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Reader Reviews

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Black Diamond Winter Bivy

in Shelters - Bivy Sacks

Average Rating
3.29 / 5 (7 reviews)

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Doug Hile
( dhile )
Black Diamond Winter Bivy on 11/13/2006 13:50:52 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have used this bag twice and happy so far. I have not had any rain yet. This summer (Aug) in the Grand Canyon I slept in it with a bag liner and did not get clammy so beathablity is good. I have hosed the dust off it and the inside was still dry. I have a 50” chest and still have room in it with a 25F bag. Mine is 11oz with a 0.5 oz stuff sack that is 2oz more than advertised.

William Webber
( micwebbpl )
On the Other Hand, Ryan, Can You Think of Better Way to Keep Your Bag Clean in Summer Camping? on 11/15/2006 11:31:43 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Ryan, great expert's perspective!

However, I am in a quandary for summer hiking - I have a Ray Way quilt, and the Bibler seems ideally suited to it - keep the drafts out, keep the quilt clean so I don't have to wash it.

On the other hand my summer hikes DO take me to the dreaded "mountains," in this case in Yosemite, not Montana.

What do you think?

It's a lot easier to wash the Bibler Bivvy than the quilt (or any other bag), and I'd rather have some light rain protection in a pinch....

Ryan Jordan
( ryan - BPL STAFF - M )

Greater Yellowstone
Winter Bivy OK for Summer on 11/15/2006 11:37:44 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I have a few Epic bivies, one from Oware, one from BD (Lightsabre) and one from Bibler (this one, the Winter Bivy). They are both great in the summer, especially in rainy weather, where the Epic treatment remains durable and water rolls off quite well, never entering through the fabric.

And then you have "normal mountain weather".

Cold temperatures, below but still "near" freezing. Let's call this range "15 F to 25 F". The condensation in an Epic bivy at this temperature range is miserable. While Epic is a superb fabric for keeping stuff out, it's not so breathable when it counts. Compared to something more waterproof, such as eVENT, or even XCR, at these temperatures, and Epic can't let enough moisture out to keep you even reasonably dry.

At temperatures colder than about 15, things get better again, because the condensation simply freezes on the inside of the bivy and it brushes away rather well in the morning.

So, if the bivy is to be called a "winter" bivy, it's ironic that a typical winter condition (15-25F) becomes its Achilles heel.

My larger gripe with the bivy is not the fabric but the sizing. Again, fine for summer: thin bags, little clothing. But add a fat winter bag and a down parka and pants, and there simply isn't enough room to keep everything nice and lofted for the typical near-zero winter night. And I'm not a big guy (5'8" 160 lb)...

I'd be more inclined to rate the bivy higher if it was renamed the Bibler Summer Bivy.

Joseph Bernier
( sigeats )

Southern California
Condensation below 20 F on 01/17/2007 08:54:40 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I have had my BD Winter bivy for about a year now and have used it a hand full of times. Last weekend I used it for the first time in cold weather. We had temps in the low teens and I woke up to a good deal of condensation between my bag and the bivy. So as Ryan says above, this bag is great for summer, or anytime the temps are above 20-25 F. I also don't love the zipper . . . snags on the fabric very easily. For the price it's a good bivy, just don't use it if it is cold out with humidity above 35%.

Edited by sigeats on 01/17/2007 12:42:48 MST.

matthew murphy
( bern0416 )

Agreed on 11/14/2007 06:32:11 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Ditto on what Ryan and Joseph wrote. This is a great summer bivy and I love to use it in conjunction with my modified Big Agnes Horse Thief.However, I too have experienced major condensation issues in the 15-25 degree range.
Like Doug, I found that mine weighed in at about 2 more ounces than advertised.
Still, I love this bivy. The Epic fabric is highly water resistant and highly breathable in the majority conditions.
For a price of $99.00 it's hard to beat.

Edited by bern0416 on 11/14/2007 06:33:13 MST.

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Ian Crawford
( joeback )
Black Diamond Lightsabre Bivy - Worthless! on 04/12/2009 21:05:59 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5


Water POURED through the fabric...not the seams...of this piece of junk from day one. Spray a gentle mist on it, and water goes right through the fabric.

Had extensive talk with Black Diamond before ordering directly from them. Got mealy-mouthed excuse after excuse, resulting in hours of wasted effort seam-sealing(Useless), field-testing in fog, different temps, etc. Never made any difference. In the end Black Diamond refused to refund my money. What a vile and contemptuous company B.D. is. I wonder how many people have died inside these bivies? I.M. Crawford, Santa Cruz, CA.

Edited by ryan on 04/14/2009 07:36:42 MDT.

Jim Sweeney
( swimjay )

Northern California
Bad Epic? on 08/28/2009 19:18:55 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I wonder if the Epic in your bivy was somehow defective? (In which case BD should have sent you another, or refunded your money.) currently has them on sale for $96.50, which includes free shipping by UPS ground.

It's interesting to notice my own psychology-- 9 oz sounds OK for a no-bug-proofing, not too expensive bivy, but 11 oz sounds a bit heavy.

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