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Application to test the OR Advanced Bivy - Mark McLauchlin

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  • Mark McLauchlin
    Please accept my application to test the Outdoor Advanced Bivy. I have read Chapter 5 of the BackpackGearTest Survival Guide version 0609, and will follow all
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2008
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      Please accept my application to test the Outdoor Advanced Bivy. I have read
      Chapter 5 of the BackpackGearTest Survival Guide version 0609, and will
      follow all instructions and fulfill all requirements. As a non-US based
      tester I am also accepting the need to pay for freight.

      This would potentially be the first big ticket item for me to test. To date
      my test items have mainly been smaller value items. Although they have been
      great to test I would like to progress to something I can really sink my
      teeth into.

      I am also on the Mentor program and waiting for a request for assistance so
      that I can help a potential BGT tester.

      Enough said, now let's get to it!

      Reviewer Information
      Name: Mark McLauchlin
      Age: 30
      Gender: Male
      Height: 1.76 m (5' 9")
      Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
      Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
      City: Perth, Western Australia

      Backpacking Background
      I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks
      averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where possible.
      Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I
      consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 13 kg (29
      lb), which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts
      that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.

      Field Information
      I intend to test OR Advanced Bivy on all my hiking trips during 2008. The
      hiking trips will include single over night and multi day/night in the Hills
      area of Perth Western Australia and the Coastal Plains. Average temperatures
      that can be expected this time of the year range from a mean maximum
      temperature of 30.5 C (86 F) to mean minimum temperature of 17.7 C(64 F),
      with an average elevation of 30 Meters (115 ft), however I will be
      attempting to camp at 580 Meters (1903 ft).
      No precipitation is expected during the initial few months of testing as we
      are approaching Summer.

      The first weeks of testing I plan to camp over night at some of the northern
      end campsites along the Bibbulumn track<http://tinyurl.com/3cw23v>. These
      campsites all host a three sided hut, water tanks, bush style toilet and a
      cleared space for tents (although quite small).

      Test Plan
      From checking out the manufacturer's website the OR Advanced Bivy is a
      spacious bivy that can be used in place of a single tent, exactly what I am
      after. It is designed for use with a thicker sleeping pad, cool I have a
      Therm-a-rest Prolite 4, and loftier bags.

      It has a total weight of 1106g or 39 oz, including the patented dual pole
      system, which will compliment my attempts at becoming an ultralite hiker. My
      current tent is a Henry Shires Double Rainbow which I am still working on an
      OR for.
      On most of my hiking trips I have access to a three sided hut and would love
      to be able to test this bivy on the floor space of the hut. I think it will
      provide me great protection from the creepy crawlies and weather yet still
      allowing me to feel at one with nature.

      I do not currently own a tarp however if successful I will go out and
      purchase something suitable for use with the bivy so that I am able to test
      it out on the open floor. I have a suitable ground sheet to use.

      Some of the areas I will focus my testing on are;

      Set Up:

      The OR Advanced Bivy uses a dual pole system to hold up the main opening of
      the bivy and provide some ventilation, however this can be left at home.
      Also I will test to see how easy the pole system works and how robust this
      is. The instructions say the bivy comes with a four-section Delrin pole and
      a five-section Delrin pole.

      How long will it take for me to unpack the bivy, insert the pole place my
      inflatable mat inside and get read to enter?

      Will the poles stay in the interior and exterior snaps when setting up the
      bivy or will they pop out?

      Does the pole have sufficient strength and flexibility not to cause any
      breaks when erecting, is this going to cause a few tense moments?

      When inserting the pole through the sleeve will any of the joins catch on
      the material causing tears or holes? I will also watch for the same issue
      when the bivy is being dismantled.

      Will I be able to erect the bivy by myself or will help be needed, this is
      important for solo hiking and fast setup when needing to get out of the
      elements.

      There are four positions available for the bivy opening, Closed, Storm Vent,
      Full vent and Open. I will be testing each of these for their easy of use,
      comfort and protection from the elements.

      Inside Space:

      I have not used a bivy before and will be curious to see if I feel
      claustrophobic. The manufacturer lists the bivy as 221 cm or 87 inches in
      length which is great as I am 171 cm or 67 in so there should be heaps of
      length. I am of a slim frame also so there will be no issues with the peak
      height or width at shoulders.

      With the angle of the bivy will my sleeping bag touch the roof when lying
      down and how close will my face also be to the roof?

      What are the chances of being able to change clothes inside this or store
      any of my gear?

      How big is the internal pocket and what is it designed to hold?

      Dismantling:

      Basically how easy is it to pull down?

      Will the pole remove without catching on the material?

      How easy are the poles to remove from both the internal and external snaps?

      Packing:

      Once dismantled how easy is it to pack the bivy up for stowage into its bag?
      There is actually no mention of a stuff sack or bag so is one included?

      Does the bivy and poles all fit in the one bag?

      Will this fit on the outside of my pack? Currently I am using a ULA Relay.

      UV Damage:

      Some materials used for bivys can be damaged with prolonged exposure to the
      sun, is this the case with the Gore-Tex Respiration Positive fabric? I will
      not leave this setup with the intention for it to be damaged. I will simply
      do some further research on the fabric and its UV tolerance.

      Stability:

      I will examine the overall stability against wind side forces. We have been
      experiencing some rather strong winds so I will be able to put it to the
      test.

      Does the Gore-Tex Respiration Positive fabric sag and/or stretch when wet,
      causing the shelter to become unstable?

      When the opening is setup up in either of the four positions does it stay in
      place or will it fall down causing a nuisance during sleep time?

      What happens when I roll-over during my sleep, does the whole bivy become
      unstable?

      There are also five stake loops and three guy line loops on the bivy, what
      are these for, how do they work and how effective are they? Are stakes and
      lines provided?

      Waterproofing:

      Will I need to seam seal the bivy or will be done from the factory? The
      website advises that the seams are fully taped

      How well will I be protected from the rain when inside the bivy?

      Ventilation:

      Being a single wall bivy will there be sufficient ventilation as to assist
      with preventing condensation buildup? I will check with the various
      positions available to the bivy, I would suspect with the storm vent and
      full vent positions this will not be an issue, but what about when fully
      closed?

      The manufacturer says that the Gore-Tex Respiration Positive fabric allows
      warm moist air to escape to avoid condensation while providing supreme
      weather protection and that the zippered vent at the base improves airflow
      on humid nights. Well there will be plenty of humid nights approaching so I
      will be able to test this thoroughly.

      Will I feel confined within the bivy with it fully closed as there appears
      to be no other form of ventilation.

      Bug Protection:

      The bivy comes with a removable no-see-um netting which is the most
      effective netting available to protect from the bugs. As we are approaching
      summer here in Australia the bugs will be out in full force so this will be
      a great asset to have.

      Floor:

      The base of the bivy appears to be made from Durable HydrosealR coated
      waterproof nylon floor, how well does this keep me protected from insects,
      weather, punctures and will it help provide insulation?

      Does the floor have any form of fungal or mould resistant features?

      The floor of the bivy also provides a hook and loop strap to secure the mat
      in place, how easy is this to setup and how effectively does it work with my
      Therm-a-rest?

      Cleaning the Bivy:

      The instructions on the website indicate the bivy can be machine washed with
      a cold detergent. This is a really cool feature, it will save some cleaning
      up when I return from the bush. It can also be wiped with a damp cloth or
      sponge and drip dried. I will be testing both methods and carefully watch
      how it holds up, especially in the machine.

      The manufacturer also notes to use caution when packing it wet as this can
      lead to mold forming and damaging the bivy.


      Work in Progress

      Currently testing;
      The StickPic - Field Report due November 08.
      UCO MightlyLite - Field Report due December 08.
      Bridgedale Endurance Trekker Socks awaiting arrival.

      My reports and reviews can be found at;
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/markmclauchlin

      Owner reviews completed: 5
      Completed test series: 6


      Thank you for your consideration,

      Mark McLauchlin
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