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Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

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Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby AndyMac321 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:44 pm

Hello everyone! I am hiking the JMT Aug 2013 and am considering ditching the tent and using my MSR E-wing as a shelter. With this tarp, will I NEED a bivy? I know the weather is pretty fair in the Sierras during the summer, and I am good enough with this tarp to set some nice storm setups. If it were you, would you bring one? If so, what bivys would you look at? Thanks you in advance for your responses...



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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby AndyMac321 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:56 pm

Additional info....

I own an REI igneo down sleeping bag rated at 17 degrees (it has a good DWR on it), a plastic painters drop sheet cut to size for a ground cloth, and a thermarest z-lite.
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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby paul » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:25 pm

If you are experienced with that tarp you should be covered rain-wise, but you might want a bug bivy or something to preserve your sanity. I find bugs are more of an issue than rain most of the time.
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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby overheadx2 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:08 pm

Andy, you are probably aware of it, but if you are already carrying a tarp and ground cloth why not get a Tarp tent. Basically they are exactly what you already have with skeeter netting sewn in. They are relatively cheap, work very well and are certainly lighter than a tarp and a bivy combined.
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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby AndyMac321 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:41 pm

paul: I do have a fair amount of experience with this tarp and am planning on at least 2 more local trips to test it. I was thinking of getting some bug net and cutting it into 2 triangles, I could then use it as netting while it is in A-frame setup.

overheadx2: I have tossed around the idea of a tarp tent, but I already have a sub 2# tent, and have been using the tarp to get a more "sleeping outside" feeling. I also like the pure versatility of a tarp, even if my specific tarp has fewer pitches than most. If I were to get a bivy, I would only use it in the rain.

More info: I like the "lean to" pitch the best, really gives you nice views at night. I use the "A-frame" setup in less than perfect weather, and (if I adopt the bug netting setup) when bugs are a problem. I have also toyed with a very low storm pitch that is mostly like a "bivy pitch", where 5 of the 6 corners are staked down and my trekking pole is pretty much set to minimum height on one of the points.

thanks guys!
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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:32 pm

I think you should look at Lightheart Gear tents. Best of both worlds, IMO.
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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby overheadx2 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:04 am

Andy, I understand your thoughts. The one thing I don't care for about my Tarp tent is the inability to sleep under the stars when possible. I recently switched to a fly creek for that reason. I love peeling back the fly when ever I can.
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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby Robb » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:13 pm

Regarding bugs, I've used a head net with a fair amount of success in the past. You'll want to have a good seal on the draft collar to make sure nothing gets down into the bag to bite you, and you can forget about unzipping if you get too hot, but a basic head net is a lot more convenient than a whole bivy.
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Re: Needed: Advice on bivy sacks

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:39 pm

I have done many trips (10-12 days) in the Sierra in August-Sept with a bivy only (MSR basic bivy). If you really want the "out in the open feel" then why a tarp? To me, a tarp is not much different than a TarpTent. I would NEVER go into the Sierra during mosquito season (usually July 4 to about July 25) without a tent. But in August, a bivy is fine. First, you have to be comfortable in a bivy - a lot of people are not. Second, you have to be willing to hunker down and zip it up in a storm- sort of like sitting in a coffin for a few hours while it rains. If you do a bivy plus tarp, you only need a very small tarp to cover your head.

The only problem I see with a tarp alone, is that if you want to camp above timber, a bivy is a lot easier. Since I do most of my camping above timber, the tarp idea for me just does not work.
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