Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW

A three-pound solo shelter made of almost-magically breathable eVENT fabric and designed for alpine climbing, it can handle wild weather, but is it comfortable to live with?

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

As a bomber tent-like bivy, the Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy fits a narrow niche. It has impressive wind stability, fantastic condensation resistance, and comfortable sleeping space, even for tall hikers. Integral Designs is clear in calling this a ‘bivy’ due to its short twenty-four-inch peak height and tight interior space, but it offers much more than a traditional bivy with a large optional vestibule, the full structure of a tent, and the space to pack two climbers in a pinch. At over three pounds (without the vestibule), it is quite heavy for a bivy, but if a minimalist bomber shelter fits your needs, the Integral Designs Wedge is unique and highly functional.

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by Doug Johnson |

Introduction

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 1
The Integral Designs Wedge eVENT bivy in Washington’s Cascades.

The Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy is more like a short tent than a traditional bivy. With a two-crossed-pole "wedge" design, it is similar to other single-wall tents except for its very low profile - it is only twenty-four inches tall. This height clearly classifies it as a bivy and not a tent. However, it is generously sized in length and width for even a tall solo hiker, with space for gear inside the tent. Made of extremely breathable eVENT and with solid wind stability, it's a shelter that can handle the most unforgiving weather and alpine environments. At just over three pounds, the Wedge Bivy is a shelter that can make it through the harshest environments. An optional vestibule adds a great deal of storage and living space, adding versatility.

Performance

The Integral Designs Wedge Bivy is a unique shelter. It’s short, but sized for comfortable sleeping - even for a tall person. It’s built out of eVENT, which is unparalleled for breathability and condensation resistance while remaining completely storm-worthy. The optional vestibule provides generous space for gear or cooking and can be dug out in the snow for extra foot space. It’s just over three pounds (without vestibule) which is very light for a bomber solo tent, but quite heavy compared to a full-featured bivy such as the two-pound Integral Designs EXP Unishelter Bivy. The Wedge Bivy is beyond a traditional bivy, though, and this is where the Wedge lives - right between a full-featured bivy sack and a bomber solo tent.

The Integral Designs Wedge Bivy has some similarities to the Rab Summit Extreme (now called the Rab Superlite Bivi which is a bit longer, shorter, and lighter). Like the Rab tent/bivy, the Wedge is made of single wall eVENT, sized for a solo hiker, designed to handle extreme conditions, and has a very low ceiling height (the Wedge is 24 inches tall, the Rab Summit Extreme was 33.7 inches, and the Rab Superlite Bivi is 27.5 inches). While the Integral Designs shelter doesn’t have the direct harness tie-outs that make the Rab tent unbeatable for extreme alpine-style ascents, it has some unique features such as an optional vestibule, an easy to use entrance, and nearly vertical walls at the head and foot that give it an edge in versatility.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 2
A top view of the Wedge with the eVENT (left) and mesh (right) doors in use. Note the sky views that are available when using the mesh door.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 3
The pre-bent Easton aluminum poles create almost vertical walls at the ends, and the large doorway cutout makes entry and exit much easier.

The Wedge bivy has a traditional “wedge” design with crossing aluminum poles. This is a common design for one- to two-person four-season shelters, due to the combination of wind stability, snow load capacity, and relative light weight. However, the asymmetrical pre-bent Easton poles provide more vertical walls at the head and foot of the shelter, increasing usable space. Straight arched poles limit the interior space of a shelter this short, due to the tight angles at either end of the tent, but the Wedge Bivy design eliminates this issue.

The doorway is another unique design element. It is cut far back into the top of the tent, making entering and exiting the Wedge very easy. The door also allows views of the sky on clear nights. On clear but buggy nights, the mesh door offers full views and an open-air feel. The downside of the large door is that rain comes straight into the living area when the door is open, although the optional vestibule eliminates this issue.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 4
The crossed-pole design and pre-bent poles make an efficient, but very low living space.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 5
The Wedge Bivy offers comfortable space for sleeping (left), but my knees could easily touch the ceiling (right).

At only twenty-four inches high at the peak, the Wedge Bivy is a very low shelter. In fact, it is so low that my knees touch the ceiling when slightly bent while using a three-inch down air pad. Turning around while inside the tent requires advanced flexibility - don’t expect to easily get items at the foot end of the shelter, and you can forget trying to sit up. However, the sleeping space in the Integral Designs shelter is quite comfortable. I’m 6 feet 2 inches and had length to spare. With twenty-one square feet of space, there was room for gear storage, even when using a winter bag. I found the shelter to be far less claustrophobic than a traditional bivy sack. It might be possible for two people to survive a night in the Wedge Bivy, but I would save this only for emergencies or ultralight summit attempts. Used in this setting, though, the Wedge would be great for keeping two climbers warm, dry, and safe.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 6
The poles attach with a three-piece Velcro attachment for extra security. Pole pockets in the rear (bottom right) make a secure placement in the cramped rear end easy.

The Wedge Bivy is pitched with interior poles. After extending the poles, you slide the them into pole pockets at the rear of the tent, ensuring that the tips will be in the correct position. This is a great addition, especially with this shelter’s tight quarters. After placing the front pole tips in position, Velcro tabs are attached to hold the poles in place. The three-piece Velcro tabs provide extra strength over other systems I’ve used and are easy to attach.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 7
There are two pockets inside the Wedge: a usable one in front (left) and one in the back that was very hard to access (right).

Two interior pockets provide small item storage. I found the front one to be very useful, but the rear one was extremely difficult to access unless I crawled in head-first. I think it would have been better to have two pockets at the head end of the shelter. The rear pocket may have been intended for a second sleeper, but regular use for two people seems like a long shot.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 8
In continuous rain and sub-zero conditions alike, the eVENT fabric kept the interior dry and condensation-free. Only the silnylon vestibule had condensation (right).

As stated in the Backpacking Light article The eVENT Single Wall Tent: Here, Then Gone - What’s Replacing It??, tents made of eVENT are extremely rare. This shelter can be made from the fabric because it falls into the class of “bivy shelter” due to its low height. The use of eVENT is a serious bonus; it is amazingly breathable while remaining completely waterproof. Like the Rab Summit Extreme, I was stunned by the breathability of this shelter. In the field, I experienced almost no condensation in above freezing conditions and very little frost build-up in sub-freezing conditions.

In the past, I tested the breathability of the Rab Summit Extreme eVENT tent by boiling water in the sealed tent for several sessions of ten to fifteen minutes. When finished, I collected condensation with a paper towel to weigh the total condensation. Each time, I was only able to detect moisture on the aluminum poles and on the seam tape - total condensation only measured 0.1 oz after a fifteen-minute boil. I simply could not make condensation occur in these conditions. Similar tests in the field yielded similar results with the Wedge Bivy - it has amazing condensation resistance.

Given the right conditions, condensation will occur with any tent. However, I have found condensation extremely difficult to find under any conditions in eVENT shelters. I still hold the opinion that eVENT is a magic fabric when used in a single-wall shelter.

When comparing condensation between the eVENT bivy and the silnylon vestibule, the difference between the fabrics was obvious, with significantly more condensation in the vestibule. Where the two fabrics overlap, there was more condensation inside the shelter when using the vestibule, but it was minor and in a relatively small area.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 9
The closable vent allowed further ventilation, although it seemed to be largely unnecessary due to the eVENT fabric.

Besides the highly breathable eVENT fabric, the Wedge Bivy also includes a closable tube vent on the door with a mesh backing. This vent adds to the shelter’s ventilation and also serves as a small window to check outside conditions. On most nights I slept with the vent closed and with minimal condensation, raising the question of whether this feature is necessary in an eVENT shelter. However, it would be a welcome addition during warm summer rains when opening the door is impossible.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 10
On each side there are three guy-outs and three high stakeout points, which I used as adjustable triangulated guy outs. Two additional guy-outs on the top of the tent makes fourteen guy out points total.

There are a grand total of fourteen stake and guy-out points on the Integral Designs shelter. I added plastic sliders to the guylines for easy adjustment and found that when using twelve of the points, the bivy was virtually unmoved in moderately high winds. With its low profile design and guy-outs that are reinforced with interior attachments at the Easton poles, I would feel confident bringing this bivy into the scariest storms. Two additional guy-outs at the top of the tent add even more confidence.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 11
The optional vestibule adds a great deal of living and storage space. It uses a single pole, has a side entry (bottom left), and attaches with a plastic buckle (top right) and lower pole grommets. It fits a large pack (bottom right) and has enough space for cooking.

An option vestibule adds $85 and 12.4 ounces to the Wedge Bivy. The vestibule is constructed of silnylon for lighter weight and uses a single Easton aluminum pole to increase the space. It attaches quickly to the shelter with a snap buckle, a grommet on either side, and a single stake in front. The vestibule is taller than the actual bivy, making it a comfortable place to sit up, organize gear, and cook, especially when digging it out in the snow. It has a side entrance that rolls up, giving a generous entrance while providing full rain coverage over the shelter door.

The vestibule adds a great deal of versatility to the shelter and makes it much easier to live with in conditions where you’re trapped inside for extended periods. It doesn’t have the extreme wind stability of the bivy (or the guy-out points) but in moderate conditions, it held up just fine. On one night when the winds picked up and the vestibule started to shake, I was able to pull my gear inside the bivy and quickly take down the vestibule to stash it inside. I found the combination of extra living space with the backup of a bomber solo shelter to be a great combination for a variety of conditions.

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW - 12
The doors roll up with simple ties that are hard to manage in gloves and cold hands.

A few details were missing on the Wedge Bivy. The included guylines lacked plastic adjustors, the four included stakes were only sufficient for the most basic pitch, and the doors included simple ties that were hard to manage with cold hands. I would have appreciated extra stakes and a full guyline kit as I’ve seen from other manufacturers. Rolled door closures made of bungee material or using toggles are much simpler to use in cold conditions and would be a welcomed change.

At $400 the Integral Designs Wedge Bivy ($485 with the vestibule) is not an inexpensive shelter. However, it is a good value when compared to bomber single-wall tents. The construction is superb, and it is sure to last many seasons. The eVENT fabric is extremely rare in a tent and will keep you dry on even the most humid nights. Most importantly, you are sure to survive storms that would destroy lesser shelters. If a bomber bivy suits your needs, the Wedge Bivy is hard to beat.

What’s Unique

Scour the market and you’ll see just how rare and unique this shelter is. eVENT is a magic fabric that’s only available if you’re willing to accept a low ceiling height (and this is certainly a low ceiling height!). But for those that want a bomber shelter that’s a bit more than a bivy, not quite a full tent, but has the versatility of an optional full vestibule, the Wedge Bivy will suit your needs perfectly.

Specifications

Year/Manufacturer/Model 2010 Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy
Style Four-season, single-wall, freestanding floored shelter with optional vestibule
Included Shelter body, two pre-curved Easton aluminum poles, four Easton stakes, four ten-foot guylines, stuff sack, stake bag
Fabrics Body: Direct Venting eVENT Fabric
Floor: 1.9-oz taffeta nylon floor fabric with a 0.5-oz urethane coating
Interior Mesh: 0.7-ounce no-see-um netting
Poles and Stakes Two Easton 0.340 in (8.6 mm) 7075-T9 aluminum poles, four Easton aluminum tubular 6.5 in (16.5 cm) stakes
Dimensions Floor Length: 88 in (220 cm)
Floor Width: Front - 45 in (112 cm), Rear - 31 in (77 cm)
Peak Height: 24 in (60 cm)
Packed Size 19 x 5 in (48 x 13 cm)
Total Weight (includes tent, included guylines, stuff sacks, poles, stakes) 3 lb 3.5 oz (1.46 kg)
Manufacturer specification: 2 lb 15.2 oz (1.34 kg)
Trail Weight (includes tent and stakes, excludes guylines and stuff sacks) 3 lb 0.9 oz (1.39 kg)
Protected Area Floor area 21.0 ft2 (1.95 m2)
Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio 7.0 ft2/lb
MSRP $400 USD, available in yellow or green
Optional Vestibule $85 - includes 30d 1.1 oz silnylon grey vestibule, one Easton aluminum pole, silnylon stuff sack; adds 7.0 ft2 (0.65 m2) of space; 12.4 oz (351 g) including .4-oz (10-g) stuff sack

What’s Good

  • Lightweight, at just over three pounds, for a solo bomber shelter
  • eVENT is extremely breathable, and extremely rare in traditional tents
  • Long enough for a tall hiker and enough space for some gear inside
  • Low wind profile with fourteen guy-out points for fantastic wind stability
  • Optional vestibule adds a great deal of versatility for just over twelve ounces
  • Large front entry with mesh door that offers sky views

What’s Not So Good

  • Extremely short at only twenty-four inches - not tall enough to sit up
  • Heavy for a bivy (but light for a tent)
  • Open door lets in rain and snow, making the vestibule necessary in poor weather
  • Expensive at $400 (or $485 with the vestibule)
  • Guyline adjustors aren’t included and only includes four stakes

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Include enough stakes for a full pitch and plastic adjustors for the included guylines
  • Move the rear pocket to the front where it can be more easily accessed
  • Trade the ties for door roll-ups with elastic toggles or plastic adjustors to make them easier to use
  • Consider making a taller version of the Wedge - the bent poles would be a great addition to a larger shelter as well

Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to review this product to the manufacturer under the terms of this agreement.


Citation

"Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW," by Doug Johnson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/integral_designs_wedge_bivy_review.html, 2010-06-01 00:05:00-06.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW on 06/01/2010 13:49:39 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW on 06/01/2010 14:41:03 MDT Print View

I wonder how one could rig up a siltarp as a vestibule for less weight. At least for entry and exit in the rain.

Alex Gilman
(Vertigo) - F

Locale: Washington
Neat Idea on 06/01/2010 14:59:04 MDT Print View

Though it sounds like for the weight you could actually get to hang out in a full on 2P tent like a BD HiLight. Which during a winter storm would ptobably be more comfy. I wonder how this thing does if it snows over 2 feet at night. I hope it's not like being burried alive.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW on 06/01/2010 14:59:42 MDT Print View

Perhaps use trekking poles instead of the easton pole? Wouldn't be as pretty but might be just as effective.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
ID Wedge on 06/01/2010 16:26:00 MDT Print View

If I needed a bomber solo shelter I would take this over the Akto, no question.

With respect to the Hilight - my only issue would be:

a.) length - the BD is very short
b.) low hydrostatic head. Nice to know eVENT is waterproof to 10,000mm (I think)
c.) not as breathable with the new fabric.

@ Doug - I'm done with pretty things in the backcountry...; )
(hope everything is okay)

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW on 06/01/2010 16:42:52 MDT Print View

Nice, but boodly expensive.

Bill (L.Dog) Garlinghouse
(WJGhouse) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Why wouldn't I on 06/01/2010 18:32:08 MDT Print View

Get an MSR Hubba HP at 2 lbs, 9 ozs, with more headroom, for $350?

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Wedge on 06/01/2010 18:45:21 MDT Print View

In terms of room, the Hubba HP is much narrower. Of course, it's trail weight is also higher than the 2lbs, 9oz because you add pegs and guys. Because it has a narrow yet tall profile, it would not be as wind effective as the wide squat stance of the Wedge. I also can't see it supporting snow nearly as well as the Wedge. Maybe someone else can chime in.

What I would like to see is a pic of Doug sitting at the entrance (door open of course) to get a sense of the size of this shelter.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Wedge on 06/01/2010 21:18:17 MDT Print View

dddfewree

Hope this gives a better idea David.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Why wouldn't I on 06/01/2010 22:09:57 MDT Print View

That makes sense William for most applications. Where this tent has few equals is above the treeline in an alpine environment with crazy weather. Serious summit bids are its forte due to the amazing wind stability and single wall design. I agree though, that other tents definitely give more usable space for less money or less weight. For average backpacking or lowland winter use, this wouldn't be my first choice. But what it's good at, it's REALLY good at.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Wedge on 06/01/2010 22:11:33 MDT Print View

Great - thanks Doug. Wide shelter!

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Neat Idea on 06/01/2010 22:16:55 MDT Print View

Alex- I had it in heavy snowfall of about 1.5 feet one night. It didn't collapse but the flat roof is not the best for shedding snow. Definitely better than most bivies though!

Compared to the HiLight (which I've never used but I had a Lighthouse for several years), this tent will have much less usable space but will be more breathable and fully waterproof. It also is a heavier, more durable fabric. The Wedge is much more of an alpine assault-style shelter. They have different niches in my opinion. I think it's best to compare the Integral Designs Wedge to the Rab bivies for a closer comparison.

Thanks!
Doug

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
RE:Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW on 06/01/2010 22:17:35 MDT Print View

Doug. Given the conditions that you camp in would you buy one?

christopher culvern
(culcn) - F
event compared to gore-tex on 06/02/2010 11:32:02 MDT Print View

How does the event material in this bivy compare to the gore-tex material in, say, the OR bivy line?

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Door opening on 06/02/2010 12:12:00 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review.
I really wanted to like this shelter, and came very close to buying one.
Unfortunately, the door killed it for me. A storm shelter that only opens from the roof seems crazy to me. If it was possible to open the door from the floor upwards, i would have one in a minute. In the conditions i would use this in, the inside could become a swimming pool in a very short time. The optional vestibule seems like an afterthought, and is too much of a weak point in really testing conditions.
And why would i need bug netting in a storm shelter? I really want one of these, if only ID would only tweak the design.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Wedge on 06/02/2010 12:21:25 MDT Print View

Mike - I think the bug screen is needed in conditions where you camp at lower elevations prior to getting to higher ones. In the Canadian Rockies, for example, even at 8000 ft before you are above treeline the biting, flying insects are unbearable. I wonder if the screen is removable?

@Christopher,

"eVENT passes moisture equally well at low and high humidity levels. At a 30% humidity level, eVENT transports moisture about 200% faster than Gore-Tex XCR and about 250% faster than standard Gore-Tex and the best polyurethane (PU) membranes "

Taken from this excellent BPL article - http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/event_tents_here_gone.html

Edited by FamilyGuy on 06/03/2010 14:09:47 MDT.

Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
@Doug Integral Designs Wedge or RAB extreme? on 06/02/2010 12:29:06 MDT Print View

Doug,
which one do you like better?
1-Rab Summit Extreme eVent tent
2-Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy

Edited by djjmikie on 06/02/2010 13:07:07 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re :Integral Designs Wedge eVENT Bivy REVIEW on 06/02/2010 12:47:06 MDT Print View

Good point Dave about YMMV. I'm looking at this as an overnight, winter mountain shelter when there are no bugs here in Scotland. The low, wind shedding profile of the Wedge is what makes me drool. I can't handle an open roof opening though.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Wedge on 06/02/2010 12:56:02 MDT Print View

I hear you Mike - maybe V.2 will have some changes. Guyed out that thing looks like it wouldn't budge in the worst wind.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Wedge on 06/02/2010 14:23:32 MDT Print View

Oh man, what is WITH these manufacturers that have their tents opening to catch rain and snow??? If only they had the door open the other way, and a bit of extra width to the door fabric, you could have pitched the door as a rain porch on calm days, and still get in and out of the tent without the tent getting drenched. What were they thinking????