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  1. #1

    Default Tarp and borah cuben bivy

    From reading some posts it seems like not many people use bivys. I am considering a tarp bivy combination for times when there are alot of bugs and to stay warmer in the shoulder months. Are bivys not being used because of how movement restrictive they are, and also because of condensation or is there just better options available such as a mesh house?

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    I use a bivy some times when I'm otherwise pushing pushing the limit of my sleep system with a poncho tarp when rain is likely and/or in the summer when I am carrying a light quilt that may need a little extra warmth if it gets colder than expected. If I want to "sleep under the stars" and not have to pitch a tarp or tent to avoid some little drizzle or rain squal that might happen overnight a bivy provides a great option.

    But, you can carry a lot more tarp and a lot more sleeping bag insulation for the pound or two of bivy weight. For bugs, you don't need a whole bivy to be protected and a bigger net tent can be as light or lighter than a bivy providing more bug-free space if that is what you are after.

    So yeah, in the end, there are lots of simpler and lighter alternatives depending on your priorities in security and comfort.

    If you like "sleeping under the stars" a bivy is something you may find very useful. But, for weather and bug protection there are other, generally more flexible and lighter options.

    That's my two cents anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impostormaxx View Post
    Are bivys not being used because of how movement restrictive they are, and also because of condensation or is there just better options available such as a mesh house?

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

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    I had a bivy (REI's Minimalist) and took it on a few trips and really loved it. I found that since there was net right over my face, I didn't feel hemmed in at all, but instead felt as if I were cowboy camping. I had a poncho tarp for rain protection of necessary, but it never came to it on the trips that I was on.

    I stopped using it because I ended up buying The One tent which was a precursor to all the Cuben tarp-tents. That tent weighed less than my bivy and I could crawl in to it without pitching it and use it as a bivy if I wanted to on gravel pads or whatnot. Plus it also could be a lovely tent.

    I ended up losing my bivy in a break-up/move. I miss it, but it is now "too heavy" for me.

    And that is why I don't tarp+bivy anymore. Everyone has their own story, though.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by theinfamousj View Post
    ... I ended up losing my bivy in a break-up/move ... Everyone has their own story, though.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
    I first read that as "ended up USING my bivy in a break-up" and that's a story I wanted to hear.

    But in any case I agree that you can get a tent that's lighter, so why put up with the disadvantages of a bivy.

    The ONLY thing I miss from the period of time I used one is you can camp, instantly, anywhere; I once draped around a tree trunk on a steep slope. But this kind of advantage helped me maybe twice out of 30-40 trips so I passed through that faze of my search for the perfect solution.

  6. #6

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    "phase" not faze. I hate spelling "correction" and I hate that you can't edit posts here. I'd join the forum, but I hate to be extorted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil View Post
    . . . I'd join the forum, but I hate to be extorted.
    Instead you just want to exploit?

    . . . okay I'm editing my post now. It's really nice.
    Last edited by nsherry61; 11-05-2016 at 23:19.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impostormaxx View Post
    From reading some posts it seems like not many people use bivys. I am considering a tarp bivy combination for times when there are alot of bugs and to stay warmer in the shoulder months. Are bivys not being used because of how movement restrictive they are, and also because of condensation or is there just better options available such as a mesh house?
    Not many bivy lovers or those experienced with various bivouacs here on WB. Lots of misconceptions as a result.

    First, you are thinking correctly that a Borah Cuben bivy tarp combination not only acts as a shelter but the bivy is part of your sleeping bag/quilt sleep system. Bravo. This awareness has the potential to save wt because as you know the bivy helps you stay warmer so that could snowball into needing a less warmer temp rated and lighter wt sleeping bag/quilt. This is also a component based system meaning you can tweak both your shelter and sleeping system elements as situations dictate possibly getting very UL by adding/omitting this bivy, possibly groundsheet, bug bivy, etc as desired. You have a lot of combinations and options.

    All bivies are not the same. The water resistant(WR) sub 4.5 oz Argon top fabric one you're considering has no where near the condensation issues as a less breathable water proof(WP) bivy or a bivy where you are totally zipped up inside a fabric shell. The Borah Cuben has a .7 oz No-see-um head area. If you don't breathe into the bivy and instead breath out through the net you effectively greatly reduce interior condensation from your breathe. This is a critically different detail than being fully zipped up inside a WP bivy such as Borah's Snowyside eVent. Your bivy/tarp consideration is much less restrictive than being in a stand alone WP bivy all zipped up. It's no more restricting than being in a sleeping bag with the hood up! As InfamousJ said, "I found that since there was net right over my face, I didn't feel hemmed in at all, but instead felt as if I were cowboy camping." To feel even less restrictive and offering greater venting options with only a .25 oz wt penalty you might seriously consider taking advantage of Borah's exceptionally low $5 side zip option. And, you're still a sub 4.5 oz!

    Paring this bivy with a 7 oz, possibly sub 7 oz, 7' x 9' or so Cuben tarp, sub 2 oz polycro( window film) groundsheet(or not), while using trekking poles and you have a component based, tweakable, insect protected, non minimalist, sub 1 lb all in shelter that has elements in it to further reduce kit wt in your sleeping bag/quilt.

    Are there are other options? Sure.


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    I like bug bivy better if I wear ball cap style cap to help keep mesh away from face when on back.

    Dont need to tie off to roof of tarp if do this. Which is not always great anyway on a center pole shaped tarp due to sharp angle. at least not if tie off to apex. Stick on loop works for cuben to give better place to attach net cord to.,
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 11-06-2016 at 01:19.

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    Caveat: told from the perspective of one who lives in the southeast US

    I'll echo Dogwood's comments and dare to extend them a bit. Not only is it the case that "not all bivies are the same", I'd opine that a given bivy may perform dramatically different under only slightly different environmental conditions. They are tricky buggers. For instance, in the same week I stayed out twice under bivy + tarp in a WP/B Kelty bivy. First night, mid 50s (F), A-frame tarp, clear skies, tree cover, nothing green under me (drought), no noticeable breeze. Zipped up in bivy with noseeum mesh from head to waist. Condensation was minimal. Second night, all conditions same except tarp pitched as flying diamond. Massive condensation, both at foot end (where tarp was closed off) AND head end (where tarp was wide open and even higher off my head than the A-frame).

    My experience seems to concord with many ... that predicting condensation in a WP/B bivy under a tarp under a given set of conditions is a bit like predicting weather a month out. As for WR bivies, I can't say; I suspect that the greater the airflow the less the condensation, assuming you are covered by a tarp as well. If your WR bivy is the last layer between you and a clear sky, well, you might get condensation anyway. A friend of mine camped out under the stars without the tent rainfly; massive condensation on the inner tent mesh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cspan View Post
    Caveat: told from the perspective of one who lives in the southeast US

    I'll echo Dogwood's comments and dare to extend them a bit. Not only is it the case that "not all bivies are the same", I'd opine that a given bivy may perform dramatically different under only slightly different environmental conditions. They are tricky buggers. For instance, in the same week I stayed out twice under bivy + tarp in a WP/B Kelty bivy. First night, mid 50s (F), A-frame tarp, clear skies, tree cover, nothing green under me (drought), no noticeable breeze. Zipped up in bivy with noseeum mesh from head to waist. Condensation was minimal. Second night, all conditions same except tarp pitched as flying diamond. Massive condensation, both at foot end (where tarp was closed off) AND head end (where tarp was wide open and even higher off my head than the A-frame).

    My experience seems to concord with many ... that predicting condensation in a WP/B bivy under a tarp under a given set of conditions is a bit like predicting weather a month out. As for WR bivies, I can't say; I suspect that the greater the airflow the less the condensation, assuming you are covered by a tarp as well. If your WR bivy is the last layer between you and a clear sky, well, you might get condensation anyway. A friend of mine camped out under the stars without the tent rainfly; massive condensation on the inner tent mesh.
    Despicable blaming not yet coming to terms with bed wetting issues on a bivy?

  12. #12
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    I use a Ti-Goat Krestel bivy if I carry one. Works fine for me. Nothing special - no space age materials but I like the cost/function ratio.

    Most of my hikes are 7 days or less. That means I can look at the extended forecast and have a reasonable accurate idea of what kind of weather I'm going to encounter.

    1. No rain = tarp
    2. Some rain = tarp + bivy and I'll use the bivy if I need it.
    3. Lotta rain = tent

    ps. i haven't used a tent in around 2 years. Tarp or cowboy camp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Despicable blaming not yet coming to terms with bed wetting issues on a bivy?
    Interesting way to move the conversation forward.


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