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REVISED OWNER REVIEW-Black Diamond Lightsabre bivy

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  • podin04
    BLACK DIAMOND LIGHTSABRE BIVY Owner Review December 1, 2005 Name: Dan Feldman Age: 28 Height: 180 cm Weight: 77 kg email: podin04@comcast.net Residence:
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2005
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      BLACK DIAMOND LIGHTSABRE BIVY
      Owner Review
      December 1, 2005

      Name: Dan Feldman
      Age: 28
      Height: 180 cm
      Weight: 77 kg
      email: podin04@...
      Residence: Washington, DC
      Favorite Quote: "It would surpass the powers of a well man nowadays to take up his bed
      and walk, and I should certainly advise a sick one to lay down his bed and run."-Thoreau

      I am somewhat of a backpacking fanatic. I completed a southbound thru-hike of the AT in
      2002. I try to do one middle-distance trip a year (80-160 km.) and usually hike in the
      summer. I was most recently in Pisgah national Forest in NC for an 135 km. solo trip. I
      am a lightweight backpacker. My pack weight ranges 7-12 kg. A 7-day summer trip I
      took recently had me at a 13.6 kg. pack weight with food and water.
      I coordinate a wilderness backpacking program for disabled teens through the Sierra Club
      Inner City Outings program http://www.sierraclub.org/ico/dc/. I'm hoping to delve into
      some winter backpacking this year. This is my first bivy. I formerly used a Sierra Designs
      Ultra Light Year tent.

      Product Specs:

      Manufacturer: Black Diamond
      Year of Purchase: 2003
      Currently manufactured? Yes
      Warranty: 1 year limited
      Manufacturer URL: http://www.bdel.com
      Listed weight, with poles: 20 oz.
      Listed Dimensions: 239 cm. x 89 cm. x 64 cm.
      Weight and Dimensions as delivered: same
      Sleeps: 1
      Poles: 2 DAC Featherlite
      Body Material: EPIC and SilNylon
      Time to Pitch: 1-2 min (with practice!)
      Factory Sealed? No
      Can I stuff it in a standard Nalgene bottle? You bet

      TESTING CONDITIONS
      I have used the Lightsabre during the summer and early fall in the eastern United States.
      I've taken it to the White Mountain National Forest in NH, Caribou-Speckled Mountain
      Wilderness in ME, the Mahoosuc range/AT in Maine, Pisgah National Forest in North
      Carolina, and Shenandoah National Park in VA. Temperatures have ranged from the low
      50s to 70s at night with exposure to moderate rain and clear nights. Moderate rain
      defined here is starting and stopping steady rain for the duration of the evening, sheltered
      by tree cover. (I normally seek out tree cover for camp.) I slept one night under gusting
      winds just below the summit of Tennent Mountain in NC. This was on a grassy/rocky
      ledge with exposure to the south and west. I have not used the bivy to snow or strong
      winds. I've camped mostly on surfaces that are mixes of dirt, low roots, pine needles, and
      pebbles. I've spent a few nights on grass and one on a tent platform. I have not slept on
      rock.

      WHY THE LIGHTSABRE?
      I began looking for a 1-person shelter in preparation for a solo summer backpacking trip
      in western Maine in 2003. I was interested first and foremost in a lightweight, durable
      shelter, with price as a secondary consideration. I needed a shelter with a pole structure
      as I do not carry trekking poles and some places I plan to hike in the future do not have a
      lot of trees (so no hammock). The Lightsabre seemed a perfect fit and I made the
      purchase over the internet at the company's website. I do not remember what I paid for it,
      but the bivy currently sells for $185 US.

      DESIGN
      The Lightsabre came with two poles, a stuff sack, SilNet seam sealer with application
      syringe, and a manual. There is an optional footprint that I chose to forgo. Without the
      poles installed, the shape of the Lightsabre is rectangular. The bivy tapers slightly at the
      foot and forms a triangle at the head. The bivy is yellow with an olive green base. The
      Black Diamond name and logo are placed tastefully on either side of the head. Two zipper
      tracks, each with a double zipper, run in parallel across the head and course along the
      side, ending approximately 2/3 down the length of the bivy. One zipper track is for an
      inner bug net and the other opens a panel situated directly above the bug net in the main
      fabric of the tent and allows access to the outside. The double zipper design allows both
      panels to be opened and closed from a variety of locations. Two small loops are attached
      to the body of the tent, allowing the user to roll up the unzipped panels. There are two
      nylon loops attached at the head and foot of the bivy for staking. There are two additional
      loops on each side of the shoulder region. One holds a single and the other a double
      grommet for the poles. For best performance, Black Diamond recommends staking the
      bivy at the head and foot using four stakes.

      The bivy requires two poles. The main pole is horseshoe shaped and runs across the
      width of the head. It attaches to metal grommets located on either side of the bivy. A
      second pole runs from a sturdy pocket inside the apex of the bivy's head up along the
      length of the bivy to a single grommet which intersects with the first pole at the bivy's
      midline. This is a little bit tricky to picture in 3D, so check out Black Diamond's website
      for a good picture: (http://www.bdel.com) Both poles fold up to a very manageable size
      and I normally carry them inside my internal frame backpack (Granite Gear vapor Trail).
      Pitched, the tent's head is raised 25 inches from the ground and the material at the head is
      held stiffly by the poles. A small awning extends forward over the zippered panel entrance
      to provide additional protection from the elements. The rest of the tent is loose and lays
      on top of your sleeping bag. The interior of the tent is non-descript. Black Diamond saves
      weight by eliminating needless pouches and pockets found on most tents.

      MATERIALS
      The bivy is constructed of SilNylon and EPIC fabric. The 2 poles are DAC Featherlites. The
      materials are described on Black Diamond's website:
      " EPIC Fabric by Nextec
      EPIC by Nextec® is constructed by silicon-encapsulating individual fibers, making it
      breathable and extremely lightweight. EPIC offers better protection than DWR-treated
      fabrics that wash out over time and is more breathable than PU coatings or PTFE laminates
      including Gore-Tex, Conduit SL and Pertex®. EPIC is excellent for use in tents when heavy
      condensation is an issue and during rain and snow showers.
      SilNylon Fabric
      SilNylon is a silicone-coated ripstop nylon that is twice as strong as high quality
      polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon. At two-thirds the weight of PU-coated ripstop,
      SilNylon offers excellent strength-to-weight ratio. SilNylon is waterproof, resilient in its
      durability and is very resistant to degradation over time.
      DAC Poles
      DAC Featherlite tent poles are used in our Superlight Series and work to inherently
      improve a tent's strength-to-weight ratio while providing the least chance of breakage
      because there are no glued inserts. Their sleeved and structurally sound connecting pole
      sections eliminate their weakest link, glued pole inserts, reducing weight by 15 % over
      other commonly-used aluminum poles."

      INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
      My very first reactions to the bivy were excitement and wonder after feeling how light it
      felt in my hands. EPIC fabric is very soft and thin. Small, barely visible squares cross the
      fabric. The bivy can fold up as a comfy pillow if I want and doesn't have that characteristic
      cold crinkle sound that most tents have when compressed.

      SET-UP
      My initial elation quickly turned into frustration when I attempted to set up the tent for the
      first time. Possessing a Y chromosome, I first tried to set up the tent without reading the
      instructions. After a few failures, I consulted the manual. After several more failures, I
      STUDIED the manual and the rather vague pictures included. After 6 or 7 tries, the bivy
      was up and I crawled in. Getting into the bivy is a bit of a trick. You have to unzip the
      double zippers (opening both the bug netting and the outer panel) and go in feet first,
      then hunker down a bit and recline into the bivy. I can't really provide a entry/exit
      comparison to other bivys here, but I'll say that this type of entry allows me to slide right
      into my sleeping bag, which I usually have set up prior to entry. Getting into this bivy
      feels more like getting into a tent than getting into a sleeping bag. Once inside, the
      Lightsabre is surprisingly spacious and doesn't feel restricting, something I feared when
      opting for a bivy. I toss and turn quite a bit at night and there's plenty of room in the
      Lightsabre to roll around without taking the bivy with you. While I can't sit fully upright
      with the bivy closed, I can come up on my elbows. With the bivy unzipped, I can sit up
      outside the bivy with my legs and feet still inside to eat or stargaze. There is enough
      space for a full-length ground pad (I normally use a 3/4 length Ridgerest), sleeping bag,
      pillow, and some small gear (camera, extra clothes, headlamp, etc). A pack will not fit
      inside. Being 180cm I had plenty of extra legroom. I think anyone up to 193cm or so
      would be comfortable stretched out.

      SEAM SEALING
      This proved to be a half-day affair. (The bivy does not come seam-sealed, which probably
      allows it to be priced lower.) For those of you who aren't tent-savvy, seam sealing is the
      process of applying a waterproof coating to the seams of the tent. I had never seam-
      sealed a tent before. Being a member of the Nintendo generation, I'm accustomed to my
      shelters coming factory sealed. The sealing process was tedious and the bivy hung in my
      basement for a few days when finished, but I felt proud of my accomplishment and
      "authentic".

      PERFORMANCE
      True to Black Diamond's description, the bivy is water-resistant. The few rainy nights I
      spent in the bivy (see "testing conditions"), my body stayed warm and dry. Condensation,
      however, often formed on the EPIC fabric and I have woken up with the foot portion of my
      sleeping bag damp, even when I left the zippers slightly open, as Black Diamond
      recommends. (I cannot say whether this was inside or outside condensation as EPIC is so
      thin, but the inside of the bivy felt wet to the touch.) This was not very bothersome as I
      normally carry a North Face 35 degree synthetic fill mummy bag. The insulating quality of
      my bag was unaffected. I usually leave the zipper slightly open at the foot of the bivy, not
      at the head. Black Diamond does not say where the zipper should be open, just that it
      needs to be slightly open to prevent asphyxiation. I now carry a lightweight REI tarp to tie
      over the bivy at night for extra rain protection.

      On dry nights there have been no problems with condensation. The tent is well-ventilated
      if you leave the zipper slightly open as Black Diamond recommends. The one night I was
      under gusty winds on Tennent mountain I did not have the tent staked and could feel the
      head of the bivy lifting up a little. The wind did not penetrate the EPIC fabric and the bivy
      itself did not move.

      The bivy does not feel stuffy. I think this is because the EPIC fabric is thin and breathable.
      I don't feel like I'm encased in a shower curtain and there's lots of space in the head area.

      I've had no complaints about the durability of the materials. I don't baby the bivy. After
      two summers of use I can see that my seam sealing job has come loose in spots. I'm
      planning on re-sealing a few spots. The seams themselves and stitching have remained
      firm and intact. The portion of the tent that is under the most strain (the overhead/
      vestibule where the poles cross) has held up just fine. I do not use a footprint and the
      base of the tent is without rips. All zippers have performed well. There are no tears
      anywhere in the body of the tent. Even when I've caught the fabric of the tent in the
      zipper, no damage has resulted. I have not washed the Lightsabre and therefore cannot
      speak to what happens after it is washed. I take good care of the tent when it is not in
      use. I store the poles fully extended and hang the tent from a hanger.

      FINAL THOUGHTS
      Overall, the Lightsabre is just what I was hoping it would be, an ultralight solo shelter at a
      reasonable price that is durable and reasonably water resistant. It has all of the benefits
      of a traditional bivy (see "pros"), but without the claustrophobia. It takes some time to get
      good at setting the bivy up and the self-seam sealing element is a little bit of a pain, but I
      believe Black Diamond has strove to make this tent as light as possible. For that, I don't
      mind the initial inconveniences. I'll continue to use this bivy on all my solo trips and may
      try it out this winter.

      Pros:
      Very lightweight
      Durable
      Attractively Priced

      Cons:
      Need to seam seal yourself
      Not easy to set up at first
    • edwardripleyduggan
      Hi Dan, I had, in fact, two-thirds edited your previous submission, but this version corrects some of the problems in what is otherwise a very interesting
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 2005
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        Hi Dan,

        I had, in fact, two-thirds edited your previous submission, but this
        version corrects some of the problems in what is otherwise a very
        interesting first review. Please be sure to make all edits noted. The
        few comments are usually just that--suggestions rather than edits, or
        just an irrelevant remark on the side! The one exception is in regard
        to the quote from the manufacturer about their materials--this does
        need to be specifically evaluated in so fas as is possible,as with amy
        mfr. claim. In some cases (especially with measurements) I have
        indicated an edit that needs to be made universally within the review.
        I also ask that you don't make any edits not requested, as that makes
        my life complicated--like trying to hit a moving target.

        Please examine carefully and resubmit to the list, with "REPOST" at
        the start of the subject line.

        Best,

        Ted.

        BGT OR Editor


        --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "podin04" <podin04@c...> wrote:
        >
        > BLACK DIAMOND LIGHTSABRE BIVY
        > Owner Review
        > December 1, 2005
        >
        > Name: Dan Feldman
        > Age: 28
        > Height: 180 cm

        ### EDIT: Both Imperial and Metric measure is required for all
        measurements. For example:

        Height: 5' 11" (180 cm)

        PLEASE NOTE: All measurements in this review, including temperatures,
        need to be in imperial/mertic (or, if you prefer, metric/imperial)
        format. The reason for this is that BGT has a truly international
        readership (and many of our contributors are in countries that use
        metric rather than imperial measure). So we must have both. Please
        take a look at the converter at

        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/convert.html

        and do take the time to read the footnotes on how to present units.
        etc. I'm not going to point out each and every measurement that needs
        to be present in both forms--they all do, I'm afraid.

        > Weight: 77 kg
        > email: podin04@c...
        > Residence: Washington, DC
        > Favorite Quote: "It would surpass the powers of a well man nowadays
        to take up his bed
        > and walk, and I should certainly advise a sick one to lay down his
        bed and run."-Thoreau

        ### EDIT: I'd love to institute a favorite quote in reviews, but it's
        not BGT policy (and it is also, strictly speaking, irrelevant).
        Appreciated and enjoyed, but please cut.

        >
        > I am somewhat of a backpacking fanatic. I completed a southbound
        thru-hike of the AT in
        > 2002. I try to do one middle-distance trip a year (80-160 km.)

        ### EDIT: no period after km or any unit. Please remove all periods
        after unit abbreviations throughout review

        and usually hike in the
        > summer. I was most recently in Pisgah national Forest in NC


        ### EDIT: Spell out the state, please, for overseas readers

        for an 135 km. solo trip. I
        > am a lightweight backpacker. My pack weight ranges 7-12 kg. A 7-day

        ### EDIT: seven-day

        summer trip I
        > took recently had me at a 13.6 kg. pack weight with food and water.
        > I coordinate a wilderness backpacking program for disabled teens
        through the Sierra Club
        > Inner City Outings program http://www.sierraclub.org/ico/dc/. I'm
        hoping to delve into
        > some winter backpacking this year. This is my first bivy. I
        formerly used a Sierra Designs
        > Ultra Light Year tent.

        ### EDIT: I regret that we permit links only to the top-level URL of
        the manufacturer page, and to the reviewer's own hiking pages, if any.
        Though well-deserving of recognition, the Sierra Club program is
        beyond what's permitted. Please put a period after "program" and
        delete the URL (and the following sentences). The information on your
        pervious tent would be better incorporated in the review proper.
        >
        > Product Specs:
        >
        > Manufacturer: Black Diamond
        > Year of Purchase: 2003
        > Currently manufactured? Yes

        ### EDIT: Though this is good to know, I'd omit it. This review will
        be here in two years--the bivy may not.

        > Warranty: 1 year limited
        > Manufacturer URL: http://www.bdel.com
        > Listed weight, with poles: 20 oz.
        > Listed Dimensions: 239 cm. x 89 cm. x 64 cm.
        > Weight and Dimensions as delivered: same
        > Sleeps: 1
        > Poles: 2 DAC Featherlite
        > Body Material: EPIC and SilNylon
        > Time to Pitch: 1-2 min (with practice!)

        ### EDIT: I'd prefer pitching time to be discussed in detail in the
        body of the review.

        > Factory Sealed? No
        > Can I stuff it in a standard Nalgene bottle? You bet

        ### EDIT Stuffed size: (whatever the dimensions of the Nalgene bottle
        in question are). They do come in different sizes...
        Also needed (in all reviews and reports)
        MSRP: $185 US



        >
        > TESTING CONDITIONS
        > I have used the Lightsabre during the summer and early fall in the
        eastern United States.
        > I've taken it to the White Mountain National Forest in NH,
        Caribou-Speckled Mountain
        > Wilderness in ME, the Mahoosuc range/AT in Maine, Pisgah National
        Forest in North
        > Carolina, and Shenandoah National Park in VA. Temperatures have
        ranged from the low
        > 50s to 70s


        ### EDIT: Please provide Centigrade equivalents in quotes.


        at night with exposure to moderate rain and clear nights. Moderate rain
        > defined here is starting and stopping steady rain for the duration
        of the evening, sheltered
        > by tree cover. (I normally seek out tree cover for camp.) I slept
        one night under gusting
        > winds just below the summit of Tennent Mountain in NC. This was on
        a grassy/rocky
        > ledge with exposure to the south and west. I have not used the bivy
        to snow or strong
        > winds. I've camped mostly on surfaces that are mixes of dirt, low
        roots, pine needles, and
        > pebbles. I've spent a few nights on grass and one on a tent
        platform. I have not slept on
        > rock.
        >
        > WHY THE LIGHTSABRE?
        > I began looking for a 1-person

        ### EDIT: one-person

        shelter in preparation for a solo summer backpacking trip
        > in western Maine in 2003. I was interested first and foremost in a
        lightweight, durable
        > shelter, with price as a secondary consideration. I needed a
        shelter with a pole structure
        > as I do not carry trekking poles and some places I plan to hike in
        the future do not have a
        > lot of trees (so no hammock). The Lightsabre seemed a perfect fit
        and I made the
        > purchase over the internet at the company's website. I do not
        remember what I paid for it,
        > but the bivy currently sells for $185 US.


        ### EDIT: Please delete the above sentence. MSRP above suffices, as
        retail prices can vary wildly, even from the manufacturer.

        >
        > DESIGN
        > The Lightsabre came with two poles, a stuff sack, SilNet seam sealer
        with application
        > syringe, and a manual. There is an optional footprint that I chose
        to forgo.


        ### EDIT: I can guess the likely reasons you decided this, but it
        might be worthwhile to mention them here.


        Without the
        > poles installed, the shape of the Lightsabre is rectangular. The
        bivy tapers slightly at the
        > foot and forms a triangle at the head. The bivy is yellow with an
        olive green base.


        ### EDIT: It is... [rather than repeat "The bivy..."]



        The
        > Black Diamond name and logo are placed tastefully on either side of
        the head. Two zipper
        > tracks, each with a double zipper, run in parallel across the head
        and course along the
        > side, ending approximately 2/3 down the length of the bivy. One
        zipper track is for an
        > inner bug net and the other opens a panel situated directly above
        the bug net in the main
        > fabric of the tent and allows access to the outside. The double
        zipper design allows both
        > panels to be opened and closed from a variety of locations. Two
        small loops are attached
        > to the body of the tent, allowing the user to roll up the unzipped
        panels. There are two
        > nylon loops attached at the head and foot of the bivy for staking.
        There are two additional
        > loops on each side of the shoulder region. One holds a single and
        the other a double
        > grommet for the poles. For best performance, Black Diamond
        recommends staking the
        > bivy at the head and foot using four stakes.
        >
        > The bivy requires two poles. The main pole is horseshoe shaped and
        runs across the
        > width of the head. It attaches to metal grommets located on either
        side of the bivy. A
        > second pole runs from a sturdy pocket inside the apex of the bivy's
        head up along the
        > length of the bivy to a single grommet which intersects with the
        first pole at the bivy's
        > midline. This is a little bit tricky to picture in 3D, so check out
        Black Diamond's website
        > for a good picture: (http://www.bdel.com) Both poles fold up to a
        very manageable size
        > and I normally carry them inside my internal frame backpack (Granite
        Gear vapor Trail).

        ### EDIT: ...Vapor Trail).


        > Pitched, the tent's head is raised 25 inches from the ground and the
        material at the head is
        > held stiffly by the poles. A small awning extends forward over the
        zippered panel entrance
        > to provide additional protection from the elements. The rest of the
        tent is loose and lays
        > on top of your sleeping bag.


        ### EDIT: please avoid the use of "you," "yours," etc. in reports
        wherever possible. The object is to avoid projecting your experience,
        telling the reader what they will experience. In this case, I'm sure
        the experience of most folks would be identical, but this should still
        read "my sleeping bag."


        The interior of the tent is non-descript.

        ### EDIT: nondescript

        Black Diamond saves
        > weight by eliminating needless pouches and pockets found on most
        tents.
        >
        > MATERIALS
        > The bivy is constructed of SilNylon and EPIC fabric.


        ### EDIT: silnylon [unlike EPIC, silnylon is not proprietary] It
        appears from your text below that this is the way that BD uses the
        word, so use their capitalization in the quote, not elsewhere.


        The 2 poles are DAC Featherlites. The
        > materials are described on Black Diamond's website:
        > " EPIC Fabric by Nextec
        > EPIC by Nextec® is constructed by silicon-encapsulating individual
        fibers, making it
        > breathable and extremely lightweight. EPIC offers better protection
        than DWR-treated
        > fabrics that wash out over time and is more breathable than PU
        coatings or PTFE laminates
        > including Gore-Tex, Conduit SL and Pertex®. EPIC is excellent for
        use in tents when heavy
        > condensation is an issue and during rain and snow showers.
        > SilNylon Fabric
        > SilNylon is a silicone-coated ripstop nylon that is twice as strong
        as high quality
        > polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon. At two-thirds the weight of
        PU-coated ripstop,
        > SilNylon offers excellent strength-to-weight ratio. SilNylon is
        waterproof, resilient in its
        > durability and is very resistant to degradation over time.
        > DAC Poles
        > DAC Featherlite tent poles are used in our Superlight Series and
        work to inherently
        > improve a tent's strength-to-weight ratio while providing the least
        chance of breakage
        > because there are no glued inserts. Their sleeved and structurally
        sound connecting pole
        > sections eliminate their weakest link, glued pole inserts, reducing
        weight by 15 % over
        > other commonly-used aluminum poles."

        ### COMMENT: While it is acceptable to quote, in moderation,
        manufacturer's blurbs, it's also important that claims be evaluated in
        the review where possible. I'm not sure that this quoted section
        really adds much over simply expressing what the mfr. states in your
        own words (noting the source, of course).


        >
        > INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
        > My very first reactions to the bivy were excitement and wonder after
        feeling how light it
        > felt in my hands.

        ### EDIT: Delete "im my hands." Superfluous.

        EPIC fabric is very soft and thin. Small, barely visible squares
        cross the
        > fabric.

        ### EDIT: The meaning of this isn't very clear. Are you referring to
        the ripstop texture in the fabric? I assume so--my Bibler Winter bivy
        has the same texture. This is designed to prevent a tear propagating.

        The bivy can fold up as a comfy pillow if I want and doesn't have
        that characteristic
        > cold crinkle sound that most tents have when compressed.
        >
        > SET-UP
        > My initial elation quickly turned into frustration when I attempted
        to set up the tent for the
        > first time. Possessing a Y chromosome, I first tried to set up the
        tent without reading the
        > instructions.

        ### COMMENT: This made me chickle. Been there, done that.

        After a few failures, I consulted the manual. After several more
        failures, I
        > STUDIED the manual and the rather vague pictures included. After 6 or 7

        ### EDIT: six or seven (generally, spell out numbers used in text)

        tries, the bivy
        > was up and I crawled in. Getting into the bivy is a bit of a trick.
        You

        ### EDIT: I have to...

        have to unzip the
        > double zippers (opening both the bug netting and the outer panel)
        and go in feet first,
        > then hunker down a bit and recline into the bivy. I can't really
        provide a entry/exit
        > comparison to other bivys here, but I'll say that this type of entry
        allows me to slide right
        > into my sleeping bag, which I usually have set up prior to entry.
        Getting into this bivy
        > feels more like getting into a tent than getting into a sleeping
        bag. Once inside, the
        > Lightsabre is surprisingly spacious and doesn't feel restricting,
        something I feared when
        > opting for a bivy. I toss and turn quite a bit at night and there's
        plenty of room in the
        > Lightsabre to roll around without taking the bivy with you. While I
        can't sit fully upright
        > with the bivy closed, I can come up on my elbows. With the bivy
        unzipped, I can sit up
        > outside the bivy with my legs and feet still inside to eat or
        stargaze. There is enough
        > space for a full-length ground pad (I normally use a 3/4 length
        Ridgerest), sleeping bag,
        > pillow, and some small gear (camera, extra clothes, headlamp, etc).
        A pack will not fit
        > inside. Being 180cm I had plenty of extra legroom. I think anyone
        up to 193cm or so
        > would be comfortable stretched out.
        >
        > SEAM SEALING
        > This proved to be a half-day affair. (The bivy does not come
        seam-sealed, which probably
        > allows it to be priced lower.) For those of you who aren't
        tent-savvy, seam sealing is the
        > process of applying a waterproof coating to the seams of the tent.

        ### EDIT: This risks sounding condescending. I think "Just seam
        sealing is the process..."

        I had never seam-
        > sealed a tent before. Being a member of the Nintendo generation, I'm
        accustomed to my
        > shelters coming factory sealed. The sealing process was tedious and
        the bivy hung in my
        > basement for a few days when finished, but I felt proud of my
        accomplishment and
        > "authentic".

        ### COMMENT: Did you have any problems with seam adhesion
        subsequently? FWIW, I generally use talc or chalk on my seams to
        prevent them sticking to other parts of the tent.

        >
        > PERFORMANCE
        > True to Black Diamond's description, the bivy is water-resistant.
        The few rainy nights I
        > spent in the bivy (see "testing conditions"), my body stayed warm
        and dry. Condensation,
        > however, often formed on the EPIC fabric and I have woken up with
        the foot portion of my
        > sleeping bag damp, even when I left the zippers slightly open, as
        Black Diamond
        > recommends. (I cannot say whether this was inside or outside
        condensation as EPIC is so
        > thin, but the inside of the bivy felt wet to the touch.) This was
        not very bothersome as I
        > normally carry a North Face 35 degree synthetic fill mummy bag. The
        insulating quality of
        > my bag was unaffected. I usually leave the zipper slightly open at
        the foot of the bivy, not
        > at the head. Black Diamond does not say where the zipper should be
        open, just that it
        > needs to be slightly open to prevent asphyxiation. I now carry a
        lightweight REI tarp to tie
        > over the bivy at night for extra rain protection.
        >
        > On dry nights there have been no problems with condensation. The
        tent is well-ventilated
        > if you

        ### EDIT "I"

        leave the zipper slightly open as Black Diamond recommends. The one
        night I was
        > under gusty winds on Tennent mountain I did not have the tent staked
        and could feel the
        > head of the bivy lifting up a little. The wind did not penetrate
        the EPIC fabric and the bivy
        > itself did not move.
        >
        > The bivy does not feel stuffy. I think this is because the EPIC
        fabric is thin and breathable.
        > I don't feel like I'm encased in a shower curtain and there's lots
        of space in the head area.
        >
        > I've had no complaints about the durability of the materials. I
        don't baby the bivy. After
        > two summers of use I can see that my seam sealing job has come loose
        in spots. I'm
        > planning on re-sealing a few spots.

        ### EDIT: planning on re-sealing those.

        The seams themselves and stitching have remained
        > firm and intact. The portion of the tent that is under the most
        strain (the overhead/
        > vestibule where the poles cross) has held up just fine. I do not
        use a footprint and the
        > base of the tent is without rips. All zippers have performed well.
        There are no tears
        > anywhere in the body of the tent. Even when I've caught the fabric
        of the tent in the
        > zipper, no damage has resulted. I have not washed the Lightsabre
        and therefore cannot
        > speak to what happens after it is washed. I take good care of the
        tent when it is not in
        > use. I store the poles fully extended and hang the tent from a hanger.
        >
        > FINAL THOUGHTS
        > Overall, the Lightsabre is just what I was hoping it would be, an
        ultralight solo shelter at a
        > reasonable price that is durable and reasonably water resistant. It
        has all of the benefits
        > of a traditional bivy (see "pros"), but without the claustrophobia.
        It takes some time to get
        > good at setting the bivy up and the self-seam sealing element is a
        little bit of a pain, but I
        > believe Black Diamond has strove to make this tent as light as
        possible. For that, I don't
        > mind the initial inconveniences. I'll continue to use this bivy on
        all my solo trips and may
        > try it out this winter.
        >
        > Pros:
        > Very lightweight
        > Durable
        > Attractively Priced
        >
        > Cons:
        > Need to seam seal yourself
        > Not easy to set up at first
        >
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