Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 11:08 am Posts: 95 Location: Calgary
Perhaps this could be included in the existing tent vs. tarp thread but I didn't want to hijack.
I'm curious about bivy sacks for winter use. there are a few that I'm looking at but would like some suggestions on features/benefits to look for since I've always been a tent guy. Are they good for a solo winter trip as a planned place to sleep or just good in emergancy? If it helps with respect to what winter weather/climate i'll be encountering, I plan to use it in the interiror of British Columbia and Western Alberta.
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:08 pm Posts: 242 Location: 109-blocks-of-watch-yo-f'n-back, CA
I've used bivy sacks for sleeping out in the open in snow at lower elevations (6-8k) and in snow caves up to 12k. Never used them with a tarp (such as to cover a trench or 1/2 cave style) but have used them with a tarp in a-frame config. In nearly all configs, it seems that moisture being trapped from the inside is more a risk than moisture entering from outside. I had a heavier gore-tex top / PU bottom Moonstone bivy for sleeping out in the open, and I nearly always got wet on the sides where the PU worked its way to the top of the bag and blocked evaporation. More recently I've been using a Montbell Breeze Dry Tec: http://www.gearzone.com/ProductDetails. ... click=5096 and it's been perfect for snow caves, tents, and 'mids. Moisture stayed out, very breathable. 11 days in a down bag above 10k no problems. My preference is to carry a ultralight sil mid for 3-4 people as a cover for the cooking area that can double as a fast set-up emergency shelter in a pinch, but to primarily sleep in snow caves with highly breathable (Dry Tec, Epic, eVent) bivys.
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:57 am Posts: 1110 Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
You got the right guy (Breadbox) to reply shift!
My $.02 (which is probably worth less than that!):
Tent, in fast pitch (mine is about 1.5 lbs in that setup) only if I KNOW it's going to be bad weather..Bivy only otherwise. Tarp configurations, as much as I admire the guys who can assemble a tarp securely in a hurricane, are not ideal for full on snow winter use. A mid, or fast pitch tent, with a highly breathable, merely water repellant (as opposed to H20 proof) bivy is a pretty bomber setup that will get you through anything.
If you want a one tool fits all shelter, I'd recommend a bivy with an E Vent top. It's just as H20 Proof as Gore, but breathes far far better.
_________________ "Winter is not a season, it's an occupation." -Sinclair Lewis