In preparation for an August 2018 attempt to fastpack (run/hike) the 71-mile Section J of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in two days, I made this four ounce shelter (which I call the Tivy).
Starting at Stevens Pass and heading south, my plan on the first day consists of running 50 miles (80.5 km) and making camp near Lemah Creek. The second day, I would finish the remaining 21 miles (32 km) to emerge from the woods at Snoqualmie Pass. Wearing a fastpack running vest, I’ll carry minimal camping gear and sustenance. My loaded vest would need to weigh less than seven pounds including food, which doesn't leave much of a weight (or space) allowance for a conventional shelter.
Having researched and selected an alcohol stove, a closed foam seat for sleeping, an ultralight down jacket, and an ultralight down sleeping bag, the ideal shelter eluded me. Even in late August, the mountains that divide western and eastern Washington state can present highs in the 40s and lows below freezing. Actually, by that time in the summer, dew, the harbinger of autumn, creeps in, so throwing my bag on the ground would not be a good option.
I thought about using my husband’s ZPack one-person tent or a bivy bag, but ultimately, I ruled both out. Neither are light enough, and the idea of having something directly over my face is a shortcoming of the bivy, not to mention the price. The ideal shelter is lightweight but also somehow tent-like around my face with netting incorporated for ventilation. Thus, I decided to innovate and have made this Tivy (tent/bivy) for fastpacking trips. My goal was for it to weight four ounces.
Member's Only Content
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- Making My Own
- Supplies at a Glance
- Part 1: Roughing the Pattern Using the Sheet (Steps 1-4)
- Part 2: Building the Final Shelter (Steps 5-14)
- Note on Construction
Member's only version is 2,230 words and includes 25 photographs.
In the Field
I completed my fastpack on the PCT as planned and used my tivy. I ran out of daylight soon after I crested Escondido Ridge, so I had to hike in the dark for over an hour before I found a place to make camp. I set up in the dark with a tiny headlamp and found it was easy to do. My site was at 5,100 feet and I could see my breath, but inside my tivy, I was warm. In fact, I had to leave my sleeping bag open. The Dyneema fabric was exceptional. My sleeping bag had moisture on the outside by my feet, but the tivy was completely dry inside and out. It breathed well. I could easily have gone without my sleeping bag.
Here's a video demonstration of setting up the Tivy:
Photos from My Trip
And a few photos from my trip!