First look - Borah Gear Custom Bivy

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theoctagon

Nomad
Sep 3, 2010
458
0
Yorkshire
As a few of you may know over the last few months I've been trying to lighten things up a little. To do this I've sold quite a lot of my kit and replaced it with items that weigh a little less.

One of the last items I still had to replace was my DPM Goretex Bivy. I sold mine on ebay a while ago and have been looking for a replacement since then. At one time I decided to go with the Alpkit Hunka XL but these seemed to be out of stock for ages (think they are back in stock now) so I kept looking. In the end I decided I wanted something lighter than the Hunka as this wasn't going to provide too much of a saving over my old Goretex bivy. I looked at the Ti Goat and MLD offerings but in the end decided I liked the look of the Borah Gear Bivy.

Whilst trying to find some reviews of the bivy I came across quite a few threads on the BPL forum and all of them were very positive. The owner of Borah Gear is a chap called John West who is quite active on the BPL forum. I wanted a few thing changing to the standard bivy so sent an email to John, he got back to me straight away and after a few emails I placed my order.

My bivy arrived last week, I haven't had chance to use it as yet so this is more of a first look than an actual review but here goes...

Full bivy:


First impressions of the Bivy are very good, it's exactly what I had in mind when I was emailing John, it weighs in at 212g including the stuff sack and packs down nice and small. Lighter options are available such as using Cuben fiber for the floor and M50 for the top but the cuben was more than I wanted to spend and John recommended the M90 for the UK climate due to it's breathability.

I got mine in the standard length which according to the website is comfortable for those up to 6'1" but I reckon it'd probably be ok for those a little bigger too. I wasn't sure which size girth to order as I didn't want there to be any risk of my down bag not being able to loft properly, in the end I asked for the standard girth with a couple of extra inches of material added so it's somewhere between a standard and a large. After putting my thermarest into the bivy and then getting in inside my -7 down bag I've realised I probably would have been fine with just a standard girth size but the extra gives me a little more room to play with so i'm happy with it.

To make it easier to get in and out of etc I opted for a side zip, as you can see below the zip runs along the bottom edge of the nano-see-um and then turns and runs down the side of the bag. All of the stitching appears to be spot on and the zipper runs nice and smoothly.

Side zip:


One of the reviews I found online showed a reduced Nano-ee-um section, I thought this would be useful for when under a tarp or in the trailstar so asked for something similar and am really happy with how it came out. Just above the centre of the nano-see-um section is a small grosgrain loop to be used to keep the netting away from your face.

Reduced Nanon-see-um section:



All in all I'm very happy with the bivy and can't wait to get out and use it. It's exactly what I wanted and looks to be very well made. In addition to this the service I received from John was fantastic, all my emails were replied to very quickly and he offered lots of advice when I wasn't quite sure what size/material to go for, on top of this my bivy arrived approx three weeks after I placed my order, which includes it being made to order and shipped from the US. On top of this at the time I ordered my bivy all the mods etc were done for free, I think this was a special he had on at the time but I think it might still be running.

No connections etc to Borah Gear, just a very happy customer, I'll update here once I've had chance to use the it.

Hope this has been of some interest!


Matt


Full spec:

Silnylon floor
M90 top
Side zip (RHS)
Standard length
Standard girth plus - I wasn't sure which size to go for so John suggested adding a few extra inches to the standard size but not quite as much as the larger size
Stake loops (Not sure i'll use these but thought I would add them anyway)
Smaller Nano-see-um section

Weight:


Uncompressed size:


Full size thermarest for size comparison:


Stitching detail:


Stake loop detail:


Stake loop detail:


Nano-see-um pull:


Zip detail:
 

The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
2,320
3
Sunny Wales!
Looks like a nice bit of kit.

I gather with a micro tarp over the Nanon-see-um, or rather head section, it would be totally waterproof?
 

theoctagon

Nomad
Sep 3, 2010
458
0
Yorkshire
Many thanks for the replies

It looks great, how much was it?
Ah yes, forgot to mention that! Price inc shipping was $100 so around £60, I think that's pretty good for a custom spec made to order bivy.

Good stuff Matt, look forward to the first test
Thank you, me too! hoping to get out next week for a night or two.

Looks like a nice bit of kit.

I gather with a micro tarp over the Nanon-see-um, or rather head section, it would be totally waterproof?
The M90 fabric features a high quality DWR rather than actually being waterproof so it'll see off a light shower but I wouldn't want to sleep out with no cover.


Matt
 
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lub0

Settler
Jan 14, 2009
671
0
East midlands
The M90 fabric features a high quality DWR rather than actually being waterproof so it'll see off a light shower but I wouldn't want to sleep out with no cover.
What a shame as I was seriously considering this! This should really be called a sleeping bag cover rather than a bivi! How much rain do you think this could cope with before wetting out?
 

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,260
18
44
Yorkshire
What a shame as I was seriously considering this! This should really be called a sleeping bag cover rather than a bivi! How much rain do you think this could cope with before wetting out?
Not a lot, they're designed to be used under a tarp or tent shelter. More of a moisture barrier than a bivvy bag, I wouldn't use my MLD out in the open in rain.
 

lub0

Settler
Jan 14, 2009
671
0
East midlands
Not a lot, they're designed to be used under a tarp or tent shelter. More of a moisture barrier than a bivvy bag, I wouldn't use my MLD out in the open in rain.
Ah so there just covers not bivi's, then. I use a british army issue bivi that weighs 860g and I've seen offerings from many different places such as Alpkit, Snugpak and Terra Nova that weigh less than 300g claiming to be fully waterproof, which I don't doubt, but I seriously question the breathability of these light weight bivi bags in comparison to the full gortex british army issue.
 
Apr 8, 2009
1,078
62
Ashdown Forest
Ah so there just covers not bivi's, then. I use a british army issue bivi that weighs 860g and I've seen offerings from many different places such as Alpkit, Snugpak and Terra Nova that weigh less than 300g claiming to be fully waterproof, which I don't doubt, but I seriously question the breathability of these light weight bivi bags in comparison to the full gortex british army issue.
The breathability of most of these isn't materially different to the british army goretex bivi- not so that you would notice in most conditions. I swapped the BA bivi for an alpkit one which has been absolutely fine.
 

theoctagon

Nomad
Sep 3, 2010
458
0
Yorkshire
Looking forward to seeing how you get on with it.
hi, very nice, let us know how you get on. carl
Fingers crossed it'll get its first outing on Wednesday night!

Very nice Matt. ive been looking at these a long time and i think im now convinced.
Hope this thread has been of some use helping you make up your mind, I couldn't find many reviews/photo's etc before ordering, just plenty of comments re the great service and that people were happy with theirs

What a shame as I was seriously considering this! This should really be called a sleeping bag cover rather than a bivi! How much rain do you think this could cope with before wetting out?
As Shewie has said above, probably not a lot, definitely one to be used under a tarp etc.

Ah so there just covers not bivi's, then. I use a british army issue bivi that weighs 860g and I've seen offerings from many different places such as Alpkit, Snugpak and Terra Nova that weigh less than 300g claiming to be fully waterproof, which I don't doubt, but I seriously question the breathability of these light weight bivi bags in comparison to the full gortex british army issue.
Yeah I guess you could say they're a bag cover rather than a bivy, I just went with bivy as that's what they're sold/known as. One of the main uses I have planned for mine is under my new Trailstar as both a moisture barrier and to keep bugs etc out so for this kind of use it should be spot on... hopefully!

Out of interest which bags have you seen less than 300g? I drove myself half mad looking at almost every bivy online before ordering this one. I think the Alpkit and Snugpak ones are over 400g, I've seen a couple of Terra Nova ones less than 200g but one of them isn't breathable and the other is around £100. You could be right re the breathability, it's difficult to find stats for this on anything other than the mainstream goretex fabrics etc. Not sure how the M90 will compare, I wonder if the fact it's a DWR rather than waterproof might mean it's breathability is very good?

I chose this one in the end as it seemed to be the best fit for the use I have planned for it, for the amount of money I wanted to spend. In a perfect world I guess it would be 100% waterproof but hey ho, hopefully the DWR will be adequate for my needs.

I'll report back once I've used it, knowing me it'll be raining so it'll be a good test for it!


Matt
 

theoctagon

Nomad
Sep 3, 2010
458
0
Yorkshire
I finally managed to get out and use the bivy, i've been trying to put up a trip report but Safari keeps dying on me every time I'm ready to post it, i'll try again tomorrow!


How tough does it feel as I am always worried about damaging a light weight bivi
The material is quite strong but a little care will be required I think, plenty strong enough for it's intended use though

Nice review. Will be interesting to see what the m90 is like below freezing temps.
Thank you, hopefully I'll get to find out in the not too distant future!



Matt
 
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kiltedpict

Native
Feb 25, 2007
1,333
4
47
Banchory
That looks ace. I was thinking of getting something similar for under my trailstar (when I order it!) but my bag is a custom PHD one and the outer material is Drishell, which I suspect is a similar material. Not sure there is a major benefit other than the reassurance of "double" protection.

Looks really good though, and a really good price too!

KP
 

Glosfisher

Tenderfoot
Feb 22, 2007
92
0
57
Cotswolds
I've got one of these minus the stake out loops and I'm extremely pleased with it. Very light, boosts the warmth of my bag, deters condensation drips and keeps my WM Sycamore bag clean.