bivvy bag on a bike

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bivvy bag on a bike

Postby malverncyclist » 19 Feb 2012, 7:31pm

I am contemplating going down to basics for a summer trip ... bike, panniers and sleeping under the stars (might at times mean back of pub/youth hostel for a shower).

I don't own a bivvy bag, so questions are:

1. any suggestions which are light weight/waterproof
2. should I also carry a sleeping bag (am thinking of additional weight on bike).



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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby snibgo » 19 Feb 2012, 8:18pm

1. I use a Phoenix Phoxhole. 1kg, Goretex.
2. It depends on the temperatures, and you! For a typical UK summer night, I need a sleeping bag.

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby andyh2 » 19 Feb 2012, 9:02pm

Rab and Alpkit do well regarded bivi bags that are nearer 500g.

Can't imagine sleeping out being much fun without a sleeping bag! Oh and a sleeping mat too, as the ground can take a lot of warmth from you.

If you want light weight might be worth looking at Mountain Marathon type sleeping bags.

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby Cunobelin » 19 Feb 2012, 9:12pm

You know you really want one of these:


Towed by a bike . colour TV, mains hook up and drinks cabinet!

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby bealer » 20 Feb 2012, 9:08am

The Alpkit bivvi ("Hunka" I think) is quite small, make sure you get the XL version. I'm 5'10" and 13 stone and my 500g down bag just about fits in. With the XL one you should, ideally, be able to get in, with your bag and sleeping mat. The sleeping mat isn't just for comfort, it'll insult you from the cold ground.

The XL Hunka weighs 525g on the website, 550g once you have it in a bag. Plus it doesn't have a cover or mesh for the top so you'll need to take something if you're in migie territory or it's raining.

You could consider a single skin tent. For 800g you can have a Tarptent Contrail. Bivvi's aren't for everyone. A tent will give you more space, sealed in from insects but be a bit more of a pain to set up (and more visible).
Last edited by bealer on 7 Mar 2012, 2:06pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby tatanab » 20 Feb 2012, 9:41am

Since you are using panniers you will have loads of space so why not stick to the comfort of a tent? I've been known to go camping with a tent and just a saddlebag for the rest of the kit - sleeping bag, mat, clothes. For me few extra pounds in weight is trivial versus overnight discomfort.

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby meic » 20 Feb 2012, 10:27am

I would put the mat before the sleeping bag but possibly because for me the bivibag would be used on hard floors like church porches or bus shelters etc.
I like the bivibag idea for having naps on an Audax type ride where you leave your clothes on.

Without a mat you could aim to sleep on top of those plastic wrapped hale bays.

There is the romantic side of sleeping under the stars but in real life that can be quite uncomfortable.

I used to do it a lot as a kid and in the army. Once I slept dressed in an orange plastic Karrimor survival bag, never again, I woke up totally drenched by condensation.

I still do it occasionally in summer with just the sleeping bag on my mat as the nights are fairly dry and any dew fall (which will probably be less than I would create in the bivibag by sweating) will soon dry out of the bag in the heat of the day.
Or I can get the outdoors feeling by leaving my tent doors open all night.
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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby daddig » 23 Feb 2012, 2:24pm

GO FOR IT!! Though would suggest losing the panniers either go for a saddlebag 15-24ltrsdepending on make,or fit everything into a waterproof top bag and strap to pannier frame. Get a bivvy made from Goretex for increased comfort plus sleeping bag and mat. The freedom a bivvy gives more than offsets any discomfort,you could add a small tarp,peg this over bike to the floor giving you a cover should you need to get in or out in the rain and makes the bike more secure.
Using the above is how I lived with the bike for five memorable fantastic years,only now having a partner precludes continuing.
Traveled through Europe wild camping,Warmshowering,Helpxing,some fantastic memories !
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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby indy » 26 Feb 2012, 9:45pm

I borrowed a Terra Nova Jupiter bivy last Autumn for 3 nights use and it was a crackingly good bivy bag.
Highly recommended.

I was told to put the mat on the outside of the bivy so as to protect the bivy groundsheet which is a lot more expensive than the mat.

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby ben80south » 27 Feb 2012, 4:44pm

snibgo wrote:1. I use a Phoenix Phoxhole. 1kg, Goretex.
2. It depends on the temperatures, and you! For a typical UK summer night, I need a sleeping bag.

I used to use a OR Bivy which weighed about 1 kg. Now I use a two person tent that weighs just 1 kg. It is a solid, well built tent. A tent is much nicer than a bivy in so many ways, so for the same is a no brainer.

I wouldn't go without a sleeping bag even if it was only a 5 C bag which would only weigh about 500 gm. I often bring a silk liner too which can be pretty warm for not much weight.
"Life is an adventure. Fear and worry only spoil it."

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby Dean » 2 Apr 2012, 1:59pm

I've the Alpkit Hunka bivvy and I quite like it. It's not too heavy, packs small and it has a dual use as a bivvy bag when I'm somewhere a tent would be too obvious (I used it in Wiener Prater, though I did roll off the bench...) and as a sleeping bag outer inside the tent when things get really cold.

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby Nettled Shin » 2 Apr 2012, 2:57pm

indy wrote:I was told to put the mat on the outside of the bivy so as to protect the bivy groundsheet which is a lot more expensive than the mat.

I was wondering about this only yesterday. If the mat is on the inside, you can't roll off it so easily, and it might be a bit warmer. But, as you say, the mat is generally cheaper than the bivi. We don't put mats under tents, though. Or maybe some do?

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby kuba » 2 Apr 2012, 3:28pm

Nettled Shin wrote:the mat is generally cheaper than the bivi.

The main reason why I like my Alpkit Hunka? Don't have to worry about it too much, was cheaper than my sleeping matt. :D

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby willem jongman » 9 Apr 2012, 9:31pm

Sleeping al fresco is wonderfully romantic. But in north western Europe I think a solo tent is rather more practical - and they are hardly any heavier these days. You could also consider a tarp, but there again the weight saving has become mostly imaginary.

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Re: bivvy bag on a bike

Postby Steveo2020 » 26 Apr 2012, 9:21pm

I have a Rab Storm bag which is very light. I have 'slept' in it on wet nights and stayed reasonably dry.

IME bivvying can be nice (lying in bed looking at the stars drinking the can of beer that you carried instead of a tent) and can be more comfortable than a tent (you can roll about until you find a nice spot instead of trying to pitch the tent in the right place) but it is rather 'interactive' - I doubt I have ever slept more than an hour in it without waking up to adjust the opening / wonder how long the rain will last / when the sheep are going to come and investigate me etc.

I think unless it was the middle of a heatwave or you had a lot of warm clothes for some reason, using it without a sleeping bag would be a bit grim in the UK.

Roland Huntsford's 'Book of the Bivvy' is good for inspiration / practical advice.