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To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!

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Offline SA Bill

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To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« on: July 25, 2008, 06:38:23 PM »
My plan right now is to just carry a tarp on my overnight to the S Rim in October...no tent. No problem if the weather is not going to be a problem. But...what if the weather turns on me? I'm wondering if a bivy sack might be a better idea instead of the tarp? Anybody here use a bivy? Pros and cons?
  Thanks!
    Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

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Offline Robert

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2008, 06:57:49 PM »
Well not that I have used one but a friend did on one of our trips to the park. On the second night it started raining just after supper and rained off an on all night. All I know is after we got back he bought a one man tent. Maybe it is just a personal preference but I wouldn't want to be stuck in one during an extended rainy spell.

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Offline bdhawk133

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2008, 07:21:36 PM »
Ok....I know someone is going to get tired of me plugging this thing, but seriously........yo u can't beat it!!!! At about the same price as a decent bivy and about the same weight, this thing definitley takes the cake on comfort!!! This pic is not very good, but it is of my Hennessy Expedition Asym hanging at Pinnacles-1 this past March.  :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin: :icon_biggrin:
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Offline EdB

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2008, 07:23:08 PM »
If the weather turns on you, would you rather be under a tarp or stuck in a glorified sleeping bag?

I'm not sure what your plan is for a tarp - when you say tarp I'm picturing a blue plastic tarp draped over something with both ends open, and that would suck if it's windy. I think if I were doing this I'd take the rainfly and poles from a small tent and use that as cover if I didn't want to carry the entire tent. At least that way you'd have decent rain/wind coverage from all sides.

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chisos_muse

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2008, 07:24:43 PM »
Bill you need to PM Lighter Fluid on this one, or ask him to post his personal experience with this. He is an expert.... :icon_cool: I believe there is another thread somewhere that contains some info on this with photo's too but Musey doesn't like that search feature! :icon_lol:

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Offline mule ears

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2008, 07:47:52 PM »
Bill you need to PM Lighter Fluid on this one, or ask him to post his personal experience with this. He is an expert.... :icon_cool: I believe there is another thread somewhere that contains some info on this with photo's too but Musey doesn't like that search feature! :icon_lol:

Here you go Musey http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/hiking-the-desert/sleeping-without-a-tent-t4891.0.html 

In my opinion sleeping in a bivy by itself in the rain is a nightmare. I use bivy's all the time but with a tarp. The bivy catches all the spray from the rain and keeps the sleeping bag dry will still allowing one to sit up and cook etc. under the tarp. Without the tarp it keeps the wind off and adds a few degrees of warmth your sleeping bag rating.
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Offline betteroutside

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2008, 08:15:55 PM »
My experience with bad weather and a bivy, plus a tarp and a groundcloth is the weight is about the same as a good lightweight tent. For example, the BD Firstlight, Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1, and a number of the Tarptent designs. All depends on personal preference.

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Offline Al

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2008, 08:33:59 PM »
As always watch the weather before you go.  If it looks like a cold front with high winds and rain is possible, a tent is preferable.  If it's just a chance of rain a tarp would be my choice.

Al

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Offline SA Bill

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2008, 09:28:33 PM »
As usual, the members of this board have come through with flying colors! Thanks for the copious, quick info.

Thanks Muse and mule ears! I had found the thread and was reading it already.

I think Al hit it on the head...if the forecast is "iffy", plan accordingly. That's what I'll do. If the forecast is too bad, I'll just stay in the Basin in the main tent and not risk being on the Rim without adequate coverage...whatever that is.   :eusa_eh:

However, my current thinking leans toward taking a bare bones bivy...just in case. I'll still carry the small tarp and just sleep out on it if the weather is okay. If it turns bad, I can hunker down in the bivy...with the tarp helping however I can manage.

Soooo...now I'm looking for a bivy that doesn't weigh much or cost much.   :icon_rolleyes:
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline Al

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2008, 09:58:12 PM »
As usual, the members of this board have come through with flying colors! Thanks for the copious, quick info.

Thanks Muse and mule ears! I had found the thread and was reading it already.

I think Al hit it on the head...if the forecast is "iffy", plan accordingly. That's what I'll do. If the forecast is too bad, I'll just stay in the Basin in the main tent and not risk being on the Rim without adequate coverage...whatever that is.   :eusa_eh:

However, my current thinking leans toward taking a bare bones bivy...just in case. I'll still carry the small tarp and just sleep out on it if the weather is okay. If it turns bad, I can hunker down in the bivy...with the tarp helping however I can manage.

Soooo...now I'm looking for a bivy that doesn't weigh much or cost much.   :icon_rolleyes:
   Bill

Bill, I wasn't saying don't go if a front is coming through, just have a tent . . . although a bevy with tarp could work fine as long as the front blows through pretty quickly. 

What's a small tarp?  I'd bring at least a 10' x 10' and use the small on as a ground cloth.  If the fronts blows through you'd probably do well enough in a bevy covered by a tarp or rainfly.  But if the front isn't predicted to blow through a bivy can become problematic. An extra large trash bag or two would take care of keeping your gear dry.

8.34 lbs = 1 gallon water.  Don't cut yourself short on water but heck, if it rains, you can catch enough water off that tarp to have a plethora PLUS a decent shelter!

Al

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Offline SA Bill

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2008, 10:38:37 PM »
Understood Al!

My "space" tarp is pretty small. I was really going to just use it under the sleeping bag and folded over the sleeping bag for some protection. I was not planning to tie it out in any way. It is just a little protection from the ground and the elements.

However...after reading that other thread about tentless camping in the desert, where the Eureka! Solitaire1 was mentioned, I did some digging around and found a brand new one for less than $56.00, shipping included. It's ordered! I will evaluate it once it arrives and decide if it will do for a one night stay on the S Rim. If it passes the test, the tarp can stay behind. Even with the 3 pounds for the tent, I can be at about 42 pounds to start out. With the water I'll consume on the way up, I'll be getting lighter as I go so I think i"ll be okay.

I suppose if the weather is calm and the foecast is for good weather, I can just take the tarp. Conversely, if there is any question about the weather, I can take the tent to be safe. Decisions...decisio ns....   :eusa_eh:
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline Al

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2008, 10:48:16 PM »
Definitely use a groundcloth (it's amazing how much moisture comes up from the ground even in the desert) and a space blanket/tarp works great. 

Hey!  Just have enough stuff, when you load your pack and head for the trail head, to be able to select based on anticipated conditions and it will be something special to experience and then remember because you took lots and lots of pictures!  Just remember you didn't take all the good time and trouble to get out there to then be miserable.

Al

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2008, 10:56:04 PM »
I concur with Al, Professor . You definetly need to look into it in detail so you wont spend miserable time in Big Bend.

 I know Lighterfluid will chime in anytime but i do remember him saying NOT to go with the one from Sportsman Guide:



 If you read his review on it, you will see why.

 But Eureka , in my opinion is tops for a Bivy selection.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 10:15:32 AM by homerboy2u2 »
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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: To Bivy....or Not? That is the Question!
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2008, 09:12:16 AM »
Not, would be my answer. My preferences, in descending order:

1. Hammock -- I have a Hennessy Asym similar to bdhawk's. I won't go back to sleeping on the ground unless I'm someplace where there are no trees. However, for better rain protection, I am getting a bigger tarp than the one the hammock came with.
2. Tarp -- Better ventilation, better storm coverage than a tent, so long as it's not buggy.
3. Tent (single-walled) -- Like my Lunar Solo, it provides most of the benefits of the tarp plus bug protection, but the sewn-in floor is fragile, and it gets wet whenever water pools up around (and under) it, so it must be placed well.
4. Tent (double-walled) -- Heavier than the Solo, but the rainfly provides better storm coverage than a single-walled tent. Condensation can be a real problem.
5. Nothing -- Sleeping under the stars is good for the soul, unless it's raining.
6. Bivy -- Hello claustrophobia.
7. Emergency bivy -- Hello hypothermia.

These are for wilderness life. If we're talking car camping, then there's a new No. 1 (double-walled tent with twin-size inflatable mattress, linen sheets, fleece blankets, and two standard pillows) and No. 3 (Hotel), as the hammock moves down a slot and the rest move down 2.

Bill, if you're going to take a bivy, you're better off taking a hammock -- more comfortable, more room, better rain protection, better bug protection -- since it's probably not that much heavier, or even a tarp, since it's lighter.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 09:14:57 AM by jeffblaylock »
Jeff Blaylock
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"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

 


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