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Reply to Ultralite Tent vs Bivvy

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Reply to Ultralite Tent vs Bivvy
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John from Pittsburgh, PA on 3/15/2020 11:23:26 AM:
I'm already getting excited about a self supported, all camping trip from Pittsburgh to DC this summer. Plan is to camp each night at the free hiker biker sites (C&O has many more choices than the GAP). Last time I did a camping trip, I took a 30 year old, traditional two man pup tent and realized immediately that this was on the heavy side. The tent weight was just too much for bikepacking. I fought with the weight and completed the trip, but vowed to upgrade the tent the next time I camped. That got me thinking about ultralite tents. While researching these, I kept coming across people suggesting bivvy bags. Both sound like they could work for me and the range of prices all seem to be the same scale based on quality. I'm mostly concerned about rain and how they hold up when it comes down. Also, is not being able to sit up in a bivvy bag too much of a hassle? Does anyone have any thoughts on either and what's worked for you in the past? I'm leaning towards Ultralite tent but am intrigued by a bivvy bag. John

 
Arminius from Richmond, VA on 3/15/2020 5:16:18 PM:
I've had the same conversation with myself after the first time I biked with a heavier tent! I upgraded everything to fit what I desired/looking for. But keep in mind, this is what I prefer. I got an REI Passage 2 tent (two-man, but really 1 plus space) weighing about 4 pounds. There are lighter 2 mans out there but this had what I was looking for. Just this tent alone saved me 6+ pounds from my last one. I prefer tents instead of bivvy bags because I like to bring my panniers inside at night and keep them by me. I'm just paranoid. But also I can rearrange stuff inside if I need to, especially if it's raining. Depending on the weather, if its warm enough I'll just take a sleeping bag liner and leave my bag at home. But, if I go early spring, I have a Kelty bag that is less than 2 pounds. With my Big Agnes sleeping pad, all told, my camping gear adds up to less than 14 pounds. You could do better but my setup works for me.

 
LHM from Middles x on 3/15/2020 9:11:18 PM:
The tent I use is Six Moon Designs Trekker, it weighs 28 oz. when I’m on the AT in the summer I carry my Warbonnet hammock so I don’t have to find a flat spot which is difficult at some of the shelters. The tent has plenty of room to get gear out of the weather

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 3/15/2020 9:38:02 PM:
I carry a 1-man, relatively light weight (4.5 lbs) tent in my handlebar bag on self supported trips such as the GAP/C&O. (I have a 2-man tent (5.5 lbs) by the same manufacturer for supported tours where the extra room is nice and I don't have to carry it on my bike.) With both a netted inner tent with floor and outer flysheet, it provides both rain and bug protection. It also allows me to sit up, change clothes and pack most of my gear if it is raining. I've considered lightening my load by only taking the fly sheet which would protect me from the rain. However, I am not anxious to travel the C&O in the summer without the barrier to the bugs. While I have not used a bivvy bag per se', I have used a low profile, light weight biv tent. I abandoned it and elected to carry the extra pound or two of my 1-man tent so I could sit up. You are welcome to try it out if you'd like. Its not quite as light as a biv bag alone but it will keep you dry and bug free.

 
John from Pittsburgh on 3/16/2020 12:30:41 PM:
Thanks for the feedback guys. I’m gonna go with an ultra lite tent. One man if it has a bit of space or two man if it’s more like “1 plus space”. I think it comes down to being able to sit up, read, and also be able to rearrange things inside a tent. I like that as a refuge. As Arminius said, I like to bring bags into my tent at night (or at least some of it). I feel like a bivvy bag is too constricting for me and offers no wiggle room to do anything other than sliding in and sleeping. Plus I always get dressed for the day in the tent. ;/) John

 
LOA from Chevy Chase, MD on 3/16/2020 1:44:15 PM:
Have you thought about using a hammock? My cycling buddy convinced me to use one before we did the C&O/GAP from DC-to-Pitt last year, and I'll never go back. I used an ENO hammock, blanket, and mosquito net. Had a rain cover, but didn't need it, since two of the three nights we hung the hammocks in shelters. The hammock, straps, and two covers only took up about 1/3 of my Ortlieb saddle bag. Hammock = 16 oz Bug net = 9 oz Rain cover = 22 oz XL straps = 13 oz Blanket (or small bag) of your choice.

 
Dave Gorman from Hollidaysburg on 3/17/2020 5:31:42 AM:
I find regular hammocks too confining as I sleep on my stomach or side. Anyone out there used a bridge hammock?