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Bivying Tarp-Free?
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Trevor Shrade
(TrevMan3205) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/02/2011 22:44:02 MST Print View

I haven't seen this discussed in much detail besides a couple random comments in other threads. I don't like to use trekking poles so ditching the tarp, guilines, poles, and stakes out for a heavier bivy would actually save me weight. Weight aside it seems like it might be a good idea if only to simplify my gear list.

Does anyone use a waterproof (goretex, event, etc..) bivy and go tarp free?
What are your experiences?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/02/2011 23:08:11 MST Print View

I only do that in the desert with clear weather forecast.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Not quite on 01/02/2011 23:45:12 MST Print View

I've seen a UK blog where a guy uses a WPB bivy (probably event) in combination with a teeny tiny tarp over his head. The tarp was similiar, if not based off of, the MLD Mini Dog Tarp ( MLD even mentions using their tarp for such a purpose.

I think the idea is that you can vent out the top of the bivy this way since it will be rare that you'll have to zip it all the way up. I have no clue is this would be enough venting to make it worthwhile though so maybe someone else can help you there if you're interested in pursuing this option. Of course you'll still need to find some solution to propping it up. I guess one solution could be a carbon fiber arrow shaft that doubles as a pack stay maybe? 2 arrow shafts joined together? Random stick?

It'd make for a convenient place to tie bug netting off to as well.

This could be a great opportunity to make a DIY version out of some cuben since it'd still be pretty cheap.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/03/2011 01:48:46 MST Print View

In the places where I go hiking, the weather is either good enough to bivy or bad enough to require a tent. A tarp never comes into the equation.

Trevor Shrade
(TrevMan3205) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/03/2011 14:43:32 MST Print View

What is the reason that more people don't bivy in the rain? Is it because there would be condensation issues? Or just because they would be miserable being trapped in the bivy for too long?

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/03/2011 15:29:54 MST Print View

If there's any chance of rain, it sounds like a bad idea to me.

Even with a perfectly WP/B bivy, I'd hate to lie there with rain pounding down directly onto the bivy and feeling the pressure as each drop hits. Would very rapidly drive me nuts. The overhead hoop or tie-out would lift the bivy far enough above my head that I wouldn't feel the drops, but I'd sure hear them. Could be like having your head in a bucket while someone taps on the outside.

No thanks.

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
The Book of the Bivy on 01/03/2011 16:02:04 MST Print View

I read the book. That was enough for me.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Re: The Book of the Bivy on 01/03/2011 17:16:19 MST Print View

Enough for you? As in it put you off bivying sans tarp?

I read it and was totally inspired. Especially inspired to stealth camp with my bivy on the the tops of ADK High Peaks.

If you're only out for a weekend, you can bivy in most wet weather as long as it isn't too severe. You just have to be a little weird. Like me.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: The Book of the Bivy on 01/03/2011 17:36:42 MST Print View

I actually have it on order and look forward to the read. As a long time hard bivy user, I am lookig forward to the discussion. Unfortunately, there have been more times than not, lately, where I woke up with lots of condensation when I thought I should not have, even with the latest and greatest fabrics.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Re: The Book of the Bivy on 01/03/2011 18:17:03 MST Print View

Alex, just a heads up: the book is not overly technical. And it's very British (i.e. it advises you keep a stiff upper lip while sleeping in a soggy bag and then dry out at the pub or bothy).

However, it is well written. Very charming and funny.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Re: The Book of the Bivy on 01/03/2011 19:01:34 MST Print View

Yeah from the online sections I read I got that feeling, and I am all about "drying" out at the pub ;)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
bivy on 01/04/2011 10:36:46 MST Print View

bivying without a tarp or other such overhead protection poses several problems in adverse weather IMO
- ingress ... getting into a bivy without a tarp is a bad idea in the rain ... remember that you need to take off your wpb jacket as well
- spash ... unless yr bivy fully seals up rain will splash through the opening
- condensation ... if you do fully seal up, condensation is usually an issue
- lack of working space ... with a tarp you can cook and hang clothes in relative comfort .. with a bivy, anything or any body part outside gets wet

id want a small tarp at the very least

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/04/2011 10:46:58 MST Print View

Fun book, BTW.

You could do what Ryan Jordan does when bivving without a tarp. He moves the head of the bivy under a big spruce and keeps the front fairly protected.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
tree on 01/04/2011 10:59:20 MST Print View

david ... that of course brings about the question about camping under trees in windy conditions ... or in winter with marshmallows hanging off the branches ...

not to mention all the birds waiting to play "hit the bivy" =P

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
But... on 01/04/2011 11:11:45 MST Print View

Eric - these are the reasons that Bivying is so much fun. ;)

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/04/2011 11:22:09 MST Print View

Well spruce don't drop as many branches and Ryan is still updating his Blog so the survival rate is reasonably high... ;)

Daniel Goldenberg
(DanG) - M
Re: The Book of the Bivy on 01/04/2011 11:58:49 MST Print View

I heard an interview with Ronald Turnbull (author of said book) and after listening I was extremely discouraged from using a bivy, at least if any enjoyment was to be experienced in it's use.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
weight savings on 01/04/2011 13:17:19 MST Print View

I just don't see a lot of weight savings in going w/ a "waterproof" bivy

you can get into the smaller tarps from 4-8 oz depending on material, lightweight breathable bivies in the 4-7 oz range

the tarp/bivy combo gives you so many more options

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Bivying Tarp-Free? on 01/04/2011 13:19:42 MST Print View

It's more about the experience, than absolute weight savings. I could argue just going to a solo cuben tarp at 5oz is best.

Realistically, however, in truly crappy sideways rain, a small tarp and a non waterproof bivy will likely not cut it.

Trevor Shrade
(TrevMan3205) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: interview with Ronald Turnbull on 01/04/2011 13:42:22 MST Print View

I found two of his interviews:
The Book of the Bivvy
Life in a Bivvybag!

His style of backpacking does seem a little odd. It's like an extreme version of the 24 hour overnight:
1. Eat supper at a bar
2. Hike to the top of a mountain with only sleeping gear and bivvy (no food)
3. shiver all night (so that you can wakeup every hour and look at the stars)
4. Hike out the next day
5. spend the next night in a hotel
6. rinse and repeat

I think it would be much more enjoyable if you brought food for an extended stay, and didn't sleep at the top of an eff'n mountain. I guess I'll just have to try it out myself.