Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
need tips on using a bivy and tarp
Display Avatars Sort By:
Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
need tips on using a bivy and tarp on 02/11/2011 14:57:35 MST Print View

I'm envisioning a low pitched A-frame tarp and bivy during the rain when ground debris sticks to everthing and the dirt is just getting muddy. How do you get into your bivy without bringing in a lot of junk and are you army crawling in the mud to get in?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: need tips on using a bivy and tarp on 02/11/2011 17:55:32 MST Print View

Hi Dennis,

I reduced my need for army crawling by installing a waterproof zipper in the beak of my shaped tarp.

Zippered beak to reduce crawling

You can read more about it if you care to and see better pictures of the construction details on this thread titled "A Cure for the Slithering Hiker".

I crawl under the unzipped beak which gives me much more height than the edge of the beak would.

As far as getting into my bivy, I use a Meteor bivy. The head end is mostly no-see-um bug netting. It zips wide open because of its double zippers.

Meteor Bivy with bug netting zipped open and supported by grosgrain loop

When zipped open the bivy's bug netting is supported by a grosgrain loop that has shockcord running through it that is attached to the interior ridgeline of my tarp. It is made adjustable by a mini-cordlock on the shockcord that can slide up or down to set the height of the bug netting.

As far as keeping sand, dirt and junk out of the bivy, I try to keep my feet out of the bivy while turning and sitting down on the floor of the bivy. I then slip of my shoes and slide my feet inside.

It is at this time that I zip the tarp's beak back into the "closed" position. If it is raining I zip it closed as soon as I am under my tarp.

If the bugs are out it is then that I zip my bivy closed. No bugs, no zippered shut bug net. ;-)

Hope this helps.

Party On,


Edited by Newton on 02/11/2011 18:01:01 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: need tips on using a bivy and tarp on 02/11/2011 18:07:34 MST Print View

"army crawling"

In the military, that is referred to as low-crawling. It is generally practiced on a 100-foot course in a sand pit. The participant has to keep some portion of his chest or belly in contact with the surface all the time, at race pace.


Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
need tips on using a bivy and tarp on 02/11/2011 18:22:58 MST Print View

Although flat tarps allow the most configurations in pitching, consider switching to a shaped tarp. My main tarp is a MLD Trailstar (center pole, can pitch one "side" as a door) but many shaped tarps have zippered doors, like DuoMids, SMD tarps, Gossamer Gear the one, etc.

Or, consider a larger flat tarp so that even if set up as a low A-frame, you can scoot down towards the lower end and pitch the front end a little higher.

I do have a 5x8 ID siltarp, but I usually only take that for summer nights, when the chance for rain is low.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Bivy and Tarp on 02/11/2011 18:49:18 MST Print View

You can also add an extension flap to your groundsheet, so that it extends outside the tarp and then gives you something dry to slither/sit on. Once in fold the extension flap away.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Bivy and Tarp on 02/11/2011 19:03:06 MST Print View

As you may have gathered form my post above, I do not use a separate groundsheet.

The bottom of my bivy is silnylon and I let that suffice for my groundsheet.

My Ridgerest sleeping pad goes into my bivy for padding and insulation from the ground.

Party On,


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Bivy and Tarp on 02/11/2011 21:13:36 MST Print View

Sounds like a little Tyvek would clean things up. Even a few square feet for a "landing pad would help. I wrap my tent stakes in a square of Tyvek that I have used to kneel on-- a doormat for my shelter.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
need tips on using a bivy and tarp on 02/11/2011 22:16:29 MST Print View

+1 to Dale. It's really just adapting what I described to a different situation - just need to show a little initiative. Party on.

Justin Tremlin
(notu) - F

Locale: Central Washington
Re: need tips on using a bivy and tarp on 02/12/2011 09:31:30 MST Print View

Great idea Dale. I will be introducing that bit of tech to my kit this summer.