Thanks for the link! You raised some interesting points in your article and I appreciate your spreadsheet data.
Also, I noticed one of the comments left by John Abela, from Hikelighter.com. I'm a big fan of his meticulous gear reviews. I find it interesting how he says the Rons from MLD and SMD think bivy sacks are unsuitable for backpacking. I'd like to see those comments cited. That mystifies me because Ron from MLD makes bivy sacks, and I hope he's not producing and selling gear he doesn't believe in. I have a good friend who's thru-hiked the AT and the PCT, and is planning the CDT within the next 2 years, and he's a bivy, tarp guy. Try to tell him a bivy doesn't work for backpacking and his 10,000+ trail miles will laugh you in the face. On the MLD website, it says Andrew Skurka used a bivy on his Yukon trek, so maybe a bivy does have a place.
BTW Alex, the above paragraph is not aimed at you at all. I enjoyed your article and your conclusions. My annoyance stems more from John's comment. I just think it's wrong for him to dismiss an entire system cuz it didn't suit his needs/taste.
Thanks for the reply. As I've said throughout the thread, I definitely agree no sleep system is perfect for every situation. Like you, I believe I plan accordingly so that a bivy would never replace me knowing the conditions and the right combination of gear to bring for a trip. A bivy is a new experiment for me, and who knows, I may dislike it and end up selling it on Gear Swap.
I'm buying the bivy this time of year to experiment with it in dryer conditions and get a feel if that style suits me as a backpacker. We get a lot of rain here, but it's mostly confined to late fall, all of winter, and early spring, so I have plenty of time to figure out if I even like the system before using it under truly wet conditions.
I appreciate the feedback. I've never even heard of the Zpacks poncho groundsheet. What a cool concept. Yes, the Gatewood provides plenty of coverage for me, so the main reason I'm currently interested in a bivy is for cowboy camping without having to pitch the cape on nice nights. It's a good time of year for me to experiment around my local parks and trails, so I figure why not.
Again, I appreciate everyone's feedback and I hope this thread can help other backpackers decide if they want to try a bivy. I want to remind other bivy noobs if they're reading this thread, that Anna posted some great links on page 1. A great introduction to avoiding and managing condensation.