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Title: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: gunwharfman on 09:15:53, 23/10/17
Last May I tried camping with a Tarp and hated it! Does anyone use a Bivi? If so, any advice please? Which model do you use? Do you use a Bivi with a Tarp? I've looked on line and would even consider one unless it opened down the side and was designed to cover my face. I have a Hunka and know how daft it is trying to get in and out of one easily.

Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: John Murphy on 10:16:00, 23/10/17
Last May I tried camping with a Tarp and hated it! Does anyone use a Bivi? If so, any advice please? Which model do you use? Do you use a Bivi with a Tarp? I've looked on line and would even consider one unless it opened down the side and was designed to cover my face. I have a Hunka and know how daft it is trying to get in and out of one easily.


Over the weekend I was contemplating giving an Hunka XL a try having decent reviews. I have a Snugpak Special Forces Bivi Bag bought last year. In my opinion the latter bivi is also awful although it has been well reviewed. Ii does have a side zip so getting in and out is alright although the zip tends to slide open as you toss and turn this is a pain. Plus the hood draw string is really badly designed. It does not close around your face easily. This may be down to a safety factor to stop yourself suffocating ::) .


Other expensive bivis use a hoop giving a more pleasant experience by not thinking you are in a body bag :D :D . Although these seem to be as heavy as a good quality lightweight tent. This also seems to be the same as using a bivi./ tarp combination the weight factor!


I await other peoples opinions before I reinvest in another bivi. The snugpac stays in my backpack as I would use it as an emergency bag. Lighter and better than the over sized orange bin liners advertised as emergency bags ;D ;D .
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: fernman on 10:46:45, 23/10/17
Last May I tried camping with a Tarp and hated it!

It would be interesting to know why you hated it?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not having a dig, I doubt if I'd like using one too, but I'd like to hear why it didn't suit you.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: gunwharfman on 12:13:42, 23/10/17
For a start I bought the small Alpkit tarp, I could not find a way to keep it fully over me in a freestanding position, I just didn't have the knack to erect it properly. When I did use it I felt that I was just 'too close' to nature, and my imagination ran riot, mice and the like. I did like however the ability to open my eyes and 'see' the world around me. For my own comfort I realised that I am a person that needs to be enclosed! I can see however that with the right Bivi, the tarp could be a really useful addition if I can learn its permutations properly.

In order for me to seriously consider a Bivi, it needs to be big enough to take me, my sleeping quilt and my Neo Air blow up mattress. I think I have worked out, that in the way I do camping, I would need to take my larger ground sheet to go under the Bivi and have some sheet still available for me to o stand on in my bare feet, changing, etc. Or have two ground sheets, one under the Bivi and one to stand and/or sit on.

I would also need to keep my boots dry, safe and in a secure place. I never leave them outside my tent, just in case they 'walk' in the night!

Last but not least, when in the Bivi where would I put my rucksack? Again, I would need it to be dry, safe and in a secure place?
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Another_Smith on 12:54:37, 23/10/17
I've never had the desire to go the Bivi route personally, not with how light tents are these days. To be even remotely comfortable you say you're going to need a tarp and groundsheet, which will still leave you short of space for changing and storing bags/ muddy boots etc. Tally up everything weight wise and see how much of a benefit you would get if gram counting is your aim here.
The tent I use when I'm alone is 2 person, with 2 vestibules and is double walled. It weighs 1.2kg, to me that's a perfectly acceptable weight for the comfort it provides and if the missus or a friend ever comes with me then they just carry personal gear and jump in with me!
If I want to be closer to nature then I open the doors  ;D




Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: tonyk on 12:55:08, 23/10/17
Tents are so light these days,at least the better quality ones,its hard to see what advantage there is in using a bivvi.Just because special forces use bivvi bags it dosen't mean they are appropriate for civilians needs.Soldiers need to conceal themselves which is something civilians don't have to bother about unless they are wild camping in prohibited areas.Walking long distances in bad weather and sleeping out in a tent is tough enough so its best to try and keep some basic creature comforts that a tent provides rather than turning the exercise into an act of masochism by sleeping in a wet body bag.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: John Murphy on 13:38:08, 23/10/17
The tent I use when I'm alone is 2 person, with 2 vestibules and is double walled. It weighs 1.2kg, to me that's a perfectly acceptable weight for the comfort it provides and if the missus or a friend ever comes with me then they just carry personal gear and jump in with me!
If I want to be closer to nature then I open the doors  ;D


Blimey! That is light for a 2P tent. Can you tell me it's name? When I look at 2P tents they all seem to be over 1.8K.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: fernman on 14:13:58, 23/10/17
For a start I bought the small Alpkit tarp, I could not find a way to keep it fully over me in a freestanding position, I just didn't have the knack to erect it properly. When I did use it I felt that I was just 'too close' to nature, and my imagination ran riot, mice and the like. I did like however the ability to open my eyes and 'see' the world around me. For my own comfort I realised that I am a person that needs to be enclosed!

Thanks. That sounds similar to why I wouldn't like it. Although being enclosed in a one-man tent is slightly claustrophobic, I do like to know that it keeps out four-, six- and eight-legged creatures. There have been times when I've left my flysheet and inner tent unzipped in warm conditions only to find a big black slug inside in the morning. When it's lashing down with rain I feel snug and cosy in a tent, knowing I'm not going to get splattered from it bouncing off the ground or blowing in under an open edge, and you're not likely to get wet from puddles forming in the grass around you.

I would also need to keep my boots dry, safe and in a secure place. I never leave them outside my tent, just in case they 'walk' in the night!

Last but not least, when in the Bivi where would I put my rucksack? Again, I would need it to be dry, safe and in a secure place?

I certainly wouldn't dream of leaving my boots outside, they're usually quite wet and there's a hope that they'll dry just a fraction under the flysheet. I've also read that foxes are fond of taking footwear. As for my rucksack, though, I have left that outside my tent on many occasions when it's not expected to rain, along with my walking poles.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Roburite on 14:16:54, 23/10/17
A friend posted a tarp/bivy review on Youtube. You can see it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yxSDZKpCmY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yxSDZKpCmY)
The DD Superlight tarp looks very good.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Another_Smith on 14:28:04, 23/10/17

Blimey! That is light for a 2P tent. Can you tell me it's name? When I look at 2P tents they all seem to be over 1.8K.


I have the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 (a mouthful I know  ;D )


https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/tents-shelters-c25/all-tents-c148/copper-spur-hv-ul-2-tent-p6728


The lighter you go the more you spend due to the materials used unfortunately but I can highly recommend this tent, be wary where you pitch though as the thin material could rip. I use the footprint too, still very light and comfortable for 1 or 2.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: John Murphy on 14:28:21, 23/10/17
A friend posted a tarp/bivy review on Youtube. You can see it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yxSDZKpCmY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yxSDZKpCmY)
The DD Superlight tarp looks very good.


Just looked at the video. The old tarp system would be a nightmare for me. The new system much better. I have a Terra Nova Lazer and by using only the outer have a perfect tarp set up. Just as light as actually using a tarp ;)
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: John Murphy on 14:30:01, 23/10/17

I have the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 2 (a mouthful I know  ;D )


https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/tents-shelters-c25/all-tents-c148/copper-spur-hv-ul-2-tent-p6728 (https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/tents-shelters-c25/all-tents-c148/copper-spur-hv-ul-2-tent-p6728)


The lighter you go the more you spend due to the materials used unfortunately but I can highly recommend this tent, be wary where you pitch though as the thin material could rip. I use the footprint too, still very light and comfortable for 1 or 2.


 ;D ;D  Just had another google and that tent came up on my search ;D ;D


The price has put me off though :o
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Another_Smith on 14:38:43, 23/10/17




The price has put me off though


If I remember rightly I got mine in a sale from some online retailer a couple of years ago, cost about 350. Not cheap but I saw it as an investment for me and others I go away with.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: NeilC on 16:51:04, 23/10/17
I do it occasionally. It tends to make my back hurt for some reason so I generally don't anymore.


I find it a bit of fun on a clear night seeing the stars and satellites go over etc but if it rains it's a miserable experience without a tarp and IMO at that point, I might as well be in a tent as it's the same sort of weight but more windproof, insect-proof, has pockets for torches etc etc.


The benefits are you can camp anywhere. All you need is a 6x3 flat spot. And it's stealthy. I've bivvied on national monuments etc. You can't really be seen once it's starts getting dusky.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Requiem on 17:40:56, 23/10/17
I use a Terra Nova hooped bivvy, sometimes on its own if I want to be unobtrusive and hide or with a reasonable tarp if I want a bit more comfort. Both configurations work well for me all the way through the seasons. If theres a chance of rain I'll take a TN Zephyros with me instead - Its only slightly heavier and the comfort level increases massively - I honestly struggle at times justifying a bivvy when the lightweight tents are so good - I guess a hooped bivvy is just more fun when you're on a hilltop in a hoolie of a storm and you know that you're snug and not likely to be rolled off a cliff while you're kipping


Roy
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: gunwharfman on 19:17:51, 23/10/17
Yes Requiem, I think you wrote something that I'm looking for, the ability to wild camp in simple locations (e'g. next to a pub) not be seen and have almost instant availability. My tent is fine, on a site, not so good in other situations because I have to spent time erecting it. The appeal of a Bivi to me is to be able to get in quickly, take up the minimum of space, sleep and move on quickly the next morning. The factor that bothers me most is lack of room. I expect I will stick to my plan to buy another tent but I want to keep on thinking about a Bivi for the moment. At the moment I am looking at the Snugpack Stratosphere. It appeals because I could get in to sleep from the side (and I assume could get out fast if necessary?) and it has an area which should keep the material off my face. Thanks for all of the information, it is very helpful.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Requiem on 20:28:02, 23/10/17
The Stratospheres really good - used one up on Carnedds in Wales and again was more like a hooped bivvy as it felt unlikely to be blown away in high winds and was 'that' kind of colour and profile that it was just about invisible. I recall being able to roll back a large area of the front of the tent so could stay sheltered but able to look at the stars. Only minor issue with it was too low to sit up in, but it was sturdy enough to withstand a tac-nuke easily.


R
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Owen on 20:35:25, 23/10/17

I've used bivi bags in the past both in the Military and whilst climbing in the Alps and Andes. You shouldn't think of them as an alternative to a tent rather as a waterproof cover for your sleeping bag for cowboy camping. i.e. sleeping out under the stars. There not much fun in midge country or the normal UK weather.



(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/923/ZLg3Kc.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/pnZLg3Kcj)
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/923/Pe1gE8.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/pnPe1gE8j)


two photo's from South America circa 1886.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: lostme1 on 22:40:05, 23/10/17
I've used bivi bags in the past both in the Military and whilst climbing in the Alps and Andes. You shouldn't think of them as an alternative to a tent rather as a waterproof cover for your sleeping bag for cowboy camping. i.e. sleeping out under the stars. There not much fun in midge country or the normal UK weather.



(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/923/ZLg3Kc.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/pnZLg3Kcj)
(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/923/Pe1gE8.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/pnPe1gE8j)


two photo's from South America circa 1886.

Good photos for over 130 years ago :D
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Owen on 22:55:41, 23/10/17
Whoops, should have read that more carefully. 1986.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: archaeoroutes on 14:43:56, 24/10/17
In wooded areas, I use a tarp (IFS) with a bivi. Anywhere upland in the UK and I'll use a tent (or just a bivi if I plan on spending the night on a rocky ledge).
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: beefy on 17:50:19, 24/10/17


not read all the posts but heres my thoughts and some things to think about ...
bivvy bags are ok in good weather, or for cave camping, if you get caught out in a storm your either outside in the rain, or inside the bag where you are very restricted, unless you use a tarp, then the weight goes up, you cant beat a tent in my opinion.

hooped bivvy bags such as the Rab Ridge Raider are great, and ive enjoyed using mine, but i sold it because as i said before i prefer a tent, because i like the ability to move around, use my stove etc.

i once wild camped on cadair idris in my RRR, and the wind was so strong it pressed on the side of the bivvy, compressing the loft in my sleeping bag, so i got really cold with the wind chill, this would not have happened in a tent where the bag would have stayed lofted.

i bought a Dutch army hooped bivvy bag before the RRR, it was great for stealth camping, camoflaged, with a nice long zip making entry and exit easy, and huge, i could fit all my gear including rucksack inside with me out of the weather,
definitely worth considering if your not bothered about the weight, but it was heavier than my tent.
it all depends on why you want to bivvy,

if its to save weight, then a bivvy like the Alpkit Hunka might be worth a go, but not much comfort on its own, so adding a tarp ups the comfort, but ups the weight, or you could use a poncho as in the video below.

in my opinion a tent is a much better option, and more storm proof if you need it.
its a question of how light you want to go, as opposed to how much comfort you want
the lighter your pack, the more miserable you will be, we carry a few home comforts, like a chairs for instance, not only usefull outside the tent, but we use them inside without the legs to lean against giving us a nice level of comfort,

as most of you know me and April go out in all weathers,
i carry a 2 man tent its an MSR Elixir, its not the lightest of tents, but it suits us because it gives us a great level of comfort and liveability, without being too heavy to carry,
you can also pitch the inner only for stargazing, but we never do
and at 200 you cant beat its value for money, its a great tent,
has 2 doors and a footprint is included, we pitch the fly on its own to use as a shelter for lunch in a storm, and even sheltered under the footprint once, when we got a sudden heavy downpour, we laughed as we watched another couple getting soaked ...

Hunka bivvy bag and poncho setup
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diIPSE0Jqtg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diIPSE0Jqtg)


Dutch army bivvy wild camp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34j23kMvNps (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34j23kMvNps)


HTH ...  8)
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: NeilC on 22:54:08, 24/10/17
If you want to try it out to see if you like it you can get an ex army bag off eBay for like 20 and sell it for the same when you're done with it.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: gunwharfman on 16:24:48, 26/10/17
Thanks everyone, your views and experience of Bivi's is very useful to me. It certainly has made me think. Not quite sure what to do now?

I've looked at (on line) the models available to me and the one I am still most interested in is the Snugpak Stratosphere, Why, because it has a zip for me to make a side entry, it would cover my head and its fairly cheap. My main worries are the possible condensation problem and where to keep my boots and rucksack safely and dry!

From your entries I tried to really ask myself why am I looking at such a thing? I think it goes back to the times when I have been forced to wild camp, or when I planned to wild camp. Part of this is when, for example, I am in a pub and it would be nice to leave and be able to find a patch of grass within a few minutes. Not keen on trudging out of a village in the dark and then, in the dark, having to put up my tent. I would hope that theBivi might allow me have almost instant readiness, and allow me to be discreet even though people and houses might be all around me.

I had thought about taking my Alpkit Tarp as well, but I could also take the waterproof outer layer of my Marmot Pulsar 1 tent, or the outer layer of my Zephyros 1 tent. This means that I have choice, which is good. If I took a tent outer then the problem of storing my rucksack and boots would not be a problem in bad weather. I would still have to come up with a plan if I decided I didn't need to erect a cover over the Bivi.

On the other hand I could just stay simple and buy a new tent. I'm still thinking as to what I really want, maybe by Christmas I would have decided?
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Owen on 17:02:40, 26/10/17
Use your pack as a pillow and stuff your boots under your knees, either outside the bivi if wet or inside if it's freezing along with your gas and water bottle.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: NeilC on 15:25:07, 27/10/17
If you cover your head and breath into it, you'll likely get terrible condensation.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Doddy on 16:19:32, 28/10/17
My combo is a Tarp/Tent Notch, MLD Superlight bivvy and Mtn Hardware Summerlite sleeeping bag. for 3 season use. The bivvy is useful for cowboy camping looking at the stars or a stealth camp when space or time is limited to look for a bigger/better spot; the bivvy is good to keep the sleeping bag clean and gives  me the confidence my bag is secure in torrential downpours.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: gunwharfman on 16:19:00, 30/10/17
I'm near to buying a Snugpak Stratospere Bivi bag but for those who are in the know, can you give me an opinion please. I've obviously read that at times, condensation might be a problem. Would draping a high absorbency towel on top of my sleeping bag whilst I sleep, help to minimise this, or am I just being daft?
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Doddy on 21:48:12, 30/10/17

If I am understanding it right, the towel will be damp rather than the top of the bag. If the moisture is on the bag on its own it is easy to wipe off; so I guess if moisture is on the towel it might make it marginally more easier to deal with.
Is there any way you can try cowboy camping before you commit to expense. I think condensation is just one of the issues you might find i.e sleeping with face to the elements, bugs, early daylight; try just sleeping without a tent on a dry night to see how you get on. There are pluses and it can give a new freedom.
I once tried my MLD Superlight bivvy just laid on top inside my sleeping bag as a type of vapour barrier to be warmer and it seemed to work; however it is a thin fabric.The sleeping bag can sometimes be damp at the foot, I think more heat/dampness can just gravitate downward as I often seem to be on a bit of a slope; it often dries as I leave it facing the sun when I am making breakfast.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Mel on 22:19:37, 30/10/17
This isn't going to turn into a "purchasing mistake" is it gunwharfman?  :-\   :-X   ;)
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Owen on 22:42:18, 30/10/17
Can say for the snugpak bivi mines an old survival aids one made of gore-tex. I can't say I've ever noticed condensation making my sleeping bag damp. I don't like having my head inside and the zip done up but that's more about a feeling of claustrophobia. 
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: [Rgmw]largie on 23:11:00, 23/11/17
Hi my 0.02p


I bought a new British Army Bivi  (800g) for 40 this year and a 6x3 tarp off eBay (200g) (5) Bit of paracord and used my walking poles as supports. It rained every night and I stayed comfy & dry.


Day 1 we had a thunderstorm and it was brilliant being out, safe & dry watching the lightning while it happened around us,
Day 2,  rain cleared at 3AM and I was treated to the most fabulous star lit views over the Milford Haven estuary.
Day 3, Sadly  the rain got heavier and heavier. I stayed warm & dry but there was no joy in it at all.


You learn *very* quickly you have to be far more organised than in a tent and I would not have enjoyed it all without the tarp.  It was much smaller than most of the Tarp's  you see on you-tube (They're often 9x9), being more the size of the "basha's " you see in surplus shops but with some pre-planning it was more than adequate.


I was REALLY glad I'd chosen to bivvy and am looking forward to doing it again next year (more than I look forward to tent camping) but struggle to recommend it for more than a few days. I was also lucky that the days were dry so not a miserable experience !


Obviously I'm no expert but happy to answer any questions on my experience you might have.


Cheers


Dave

Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: Semigoodlookin on 16:06:32, 02/12/17
I am mostly a multi-day solo hiker and it has almost got to that stage of bivi or nothing for me. I guess conventional wisdom would say to bivi over one night and use a tent on multi-day, but I am reverse.


The disconnect that a tent brings is not something I always enjoy. Although it can have its benefits. Instead I carry a bivi and tarp. It has nothing to do with weight, so if anyone is thinking of bivi just for weight loss, don't waste your time, tents are light enough these days.


I prefer to bivi because I can see the sky, I can be outside. That's the experience for me. The tarp is a precaution that I only use if it is raining or excessively windy, otherwise it stays in the pack. The bivi also gives me more freedom to sleep more diverse places. I slept on sand dunes next to a beach on a slight slope. This summer I slept on a rock summit of tres picos in Argentina, I have slept in urban areas (airports for example), on crib goch, and numerous other places where a tent wouldn't work.


On occasions of one nighters, I will sometimes use a tent. Admittedly it is nice to hide away in your own little space in the middle of nowhere.


I would say two thing about using a bag:


Firstly, it is obviously not for everyone, it can be frustrating and uncomfortable, and annoying if you are someone who carries a lot of kit.


Second, I think hooped bivi bags are almost pointless. They are more like ultra-compact tents. I don't think they have the room and comfort of a full tent, but lack the true versatility and ease of a regular bivi.
Title: Re: Bivi bag camping, do you?
Post by: gunwharfman on 10:10:47, 03/12/17
I agree with one writer, that if I purchase a Snugpak it could be a poor purchase for me. I'm still hesitating because I already have a Alpkit Hunka but for me it lacks two items. I find the Hunka difficult to get into and I want to fit in my Thermarest Neo Air to sleep on as well. If it had a zip down the side it would be great, but it hasn't. I would also prefer to have a covered area for my head, I tried using my gauze head cover last year over my hat but I just felt I couldn't breathe properly and on a midgy night I was not comfortable at all.

Yes, Semigoodlooking I am hoping to get the 'perks' of a bivi, just want to just stop and sleep more or less anywhere and be 'invisible'.