Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Quilt and Tarp (No Bivy)
Display Avatars Sort By:
Bjorn Peterson
(BearPeterson) - F
Quilt and Tarp (No Bivy) on 08/07/2009 05:29:51 MDT Print View

I am wondering if people think a bivy is necessary with a tarp. My wife and I prefer the quilt set up bu haven't used it with a tarp. In the past we used a 2.5lb backpacking tent and want to go even lighter with a tarp. What do you think?


Jack Newton
(figster) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Tarantulas on 08/07/2009 06:44:37 MDT Print View

I used to not use much more protection than my pad and bag on a few occasions. I quit doing that when I discovered dozens upon dozens of tarantulas a hundred feet away one morning.

...then thare are those forearm long texas centipedes... Whew.


Jack Newton
(figster) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Eww. on 08/07/2009 06:50:45 MDT Print View

Biologists have published that these don't get much bigger than 10 inches. I beg to differ. Tarantulas, giant creepers, all three american pit vipers, and two very deadly spiders make me wrap it up every night.

Edited by figster on 08/07/2009 06:56:05 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Quilt and Tarp (No Bivy) on 08/07/2009 08:09:10 MDT Print View

Hi Bjorn,
Your question very much depends on the size of tarp, the weather, and I guess what kind of giant insects you have in your area....

If your tarp is absolutely huge, then I guess you could go without a bivy for weather protection. FWIW, I've use a 55" x 110" tarp in the past and it required a bivy for rain protection during storms. My 48" X 96" MLD tarp is pretty tiny and definitely needs a bivy to keep the weather out.


Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Bivy yes please on 08/07/2009 08:31:52 MDT Print View

A friend of mine became deaf in one ear when bitten inside his ear by an insect. I do live in Australia though.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Bivy yes please on 08/07/2009 09:27:20 MDT Print View

Jesus...I have slept without a bivy under a tarp, but now I'm getting scared...

Anyone have an MLD superlight bivy for sale?? :-)

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Bivy yes please on 08/07/2009 09:45:28 MDT Print View

I usually sleep without the bivy under my tarp, but... foot-long centipedes? Tarantulas? Deafness? Screw that, I'm going with a fully enclosed tent!

In new england, the worst I've had is slugs on my stuff in the morning, so I find the bivy to be not always necessary. However, if I were camping in a windy area, or during peak bug season, I'd definitely want my bivy around.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Bivy yes please on 08/07/2009 09:49:15 MDT Print View

Slugs are the worst I've ever had (that I know about) also, but have we just gotten lucky? I'm going to have to do some entomological research on New England ecosystems...

Aaron Zuniga
(gliden2) - F

Locale: Northwest
Re:Quilt and Tarp (No Bivy on 08/07/2009 09:51:01 MDT Print View

Hey Bjorn,

The bivy will protect you and your quilt from any spindrift, condensation, and other potentially wet conditions that can affect your quilts preformance; not to mention the bug insurance they provide. Bivy Sack's also do a great job of blocking winds that change direction throughout the night. If you decide to sleep without the bivy, use it as a ground cover under your tarp. Depending on your height, Oware makes the Dixon Double Bivy, which has plenty of room for 2 hikers 6'+. The Pertex Quantum top is extremly breatheable and does a great job of keeping us dry and warm. At 11 oz that's 5.5 oz per person!

Mark Ferwerda
(mnferwerda) - MLife

Locale: Maryland
Quilt and Tarp (No Bivy) on 08/07/2009 10:04:04 MDT Print View

Hmmm, sounds like a lot of horror stories. I've used just a 5'x8 tarp for many years through storms and whatever else for many years. Never had a problem with bugs crawling on (or in) me. The worst problem I've had is with wind and that is usually because I chose a poor site to start with. Using a tarp requires being more selective of where you are going to sleep. I'd say leave behind the bivy. Part of the pleasure of using a tarp is the room you get underneath it. A bivy takes it away.

chris arvin
(kychris) - F

Locale: Red River Gorge Area
Hammocking on 08/07/2009 10:23:11 MDT Print View

This is why I can't get away from my hammock. It would be great to just take a tarp and groundsheet but I can't stand the thought of spiders crawling all over me while I sleep. With my hammock and up and away from all of those nasties and I've got plenty of room under the tarp.

My last night out, when I shined my light around camp I could see all of the white glistening dots on the leaf litter. I thought it was dew until I looked closer. It was SPIDER EYES!!!!

(HighAltitude) - F
I hope I never run across one of those on 08/07/2009 10:57:47 MDT Print View

That's it. I am never going to leave Colorado :-)

I have never had a problem with bugs sleeping under only a tarp with out any bivy but I have pretty much spent most of my time in Colorado and the Sierra Nevada.

My tarp is 8x10 so it is plenty big to stay dry, even with two people. I am going to get a smaller tarp and go with some kind of bug netting/bivy so that I have more choices in setup/location etc.....

Edited by HighAltitude on 08/07/2009 10:59:13 MDT.

Bjorn Peterson
(BearPeterson) - F
My use... on 08/07/2009 14:36:48 MDT Print View

I am doing a thru-hike of the PCT beginning in April. Ray Jardine has a NetTent that attaches to the RayWay Tarp that I think I would purchase for the Oregon and Washington Sections were bugs are typically a problem. I've slept outside with the critters and crawlers so many times I don't worry about them much.

The thing I am really wondering is if people get a lot of rain blowing under their tarp. Anyone using a RayWay Tarp kit?


Peter Barron
( - F - MLife

Locale: South East Queensland
Re: Bivy yes please on 08/07/2009 16:53:06 MDT Print View

100% of the time I camp there is a super bug (spider, mosqito, midges and others) problem no matter what season. 20% of the time we see snakes (pythons to elapids - most people don't die from their bites but you can haemorrhage from every orifice before anti-venene is given). And so I could never understand how anyone could ever sleep without some sort of bug/snake protection. I envied the US for lack of these. Nice to know that at least in some states you share our 'reservations' of an open camp.

Mark Ferwerda
(mnferwerda) - MLife

Locale: Maryland
Re: My use... on 08/09/2009 07:45:25 MDT Print View

I've have made 2 Ray-Way tarps. One I used his design straight from his book. The second one I made I used a catenary cut for the ridgeline but in practice this did pan out well. I saved a little bit on weight but lost a bit of headroom when the side lifters are used. It's a nice design and the "beaks" add a bit of protection when raining. I also bought and made his net-tent. I've only used it once. Works well also but you lose a bit of room.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Bug free on 08/09/2009 07:53:23 MDT Print View

Chris makes a good point on the benefits of a hammock to eliminate bug problems at night....

Taking it a step further, given that a hammock can be hung in under a minute with no knot strap and tri-glides or buckle devices, there really is no reason to be sitting on the ground at all.... We use our hammocks at lunch and occasional long breaks...The benefits of several days without dirty knees and a dirty butt are much cleaner, healthier, and much more comfortable camp/hike experiance.


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Bug free on 08/09/2009 09:54:57 MDT Print View

That's some major "spin" going on in that last sentence Mr. Jacksrbetter ; ).

quote from above...
"The benefits of several days without dirty knees and a dirty butt are much cleaner, healthier, and much more comfortable camp/hike experiance."

Edited by jshann on 08/09/2009 18:08:40 MDT.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Re: Bug free on 08/09/2009 14:55:46 MDT Print View

No spin.

Jack always discloses his professional affiliation by his avatar, or in his posts.

His preference for hammocks are what got him started in the business.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Quilt and Tarp (No Bivy) on 08/09/2009 14:58:18 MDT Print View

Hammocks are useless above treeline. Any ground shelter / cover is infinitely more versatile in all situations.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Quilt and Tarp (No Bivy) on 08/09/2009 15:30:29 MDT Print View

"Hammocks are useless above treeline. Any ground shelter / cover is infinitely more versatile in all situations"

That's a bit of an exageration. I can imagine if the only campsite you could find was steep, with a torrent of water running through it, and tress too close together and no flat ground to pitch a tent, then you might be happy to have a hammock.