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Re: [pct-l] bivys and bags

Rick --

I have not used my bivy sack (Moonstone Personal Shelter -- reasonably nice,
and reasonably inexpensive) with a down bag out West, but here in the East,
condensation is an issue, even on a "dry" night.  The main problem is
condensation against the non-breatheable coated nylon floor panel (common in
many bivy designs), which can work its way above the bag as you twist and
turn in the night.  If the non-breatheable panels stay *below* the bag, it
works much better, but accumulates dampness when it gets *above* the bag.
Also, hiding from mosquitos in a bivy really sucks.  Someone on this list, I
believe, said wise words to the effect that you want to avoid being awake in
a bivy sack.

A bivy design where the breatheable fabric came down at least to ground
level would reduce the condensation problem, as would the bivies made
entirely of breatheable fabric (Wild Things, North Face, ans surely others
make one, but they tend to be pricey). 

These issues notwithstanding, I rarely bring my tent on a 3-season trip
anymore.  On an overnight, the bit of dampness isn't enough to collapse the
down, and on a longer trip I must air dry the bag every day.  But a bivy!
It is light, and small!  It really allows the freedom to do 3-season
weekends in (not strapped onto) a 1800 ci bookbag (as would a tarp,
admittedly, and probably more effectively.) 

I used a tent on my AT thru-hike and think a bivy would have been a hassle
with a down bag.  

I enjoy the Eureka Gossamer.  It is obviously light and compact, has nice
aluminum poles, pitches very tightly for a tunnel tent, is waterproof (now),
and the plentiful mesh is great.  At first the attached fly annoyed me, but
now I like it.  I also like that it is a subtle, low-visual-impact green.
Several of my buddies on the AT had the Slumberjack Summer bivy tents, and
they had many problems with durability (the fiberglass poles snapped) and
waterproofness (they leaked badly).  The Gossamer is not much more $$$, and
I feel it would serve you better.  I must note, though, that that materials
are still pretty light, and I don't expect mine to survive the entire PCT (I
tentatively plan to use it only for the Sierra and OR-WA, and use a tarp
otherwise, but I am still trying determine if the bivy might be an option
for Cali, since it seems you just need a shelter for occasional
thunderstorms.)  The Walrus Swift costs and weighs a small bit more but
might be another option to check out -- it would offer better durability and
probably better weather resistance over time.

I am weary of sweating the gear details.  I want to get walking -- Spring
'98 cannot arrive too fast!

Good luck ---


At 12:00 AM 11/25/97 -0600, you wrote:

>Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 11:01:01 -0800
>From: Rick Howard <howard@aa.nps.navy.mil>
>Subject: [pct-l] bivys and bags
>Can someone relate their experience with using a
>down bag inside of a bivy sack on the PCT?  Is 
>condensation a daily problem, or just a problem in 
>the wetter northwest?  What about condensation running 
>down the inside of a single-layer bivy tent?  Relative 
>merits of Slumberjack summer bivy tent and Eureka Gossamer?
>Does anyone have experience with the Integral Designs Sola
>or Unishelter?
>Rick Howard
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