What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

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ChrisS
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What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by ChrisS »

Will be used for quick overnighters and hopefully a race next year. Midge protection a must.

At the moment the tarp and ultralight bivy from Borah Gear seem a good combo - I see they've been recommended a lot over the last few years. Are there any small-scale manufacturers in the UK making similar gear though?

Budget for both would be £150-£200.

Thanks :smile:
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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

Aye, nowt wrong with Borah gear.

There's a lad called Scotty who makes some nice stuff in the UK. Sadly, I forget the name he trades under but hopefully someone with a better memory will be along shortly.

With regard to tarp, a SMD Gatewood cape might be worth a look at. Pitches very quickly and affords 100% coverage - the latest version weighs less than 300g but it would push you over budget.

https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk ... lter-p9838
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ChrisS
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by ChrisS »

Cheers. That shelter looks interesting, I wonder what it’s like for condensation?
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

I wonder what it’s like for condensation?
Perhaps surprisingly, they're very good. There's a vent at the peak which makes a massive difference - I generally sleep with one door open too but even fully 'closed', any condensation is minimal.
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ChrisS
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by ChrisS »

Good to know! Just found your full review on this tarp which is really helpful, thanks. Will add it to the list of options.
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lune ranger
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by lune ranger »

The Gatewood is great. I use mine with a sleeping bag cover style minimal bivi in winter or when it's really wet as the size of the Gatewood means it's hard to avoid touching the sides in your sleep.
It's got no bug protection per se but you can buy a net inner... costs start ramping up at this point.
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Jurassic
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by Jurassic »

I'm waiting for a Borah Side Zip bivvy to arrive from the States. I plan to use it with an Alpkit 3.5 or under my Trekkertent Stealth 1 outer depending on the forecast. I've been looking at the SMD Deschutes as well as a future option. The Stealth is good but it can be a PITA crawling in and out past the pole, I think a side entry like the Gatewood or Deschutes would be much more user friendly. I'm six feet tall and use a fairly thick mat (Neoair) so I suspect I would get head/foot interference issues with the Gatewood (the Deschutes is a bit bigger).
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

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Teetosugars
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by Teetosugars »

Scotty goes by the name of Bespoke ultra light on eBay.
I’ve just bought a tarp from him.
Apart from being bright yellow, it’s spot on.
Just need to work out the best way to set it up now.
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by whitestone »

We got a couple of the Borah side-zip bivy bags recently. With shipping they came to $209 for the pair and we paid £8 duty and £8 Royal Mail "Release fee" on top of that. I ordered on 5th Jan and it arrived on 12th Feb but the general timescale is on their website. I had both made with a "letterbox" anti-bug panel rather than the full head area being made from it.

The side bivy is only 40g heavier than John's (of Borah Gear) Cuben Fibre version. The CF bivy has tie-outs in the bottom corners but I didn't get these put on the new bivvies. The side bivy material is very slippy, see my "Mr Slippy the slippy thing" thread, you need to be on a flat or nearly flat surface otherwise you just end up creeping down the slope :lol:

They definitely aren't waterproof, though with a large netting panel they would never have been, but the lightweight Argon material used in the upper has very low hydrostatic head and if you push against a tarp with a lot of condensation on it then some moisture gets through. The slippy nature of the base doesn't help here. I'm not sure how water resistant the seams are, they might need a bit of sealant applying.
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ChrisS
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by ChrisS »

That's useful useful info, thanks - I will check out the slippy thread :)

I'm looking for a bag with more of an emphasis on breathability than waterproofness, but sounds like the Borah bags might be designed for drier climates than Scotland.

And cheers Teetosugars, will have a look at the Bespoke Ultralight stuff.
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by ScotRoutes »

ChrisS wrote:That's useful useful info, thanks - I will check out the slippy thread :)

I'm looking for a bag with more of an emphasis on breathability than waterproofness, but sounds like the Borah bags might be designed for drier climates than Scotland.

And cheers Teetosugars, will have a look at the Bespoke Ultralight stuff.
I have a TiGoat Kestrel. Not waterproof. I'd only ever use it under a tarp. Problem is, the common small tarp size can make it difficult to stay dry when the rain is wind driven - especially if it changes direction. I've ordered a larger tarp to take account of this.

I also have a RAB Event bivvy bag. It's fully waterproof but much heavier. Much more flexible in use though, I've hunkered behind rocks or in suitable doorways and been less concerned about staying dry.
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

I'm looking for a bag with more of an emphasis on breathability than waterproofness,
Surprisingly, the 2 often go hand in hand - eVent bags are a prime example. Very waterproof, yet very breathable but generally with a cost / weight increase.
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by sean_iow »

I've got a Borah side zip, same as Bob's. The base is fully waterproof it's just the top which is water-resistant. I've not had an issue under the tarp and it makes the bag more breathable. Just make sure you're not near the sides of the tarp and when you get the bag out make sure it's the right way up. I put mine out upside down and then knelt on it on very wet ground and the pressure forced the water through. It's the sort of mistake you only make once :roll: Other than that I had no water ingress even in the terrible weather we had over Easter down south.

The seams don't really need to be waterproof as they are joining a water-resistant top to a waterproof bottom fabric. Once in the bag they are off the ground. Just this weekend I've added some lines of silicon across the inside of the base to stop my mat sliding about. This is an issue with most lightweight fabrics so not confined to just the Borah. The same applies to the floors of very lightweight tents. If you have lots of bivi bags/tents it's probably more efficient to apply the silicon to the underside of the mat.
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Re: What's your recommendation for a tarp/bivy combo?

Post by whitestone »

I think it depends how you view a bivy bag should be used: stand alone or in combination with a tarp. If you tend to the former then the full weight, cocoon style are what you need. If the latter then the tarp's doing most of the protection (or should be) and the bivy bag only has to deal with splashes/spray, wind and insects so can be much lighter and less waterproof/resistant. From my Alpine climbing days I was definitely in the former category whereas now I'm more in the latter - different scenarios really.

This weekend was a case in point: the condensation on Saturday night was horrendous, I think it was down to being the first clear night for a while and there was still a lot of moisture in the air. We might as well have been out in a downpour, the tarps were that wet. Sunday night was the complete opposite, we woke in the morning and the tarps were bone dry.

As with any kit it needs a bit of thinking to get the best out of it.
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