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Choosing my Bivy help
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Lenora Case

Locale: Central California
Choosing my Bivy help on 01/29/2014 19:54:38 MST Print View

I have decided to take the plunge and move from a tent to a tarp and bivy. I wonder if you could help me make a good choice. (please understand that I have paid close attention to the "tent v.s. tarp/bivy" discussions" and am clear on that :-). I backpack in the Sierra Nevada, summertime. I am looking at the MLD superlight, full head net zippered bivy, 6.7 oz for $175, and the Borah argon, same full head net, zippered, 6.1 oz for $95. And, if I choose (and move quickly) there is a MLD cuben superlight for sale on this website for $200, 5.2 oz. So...what would you advise? Thanks in advance.

Jeff Sims
(jeffreytsims) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
Bivy on 01/29/2014 20:56:36 MST Print View

You really can not go wrong with any of the options that you have listed. I took the plunge last year and after a lot of contemplation and many emails back and forth I ended up with a Borah gear Cuben bottom and M90 top full mesh on the head end xxl and xw as I am 6 ft 5 and sleep in the spin cycle. I used this under a Yama Mountain Gear Cirraform on all 8 nights of my JMT thru hike last year. I had no challenges and the guys at Borah gear were very accommodating and answered a lot of questions before we decided what to build.

With that said, I am a huge fan of MLD (have a solomid XL on order) and everything that I have seen from them is Top Notch. You really can not go wrong with either of these manufacturers.



Edited by jeffreytsims on 01/29/2014 20:57:15 MST.

Lenora Case

Locale: Central California
Choosing bivy on 01/29/2014 21:22:52 MST Print View

Thanks Jeff. I'm kind of average for a woman I think at 5'6 but also sleep in the spin cycle (like that description). So that makes me wonder if the regular size is many decisions....

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Choosing my Bivy help on 01/29/2014 22:23:10 MST Print View

I've been using the MLD superbivy since 2009 which includes alot of hiking in the Sierra Nevada. Mine has the half moon window but for pure summer hiking, the full netting option is probably better. As I cowboy camp most of the time and use a Tarp when it rains, I've gotten a lot of use out of it. Its held up nicely despite 3500+miles on it. That said, I've heard some nice things about the Borah bivies and don't think you could go wrong either way.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Choosing my Bivy help on 01/29/2014 22:47:41 MST Print View

No expensive bivies anymore Lenora, quoth the raven nevermore. Borah argon sounds nice.

(i realize some "poetic license" was used with your name..)

Lenora Case

Locale: Central California
Choosing my bivy on 01/29/2014 23:15:45 MST Print View

Thanks so much for your input. Wish I were a poet...don't you just know it! I'm leaning towards the cost savings of the borah argon, and am sure the bugs gone (ha!) I'm doing the JMT this summer (woot!) and will give it a good workout!

b willi jones
(mrjones) - F

Locale: NZ,,, best place in the world !?
bivy options on 01/30/2014 01:03:53 MST Print View

dont forget the ol' Bristlecone from Katabatic... my favorite

p.s they do a 5.6 option

Edited by mrjones on 01/30/2014 01:06:09 MST.

Joe A
(dirtbaghiker) - M
Katabatic on 01/30/2014 06:51:55 MST Print View

I LOVE my Katabatic Bristlecone bivy. I also LOVE my Bear Paw Wilderness bug bivy for the buggy warm months if needed. Though these are the only 2 bivys I have ever owned and used, so I can not compare them to others fairly, I can say they are worth looking at. Used alone, or with a tarp when weather warrents, bivys are fantastic. I am glad I went this route and ditched the tent. I will add that I like the bivy with accross the chest and side zipper as it makes getting in and out simple and also if you leave it unzipped u van catch a blast of fresh air. All of the bivys you mentioned are probably awesome. Now you must decide which one you will go with. Either way you choose, I'm pretty sure you will be a happy hiker and camper!!

Edited by dirtbaghiker on 01/30/2014 06:57:32 MST.

Mike Stromsoe
(phstudio) - F

Locale: So. Cal.
+1 for Katabatic Brislecone on 01/30/2014 12:07:58 MST Print View

Another vote for the Katabatic Gear Bristlecone. While I don't always use the attachment points on my Katabatic quilt to attach it to the pad, I always use the attachment points on the bivy to attach it to my inflatable air mat. Most bivys have a sil-nyon bottom and If you toss and turn a lot, you'll never have to worry about your pad sliding around with the Bristlecone. And no, you don't have to use their quilt with this bivy.

Lenora Case

Locale: Central California
Bivy help on 01/30/2014 22:22:47 MST Print View

Thanks so much. I looked at the looks more closed in to me...and its about the cost of the MLD ultralite. I am drawn to the full head net...I think I will feel lee confined in it(I really DO want to see what goes bump in the night).. I'd go with the full bug bivy (sooo light) if it weren't for thinking about rain splatter, & the added warmth/wind protection will be a benefit I think. Ive sent a message to Bora asking a few tarp & bivy questions. So..depending on what I hear from them I'll most likely get both tarp & bivy from them. I do appreciate the thoughtful input from this group. (am still tempted to go with a cat tarp :-)

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Bivy help on 01/31/2014 07:43:20 MST Print View

You might take a look at the zpacks one here as well:

I like the center zipper with the larger (and removable) screen.

Edited by millonas on 01/31/2014 07:58:04 MST.

Jeff Sims
(jeffreytsims) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
tarp on 01/31/2014 09:03:32 MST Print View

One thing to consider regarding a tarp purchase. Cat cut tarps are nice if you are looking for something that is easy to set up in the same way each and every time. I have a Cirraform that I have used a ton and at the end of the day when I am thinking of nothing but sleep it is very easy to set up On long nights or extreme weather days it can seem a bit limiting as it is low slung and there is not a ton of "livable" room. It is amazing at shedding wind and I have hunkered down in it on a couple of nights in major storms and i stayed dry. I love it and it will not likely never leave my quiver
I have also added an 8 x 10 flat tarp, and the more I play with it the more I am beginning to really love it. There is a ton of versatility. I can set it up a frame with a similar pitch to my Cirraform or depending on where and why It is going up. I have a ton of options. Hot sunny day, I can set it up high or as a lean to to create shade for lunch or a quick nap, if weather turns quickly, I can button it down with almost the same level of protection as the Cirraform. Better, maybe but different for sure.

Just things to think about