/ Bivi bag or tent?

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Fredt on 08 Oct 2012
I once had a Goretex bivi bag, but the condensation made it useless.
Looking to buy a new very light bivi solution.

Is eVent a step up from Goretex in terms of waterproofness and breathability?
What's the condensation like in an eVent bag?

I'm dubious about bags, so I'm leaning to these single skin hooped tent affairs, so recommendations please.

Thanks

Fred
mikekeswick - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt: The Rab ridge raider is awesome. I've been using mine for about 3 years and no problems yet. Condensation is always going to be an issue in bivvy bags but just leave the zip open a little and it's not too bad.
nniff - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:


Breathing into a waterproof bag (breathable or not), be it small tent or bivi bag, is never going to end well, epsecially in an environment with a humid atmosphere, like the UK. Sleep face out, and learn to roll over if it rains so that the hole is sheltered.

Either that or get a Laser Comp with a flysheet and inner but which weighs about the same as a bivi bag. The latter may be as tough as old boots -but the former is not. You pays your money etc, but it's hard to buy a miracle.
Fredt on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to Fredt)
>
>
> Breathing into a waterproof bag (breathable or not), be it small tent or bivi bag, is never going to end well, epsecially in an environment with a humid atmosphere, like the UK. Sleep face out, and learn to roll over if it rains so that the hole is sheltered.
>
I still get condensation when my whole upper body is out of the bivi bag!
nniff - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:

That takes some doing - are we talking 'soaking' inside or 'damp to the touch'? Bear in mind that bivying in the UK with a down bag is the path to misery - it has to be synthetic.

I can't see a single skin tent being any better though
In reply to nniff:

> I can't see a single skin tent being any better though

I've met some people using them in very normal conditions who say they're great so maybe some are coming on, but otherwise agree, some light one man tents weigh hardly anything more than a bivvy bag and are way more comfy.

I guess my MSR Hubba weighs about twice the weight of my bivvy bag but its just so much more comfy if the weather is crappy.

A tarp is another option, I was tarping on saturday night when out bikepacking, although my feeling is they might be trickier to use in upland UK. There are plenty of trees to tie them to round my way.
waiting for snow - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:

I'd suggest that sometimes the little extra weight is simply worth it. After spending hundreds of nights in bivi bags in the Army. One thing is for sure, you can't admin yourself in a bivi bag. As soldiers we used a tarp equivalent (basha). If you only have a bivi bag, then you end up changing your socks in the rain, which defeats the point as they end up damp anyway; and have to cook in the elements.

The human body naturally gives off moisture, so you will always end up with some condensation. As posted above people tend to use a synthetic bag with a bivi bag. A small tent allows you to use down which gains back a little of the weight saving.

I swear by my little TNF solo 12 for UK use; but there are better products out there now. Although I use a bivi bag in the alps, when I'm usually expecting good weather and spending fewer nights in the hills.

Matt
spider27 - on 08 Oct 2012
When goretex bivvy bags first came out they were the cats pyjamas and as a soldier they were great for keeping your sleeping bag dry in shell scrapes and OP's etc.

Now I have the choice I would go with a lightweight tent every time. I've got a Laser comp which are coming down in price as new models come out and can't see why I would want to use a bivvy bag instead.

If you are sleeping somewhere inaccessible where you can't pitch a tent then fair play but as the weight of tents has come down I think they are a far better option.
andyathome - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:
> I once had a Goretex bivi bag, but the condensation made it useless.
> Looking to buy a new very light bivi solution.
>
> Is eVent a step up from Goretex in terms of waterproofness and breathability?
> What's the condensation like in an eVent bag?
>
> I'm dubious about bags, so I'm leaning to these single skin hooped tent affairs, so recommendations please.
>
> Thanks
>
> Fred

It does depend what you are wanting to do. But my contribution after many years of working on ML training and assessment courses and trying to minimise weight is TENT!

Weight (if you are able to stand the cost) is similar; comfort factor is infinitesimally greater! There are very few reasons to favour Bivvy bags over a small tent.
Andes - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:
Tent.

But if it is somewhere really dry then bivvy in just your sleeping bag.
Slarti B on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:
> [...]
> I still get condensation when my whole upper body is out of the bivi bag!

Are you sure it is condensation? ;-)
Shearwater - on 09 Oct 2012
One nice halfway house might be a lightweight sleeping bag cover that doesn't claim to be a full waterproof... something like a rab survivalzone light, and then get a nice singleskin pyramid, like an SL3.

A pyramid will be a wee bit more stable than a hoop tent, and equally stable in all wind directions. You'll get masses of space, too. No groundsheet, so you'll have less hassle pitching it on unfavourable rocky, lumpy surfaces. It'll also work quite nicely in snow in the winter.

I'm currently using a laser comp for nicer weather camping. It'll get condensation in it too, but it won't transfer to you or your sleeping bag unless you brush against the walls, so it has that advantage over a bivi. Much smaller inside than a 'mid.
martinph78 on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to andyathome:
> (In reply to Fredt)
> [...]
>
> It does depend what you are wanting to do. But my contribution after many years of working on ML training and assessment courses and trying to minimise weight is TENT!
>
> Weight (if you are able to stand the cost) is similar; comfort factor is infinitesimally greater! There are very few reasons to favour Bivvy bags over a small tent.


Came to the same conclusion when looking for a 1 man tent/bivvy solution. When I'm holed up in my TN Laser Comp on a really bad day I smile knowing it was money well spent! It is lighter than most bivvy bags (at that time anyway), you can sit up in it, cook in it, get changed in it, etc.
Dahinchl - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:

Highly suggest the Jack Wolfskin Goassamer. Ever so slightly heavier than bivvis but more durable, enough room for 1 and a bag and i dont know what wolfskin are thinking with the price but its a BARGUIN. Been using one for 2 years and i swear by them
Hannes on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt: For all normal people and those who do super-mega hardcore stuff I'd certainly go for a tent every day of the week.
Garbhanach - on 14 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt:
> (In reply to nniff)
> [...]
> I still get condensation when my whole upper body is out of the bivi bag!

I have bivvied and got wet from dew maybe that's part of your problem, you are still going to have condensation problems in winter with a tent, four season ones tend to take the flysheet nearer the ground giving less ventilation unless you have good vents then things get wet and wetter, some people use a lightweight bivvy bag inside a tent in winter to try and stay dryish. After a couple of days camping or bivvying in winter my stuff is usually starting to get wet.

Andy Kilpatrick has some interesting stuff on combining bivvy bags and lightweight tarpshttp://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/gimme_shelter

Sam Dewhurst - on 15 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt: Completely agree with the above - a tent will generally give you a much better nights sleep provided there is somewhere sensble to pitch it. The only time i have ever got a better night's sleep in a bivi bag has been when there has been a strong wind - the bivi bag has kept the wind off and condensation hasn't been an issue due to the air flow but my laser has made an absolutely intolerable racket due to the material flapping.
alasdair19 on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt: the air permeable gore tex exchange stuff is mightily impressive. Eg zip it over head sleep and wake to very little condensation. I did use an old goretex one in the pass and there is no comparison. But its still just a bivvy bag.

Modern single skin tents use same fabric I think but are massively expensive. My old one suffered badly from condensation.
thebrookster on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Fredt: Rab seem to have made a similar Bivi to the Raider, called the Rab Ridge Master. Similar to the Raider, cept it has a back pole as well as the front one, and also a side entrance. Overall weight is 40oz, 10 more than the raider, but again uses the eVent fabric.

Looks quite good, though little in the way of reviews about that I can find so far. I may well be tempted when I come around to replacing my rather aged and well used equipment!!

Having the two hoops makes it a bit more tent like as well, could be an interesting halfway option.
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Siward on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to Sam Dewhurst:

Isn't that the trouble with the laser design? Too flappy. Acres of unsupported fabric.

Prefer my lightwave tunnel. And yes, a tent every time over a bivvy.

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