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Re: [pct-l] bivy sac an option?

Margo J. Chisholm wrote:

> I've been looking at shelter options for my California PCT trip <snip>
> Eureka makes a one person bivy that has a hoop and vestibule that
> makes it more a oneperson tent than a bivy.  Price in Campmor is
> 79.99 which seems reasonable. Packed it weighs 2 lbs.14 oz.

I think that there are a few points to consider.  First, it will require
eleven stakes to fully rig the tent and fly.  My limited trail experience,
(Mexico to Bishop), has made me feel exceedingly lucky whenever
I could find a campsite which would let me sink four stakes without
hitting granite, let alone eleven. And, with the Eureka, all eleven may
be necessary to maintain the tautness necessary to repel rain and
snow.  Depending on their composition, eleven stake might add
considerable weight to your pack.  You might check out
http://www.backpacking.net/home.html.  Look in the "store".  They
offer titanium stakes which will save a fair amount of weight, and
stand a better chance of surviving the rocks of California.

Second, please consider the inside dimensions of the Eureka shelter.
(For the record, I use a similar tent, the Slumberjack Bivy Shelter,
which is also offered in the Campmor catalog, and requires it's own
set of compromises).  I would be willing to bet that you will not be
able to enter the Eureka on your hands and knees.  If this is true,
imagine that contortions you will be making while the rain comes
a-tumblin' down.  In addition, there won't be enough space to
manuver while you try to slip into and out of your rain gear and outer
clothing.  Because of the tight quarters, most of your equipment will
have to be stored outside in the weather, perhaps needing added
shelter in the form of extra garbage bags or a small tarp.

Last, I think that there would be more of a chance for condensation
dampening your gear inside the bivy, than in a larger enclosure, or
under a tarp.  Despite the foot vent, (the Slumberjack has one too)
the airflow through the tent is minimal.  And when condensation forms
on the walls, as it does even in many larger tents, your sleeping bag
and whatever else has been crammed inside will be constantly wiping
it off.  I am reminded of the through hikers of '97 who ran into a
tremendous amount of rain in Washington, writing of how depressing
it was to have everything in their pack constantly damp.

I am a low budget packer, and am sympathetic to your search for a
balance between budget-weight-convenience.  Perhaps you might be
better served by a tent along the lines of the Kelty "Zen" which is
also in the catalog.  With ti stakes, it would probably weigh within
8 oz of the Eureka.  Your equipment would fit inside with you, and,
you would probably stay drier.  However, give the Euraka a try in
mock-up.  Use a sheet and some string in your living room and
create a model.  Crawl underneath, and check it out....


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