Design a site like this with
Get started

A new bivy system

Bivy-bagging is something I love so much because of the freedom it brings. To fall asleep counting satellites and shooting stars; to awake in the dead of the night and the ground beside you silhouetted across the sky, realising the things you worried about falling asleep are nothing compared to the enduring power of nature; to breathe deeply and see that first light glowing on the edges of cumulus clouds. There is nothing boxing you in, strangling you or rushing you. All you need to do is lay there and notice the miracle surrounding you.

I always chose a night to take the bivy out of the bag if the sky is clear. Clear skies mean a huge amount of condensation in the air, which falls to the ground as the air cools and lands on me. There is moisture coming from above combined with condensation from my body as I sleep means it’s very important to have a bivy that can breathe. Breathability combined with waterproofness allows the moisture inside to escape at the same time as it keeps dew from soaking you. Having one without the other will quickly equal disaster.

I have always had this problem with fitting a Thermarest inside a bivy along with myself and a quilt, without something going wrong with the execution…

My new bivy, the Carinthia Expedition bivy bag is constructed from some very advanced Goretex membranes that also allow not only vapours, but gasses to pass through as well. The underside is a completely waterproof, strong but soft, PU polyester. I gave this purchase a lot of consideration and along with a bargain of over two-thirds less than retail price, it is now part of my collection. So far I am very impressed with it. I love the smooth full length zipper along the side – it means ease of entry and quick exit; the drawstring is elasticated so I can pop my arm out to fetch something; the oversized bag is a real bonus because I have always had this problem with fitting a Thermarest inside a bivy along with myself and a quilt, without something going wrong with the execution… I love-hate the orange but I have a camo tarp to conceal the brightness if I want to blend in a little better. Lastly the weight and packsize is very reasonable, around 700g and no bigger than my ex-sleeping mat.

As mentioned, I’ve managed to solve my conundrum with having a sleeping mat inside the bivy bag. My new mat is the Thermarest NeoAir Xlite regular, which I spotted on such a good sale it was the same price as a used one. It’s quite a popular mummy-shaped mat and I’ve got on well with it. The mat is a slight upgrade from my other Thermarest All Season, weighing nearly half as much (340g), packsize of about the size of two baked bean tins on top of each other, and valve functionality. The original valves on Thermarest mats do not let air in or out very fast, and don’t have a one-way feature. Also the valve on my old mat leaked half the air overnight. The only slight downgrade is the R-value which is .7 less than the All Season (R4.2. vs R4.9). I haven’t decided yet if yellow is a better colour to green!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: