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Discussion Starter #1
Here is what I need to know;

Tent or Bivy for backpacking? Will a Bivy hold up in rain? I have looked at the Backcountry tent. Any of you have reviews of it. What product have you gotten or looked at that you recommend?


Backpacks for backpacking what would you use?
Keep in mind this gear will also be used as my SHTF gear.
 

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Look into the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy. Its what I use for week long backpacking trips. It's small and light weight and is made out of Gore-Tex. It cost more than most would like to spend but well worth it. As for tents during backpacking I would go with a light weight Kelty or MSR one man. Again their price is high but they last during long hauls and are made with better materials for backpacking. Remember the lighter the better and a bivy and noah tarp are hard to beat.
 

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I have always used a light one man tent. A bivy looks like it would not be very comfortable.

In hot weather camping - 90+ degrees at night, how breathable are the bivys? I already burn up enough in a one man tent, and that is with room for body heat to escape.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
I will be backing on Stone Mountain in GA for three days strait come June. So its going to be hot, and I need something light and easy to carry.
Hopefully light on the wallet too.
 

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You might want to check out this thread where I asked a question a lot like yours

one man tent or bivy

Some of the replies included links to some nice looking tents.

I'am looking at buying my kids some one man tents for a camping trip in june or july. During that time the Texas heat can get pretty bad. I was thinking of going with a bivy, but the heat retention has pretty much made me go with a one man tent.
 

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wage slave
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I will be backing on Stone Mountain in GA for three days strait come June. So its going to be hot, and I need something light and easy to carry.
Hopefully light on the wallet too.
Blue tarp, less than 10 bucks, weighs mere ounces, great for hot climates.
 

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Blue tarp, less than 10 bucks, weighs mere ounces, great for hot climates.
Traps and hammocks are good for locations where there are not too many biting bugs. There are some places you just do NOT want to sleep out in the open.

One of the worst nights sleep I ever got was along a marsh in southeast texas. Even though I was covered by mosquito repellent, the mosquitos buzzed my ears and head all night long.
 

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Here's a thought

As in most threads I respond to I always say "it just depends" and it does. The type of gear that you want really depends on how you spend your time outside and what you want to use it for. Below are some suggestions given the limited knowledge I have about how you spend your time outside.

TENT
When choosing whether to use a Tent or a Bivy there is a couple things that you should consider. First where are you going to be backpacking? Many of the other responses already touched on this but bivies don't breath well...even with some of the models that claim to be ventilated. Kev touched on insects which can be a problem but consider this if you escape to your bivy for relief from the insects your movement is very restricted, the same would also apply during inclement weather. I for one would not want to be stuck in a snow storm for even a day inside a bivy. Tents provide the space and ventilation however can weigh a little more and take up more space.

Tarp tents are wonderful again pending the type of backpacking you do and where and when you are going do it. I own an Origami II Ultralight by Sierra Designs and love it. To deal with bug problems I went to my local military surplus and purchased a GI mosquito net and then modified for use in my tent. It works great and allows me to customize depending on the trip. Depending on how much money you want to spend, Black Diamond offers a variety of Tarp Tents with Bug inserts that would allow you to mix and match.

I own and have used a number of backpacking tents I think they are great but again it all just depends. I own a Mountain Hardware Muir Trail (discontinued I think) which is a 2 person 3/4 season convertible. The tent is great but one of the best parts about the tent is company it is made by. Usually products are very similar across the board, I purchase high end products for the warranty that the companies usually provide. I had a tent pole break on me on a week long trip...a buddy of mine stepped on it...I contacted MH, sent them the pole and they sent me a new one no charge. Most other high end companies treat their customers very well, whether it is replacement of broken items, refund or repair.

BACKPACK

Again to make any real suggestions I would need to know about what kind of backpacking you do, how long you pack for, how much you pack, etc...? But here is a rough guide

Size

0-3000 cubic inches is typically a good size for a day pack

3000 - 4000 is generally good 1 to 3 day trips

5000 steps up to about a week

6000+ Week long or more

This is of course based off of how I pack...if you are more of an ultralight hiker this would change completely.

Some great brands to consider are Osprey (Amazing warranty, no questions asked replacement and they are one of the best pack companies today), Gregory, Dana Design (no longer exist but can be found on ebay.) Mystery Ranch (Amazing packs, however very pricey) For customization and military grade materials look at Kifaru (kifaru.net I think, again very pricey) I have owned many packs and so I will spend a little extra on a nice pack because that is the last thing I want to fail on me in the back country.

Since you want to use the pack for a SHTF bag too, it might not be a bad thing to look for a military grade pack, this usually mean a pack made out of a high grade nylon. Most military packs are made with a material put out by Dupont called Cordura. A 1000 D cordura is very abrasive resistant (I have had packs literally roll down mountains and be stepped on by stock with no damage) The downside to 1000 D cordura is that it is heavier than other pack materials so you will probably add a couple pounds to your whole set up.
 

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A tent offers better protection in every way and is well worth the extra space. A top notch Carnithia Bivvy is great but they are 5-10 times the price of a suitable 1 man tant.

Bivvy sacks are miserable in the rain.
 

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The bonus of a tent over a bivy sack is that you have a dry place for your gear, a dry place to change clothes, and a dry place to eat or whatever other waking activity you want to do in the rain. The best tent I have ever found (IMHO) is the Terra Nova Photon Laser. It weighs about 2 pounds (same as my msu gortex bivy) it is double layered so no sweating, it is large enough for 2 people (barely), it stays pretty cool in the heat and warm in the cold, and it has a rain fly that you can store your stinky shoes out of the tent, but still keep them out of the weather.
 

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Tent/Bivy: This is what I said about that in a similar thread last week: "Bivy sacs are great for variable terrain without enough "footprint" for a tent; they're lightweight; perfect for emergencies/unplanned bivies; and very utilitarian. I have a Bibler Big Wall Bivy and it's great, but I wouldn't choose it over a tent, largely b/c I'm a claustrophobe. I only use it if I need to be very light and/or there isn't any room for a tent. Having spent many rainy nights on glaciers in an open bivy scenario, they're not a ton of fun. If you want out of the rain, you're stuck in a glorified body bag. A one man tent or even a bivy with a pole superstructure allows you to at least read, eat etc, when the weather is snotty. If not in a mountainous region and travelling with a mate, two bivies and a tarp might be a sweet lightweight option as it gives you some relief from rain as well as a social/cooking space, but you're probably approaching tent weight. Take a look at Black Diamond's ultralight tents - some nice options there."

Backpacks. There are so many out there and what's comfortable for me may not be for you. It's almost like buying shoes. Prices run the gamut too. Something in the 3500-4500 cubic inch category is a good size for general year round backpacking. Go to an REI and start loading up packs [they'll have mock gear, stuff sacs etc. for this purpose] that suit your budget and size requirements and see what's comfortable.
 

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Darting from the shadows
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I'd take a tent any day over a tarp or bivvy.

And super lightweight tents are easily found.
I like the fact they keep the bugs out, give you space to move and don't get as damp with condensation as much as a bivvy bag.
 

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If youre comfortable sleeping on your back, and nights arent too cold, I recommend the hammock/tarp route.

Hammocks are elevated and stay 100% dry all the time. Also, mine only weighs 1 lb. (I use the ENO doublenest)

Tarps are better than bivys or tents, especially if the weather keeps you in your shelter for 12 hours... you can cook underneath them, stand up, stretch out... stay comfortable and dry. Theres no condensation, they are ultralight (I use the 8x10 ft. equinox globe-skimmer... it weighs less than 1 lb.).

Tents are nice for car camping... but too heavy, small, delicate, and wet for backpacking. IMO, the tarp/hammock is the best shelter and can adapt to any terrain (as long as there are trees and nights are warmer than 45 deg.)
 

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What I can't figure out is why they even mention bivy with a tent??
It's either a bivy or it's a tent.
Some bivys use a rod/pole to keep it off your face. But when you have to use poles for setup then it's a one man tent.
I used a bivy with my USGI pup tent, since there wasn't a floor to keep out the critters. Since it was goretex, there wasn't any heat build up. I sure wish I'd used it when van camping one year in CO. Froze my behind off, even when sleeping with clothes on and wrapped in USGI rubber poncho. My breath condensed inside poncho causing a wet sleeping bag the next day.
 
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