/ What is your best bivvy set up?

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Denni on 27 Mar 2012
Hi folks,
have promised myself that the weekends I have away from being a stay at home dad, will comprise of overnighters in the hills.

When I've bivvied before, I've used a lightweight bag and an army issue goretex bivvy bag which worked just fine but want a wee bit more comfort!

I was contemplating upgrading to a hooped bivvy this time or possibly taking the inner and poles from an old 2 person lightweight tent which actually Isn't that heavy or an imbuggernace to carry.

The other option might be one of these mountain marathon type tents so am open to advice.

Let me know what you use, if you know how much it weighs would be good and any pros and cons.

Cheers folks, hope you are having a grand week so far. Den
Scarab9 - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni:
> Hi folks,
> have promised myself that the weekends I have away from being a stay at home dad, will comprise of overnighters in the hills.
>
> When I've bivvied before, I've used a lightweight bag and an army issue goretex bivvy bag which worked just fine but want a wee bit more comfort!
>
> I was contemplating upgrading to a hooped bivvy this time or possibly taking the inner and poles from an old 2 person lightweight tent which actually Isn't that heavy or an imbuggernace to carry.
>
> The other option might be one of these mountain marathon type tents so am open to advice.
>
> Let me know what you use, if you know how much it weighs would be good and any pros and cons.
>
> Cheers folks, hope you are having a grand week so far. Den

I've got a lightweight bag and a 2 man vango ultralight. It's very light and will fit in the compression straps at the side of my sack, goes up in seconds in any weather, is comfortable (for 1, it would be VERY cosey for 2), and stands up to bad weather. I also have an alpkit mat which fits nicely in the compression on the other side of my rucksack.

I'd prefer a bivvy bag if weather is reasonable (if it's defintely dry I've simply thrown my sleeping bag down in some heather and been very comforatable, but am glad it didn't rain unexpectedly!) but if there's a risk of bad weather this works well for me.
SFM - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni:

I tend to use my laserlite(1.2kg packs to around 2 litres) when out and about solo.
Advantages over a bivvy are that it's warmer, have a place to cook in sh*te weather, bit roomier(unless you are over 6ft). Main negative is that you have to keep a good look out for a suitable pitch and if it's too exposed to strong winds you run the risk of getting it wrecked.

That all said I've just gotten a hooped bivi. Yet to use it so I'm absolutely no use in comparing the two yet.
2 reasons that I got it were weight(0.85kg)(size is about 1.5L) and that you can pitch pretty much anywhere.

I toyed for a while about getting one of those microtarps to use with my old bivvy bag but figured it would just be a faff and once you factor in the weight of a walking pole(that I don't always carry) not much lighter than the Laserlite.
Dauphin - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni:

Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 1.2KG or less in the 2012 model - squeezes 2 in on aq mountain marathon and the right sort of colour for stealth camping. Got rid of one last year but I'm buying another next week. Not sure what the point of a hooped bivvy is - too small, too heavy, can't cook in it.

There are a couple of deals around at the moment.

D
Cheese Monkey - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni: Last summer I ditched the waterproofs and donned a poncho. I was really amazed at how well it did, added advantage of keeping your pack dry. Stayed relatively dry in an all day Dartmoor howler. Found a ledge, ditch or trees in the evening and strung it up with some paracord, bivi and room to cook underneath. Lovely.
AndrewHuddart - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Dauphin:

Another vote for a Big Agnes seed house, got the SL2 and it's amazing - 2kg and massive. Lighter than a basha and bivi bag...
James Gordon - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to hindu

Hi denni, I've had a laser before. Great size for 1. But!!! I found serious condensation probs. if out for 2+ nights then the inside of the tent does get damp. Not serious serious but does affect down longer term? Used inner only when I knew it would be dry but needed a little warmth/midge pro!! Good altn. Obviously bivi bags. But they are tricky to administrate from in anything but good weather. Maybe Rab or ME ultralite ones ( I have rab) give some peace of mind with emergency pro. Have only used in alps. Happy gonking!!
andy_e on 27 Mar 2012
Not to hijack your thread too much, but how to do people find organising yourself and kit when bivvying for a few days. I would love to just take a bivvy bag out, but cooking, sorting kit and getting into and out of a sleeping bag without getting it wet, seem very problematic, in anything other than good weather. Of course i'd only plan to take just a bivvy when it was was forecast to be nice, but we all know what the weather can be like.

Any one care to share thoughts and ideas? I was thinking maybe a small sheet of sil-nylon that can be used as a very small tarp say 1m by 1.2m, (perfect size to be doubled up as a ground sheet to protect my inflatable roll mat in good conditions).

This would allow for some cooking and space, as long as most of me was in the bivy bag. Also a big rucksack liner for everything else to go in and stay dry, as my bivvy bag is a good fit for me and a bag, not much else. This also doubles as the foot part of my roll mat.
In reply to talon_guy: By the time you are carrying a bivvy bag and a tarp you might just consider a little tent. My MSR Hubba is a wee bit under 1.5 kgs and is much more 'livable' than a bivvy bag in bad weather.

I'm unconvinced about tarps for the UK hills, but if you are in trees and its not horrible insect weather, than they can be great.

Tarping, bivvying in just a bag and camping in a tent are all quite different experiences to me.
tistimetogo on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni:
Bivis; for lightweight, short periods, preferably in decent weather. I usually only bring precooked food on these sort of outings. Got an alpkit one 2ndhand a while ago and in combo with a light deuter bag and airbed it's great. If you are caught in the rain then there is a real skill to sleeping in just the right position.

Tents; for everything else. Terra Nova lasers are hard to beat. It's almost always worth being comfy.
wilkie14c - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni:
3/4 self inflating mat, light down bag and an Rab bivvy have done me well in fair weather. A light tarp if rain expected can make it more comfortable, use walking poles as 'tent poles' and some para cord as guys. A hip flask of malt and a few pod casts make for an enjoyable evening usually :)
Siward on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to blanchie14c:
My two pennies worth is that a lightweight tent is so much more comfortable. Mine I think weighs 1.3kg, is cosy but has a porch which allows for cooking and sitting in watching the sunset (or the rain!) Cooking something hot is a real morale booster at the end of a day, unless you're the sort who is happy lying in a bag munching roasted soya beans as your evening meal.

It also has the advantage of being able to withstand pretty wild weather so a real go anywhere solution.
CarolineMc - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni: Repeating what others have said really but weight of a bivi bag + tarp + walking pole = 1man tent. For me the advantages are huge - drier, can cook, get changed, sort kit out and all in a bug free environment! Don't get me wrong, bivis are great and i take the scouts biviing every year. For personal use in the mountains though, a light one man tent is the business. Co:
In reply to Denni: Hi matey,

I have used a sleeping mat with scratcher and then a tent outer of a two man tent - i.e. tent poles and tent shell. It packs down small and lightwithout the bulk of a tent inner, and compared to various places slept in over the years, is total luxury and beats a flapping dripping poncho anyday! It is a really good option. That said, a big issue size poncho does make a great shelter with two poles, four pegs and two tight cords, like a simple tent.

Hope all well.
thomm - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to talon_guy:
My method for storage was to have a big survival bag behind my head for boots and sack, and then pull the end of it over my head if it rained. Vague memories of waking up with wet survival bag pressed to face, covered in slugs...
I like the sound of these mini tents.
M0nkey - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni: Lidl occasionally stock a two man pup tent which weighs about 1kg for about 10. I bought one of these and use it really just like a large bivi bag, i think it's great for the money - it isn't hugely robust and i expect it to wear out soon but for the handful of outings i've had in it, it's been fine. For that price really it could be disposable and still good value.
Enty - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni:
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> Cheers folks, hope you are having a grand week so far. Den



Like ^^^^

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Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Enty:

Afternoon UKCers,
thanks for all the advice and help. My neighbour has a TN jupiter so I had a play with it and no good. I'm 6ft 3, broad shouldered and there just wasn't enough room and really it is just more material to protect your head and I found, quite claustrophobic.

I've just weighed my 2 man inner tent and the poles and it comes just over 1.2 kilos which Isn't too bad. Only problem of course is that it is just an inner so if it rains then I'll get wet and I want to make the most of my time so weather unimportant.

I reckon I'll go and have a look at a few of your suggestions and see how I get on. I'll only be kipping in it and if raining, make some scran in the porch.

All good suggestions. Keep them coming if you want to!

Thanks, Den
Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Denni)
> [...]
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> Like ^^^^
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Like too! ^^^^
Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to James Gordon:

Hi matey,
cheers for the heads up on the condensation on the Laser. Am going to have a look at a few at the weekend with my doss bag and overnight kit to see how I get on.
Need a good nights kip and midge free!
Den
Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Hi Nick,
All good here although Daisy, has taken the terrible 2's to a new level! Hows the little un, you getting any kip?

I could weigh the outer of my tent and see how that compares, didn't think of that. Did also look at some of these pyramid type set ups but ideally want to keep the cost down as I'm probably only going to get to use it 3 or 4 times a year as Anna will probably be off to Afghan for at least 4 months each year from now on with the MERT. (unless she gets pregnant ;0)

Den
Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Hi Toby,
I agree about the tarps in the UK. Tried one a few years back and a miserable experience.

Used one in Sweden and Finland and it was great in the forests.
iksander on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni: Hi Denni, I remember reading somewhere that "bivouac" was French for "mistake". That's probably a bit harsh, but I'd agree with the others - unless either: there's not enough space to pitch a tent and/or the wind would destroy it or you really *really* can't carry another 400-500g then a tent is way better. Unless you're bivvy for "fun" of course :)

I've got an Argos tent for 25 (ProAction Hikelite?) which I think is a copy of a Sierra Designs Light Year. Weighs about 1.8kg. I think I'm about the same size as you and I can fit my pack inside the inner tent and sit up in it, plus it has a porch too. Not the sexiest or best made tent in the world but much much more comfy than a bag.
winhill - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni: haven't you got the megamid? use it with walking poles and lighter and miles better than a bivvy, shirley?
Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to iksander:

Hi Pete,
hope all is good matey. I quite liked bivvying in summer warm weather but have been caught out a couple of times by the "weather forecast" so thats why the upgrade.

I've done a 3 day walk over the Lakes with all my kit and a North Face Tadpole tent and it wasn't that bad but could easily bring the weight downa and hopefully find something less bulky so I can carry more chocolate!
Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to winhill:

I used to have a Megamid, used it once as a bivvy but kept knocking the poles down but it is now ripped and repaired and my daughter won't let me have it back as it is her teepee for the garden!

You have a good memory!
TMM - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni:

Hey Denni,

At your age you should be thinking of a tent and not a bivvy;-)

Have you looked at the Henry Shires range? All the cool kids are now using the TarpTent Scarp. Lighter than a Hilly Akto, snows loads and two porches.

Hope you and the family are good.

Cheers,

tmm
mrchewy - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Denni: I have no probs with condensation in my Laser Comp but I do hook the ends up usually onto the guy. Works a treat, I use those small Alpkit krabs. I've used it in winter without the inner and just a footprint and it's been cracking like that - lots of space and a real tarp feeling if done right. The inner is used in summer for bugs.
I use a Terra Nova tarp as well sometimes but not got the hang of that yet, that's with an MLD bivy with a cuben fibre base. It breathes real well.
Have you thought of getting a Golite Shangi-La 3? Someone your size would love it. Utterly stable and spacious to boot. Lots of options inside available. I'd have one but can't justify it with all my other gear.
Denni on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to mrchewy:


Hi mate,
funny you should mention the Shangri-La, I just watched a youtube video with a chap on there who is 6ft 3 and there seems to be enough room for him and his kit and it seems easy enough to pitch as well. Will see if I can have a look at one.

Thanks again, Den


TMM,

Hi Ben!
Hope all is good with you mate. Hows the family? Hope you're enjoying being a dad, great fun Isn't it?

You are right, I do need a tent and not a bivvy, not getting any younger!!
Be good, Den
In reply to mrchewy: 'I do hook the ends up usually onto the guy'

How do you mean chewy? I'm struggling to picture it. Ta
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mrchewy - on 29 Mar 2012
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com: Pull the end guys out as normal. Then where the bottom 'corner' of the fly directly below is usually pegged out, I attach a small krab and then just clip it up to the guyline above. Do that both end and I've never had condensation issues.

Shangri-la is a great tent Denni, I don't know anyone who's got one who's not loved it.
In reply to mrchewy: Got you. I'll give that a try, thanks
needvert on 30 Mar 2012
In reply to Cheese Monkey:

I got a poncho that doubles as a tarp, it's damn great. It comes down to my knees, is far lighter than a breathable jacket, covers my pack as well.

I find bivy most comfortable, provided I'm not struggling for warmth, to sleep with unzipped with top quarter of me unprotected aside from the fly mesh. It's nice to see the stars. Rain wakes you up instantly and bivy gets zipped up and back to sleep again.

If I'm expecting rain though I'll put up the poncho tarp. If it's pouring and you have no rain protection stuff is going to get quite wet getting in and out.

I like my bivy more than my 1.5 man tent. As bivy weights my down more, I could do with a warmer bag than what I use in the tent, so that's another bit of weight in favour of the tent argument. But to me the best part of a bivy is the more unoptimal places you can sleep like those with very little vertical space :)

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