What equipment should I buy? Tarp & Bivvy?

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Lee12

New Member
Sep 23, 2015
2
0
Chester
Hello.

Was looking to buy a tarp and a bivi bag for some small camping (set up late, pack up early etc.), however not doing this before and there being a lot of choice out there don't know what to get?

Anyone have any recommendations? Nothing to expensive and light as possible?

Thanks,
Lee.
 

Silkhi

Forager
Mar 28, 2015
202
7
N Yorks
Do you plan to summer camp or winter camp?
Have a look here. https://thenextchallenge.org/how-to-bivouac/
Interesting article thanks. Also nothing like Ron Turnbull for inspiring you to get out there - have read that book so many times now...

As for recommendations I use an Alpkit Hunka mentioned in the guide and love it. DD Hammocks basic but great 3x3 tarp and a Klymit sleeping mat. The latter was the most expensive item at £60 or so but I can't remember the specific model :notworthy:
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,250
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I would suggest you ask your friends and maybe follow them out a couple of times first.
Quality equipment is not cheap, and you want to make sure you really are buying the correct stuff!

Some people like tarp and bivvy bag, others ( like me) are dedicated tent people. Hammocking is the latest fashion it seems.
 
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Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,410
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W.Sussex
Tarp, DD 3x3m is a good option. They’re pretty tough and offer reliable shelter. They do an silnylon ultralight which is more expensive, but in my opinion, perfect for your needs due to the weight.

An essential item you’ll need in any situation is a sleeping mat. I’ve had a few self inflators lose air overnight due to small punctures, but Multimat use a decent foam in theirs that’ll give you some cushioning and insulation in this disastrous situation, and aren’t too expensive. I carried mine under the lid of my rucksack with the end sticking out and must have caught a bit of bramble or thorn. Lesson was learned, pack it in the middle of your bag surrounded by other stuff. Blimey, stick your saucepan on one end like a hard hat :D Of all the things that can go wrong, it’s a bad one. An Alpkit also deflated overnight and was about as much use as a couple of carrier bags under me. I think they’ve changed the foam density now, they’re a very responsive company.

Other option is the closed cell foam roll-mats that are light and cheap, but bulky. No puncture worries though.

The DD 3x3 tarp offers some good options for set up.


I’m not into bivi bags too much, but have had an Alpkit Hunka XL and a Brit Army goretex. I sold the Hunka, kept the army. It’s wider at the head end and easier to get into, it’s a good windproof addition for hammocking if the night looks to be cold or the breeze is getting up, but I’m not a ground dweller unless I’m tenting it. I just don’t like slugs and beetles in my sleeping bag or on my face. :)
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
2,622
1,842
Mid Wales
As others have said - DD 3x3 & British Army Gore-Tex bivi bag. As Nice65 says, unless you plan to forage for bedding (not really practical in most places), you'll need something under you; the cheap and cheerful closed cell mat works fine just not the most comfortable. It also fits into the bivi bag more easily than some of the self inflating ones. The bivi bag can add half a season to your sleeping bag temperature range but you need at least 3 season for the UK unless you're only doing summer.

As for insects and slugs on your face, just apply some benign repellent before going to sleep - I've never had a problem. In some of the places I've camped it's the stuff that come down from the trees I've had to worry about :)
 
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Ruud

Full Member
Jun 29, 2012
661
165
Belgium
www.rudecheers.wordpress.com
The DD Superlight is worth the extra expense, a lot easier to stash in a drybag, add some lightweight guylines (Hilleberg 2 mm) and some quality pegs and you're good to go. The DD lightweight pegs bend pretty quick.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
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W.Sussex
The DD Superlight is worth the extra expense, a lot easier to stash in a drybag, add some lightweight guylines (Hilleberg 2 mm) and some quality pegs and you're good to go. The DD lightweight pegs bend pretty quick.
Yep, DD pegs are rubbish, just thin aluminium wire. I’ve ended up carved pointy sticks after squishing them. They’ve been replaced them with Alpkit titanium ones and attached a ball of Sugru rolled in glow powder to each. I can see them in the dark and pull them out of our flinty ground easily.
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,268
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Berlin
How tall are you?
Which weight?
How old are you?

Please tell it me in cm and kg.
And years. ;0)

What is your profession you usually work in?
If office work, do you some sports?

The equipment that I recommend depends on the body size and how strong and old the persons are. And if man or woman.

Will you use the equipment mainly in woodland, or in the mountains or along the coast line or in another very windy area?

Is the ground of your area flat or are there more mountains and valleys?
Are there mainly stones on the ground, or mainly brown forest earth, and grass?

Do you have a lot of midges in your main camping area during the summer?

Did I understand right that you mainly want to hike and do some stealth camping?

Do you mainly want the tarp-bivvy set up to sleep in 8 hours, or do you want to use it for longer camps too?

Do you want to use the stuff only in your area, or do you plan to do some travelling in Europe too? If yes, which countries interest you?

Do you need to buy a complete equipment or do you just own some stuff?
If yes, which?
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
The most important question is; What is your experience with the outdoors?

Somebody without much experience I would recommend to do a weekend 'beginner course', a couple of members here organize such courses.
 

Woody110

Mod
Mod
Mar 8, 2009
267
76
Leeds, Yorkshire
I think a lot comes down to what you want to do. If your looking to stealth camp, you might just want a simple bivvi bag, and a bin bag to put your pack in over night.
I have a few options, depending on what I’m doing, and they items have been built up over the years.
Bivvi bag with a sleep mat.
3x3 tarp for hammock or to make a tent
The hammock
Small two man tent
Good sized DD tipi tent (won through FB)
5mt bell tent for the family camps
Roof tent.
And the most comfortable is a Premier Inn.

I have a few options on sleeping bags too, army (bouncing bomb) arctic bag, and a Defence 4 (which is by far the best one I’ve ever had.

Again it all comes down to building the kit you need/want. Everyone will have their own opinion as to what is the best option, but don’t spend a fortune on kit until you know exactly what you want.

Janne in the above post makes a very valid point, get yourself on a basic training course, you may even be able to try differing options.
Or come to the moot and have a look at what people have, you will see so many differing options.
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,268
456
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Berlin
I invested in the last years a lot of time to try out a relatively cheap and light universal usable beginners equipment for Europe travelling and bushcraft, that is currently available.

I imagined myself a student who wants to get started with bushcraft, but wants to see during the holidays several European countries too. Or a student who comes to Europe to see it for a year in every corner.

I bought the best looking cheap stuff and tried it out. Most I tested for more than two years, that means, I used it like a student would do it, who would travel around two years in Europe.

It works very well and I can recommend it, if the guy who asks me doesn't want to use it in very special conditions.

Most of my equipment is available in more than 40 countries.

I have a lot of different other equipment and so I am able to compare this beginners equipment with a lot of other stuff. And I have been in the most European countries, usually hiking and wild camping in nearly all weather. I do that since more than 40 years.

The beginners equipment system works very well together, everything fits to the other, what usually a beginner can reach only over several years by playing a very expensive try and error game.

So if you should fit in my project, I am well prepared to help you saving a lot of money.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
2,622
1,842
Mid Wales
Oh come on guys, go on a training course to camp out under a tarp in a bivi bag for a couple of nights? in the UK? - I was doing that on my own when I was a kid! Trying it under sensible conditions is far better learning experience. There's far too much emphasis on paying someone to show you the obvious in this country. Yes, the more complex stuff, rock climbing, white water canoeing, severe weather stuff etc. etc. but sleeping under a bit of ripstop nylon for a couple of nights?

Just get out there and try it. If you get wet and cold go home and work out how you can do it better next time.
 
Apr 8, 2009
1,043
44
Ashdown Forest
Oh come on guys, go on a training course to camp out under a tarp in a bivi bag for a couple of nights? in the UK? - I was doing that on my own when I was a kid! Trying it under sensible conditions is far better learning experience. There's far too much emphasis on paying someone to show you the obvious in this country. Yes, the more complex stuff, rock climbing, white water canoeing, severe weather stuff etc. etc. but sleeping under a bit of ripstop nylon for a couple of nights?

Just get out there and try it. If you get wet and cold go home and work out how you can do it better next time.

Agreed! There are an increasing number of commercial woodland campsites that would enable a 'half way house' if you were really nervous, but ultimately, unless you decide to go to a very remote area or high altitude etc for your first time, there really shoudln't be much to fear from just having a go. Just check the branches above you for loose stuff before you make camp, try not to stick any sharp things in yourself, and have a mobile phone and small first aid kit with you just in case.
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,268
456
49
Berlin
Yes, Janne.
But see, I am an old boy scout leader.

I know what most people are able to do and able to learn.

It is possible to use one and the same equipment in every European woodland and if it is selected well to fit every where it's possible to learn to use it nearly without other advice.