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Henry Shires upcoming shelters
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Alex Lee
Re: Re: Re: Re: stability in high winds on 09/28/2005 03:48:40 MDT Print View

Wow, looks like the Rainbow will create a bridge for those (aka, my friends) who are more comfortable with a more "traditional looking" design and a lightweight tent.

I can't wait for the 2-person version, though. Keep it up!

Jeff Vince
(AC_Doctor) - F
EPIC Cloudburst 2 on 09/28/2005 09:37:52 MDT Print View

Put me down for a new Cloudbust 2 with EPIC fabric. There are definatedly MANY different grades of EPIC fabric, so if a person dislikes an EPIC jacket, a different grade EPIC bivy or tent (that is the correct grade) would make the disliker change their minds about this wonderful fabric.


Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
new tarptent on 09/28/2005 13:43:05 MDT Print View


Looking good! Too bad I'll miss the Gathering this weekend.

I'd strongly recommend a covered rear high vent on the production model. All that mesh definitely impedes ventilation, especially on days with little or no breeze, and raises the internal temperature. There has to be a way for moisture to escape at night. If it's not buggy, then the door stays open, but when the mossies are out..............SAUNA CITY!

Personally, I have no use for a window - IMO, it's just one more gimmick to crack, scratch, and/or discolor, and more seams to seal.

Wandering Bob

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: new tarptent on 09/28/2005 13:58:20 MDT Print View

Not to worry, there is a covered high netting vent on the prototype rear wall (not shown in the photo) and there will be one in the production model. I have no interest in plastic windows.


Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: EPIC in tents on 09/28/2005 14:58:49 MDT Print View


Because EPIC is an individual fiber coating and not a barrier film coating or impregnation that blocks the weave of the fabric, EPIC actually works better in tents and in sleeping bags than it does in rain/wind wear. This is because capillary action can draw moisture throught the pores of EPIC's weave when the material comes in contact with other objects. EPIC coats first leak notably at pack straps for instance. Of course, since most people don't seal their seams, EPIC coats usually leak at seams before the fabric experiences breakthrough.

Tents and to a lessor extant the shells of sleeping bags hold the fabric where capillary action is reduced. Just stay away from the walls when it is raining. EPIC over polyester insulation, as in Golite's Belay jacket seem remarkably waterproof. Water pressure can overwhelm EPIC tents as in a severe downpour, and long soakings can eventually also lead to breakthrough. Many people haven't found it to be a problem in Black Diamond's tents; it's a trade off between bulletproof versus good enough. If you expect bombproof you may be disappointed with a few managable leaks. This might not be a problem for brief afternoon mountain thunderstorm protection, but could be a deal killer for outings with days of continuous rain.

EPIC doesn't breath as well as DWR treated nylons, but it breaths well enough that polyester clothing that gets wet underneath it will dry under body heat in dry alpine conditions.

Unless you really swet up a storm in a sleeping bag, EPIC should only be a problem in retaining moisture under conditions where one could successfully use a vapor barrier liner (under say 10 degrees F). Remember a sleeping bag has considerable area for vapor transmission, so that application really doesn't compare to your jacket.

EPIC does crap out when it gets dirty and it should not be laundered in detergent or with fabric softeners, or it will lose its repellency until those contaminant residues can be cleaned and rinsed out, with fabric softener being the tougher of the two to fix.

You might want to try sealing the inside seams of your EPIC jacket with Silnet or thinned silicone caulk. Once done you may find that the fabric even when it wets through passes very little moisture compared to seam leaks.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: EPIC in tents on 09/28/2005 15:19:52 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by pj on 09/28/2005 15:20:38 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Epic in tents-- big advantage--not owned by GE on 09/28/2005 15:42:31 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by kdesign on 09/28/2005 16:36:22 MDT.

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Re: Re: EPIC in tents on 09/28/2005 18:54:06 MDT Print View


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.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Epic in bivys on 09/28/2005 19:21:45 MDT Print View

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.

Jon Solomon
(areality) - F - MLife

Locale: Lyon/Taipei
Re: Epic in bivys on 09/28/2005 19:40:13 MDT Print View

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?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
insights on Epic on 09/29/2005 03:02:46 MDT Print View

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.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Rainbow on 09/29/2005 18:36:12 MDT Print View

Hmmmmm that looks awfully nice. Keep it up Henry!!!!!!

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Lightsabre Bivy on 09/29/2005 21:36:50 MDT Print View

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.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Lightsabre Bivy on 09/30/2005 01:20:52 MDT Print View


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?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Lightsabre Bivy on 09/30/2005 02:25:12 MDT Print View

[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.

Edited by pj on 09/30/2005 02:46:45 MDT.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Ryan - about the Lightsabre on 09/30/2005 05:47:44 MDT Print View

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?

Edited by garkjr on 09/30/2005 05:53:09 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Ryan - about the Lightsabre on 09/30/2005 05:53:47 MDT Print View


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")

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
pj - Lightsabre modifications on 09/30/2005 09:28:21 MDT Print View

Better to violate the warranty than violate the manufacturer, I suppose.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Lightsabre Bivy on 09/30/2005 09:37:53 MDT Print View


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.

Edited by ben2world on 09/30/2005 09:38:41 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Lightsabre Bivy on 09/30/2005 09:56:54 MDT Print View


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.

Edited by pj on 10/01/2005 01:02:13 MDT.