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Thread: The Bivy bag...

  1. #1
    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    Default The Bivy bag...

    I know, plenty info on here yada yada...

    What I want to know is: what do you look for in a bivy? I have been searching high and low for a cost effective, efficient, light, durable bivy.

    What is the purpose? It needs to be light enough that I will pack it every time I go out. It needs to be strong enough to withstand my abuse (I really abuse gear too). It will be mainly a back-up emergency job. On the occasion though, I may need to use it (out goat hunting, deer hunting etc...). Being in Kodiak I guess makes special circumstances. This is the only place in Alaska I have hunted, and it doesn't seem all that bad to me (weather wise). Granted, I can just go home if I don't like what is going on.

    What do you use and why? What would be best for this area? Why?

    I have seen a few under one pound, with a waterproof breathable material under $100. Should I be looking elsewhere? Different designs (solar blankets etc...)?

    Just so I get this straight, the bivy is merely for weather (water/wind) protection, right?

  2. #2
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    I have two bivy bags, one is the army issue gortex bag I usually use for base camp because it is a little heavy and the Montbell bag I use for up the mountain.


    Description
    • Ultralight at 7.2 oz
    • Gore-Tex 2 Layer
    • Fully Seam Taped
    • 30d Ballistic Rip Stop Nylon
    • Extremely Compressible
    The Montbell Ultralight Bivy sack is the lightest Gore-Tex bivy on the market! It weighs only 7.2 ounces and stuffs down to the size of a pop can.

    Keep yourself and your sleeping bag protected from moisture, dirt and the elements with this great ultralight bivy sack. Seams are fully taped to ensure waterproofness. Draw cord with cordlock allows you to quickly tighten the bivy sack around your face.

    2 layer Gore-Tex keeps water and moisture out, yet breathes to let internal moisure escape. The Gore-Tex is laminated to a durable 30 denier Ballastic rip-stop nylon.

    This 7 ounce wonder can be a life safer in cold and wet conditions! Use it in a tent in extreme wet weather, or as an emergency or minimalist shelter.

    Regular: 7.2 ounces, Stuff Size: 3.1" x 3.1" x 5.9"
    Max Dimensions: 88.6" x 33.5"

    Long: 9.4 ounces, Stuff Size: 3.3" x 3.3" x 6.5"
    Max Dimensions: 98.5" x 37"

    [/FONT]
    Last edited by kingfisherktn; 09-21-2011 at 08:50. Reason: clean-up post

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    I think the niche for bivy sacks is that they are an easily packable 4-season shelter. Other types of lightweight shelters, like tarps or single-wall tents made of exotic materials, are more comfortable but typically aren't as weatherworthy. I'm not sure what types of easily packable shelter would work best in Kodiak, as I've only hiked in SE AK or the lower 48. If it doesn't get too windy during the times of year you hunt, you might look up places like Tarptent, Six Moon Designs, or Zpacks for packable tarps & tents.

    I've spent a total of a few weeks in my heavy Outdoor Research bivy, and its achilles heel is that it's hard to keep it dry inside when it's raining: it's tempting to zip it all the way up, but even with the goretex shell they say to never close it all the way or else you might suffocate. I usually keep the rainfly open if I can, and only zip the windy side closed when it rains and drape the other side to the ground. It usually works.

    The other challenge is changing clothes or putting on raingear while it's raining - there's not much room in there. I can do it because I'm a skinny guy, but I've taken to wearing almost all of my clothes (coat included) inside the sleeping bag so I have less to change in and out of. On the plus side this means I can use a much thinner sleeping bag, which made my pack lighter.

    One of the things I like about overnighting in a bivy is the ease of setup: I just flop my sleeping pad on a flat spot, unroll the bivy, apply two stakes & a hoop, and I'm done. I keep the sleeping bag in the bivy; you don't really need to unpack the bag and keep it in a separate stuffsack. The bivy's also small enough that I use my ensolite pad as a footprint.

    If I did it over again I'd have bought something light & simple, like the ones made by Titanium Goat or Mountain Laurel Designs. Anything heavier might as well be an ultralight tent. Rigging a simply space blanket as a tarp over the head would work in a pinch if it rains.

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    Member DoubleSHOVEL85's Avatar
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    Hey Marcus,

    I've got the OR Alpine bivy, I like to comb this with my SL5. Considering the weight of both plus wood stove brings it in around 5lbs. It's a pretty deadly combo. OR's bivy is bombproof although condensation can be a B***h sometimes. Smooth Sailing!
    Rob

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    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    I thought about the OR one, but my tent is only a pound more than that it. The Montbell sounds nice, but is way over my price range. I really want something that never leaves my pack (light and small), can stand up to Kodiak weather (rain, rain, wet snow, and rain), and one that will actually save me if i need it too.

    I can get one from sierra designs for a good price at 1lb 1oz. Packed size is 4"x15". I've seen some that get as small as a nalgene bottle and smaller, but don't know if they are any good...

    That Ptarmigan bivy by Tigoat looks like the ticket...

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    While I've yet to use one in the field, the TiGoat bivys have great reviews around here.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    I've seen the reviews. What worries me is the 20 denier DWR treated fabric. That tells me "Not Water Proof". I think around here waterproof is a necessity for an emergency situation.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have 2 TiGoat bivys, my bag stays in one at all times and the other stays in my pack for emergencies. In 4 years of use and abuse I have never had one leak or let my bag get wet, Some of the best gear I have ever invested in. Can not count how many times that Bivy has saved me from a wet miserable night.

    I would not plan to use one as a stand alone shelter unless it was an emergency. I also keep a Kifaru Paratarp in my pack as Siwash gear and have used both to siwash and was comfortable.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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  9. #9

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    I use my TI goat bivy inside my SL5....great combo..for my uses. That OR alpine bivy is heavy if all you are trying to do is keep your bag and pad dry (2 lbs vs. 7 oz of the TI goat). The Ti Goat bivys are very nice for the weight.

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I have 2 TiGoat bivys, my bag stays in one at all times and the other stays in my pack for emergencies. In 4 years of use and abuse I have never had one leak or let my bag get wet, Some of the best gear I have ever invested in. Can not count how many times that Bivy has saved me from a wet miserable night.

    I would not plan to use one as a stand alone shelter unless it was an emergency. I also keep a Kifaru Paratarp in my pack as Siwash gear and have used both to siwash and was comfortable.

    Steve
    Could be the 'gear posting' of the year, imho.
    Lots of experience and common sense in that one small post...

    I have Sierra Designs Navassa bivy, it's nice & adds great warmth and dryness, but two TiGoat bivys are on my Christmas list for exactly what Steve outlines.
    Proud to be an American!

  11. #11
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I have 2 TiGoat bivys, my bag stays in one at all times and the other stays in my pack for emergencies. In 4 years of use and abuse I have never had one leak or let my bag get wet, Some of the best gear I have ever invested in. Can not count how many times that Bivy has saved me from a wet miserable night.

    I would not plan to use one as a stand alone shelter unless it was an emergency. I also keep a Kifaru Paratarp in my pack as Siwash gear and have used both to siwash and was comfortable.

    Steve
    Steve you have both TiGoat bivy models correct? Prefer one over the other?

    My primary use is to tub out my down bag inside the tent, honestly- to keep the dog from shedding water on my bag when she comes in wet lol. Also double to rough if with the SL3.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  12. #12
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    Steve you have both TiGoat bivy models correct? Prefer one over the other?

    My primary use is to tub out my down bag inside the tent, honestly- to keep the dog from shedding water on my bag when she comes in wet lol. Also double to rough if with the SL3.
    I like the new one with the hip zipper only because it is easier for me to get into. One would be perfect for what you describe.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
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    Must be a Kodiak thing, I'm also in the market for a new bivi, had not heard of/seen the TiGoats. Looking at reviews, price and weight they look like the answer. I would add a small siltarp over, just for that added protection if needed. The type of heavy rain we have had in the last month would test even the most waterproof of bivis.

    For the OP, the Adventure medical kits line of emergency bivis are an effective (and cheap) option if you are purely looking at survival and only weigh 3.8oz. Great to have in your pack always, but not for planned bivi use.
    http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com/...r&prodname=SOL

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    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    I actually have one of those Adventure med kit ones on the way... Still figuring on which actual bivy I am going to get...

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    Hate you guys!! After reading through this thread I now have a TarpTent on the MUST HAVE list. Great set-up for me and my 10 year-old. Looking real hard at which model, but the Double rainbow is looking favorite for it's combination of size, weight and pitching options (including free standing). Nice set-up for 2.5#.

  16. #16
    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    http://www.paddlinglight.com/reviews...ainbow-review/

    This review is a bit scathing for a Kodiak tent... Just sayin'
    TrappHouseOutdoors@HuntFishAK

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trappnguns View Post
    http://www.paddlinglight.com/reviews...ainbow-review/

    This review is a bit scathing for a Kodiak tent... Just sayin'
    That's a real interesting review. Be interesting to hear if they have ironed out any of the issues since 2007 (date of report). Also interesting that the report states the Cloudburst 2 as a better option - noting on Tarptent that is backordered for the rest of this year, so assume it is popular. I need to research more before dropping the $$. Or perhaps a silltarp and bivi bag combination is still the way forward.

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