Bivvi bags - advice please

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LinusR
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Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby LinusR » 27 Jan 2020, 5:12pm

I have a lightweight tent - an old Saunders Jetpacker which weighs a mere 1.75kg (and I can't even sit upright in it). But I'm thinking of some off-road adventures on my mountain bike where I want to limit my luggage to a saddlebag, a handlebar bag, and a small Osprey rucksack which has a bladder for up to 3 litres of water. I won't be cooking and I'm trying to keep the total load - including food - down to less than 6kg, for two days riding and one night out in the open.

I have a 1-2 season sleeping bag and a Thermarest sleeping mat, which weigh about 1.5kg together. I'm thinking about a bivvy weighing less than half a kilo (perhaps this one https://www.mountainwarehouse.com/bivy-bag-p13634.aspx/khaki/) and a mosquito net to cover my face. (Neeless to say I'll have a pee bottle ;-) I would be camping at an altitude of up to 500m in late summer (possibly Brecon Beacons, Wales).

Whilst I have slept rough many times with just a sleeping bag on a mat in the summer at sea level, I've never slept up a mountain in Wales in a bivvy bag. And I've never even used a bivvy bag.

So any tips, suggestions, warnings? And is it bivvi or bivvy?

hufty
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby hufty » 27 Jan 2020, 5:19pm

Never used one but can see the attraction. Is that one breathable though, it doesn't mention it in the writing. Alpkit do some as well, may be worth a look?
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mattheus
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby mattheus » 27 Jan 2020, 5:23pm

Definitely bivvY


The only justification I need is that my favourite ever outdoorsy guide uses that spelling:
https://www.cicerone.co.uk/the-book-of-the-bivvy-second

Buy it.

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LinusR
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby LinusR » 27 Jan 2020, 5:35pm

hufty wrote:Never used one but can see the attraction. Is that one breathable though, it doesn't mention it in the writing. Alpkit do some as well, may be worth a look?


Yeah, condensation could be problem with a cheap bag. Anyone used this Alpkit one? https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka I'm six foot one inch so I'd just about squeeze into this one, with the mat on the outside and underneath.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jan 2020, 5:36pm

I regularly use this sometimes with the Alpkit tarp:

https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka

Excellent item. Been on top of Cheviot and Helvellyn with it. Light as a feather. You need a reasonably good sleeping bag if winter use. And a mat, inside or underneath.

Edited: I see it crossed with another post!
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mattheus
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby mattheus » 27 Jan 2020, 5:38pm

LinusR wrote:
hufty wrote:Never used one but can see the attraction. Is that one breathable though, it doesn't mention it in the writing. Alpkit do some as well, may be worth a look?


Yeah, condensation could be problem with a cheap bag. Anyone used this Alpkit one? https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka I'm six foot one inch so I'd just about squeeze into this one, with the mat on the outside and underneath.


Yes, but people your size generally recommend the XL version.

(have you searched the forum? there is a thread about bivvy bags that talks about the Hunka - back in 2012(!), but folks are still raving about the Hunka in the ultra-hip bikepacking world. I'm happy with mine, but haven't used anything else ... )

hamster
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby hamster » 27 Jan 2020, 5:38pm

I've an Alpkit Hunka, which replaced some old Belgian Army ones from eBay. It's light and good for an overnight kip provided it's not too buggy.

Typically I use it in the summer, but also as low as -2C in late November on a couple of occasions. I stayed warm and dry with minimal condensation in a 3 season bag. I would prefer to use it with a tarp over my head and shoulders if it was actually going to rain. I have been woken by water trickling down my neck in the Belgian ones (which admittedly were rubbish) while on Dartmoor.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jan 2020, 5:41pm

I have tended to use my hunks+tarp whilst backpacking: I use walking poles to support the tarp.
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LinusR
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby LinusR » 27 Jan 2020, 5:47pm

Oldjohnw wrote:I regularly use this sometimes with the Alpkit tarp:

https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka

Excellent item. Been on top of Cheviot and Helvellyn with it. Light as a feather. You need a reasonably good sleeping bag if winter use. And a mat, inside or underneath.

Edited: I see it crossed with another post!


I saw the tarp and I wondered whether I should just use my Saunders Jet Packer without the inner tent (weighs about 1.3kg) - just use the outer tent, mat, sleeping bag and no bivvy?

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LinusR
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby LinusR » 27 Jan 2020, 5:51pm

mattheus wrote:Yes, but people your size generally recommend the XL version.

(have you searched the forum? there is a thread about bivvy bags that talks about the Hunka - back in 2012(!), but folks are still raving about the Hunka in the ultra-hip bikepacking world. I'm happy with mine, but haven't used anything else ... )


I'll have to check the sizing. I may have to go up a size. I'm 80kg so not a "big" six foot 1! But I'd probably enjoy the extra room. I'll check the other forum posts, thanks.

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LinusR
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby LinusR » 27 Jan 2020, 5:58pm

mattheus wrote:Definitely bivvY


The only justification I need is that my favourite ever outdoorsy guide uses that spelling:
https://www.cicerone.co.uk/the-book-of-the-bivvy-second

Buy it.


Thanks for the tip.

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horizon
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby horizon » 27 Jan 2020, 6:29pm

The bivvy versus tent debate must be done to death but for wild camping:

Bivvy: light, easy to unroll, put away, you can hear/see people coming, fresh air!
Tent: needs pegging and maybe better ground. Heavier.

But (I have a Jetpacker) here's the thing: a tent provides a dry environment around you. It will also provide some heat by trapping body warmth. On a bke, the weight IMV isn't an issue. I know what would be my choice.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Oldjohnw
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jan 2020, 6:39pm

Imv the two are for different experiences, not simply alternatives. Certainly when backpacking in the hills weight was important.

Whilst on my bike weight is not really an issue I do use my bivvy bag sometimes because I want to sleep in the open. I mainly, however, use a lightweight tent.
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby mercalia » 27 Jan 2020, 6:55pm

Oldjohnw wrote:I regularly use this sometimes with the Alpkit tarp:

https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka

Excellent item. Been on top of Cheviot and Helvellyn with it. Light as a feather. You need a reasonably good sleeping bag if winter use. And a mat, inside or underneath.

Edited: I see it crossed with another post!


They have 2 sizes. Unless you are a very small person you should get the larger one. The advert seems to be for the standard one?

https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka-xl


even if you are small, you need the extra space to out the mat inside or the sleeping bag and space to be able to move around in. I see a bivvy bag as some thing to carry around for emergancies. I have the XL Alpkit one and 6'3" and not really big enough, breadth wise

Oldjohnw
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Re: Bivvi bags - advice please

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jan 2020, 7:02pm

mercalia wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:I regularly use this sometimes with the Alpkit tarp:

https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka

Excellent item. Been on top of Cheviot and Helvellyn with it. Light as a feather. You need a reasonably good sleeping bag if winter use. And a mat, inside or underneath.

Edited: I see it crossed with another post!


They have 2 sizes. Unless you are a very small person you should get the larger one. The advert seems to be for the standard one?

https://www.alpkit.com/products/hunka-xl


even if you are small, you need the extra space to out the mat inside or the sleeping bag and space to be able to move around in. I see a bivvy bag as some thing to carry around for emergancies. I have the XL Alpkit one and 6'3" and not really big enough, breadth wise


Yes, I do have the large one.
Last edited by Oldjohnw on 27 Jan 2020, 8:03pm, edited 1 time in total.
John