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Mountain Laurel Designs Superlight

in Shelters - Bivy Sacks

Average Rating
5.00 / 5 (6 reviews)

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Glenn Roberts
( garkjr )

Southwestern Ohio
Mountain Laurel Designs Superlight on 01/05/2006 21:18:33 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've finally found my perfect bivy for use with a tarp. This bivy weighs 7 ounces, and features a nylon DWR top, a silnylon bottom, a waist-length side-entry zipper, and a true innovation: a drawstring opening at the foot. It's cool because it's highly breathable, perfect for summers around here (Ohio), turns the spatters and mist that drift under my tarp, and resists the dew that sometimes forms when I sleep under the stars. The drawstring bottom allows extra ventilation on those summer nights, and works well with my WM Mitylite bag (which has a two-way zipper to ventilate the foot area.) There is no bug mesh panel over the face - but I've started carrying the Gossamer Gear bug canopy, which I can either pitch from a tree limb or just lay across my face. Also, Ron Bell is extremely responsive and helpful - he's currently sewing a poncho for me, and has been very patient as I've changed my mind (with much useful guidance from him) about six times.

I highly recommend the product and Ron Bell - both are class acts.

7/9/07: Although I no longer use this bivy, I'm not changing my rating. I quit using it because it lacked a built-in mesh panel, and I got frustrated with the Gossamer Gear bug canopy - a real pain to use. (I now use an Integral Designs Salathe when I'm not using my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 tent.) If a mesh panel is really important to you, this bivy is not what you want - though Ron would probably be willing to modify one for you as a special order; like I said, he's a class act.

Edited by garkjr on 07/09/2007 11:31:30 MDT.

Ryan Gardner
( splproductions - M )

Salt Lake City, UT
Go MLD! on 03/07/2008 23:02:15 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

My bivy comes in at 6.3 ounces after removing the bungee that can be tied to the top of your tarp (to keep the fabric off your face).

I was holding out forever for a Side Zip Vapr bivy, but after waiting forever, I got the Superlight. This bivy is not only cheaper, it is lighter as well, and you can order it whenever you want and know it will be on it's way real quick. (Ron is shipping certain products now a lot quicker than the old ship times). Plus, Ron's one-on-one service makes it a no-brainer.

One thing I really, really like is in the new models, the but netting is a lot larger. The only thing I was hesitant about before purchasing was the exteremly small looking bug window, but when I got it (in '07) it was much wider (the new '08 models).

A solid 5!

Jeremy Pendrey
( Pendrey )

Solid ultralight bivy on 02/11/2009 21:17:58 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I agree with the first two reviewers that this is an excellent bivy to use with a tarp. It is extremely light (mine weighs in at 6 oz even not counting the stuff sack and cord that can be attached to keep it off your face). The Momentum fabric on top sheds water nicely. The bug net is sufficient to breathe well (the 08 model that I have has a bigger bugnet than previous models), though it can get stuffy if you need it for bug protection on a warm night. I tend to toss and turn but the standard size is fine for me. I'm only 5'8" / 150 lbs though so I would probably get the larger size if I were much bigger. The bivy definitely adds warmth to my sleeping quilt and cuts down on the wind and the silnylon bottom is unscathed after one summer of use. Also, it zips down the side part way (not just across the chest) for easy entry and exit. The only issue I have had is with condensation in below freezing temps on a cold clear September Sierra night but I'm not sure there's much that can be done about that. Here's frost on the outside of the bivy after a clear below freezing night.
Here's a pic of it in the early morning covered in frost. It was too cold to keep it open at night, so I just waited for sunshine to dry everything out (one of the benefits of the Sierra). The loft held up on my quilt, so it was not an issue. Overall, it's a solid ultralight no frills bivy to use with a tarp.

Edited by Pendrey on 02/11/2009 21:23:05 MST.

Gerry Brucia
( taedawood )

Louisiana, USA
Fantastic Product on 04/13/2009 16:37:37 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I recently received and tested my MLD Superlight bivy. Weighing in at 6.2 oz, the workmanship is excellent...the seams were neatly sewn with no visible defects. The side zipper is very smooth and includes a loop tie to help pull it. The bottom is silnylon and the top is momentum.

This is my first bivy. My regular size was ample for my 5' 11" frame. I did not zip the bug screen over my face since bugs were not an issue but there is plenty of space to do so, especially if connecting the tie string to a tarp.

I used it last weekend in tandem with a BPL Pro quilt and a GG Spinntwin tarp. On the first night, conditions were clear, with winds around 10 - 15 mph and temperatures in the mid 50's F. On the second night, a strong thunderstorm hit in the middle of the night with winds in the 35 - 45 mph range and temperatures that dropped from the mid 60's to the low 40's F. In anticipation of bad weather, I had set my tarp sides perpendicular to the wind and staked them directly to the ground. The bivy gave me the extra assurance of wind and rain protection during the storm, enabling me to sleep very comfortably. In the morning, there was condensation above me on the underside of my tarp but none inside the bivy, indicating that the momentum fabric provided optimal ventilation.

In buggy weather I will probably continue using my GG Squall Classic tarptent but in all other conditions, I will use my tarp/superlight bivy/quilt combination that in total weighs right at 2 lbs.

Edited by taedawood on 04/13/2009 16:43:43 MDT.

G Foster McLachlan
( hunter13 )

Superlight and super price on 01/03/2010 08:01:10 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've used this bivy throughout summer and fall of 09. I plan to use it in conjunction w a mid for winter use as well. It is my first bivy. Used in dry, wet, cold, and warm/ hot conditions. 26 degrees to 75 degrees.

-I ordered large as I'm 5'9"~175# and wanted room for layering and some gear storage near head if wanted, as well as some room to shift around. It satisfies all of this.
-For it's weight it sure is durable. I camp in rocky areas as well as among roots and all sorts of rough patches of ground I submit myself to. No tears yet.
-I've camped under tarp through many a storm and DWR worked fantastic. Never got wet thankfully. Bottom fabric also holds up well from rain splatter, small puddles etc.
-Cuts the wind just fine and appreciate that when used w quilt.
-of course keeps critters at bay.
-wouldn't mind netting being an inch to two inches larger width and length-even consididering I hike in a wet region. I have to position netting just right so as to breath fresh air.
-ONly once did my bag wet out from condensation, but it was in near perfect conditons for that to happen..cold, still night under stars no shelter. I bet only an all Event bag would have prevented. Otherwise breathability was very good.
-In temps above 65 or 70 I won't use any bivy anymore as I felt like I was slowly roasting during mid summer usage w high humidity. Probably use an inner net or something for that.
-Zippers work great.
All in all its an essential piece and I am sure I'll be using it for many years. Other than netting(personal preference) the changes like an all event footbox is nice addition.I'm not sure it can get any better. Cash cow.

Edited by hunter13 on 01/03/2010 08:02:08 MST.

Sean Nordeen
( Miner )

I've been most impressed with the MLD Superlite bivy. on 08/11/2013 21:06:28 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

When I lost my old bivy sack early on in my 2009 PCT thru-hike, MLD was quick to ship me this one when I explained my situation.

Mine weighs 6.5oz with the stuff sack and the cord used to pull the netting off your face under a tarp. It has the half moon face vent. I'm 5'10" and the regular size was perfect for me. Its far more breathable then my old silnylon DWP one and I normally don't have any issues with condensation using it out west. The only downside to the breathability is that it doesn't block strong wind as well. It is water resistant rather then water proof, so the fabric will eventually saturate and allow water penetration, but that's why its so light and breathable. Its not meant to be your only shelter in direct rain, but used in combination with a tarp or other shelter.

Its now 2013 and its still almost as good as new. I used it extensively on my 2009 PCT thru-hike, every backpacking trip since then, and in 2012, used it for the northern 600 miles of the AT, both alone, under my tarp and in the AT Shelters.

It gets far more use then my tarp since I normally just cowyboy camp in my bivy sack. As I often push my luck in my cowboy camping, there have been a few times when my luck ran out, but it kept my sleeping bag dry until I could pull my tarp out. There have been times when I just waited out the light drizzle and then went back to sleep when it stopped rather then getting the tarp out. My sleeping bag was still dry. I once had some water pool down by my feet under my tarp, and it kept my sleeping bag dry. Its proven its worth numerous times for me. I have had a few situations where the bivy sack wetted out and my sleeping bag started to get wet: happened in heavy mist and dew and once in rain when I refused to readjust my tarp. It took hours for it to happen to a point where I noticed it and even then I still remained warm until morning when I packed up. It dries really quickly to.

If I was looking to buy another bivy sack today, I would still buy this one. The only change would be that I would get the CF floor to save an ounce of weight since I'm pretty gentle with my gear and how confident I am in how it will hold up. That option wasn't available to me when I originally bought mine in 2009.

Edited by Miner on 08/11/2013 21:12:05 MDT.

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