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Rab Review

Discussion in 'Kit Chatter' started by ka_nefer, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. ka_nefer

    ka_nefer Guest

    Hi Guys,

    I have been lurking on this forum for quite a while and thought I’d finally contribute to it. First let me say what a fantastic resource this site is and how much I have enjoyed reading the articles and forum posts.

    I’ve been stuck on how I could contribute (you guys seem to know vastly more than I) and as I have just purchased a new bivi bag I thought I’d let you have a review.

    Review was written at the start of the year and I'm just getting round to publishing it now! sorry guys :?:

    http://www.fieldandtrek.com/ft1/pro...1123&mscssid=C96W0QJNWTHX9HNNRMKWPRM7A6D78QM2

    Of late I have been getting more and more interested in seeing more of the countryside and spending a lot more time outdoors. When I was younger I did that sort of thing all the time. My mates and I would jump on a train, travel somewhere (it didn’t matter where in those days) pitch the tent and generally have a great time. These days however those same friends are married with children and refuse point blank to go camping (I quote ‘Stu if it doesn’t have a hair dryer I’m not coming’ pointing out that a campsite would have a hair dryer didn’t seem to go down that well). This means that my tent (a four man dome thing) would have to be carried by me rather than shared and I decided that I wanted a light weight alternative for just myself.

    I hunted around on the web for cheap one man tents and decided that if I was going to carry all of that I might as well stick with the tent I already have I decided that I must go even lighter and made up my mind that I would get a bivi bag. Funds being limited though I couldn’t lash out £200 plus for a goretex bag with poles etc.

    A trip to the Trek and Field website gave me what I was looking for – a Bivi bag for £55 that weighs less than a half kilo and packs into a medium sized pocket. Rather than trusting my not inexhaustible funds to the internet I ambled over to the Croydon Trek and Field and bought this, Some paracord and a tarpaulin (The Tarp was 6 quid and the paracord about 1.99 from an army surplus store)

    Eager to try the bag out I rushed out to Epping forest for a night under the stars over the bank holiday weekend. Temperatures reached around 1 or 2 at night and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was using it with a two bag Vango mummy bag (can’t remember the particular model I have but it’s a proper 5 season bag) without the outer layer.

    The bag itself comes in only ‘unfortunate purple’ (my name not theirs) has no poles and you cannot peg it down (as there are no places to do so) and is mummy shaped. The material itself is Pertex and seems to be relatively tough although I should imagine it would puncture very quickly if mistreated. It has a drawstring to tighten the bag at the end and I made the fatal mistake of drawing the whole thing over my head. When the manufacturers claim that a material is breathable I always assumed that would mean the moisture in my breath would escape – this is definitely not the case with this bag and I was woken at four in the morning by condensation dripping onto my face. Without any poles to stretch the material away from your face I should imagine this would be a problem at the best of times and in future I will have the drawstring above my face so that my breath can escape straight out of the bag.

    Though it was pretty chilly I found the bag itself added another season to my sleeping bag and I was toasty all night (apart from the wet face incident).

    Conclusion
    Without actually using this bag in a downpour I cannot say how water proof it actually is though I found it kept me warm and dry (well, apart from my face!). It has an unfortunate colour which would be good in a survival situation as you would be easily spotted – but my camping exploits are usually of a more surreptitious nature and its glare is a little irritating. The best factor about this bag is its price which is at least half of any other.

    Hope that this makes sense - since writing that i've used it in a few downpours and the bag has performed marvelously. This is now a piece of kit that replaces my tent when camping on my own or when a tent is not required.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Oh - and hello!
     
  2. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    Hello Ka_nefer.

    Good review - is that bag Pertex?

    keep us informed on how it works in the rain - be interested to see.

    Cheers.
     
  3. ScottC

    ScottC Banned

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    Hi, welcome

    Thanks for your great review, I personally have been looking around for a good bivi bag ands it's great when people put the effort in to review a product for people in my situation. :super: :ekt:
     
  4. ka_nefer

    ka_nefer Guest

    Hi guys,

    It's pretty good in the rain when used in conjunction with a tarp. Without the tarp I should imagine it would fill with water either from your breath or from the elements.

    It's really freed up a load of space in my rucksack so now I don't have to wander along with plastic bags strapped to the side or have my mess kit clanging with every footstep.

    Having never used a more expensive one though I've no idea how it compares.

    Stu

    ps - yes it is pertex

    Stu
     
  5. Tony

    Tony White bear (Admin)
    Admin

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    Hi Ka_nefer thanks for that review :super:

    Welcome to bcuk, glad you stoped lurking :wink:
     
  6. Ed

    Ed Admin
    Admin

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    You could always test it in the bath.... fill it with air like a floatation aid and immerse it in water, check for seam leakage etc....

    I believe the rab pertex bags have a technical water proof coating ... these tend not to like soap or other detergants so its best to rinse the bath out before trying this.

    :)
    Ed
     
  7. ka_nefer

    ka_nefer Guest

    Sorry - not sure if what I said made much sense - I meant that if you didn't have something over your head then the rain would just fall into the bag rather than seeping through.

    I had another trip to Epping recently and it chucked it down. My head and kit were all under the tarp but my feet stuck out by about a metre. If it weren't for the noise on the tarp I would never have known it was raining as my feet were kept nicely warm and dry.

    THe condensation is it's biggest problem. Without having your face right next to the hole you end up getting your sleeping bag and head wet and without something over your face you end up getting wet anyway
     
  8. Ed

    Ed Admin
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    Ah right... How durable do you think it will be in the long run? I take it you don't just roll it out on the ground and have a ground sheet/ponch underneath to protect it, but can you fit your roll mat inside it ok or do you have to put your bivi on top of it.

    Ed
     
  9. ka_nefer

    ka_nefer Guest

    'tis pretty durable - as for the long run... well I don't know.

    I guess if it's treated well (which I probably won't do) it'll last for a few years of regular use (I'll let you know in a few years)

    I take a tarp and have that as a groundsheet (in a sort of leaning L shape). The roll mat goes on the ground as the bag tapers and wouldn't fit in there.

    It doesn't look particularly fireproof so it'll probably end up full of cig dimps and burns from the fire within no time if I'm not careful!
     
  10. bushwacker bob

    bushwacker bob Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    exellent review Stu,as I am thinking of buying a bivi bag. your user name however is an odd one to say the least. welcome aboard :wave:
     
  11. ka_nefer

    ka_nefer Guest

    Ka_Nefer? That's not odd. If you're an ancient egyptian anyway........



    There are a number of Stu's on here already :)
     
  12. Stuart

    Stuart Full Member

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    Nice reveiw and good first post

    the important thing to remember about the Rab survival zone bivi bag is that it is one of the lightest bivibags available, and is designed to be used by adventure racers, light and fast alpine climbers or as an emergency bag

    as with all lightweight kit there is a trade off in durability but the survival zone whilst not being as breathable as gortex (even gortex will not stop your breath condsing on the inside) it is impessivly breathable for its weight
     
  13. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    Interesting line developing here - how many people sleep with there head inside their sleeping bag or bivi bag?

    As a squaddie I was always taught to sleep with my ugly mug out side the bags (and this is good practice particularly in the colder places where your breath will rob you of insulation and as such heat) if Bivving the trick with, and idea of, the hood on the army bag is that to sleep with it upside down so the hood/flap covers you but you head is still free of the bag.

    Of course with a tarp that isnt a concern.
     

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