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Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy?
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Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/24/2010 11:36:26 MDT Print View

I primarily use closed cell foam pads and am wondering as a new bivy user what people general do with their pads.

I have only used my TiGoat bivy once and left the 1/2" pad out with my JRB quilt on the inside. I had some condensation under me sleeping directly on the silnylon. I was wearing all my clothing as it was about 35F.

As a sidenote, I occasionally use a BA Clearview pad as well that I have not tried with my bivy.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/24/2010 11:40:57 MDT Print View

With a blue foam pad, I would put it underneath a bivy -- for padding and bivy protection.

With the BA Clearview, I would put it inside the bivy (assuming it fits) -- to protect the fragile Clearview and also to reduce the cold from the ground 'seeping' directly up the un-insulated air pad.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Inside For Me on 03/24/2010 13:01:18 MDT Print View

I use a basic Equinox Superlight Bivy. I put my TorsoLite pad inside. I also added a few spots of silicone on the bottom of my pad so it would not slip around. I find that if I use the pad on the outside I have a tendency to roll off the pad and end up on the ground. When the bivy is inside it just keeps me all in one piece.

I do not use a ground cloth under this bivy. Silnylon should be hearty enough, I have been told.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/24/2010 13:12:17 MDT Print View

+1 on the bivy inside.

I don't use a ground sheet either.

I do find that my body heat warms up the GG Torso pad that I have and it feels nice to lay on it vs. laying on the silnylon.

The only thing that I will place under my bivy my Jam2 pack for my legs. (I use the GG thinlight 1/8" full length pad).

If it is raining, I would definitely put the pack inside my bivy.

The biggest issue for you is going to be how much space you have within your bivy.

Does it allow you to stuff your sleeping pad inside of the bivy without crushing the loft of your sleeping bag.

That said, I do have a MLD Soul Side Zip in Wide/Large, which gives me ample room for my 15F sleeping bag.

Note: for winter camping, I do use a blue foam pad and thermorest prolite 4. I can easily get the thermorest in the bivy, but the blue foam pad is too wide to get into my bivy and I have it under me.

Hope this helps.


Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Outside on 03/24/2010 14:06:58 MDT Print View

My pad always goes outside my MLD Superlight bivy, and I don't use a groundcloth. I use my pad (usually a short z-rest) for sitting on breaks, so it's generally pretty dirty. Everything stays cleaner with the pad outside. If it's really cold, I stick my backpack under my feet; otherwise, the bottom foot or two of my bivy touches the ground. I coated the bottom of the bivy with sil-nylon, so it's non-slip and fairly waterproof.

I don't move much in my sleep, so I almost never roll off my pad.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Re: Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/24/2010 14:07:17 MDT Print View

+1 for outside the bivy, I always view a bivy as a sleeping bag cover and don't put anything inside it but the bag (and me)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/24/2010 15:40:08 MDT Print View

Agree with Ben. Foam pad outside, inflatable inside.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/24/2010 17:14:08 MDT Print View

Inside. I look at it this way. A tarp and bivy replaces a tent. You don't put your pad under the tent do you? I do use an inflatable pad also.

Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
Nunatek Luna Pad on 03/25/2010 07:50:47 MDT Print View

A related question...

I just received a Luna Pad from Nunatek (they have cosmetic blems available at a great price right now!!)

Would you put the egg crate pattern up or down?

Would you still put it on the outside of the bivy? Or would there be more benefit on having it on the inside to better trap the air in the egg crate pattern and thus provide more heat retention?

Marco A. Sánchez
(marcoasn) - M

Locale: The fabulous Pyrenees
Re: Nunatek Luna Pad on 03/25/2010 09:15:43 MDT Print View

For me, sleeping with the egg crate down is more comfortable. Try it both ways and decide for yourself.

I put it in inside the bivy to keep it dry, clean and "under control". I think the effect of trapped air is minimal…

Edited by marcoasn on 03/25/2010 09:21:23 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Nunatek Luna Pad on 03/25/2010 13:15:57 MDT Print View

I'd put it up, same way I use an egg-crate type pad as a backpad in my pack. I like the egg crate pattern against my back.

I generally like to put my main pad inside the bivy against my body. Secondary pads I usually put outside.

John Sixbey
(Wolfeye) - F
my technique on 03/25/2010 18:29:00 MDT Print View

I have no input on that particular pad, but I use a pad outside my bivy to protect the fabric in lieu of a groundcloth. Setup is a cinch, and a few tiny stakes keep the bivy from sliding.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Re: Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/25/2010 19:05:10 MDT Print View

If you sleep directly on silnylon, you will get moisture buildup there. As I use a quilt with no bottom, this is a issue for me. Which is why I normally use my GG Torso Pad inside my bivy sack and I don't have a problem. However, I use my 1/8" GG Thinpad under my bivy.

Edited by Miner on 03/25/2010 19:06:34 MDT.

Thomas Trebisky

Locale: Southern Arizona
inside or outside ... on 03/25/2010 20:12:57 MDT Print View

I have always put my pad outside of my bivy and used the bivy as just a sleeping bag cover. I'm not even sure my pad and bag and me would fit inside of my bivy, so all this depends kind of on what size and style of bivy we are talking about.
I am thinking of changing my ways though. And even changing them with regard to bivy use. I have notions of sewing my own bivy with a target weight of like 10 ounces, and making it big enough to put my Exped Downmat inside of (along with me and my bag too, I might add). With the possible purchase of a Jacks R Better RM sniveler quilt, I think this might make a good arrangement, but all this is armchair hypothesizing at this point.

Edited by trebisky on 03/25/2010 20:13:52 MDT.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Sleeping pad on inside or outside of bivy? on 03/25/2010 23:02:24 MDT Print View

I have different pads for different seasons - GG Nightlight, Neoair, Z-Rest - and they always go inside the bivy. My pads are kept immaculately clean so that's not an issue. But it does solve another issue: my squirming around in my sleep. With the pad inside the bivy, everything follows with me. And oh, I do use a ground cloth, the BPL Polycro - weighs nothing. I like to keep my bivy clean and protected from tree sap, etc.

The GG Nightlight is eggcrate and I sleep on it smooth side up. I just sleep better that way.

Michael Packer
(SDhiker81) - F
What would you do? on 04/01/2010 16:06:34 MDT Print View

I thought I'd bring back this thread for some advice. I've been contemplating this same question. I use a Big Agnes insulated air core for a pad. I'm a side sleeper and just can't handle sleeping on a foam pad. I'll be ordering a MLD superlight bivy soon. The pad won't fit inside the bivy, unless I get a large version of the bivy. I'd like to avoid the additional cost of getting a larger size if possible. Do you think I'd be alright with the air core outside the bivy if I used a lightweight ground cloth underneath? Would I have problems with the bivy sliding on the pad? I usually under inflate the pad a little when sleeping.

Jeffrey McConnell
good question on 04/01/2010 19:39:51 MDT Print View

Michael, I'd be a little afraid that an air pad would get punctured, but if you were careful and the ground cloth was substantial enough, I think it could work having the pad outside the bivy. I'm interested to see what others think.