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MLD Bug Bivy Modification
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Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
MLD Bug Bivy Modification on 09/04/2009 20:06:12 MDT Print View

I am thinking of purchasing a custom Bug Bivy from MLD. Basically, it will be the regular MLD Bug Bivy, but with a cuben bottom, and the front and back "triangles" will also be cuben instead of mesh. It will be like a much lighter version of the Serenity Shelter. Not only would this create better rain coverage, but Ron told me this would shave off a total of 2 -3 oz. Let me know what you guys think. Would this modification work?


Jack Newton
(figster) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Sexy. on 09/04/2009 20:28:21 MDT Print View

A two to three ounce bug bivy sounds sexy. Sign me up.


Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: MLD Bug Bivy Modification on 09/04/2009 21:41:06 MDT Print View

Looking at the pics on Ron's site the bug bivy doesn't appear to have a rear triangle sewn in, it is just formed by hanging the mesh from the rear tab. Would he be altering that element of the design for you? What weight of Cueben? If it is .6 then i say go for it, sounds awesome! .33 is way too light for a floor, even with polycro. I know people have done it but after working with it making my quilts i don't think it is a good choice for shelter applications, .45 maybe.


Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
SMD bug bivy over MLD on 09/05/2009 09:36:55 MDT Print View

I bought an MLD bug bivy last year, intending to switch to it plus poncho on a long distance hike last year, but it took too long to arrive to use that way. I've since purchased an SMD Gatewood Cape, and bought SMD's (different type of) bug net tent to use with it.

When I originally picked the MLD unit initially (Serenity Shelter), it looked from the pictures to be a better design to me --- shaped more like a tent, and better shaped to fit under a tarp, which indeed that latter is true. But apart from how well it works with the Gatewood Cape, it turns out that I like the SMD unit better for a couple of other key reasons.

(1) Despite a picture on the MLD site of a guy (sort of) sitting up inside their net tent, I can't sit upright in mine. This makes for a much more constrained feeling, indeed more like a bug bivy than a small bug tent. I'm 5' 10" tall, and I do get more of my height in my torso than average, but still --- I'm not all *that* tall, and even pushing hard against the mesh I simply cannot sit fully upright. On their website they say that the front height is 38". When I sit up, the top of my head is at more like 39-1/2", and (despite what some of my friends say) my head doesn't narrow to a point like a triangle.
In the SMD tent, however, I can quite comfortably sit upright.

(2) I bought the MLD bug shelter for use with my Golite poncho tarp. In retrospect, I don't suggest this, as in anticipated wet (and especially wind-blown wet) weather a person wants to stake the foot end of the poncho tarp close to or just directly to the ground, which doesn't work well with a net tent whose rear height is 20". Of course the rear end of the net tent doesn't have to be fully extended, but then I think you end up with a sagging structure that might be a bit more of a PITA to work with (though I didn't do much testing of this). I think the MLD unit is fine for a short-torso person or a person that doesn't care if they can sit upright, and who uses a conventional (larger) tarp.

The SMD bug tent isn't designed to go under a standard tarp, but for a Gatewood Cape owner it's perfect. Okay, maybe I'd like it better if it had a slightly higher bathtub floor, and it could use one additional connection point (opposite the door) to the Gatewood Cape, so maybe not for me absolutely perfect, but I'm much happier with it than doing various half-situp exercises inside the MLD unit.

I passed my MLD net tent off to my (not as tall) daughter, hopefully it will work well for her.

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: SMD bug bivy over MLD on 09/05/2009 11:11:30 MDT Print View

Brian, actually I was not referring to modifying the MLD Serenity shelter, I was referring to the MLD Bug Bivy, which can be found in the bivy section of MLD's website. The SMD Bug Bivy you speak of weighs in a 7 oz, that is way too heavy for me. I am willing to sacrifice comfort for weight savings, because in the long run, weight savings equals more overall comfort during my trips.

Anyway, I talked to Ron and actually, it is not possible to modify his bug bivy the way I mentioned earlier because he thought I was talking about the Serenity shelter earlier. The MLD Bug Bivy only has a head triangle, as Tim pointed out. Also, the nanoseeum .7 weighs the same as .6 Cuben, which I was not aware of. So it would not provide any weight savings even if I was able to do it. I'm just going to go with the MLD Bug Bivy with a Cuben floor. That should shave off an ounce and still provide me with very light bug protection. Ofcourse, if it was possible to modify the bug bivy the way I mentioned earlier, one could use .45 or .33 cuben for the foot and head triangles, and that may save another half an ounce or maybe even an ounce. For now, I think I'll just do the cuben floor mod. I may pursue the other idea myself later.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: SMD bug bivy over MLD on 09/05/2009 12:17:24 MDT Print View

I decided to try pairing an MLD bug bivy with an MLD Patrol Shelter. Anxiously awaiting its arrival (aren't we always anxiously awaiting for new gear to arrive!) so I haven't tried it yet, but I liked how the patrol shelter seems to marry many of the best attributes of a tarp -- no zippers or other moving parts to worry about, lightweight -- with some of the best attributes of a tent -- more coverage than a simple, flat tarp with its beak and closed in back end. I'm hoping that this allows me to have plenty of ventilation by pitching it high when weather allows, but still keeps wind-blown rain off me by pitching it low when weather demands. I'll let you know how it works out when I get it and take it out to the woods.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Entrance to bug bivy on 09/05/2009 16:16:01 MDT Print View

I have been thinking of getting one of these in combo with a Duomid, but the zip being on the top looks a bit awkward to me in terms of getting in and out. Apart from that it looks like a good way to get a decent bath tub groundsheet set up and bug protection at a low weight.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Entrance to bug bivy on 09/05/2009 19:23:40 MDT Print View

Actually, its about the only way to get inside being the height is so low.
Its probably the best option where you can't set up a bug shelter where you can crawl in from an open end, being the door is at your side in a DuoMid.
I think the MLD Serenity might be cool with an option like this "top zipper"
You enter with the zipper open on your knees then reach up and clip the front top apex, then lie on your back reach up, and zip it closed.
I'd really prefer a "U" shaped zipper along the lower sides and front where netting meets the silnylon. The SMD Meteor bivy works well this way, but lacks a little in head room, compared to the Serenity.

Edited by mfog1 on 09/05/2009 19:30:42 MDT.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Entrance to bug bivy on 09/05/2009 19:25:18 MDT Print View

Just had my Cuben Patrol and Serenity set-up tonight. I like the set-up, other than the fact you only have access from the front. It would be nice to have a side entrance added, really comes in handy when nature calls, no need to fully get out of the shelter, if you know what I mean. This is one advantage with the SMD Meteor Bivy.

Edited by mfog1 on 09/05/2009 19:35:32 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: SMD bug bivy over MLD on 09/05/2009 20:34:49 MDT Print View

Hey Sid,

I've used a lot of Cuben items and have come to the conclusion that it's a great material- but not in all instances.

It's great on tarps, tent walls, stuff sacks, etc. Not so good in high abrasion environments. It makes for packs and groundsheets that easily puncture. I can totally see the floor idea, but you may want to stick with silnylon for greater durability, and spend that cash on other Cuben stuff instead.

That said, I have a new pack from Zpacks with really TOUGH Cuben- but it's unique. I've had stuff sacks (3 brands), a pack, a tent, and a tarp of the material and this is the only one I've had that I would deem tough enough for a ground application.

My 2 cents...

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Re: SMD bug bivy over MLD on 09/06/2009 08:30:29 MDT Print View

I'm assuming the "tough" Cuben you are referring to is the 1.5 Cuben. However, I disagree that the .6 Cuben is not the way to go for ground applications. As an ultralighter, I realize I am sacrificing durability for weight savings. I am willing to deal with that by being more cautious, and always using good site selection to avoid damage to my gear. That being said, I put my trimmed pad underneath my bivy to better protect the cuben bottom. For the lower half of my bivy that does not get protected by the pad, I use my Silnylon rain wrap as a ground sheet. With this kind of setup, the weight savings of a Cuben bottom are a lot more attractive to me than the durability of a Silnylon bottom.


Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Re: Re: SMD bug bivy over MLD on 09/07/2009 01:45:50 MDT Print View

Fair enough Sid. If someone didn't have experience with Cuben, they might not know that the fabric has a very high tear strength and a low stretch, but low puncture and abrasion resistance.

I totally hear you about the trade off though- I'd probably still buy the bivy with the cuben bottom myself. :-)