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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Which one would you rather use, a one man tent or a bivy? I guess a lot of it depends on where your going to be camping, weather, temps and preference.

For several years I have used a Wenzel starlight one man tent. But now I'am looking at getting a new one man tent. One of the members here suggested I look into a bivy instead of a tent. One of the applications I'am going to be using the tent/bivy for, is hot weather camping along the local rivers.

Video of my one man tent


If you have never been along the rivers and marshes of the southern part of the USA - we have mosquito that are like swarms of bees. Sometimes the mosquitos are so thick, they look like dark clouds at ground level. Sleeping outside, without some kind of mosquito netting to keep the bugs away from your ears is terrible. One of the worst nights sleep I ever got was along the marsh between Port Arthur Texas and Bridge City Texas. My buddies and I had a tent setup, but we all slept outside the tent on the ground. The US Army rain poncho was used as a ground cloth, then rolled my sleeping bag out. I figured - "I had plenty of mosquito repellent on, bugs should not be a problem." The mosquitos hovered just off my head and ears all night long. There was this constant "buzzing" noise as the bugs tried to find a good landing spot. Sometimes the mosquitos landed, but took right back off before they bit me.

The distance from my ears/head to the mosquito netting is a factor. I do not want anything that is right up against my head. Because I do not want to hear the "buzzing" all night long.

Some of the bivy videos I saw on youtube showed a bivy that looks like a one man tent, which would be nice. One bivy required a tent pole on the inside - that means it would be unzipped while your setting it up. This is totally out of the question. While I would be setting the bivy up, bugs would be getting into it.

Other bivys looked like they laid flat on top of your sleeping bag. Wouldn't this get a little hot during the summer months? And I mean summer months when it can stay in the 80s and 90s all night long. In july and august here in east Texas, it might not get below 90 degrees during the night.

Some of the things I would like to see:

Extra rain fly - instead of just single layer tent
Breathable
Designed for air to be able to pass through - which provides relief in the summer months.
Distance between my head and mosquito netting

If it looks like rain, I want to be able to bring my pack into the shelter with me, and take off my boots for a little while. To be honest, I do not like the way that bivys do not give you any extra room. I have never used a bivy, so my opinion is based on what I have seen from videos and pictures other people have posted.
 

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Hi Kev, I know you've already considered this but would a hammock, mosquito net and tarp be of any use to you? It would certainly allow air to circulate and keep you off the ground where bugs and snakes will be.

I know our environment and temperatures are very different but I've been looking at this for a long time now, here's a review http://www.woodlife.co.uk/2008/04/03/snugpak-stratosphere-hooped-bivi-bag-initial-review/. It's very small though and a rucksack would have to be stored outside (in a garbage bag to keep it dry).

Talking to other people they've suggested that I get a 2 man tent. The weight will be offset by the room it gives me and I can keep all my gear out of the rain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
one man tent or bivy shelter

I pack citronella candles. They're light, effective and they're candles.
Some places around here, the mosquitos would be roasting marshmallows over those candles, singing camp fire songs, and listening to "sweet home alabama" and "a country boy can survive" on their little mosquito boom box.

I'am trying to arrange a 100 mile boating - camping trip this summer. Its going to be along the Sabine river in Texas. Pull up google earth, go to Newton Texas - that is where we are going to put in at. The plans are to go down the river all the way to Bridge City, Texas. Bridge City is where I grew up at. We are talking serious bug country here.
 

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wage slave
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I use to use a little bivy tent and I liked that it was compact and relatively light weight (seemed heavy for its size, but still lighter than other tents) but nowadays I like to go with the one man tent. I spent 5 nights in my little bivy one trip and it rained 3 of those nights and it got annoying pretty quick not being able to sit up. Now I carry the eureka back country solo tent, it packs as small and light as my old bivy but gives me enough room to keep a little bit of gear inside with me and I can sit up in it.
 

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Prophet
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IMO, for me, the decision is all about weight.
im im going to be hiking a distance and have to carry it, it would be a bivy.
if im driving to the site where i will be camping, the a tent would be the optimal choice.

as for insect issues.. if you buy a good bivy, it will have insect protection. DEET is also a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
bivy shelter

IMO, for me, the decision is all about weight.
Weight is one of the most important factors. A lot of my camping places - I hike in and out.

A couple of the tents I'am looking at are in the 5 - 6 pound range. My current wenzel starlight tent is in the 2 pound range. That 3 - 4 pounds can be a lot of weight on an 8+ mile hiking camping trip in hill country.

I guess that is one reason why I like the wenzel starlight tent, its lightweight, compact, and does not take up a lot of room in my pack. The whole thing might be 3 inches across when its in the stuff sack. But, it does not have very good ventilation, its small, does not have a rain fly - its a single layer tent and provides only limited rain protection. For extra rain protection, sometimes I will string up a rain poncho over the tent. So its like a small tent under a poncho.

For rain protection, my current tent is taking up a lot of space right now anyway, because I use an extra poncho for it.

I guess my ideal stuff sack size would be 12 - 16 inches long, 3 - 5 inches in diameter, and about 2 - 5 pounds.

Keep in mind, all of those dimensions are from memory. They might be a little off.

I looked at some reviews of the eureka back country solo tent - thank you kc0tma. That might just be an option.
 

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Kev,

I've got an inexpensive bivy, something like this:
http://shop.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/trekker-solo-bivy-tent.aspx?a=608062

not a lot of room inside, but enough that you are protected from the mosquitos pretty well, including that annoying whine.

As kc0tma mentioned, not being able to sit up in one is a drawback, but on the other hand they are light and inexpensive. Cheap enough that it was my "experiment" in bivys...
 

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I can't say I'm much of a Trekker fan. I've tried to bivy route, too, but found them waaay too warm for eastern OK camping.

I've always wanted a Big Agnes Emerald Mountain. A friend has an SL2, and its great. I'd prefer the Emerald Mountain over Seedhouse due to 2 doors and better ventilation. 2 doors = a decent cross-breeze, which is critical in humid river bottoms.

The SL1 weighs in a shade under 4 lbs. The pack size is a little bigger than the dimensions you give, at 8" X 22"

It's also very expensive. I've always thought that "If you buy the right gear, you only cry once". The tent is a big part of your gear, and your primary level of defense.

http://www.rei.com/product/764112
 

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wage slave
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Kev,

I've got an inexpensive bivy, something like this:
http://shop.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/trekker-solo-bivy-tent.aspx?a=608062

not a lot of room inside, but enough that you are protected from the mosquitos pretty well, including that annoying whine.

As kc0tma mentioned, not being able to sit up in one is a drawback, but on the other hand they are light and inexpensive. Cheap enough that it was my "experiment" in bivys...
You know, just by amazing freak of nature coincidence that just happens to be the bivy I was using! To be totally honest, the reason I got rid of it was because a pole got broken by some horse playing people at a scout camp and it wasn't worth the expense to try and find a replacement with as cheap as a brand new tent was, so I upgraded to the backcountry solo and don't regret it one bit.
 

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Prophet
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Weight is one of the most important factors. A lot of my camping places - I hike in and out.

A couple of the tents I'am looking at are in the 5 - 6 pound range. My current wenzel starlight tent is in the 2 pound range. That 3 - 4 pounds can be a lot of weight on an 8+ mile hiking camping trip in hill country.

I guess that is one reason why I like the wenzel starlight tent, its lightweight, compact, and does not take up a lot of room in my pack. The whole thing might be 3 inches across when its in the stuff sack. But, it does not have very good ventilation, its small, does not have a rain fly - its a single layer tent and provides only limited rain protection. For extra rain protection, sometimes I will string up a rain poncho over the tent. So its like a small tent under a poncho.

For rain protection, my current tent is taking up a lot of space right now anyway, because I use an extra poncho for it.

I guess my ideal stuff sack size would be 12 - 16 inches long, 3 - 5 inches in diameter, and about 2 - 5 pounds.

Keep in mind, all of those dimensions are from memory. They might be a little off.

I looked at some reviews of the eureka back country solo tent - thank you kc0tma. That might just be an option.
try this one kev.
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_...older_id=2534374302885935&bmUID=1265055619760
they may be in canada, but they do mail order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
try this one kev.

mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442593503&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302885935&bmUID=1265055619760

they may be in canada, but they do mail order.

???? Did you look at that price?? $255.00 CAD for a one man tent? You have to be kidding me.

That price is about 2X what I was hoping to spend.
 

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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.
 

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I didnt have time to read all the replys so sorry if its been mention...we have the same skeeters and i camp alot in south florida which is even worse than here. For the past few years i have been useing the little scout tents. I leave the three piece aluminum poles home and use string or limbs. The bottom is made of tarp material and i take a piece of plastic for rain. Its waterproof but the condensation can get stuff wet. I lay a couple limbs over the tent, then the plastic to create an air barrier. Its small, light, weather proof, bug proof, and cost about 15 bucks. The reason i dont use bivys is because i like the room in my scout tent for getting dressed or keeping my gear.
 

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i've got a B/A 3 wire bivy which gives you head room but i would choose my tent 9 times out of 10. personally, my bivy does not provide enough room to do other things other than sleep.
bivies are great if your circumstances require it such as weight or terrain. but in a hot and humid area like Ga, i don't like anything close on me.
 

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Here is the tent I would buy if I were in the market right now:

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemancom/detail.asp?product_id=2000000451&categoryid=31003&brand=

For $80 you get a 3 pound tent with lots of ventilation and a rain fly. It has about 3 feet of height which should allow you to sit up comfortably, though I wouldn't plan on playing cards inside the tent.

As for gear storage, it has about 6 square feet outside the tent that is covered by the rain fly. That is not really enough to work under, but it is enough to stash your stuff and keep it dry.
 

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Prophet
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???? Did you look at that price?? $255.00 CAD for a one man tent? You have to be kidding me.

That price is about 2X what I was hoping to spend.
sorry kev. didnt mean to cause heart palpatations...:D:
i was just thinking as weight as a priority, not cost.

yea. just give me a lumber tarp, and head net anyday!:thumb:
 
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