Forum Index » GEAR » Best stand-alone bivy?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 11:30:31 MST Print View

What is the best stand-alone bivy? That would be one that you could throw down with a protective ground sheet and pad and camp in any 3-season weather and stay dry and warm.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 11/16/2013 13:01:25 MST Print View

It seems a though a ul bivy paired with a cuben tarp or poncho tarp is a popular option around here.

Ex. We can get a 6oz bivy paired with a 4oz tarp.

The problem with waterproof bivys is condensation, even my m50 bivy I had to sell because of this in favor of a bug bivy.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 13:03:31 MST Print View

I've heard good things about the MLD event bivy.

Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 13:33:02 MST Print View

That would be one that you could throw down with a protective ground sheet and pad and camp in any 3-season weather and stay dry and warm.
__________________________________________________________________________

Which to me means for use in heavy rain and wind?

Dry and warm once inside is easy enough. But useability trumps lightness in my book.

Effective WPB bivis are not really 'UL' kit IMO.

I've never used a groundsheet with a standalone bivi. What's the point of that? - the bivi is WP and won't blow away like a GS can. A GS also gathers rain into a pool under/around you! Have used a CCF mat outside the bag with smaller ones, but that is a pain too - IMO in wild weather, you want your mat inside the bivi if possible - dry and secure.

I have owned/used at least 8 different WPB bivis over the years (since mid 80's) - goretex, pertex shield, PU coated and eVent. (sold several on when deemed not suitable for my use - mostly not breathable or big enough)

My current bivis are British army goretex ( heavy but robust), an Alpkit Hunka XL (Lightish but more vulnerable) and a Rab Sierra (aka I.D. Bugaboo).

The thing they have in common is that all are roomy - enough to get full; size mats/sleeping bags inside, have wriggle room to change clothes, and room to store other gear. Need a effective way of avoiding rain ingress through the entry. The jury is out on the Rab Sierra as not had it in heavy rain yet (Waterproof zips with no flaps? mmmm....)

If expecting rain I use a MYOG microtarp with a bivi these days

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 13:37:57 MST Print View

I've been using the BD Twilight Bivy for about 3 years now.
I believe it weights about 10 or 11oz before seam sealing which you have to do.
The fabric is water proof. There is condensation, but not so bad in a dry climate if you breathe to the outside. It is what I would call a traditional climber bivy style: no zippers and a hood type entry. In order for the entry not to leak you would need to sleep propped up against something so that the water would roll off the hood onto the main body of the bivy. If you lie down the main body fabric would likely slope toward your neck and direct drainage that way.

Many bivys out there are NOT waterproof and/or leak at the entry. They are basically just sleeping bag covers. Zippers are always suspect. The traditional bivy is meant to be an emergency shelter sitting on a ledge... not a comfortable night and no fun. If I expect rain I either take a tent or bring a Cuben tarp for over the bivy. Still, I'm pretty confident this bivy would weather a significant rain if you spent the night with your upper body elevated.

Most of the other's I've seen are really just designed for light spray or tent condensation drip. They are really just sleeping bag covers, not really to be out in a real rain.

Bill D.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
"Best stand-alone bivy?" on 11/16/2013 13:44:53 MST Print View

I have been researching the same issue for weeks.
It seems that there are some nice designs out there by Mainstream mfrs. but nothing that very light at all.


I already have a Borah Bivy w/ M50 and modified top. But I want a hooped Bivy so I am not trying to get the net up off my face just right.
It seems that there are no UL hooped Bivy option.

I just ordered some Cuben material .74 oz. for floor and sides. looking at doing netting over face and mid chest + and adding some WPB Cuben over foot box or maybe a piece of Pertex Quantum. not sure on the foot area yet.

I want a Bivy that I can just throw done on the ground and be done. and pair with my
Zpack 6 x9 tarp for rain protection.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: "Best stand-alone bivy?" on 11/16/2013 14:37:55 MST Print View

Understood on the ground cloth issue. It seems that you would damage the bottom though.

Rain is the issue; otherwise, you could sleep under the stars--- bugs aside.

Weight seems to go up in proportion to waterproofness. I wouldn't be adverse to a little more weight if traded for a simpler design.

Agreed on many UL bivies being sleeping bag covers to use with a small tarp to catch the spray and cut wind. I have looked at all the scenarios for using a tarp with a bivy and my Gatewood Cape trumps them all for weight and complexity, not to mention the fact that I already own one. I have a poncho shelter too, but that calls for as much complexity as a big tarp.

Hooped bivies approach UL solo tents in weight and cost. Bivies with pole designs are event more tent like. I tried a Black Diamond Lightsabre, which had all the drawbacks of a tent and a bivy--- weight, complexity, no room, condensation, and cost.


I have an REI Minimalist bivy. They have approached the water into the face opening issue by putting a reversed storm flap across the chest to drain water off to the sides. The face opening is mostly exposed.

I wonder about using a waterproof/ breathable bivy with an umbrella to help at the head opening.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: "Best stand-alone bivy?" on 11/16/2013 14:50:43 MST Print View

The REI Minimalist bivy is not even remotely water/weather proof as a stand alone bivy.... face is open, some zippers exposed. They are in the category of sleeping bag cover...

I groom the bivy location to prevent or minimize damage to the bottom fabric of my BD bivy... no hole after 3 years But I would avoid Cuben for the underside of a bivy as it is easily punctured and/or abraded. I would avoid using Cuben for anything that touches the ground.

I have looked around at the main stream Bivys and some of the cottage company offerings. I have yet to find anything that is waterproof and is not Cuben that matches the weight of the BD Twilight Bivy. If you find such an animal, please let me know....

Bill D.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: "Best stand-alone bivy?" on 11/16/2013 14:59:01 MST Print View

However, if you are a big guy the BD Twilight Bivy might not be for you.

B

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 15:56:40 MST Print View

MLD eVent Soul Side Zip in size large to allow room for you and your gear.

I am 5'6" and I put all of my gear above my head in the bivy and I put my Golite Jam 2 under my legs inside the bivy. Basically, everything inside the bivy with me.

I just keep my hydration bag outside and have the tube inside my bivy with a bite valve in the locked position by leaving a small hole open int he bug netting. (The MLD bivy I have from 2008 has two zippers for the bug netting.

That said, without a tarp, you are going to be very confined and miserable over a long period of time.

You would have to close us the bivy's head net to just a blow hole to keep the rain out.

Unless you can place the head portion of your bivy up against the base of a tree to give you some overhead protection from the falling rain.

Tony

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Borah on 11/16/2013 16:01:30 MST Print View

I have no experience with this product but I'm happy to see that they are now offering side zip and eVent bottom as options for their Snowyside eVent Bivy:

http://www.borahgear.com/eventbivy.html

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Borah on 11/16/2013 17:29:33 MST Print View

Using eVent for the top makes but I don't understand using it on the bottom. I'm assuming that body weight on a breathable fabric with any water under it would leak. Any thoughts?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 11/16/2013 17:30:39 MST Print View

That make 0 sense I don't care what reasoning.

Eric Jahn-Clough
(ejcfree) - F - M

Locale: off grid
Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 17:44:33 MST Print View

I used an OR Advanced Bivy for maybe 250 nights over 9 years. I found it totally weather proof even in extremely exposed inclement conditions. That's from the outside. Condensation could be very heavy at times. Everything, not that I had a lot, came inside and with some contortions dressing was ok. What I really loved was the feeling of being outside all the time and the small footprint. What I really came to dislike was the condensation and getting confined in there during long stretches of bad weather.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Condestation on 11/16/2013 17:54:45 MST Print View

With a waterproof bivy, is the condensation enough to make you cold later in the night/early in the morning or does it take more than one night of use (without drying) to start getting cold?

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Locale: www.hikelighter.com
Re: Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 17:55:51 MST Print View

The Ti Goat "Bug Bivy" is the only bivy that I own and plan to ever use. It will never suffer condensation. Your sleeping bag should provide your warmth, not your shelter.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Borah on 11/16/2013 18:08:02 MST Print View

Dale,

I have the USGI bivy which is goretex. It's much more durable than silnyon and I haven't had problems with moisture coming through. I haven't owned an eVent bivy to know how it would hold up without a ground sheet.

Snark removed.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 11/16/2013 19:42:28 MST.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 18:09:46 MST Print View

John,, with a full bug net top you'd be hurting in that Ti Goat Bug Bivy in a rain or snow storm. That's what the OP wanted info on... a bivy to stand alone in all season.

B

Eric Jahn-Clough
(ejcfree) - F - M

Locale: off grid
Bivy condensation on 11/16/2013 18:10:23 MST Print View

I experienced a huge range in the level of condensation in my GTX bivy. When the weather was right, mostly cool humid, it would require daily drying of the down bag and bivy interior. Many nights I had none but on the worst night, a thunderstorm transitioning into a snow storm, I got a puddle two feet around and an inch deep that totally soaked the lower half of my bag and forced the end of my trip and could have caused real trouble.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Locale: www.hikelighter.com
Re: Re: Re: Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 18:13:55 MST Print View

@Bill D,

Fully aware of that... but my answer stands just the same.

In the famous words of Ron "Fallingwater" Moak:

Bottom line; for me bivies are too often used as a patch to cover a more structural problem with your gear selection. It's better to think through the needs of all your gear than to buy another piece of gear to fill in the holes. In the end, you'll save weight, money and have a better camp setup.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/16/2013 18:23:52 MST Print View

Removed.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 11/16/2013 19:43:07 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Borah on 11/16/2013 19:07:30 MST Print View

"Sorry "That make 0 sense I don't care what reasoning." Better not buy one then. Problem solved. Hmm... better call Borah and tell them to remove it as an option since it doesn't meet your approval."

Ian, why reduce the thread to an unproductive middle school playground double dare attitutude? I too questioned the rational of using the fabric and you said you haven't used the product. If you can contribute something positive , please do, but I don't appreciate the negative sarcasm when we are all trying to exchange information and learn.

Can you please tell us the advantage of using a waterproof breathable fabric on the floor of a bivy?

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Edited nicer version on 11/16/2013 19:28:11 MST Print View

Admittedly I overreacted to Michael and what I perceived as a snotty response. My experience with a full goretex bivy in a variety of harsh conditions is that it's durable to a point that I didn't have to use a ground sheet with it. It never had problems with ground water seeping in. Admittedly I often (certainly not always) would sleep with the bivy over a pad so that greatly extended my mileage but when I had to turn it back in after hundreds of nights of use, it was in awesome condition.

I've already disclosed that I haven't used eVent. I'm simply interested to know if it would have the same level of durability of goretex as this would be desirable in an alpine environment.

Michael,

My apologies. I admit my response was crappy and I owe you a beverage.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 11/16/2013 19:56:13 MST.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
event on bottom... not worth it on 11/16/2013 20:30:42 MST Print View

Heat vapor etc rises to the top, an Event bottom I think is completley a waste. Where is it going to vent, the dirt?

Personally im against bivys, its an old school thing people used when the lightest tents they could find were 2-3 pounds.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Edited nicer version on 11/16/2013 20:34:30 MST Print View

Thank you!

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
ian on 11/16/2013 20:35:56 MST Print View

"My apologies. I admit my response was crappy and I owe you a beverage."

Bottoms up! No problem, everyone is entitled to their oppinion, some people just do it nicer than others. I might come off as not nice sometimes but im working on it.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: event on bottom... not worth it on 11/16/2013 20:36:38 MST Print View

"Heat vapor etc rises to the top, an Event bottom I think is completley a waste. Where is it going to vent, the dirt?"

Michael,

If it proves to be more durable to a point that you don't need to use a ground sheet and it extends the life of the gear, then there might be some value. I'd never get that option for venting purposes for the reasons you stated. I don't think silnylon would necessarily be a bad option in conjunction with a ground sheet either.

It'd be interesting to hear the manufacturer's take on why they offer it as an option.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: ian on 11/16/2013 20:37:59 MST Print View

"I might come off as not nice sometimes but im working on it."

Nah I came over guns blazing from the wind shirt thread so that was completely me.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: event on bottom... not worth it on 11/16/2013 20:41:05 MST Print View

"....Personally im against bivys, its an old school thing people used when the lightest tents they could find were 2-3 pounds."

That puts an interesting perspective on the use of bivies vs simpler covers. I never considered the historical perspective. It flows with the wall climber and military use too I think.

As ususal, no free lunch! I do like the no strings, no poles elemental cowboy throw down your bedroll appeal, but that might not work in the land of moss and slugs :)

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: event on bottom... not worth it on 11/16/2013 20:47:42 MST Print View

The BD Twilight Bivy has a SilNylon Bottom and I never use a ground sheet with it... 3 years, mostly above tree line camped on gravels... no leaks... and MUCH lighter weight than Gortex or Event... I also believe that the Gortex and Event have issues if they get dirty, no?

For the weight and waterproofness the BD Twilight has served me well.

As far as Bivys being 'old school' or outdated... If you think climbing and sleeping on ledges they are still state of the art. And the 10oz BD Twilight competes with the weight of tarps... And.. Bivys require no stake out and you only need a flat spot of about 2 feet wide by 6 feet long... And Bivys are not going to blow over in any amount of wind, the weakness of tarps.... very handy in rough terrain. Many advantages Bivys have, indeed.

Bill D.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: event on bottom... not worth it on 11/16/2013 20:48:17 MST Print View

Dale,

I have a goretex USGI bivy that weighs in at 2.5lbs. It's the same exact one I used in the military and I found it to be bomber. If interested, I can mail it over for you to test run a couple nights to see if the investment into a lighter but more expensive bivy would be worth the investment to you.

From my experience, the benefits and liabilities of a true sans tarp stand alone bivy have been covered well in the BPL forums. Certainly convenient by not having to stack rocks over stakes in rocky/alpine country, smallest foot print I know of, etc. Cons, when it's dumping, you're stuck in a goretex coffin.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: event on bottom... not worth it on 11/16/2013 20:59:16 MST Print View

"The BD Twilight Bivy has a SilNylon Bottom and I never use a ground sheet with it... 3 years, mostly above tree line camped on gravels... no leaks... and MUCH lighter weight than Gortex or Event... I also believe that the Gortex and Event have issues if they get dirty, no?"

Valuable insight on silnylon; thanks for sharing. How well does the nanoshield breathe and how is the condensation? Is this an eVent variant?

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: event on bottom... not worth it on 11/16/2013 21:08:05 MST Print View

" How well does the nanoshield breathe and how is the condensation? Is this an eVent variant?"

I really can't say how well it breaths. I have not scientific instruments to give you a quantitative answer. I camp mostly at high elevation in the Sierra. There is condensation, but not enough to be a significant problem in the summer in the Sierra. Most of the condensation will come from the moisture in your exhaled breath. If you orient your mouth and nose to exhale to the outside there is little condensation.. I do not believe this material is related to eVent at all. It is a very thin single layer. All of these supposedly breathable fabrics will have condensation in certain conditions, it's just a matter of degree.

Bill D.

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
ID Event Wedge Bivy on 11/16/2013 21:12:50 MST Print View

Not the bivy the OP is looking for but I'll throw in my 2 cents on bivys.

My un-UL secret love for 14k and up ridge/summit sleeps is the ID Event Wedge. Thanks to BPL the rest of my gear is light so I don't really feel it. It has pros and cons. First of all it has condensation but that comes with sleeping in paramo weather. Storms just bounce off or go around it though.

The best part of it is the worst part of it. When the stars are bright and right on top of you the odd zipper that opens the top is a thing of wonder. You can zip half way up and block the wind and star gaze all night. But when it rains if you don't have the vestibule on, it's hard to get in and out with out getting a lot of water inside. You can worm your way out of a zip hole but that's not always convenient on a mountainside. Above 14k I don't carry my vestibule because I feel it might not be up to those type of winds but it's wonderful add on down lower. My love of the stargazing capability far outweighs the cons of when it rains.

I'm 6'2 and my wife fits in with me comfortably. I'd like to say that means the weight gets divided but well you know how that works.

And no I wouldn't consider hauling it around for days on end. Not a long trail option.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: military gore-tex bivies on 11/16/2013 21:16:18 MST Print View

I appreciate the thought, but 2.5 pounds is a little too far across the weight vs function line for me.

Of course I drool over the SUL bivies, but I haven't seen one yet that wasn't really a sleeping bag cover and meant for use with a small tarp or poncho.

I'm liking specs of the BD Twilight and Bill's description of the use of a bivy is really what it is about for me: a weatherproof haven that only needs a 2x6 flat spot. And i understand the compromises.

I have a solo tarp tent that is 11oz, a ponchmo that is 7oz, plus a bivy that needs a tarp and weighs 15oz.

The whole appeal is having this small light shelter to take on short trips that you can throw down next to the campfire like an anscestor did with a mastodon hide, roll up in it and go to sleep. You rise at dawn, make your breakfast at your elbow and break camp in 5 minutes. No poles, strings or stakes to fuss over and no worries about it hooking the wind and sailing off at 3 am.

So, a romantic notion of simple camping, but it still needs to work. A wet cold night isn't good! I have plenty of sticks and strings if I want more guaranteed comfort.

Thanks for the input!

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Microbivi on 11/16/2013 21:25:20 MST Print View

I own a ID microbivi

Its not a good choice if it rains alot as the head doesnt zip up

However thats the onlu opening and you can flip over on ur side/back is it really starts coming down

WPB bivies are for sleeping on ledges, and honestly if it gets that wet yr bailing anyways

Condension can be a real issue, in the winter it freezes and you can whack it off, but in warmer temps i can soak back into ur bag

;)

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
bivy's on 11/16/2013 21:36:17 MST Print View

I have not found a bivy that is good without a tarp.
I have not found a bivy that is good without a tarp.
I have not found a bivy that is good without a tarp.
tried quite a few.

I'm taking a bivy to keep my bag dry both from groundwater and condensation but I use it in combination with mld solomid.

I don't trust cuben floors, I could be wrong here, I expect they are not as durable and will leak. Don't like silnylon because it seems to be a condensation magnet.

The best for my purposes is the 6oz Montbell dri tec breeze bivy.
The tarp keeps the rain off my head and the bivy has taped seams
and can handle puddles and spray. I even tried it in my bathtub with 2 inches of water for an hour and it was fine. It's lighter than event and breathes well so no condesation problem.

I have an Integral Event Wedge Bivy that I use in winter to handle wind and snow.
It's no good in the rain but a very warm winter shelter.

I also have a tyvek bivy made of kite grade tyvek. I like it because it keeps my bag clean and then I don't need a groundcloth but then I camp in the Sierra's so it's dry most of the time.

I've been eye-ing the 10oz event bivy from Locus Gear but so far the Montbell Dri Tec wins out. I had a zipper installed in mine by the lady at the local dry cleaners.

Edited by anthonyweston on 11/16/2013 21:44:52 MST.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
eVent bivy bottom/floor on 11/17/2013 02:00:35 MST Print View

I don't see having eVent as a floor of a bivy as making much sense.

Any warm moisture coming off you should rise and vent out through the top eVent fabric or your but netting.

Having it under you is a poor use of an expensive fabric, in my opinion, and it would stand to reason that your body weight on the eVent fabric is just inviting moisture to get pushed through an eVent floor into your bivy

My understanding is that Cuben is waterproof....my MLD eVent Soul Side Zip has a discontinued 2.0 silnylon floor....pretty waterproof, but I have had some wet/damp spots from the weight of my body on some damp, wet ground.

Nothing that would have gotten me wet, but it did push through.

Anyway, just my thoughts on the lack of value of having an eVent floor.

Tony

Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
Bivi floors etc on 11/17/2013 02:43:50 MST Print View

From what I have been told/read of by other users, an all eVent bivvy is overall better breathability all round. But like other lightweight types with breathable floors, benefits from careful protection underneath = - i.e. ok on grass/soft duff, but otherwise best with an external mat/GS (Which I disllike for the reasons already stated). IME of eVent it wouldn't last too well with the degree of physical pressure and dirt that a bivi floor generally gets. The Event bivis I've used myself have a 70D pu nylon floor.

The all goretex military bivis have a heavier bomber face fabric and seem pretty tough.

I wonder, did John Abela read the OP before making irrelevant posts?!! (I guess not)

Mole J
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
hood on 11/17/2013 03:05:55 MST Print View

OH
and I forgot to add
that I prefer a hood which will offer protection to the top of your head whilst open at face e..g drawstring or zip across chest/chin area.,

The type which zip around the top perimeter are a PITA IME -

e.g. if open the floor can roll under your head if you wriggle leaving your head in the dirt. and if you sit up in it, the back falls down leaving you exposed

If the zipper is closed up somewhat, you can't see up and out - just sideways.

I guess the advantage is simplicity of construction/ reliability against rain ingress

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Cuben on 11/17/2013 09:06:06 MST Print View

I do have a 1.0/sq yd cuben fiber ground sheet which I've owned for less than a year so not long enough to do a long term review. It's surprisingly rugged and seems to be well suited for the job. Even if you damage it, field repair would be pretty straight forward. I think with minimal care in site selection and in rocky conditions, a small polycryo ground sheet, a cuben bottom bivy would be a great lightweight option.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 11/17/2013 09:06:40 MST.

S Long
(Izeloz) - M

Locale: Wasatch
Re: Best stand-alone bivy? on 11/17/2013 11:24:50 MST Print View

See this review for why an eVent floor is nice: https://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/process#.UokI2F_n_IU You need a membership to view the article. The summary is that an all-WPB bivy doesn't have the same condensation issues that a non-breathable fabric would. Part of the floor will virtually always be exposed to the air inside the bivy. The use of a WPB fabric minimizes the buildup of condensation on the portion of the floor exposed to the air.

Noah Williams
(runningkid) - F

Locale: Montana
reply on 11/17/2013 12:27:49 MST Print View

I've used the USGI bivy. I love that you can through it down and crawl in and be done. Saved my skin on a couple of winter forays. It condensates its heavy.

Does anybody have experience with the Miles Gear Uber Bivy http://www.milesgear.com/UberBivy.html? It makes some big claims... bordering on unbelievable.

Dave Heiss
(DaveHeiss) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
New Pico bivy, perhaps? on 11/17/2013 16:22:39 MST Print View

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this one yet:

http://www.milesgear.com/PicoBivy.html

No need for a tarp, and only 23oz with the tyvek groundsheet

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: New Pico bivy, perhaps? on 11/17/2013 16:31:50 MST Print View

Dave,

Thanks for sharing Miles' new bivy. I looked at his Uber bivy before but wrote it off due to the weight. 19oz and $160 is hard to beat.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: ID Event Wedge Bivy on 11/17/2013 16:50:39 MST Print View

"My un-UL secret love for 14k and up ridge/summit sleeps is the ID Event Wedge."

A possible alternative:

http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=888

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: ID Nestor bivy on 11/17/2013 22:15:11 MST Print View

$360 and 35oz with poles and stakes to fiddle with. It it isn't dead simpIe, I would rather have a full blown tent.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: New Pico bivy, perhaps? on 11/17/2013 22:30:04 MST Print View

"•Waterproof 2" bathtub floor (Tyvek HomeWrap)"

It seems the floor is made out of Tyvek.
I don't think that would hold up for very long.

Bill D.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: New Pico bivy, perhaps? on 11/17/2013 22:34:12 MST Print View

Bill,

He's mentioned with his other bivys that you must use a ground sheet. He provides a 4 oz tyvek one with the purchase.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: ID Nestor bivy on 11/18/2013 17:30:08 MST Print View

"$360 and 35oz with poles and stakes to fiddle with. It it isn't dead simpIe, I would rather have a full blown tent."

So would I for most situations, but when you're travelling in country where you are liable to need a small foot print, something like this is a good alternative. It looks to be the successor to the old Pocket Hotel, which I used for years for just that reason. For me the downside is the weight, but then, everything ID makes is on the heavy side and designed to handle tough conditions. Tradeoffs. Anyway, I just thought I'd put it out there for your consideration.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: ID Nestor bivy on 11/18/2013 17:54:20 MST Print View

I see your point, but with all the sticks and stakes, I would go for a 1/2 pryamid or one of the poled solo tents. The difference in footprint isn't that much different. I think the step up from a bivy in really tough stuff is something like a tunnel type. You might need to stay longer and need a dry place for managing gear.

My expectation of a bivy is for a trip of a few days in prime season to make sure you can deal with any changes in the weather--- cowboy camping with an insurance policy.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ID Nestor bivy on 11/18/2013 17:57:19 MST Print View

"My expectation of a bivy is for a trip of a few days in prime season to make sure you can deal with any changes in the weather--- cowboy camping with an insurance policy."

Lots of choices there, MLD, etc, that are much, much lighter and will do the job.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Miles Gear on 11/18/2013 18:27:10 MST Print View

Miles Gear seems to be what you are looking for. His bivies come completely seam sealed and he does custom work (including different floor materials) - just ask. The upper material he uses is waterproof and quite breathable, although a little bulky.

I shared a double trouble with my dog for several nights and had no condensation. I never used it in the rain. The bivy added almost 15 degrees of warmth.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
Bivy on 11/20/2013 11:09:50 MST Print View

I decided I'm going to cut my 6 oz waterproof bivy in half.
I just bought some kite grade tyvek which weighs less than regular tyvek on amazon.
I'm going to create a reversable bivy with half tyvek and half
montbell dri tec waterproof material.

When it's raining a deluge, I will use the bivy under my 5oz tarp with the
event\montbell dri tec side on the bottom so if a river changes course under me I'm still dry. The tyvek top can handle spray and condensation just fine and it breath equally well as the event\montbell dri tec side.

When it's dry out and here it's sounds counter intuitive but when the ground is dry then I will use the tyvek side as the bottom which is 90 % of the time. The event on top breathes well, the tyvek handles rocks and pointy sticks better than any other material.

I'll save weight by never bring a ground cloth again and I'll have great protection if it does rain and the tyvek doesn't slip around and I'll never have to worry because it will be wide enough that my neoair will fit inside the bivy and on most nights I'll just cowboy camp and not set up the tarp at all.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Bivy on 12/04/2013 11:54:06 MST Print View

Dale,

What conclusion did you arrive at? If you truly want to lay out in the rain in a bivy then the eVent top and whatever waterproof bottom you like would seem like the right combination.

I have a full Pertex (don't recall the actual fabric spec at the moment) bivy that I've got some use on but I fail to be rained on in it. Hopefully I can rectify that this winter. Anyway, it's heavy for a bivy but probably in the ballpark of what you're asking about. Something like this or an eVent bivy. You should still expect condensation inside, especially when the humidity is high, such as in a rain storm.

I'd concur with others like Tony who suggested pairing a lighter breathable bivy with a tarp though. That setup provides 3 ways to camp... bivy only, tarp only, or bivy+tarp and will be a lot more comfortable to ride out the storm in than a bivy only - but I'm guessing you know all of this and might have thought it would just be easier to use the a shelter with full protection in liu of tarp+bivy (which arguably could be easier, more comfortable, and possibly lighter).


Bivvies are sort of a conundrum. Personally I've found they work best in situations where I don't really need them to begin with; that's sort of a bitter irony. I do like them for bug protection, to pair with a floorless shelter in the snow, and in situations where I'd like a little extra protection, say from rain splatter or nighttime dew. My latest foray into bivy trials has been an M90 and Cuben (bottom) bivy from Borah Gear. The M90 seems like a pretty nice material for durability and minimal protection (no comment on longevity yet). I realize this is not what you asked about but just thought I'd leave it as a parting thought.

Edited by JacobD on 12/04/2013 11:55:05 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bivy on 12/04/2013 12:34:03 MST Print View

I have a used Titanium Goat Ptarmigan bivy on the way that is not a stand alone design either, but very light and my plan is to use it with a poncho. I think that style is acceptable for summer cowboy camping, supplemented with the poncho for unexpected rain.

The search continues. The Black Diamond Twilight bivy has been the most appealing production type bivy, mostly because of the weight and fabric. The hooped bivies from Outdoor Research look like good designs, but weight and expense push them back from my front line choices.

Bottom line? No free lunch. Unless the design is dead simple and light, I might as well use my Gatewood Cape. If I have to fiddle with poles, stakes or lines, a bivy isn't worth the drawbacks of exposed rain entry, condensation and restricted space.

Edited by dwambaugh on 12/10/2013 14:22:10 MST.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Bivy on 12/04/2013 22:45:04 MST Print View

If money was no object, and if i actually needed it (i don't really), would love to try out an all WPB cuben/eVent bivy with hoop. I would still use polycryo beneath it though, because even if i was that wealthy, it would still offend my Scottish heritage sensibilities and frugal-practical side.





As an aside and not really related, i happen to think combining the ultra lightweight cuben with polycryo would be an absolutely fantabulous combination for shelter material. Cuben for the tensile strength to take the load, and polycryo outer to help protect the cuben and provide long term waterproofness, plus double wall design to reduce condensation.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Bivy on 12/04/2013 22:58:44 MST Print View

There was a time when I often used a poncho/tarp with bivy. The bivy was needed to overcome the small surface area of the tarp.

New materials allow much bigger tarps (i.e. 8' X 10') at very light weights. With a large tarp, no bivy needed. But the tarp cannot be used as rain gear.

Every thing is a give and take.

I used to use bivys on almost every trip, but haven't used one in 3 or 4 years. With my Hexamid or large Cuben tarp @ 5 ounces, my bivys are now obsolete.