Anyone tried one of these bad boys? Not so much for days (ok, nights) paid for by HM, but more for the occaisional three /four day bimble on your own across the Styx. Appreciate any advice, cheers chaps.
Generally speaking, for a three-four day trip you're better off in a tent.
Bivi bags are OK for occasional/overnight use, but don't come close to a lightweight tent in terms of comfort, privacy, security, lack of claustrophobia, drying out kit, re-organising clothing and bergen and sitting out bad weather.
There are some tents about now which are 1.5kg or less, check out North Face, Hilleberg and Mountain Equipment websites, some of them are in the same price range as these bivi-bags.
The deciding factors when deciding between a tent or bivi are duration of trip, daylight hours, likely weather fluctuations. That particular bivi is a tight fit for big lads and you haven't a hope in hell of stripping off wet kit inside or stashing anything else in there with you, I've seen bigger body-bags ?! If it was just for single nights out, I'd say get it, that zip makes a big difference in use over a non-zipped version. Outdoor Designs do a similar but much larger version, which you could consider, but you might then find that a tent is more use for the same weight penalty and price.
thanks g_r! i can reccomend north face and hilleberg. not used mopuntain equ. tents but im sure they are up to the job! me and flatmate do some walking on dartmoor from time to time and we usually just use issue bivvy bags to cut down on weight.
If you're serious about saving weight, an ultralight tent between two is normally lighter than two bivi bags (and is the perfect excuse to go 'spoons' with your trekking buddy ...)
Real weight savings are made by carrying less water and freeze-dried scoff, easily done in UK hills where it's usually lashing it down with streams everywhere.
Ten baby-wipes and half a toothbrush as wash kit, minimal spare clothing (dry base layer and socks), a lightweight sleeping bag and half a foam pad (thermarests are heavy) and you'll be doing a 3-4 day trip with a daysack no problem.
I don't see the point in a hooped bivvy bag- it weighs nearly as much as a Laser lite tent, and is not going to be as comfortable (and only a tad cheaper).
If you want minimum weight, go with a conventional bivvy bag, like the issue one (or a lighter civvy version), if you want more comfort go with a solo tent. The jupiter just seems like a pointless compromise IMHO.
BTW, I use the issue bivvy bag for that kind of thing, but I would buy a better one (lighter/easier entry) if I could afford it!
Cheers for the advice, chaps. I have used my issue bag up until now, and miraculously have advoided heavy rain. Anyone any first hand experience of how it stands up to really moist weather, without a basha up? If it's any good, maybe I'll save myself Â£150 and just carry on as is.
I have been out many times in all kinds of real weather both with minimal kit and with a bergen full of comfort items, the trick is to travel light but with just enough kit to be comfy.
In heavy rain in UK you will be soaked, even if you're wearing the latest Â£500 'paclite' suit - the UK rain penetrates every gap, I'm not bullshitting but I've seen rain being blown upwards/uphill in some UK mountainous areas. When it comes to getting your head down, you will be soaked and will have to strip-off and crawl into your bivi bag, getting your sleeping bag wet at the same time. After laying there all night (no chance of hot scoff/brew) you will then have the pleasure of crawling back out and putting the sodden kit back on ready for another day of plodding the route - nice ...
Carrying basha kit in addition to a bivi bag sounds attractive, but there aren't many trees in mountain/hilly areas and bearing in mind the weight penalty of basha, poles, pegs, etc you are better off with a lightweight tent.
There are several manufacturers of hooped bivis, the better ones are huge with a double crossed hoop at the head-end, however, all this does is make your night out more comfortable since the bag is larger and it's held off your face when you're inside. I would say they are only suitable for dry conditions (not UK, then) or for occasional overnighters, as they are as heavy as a tent and much less useful (you still can't re-org clothing inside or hang kit up to dry, prep scoff, etc).
If you use the issue bivi bag in wet weather, use it upside down so the 'hood' covers the opening. Although bearing in mind you'll be turning about in your sleep you'll still get water inside the bag in UK weather. If you regularly bivi in wet conditions (you must be MRT or masochist), then you might want to invest in a 'buffalo' pile sleeping bag as they cope quite well with water ingress and getting inside it with boots and wet clothing on.
My advice: Overnight/occasional - use issue bivi bag (upside down), more than two nights/wet UK weather - lightweight tent.
Bivi bags are very useful in the Alps and similar regions or as emergency kit, but are not designed for that really unique British weather phenomenon identified by school dinner-ladies and described by Peter Kay - you know that really fine rain that soaks you through ?!
If you get a tent, I'd recommend the one shown by Walt above (or similar) if you're strapped for cash.
If you're flush, go for gold - Hilleberg Nallo (1kg each if split between two people) or the Hilleberg Akto if you're on your jack jones (1.5kg), plenty of space and it's bomb-proof and very user friendly when its pegged out properly.
Â£280 at ten nights out per year over the next ten years - that works out at less than three quid a night - bargain
If you have the choice, go for a two ply tent (ie inner and fly), rather than a single layer. Goretex works by moving moisture from a hot wet to a cooler dry region. If it's raining outside, then the bivi won't work properly. Plus your breath will condense on the inside and you'll wake up in the morning thinking that the bivi leaks.
The voice of experience.
PS Unless you have no friends, get a two man rather than a one man tent. It doesn't weigh or cost that much more and is much more social. For what it's worth, I use a Voyager, which is a great piece of kit.