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What bivy sack do you use?

Original Post
Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 125

I'm looking to get a bivy sack that I can carry for alpine routes in the North Cascases as well as potentially just a year-round solo shelter primarily in the PNW.  (At least until I can afford to also get an ultralight, tarp shelter)  I'd also probably carry it for summit attempts on Hood or other Cascade peaks.  I'm a worst case scenario packer and generally will bring something just in case I end up outside for longer than planned.  

Anyone have a recommendation?  I lean towards something with a pole for the headspace as I've heard a few nightmare stories of people feeling suffocated in their bivies in heavy winds without the pole.  Since I will carry it frequently, weight is definitely a factor.  Also, length as I am 6'2".   

The BD Spotlight and OR Helium are on my radar. I know there are a lot of B brand options out there, but I haven't found one that weight isn't an issue (2lb+)

Ronald Beimel · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Can't beat the Uber bivy!

I actually have the smaller "pico bivy" but since you mention size as a major concern, the Uber version is very very roomy.

Nolan Fulton · · Montgomery,AL · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 563

i used a OR alpine bivy in the cascades back in september, sometimes when the dew point is pretty low you can get some condensation at the top of the bivy where the hoop is. but it has never been unmanageable. the Advanced bivy has a zipper at the feet that could help with it. i always leave the zipper open about 6 inches and try and place my head so my breathing kind of escapes outside.. 

a bivy sack isnt for everyone though. but i love mine. can pretty much sleep anywhere. 

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0

I usually use the SOL emergency bivy. Super light, cheap, hardly takes up any space and does a good enough job but have only used it during summer alpine rock climbs. If I think weather might be especially shitty and I might have to spend a significant amount of time in it then I'll take an OR alpine bivy assuming I can't take a tent like in rmnp. Otherwise I just bring a very light tent that pretty much weighs the same as the OR alpine bivy. 

Dave Leydet · · West Point, NY · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 90

OR Alpine Bivy

Karl Henize · · June Lake, CA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 570

IMO, I would ultimately opt for two-three different types of shelters.  There aren’t any really great quiver-of-one options for alpine climbing.  

Get a “one-time use” disposable emergency bivy sack for day trips, where you do not actually plan on bivvying.  Get a fully featured / breathable sack + tarp and/or small tent, for planned bivouacs.  

I would only opt for a non-waterproof sack if you only plan to bivvy in dry conditions.  Non-waterproof fabrics are really meant for windy conditions, where it will not rain (e.g., always below freezing temps).  

The more down insulation you have, the more I would err towards getting a double wall tent.  The more you will be out in buggy conditions, the more I would opt for a tent over a bivvy sack + tarp.  If you want to use snow caves, quinzhees,and igloos, I would opt for waterproof breathable bivvy sack.   

For the PNW, I have really enjoyed using the Hilleberg Unna tent for planned overnights in wet and windy conditions..  

bernard wolfe · · birmingham, al · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 180
bernard wolfe · · birmingham, al · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 180
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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