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Bibler Winter Bivy Field Report

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  • Josh Dunning
    Bibler Winter Bivy Field Report Tester Information: Name: Josh Dunning Age: 26 Gender: Male Height: 5’10” Weight: 185 Email:
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 3, 2002
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      Bibler Winter Bivy
      Field Report

      Tester Information:

      Name: Josh Dunning
      Age: 26
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5’10”
      Weight: 185
      Email: jdunning@...
      Locale: Northern Connecticut
      Date: 9/1/02

      Background:

      I’ve been spending as much time outdoors as possible for as long as I can
      remember. I tend to gravitate towards all manner of outdoor recreation with
      hiking, camping, backpacking, and mountain biking topping off the list. I’ve
      been camping all my life, summer vacation, as a kid, was a weeks worth of
      car camping at the beach. Friends of my parents used to take us hiking in
      the mountains with an occasional overnight trip. Since then I’ve been
      hooked. I’ll hike or camp in any weather, in any season. That can range from
      10 below zero in the snow to 100 plus heat. That’s the beauty of living in
      New England. I try to hike at least twice a week, and camp one to two times
      a month.

      Item Information:

      Company: Bibler Tents
      Item: Winter Bivy
      Weight: 9 oz. (260g) web site listing
      9 oz. Actual (with stuff sack)
      MSRP: $99.50

      Winter Bivy Review:

      Some of the things I had been looking for throughout this test were the
      bivy's breathability, water resistance, as well as the overall durability of
      the fabric & zipper.

      Since this was my first introduction to sleeping in a bivy, I have nothing
      to compare it to. Initially I stated that I thought the size may be a bit on
      the large size. After using it a few times I no longer thought a smaller one
      would work for me. I liked having the extra room to store clothes and other
      odds and ends one might need in the middle of the night. I also started
      using the extra room at the head to store my boots. This served a dual
      purpose, first, it keeps the little creepy crawly things out of my boots,
      and second, it keeps the bivy fabric off my face while I sleep. The size
      also allowed me to slide my sleeping pad inside the bivy with me, helping me
      to stay on the pad through the night. Those things aside, I still see a need
      for making a couple other sizes, one bigger and one smaller perhaps. Since
      I'm pretty average at about 5'10" and 185 lbs, anyone bigger might feel a
      little constricted and some smaller might get lost in there!

      As far as durability, I saw no signs of wear from ground contact, however,
      I'm still leery of such a thin fabric. We'll have to wait and see what the
      Long Term test shows us. The zipper still works smoothly but still needs
      attention while zipping so as not to snag the flap or other loose fabric
      nearby. That being said, I can understand why a small zipper is important in
      regards to water resistance.

      Since this summer yielded very little rain, there was little chance to test
      the bivy against direct rainfall. The few times the Epic fabric did contact
      water the water just rolled right off. Any substantial water left small
      droplets that jumped off with a firm shake. That being said I wanted to see
      if standing water would have any effect on the water resistance. Since there
      was no real way to tell this in the field I opted for a controlled
      environment to try this out. So, at my kitchen counter I bunched up some of
      the fabric into a bowl shape. Under it was a folded paper towel to absorb
      any leakage. I poured about 8 ounces of water onto the bivy and left it for
      about two hours. When I returned, the pool rolled right off, and the paper
      towel was bone dry.

      Actually sleeping in the bivy was a bit harder to get used to than I first
      envisioned. Customarily a tent sleeper, I felt a little vulnerable out in
      the open. Getting in was easily accomplished by first sliding my pad in,
      getting into my bag and zipping up most of the way and sliding into the
      sack. After I was in and situated, I could zip my bag up the rest of the way
      and zip the bivy closed. I did try to get in after I put my bag and pad in,
      but It proved more difficult to zip up my bag once I was in the Bivy.
      Perhaps a 3/4 length zipper on the Bivy would help things. Once I was in
      there, things were OK. After a while it did get a little stuffy, forcing me
      to unzip for some fresh air. I could extend the time it took for me to feel
      stuffy and unzip when I started putting my boots in there. In doing so, I
      created a little more volume at the head. I didn't notice any increase in
      temp ratings when used with my Mountain Hardware Quantum 3D bag. I tend to
      be a warm sleeper anyway, and I usually leave the foot of my bag open in the
      summer. I'll be interested in seeing how the Bivy works in the colder temps
      this winter.

      In all honesty, I didn't get as many nights in the Bivy as I had hoped. I
      can see more Bivy nights in the near future as the weather cools as we head
      into the fall and the snow flies as we end this series in December.

      Josh Dunning
      jdunning@...
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