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Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Using a bivy only in winter on 12/14/2011 09:28:30 MST Print View

I'm starting to think about using just a bivy bag for trips this winter in the snow.

Waking up to cold rain in my face while sleeping in my duct-taped trash bag bivy is a pleasant memory from my teens.

Can't sleep? Roll onto my back to stargaze or watch for shooting stars. No snow anchors. It would take a tornado or epic gust to blow my shelter down or away. Flat sites are easy to find or sculpt.

Pitching instructions:
1. Unroll.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Using a bivy only in winter on 12/14/2011 10:10:24 MST Print View

I've done the bivy only on a few winter trips.

On clear clam nights it was great. On nights when their was blowing snow or sleet I found the bivy not very livable and much more a pain in the butt than simply pitching a pyramid tarp and sleeping under that.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Re: Using a bivy only in winter on 12/14/2011 10:30:24 MST Print View

Ive done it and it is cozy. If all sealed up though and you can't sleep, it may get too cozy (a touch of the claustrophobic). Plus the issue of getting in during a storm. Bring a tarp but the combined weight just makes other shelters a better option. A cuben tarp may be a game changer.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Using a bivy only in winter on 12/14/2011 11:00:04 MST Print View

"On clear clam nights it was great. On nights when their was blowing snow or sleet I found the bivy not very livable and much more a pain in the butt than simply pitching a pyramid tarp and sleeping under that."

+1

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Using a bivy only in winter on 12/14/2011 11:05:19 MST Print View

" Waking up to cold rain in my face "

that's not winter in my book.
sub 20-25* is required to qualify as winter.
I've used a bivy in those temps just once.
anything that qualifies as a full tent is my preference, much warmer and weather proof.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Using a bivy only in winter on 12/14/2011 12:19:11 MST Print View

Andy, With the right equipment and conditions it works. You really have to know what you are doing and how to judge a situation.
I find the frost/ice build up between by sleeping bag and bivy problematic. In an emergency it isn't a concern but for everyday, not my first choice.
I'm not that excited to climb in to my expensive sleeping bag with my snow bound clothing I'm hiking/skiing/snowshoeing in day in and day out. Changing clothing out in the open, especially while its snowing hard doesn't help the issue.
All that and much more I could add aside; it does sound like a fun adventure that I myself would like to do more often.

Edited by bestbuilder on 12/14/2011 12:20:24 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Using a bivy only in winter on 12/14/2011 12:38:26 MST Print View

I normally do not use a shelter unless I expect bad weather. I like sleeping under the stars.

In winter, I like to sit in my shelter and sort out gear, change clothes without snow, sleet or rain, and start melting snow. The other thing about a shelter is that it is easier for me to sort out my gear and I like to leave a few items out and above my head such as extra insulation just in case, a light, water in an insulated bottle. I also like to leave my stove system still set up to the side for a quick breakfast in the morning.

The last time I did a bivy only in snow was years ago with an external frame pack. I kept the pack upright behind my head and used the sleeping bag compartment to store gear I might need during the night or first thing in the morning. The whole organization thing was not convenient. Not to mention I dropped my spoon after dinner and the next morning had to dig through several inches of snow to find it. Also got a layer of frost between the bag and bivy, although newer bivys do a better job.

A few years ago I tried it again in sub-freezing temps but no snow. I had a large Gregory pack because it was desert and I had to carry 2 days worth of water with me. The organization wasn't too bad because I didn't need to worry about rain or snow, but frost was an issue. I have since gotten a more breathable bivy, but it is not stellar.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Northern Europe
Bivy or Mid on 12/14/2011 13:15:22 MST Print View

When there isn't much snow called for, I just use a bivy in the winter (MLD's older eVent Alpine bivy). Works great, lovely to watch the winter stars, and there's no need for bug or wind protection. If snow is called for, like many other people who chimed in, I switch to something else (like a Duomid) to have a little sanctuary from the elements.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
eVent bivys on 12/19/2011 18:31:07 MST Print View

I think Evan's use of an eVent bivy is the key to his successful bivy esxperience.

eVent directly vents body moisture instead of requiring the WPB laminate to get wet first.

An eVent bivy for winter use would be my ONLY choice.