Is it worth ditching my tarp for a bivy? (1 Viewer)

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I would strongly reccomend a bivy (only one worth getting is an army surplus gortex bivy, look thos 4 words up on amazon.) Theyre a little pricey but well worth it, i consider it essential when riding freight. So much better for stealth camping then stringing a tarp and adds 10-15 degrees of warmth to you sleeping bag set up by protecting you from wind etc. Also its nice to be covered in camo/earth tones since all the nice sleeping bags are shitty neon colors
 

brando

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I use one of the army surplus bivy bags and love it. That being said, if you're expecting rain, the tarp gives you the option of a dry place to hang out. While a bivy bag does a great job of keeping you and your sleeping bag dry, it doesn't offer much in the way of an enjoyable place to chill out.
 

Koala

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Bivvies rockkkkk, carry both for the ultimate setup! Laying in a body bag (bivy) in a downpour sucks, laying under a tarp and getting your sleeping gear wet from the water spray sucks. So do both!

My military goretex bivy is awesome and really heavy duty and holds up to trains and rough terrain and shit, which is worth the extra weight
 
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Tarp all the way. Ya you could carry both but fuck that. Tarps are useful in all weather conditions, shade in the sun, cover in the rain. I got no problem just draping a loose tarp over myself in the rain, people overcomplicate things in my opinion.
 

Coywolf

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I will go with what most others have reccommended and say both is your best option. I usually carry a 8 x 10', a 10 X 12', and a bivy. That setup allows you to string the large tarp above you, lay the small tarp on the ground, and get in the bivy for warmth/extra water protection. That setup has literally saved my life in a few situations. It will make your gear heavier, that setup alone probably weighs like 8-10 pounds. But that being said, I travel in some of the worst climates in the US during the winter (freight, hitching, backpacking) so that is the reason I carry it all.

Just 1 tarp and a bivy is enough, so is just a bivy, but keep in mind that a bivy doesn't have enough room to stash your gear, or a dog, during a storm. That extra tarp is nice. Especially if you have a dog, big gear, or you are laying down on a ahitty piece of ground. My tarp has made many a bum camp tolerable.

Somewhere in this video, I think near the end, I have a feature with my 2 tarp/bivy setup in Sedona, AZ before a big ass storm hit me:

Exploring Northern AZ
 

Bushpig

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At least get the bivy. I don't carry a tarp, but I have a hammock with rainfly. The hammock makes for comfy sleep, even in rain, but I couldn't find a place to set up tonight, so I'm sleeping next to a Catholic church in the bivy. Just need to get tired again so I can catch a few Zs.
 

Koala

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Yeah what you carry also definitely depends on climate, I tend to travel in colder, wetter parts of the year where getting soaked could leave me pretty fucked.

I also use my bivy kind of as a "waterproof phone case" for my sleeping setup...I keep my warm af comfy af sleeping bag and pad inside the bivy at all times to protect it from water and holes and dirt and grime (down is a pain in the ass to wash).
 
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To each their own. I've always spent more time up north in the wet and never saw the need for a bivy or extra tarp, even in several feet of snow. 8x12 tarp, sleeping bag and a wool blanket is my winter set up. Most important to me is having a decent synthetic sleeping bag that retains heat when wet. Having a dog doesn't hurt either. Really just a matter of preference, I hate carrying anything I don't use every day.
 

Bushpig

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To each their own. I've always spent more time up north in the wet and never saw the need for a bivy or extra tarp, even in several feet of snow. 8x12 tarp, sleeping bag and a wool blanket is my winter set up. Most important to me is having a decent synthetic sleeping bag that retains heat when wet. Having a dog doesn't hurt either. Really just a matter of preference, I hate carrying anything I don't use every day.
Damn. Props to you. I use my bivy every time I sleep outside. Even in the hammock. But if you don't use it, it'd be a waste to carry one.
 

mylon

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Definitely bivy. Way better at keeping you dry and protected from the wind, and they’re breathable so you don’t get soaked from condensation. As a bonus they don’t make that annoying crinkling sound. Tarps are miserable in comparison.

I’ve got one of the old USGI ones like the camo one in this thread, very spacious and durable.
 

coltsfoot

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Bivvies rockkkkk, carry both for the ultimate setup! Laying in a body bag (bivy) in a downpour sucks, laying under a tarp and getting your sleeping gear wet from the water spray sucks. So do both!

My military goretex bivy is awesome and really heavy duty and holds up to trains and rough terrain and shit, which is worth the extra weight

Are yall talking about the bivy that comes with the modular 3 piece sleeping system or is it a different one that you use?
 

brando

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Are yall talking about the bivy that comes with the modular 3 piece sleeping system or is it a different one that you use?
That's the one I was referring to- I think that's what we're all talking about. I actually use the whole 3 piece system, but it is stupid heavy and bulky.
 

Coywolf

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@coltsfoot I used to use just the bivy with my own sleep setup, not the 3-piece millitary system.

I now have a Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy (which is expensive AF but worth it), it has a two pole system that can keep the bivy off of you and keep a waterproof opening that you can breath through throughout the night. Ita 3 season and durable, but not as much so as the USMC one. Definitely worth the purchase:

Outdoor Research Advanced Bivy

8d7bbe9f-10b0-4ed6-ae46-46c96042bc86-jpeg.55517


I have my 0 degree synthetic inside of it, usually with a tarp on the bottom. It has got me through multiple PNW rainstorms, SW snowstorms, and a rare occasion where I rode trains thru one of the gnarliest snowstorms in the Southwest's history.
 

Free ride

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The old waterproof military poncho shouldn't be discounted, many uses and you can wear it, but I use the bivy in winter and a tarp as well, depends on various factors
 

TheDesertMouse

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I’ve been using the OR bivy(pictured above in coywolfs post and a military surplus poncho for years now.
The OR bivies have passed my dirty traveler ass kicking challenge many times over. My current one, which I’ve had for two years now is only now just starting to need repairs on the inner seem seals. A relatively simple and cheap job.

When I started traveling I got a tarp from a local outdoor gear store in boston. I forgot the name but it was made from the same silnylon material they make lightweight raingear from. It has little squares on the surface when you look closely at it. I’ve never seen tarps like this anywhere else ever, but they are highly superior to those crappy walmart tarps. FAR more durable, quiter, light weight, and reasonably priced. Buy them if you see them.

In the last few years I switched to the mil surp poncho. These things are the shit IF you can find them for several reasons:
Very durable and highquality construction, edges are super reinforced, hood seam is very sold, material is ripstop nylon.

They have double sided buttons down the sides, allowing you to snap it together into a servicable bivy sack.

durring the warmer seasons I dont carry a rain coat, using this as both my rain shell and shelter. saving me several pounds and a-lot of space in my pack.

Disadvantages are the legit military ones are quite hard to find, I usually go to this one badass milsurp store outside tacoma, wa to get mine. And When you do find them they can be pricey, I think I paid 70$ for my last one. Dont bother with the knockoffs , they’re shit.
 

blankityblank

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Apr 27, 2018
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Around the way
I have a military surplys bivy. Tarps are useful but it annoys the fuck out of my how they fly around on the train unless I have it perfectly wrapped around me. It's also really stealth. They're like 80 bucks but I think worth it and then if you still got space you can hold a small tarp too
 
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