53 am #1342235
had a similar problem. resorted to incrementally cutting small portions off of one end of each pole & reassembling. repeated until each pole went in somewhat easily & still held the fabric taut without sagging. (wonder if i violated the mfr’s warranty with the home “improvements”)Sep 30, 2005 at 8:28 am #1342236Glenn RobertsMember
@garkjrLocale: Southwestern Ohio
Better to violate the warranty than violate the manufacturer, I suppose.Sep 30, 2005 at 8:37 am #1342237
I re-read Ryan’s post and didn’t see any reference to the performance of epic tents (vs. epic bivies) in the aforementioned temp range.
While awaiting his reply to my question above, can you re-insert your answer? Thanks.Sep 30, 2005 at 8:56 am #1342238
basically i had received a personal email reply many months ago (not from Dr. J, another BPL Staffer). i had queried about Epic breathability in winter bivies AND single-wall winter Epic tents. the info Dr. J posted about water freezing between the threads of the Epic fabric effectively “sealing”/plugging the spaces between these threads reducing breathability was what was included in the email. based upon my recollection of my question and the reply, this applied to both bivies and tents.
sorry, nothing else to add, hence my deletion after i had read Dr. J’s earlier post after reading your later post.
MAKE SURE to READ a later post by Dr. J which corrects my misunderstanding of the email correspondence referred to in this post.Sep 30, 2005 at 9:11 am #1342239
Yes, I’ve read about this issue.
I think it is possible that other dynamics might mitigate the low temp. phenomena in Epic tents. Or else I’ve been lucky. I’ve definately been in the 15 to 25 degree F range in mine on still nights. Fall and Winter. Cascades.Trinitys and Sierra. I’ve experienced small amounts of frozen condensation on small parts of the canopy and on the poles.
factors? besides wind,temp. and humidity?
-# of occupants ( moisture/heat generation)
-cooking (or not)
-open vents(or not)
I’m open to new wonder materials for tents –would the Chinese please rip off GE and produce a line of unlicensed lightweight Sino-eVENT shelters, please.Sep 30, 2005 at 10:32 am #1342240
Thanks, Paul and Kevin.
Soon enough, epic will be better known as:
ChinaSep 30, 2005 at 12:43 pm #1342243Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
>> You mentioned about the suboptimal performance of EPIC in the 15-25F range on a still, humid night. Does this extend to tents as well?
Nope. The physics are way different. That is being researched as well. Same with sleeping bags.Sep 30, 2005 at 12:50 pm #1342244
Thanks, Ryan. Please keep us posted!Sep 30, 2005 at 2:22 pm #1342248
Ben—Not enough caffeine—-
I want the Chinese to pirate eVENT, not Epic
can you come up with something witty for this?Sep 30, 2005 at 5:28 pm #1342256
(I really need to get out more…)Sep 30, 2005 at 5:38 pm #1342257
Now there’s an idea. Even better!Sep 30, 2005 at 5:38 pm #1342258MarkBPL Member
Hey Benjamin: How about [Pertex] Equilibrium? Heh heh…
-MarkOct 1, 2005 at 12:02 am #1342268
many thanks for the correction. i’ve updated my prev. post to ref. this one. can’t wait for all of the details on the physics of why condensation can freeze in the Epic fabric of a bivy and not in the Epic fabric of a tent. this should prove very educational. don’t keep us waitin’ too long. thanks again, pj.Dec 5, 2005 at 3:58 pm #1346564
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