Equinox Bivy-Third Report
- Here is my field test of the Equinox Bivy. I really enjoyed testing
it as it gave me some new ideas.
BACKPACK GEAR TEST REPORT
ITEM: Equinox Ultralite Bivy
Tester: Larry Duke- Male, 165 lbs, 5'6" tall. Moderate
experience. Southeast Texas.
Equipment: Used with a full pack including tent, sleeping bag, ground
cloth, and stove.
Location: Big Thicket National Preserve-Turkey Creek Trail. 18.4
miles with no appreciable elevation.
Conditions: Overcast, 50 to 75 degrees, and rain
Date: December 1-2, 2001
Report Number: Third, field test.
First impression on test: I decided to hike the Turkey Creek
and give my 02 Rain Shield Suit a test.
The weather reports were for some rain although no cloudbursts. The
trail is about 13 miles out of Woodville, Texas on FM 1943 with
The trail goes through several Big Thicket Units on it's winding path
and the area is full of large old oak and pine trees. Although
urbanization and logging has reduced the Big Thicket it is still
The hike began with no rain but overcast but soon turned to rain
sprinkles. This didn't bother me as I was prepared for lousy
weather. As a matter of fact, I was looking forward to it to test my
My friend and I hiked for most of the day through heavily forested
areas. The rain slowly increased until it was raining pretty good.
I was wondering if this particular time was a good time to hike or
After making camp along the trail (9 miles) I set up my tent on the
highest point I could find. In this part of the country you need to
be careful as water can rise quickly.
During the dinner part of my hike I had to wear a rain suit to keep
dry. What a day to hike! I set up my tent on a high spot with pine
straw under the footprint to allow some kind of drainage. I was glad
to have the Equinox to test at this time. I got into the tent and
unpacked the sleeping bag and inserted it into the bivy. The tent
floor was dry so I wasn't too worried. The rain increased in
intensity until I was worried about local flooding. I wasn't
familiar with this trail although I was with Southeast Texas in
During the night the rain continued sometimes hard and sometimes not
but it continued. Luckily, I was in a good spot and didn't get
rising water but everything was wet on the outside of the tent. It
was very damp in the tent with the high humidity and all. The
Equinox Bivy gave me another layer to keep my bag dry. Normally,
with this type of rain and humidity I take my old sleeping bag
because it gets damp. To my surprise, my down bag did not. I only
had humidity to contend with though as the inside of the tent did not
Other people have said that the lower end of the bivy gets damp or
even wet. In my case it did not. I did use my Thermarest pad though
and on short hikes I use the full length one. That may have
contributed to keeping the bivy at equal temperature which is what I
suspect is causing the dampness in others. Warm feet and cold air
The Bivy is light and gives me the satisfaction of knowing I have
some protection for my good sleeping bag. I can take it on a
extended trip even if I don't use it. I'm not an ultralite
backpacker as doing without some necessities seems to take away from
the whole idea of the trip.
I wouldn't use the Bivy without some ground protection though, it is
not designed to lay on the ground and not get holes poked into it.
The next morning came and I decided to leave quickly as it was still
raining. I was glad I had the Equinox bivy as the tent floor was
damp the next morning and surely would have gotten the bag damp. As
it was it did not.
Final impression on test: As an added protection to expensive
equipment I recommend a bivy of this sort. In my case it will be the
Equinox but common sense tells you that with protection a good bag
will last a long time. The design and weight of this one will allow
me to carry it backpacking and not feel I am adding too much weight
to my pack.
I like the idea of having one. Even though I have not carried one
Personal Comments: Although the Bivy is not a weather fix-all, it
has it's benefits as an addition to my gear as a sleeping bag
protector. To me it's like the tent footprint, it doesn't completely
protect you from the elements alone, but used as I think it should
be, it adds another level of protection from weather and wear on an
otherwise unprotected sleeping bag. I will use it to extend the use
of my sleeping bag to sleeping without tent or tarp in the milder
months of the year and keeping the bag clean.
Trip Use: All trips as it is light enough to carry 100% of the time.
Thanks for the opportunity to have been part of this gear review. I
hope my review has been objective.