Tarp and Sleeping bag - no bivy bag

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Joeking

Member
Jan 14, 2022
10
4
40
Leeds
I'm wanting to do some sleeping wild this summer and I'm after some advice.

I got a Snugpak Softie 6 last year and used it under a tarp with no bivy. On a river bank the tarp had a lot of dew on it but my sleeping bag almost none. If I took the tarp away (so I can see the stars) would the dew be on my bag or would the heat from me keep the dew off?

I've been looking at bivy bags, wanting a bit more confidence while sleeping under the stars. Long story short, I'm not sure if I need one or if I'm just looking for an excuse to buy more gear. For a micro adventure, if the weather was looking bad I just wouldn't go (I'm not as hardy as I once was). The Softie claims some water repellence properties and it was for this reason I got it.

I'd probably set up a tarp in case the weather changed but the set up would just be ground sheet, matt, sleeping bag.

I'm torn between the above, something like a Snugpack Special Forces or Alpkit Hunka and something more substantial like a dutch military or Snugpak Stratosphere. My objective is to sleep outside, not to camp, so I think the later might defeat the purpose... Although the mozi nets do appeal...

Do any of you guys sleep out in synthetic bags without a bivy or a tarp? If so what's your experience been and do you have any advice?

Regards,
Joe
 
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I'm wanting to do some sleeping wild this summer and I'm after some advice.

I got a Snugpak Softie 6 last year and used it under a tarp with no bivy. On a river bank the tarp had a lot of dew on it but my sleeping bag almost none. If I took the tarp away (so I can see the stars) would the dew be on my bag or would the heat from me keep the dew off?

I've been looking at bivy bags, wanting a bit more confidence while sleeping under the stars. Long story short, I'm not sure if I need one or if I'm just looking for an excuse to buy more gear. For a micro adventure, if the weather was looking bad I just wouldn't go (I'm not as hardy as I once was). The Softie claims some water repellence properties and it was for this reason I got it.

I'd probably set up a tarp in case the weather changed but the set up would just be ground sheet, matt, sleeping bag.

I'm torn between the above, something like a Snugpack Special Forces or Alpkit Hunka and something more substantial like a dutch military or Snugpak Stratosphere. My objective is to sleep outside, not to camp, so I think the later might defeat the purpose... Although the mozi nets do appeal...

Do any of you guys sleep out in synthetic bags without a bivy or a tarp? If so what's your experience been and do you have any advice?

Regards,
Joe
Good day Joe.
I only use an oilcloth shelter & a wool blanket. If you lay outside of your shelter your blanket/sleeping bag will get damp from the dew.
Back-of-Shelter-1-REDUCED.jpg
Making-Camp-full-REDUCED.jpg
Regards, Keith.
 

BigMonster

Full Member
Sep 6, 2011
1,235
165
Manchester
1. if it's underneath your tarp/tent fly it's not dew, it's condensation. Moisture from soil and your body raises and condenses on cold fabric. Nothing can be done about it.

2. Tarp without bivvy is a very common way to wild camp. Bivvy is mostly used to add warmth and to protect from elements in heavy conditions like high mountains. Only traps moisture in the woods so most people are happy without it, they really only work well in cold temperatures. Different story if we are talking about a bug-bivvy, very welcome in bug season.

3. Either way I wouldn't camp under a tarp without some kind of ground sheet. Emergency blanket or even trash bag cut in help. Keeps my mat and rest of the kit mud free and also it's a decent barrier to keep slugs and other bugs at bay.

Apart from that just make sure your spot is level so you don't slide off your mat, and that you have enough tarp coverage around you in case of heavy rain (back splash). Love tarp camping for the fresh air when falling asleep and the living space when it rains.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,343
1,347
Berlin
The weather forecast will tell you if you have to expect due. It doesn't fall out every night everywhere and the amount is different.

I think that the combination of Snugpak Special Forces 1 and Special Forces bivvy bag is the best available option on the world market for most civil users and summer conditions.

But if you just go for a single summer night you can also try it without bivvy bag of course. What gets a bit whet can be dried. Your sleeping bag will not suck in a bit moisture. But if there is more it could become unpleasant.

If it's just against a bit due and not meant for heavy rain in the open field every old and cheap army Goretex bivvy bag will do the job, for example the Dutch M 90 or British ones. They are heavier and bulkier than the Snugpak SF bivvy though. And if you have top quality equipment in good shape you don't need to be hard to camp in less optimal weather conditions. The modern equipment became very comfortable.

I did use every option during the last decades and nowadays usually use Snugpak SF1 and SF bivvy on the German army closed cell foam folding mat. A poncho shelter I only make if it already rains in the evening.
 
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Joeking

Member
Jan 14, 2022
10
4
40
Leeds
Thanks for all the info guy.

Ok, I’m thinking of going for a Snugpak bivy. If I find it awkward I’ll install a side zip. It looks the same as the SF bivy but the top zip won’t line up with my bag.

Question, why do people go for the SP1 over the softie 6, they the same weight but the softie6 claims colder rating?
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,343
1,347
Berlin
If you have so close related questions it's sensible to keep all in a single thread.
I answered you the question in the other one.

Take the SF bivvy, not the other one!
It fits optimal in your existing equipment system even if the zipper of your sleeping bag is located in the wrong place.

You got the wrong sleeping bag in my opinion. I wouldn't have bought that in your situation.
But it will work with the SF bivvy bag too, just a bit less good.
 
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lostplanet

Full Member
Aug 18, 2005
2,043
197
51
Kent
If you decide to get a Military Bivvy this shop is highly recommended https://www.strikeforcesupplies.co.uk/index.php?method=stock&id=20316

Thing about wild camping is your options are endless. if you setup your basha or tarp as a optional bolt hole should it start persisting down unexpectedly, you can sleep under the stars quite comfortably with a decent bag and ground protection in the UK.

Something I intend to do is sleep out with minimal kit and just a emergency blanket as warmth (with the option of bolting) just to see how it would be in practice.

As for ground protection I have a Decent roll mat which goes down first, then "depending" I have a german folding mat (which also acts as a sit mat and ground sheet when under the tarp) on top of that the bivvi bag with thermarest mat inside for comfort.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,343
1,347
Berlin
The German army mat or Multimat Adventure 4 XL (which is a slightly heavier copy of it) is thin. It is rather a summer mat.
But it has the advantage that you fold in the dirty ground side. It replaces a non insulating ground sheet! Different to roll mats here the dirty ground side never touches the clean body side.

You can do what you want of course, but most civil users put the German mat directly on the ground and then if needed a second often inflatable mat on top of it.
 

swyn

Full Member
Nov 24, 2004
874
15
Eastwards!
I sleep out inside as often as I can which is not as much as I used to 30 years back, hey-ho! But I still love a sleep out.
No tarp over, in a grade one surplus UK military bivvi-bag ((Camoflage type) on a 100mm self inflating mat or a Dutch army surplus foam roll-out mat, again depending if I'm on or near water, which in turn is laid on an old 900mm x 2.00m groundsheet to stop punctures if I am in a woodland setting.
I'm in either my Alpkit pipedream 600, a synthetic three season bag of which I can't remember the name (used If I'm on or near water) or my fab four season 'Warmth in a Wilderness' down-filled bag I purchased in Oz in 1991. Pre 'mummy' cut so plenty of space at the foot end.

I simply wouldn't be without the bivvi bag! Simples.
It keeps wind and rain out which is what this type of sleeping system is supposed to do. IMO it does it very well.

You can be in your bivvi and temperature control by being on or in your sleeping bag. I have a the camoflage item as I'm over six feet tall and these are cut a little larger than their plain olive green predecessors. Grade one as I discovered a worn-out bivvi bag lets in a tiny mist from rain-drops as they hit!

Your choice as to what you actually lie on.
S
 
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Joeking

Member
Jan 14, 2022
10
4
40
Leeds
If you have so close related questions it's sensible to keep all in a single thread.
I answered you the question in the other one.

Take the SF bivvy, not the other one!
It fits optimal in your existing equipment system even if the zipper of your sleeping bag is located in the wrong place.

You got the wrong sleeping bag in my opinion. I wouldn't have bought that in your situation.
But it will work with the SF bivvy bag too, just a bit less good.
Yeah, I realise it’s basically the same question. I posted in new arrivals and someone suggested posting here too.

Wrong bag… this makes sense now I’ve read all the comments… Humm, I can see the Softie going on eBay
 
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swyn

Full Member
Nov 24, 2004
874
15
Eastwards!
@swyn
Do you have the thick Dutch army closed cell foam roll mat?

At which temperature is the limit of that?
I'm no arctic adventurer so I'm only out in a normal UK winter.
I have been at Beaulieu sleeping inside my bivvi and four season bag during a minus twelve weekend and been the only person in our little group of three who was warm and had a good nights sleep. I remember it was borderline and keeping my shoulder and hood draw-strings tight was a necessity. No inkling of cold from below so the mat performed really well. I believe the mat is called a KL M90 and official blurb says suitable for all year use.
S
 
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stinkybob

New Member
Nov 25, 2021
2
4
88
Lankashire
I got an old British army surplus gortex bivvi bag in the large size a few years ago and it was enormous, which actually worked out really well as I could then get a British military arctic sleeping bag inside it. I don't use a ground mat or anything, just a bit of old tarp under my bag as a bit of flooring. That setup is comfy, warm and waterproof.

The bulkiest part is the bloody arctic sleeping bag which is huge and cumbersome to lug about but it's wonderful when you need it. However, when I know it's not necessary to have arctic gear I just use a blanket inside the bivvi bag and it's fine. I prefer blankets to sleeping bags because there's a lot you can do with a blanket but a sleeping bag is generally not much use for anything other than sleeping in.

I carry a 3x4 silnylon army cammo tarp as well because it can be scrunched into a very small pouch and can be made into many different shelter arrangements depending on what you need.

The most useful all purpose tool I take is an old Newtown style billhook for cutting tarp poles and making fire wood.
 
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lostplanet

Full Member
Aug 18, 2005
2,043
197
51
Kent
I got an old British army surplus gortex bivvi bag in the large size a few years ago and it was enormous, which actually worked out really well as I could then get a British military arctic sleeping bag inside it. I don't use a ground mat or anything, just a bit of old tarp under my bag as a bit of flooring. That setup is comfy, warm and waterproof.

The bulkiest part is the bloody arctic sleeping bag which is huge and cumbersome to lug about but it's wonderful when you need it. However, when I know it's not necessary to have arctic gear I just use a blanket inside the bivvi bag and it's fine. I prefer blankets to sleeping bags because there's a lot you can do with a blanket but a sleeping bag is generally not much use for anything other than sleeping in.

I carry a 3x4 silnylon army cammo tarp as well because it can be scrunched into a very small pouch and can be made into many different shelter arrangements depending on what you need.

The most useful all purpose tool I take is an old Newtown style billhook for cutting tarp poles and making fire wood.
I used to lug around an issue artic bag, it stays in my car now for possible dodgy trips. Carinthia D4 is my goto bag and snugpak Merlin with expanda panel when its warmer both with a cotton bag liner inside.
 

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