Bivouac sack, bivy, bivvy, bivi bags and bloody bivvying

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  • Bivvying in UK winter.

    I get too cold in an Alpkit Hunka with a down jacket and a foam mat and thick layer of body fat so what should I try? Is there a better (read: warmer) bivvy option that doesn't add much weight/pack space?

    I will also need a solution for TABR/TransAm where I might be sleepy in/near the high mountains.

    Didn't want to pollute the tent thread any more...

  • Get a tent.

    Bivvies are ok but not having a proper shelter in winter is asking for trouble and hypothermia.

  • Plenty of light weight options out there.

    Some under 1kg, some more.

    How much money do you want to spend?

  • Ok, what tents can you suggest that pack down to the size of my fist?

  • It's less about the weight and more about their packed size.

  • Well, as most tents have poles you don't get small sizes.

    If you can deal with tepee tents the single pole can be small or replaced with a walking stick.

  • Let's assume tents don't exist in this world...

  • I have a Hunka at the which is 330g and packs half that size but isn't too warm

  • Terra Nova?

    http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/tarps-bivis-­bothies/all-bivis-bivi-bags/discovery-bi­vi/

    £250 is apparently an 'entry-level price'. Uh huh, sure guys.

  • This is more like it: http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/tarps-bivis-­bothies/all-bivis-bivi-bags/moonlite-bag­-cover/

    "Lightweight, waterproof and breathable sleeping bag cover. It has a tiny pack size and only weighs 180g."

  • This is more like it: terra-nova.co.uk/tarps-bivis-bothies/all­-bivis-bivi-bags/moonlite-bag-cover/

    "Lightweight, waterproof and breathable sleeping bag cover. It has a tiny pack size and only weighs 180g."

    And sold as a 'sleeping bag cover' or emergency shelter.

    Keep looking if you want to stay alive.

  • I'm not going to Antarctica with it. It will be used in England (maybe the north) and with a down jacket or maybe a down bag. So long as it keeps the bag/jacket dry I should be ok, no? I used a bag cover during the TCR but want something a little bit warmer and more waterproof (ie. a zip closure)

  • You seem to of made your mind up already.

    Hope to see you here again in March.

  • No I've the Ascent one. It is totally waterproof. But heavy at 600g, though packs down small. Had min for £70 on ebay. So I'd take it when the weather is bad. If it's just cold and not wet then I'd take that PHD cover you have. If it's not cold or wet, then just sleeping bag.

    I've slept down to -5 in the rab ascent. In my mountain hardware phantom 32, wearing down jacket and hat. Was nice.

    You can borrow it to try if you want?

  • I've 'not slept' in -3 with the Hunka and a down jacket but I wasn't actually tired so it's hard to know if it was just the cold the kept me awake or not being all that sleepy.

    I think a bivvy that fully closes would help since I'd be recirculating warm air and could open the top when it had warmed up. The drawstring closures don't cover my face enough when closed up.

    Maybe a slightly bigger one too which doesn't stretch tight against me.

  • None of the competitive racers carry a tent on TCR or TABR so I need to get better at bivvying, not buy a tent. Apart from the size and weight, there's setup time and they're less hidden than bivvys which becomes important when you're picking carparks or similar in towns to sleep in where you don't really want security asking questions.

  • Surely you're better looking at insulated mats or warmer sleeping bags/clothes and focusing on choice of sleeping spots to keep warm? The only thermal benefit to a bivi will be reducing heatloss by keeping you dry (from rain coming in and not building condensation) and keeping the wind off.

    It might be worth looking at a small tarp to reduce the build up of moisture on/in your bag and packing a balaclava or something so you can keep you mouth/nose relatively exposed rather than breath into the bivi bag (put balaclava on backwards if necessary and breath through it rather than breathing into the bag).

    Another tip would be to keep your expectations pretty low, I "slept" out below freezing 3 or 4 times earlier this year with optimistic gear choices, it was pretty shit but did serve a purpose (being cheap, more money for bigger breakfasts)

  • Yeah, I thought that which is why I was tempted to start using a sleeping bag rather than try and get away with just a down jacket. But I still think a bivvy that I could fully close would make a big difference. I always wake up congested, struggling to breathe because I'm sucking freezing air straight in via the bivvy's face hole. If I could close that up I'd get a bit of condensation but I'd be warmer and feel more protected from the elements. I'd be less worried about getting my bag wet and could open up more sleep spots.

    If the better bivvy breathes better than the Hunka then I reduce condensation in this situation.

    I usually have a buff over my face (eyes usually but sometimes whole face) but it can feel quite tight and restrictive on already shallow breathing.

    I can lay down in -3 but if I don't sleep and then have to ride like a maniac to warm up it's not very effective. I think I need to try a fully enclosed one just to see how much of an issue condensation is and if it solves my cold air issue. Also a fully enclosed one would keep the sun out if I was sleeping during the day.

    Basically, other people seem to get away with it and I'm fatter than them so I should be able to get away with it :)

  • Got to be smart about picking sleeping places.

  • I'm not saying don't try it, just that even the most breathable bivi bags are only really designed to manage condensation from the body/air inside them and not all the water in your breath over for more than an hour or two. Be aware you might wake up soggy/cold, if it's morning one of a multi-night trip you're best finding a pub/cafe to dry the sleeping bag out a bit before getting in it again.

  • You've got the rab right? I've never woken up in that with condensation or damp. Even in terrible weather. It really does breathe well.

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Bivouac sack, bivy, bivvy, bivi bags and bloody bivvying

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