Topic

MSR Pro Bivy Review


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable MSR Pro Bivy Review

Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3792174
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: MSR Pro Bivy Review

    The MSR Pro Bivy weighs less than 10 ounces (285 g). It’s a very compact, feature-less bivy sack that embodies the essence of bivy sack camping.

    #3792189
    dirtbag
    BPL Member

    @dirtbaghiker

    Love this!  Love using my bivy and yes,  that is an interesting book too!!

    #3792204
    Charlie Brenneman
    BPL Member

    @cwbrenneman

    Locale: Primarily Desolation Wilderness, Yosemite, and SEKI

    In some winter camping pics/videos Ryan you have a bivy with a tarp/shelter and others like these pics above where you’re practically buried in snow. What drives your decision to bring one or not? In the different seasons?

    I’m gonna need a masterclass on how to bivy camp in inclement conditions since my fear of being wet makes choosing the bivy (only) a real tough option.

    Agree on the weight savings because even in the summer I would always bring a shelter or a tarp and thus the weight difference between a 7oz bivy and an inner tent is only about 4oz, and 5-10 minutes of setup/takedown. I’m trying to make my shelter bivy setup a good drop off in weight from my DW tent so that I want to actually do some more bivy camping. Right now my setup is ~1.5lbs with tent tarp and the piñon, and then my DW tent is a 2lb Dipole. Later down the road I want to get the Durston X-Mid pro tarp for a 1lb option.

    However, my dilemma is that I’d probably still want to set up the tarp since it will be around $500 and I wouldn’t want it just sitting in my pack (or my closet)! Every time out we use the expensive pack, pad, and bag we buy so it’s hard to see not using the shelter too. I get the easy, less stress setup and the unparalleled immersion in the outdoors with the bivy. I guess I need to look at my shelter more like I would a rain kit and use it (or bring it) only as needed and embrace the bivy more.

     

    #3792254
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    That Ponderosa pine with a huge hollowed out section (or is it only a burn scar?) looks a tad compromised to camp under. Maybe the camera makes a scar look worse than it was. Ryan is far more experienced than me, so…

    On the other hand, I’ve lived to be 69 years old.

    #3792255
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I use a bivy if it’s not going to rain.  Or, if it’s colder than my equipment is designed for ill sleep under a tarp because it can be effectively 10 F warmer

    #3792260
    Thom
    BPL Member

    @popcornman

    Locale: N NY

    I’ve had condensation issues using a bivy . Borah gear bivy on the East coast.

    thom

    #3792265
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I use a bivy made out of breathable material so I don’t have to worry (too much) about condensation

    Yeah, it wouldn’t be good if it rained, but I put up my tarp in that case.

    #3792275
    Chris K
    BPL Member

    @cmkannen-2-2

    I’ve got a few nights in this bivy over the last couple winters.

    Condensation isn’t any worse than the DWR bivies I’ve used. Or maybe it’s just the season – brushing off frost isn’t so bad. Either way, I often use a synthetic overbag between my 3-season down bag and the bivy shell. As others have talked about, this manages moisture well and has proven to be a really dependable stack down to 0ºF with appropriate clothing and pad and maybe some tree cover.

    Two minor things about this bivy that I would change if I could:

    1. The use of flame retardant. FR is a well-documented problem at this point and best avoided. It’s not like I’m sleeping in this bivy every night, but still. Hopefully the legal requirements will change. Apparently this bivy (and I’m assuming MSR’s other products) are sold in Europe and elsewhere without FR applied, but you can’t purchase them from the U.S., maybe because of that requirement.

    2. The hood. When fully loaded in the bivy, I want just a little more performance out of the hood. Maybe a couple more inches of overlap and a minimal elastic or stiffened brim panel element along part the hem, like some of the more sophisticated wrist cuffs and hood brims you see on jackets from bigger brands. Rab and Patagonia come to mind here. I don’t think a tweak of this kind would take away from the beautiful simplicity of this bivy, but it would help snug you in when you need to be snugged in.

    Paranoia and nitpick aside, I agree – it’s the simplest of bivies and that’s the biggest pro. Oh, and the color is awesome in winter.

    #3792279
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    The photo is deceiving a little – that’s a scar on the bark of the ponderosa, it’s not hollowed out. It’s a healthy, big, old tree.

    I like the idea of a few more inches of overlap in the hood. Might be easy enough to sew an elastic binding to the hood brim as well.

    #3792301
    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member

    @jjmcwill

    Locale: Midwest

    Cool review.  Any specs on the MSR bivy’s shoulder and footbox girth so that it can be compared to, say, the MLD bivies?

    #3792361
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Yes, pleasurable read. I can appreciate the minimalist approach and the very quick setup that requires no stakes or lines, but after a day or two of being exposed to cold winds and snow I think the MSR Pro bivy by itself would wear thin. Sure, climbers who sleep on a ledge only big enough to lay down on need a bivy with no stakes or lines, but in turn they have to beef up their clothing (and weight) to deal with being exposed to the cold (unblocked) wind and snow. Of course the same applies when you’re not climbing so I’m not sure you save any weight with a non-hooped bivy. Perhaps I’m wrong though. I do get the simplicity of the MSR Pro where you just plop it down and you’re done

    I saw a National Geographic documentary some years ago where a photographer spent over a month in Yellowstone NP during the winter. He packed a WM bag, bivy and an 8′ X 8′ tarp.  He pitched the tarp each evening in an upside-down L shape with the vertical side blocking the prevailing wind and the horizontal 4′ keeping off much of the snow. A same size DCF tarp with snow stakes and lines would weigh about 12 oz but it would be far more livable over time than a non-hooped bivy alone. Yes, the time and fiddle factor of setting up the tarp comes into play and it’s certainly not as simple as just a bivy by itself, but it might very well be worth it.

    I plan on doing more winter trips and I’ve been looking at couple of hooped bivys. The Lightwave Stormchaser is quite large with lots of headroom. Weighs 18.4 oz without stakes. Almost like a mini tent and features the highly touted X-Tex fabric that’s also used on (what is a favorite among mountaineers) the Crux B1 Patrol Bivy. The Big Agnes 3 wire bivy also looks inviting and it weighs 20.7 oz without stakes. https://www.bigagnes.com/collections/three-wire-bivy-series/products/three-wire-hooped-bivy

    Lightwave Stormchaser http://www.lightwave.uk.com/product/shop/stormchaser

     

     

    #3792392
    ARTHUR J
    Spectator

    @arturito

    Great review!

    Samaya’s bivy, designed with their own 3 layers fabric and DCF on the floor, is even lighter and smaller once packed.

    https://www.samaya-equipment.com/products/samaya-nano-bivy

    #3792402
    Charlie Brenneman
    BPL Member

    @cwbrenneman

    Locale: Primarily Desolation Wilderness, Yosemite, and SEKI

    This post made me dig out the very first shelter I ever bought, an REI minimalist. I had a roommate in 2004-05 who had done the AT and it got me thinking of maybe doing a thruhike so I found a GoLite on ebay. Unfortunately I was too broke to travel to do any big trips although I randomly decided to do a solo overnighter in 2007. I purchased the bivy then along with a walmart tarp. 20 miles out to Lower Velma Lake on the PCT and back, but kids, work, running, coaching, etc got in the way after that. I have only recently gotten back into the backcountry. It’s such a fun way to challenge myself physically since my competitive run days are behind me. Anyways, the bivy is in great condition, weighs like 15oz but has so many big zippers (6!). I think if I removed 4 it would drop 1-2oz and be a decent, harsher weather bivy compared to my Katabatic Pinon. Still probably bringing a tarp at least!

    #3792405
    Scott F.
    BPL Member

    @sfeuerenvironmentalforesight-com-2

    Locale: West Coast & Sierra Nevada

    Love bivy camping!  Haven’t tried the MSR Pro Bivy, but own 2 other bivys.  My favorite is the Boarh Gear Cuben Bug Bivy Long/Wide at 4.7 oz and the bug netting is nice in summer (during bug season) and very breathable which helps with condensation. https://borahgear.com/products.html

    My other bivy is the MLD Superlight Solo Bivy Large DCF at 5.6 oz which is really roomy and keeps the wind at bay during shoulder seasons and winter snow trips.  https://mountainlaureldesigns.com/product/mld-superlight-solo-bivy/

    I can always find a place to sleep with and without a tarp!

    #3792527
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Southern Indiana

    When I first saw the Onewind Shelter a couple months ago I thought it looked dumb because it’s shaped like a trapezoid and only really sets up in the double pole position (shown below) at least comfortably. Made with 30D silnylon and weighs 9 oz but I’m wondering how the tarp might work for winter camping with my WPB Montbell Breeze Dry-Tec Bivy (sleeping bag cover), which is very similar to the MSR Pro bivy. I wouldn’t trust the open front in blowing rain without a bivy, however in winter temps with bivy the Onewind Shelter would be great to block against wind and snow when set up with the backside toward the prevailing winds. The wedge looks super aerodynamic. And with the way it’s cut the Onewind Shelter just plain sets up better than a flat tarp in the same configuration. Simply pitch it directly to the ground. Would be relatively quick and easy, even with snow stakes. Just a thought. https://www.onewindoutdoors.com/products/lightweight-survival-shelter

     

    #3803073
    Chris R
    BPL Member

    @bothwell-voyageur

    Bought one of these in a recent sale. I’d assumed that for the price the seams would be sealed, it sort of defeats the purpose of using a waterproof fabric without sealing the seams. It wouldn’t be hard to apply some Seamgrip but disappointing and glad I didn’t pay the full price.

    #3803154
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    when I see photos of open bivys on the ground with a sleeping bag inside, I can’t help but think of ants, spiders, ticks and who knows what crawling inside. I’m bug-o-phobic. I guess I’ll always want to zip up my shelter against those biting, nasty critters.

    A fully zipped tent weighs in within a few ounces, or less! than a bivy and tarp. But I do get the advantages of star gazing with a tarp.

    Look! It’s Orion!! (ouch, damn spider!). And there’s Venus!! (damn mice keep running over my face).

    The last time I slept in a tarp was in an area with known Hanta virus mice. All night long they ran over my face. So much for that experiment.

    #3803192
    Link .
    BPL Member

    @annapurna

    Monte, The PBS show was Christmas in Yellowstone Nature Documentary , at about 22 minutes in. It’s a very good show.

    #3803194
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    “when I see photos of open bivys on the ground with a sleeping bag inside, I can’t help but think of ants, spiders, ticks and who knows what crawling inside.”

    don’t forget rodents.  Occasionally one will run across me.

    a rodent dug up into my bivy once.  A hole in the polycro and the bottom of the bivy.  I didn’t notice until the next day.  It was very close to my face.  That would have been a shock.

    #3803243
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Thanks Link for the link you provided to the winter Yellowstone video. I thought I remembered the guy using a bivy with his bag but I was wrong, however he sleeps in a -20 F Marmot bag which could have a WPB Pertex Shield outer shell. Even if it’s just DWR though as long as it doesn’t get really wet (not likely in sub-freezing temps) it’s no big deal.

    The tarp pitch he deploys is the C Fly Roof configuration whereby the 8′ X 8′ tarp serves as floor, windbreak and roof. And you can see at 26:28 in the video when the winter storm blows in with 50 mph winds just how beneficial the small tarp truly is. It’s 10 times better than with no tarp at all. Of course it has to be set up with the backside against the wind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-jm2lfG-EE

    Tarp in pic below is probably a little larger than 8′ X 8′

    #3803248
    John S.
    BPL Member

    @jshann

    Monte, the first time I remember that wedge shape was in GVP’s wedge tarp.

    https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/52136/

Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Get the Newsletter

Get our free Handbook and Receive our weekly newsletter to see what's new at Backpacking Light!

Gear Research & Discovery Tools


Loading...