OR Black Diamond Bibler Tripod Bivy Alexander Chard
The url for my html version is at http://tinyurl.com/2nctqb
Bibler Tripod Bivy OR
BY ALEXANDER CHARD
February 20, 2008
NAME: Alexander Chard
LOCATION: Peterborough New Hampshire, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)
I have been backpacking since mid 90's, trips generally 2-10 days. I
have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I pack for comfort,
shelters are usually tarp or bivy sack. Spring to fall pack weight
about 16 lbs/7 kg, and about 2 lbs/1 kg food per day. Excursions
include trips in the Smokey's, White Mountains, Grand Canyon, Southern
Canada and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I consider difficult terrain
and adverse conditions the ingredients for interesting and memorable
Product: Bibler Tripod Bivy
Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment LTD.
Web site: http://www.bdel.com
MSRP: $299.95 USD
Size: 1 person
Area: 20 sq ft (1.9 m²)
Listed Weight: 3 lbs (1.35 kg)
Measured Weight: 2.75 lbs (1.25 kg)
Listed dimensions: 88 x 34 x 25" (224 x 86 x 64 cm)
Measured dimensions: 91 x 34 x 25" (231 x 86 x 64cm)
Listed packed size: 6 x 15" (15 x 38 cm)
Date: February 19, 2008
The Tripod Bivy is manufactured by Black Diamond Limited (BDL) and is
one of the company's four alpine bivys. Their web site state that
their philosophy is to "create the most innovative shelters possible,"
and that BDL bivys are "durable and able to withstand the abuses of
big mountain climates." The inside dimensions of the head and
shoulder area of the vestibule measured 31(l) x 34(w) x 24(h)" (79 x
86 x 61 cm) at the widest point and narrowing down to 13" (33 cm) wide
the on the floor (top), while the toe box area measures 17 x 14" (43 x
36 cm) high when staked. The extra room in the top vestibule area
eliminates the claustrophobic feeling in standard bivy sacks, and the
area in the toe box is large enough so as not to crush the loft of
below zero sleeping bags. Every grommet is mounted in webbing and sewn
into the body of the bivy.
The bivy includes a nylon stuff sack with a draw cord closure and cord
lock. Three Easton aluminum poles make the Tripod Bivy self standing,
with the exception of the toe box which must be staked down. Each pole
has a different number of sections and elbows which allows the poles
to fold up in a compact bundle. The canopy body and vestibule is
constructed of ToddTex, which is Bibler's proprietary waterproof,
breathable fabric. The bottom is a bathtub style floor constructed of
a "70-denier nylon taffeta fabric, laminated with a polyurethane film
yielding a high tear strength, waterproof, lightweight and durable
floor." According to the technical information section of BDL's web
site they take great care in the sealing and stitching of the seams.
To date BDL claims never to have had a seam failure.
The outer surface has a textured crumpled suede look which is unlike
the smooth silicon coated nylon materials used in most other shelters.
ToddTex is made up of two layers, the exterior layer is a thin
waterproof film laminated over a "super-light ripstop fabric"
preventing water from penetrating. The inner layer of ToddTex material
is made of "Nexus® which has a fuzzy texture." This layer disperses
the moisture along the entire canopy area through the outer layer to
be wicked away.
There are two individually adjustable, dual-slider zippers. Both
zippers measured 61" (155 cm) in length starting from the left side
rising over the peak of the canopy, down the right side ending about a
third the way down the canopy, one zipper for closing the ToddTex
canopy, the other for "no-see-um netting." After the zipper curves
past the vestibule and moves parallel to the ground, the top side of
the zipper sewn to the ToddTex canopy, and the bottom side is sewn to
the laminate floor and measured and 7" (18 cm) off the ground. I
discovered exiting and entering to be challenging due to the length of
this section of the zipper. This section of the zipper measured 47"
(119 cm) from the center of the peak down the right side of the canopy
changing direction and then traveling 20" (51 cm) parallel to the
ground. This section is mainly where entering and exiting challenge
Setting up the Tripod Bivy the first few times was challenging.
According to the directions the shorter of the two vestibule poles
must be installed first. This pole slides through a hole in the
ToddTex area of the awning and fits into a pocket where the floor and
ToddTex meet in the head area.
I found that installing this pole first from the peak of canopy area
in the front of the bivy and insert the end into the pocket, then
insert the other end into the grommet located on the awning prevents
the other end from popping out of the pocket. Then I thread the second
longer pole through sewn fabric openings on the left and right sides
of the canopy. Then one at a time insert each end of longer pole into
the grommets located outside the bivy on the floor.
Next I insert two stakes in the ground through the web loops sewn in
at the top of the canopy floor. To finish the set up I install
U-shaped pole which supports the toe box area into the grommets
mounted on the floor using provided cordage, which is looped through
two sewn reinforces openings in the toe box awning.
The first few times setting up and installing this pole I pulled on
the fabric so hard that I thought for certain the ToddTex would tear.
I contacted BDL and they assured me that the bivy would not tear.
My past experiences with other manufactures provided stuff sacks for
their equipment, the stuff sacks were generally too small to repack
the product. The stuff sack BDL provided was large enough to repack
the bivy without struggling. Since the vestibule area is larger than
the lower body area I fold the top over to make the widths closer to
even. Personally, my modus operandi is to roll the stakes and poles
inside the bivy starting at the lower end and roll the bivy toward the
top, leaving the vestibule zipper open just a smidgen to allow air to
escape, and then place the bivyinto stuff sack.
I have used the Tripod Bivy mainly from early spring to late fall, and
occasionally in the winter. Wearing gloves during a set up is a bit
more of a challenge. In colder weather temperatures ranging from -25°
F (-32 C°) to 15° F (10 C°) the pole sections were difficult to
separate. Placing the ends in the pocket and grommets, took a bit
more time, however not especially difficult.
Mid summer backpacking with evening temperatures approximately 85° F
(30 C°) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, White Mountains National
Park, New Hampshire USA Algonquin Provincial Park and Awaga Canyon
Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario CA. Altitudes ranged from 100
ft (30m) to 4,000ft (1,200 m) when the humidity was high I found
sleeping slightly uncomfortable.
When the entry way is opened a little at the peak, I did not
experience any problems with condensation, or leakage in diverse
weather conditions. I really have become fond of the head room which
eliminated the constricted claustrophobic feeling of traditional bivy
sacks I have used in the past. The vestibule height allows plenty of
room for reading, or extending out my arm for cooking, and the yellow
color brightens up the interior. The one feature I found quite useful
is the small gear pocket in the head area which is ideal for
eyeglasses and headlamp.
The interior has ample room for a Therm-a-Rest and cold weather
sleeping bag; the foot box pole prevents loft compression. Although
the Tripod bivy is spacious, there is little room for gear in the
vestibule head area. Personally I bring a couple of heavy duty plastic
trash bags for gear storage. Several times I had to set up in the rain
and there was some unavoidable (minimal) accumulation of water near
the entry area. Speaking of rain, on a ten day trip (Awaga Canyon) it
rained practically non-stop for a several days and there was no
leaking. However, the continuous rain did require me to set up and
pack away the bivy wet. When the rain stopped, I turned the bivy
inside out and suspended it, and the material dried quickly.
I found the small foot print especially convenient in the White
Mountains where level ground is sparse. I have used the Tripod Bivy on
many trips in the past five years, including many trips in difficult
terrain, conditions and temperatures in the White Mountains.
Additionally wind speeds in excess of 40 mph are not uncommon in the
Presidential range. Fantastic performance in inclement weather I
encountered in the Awaga Canyon. The Tripod Bivy is constructed well
and has proven to be a high quality one man shelter. In my opinion the
overall performance was superb.
WHAT I LIKED
Wind and waterproof
Extra room in the vestibule area both height and width when
compared to other bivy sacks.
Weight savings verses a tent.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE
Entry and exiting.
Initial set up when new.
WHAT I WOULD CHANGE
Lengthen the zipper
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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.