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View Poll Results: which do you prefer, why?
bivy
10
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hammock
10
50.00%
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Bivy VS Hammock

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Old 05-17-18, 09:31 PM
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Bivy VS Hammock

I've done a few bike packing trips with a bivy. it's not fancy, just a surplus army issued gortex bivy. super basic, no bug net. however, the last couple of times I used it, the bugs had me for dinner, midnight snack, and breakfast. I need something a little better for next time, either a lighter bivy with a bugnet, or a hammock. I don't want to get a tent because they're usually heavy, and harder to setup. Tarp tents are too much work, I'd rather have a bivy.

That said, there are pros and cons of both. But having no experience with the hammock, or fancier bivies, I'm hoping others can fill me in on their experiences

pros of bivy:
lighter than hammock, but not by much.
more versatile, set it up anywhere
super quick to setup/pack

pros of hammocks:
supposedly more comfortable (this is huge for me, because I want good quality sleep)
can be used as a ground bivy if needed (not sure how well this works out)

Right now, I'm leaning towards getting a good quality hammock (dutch half zip double layer), which will run me about $200, but it will be a kickass setup. Before I commit to it, I just want to get a poll from people who've done both, and which one they think is better.
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Old 05-18-18, 12:14 AM
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I voted bivy but am not too polarized in my view. I own one though. On a trip last summer a friend and I did have to ride rather long into the night before we could find a secluded spot where he could hang his hammock.



However, I've just bought a North Face Storm 1 one man tent which looks pretty good and am keen to test it out this week on tour. Just over two pounds stripped down and rolls up only a little larger than my Integral Designs gortex bivy which has a hoop for over the head. That's it in the weeds to the left. For dry weather riding it's pretty good though somewhat minimal. Mine is a bit bigger than some and I can put my shoes and a bag inside near the head with me.
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Old 05-18-18, 05:21 AM
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I also wouldn't exclude a single walled tent. Hammocks look attractive, but when you include under quilts, straps etc they get heavy and bulky. Bivys can be uncomfortable and many end up as heavy as a tarptent. I use a Tarptent Contrail with a custom pole that has 4 sections so it fits into my saddlebag. Total weight is 1.5lbs and it takes just 5 mins to put up. I pack the tent in a compression sack so that it takes up very little space.
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Old 05-18-18, 05:26 AM
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I voted bivy, but depending on the locale I might consider a hammock. Pretty much all of my touring I prefer a bivy, but I have backpacked in a few places where being up off the ground would have been a plus. I find my NeoAir Xlite to be supremely comfortable so comfort is not a reason for me to go to a hammock unless I am somewhere that there is no flat and non swampy non rocky spot to sleep. In all my touring that has never been a big issue though. I have camped many places where it would have been a pain to pitch a hammock. Using a hammock as a bivy means that you need to carry a sleeping pad bumping the total weight up a good bit.

I use either a Ti Goat Ptarmigan Bug Bivy (5.3 oz) or a Borah Side Zip (7 oz) depending on the expected weather. The side zip can be a bit steamy in really hot buggy weather, but it is a bit nicer when it is cool, especially if it is windy . I usually also have a tarp along. For a tarp I carry either an Integral Designs Siltarp 1 (7 oz) or a larger (6'6" x 8'6") Sea2Summit Escapist M (12.3 oz). I have used a little half tarp (Mountain Laurel Designs Dog Tarp 4.9 oz) to cover just the top half of the bivy, but decided it wasn't worth it for the minimal weight savings.

When the weather is decent and it isn't too buggy I like to cowboy camp. So I often sleep on top of the bivy and climb in only when/if the weather or the bugs do not cooperate. When the weather looks good I don't pitch the tarp. I do keep it handy and sometimes if unexpected rain comes I just pull the tarp over myself and my gear.

BTW, The more robust bivies with hoops and whatnot do not appeal to me. By the time they get to much over a pound I start to think a light tent makes more sense.
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Old 05-18-18, 05:32 AM
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I opt for a small tent over those options. Once you add the usually necessary tarp and netting to a hammock the weight is about the same. I sleep as well in my tent as I do at home in my bed. Setup has been quicker than people using hammocks but not quite as quick as a bivy.
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Old 05-18-18, 07:54 AM
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I voted bivy, just because it's so much simpler. There's a big difference in quality, even among military issued ones. You want the ones that say "Gore Seam" on the inside, with nicely rolled & sealed edges. Not all military bivvies have that. 🙄
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Old 05-18-18, 08:35 AM
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Didn't vote, I haven't used either specifically. I sleep in a hammock at home 7 nights a week, for over a decade now, and wouldn't use anything else. When on the road I generally just take the rainfly from the tent and toss it over top of me and use it as the sleeping bag/tent combo. I generally sleep on concrete or blacktop, to keep myself away from moisture laiden grass(if my equipment doesn't get wet I don't have to dry it out, and mosquitoes seem to tend to stick to wet areas not areas that are high and dry) and it also allows me to sleep under overhangs on churches/schools/baseball dugouts/store fronts, etc so when it does rain everything stays dry...as a result I kinda consider it a bivy setup. No, it isn't anywhere near as comfortable as a hammock. The hammock, at home, I never toss and turn all night long. I sleep on my back full time every night. I actually don't have any furniture at my house, I just use the hammock as my chair/couch/bed...one size fits all. On the road I want the 'luxury' of a flexible campsite location so if the forecast is calling for rain I can get under cover and keep everything dry. If I have to have something to act as hang point for the hammock than that limits where i can put the hammock for the night...the bivy doesn't have that limitation. If there was a lightweight way of hanging the hammock that could easily be taken on the bike I would stick with the hammock for the bike trips, nothing beats the comfort.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:06 AM
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Small tents are popular as well. Then there are the tarps, tarp tent, bug net things too.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:47 AM
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I voted hammock between the two - I just can't image being stuck in fabric coffin if choosing to wait out a heavy rain - can't really do anything (cook, eat, sit upright, pee) except lie there. If you add in a tarp, then you might as well use an UL tent in terms of weight/bulk/set-up.

Consider a floorless pryamid with inner net tent, Polycro footprint, stakes for ~1.5lbs/2.5L (add 0.2lb for a pole, but I just use a fallen branch). Fly sets up in 1min (3 stakes, pole, 3 stakes), and inner tent in an another minute. My favorite thing about 'mid tents' is that the interior is freely modular between a traditional double wall tent, and giant floorless vestibule. You can have a huge kitchen, leave muddy shoes on inside, use a low camp chair, and even dig an indoor latrine (#2 only when ready to leave ). With a good peak vent, I find my fly alone a 90%+ mosquito/black fly barrier (plays on bugs own survival instincts), so I don't bother with the inner tent until bed time.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:49 AM
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Midterm primaries, have very low voter turnout..

Want to feel a claustrophobic nightmare , a Bivvy bag is perfect..

using the 1.1oz sil-nylon fabric , a very light tent can be made..

look for one tall enough to sit up inside, to put your shoes on.





I typically used a tent.



...

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Old 05-18-18, 09:57 AM
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Problem with hammocks....you have to find trees somewhere to hang it. Here on the Great Plains, you can drive for hours and not see likely candidates.
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Old 05-18-18, 01:05 PM
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Voted bivy.

I have used both a lot. Hiking - perhaps 50+ nights in hammocks, and 500+ nights in a bivy. Biking - 4 nights in a hammock and perhaps 50+ in bivy.
However, while bivying, less than a dozen nights were spent in a bivy alone, the rest of them I had a (shaped) tarp pitched above. The pure bivy nights were all in alpine areas, in winter or shoulder season, all of them during mountaneering and alpinism.

The hammock is great for very rough terrain as I don't care what the topology is under my ar$e when I hang. However, during bike toruing such terrain is almost non-existent near roads and trails suitable for biking.

The hammock has 2 drawbacks, which have completely eliminated hammocking from my bike tours:
1. Weight. My bivy sleep system is always lighter than the lightest hammock system, and I have tried numerous and still own many.
2. Bulk. In a hiking backpack this is not that much of a detriment, but on my bike it is a huge one. I tour light and with very limited luggage volume. Hammocks don't fit this picture.
3. (I know I said 2 drawbacks...) Needs provisions to hang it (trees, poles, large boulders, improvised scaffolding - I've done all of these), but this one is relatively minor unless you are travelling through the prairie, and definitely minor compared to No. 2.

All of my bivys have nets to protect me from bugs during sleep, and close well with zippers. Under heavy bug pressure I sometimes put a headnet in camp while cooking or milling about before I get into the bivy to sleep, although I don't spend much of my time this way. When I arrive at camp, I wash if I could, cook sometimes, eat sometimes (if not eaten recently somewhere else prior to stopping for the day), and go to bed.

The tarp overhead protects against rainy, very windy, stormy weather, and ensures great protection against cold in particularly cold nights under clear skies, when there's not a lot of vegetation above me, as it drastically reduces my body's heat loss through infrared radiation. It also allows me to use very light and really breathable bivys, which is super important in the areas I travel most - Appalachians - where the high humidity and dew point drives lots of moisture issues in less breathable bivys.
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Old 05-18-18, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Problem with hammocks....you have to find trees somewhere to hang it. Here on the Great Plains, you can drive for hours and not see likely candidates.
hence why i would never tour through the midwest lol
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Old 05-18-18, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
Voted bivy.

I have used both a lot. Hiking - perhaps 50+ nights in hammocks, and 500+ nights in a bivy. Biking - 4 nights in a hammock and perhaps 50+ in bivy.
However, while bivying, less than a dozen nights were spent in a bivy alone, the rest of them I had a (shaped) tarp pitched above. The pure bivy nights were all in alpine areas, in winter or shoulder season, all of them during mountaneering and alpinism.

The hammock is great for very rough terrain as I don't care what the topology is under my ar$e when I hang. However, during bike toruing such terrain is almost non-existent near roads and trails suitable for biking.

The hammock has 2 drawbacks, which have completely eliminated hammocking from my bike tours:
1. Weight. My bivy sleep system is always lighter than the lightest hammock system, and I have tried numerous and still own many.
2. Bulk. In a hiking backpack this is not that much of a detriment, but on my bike it is a huge one. I tour light and with very limited luggage volume. Hammocks don't fit this picture.
3. (I know I said 2 drawbacks...) Needs provisions to hang it (trees, poles, large boulders, improvised scaffolding - I've done all of these), but this one is relatively minor unless you are travelling through the prairie, and definitely minor compared to No. 2.

All of my bivys have nets to protect me from bugs during sleep, and close well with zippers. Under heavy bug pressure I sometimes put a headnet in camp while cooking or milling about before I get into the bivy to sleep, although I don't spend much of my time this way. When I arrive at camp, I wash if I could, cook sometimes, eat sometimes (if not eaten recently somewhere else prior to stopping for the day), and go to bed.

The tarp overhead protects against rainy, very windy, stormy weather, and ensures great protection against cold in particularly cold nights under clear skies, when there's not a lot of vegetation above me, as it drastically reduces my body's heat loss through infrared radiation. It also allows me to use very light and really breathable bivys, which is super important in the areas I travel most - Appalachians - where the high humidity and dew point drives lots of moisture issues in less breathable bivys.
ah ok. well maybe it's not worthwhile spending $200 on a camping hammock for bicycle touring. what's your take on the comfort level of the hammock vs bivy though? which kind of hammock do you have? I bought a very basic parachute hammock just to see what hanging is like, and whether it's really as comfortable as they say.

But I agree the bivy is much lighter and more versatile. the Ti goat bivy's weigh less than 1/2 lbs, which is awesome. I also found that instead of using a sleeping bag inside a bivy, you can use just an air pad, with a blanket, which saves weight, because the sleeping bag does not really insulate you on the bottom anyway, and it takes up extra material.
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Old 05-18-18, 03:11 PM
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I suspect it would be possible to go lighter with a bivy. With tents vs. hammocks, I've seen comparable ultra-light options. And of course there's the need for somewhere to hang.

But for me the only real issue is comfort. I have always had a hard time getting comfortable in any ground set-up. Hammocks are the opposite. I'd say that if I hadn't found out about hammock camping, I would never have gotten back into bike touring.
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Old 05-18-18, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
ah ok. well maybe it's not worthwhile spending $200 on a camping hammock for bicycle touring. what's your take on the comfort level of the hammock vs bivy though? which kind of hammock do you have? I bought a very basic parachute hammock just to see what hanging is like, and whether it's really as comfortable as they say.

But I agree the bivy is much lighter and more versatile. the Ti goat bivy's weigh less than 1/2 lbs, which is awesome. I also found that instead of using a sleeping bag inside a bivy, you can use just an air pad, with a blanket, which saves weight, because the sleeping bag does not really insulate you on the bottom anyway, and it takes up extra material.
The comfort is purely a personal thing. For me it is a tie, although lots of hammockers (especially those with bad backs) swear that hammocking gives them an order of magnitude of higher comfort. The only discomfort I have experienced sleeping on the ground has been when using closed cell foam pads, as I'm predominantly a side sleeper and these pads play a number on my hips.

I am not sure how it matters to you which hammocks I have.
Here's the list of what's left in my gear closet:
TTT TrailGear Switchback Lighthiker
Butt In A Sling Weight Weenie
DutchWear Half-Wit (which I use the most lately)
A 13-oz full net hammock I made myself
A "tablecloth" DIY hammock I made myself, in which I have full-timed every night home for ~35 months. 2 years ago I switched back to sleeping in a bed.
These go under a HammockGear camo tarp with doors.
I still fail to understand how is this list going to suit you in any way...

The bivy you are considering is very good, breathable, and not waterproof at all. There are many similar ones (some of them - a bit lighter and a bit better) made by the US cottage industry,
As to insulation, I don't use sleeping bags, I use hiking quilts which are indeed lighter as they miss the extra pad-side portion. Having used quilts for the last 12 years, I'm only considering sleeping bag for sub-zero (non-biking) situations.
Don't be fooled about the sleeping pad though. This is the most common mistake rookies make, as they often underestimate the needed R-value for the conditions, and then moan about how their "sleeping bag was too cold". An air pad as you mentioned is a joke, it is sufficient only in extremely warm weather (70F and above overnight). I use insulated inflatable very lightweight pads (have a few with both down and with synthetic insulation for warmer and colder conditions).
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Old 05-18-18, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Problem with hammocks....you have to find trees somewhere to hang it. Here on the Great Plains, you can drive for hours and not see likely candidates.
Seriously not much of a problem in practice. You can also find one pole, or other object to attach on end to, and run the other line over a bike and then stake it to the ground. A hammock can also be used as a bivy when necessary. Here is a example of one used as a bivy, using a bicycle as an anchor point.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3V3MYir_rS...0/P2225494.JPG

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Old 05-18-18, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
The comfort is purely a personal thing. For me it is a tie, although lots of hammockers (especially those with bad backs) swear that hammocking gives them an order of magnitude of higher comfort. The only discomfort I have experienced sleeping on the ground has been when using closed cell foam pads, as I'm predominantly a side sleeper and these pads play a number on my hips.

I am not sure how it matters to you which hammocks I have.
Here's the list of what's left in my gear closet:
TTT TrailGear Switchback Lighthiker
Butt In A Sling Weight Weenie
DutchWear Half-Wit (which I use the most lately)
A 13-oz full net hammock I made myself
A "tablecloth" DIY hammock I made myself, in which I have full-timed every night home for ~35 months. 2 years ago I switched back to sleeping in a bed.
These go under a HammockGear camo tarp with doors.
I still fail to understand how is this list going to suit you in any way...

The bivy you are considering is very good, breathable, and not waterproof at all. There are many similar ones (some of them - a bit lighter and a bit better) made by the US cottage industry,
As to insulation, I don't use sleeping bags, I use hiking quilts which are indeed lighter as they miss the extra pad-side portion. Having used quilts for the last 12 years, I'm only considering sleeping bag for sub-zero (non-biking) situations.
Don't be fooled about the sleeping pad though. This is the most common mistake rookies make, as they often underestimate the needed R-value for the conditions, and then moan about how their "sleeping bag was too cold". An air pad as you mentioned is a joke, it is sufficient only in extremely warm weather (70F and above overnight). I use insulated inflatable very lightweight pads (have a few with both down and with synthetic insulation for warmer and colder conditions).
what's the difference between an air pad and an insulated inflatable pad? is it thickness? how thick does an air pad have to be to considered "insulated?"
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Old 05-18-18, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
what's the difference between an air pad and an insulated inflatable pad? is it thickness? how thick does an air pad have to be to considered "insulated?"
You can look up the difference yourself in more detail on these them Interwebs.

It's not the thickness. Basically, the air pad has no insulation inside, while the insulated pad does. It thus drastically reduces convective heat losses and is much more effective in preventing your body from losing heat to ground.
The air pad will feel great at the beginning, and them the air inside would start moving and transporting your body heat to its lowest layer, where it will cool down to ground temperature. In a few hours, your butt will feel cold. The air will also shrink while cooling down, resulting in a partially deflated pad, which further reduces its insulating capability. Even those air pads with internal coatings against heat loss via radiation suffer from the convective issue, I have plenty of experience with those.

I'm probably capable of writing a PhD dissertation on the subject, but it is best for you to acquire this sort of knowledge by yourself.
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Old 05-18-18, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
I also wouldn't exclude a single walled tent. Hammocks look attractive, but when you include under quilts, straps etc they get heavy and bulky. Bivys can be uncomfortable and many end up as heavy as a tarptent. I use a Tarptent Contrail with a custom pole that has 4 sections so it fits into my saddlebag. Total weight is 1.5lbs and it takes just 5 mins to put up. I pack the tent in a compression sack so that it takes up very little space.
+1

My Tarptent Squall 2 with Tyvek floor weighs 30 oz, versus my OR Advanced Bivy sack at 32 oz. The tent provides space to sit up and dress/undress, space to read/plan route, keep all bags/shoes/gear under rain protection, easier to answer call of nature, less heat/humidity in hot season, and potential accommodation for second person. The tent does pack larger than bivy sack, and maybe a minute more to set up / take down.

Most hammocks are no lighter than bivy sacks or some tents, and additionally require two trees/posts several feet apart.

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Old 05-18-18, 05:47 PM
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They're both off my list, you can't shag in either of 'em....
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Old 05-18-18, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
They're both off my list, you can't shag in either of 'em....
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You have won best comment in a little while that I have seen on BF.
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Old 05-19-18, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
They're both off my list, you can't shag in either of 'em....
that sounds like a challenge
spectastic is offline  
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