[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[pct-l] Re: Bivy Sack

Robert Knoth was asking about bivy sacks-

  I disagree with Kurt Herzog's opinion on bivy sacks or at least part of what
he said; I also disagree that bivy sacks are not good in a blizzard as I have
used one in such conditions and found them satisfactory (read this as better
than freezing to death but just barely).  First, though Robert, I question why
you want to use a bivy sack AND a tarp as a vestible; you are better off
choosing one or the other.  When I hiked the PCT, I had less than a dozen
nights of precipitation for 5 months of travel.  I carried a 5 lb. tent all the 
way, though I had carried just a tarp on the AT where it rained more, and if I
did the PCT again today, I would carry neither tent nor tarp.  However, my
level of experience is probably much different than yours (and most people on
this list) so I would not recommend that you follow my approach, which would be
to use a bivy sack.  Part of my experience includes several bivies in bad
weather with nothing but the clothes on my back in an extreme mountaineering
situation here in Alaska; all I can say is that you either love it or hate it,
and I tend to love it (by "clothes on my back", I mean it literally - no pad,
no bivy sack, just sitting on top of my empty pack, curled up in a ball, teeth
chattering all night).  I would consider a 3-month trip on the PCT with a bivy
sack and sleeping bag to be downright luxurious.  In fact, I am preparing plans
for such a trip in the next 10 years, and my weight came in less than the 8 1/2
lbs. that Ray and Jenny Jardine used on the PCT; I hope that it is understood
though that such extreme behavior equipment-wise comes from many, many years of
experience and that most hikers should adapt a more moderate stance until they
feel comfortable enough to start shedding the weight.
  I have given very careful consideration to the OR bivy sack: it seems like a
Cadillac of bivy sacks, fairly expensive, reasonably light (at 1 lb. even), but
I feel that the hiker who is also a good seamstress could do better both
money-wise and weight.  Personally, I gave no consideration to the Eureka
because it is too heavy (for me) but seems like it might be a better choice for
most persons new to a bivy sack as it has the hoop suspension to create the
room that so many people desire (not me) and is more moderately priced (I
think; I cannot remember).  Since you state that you would be doing most of
your travel in the Oregon Cascades, where it rains a lot more than the
California sections, it might be better for you to go with a tarp or one of the
more extreme mini-tents available.  I can not emphathize enough how much a
mental game this is, choosing to use a tent, tarp, bivy sack or nothing at all,
and that for most people, it is best to be conservative, go slow and don't
become a statistic.  If you decide to go with a bivy sack, then my advice is to 
do several overnight trips in perfect weather before going on a trip where you
will be depending on it.  Though I assume that you will be using a sleeping bag
inside of your bivy sack, once you feel comfortable using it, you might plan a
trip where you will use only the warm clothes that you normally carry plus your
bivy sack, again in perfect weather, the point of this exercise being twofold:
you will have the experience JUST IN CASE you ever need it in a real emergency
and you will have also stretched the limits of what you previously considered
possible, which is always a good thing to do, and necessary.

* From the Pacific Crest Trail Email List | For info http://www.hack.net/lists *