synthetic quilt recommendations for winter?

Discussion in 'Sleeping Bags & Quilts' started by tommydog, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    @Cass on here bivvied a lot. His MLD bivi leaks very well through the zips. No good as a standalone in rain.

    A good Army bivi is tough n roomy.
    Cass likes this.
  2. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    I dont think you are much different to me. I dont own a proper tent so bivy and tarp is my standard rig. Ive kipped out down to -15 that way. My bivy isnt particularly light at 700g but my tarp adds only 300g so im still at 1kg which i find ok.

    My bugaboo II bivy has proved excellent in all situations so far. Its by integral designs who were taken over by Rab but if i was replacing id happily get similar from Rab
    Mole likes this.
  3. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

  4. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I bivy year round when ground dwelling. Best bivy bag I've used is a Integral designs Bugaboo 2 (now replaced by Rabs new model) It's more breathable than the army bivy and is much bigger. It's not much lighter though.

    If the weather looks good with winds 40mph or less, I'd take that (but always with a microtarp over my head to keep the rain off my face and give somewhere sheltered to change clothes/cook/pack up.

    With questionable weather up there, I'd take my Rab Summit. It looks like a tent, but IMO, is much better regarded as a huge bivy bag(Bibler style bivy tent). Same Event outer but with 2 crossing poles. It's dangerous to cook in but with your cold food, you should be good.

    Along the same lines, you have the hooped bivis to consider too, like the Crux or Rab models. It's all personal preference with shelters, only you know what you'll be comfy in and whether you can handle rain/sleet/snow on your face all night with an uncovered bivy bag..
    Mole likes this.
  5. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I like an open bivvy camp, they're usually last minute trips when there's a good weather window, if you've already got a date set then I'd probably take a small tarp along too just in case, something like a Rab Siltarp 1. Finding a cosy body shaped hole behind a ledge or clump of heather can make for some great campsites.
    I think for a standalone shelter then around the 1kg mark shouldn't be far off, my army bivvy comes in around 900g from memory, but it's dependable and actually keeps me dry, turning it over so the hood is on top keeps most rain out.
    I treated myself to a Rab Sierra bivvy (same as the ID Bugaboo) last year on the recommendation of a few hiking mates, it's eVent rather than Gore-tex but so far it's been every bit as reliable as an MOD bag, saving 200g (£1 per 1g :meh:!!!) It's got a clever T-zip so access is a bit easier, but it also closes up nicely.

    I'd probably stick with your MOD bag if going standalone, presuming it's still waterproof, but also using my poles and a tarp to create a bolt hole if the weather is persistently pants.

    EDIT: Too late, Pete beat me to it
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
    Teepee likes this.
  6. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    For a while I had an Integral Designs Unishelter Exp in tegraltex. It truly was the Cadillac of bivi bags. About 1.3Kg, but awesomely awesome for summit sleeping.
  7. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    The Statosphere is terrible Rog, I've had three, each one leaked and suffered terrible condensation, the inside of the fabric has an almost rubberised PU coating and just sticks to anything. I'm not sure why it took me three to realise but I bought a Saturn and have stuck with that.
    ADz and Mole like this.
  8. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Nuff said, experience talks.
    Mole likes this.
  9. tommydog

    tommydog Trekker

    Thanks for your replies. Which current Rab model is equivalent to the Integral designs Bugaboo 2, as the current Rab models look a little different?
  10. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Mine is a Rab Sierra too.had since 2011. Nevet tried it tarpless in rain though so no idea if zips properly waterproof ( doubtful IMO ). dew jas been fine.
  11. lentenrose

    lentenrose Trail Blazer

    same as shewie---i have a tn saturn hooped bivi---absolutely waterproof/bombproof but at 1200 gms and £xxx i would not recommend on lightwieght forum
  12. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Love the idea of a bivvy.
    A tiny flat/dry spot, throw bivvy down, crawl in, sleep.

    At that time of the year you're talking about near on 16 hours of darkness a day, it'll also almost certainly be tipping it down non stop.

    Good on ya if you give it a go, for me it'd drive me crazy.

    I don't mind hiking in bad weather (kinda enjoy it to be honest) but on multi-day trips i really NEED somewhere dry and with enough space to sit up in.

    If the plan is to hike 16 hours a day (in the dark for a lot of that) then just throw the bivvy down to sleep then you might be alright.

    If it's raining non-stop and you plan on hiking only during daylight though it's going to be a miserable miserable trip.
    Imagine spending 6 or 8 awake hours in a zipped up bivvy :eek:

    It's not like bivvys are much lighter than a good tent these days.

    I know you said you've bivvy'd in the cold, the temperature doesn't really make much difference (as long as you have appropriate clothing and sleeping bag), the biggest problem when bivvying is not the cold, it's the rain.

    If you don't have a tarp and it's raining then think that you'll be spending all that time in a fully zipped up bivvy :wideyed:
    Teepee and Munro277 like this.
  13. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Getting out of the rain isn't only achieved by taking a tent or tarp. There are quite a few overhangs, dense tree canopies and cave mouths in the W. Highlands.
  14. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Good point Rog :thumbsup:

    If you're spending a fair bit of time searching for a sheltered spot each night though where does the "bite nose off to spite face" level arrive though?

    What i mean by that is, unless you know 100% of a spot, then you'll spend more time searching for a sheltered spot than you would just taking and throwing up as tent.

    It's not like modern tents are heavy, most mids, tarptents etc weghs about the same of less than the bivvies mentioned, granted you can't just roll them out like a bivvy, but there aren't many tents available these days that take more than a few mins to throw up.

    No right or wrong we all enjoy different aspects of getting out there and enjoying the outdoors :thumbsup:

    I just recon 99.99999% of folks would be miserable having to spend every looooooonggg night (8ish hours of daylight) in a zipped up bivvy (good chance of rain most nights in the highlands).

    A tarp, silnylon mid, tarptent or even a trailstar would make nights a LOT more comfortable at very little weight gain (if any, if the army bivvy bag is ditched).

    If the thread was started by Pete or a someone that has a massive amount of experience bivvying in the UK i wouldn't mention it, i'd just sit eagerly awaiting the trip report.

    But from what i've read so far the op has only mentioned cold weather bivvvying, not wet weather bivvying, i recon there is a hugggeeeee difference there.

    I'd sooner sleep out all night looking up at the stars on a dry (not raining or snowing heavily) night at say -15, than spend 30 mins in a bivvy in heavy rain.



    Cheers
    Mark
  15. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    Hopefully @tommydog has got the advice he was looking for and a lot of years of user experience from the posters.

    Stubborn or not I'll have one last go. Have a think @tommydog about a lightweight bivvy / shelter combo. Use the bivvy on its own on dry nights and the bivvy under a tarp/shelter on wet nights.

    EDIT
    For example, this setup here used by @murpharoo (about 7 mins into the video) is simple, light, provides good coverage but still gives that 'connection' to the outdoors. A 3m x 1.5m rectangular tarp is very flexible.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  16. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    DD's Ultralight S-tarp at 2.80 x 1.50 weighs stuff all, takes up next to no room and gives enough pitching options for when it rains. Great addition to a bivvy.
    Graham likes this.
  17. Marco

    Marco Ultralighter

    Agree. UL bivy bags (including our Millaris Bivy Bag) are weather resistant, not weather proof. They are designed to be used with an overhead shelter in sustained rain. Not really a bad approach, as it allows you to sleep in your bivy in good / moderate weather. I don't like the experience of sleeping inside a "true" bivy sack as my sole shelter. Cooking is a pain, as well as other camp chores that are easier inside a proper shelter.
  18. ADz

    ADz Thru Hiker

    I got rid of the one I bought (and didn't use) after you mentioned these issues before. Such a shame as I quite like the color/design for woodland or stealth trips.
  19. Cass

    Cass Trail Blazer

    If i was going to use a stand alone bivi i would definitely go for a new or grade 1 army surplus bag. Me and 3 mates have been doing this type of trip pretty regularly through winter for a few years now and it seams the more money we through at bivi bags the colder and wetter we become. With the exception of 1 who has kept it simple and stuck with the old school army sack. The thing i like about this design is its truly tried and tested and very simple so little can go wrong.
    edh and Mole like this.
  20. Cass

    Cass Trail Blazer

    IMG-20160925-WA0000.jpg
    Max, gixer, edh and 6 others like this.
  21. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    I like bivvy bags (esp Alpkit's Hunka XL) but in those conditions I'd have been making use of that basha as an extra source of protection. I'm a wimp like that. :D
    Cass likes this.
  22. tommydog

    tommydog Trekker

    I really love the picture. That's like me in kazakhstan and Russia 10 years ago. After thinking about this carefully, I don't think I am going to take a tarp for the following reasons:

    1) Have to carry extra poles as I don't use walking poles
    2) Okay I can find trees etc to setup tarp up without poles, but that requires effort in finding a sleeping place. I often like to hike until I am exhausted and then just drop!
    3) Hate having to set things up in the dark and don't have to worry about this with a bivi.
    4) As I said before I don't cook when out and only eat cold food, so am not worried about cooking etc.

    One thing I am considering though is the Milesgear Uber Bivvy, it seems to get some really good reviews online, with little reported condensation. Just check this review out: https://feistycamping.wordpress.com/bivvy-bag-reviews/

    What do people think about going with the Milesgear Uber Bivvy? It looks a step up from my army bivy which is no longer waterproof.
  23. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    Ive often considered one, they do look a good design if you can live with the colour
  24. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    The review says: So the bottom line is this: we need to test it in a storm to see how it really fares. I'd want to know it works 100% if I'm going to be totally reliant on it to keep me dry.

    Tyvek on base...should be ok. The hard structure tyvek is commonly used for groundsheets and wears well. Easily repairable anyway. I assume that you'd take the ~1m non-collapsible poles that are used for the Uber Bivvy hoops?

    Sounds to me the same as using a separate tarp pole i.e. the approach used by those folk who don't use walking poles (just saying....:)).
    gixer likes this.
  25. tommydog

    tommydog Trekker


    I did note the bottom line, but reading some comments of users on other forums, it seems to hold up well in all conditions.

    Yes the non-collapsible poles are the minor drawback, but on the other hand there is no need for pegs or lines. For a poleless system I first started looking at the Nemo GoGo bivy, which does not use poles but an air inflation system (air beam). I first thought this sounded a little gimmicky, but the air beam system gets some really great reviews and was found to be very robust. The GoGo looks a really well designed product, but it's a shame they made the bivy out of the material they did, as there are some really negative reviews about condensation. For this reason I discounted the GoGo. Ideally I want an Uber Bivvy with an airbeam system, but I can only dream! Does anyone know if any other companies use an airbeam type system, as I can't find any others? I did read somewhere that Milesgear are working on a backpack, which fits the poles of the uber bivvy to become a backpack frame. This sounds like a cool idea.

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