What bivvys do you use with inflatable mats?

Monty

Summit Camper
Hi- I gave up with using foam as a cheap replacement for a bust mat a few weeks ago until i had enough for a neoair trekker. now i enjoy using a bivi for the ease/weight savings, i currently use an rab ascent one which i love(d) until trying out how much space i had within the bivi last night.... its tight to say the least! i had cold spots on my shoulder (as a side sleeper). Im heart broken honestly as i love both bits of equipment but i need a solution for this. I could swap/sell the mat or bivi i suppose. not sure what replacements would be adequate though. does anyone have any thoughts? im sure others have experienced this. im reluctant to put the mat on the outside too as its a bit like an ice rink! again, any insight and advice is appreicated!
 

Jamess

Section Hiker
hi there.

I use one custom made for me by Scotty Von Porkchop on this forum.

Cost was similar to the USA ones (cheaper now!), similar quality and I could spec exactly what I wanted.

Chat to Scotty would be my advice.
 

Mole

Thru Hiker
I think Monty means a waterproof bivi?

The Rab Sierra is big enough. Dunno if they still make it though.
As is a British Army bivi.
 

Meadows

Section Hiker
Its always a bit dissapointing when favoured bits don't work together.
You could try attaching loops and bungee to the outside of the bivi bag to keep the mat in place underneath.
 

Monty

Summit Camper
hi there.

I use one custom made for me by Scotty Von Porkchop on this forum.

Cost was similar to the USA ones (cheaper now!), similar quality and I could spec exactly what I wanted.

Chat to Scotty would be my advice.
Im looking for one to use standalone unfortunately, unless he is willing to adapt his materials, although thread/stitch etc would be a pain for him i imagine!
 

Monty

Summit Camper
Its always a bit dissapointing when favoured bits don't work together.
You could try attaching loops and bungee to the outside of the bivi bag to keep the mat in place underneath.

I guess so- although in not sure if the mat constantly being saturated is a good idea?
 

Monty

Summit Camper
I think Monty means a waterproof bivi?

The Rab Sierra is big enough. Dunno if they still make it though.
As is a British Army bivi.
I saw the rab sierra bivi, it looked perfect for my needs! however its no longer in prodution ive heard. i guess i could ask around and keep an eye on ebay for one though. and the british army ones are heavy no? i know theres a bit of variation in spec
 

Monty

Summit Camper
Alpkit Hunka XL maybe, I've only ever used mine with a 1" SIM though.


Ideally a bug net and/or full closure would be neccessary unfortunately. and using drawstring closure standalone and with a big inflatable mat leads to a very uncomfy night, you cannot turn over to stop rain coming in!
 

Scotty Von Porkchop

Ultralighter
While I mostly work in breathable bivy bags a can do waterproof if needed provided there's a decent design etc. TBH finding a Chinese made one is probably a better option than me as it'll be fully taped and probably cheaper.

The only roomy waterproof bivy I've ever used that worked well was old MOD goretex but it was a weighty beast.

One of the more interesting waterproof sleep systems was a guy who had me make a waterproof shelled (goretex) Berber fleece lined quilt (that opened up into a small tarp). Made XL so he just hides underneath until the rain stopped, he liked it anyway .
 

Monty

Summit Camper
While I mostly work in breathable bivy bags a can do waterproof if needed provided there's a decent design etc. TBH finding a Chinese made one is probably a better option than me as it'll be fully taped and probably cheaper.

The only roomy waterproof bivy I've ever used that worked well was old MOD goretex but it was a weighty beast.

One of the more interesting waterproof sleep systems was a guy who had me make a waterproof shelled (goretex) Berber fleece lined quilt (that opened up into a small tarp). Made XL so he just hides underneath until the rain stopped, he liked it anyway .


Sounds like a good idea honestly! i might have to look at alternative set ups as cost is an issue for me, having to study or be in classes most of the time i have t fit work in around it.... thanks anyway scotty. have you ever made anything like the kabatic gear bristlecone bivi, out of interest?
 

Scotty Von Porkchop

Ultralighter
I make most of my bivy bags similar to the bristlecone with a water-repellent upper and a mesh face section. Even if goretex etc was breathable enough I'd still take a minimal tarp as it's miserable in a bivy on a long wet night in direct rain.

If you're low on funds definitely get the MOD bivy I think mine was £20 and it was tough enough to use as a rucksack/swag bag in my minimal bushcraft days. I replaced it with fancy pants branded ones and all were small, sweaty and more miserable to be in than the MOD one. Plus with it being tough and cheap there's less worrying about fires nearby, bivys in the wet are majorly depressing so I always needed a fire.
 

Monty

Summit Camper
I make most of my bivy bags similar to the bristlecone with a water-repellent upper and a mesh face section. Even if goretex etc was breathable enough I'd still take a minimal tarp as it's miserable in a bivy on a long wet night in direct rain.

If you're low on funds definitely get the MOD bivy I think mine was £20 and it was tough enough to use as a rucksack/swag bag in my minimal bushcraft days. I replaced it with fancy pants branded ones and all were small, sweaty and more miserable to be in than the MOD one. Plus with it being tough and cheap there's less worrying about fires nearby, bivys in the wet are majorly depressing so I always needed a fire.

It can be extremely depressing having to sit it out early in the evening in heavy rain, i agree! i looked at the kabatic gear one, and a ridge raider (ebay is a saviour) im contemplating the tarp/ bivi for the sakes of room, a couple guy lines and poles isnt the end of the world i guess! my budget is sort of £150 or less which is a pain, as the kabatics arent adequate standalone. and im not all for the weight of a big hooped bivi, but then again the mod ones are similar weight!
 

Scotty Von Porkchop

Ultralighter
The Ridge raider is for more high alpine IMO comfort giving way to lightweight survivability in harsh environments, excellent bit of kit but pretty niche application. A tarp and breathable bivy are more your general backpacking trip, but they can be miserable if in exposed locations too.

FWIW I could make you a minimal tarp and breathable bag for under £150
 

Enzo

Thru Hiker
Problem with bivvy and tarp combo when ever I've done the maths is you end up at tent territory weight wise. a trekker tent stealth tarp is <400g and a much nicer place to ride out a storm than an a frame tarp. you could put a bivvy in it but the inner is only ~250g and not many bivvys that light.
 

Ken T.

Section Hiker
True Enzo. Use to be that a bivy was the lightest choice. Now you can get a tent that you can change out of wet clothes, and sit up in for less weight. I still like a bivy on some nice weather overnight trips. But take a roomier shelter 98% of the time.
 

Enzo

Thru Hiker
I keep one, as I mostly wild camp in lowland areas around me and being stealthy is pretty important, nothing more stealthy than a bivvy !
 

Scotty Von Porkchop

Ultralighter
Problem with bivvy and tarp combo when ever I've done the maths is you end up at tent territory weight wise. a trekker tent stealth tarp is <400g and a much nicer place to ride out a storm than an a frame tarp. you could put a bivvy in it but the inner is only ~250g and not many bivvys that light.

While it's true that bivys don't make for that much of weight saving there's still being much more exposed to the environment that you're staying in. In poor weather a bivy is fairly miserable. In fairer weather being open to the wilds, seeing the animals and smelling the wilderness is worth a heavier pack or damp morning coffee.

Unfortunately you kind of need a tent (or four?), a bivy and a hammock. Just sell your left kidney to pay for it ;-)
 

Monty

Summit Camper
The Ridge raider is for more high alpine IMO comfort giving way to lightweight survivability in harsh environments, excellent bit of kit but pretty niche application. A tarp and breathable bivy are more your general backpacking trip, but they can be miserable if in exposed locations too.

FWIW I could make you a minimal tarp and breathable bag for under £150

I was expecting your skills to be much higher in price... what sort of durability and water resistance would the bivi be?
 

Monty

Summit Camper
Problem with bivvy and tarp combo when ever I've done the maths is you end up at tent territory weight wise. a trekker tent stealth tarp is <400g and a much nicer place to ride out a storm than an a frame tarp. you could put a bivvy in it but the inner is only ~250g and not many bivvys that light.

Its more the experience you get from biving, good or bad....
 

Scotty Von Porkchop

Ultralighter
I was expecting your skills to be much higher in price... what sort of durability and water resistance would the bivi be?

I'm in it for the love rather than the money ;-)

The top is usually something along the lines of 1.1 DWR ripstop and either a PU or silnylon base (I've a few options though). They're fairly tough I suppose, but with bivys it's always a balancing act with durability, lately I've opted for lighter but with a polycryo ground sheet under the silnylon base. My current bivy is something like 120g but is as delicate as butterfly wings, I'm rather impressed it's lasted two nights so far
 

Monty

Summit Camper
I'm in it for the love rather than the money ;-)

The top is usually something along the lines of 1.1 DWR ripstop and either a PU or silnylon base (I've a few options though). They're fairly tough I suppose, but with bivys it's always a balancing act with durability, lately I've opted for lighter but with a polycryo ground sheet under the silnylon base. My current bivy is something like 120g but is as delicate as butterfly wings, I'm rather impressed it's lasted two nights so far


Sounds sketchy! knowing me id put my arm through it trying untangle myself from my sleeping bag. And surely thats not very waterproof, even for mist or dew? then again in not very well educated on fabrics or the system it goes with, so im probably being ignorant. does 1.1 DWR ripstop have a good water resistance?
 

Scotty Von Porkchop

Ultralighter
It's fairly fragile but I did wake up with dew on the exterior but fully dry in the inside (I had too thick a bag tbh, I was trying out a new down and modular quilt: baked a bit)
DWR helps a good deal to keep dry but it'd worth remembering that it's mainly the perspiration that difficult to deal with, the splash from wind driven rain is the easy bit.
 

Monty

Summit Camper
It's fairly fragile but I did wake up with dew on the exterior but fully dry in the inside (I had too thick a bag tbh, I was trying out a new down and modular quilt: baked a bit)
DWR helps a good deal to keep dry but it'd worth remembering that it's mainly the perspiration that difficult to deal with, the splash from wind driven rain is the easy bit.

Hm, i was wondering, how good are 'breathable' nylons compared to goretex or event? when you see prices, ive seen breathable ripstop nylons far outstrip branded goretex in terms of price. if the nylon you talked about would provide good enough protection for sporadic light showers being used on its own id be interested
 
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