/ Is there any point having a tarp AND a bivi??

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bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
I have just bought a RAB Element 2 pyramid-tarp-thing for my adventures, but also have a RAB Storm bivi bag. I'm going to Northern Norway, so I though relying on a bivi alone would be a bit rogue, hence my purchase.

I now feel like I don't need the bivi, as the weight difference is a couple of grams, and one provides much more flexibility - in the form of a tarp, a floorless single-wall tent, etc. And as someone who would be considered quite poor (student) I'm considering selling the bivi.

Thoughts?

Is there any point keeping my trusty bivi?
Dauphin - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

Yes.

Black fly. Midges. Mosquitoes.

D
Orgsm on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

Keeps your sleeping vague dry - DEW in the morning..
needvert on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

If there wasn't a biting insect/arachnid problem I'd just take a groundsheet instead (polycryo or tyvek perhaps). Otherwise what benefit is there in taking a bivi bag?
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to Dauphin:

Although the Rab Element 2 is pretty much a tent, not your typical tarp...
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to Dauphin:

And I should add that l sleep in a sleeping bag..... So far never had a problem with being bitten when in a bag?
AndrewHuddart - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to Orgsm:

Seconded. From personal experience, a heavy dew will soak a down bag. Fine for one night but miserable for a second. Bivi bag will prevent this.

I'll sometime carry a mozzie net or even take a tent inner with me to avoid biting nasties (1.1kg).

Robbiobaby - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

I take a dd hammock, it can be used as a hammock or more often than not I have it on the floor for dew protection and then the mossy net prevents bites.

My friend in just a sleeping bag next to me had a very bitten face!
needvert on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

The answer to "will dew form on my bag" is turning out to be a tough question.

What setup did you have where your bag got wet?

Would dew occur on a bag enclosed in an element shelter?
Bob on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

1.1Kg for an inner?! My (admittedly cosy for two) tent weighs 900 grammes in total. To be fair it is a mountain marathon tent (Terra Nova Laser Competition) so not the heaviest duty.

Like most things there's a trade-off. In an ideal world you'd have a lightweight tent, a tarp and something like the Element 2, though to get the equivalent of the Element 2 I'd just leave the inner of my lightweight tent at home.

I thought that the point of a tarp was simplicity - just fix it to something and crawl under, something a lot of bike-packers do, using the bike as surrogate poles though you can also use walking or ski poles. Of course the downside is that you are exposed to our little friends.
AndrewHuddart - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to needvert:

I've had dew on my bag when I've been on a ground sheet, on a mat on the ground, under a tarp and when in a mozzie net.

I'd go for a light bivi bag under a tarp, preferably one with a built-in mozzie net. Otherwise, midge head net will keep the worst off you.

Bob - Yep, it's a big agnes seed house SL2, 1.6kg total, 1.1kg just for the inner, poles and pegs for when I want to be able to see out!

Totally agree about trade-offs. For me, carrying a bit more weight is better than getting midged/mozzied.
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

Well this particular trip I'm going to Northern Norway - where I've been told there aren't any midges. I would be surprised if there are tbh, its in the arctic circle...
Bwox - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

> I'm going to Northern Norway - where I've been told there aren't any midges. I would be surprised if there are tbh, its in the arctic circle...

That's cos the mosquitoes eat them all.

What time of year are you going?
Merlin - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

sideways rain.
needvert on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

This is my current idea of the decision at hand, would love for any corrections or any misconceptions I have:

There's going to be two sources of moisture:
- Internal to your sleeping bag - ie: yourself
- External to your bag - the surrounding air

The internal moisture has to go somewhere, and that's out of your body into the surrounding insulation of your bag, then hopefully out into the wider world before it condenses. A bivy sack will inhibit that dispersal of internal moisture by further limiting the breath-ability of the system. How much is obviously a function of the material.

The external moisture will become a problem when your sleeping bag surface is cooler than the surrounding air leading to condensation. This occurs through radiative cooling, which curiously allows an object to drop significantly below the temperature of the surrounding environment. I suspect sleeping within the element 2 will prevent this from happening. Rather, I'd expect the moisture to condense on the walls of the element 2.

The taking a bivy bag will certainly help protect against the external moisture, but may increase the problem internal moisture poses, so whether to take one depends on which one is going to be the bigger factor in causing your down to dampen.

In my own experience, the only time I've managed to soak my sleeping bag outer shell, is when I foolishly put the footbox in a sil-nylon bag to stop the bag getting wet from hitting the end of the tent. I was quite surprised at how much moisture must have came out of my lower legs and surrounding clothing. I've also had significant condensation just using my bivy bag on cold nights, as well as frost forming on the outer of the bivy bag. The bivy bag is eVent, so relatively a high performer in the breath-ability stakes.

Of course the possibility that I'm full of shit and deeply confused is there. Honestly, corrections are welcome before I freeze to death somewhere because I didn't understand moisture management :)
Bob on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Does anyone make a sort of super sized version of the anti-midge hats? If you had one of those that you could arrange around the shoulders and head it would be fine.

If there's a decent breeze blowing then I think a tarp is best: quick pitching and taking down; lightweight. If you want more protection or it's still then a tent is the better way to go. Of course turning up on a dull overcast evening in a woodland next to deep vegetation you are going to be prime midge fodder! Whereas choosing a more exposed location where a breeze is likely to be guaranteed you are likely to be OK. So whatever you take you need to chose your campsite with care.

Looking through the kit at http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/ you could get tarp, sleeping mat and sleeping bag for a total weight of just 655g!

Yeti Fever, 280g £330
Multimat superlight, 175g, £24
Rab Siltarp, 200g, £50

No idea how durable any of it is, there's lighter stuff available (not the bag though), but even so you are dropping £400 on that lot, not far off £1/gramme!
RankAmateur on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

For a minimalist setup, I use a tarp, some form of ground sheet, and if insects are going to be a problem, a mozzie net hung from the tarp.
I'll use a bivy bag if the rain is going to be coming in sideways.
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:
Okay, fellow outdoors people, I have a feeling there have been a few replies about general tarps and bivis, due to the title and not the OP! I'm not sure how to imbed a pic of the Rab Element tarp, but it's essentially a tent with no inner or groundsheet. If anyone could imbed a pic that'd be wonderful. The problem I'm having is that I've never known anyone camp in a singlewall tent and also wear a bivi bag, as that's essentially what I'll be doing.
I'm going first week of September.
Post edited at 12:42
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
HeMa on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

> I'm going to Northern Norway - where I've been told there aren't any midges. I would be surprised if there are tbh, its in the arctic circle...

You will prolly find mossies, midges and black flies... unless you're going there later in the fall (after some proper freezes).

Of course, once you get higher, you'll prolly have less problems. But lower down, close to the fjords there be nasties.
ads.ukclimbing.com
victorclimber - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

Tarp plus Bivi equals Tent sell Tarp and Bivi and have no worries about dew midges etc get a light Tent
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to HeMa:

> You will prolly find mossies, midges and black flies... unless you're going there later in the fall (after some proper freezes).

> Of course, once you get higher, you'll prolly have less problems. But lower down, close to the fjords there be nasties.

I'm going to the Lofoten Islands
HeMa on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

Don't worry... they'll all be there ;).
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

So the general consensus seems to be get a light tent as bivi + Rab Element 2 seems to be be for people that have insect fetishes.
What are peoples views on a tent like the Gram-counter Gear LiteHouse SOLO then?
And can I just check people know what the Element is like, as I don't really see a mozzy problem with it?
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

And cheers for the replies guys and gals haha
malk - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

having seen your tent another vote for dropping the bivy. however we don't know your plans..
malk - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

> I'm going to the Lofoten Islands

backpacking?
bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to malk:

Indeed. I'm ultralight backpacking as I need to travel fast.
Plans are basically Lofoten Islands 4th to 8th September, backpacking
Siward on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:
As I'm sure you know, there is available a mesh inner for the element 2 which comes with a groundsheet built in.
Best part of £90 though.

Sometimes bivi bags can increase condensation you know.
Doug on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

I have vivid memories of biting insects in the Lofoten, but in July/August. If you're lucky there'll have been a frost & they'll all be deid
HeMa on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to Doug:

not bloody likely...

this year has been rather warm, too warm infact
IPPurewater on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to Bob:

These folk make a midge jacket.

http://www.midgejacket.co.uk/

bendep - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to IPPurewater:

Hahah that made me laugh!

> These folk make a midge jacket.


In reply to bendep:

> Well this particular trip I'm going to Northern Norway - where I've been told there aren't any midges. I would be surprised if there are tbh, its in the arctic circle...

Ha ha ha. etc. :-)

One of the more unpleasant nights I've spent under a tarp was on Kvaløya, having mosquitos bite my face off through the night. For gods sake take a mossie net with you if you're not going in winter!
needvert on 30 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:
If money is a problem, you could try making something yourself.

One thing on my todo list is to make a basic bug bivy sack:

From http://www.zpacks.com/materials.shtml , get 4 meters of insect mesh (which will be around 32$) and 2m of zip, or where ever else you can source the materials.

Your end result might weigh <150g. it'll be fragile, and the bottom will likely get trashed. but holes/tears in the bottom aren't a big deal regarding mozzies, and even the top getting trashed isn't a big deal as the consequences are tiny. it'll be an experiment of sorts, to see how tough that mesh netting is.

Borrow a sewing machine, they're not too hard to use. My first night with the help of youtube I sewed a pillow case. A bivy sack is just scaling that up (though adding the zip does create some difficulties, I may skip that and perhaps go for some sort of 3D boxed hood.)


My main dislike of mozzies is they can spread various diseases, depending where in the world you are. The actual physical discomfort isn't a big deal, also over time in a region you seem to tend to get bitten less - the new guy to the area gets eaten alive at first, but over time adapts. DEET really is effective against mozzies and is safe enough, though I don't like having it around gear owing to the occasional disolving of some plastic. I'll tend to wear long sleeve and long pants, still get bitten on the hands but oh well.

(I do think your element 2 would already be pretty good protection against flying insect.)
Post edited at 02:09
IPPurewater on 30 Aug 2014
Timmd on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:
The worst day's volunteering outdoors I've ever done was spending a day being bitten by midges while there was nothing I could do about it.

If it's been warm according to Doug or the person who replied to him up thread, I'd consider some midge protection.

I looked like I had chicken pocks!

Edit: HeMa, not Doug.
Post edited at 13:07
Dauphin - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

> And I should add that l sleep in a sleeping bag..... So far never had a problem with being bitten when in a bag?

Things will crawl under the edges of the tarp because they need your lovely blood in order to reproduce. They don't care if it's pretty much like a tent. You have to be able to live in there for a few hours, maybe cook, have a combat wash, and most importantly sleep, all preferable without your face, neck and hands and ankles being chewed mercilessly by tiny biting sexed up invertebrates. Too warm in the sleeping bag? Tough!

The horror!

I strongly recommend you get a bug tent to go inside the tarp and ditch the bivvy bag. And also a mossy net for your head.

D
Skol on 31 Aug 2014
In reply

> I strongly recommend you get a bug tent to go inside the tarp and ditch the bivvy bag. And also a mossy net for your head.

Will sphagnum do?


Timmd on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:
Imagine having a restless night's sleep because the bugs keep biting and then waking up to find they're STILL biting.

Aarrgghh!

..bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite...
Post edited at 13:54
cb294 - on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to bendep:

You should take a moskito net inner. This summer was very hot, not too many moskitos up in the fjells but quite a few near the coast (as of two weeks ago).

CB
sebflynn - on 07 Sep 2014
In reply to bendep:
use the bivi don't bother buying any thing else you will be happy you still have it come winter.
Post edited at 22:00
alasdair19 on 07 Sep 2014
In reply to bendep:

never bivvvied in summer in Scotland then? having watched my son get bitten dozens of times in 2 hours In the lakes unless you can guarantee wind for the duration of your trip. ..

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