Tent or bivvy?

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Limey Pete

Tenderfoot
Jun 20, 2021
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pnom, penh
I am glad to see this forum is active and I would like to add something. I have a Gore Tex bivi bag, and it was good. However, the water does sip through now. I believe this is by capillary action.
When the rain is hard I sometimes have to throw a light tarp over the top.
Another way is I spread broadsheet newspaper over my sleeping bag inside.
This works to a certain extent, but in the morning the newspaper is off the top of the sleeping bag.
This fine weave way of repelling water seems to work only for a certain time. The weave with packing and folding opens up - I suppose.
I have had a Gore Tex jacket for a few years and that is not now waterproof.
Has anyone experienced this?
 
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crosslandkelly

A somewhat settled
Jun 9, 2009
24,952
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Hello I wish to introduce myself. I am currently residing in Phnom Penh.
I went on a long holiday to Thailand, They closed down and I escaped over the border to Cambodia.
That was the end of March last year. My return ticket to the UK in June was cancelled, and tickets from Cambodia were £1200 at the time. And so I am stuck here drinking beer at 20 pence a glass - it's hell.
Anyway I am glad to see this forum is active and I would like to add something. I have a Gore Tex bivi bag, and it was good. However, the water does sip through now. I believe this is by capillary action.
When the rain is hard I sometimes have to throw a light tarp over the top.
Another way is I spread broadsheet newspaper over my sleeping bag inside.
This works to a certain extent, but in the morning the newspaper is off the top of the sleeping bag.
This fine weave way of repelling water seems to work only for a certain time. The weave with packing and folding opens up - I suppose.
I have had a Gore Tex jacket for a few years and that is not now waterproof.
Has anyone experienced this?
Hi Pete, welcome to the forum.
Have a look here for intruductions. https://bushcraftuk.com/community/forums/introductions-welcomes.15/
 

punkrockcaveman

Full Member
Jan 28, 2017
1,064
911
yorks
I've never been a fan of tents. Too much to break and go wrong, and I've seen it happen too. Big fan of the dd 3x3 tarp. It can be made into a tent, A frame, works great with hammock setup, plenty of useable space used solo or a squeeze with 2
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
I wouldn't twist my bivvy bag, rather roll it a bit if used as a rucksack liner.
I think if you twist it you delaminate it.
But as I don't do it, I just guess that of course.

If the bivvy bag fabric itself seems to let water through I would try to spray it with the right stuff, because you perhaps just have condensation water inside and don't realise it, because it doesn't evaporate if the non any more water repellent outer layer is sucked through with rain.
 
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Limey Pete

Tenderfoot
Jun 20, 2021
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pnom, penh
Hi Pete, welcome to the forum.
Have a look here for intruductions. https://bushcraftuk.com/community/forums/introductions-welcomes.15/

I wouldn't twist my bivvy bag, rather roll it a bit if used as a rucksack liner.
I think if you twist it you delaminate it.
But as I don't do it, I just guess that of course.

If the bivvy bag fabric itself seems to let water through I would try to spray it with the right stuff, because you perhaps just have condensation water inside and don't realise it, because it doesn't evaporate if the non any more water repellent outer layer is sucked through with rain.
Well, I am quite sure the bivi bag is not working because the fabric becomes wet, when the water should just roll off. Comparing this with my Gore Tex jacket, which also becomes wet, I think Gore Tex weave just opens up after awhile.
Spraying the fabric with water repellant would work, but then the fabric would not breath.
Another tip on bivi bags is: do not sleep in a bivi bag on a groundsheet.
The water runs off the bivi bag and forms a puddle of water under the bivi bag on the groundsheet, which seeps inside
At least it did when my bivi bag worked.
When my bivi bag was new I could sleep in a monsoon and I would not become wet - not now though.
 
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arthem

Member
Jun 14, 2021
35
15
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United Kingdom
I wouldn't twist my bivvy bag, rather roll it a bit if used as a rucksack liner.
I think if you twist it you delaminate it.
Interesting, I remember reading that waterproof items like tarps and bivvy should be stuffed into their sack/cover to prevent there being weak points in the membrane, never considered that it may cause delamination!
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,174
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Berlin
I am perhaps wrong.
But the GoreTex 3 layer laminate surely isn't constructed to twist it.

They already tell you not to fold it!

If you stuff it instead of folding it, you fold it too of course, but always in a different point. Like this it will last longer.

That's also a good reason to keep the sleeping bag inside of the bivvy bag if you stuff them into dry bag or rucksack. Like this you fold the bivvy less.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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Berlin
@Limey Pete

I don't own a microscope, but I think the GoreTex membrane is rather a foil than a weaved fabric. It's just glued in between two weaved fabrics. Outside you have hygroscopic Nylon. They recommend to spray it from time to time to make it water repellant. I forgot with what, but the others surely know. And @TLM seems to know all about outdoor fabrics.
I think that's worth an own thread.
 

Limey Pete

Tenderfoot
Jun 20, 2021
57
43
55
pnom, penh
@Limey Pete

I don't own a microscope, but I think the GoreTex membrane is rather a foil than a weaved fabric. It's just glued in between two weaved fabrics. Outside you have hygroscopic Nylon. They recommend to spray it from time to time to make it water repellant. I forgot with what, but the others surely know. And @TLM seems to know all about outdoor fabrics.
I think that's worth an own thread.
Yes I checked and you are right Erbswurst. The outer layer is water resistant and not waterproof.
The problem is that the outer layer does lose its water resistance and becomes wet, and that affects the membrane inside.. I am not sure how.
Gore Tex in boots because of constant movement is especially likely to fail.
There is a new Gore Tex which is better called Gore Tex XCR.
However I will avoid Gore Tex now. I read there are better fine weave fabrics. The bivi Bag will work but mine does not in heavy rainfalls.
I have a few methods. I use large bin liners that come up to my waist.
The legs do not sweat, and condensation is not a problem.
Sometimes I tape strips of duct tape over top of the bivi bag and remove them in the morning. They make good tinder for the campfire.
But if the rain is too heavy I just have to throw a tarp over the lot . . .
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,174
1,263
Berlin
I wouldn't burn plastic in forest and field.
I would treat my GoreTex how they recommend it.
I wouldn't line my bivvy with a bin bag.
I also don't lay a tarp onto it or newspaper inside or whatever.

It seems a bit wired to me what you are doing. But I have no problem if you are doing that, of course. Do what you like, it's your free time.
But you really should use ducktape as tinder exclusively in emergencies.

I rather would spray my GoreTex with the stuff the maker recommends and if that doesn't work well, simply buy a new bivvy bag. Or even a used one in good conditions. Why not? They are cheap and usually work well. For decades.
 
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Limey Pete

Tenderfoot
Jun 20, 2021
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pnom, penh
I wouldn't burn plastic in forest and field.
I would treat my GoreTex how they recommend it.
I wouldn't line my bivvy with a bin bag.
I also don't lay a tarp onto it or newspaper inside or whatever.

It seems a bit wired to me what you are doing. But I have no problem if you are doing that, of course. Do what you like, it's your free time.
But you really should use ducktape as tinder exclusively in emergencies.

I rather would spray my GoreTex with the stuff the maker recommends and if that doesn't work well, simply buy a new bivvy bag. Or even a used one in good conditions. Why not? They are cheap and usually work well. For decades.
As you wish.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,310
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If you are lucky enough to have all the options at hand then it all comes down to the variables of the trip in hand. Environment, duration, weather, time of year etc.

Would I bivvy in midge season Scotland or by a body of water in warm weather? Hell no..
Quick over-nighter in spring or Autumn in a woodland yeah nothing quite like it - Bivy, tarp and a fire :) Lovely stuff. Same goes for a hammock setup.

Tents these days are so much cheaper and lighter than they used to be and will provide a safe haven from the weather and wildlife. Pick the right one and you can have a side opening tent where you can sit-up, lay down all with a nice vista to boot. You can even add a small light-weight tarp to give you more space. The weights we are talking are minimum unless you are a fell-runner or UL person.,
 
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BumblingAlong

Member
Jun 20, 2021
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9
48
Winchester
If I had to choose one I would prefer to have the certaincy and quality of a 800g BA gortex bivvy rather than a light weight SF Snugpak bivvy & tarp combo which would weigh about the same maybe a bit more
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,237
1,008
Lancashire
After best part of 35 yeas of tent camping (mainly wild) I am seriously looking at reducing the weight of what I carry and a bivvy bag seems to be the ideal way to do this.

A few things put me off: Dont want to feel claustrophobic, what do you do if it's throwing it down with rain (in a tent you an sit it out with some comfort).

Open to ideas, suggestions, discussion :)


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I'm 196cm tall. No sitting it out in a tent for me!!!!! Not in one I could carry that is.

I can set up a tarp to give sitting height and a bivvy with tarp, even a tiny one over the head end means you don't have to batten down the hatches in a bivvy bag to stay dry and toasty.

I could get a pyramid tent like luxe make but. Haven't the cash for it so basically I have a tarp and bivvy for solo camps
 
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TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,014
952
Vantaa, Finland
Goretex is a very hydrophobic film with huge amount of small holes, the holes are big enough to let let water in gaseous form through but so small that liquid water is stopped by surface tension. So far so good as liquid water can't get through, but ... if the layer outside is totally water logged no gas is going to get through either (like Ventile) and no water in gas form is going to go anywhere. That is why the outer layer is treated with a water repellent substance so that gases go through and the film works and you stay dry(er). There are limits how much moisture can get through. Also if one sweats a lot not all of it is going to evaporate and that non-gas is not going to go anywhere.
 
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Limey Pete

Tenderfoot
Jun 20, 2021
57
43
55
pnom, penh
I did start out as a kid carrying a tent, but the weight was high and putting the tent up was irksome, especially in the dark.
Next morning packing the tent in cold weather was not a good start to the day.
I know there are better tents now, but some places I bed down have not been safe. Having the high profile of a tent could be noticed, and being in a tent when movement is heard nearby prevents me from seeing what is causing the noise.
If there is no sign of rain, why carry a tent. Shelter is not needed,
More is not better when more has to be carried in my opinion. I never even have a foam sleeping pad, and often no ground sheet. There is always something to lay on the ground to sleep on.
I would always carry a light tarp though, for a quick shelter from rain.
I have had a lot of experience, and because of this I once landed a job on a circus. I was the only one who get the tent back in the bag.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,174
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Berlin
If you camp like this, a military poncho instead of the tarp seems the logical addition.
 

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