Poll: Tarp/Bivy vs. Tent

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Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) Poll: Tarp/Bivy vs. Tent

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    Frank Steele


    Locale: Arizona

    "On trekking poles tarp users say they are making use of something they use already, but they need them to pitch the tarp, and poles should count in the total shelter weight."

    Huh? I normally count what I am carrying on my back in the weight, after all my "back" is why i went UL in the first place. Counting the weight of the trekking poles in the shelter weight makes no sense.

    Gary Boyd


    Locale: Mid-west

    Or what I hope works :P Is a Montbell Breeze Dry Tec Bivy at 6.4 oz and a homemade Cuben half tarp at 1.4 oz. I have a Simblissity Inner Peace that I'm going to fool around with and see if I cant make this whole thing work out the way I want it. I like having a modular set up though. I can use what I I need depending on the situation.

    Alex Gilman
    BPL Member


    Locale: Washington

    I like tents. Nemo, BD and MSR are brands I like.

    I really like that when I'm zipped up in my tent I don't have to deal with bugs, which get quite annoying if you're hanging out at alpine lakes here. This is actually where I do most of my camping.

    Also, because it is the PNW rain is something of an issue. Not heavy rain but usually sprinkly annoying middle of the night rain. This is actually the reason I switched from a double wall tent to a single wall tent. I had a double wall and I still had to use the fly. This negates the "moon roof" feature of mesh tents up here such as the Hubba.

    Furthermore, I tend to go up with my dog, I think his den/crate instincts kick in when he goes in to the tent. He sleeps better, isn't on guard and we both get much better rest.

    Lastly, I grew up being coached that you train the same way you compete. So, I use my weekend camping trips as training for longer trips. For example if you look at my gear list I bring those things with me at ALL times. I add other stuff depending on weather, length of trip etc. Typically, for me the difference between an over night and a two week long trip is a few pairs of extra socks and a few pounds of food.

    I'm not a true UL packer I'm here to learn. I definitely don't mind having 3-5 extra lbs with me because they're usually in the form of booze, wine, cigars etc.

    What I do love about my system is that I'm comfortable with it for the short trips (ok super comfy) and by the time most people gear up for a two week trip they're carrying as much weight as I am if not more. The difference at that point is my body is used to the weight.

    Scott Bentz
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    I have a Contrail, Dbl. Rainbow, SpinnTwinn, The One and a Gatewood Cape. I now find myself using a bivy with the Gatewood. I hike in the Sierras and Southern California mostly. Most nights are dry so I just sleep out, not setting up my tarp or Cape.

    I find that sleeping in a bivy, a simple Equinox Ultralight, under the stars is my favorite. At first I thought I would feel more confined in a bivy. Not so. After using this set up last summer I find that the bivy keeps me more together. I use a Torso Lite and I tend to move around a lot. The bivy keeps me from slipping or moving off my pad and when I wake up all my stuff is still together inside the bivy. If it does rain I can get under my Cape or SpinnTwinn and stay dry. I like the fact that the bottom of the bivy can handle moisture in case of poor set up (by choice or by mistake).

    As far as weight goes, it is a mixed bag. The bivy weighs 6.6 oz., the Gatewood weighs 14 oz. Well, The One comes in at about the same and has a full bathtub floor with bug netting. The Contrail is a full 12 oz. heavier than that. That's substantial, so, I am pretty happy with the bivy/tarp set up. If I were heading into a prolonged rain period though, The One would be my next choice.

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