How to repair a British army bivvy bag?

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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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When I bought my first bivvy bags, I didn't care so much about that they had been repaired just roughly. The material was thousand times better than my old cotton tent sheets or rubberised ponchos and they had been pretty cheap anyway.

But now I ask myself how to repair them professionally.

Both have a few longer and shorter cuts and the material isn't water repellent any more but still water proof.

Both are the usual olive green British army bivvy bags.

Any advice, please?
 

MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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i have repaired mine 90% successfully by turning it inside out and filling it with water hanging up, and seeing where the silver material turn dark - this indicates pinholes or small tears. I mark the areas with whatever to hand, i found sharpie or a greasepen works well

I then dry it thoroughly and repair the tears with iron on gortex repair tape, with atleast 1cm border on all edges from the tear or hole.

Once thats done, i then wash it with nikwax tekwash, then wash it again with nik wax goretex reproofer, then tumble dry on a low heat or air dry in the sun (the warmth activated the water proof coating)

I found this restored most of the water proof properties, in all but the heaviest of worn areas.

Really worn areas you can paint the inside with 'stormsure' adhesive cut with solvent - this restores the waterproof properties but stops the fabric being breathable.
I have done the stormsure adhesive repair on the insides on thread lines etc

I use my bivi under a lightweight tarp, and stay dry in all but the heaviest rain, and even then i only get mild damp and mainly around the foot box area
 

Erbswurst

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I guess you perhaps would get a slightly damp foot box in heavy rain even if the bag was factory new, especially it's relatively cold. I think the moisture comes from the inside, not the outside.

Thank you very much for the information!

Do you think I should glue the tape over the seams that repaired the cuts or should I open the thread and take it out?

Is it correct to put the tape and glue onto the inside of the bivvy bag?
 
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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
I guess you perhaps would get a slightly damp foot box in heavy rain even if the bag was factory new, especially it's relatively cold. I think the moisture comes from the inside, not the outside.

Thank you very much for the information!

Do you think I should glue the tape over the seams that repaired the cuts or should I open the thread and take it out?

Is it correct to put the tape and glue onto the inside of the bivvy bag?

yes agree re: footbox moisture

as for seams. Seams that are intact I trimmed off any loose goretex seam selling tape that was coming away and ironed new on top, with a good overlap either side into the old tape.

for seams that had actually come undone I picked out the stitches, glued them together with mcnett seam grip, then I rewsewn them with nylon thread, and then applied seam sealing tape on the insides of of the bag over the seam.

i didnt do anything to the threads on the outside purely because I didn’t have much glue left but you could paint the outside of the threads with the stormsure/solvent mixture (which I will post details up of at the weekend)

if you have sewn up some rips I would just paint them with the glue that on the outside and then iron on goretex repair tape on the inside
 
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Erbswurst

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I have to admit that this seems to me to be a pretty intelligent idea.
 

Tipi

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Jun 14, 2006
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30
Wondering Wizard, UK
I’ve modified the end of my army bivi as im So tall. Put a circular end in it with fabric from a set of waterproof trousers. Used the iron on tape as mentioned by @MrEd.

I did use an ice block to cool the glue fast else it stayed hot and pealed off easily while I was doing the next section.

not tested in torrential rain yet, but fine in a bit of drizzle.
ditto on the tech wash too. Good stuff
 
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Erbswurst

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Did you see, that Snugpak offers the Special Forces bivvy bag also for guys like you? They make an XL version for giants. Also the SF sleeping bags by the way.
 

Tipi

Full Member
Jun 14, 2006
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Wondering Wizard, UK
I have looked at them. And then looked at the price and figured I’d give modifying what I had a go.
also most “tall” stuff is designed to fit 6’6” im 6’11”, so was skeptical that it would actually fit me! Maybe when I’ve got some spare pennies I’ll order one and find out. snugpak ones are definitely lighter than the army ones which would also be a benefit. But will stick with my modified one for the moment
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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@Tipi

Keep in mind what I tell you now:

I own the normal sized version of the Snugpak Special Forces Sleep system, and the spare distance between my body height and the by Snugpak declared maximal user height is a bit smaller than you would have it in the XL version.

Sometimes, very rarely, I manage somehow to get a bit wrong into the sleep system and in this rare cases I would like to have another 3 cm spare length.

And you would have these additional 3 cm!

Would you have a normal or athletic body shape, the Snugpak Special Forces sleeping bag system would fit you perfectly.

As a former boy scout leader I collected used sleeping bags from military surplus shops and flea markets in Berlin and tried out them all. New once I got of course too during the last 45 years.
During the last years I also bought a lot of them new for colleagues, as we usually hang up posters for classical concerts all the year and everywhere. I usually force the colleagues to go with me to camping grounds for the nights, and I choose and buy the equipment for them. Also these sleeping bags I try out before I give them to the colleagues.

I surely slept in 40 or more different sleeping bag models through my life.
And the Snugpak Special Forces system is by far the best I ever owned and used.

I don't say, that the direct competition produces generally rubbish. I don't know all currently made high quality sleeping bags. And I don't want to tell you that you would necessarily need the Snugpak SF system. If your existing set up is fine for you, it is fine for you, that's all.

But if you should need a new sleep system I highly recommend to you to have a look at the olive green Snugpak Special Forces sleeping bags and the SF bivvy bag in the XL version.

You surely wouldn't regret the investment.
 
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