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Topic: Compact backpack for -20 down bag?, Emergency shelter for winter< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 2:25 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm trying to put together a pack that will keep me alive overnight, should my bike/body break while riding my dirt bike alone (don't hate me, I hike and mountain bike a lot too).  :D

I live at 10,000ft in the Rockies where average night temps in the winter are around 0 and the winds are gusting 20-30mph.  And that's a good night.  Worst I've seen is -35 and 50-80mph winds.

But I'll be happy if I can survive say, 50mph wind gusts and -20.

Anyway I bought myself a Feathered Friends Peregrine EX -25 (long) and Neo-air Xtherm (large) and the fan inflator.

It does not fit in my 35l summer backpack (survival gear for 10 deg) so I'm looking for ideas on a compact backpack that will fit this rather bulky 4lb bag.  The sleeping bag fits in an x-large event compression sack and, once compressed, is a bit bigger than a basket ball.  Not much else is going into the pack and I would rather avoid riding with a huge pack.

Anyway here is a pic of what I need to fit into the bag (nalgine bottle is there for scale).

Also, since the FF bag has a wind/water proof shell, I'm hoping to use it without a bivy.  Not sure if this is realistic for the my local weather.  Any thoughts?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 2:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Take the bag etc. to your local shop and see how it fits in various packs. That's also the opportunity to see how the pack fits you.

No shell treatment will keep rain off and when the blowing snow melts on the slightly warmer outer surface you are in major trouble.

50 mph winds at -20? You want shelter not a shroud.

Something like the 10.5 oz Cuben Solomid would work.
http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop...._id=137
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 2:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm not really close to any shops... REI is a 4 hour return trip.  I will make the trek but I was hoping to do as much research as possible before, so I don't waste a whole day.  Do most 75l packs fit a -20 bag?  Or can I get away with a 55l?  The problem with my go-lite 35l pack is that the opening is just way to small.

If I need a bivy, it will have to be something that I can just roll out and crawl into.
For example, in summer I use a USGI gore-tex bivy.  Trouble is it's just way too small for the FF -20 bag.  Works great with my "summer" setup with a Cascades Haven 20 down bag.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 2:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another option is to get a differently shaped stuff sack.  Not all compression sacks stuff them to the exact shape of a beach ball.  Look for something more cylindrical that has compressions straps on the sides (making it skinny, not fat).  That might help it fit into your daypack better without needing a whole new pack (although I make no guarantees).  Even a regular stuff sack (or your current one) with a few added accessory straps tightened around it might do the trick.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 3:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You're going to be packing a lot more than just that -20 bag right? So the pack has to fit everything, spare clothing, food, etc. not just the bag.  Without the entire gear list no one online is ever going to be able to guess what volume pack you actually need.

I could fit a -20 in my MR Snapdragon,  leaving room for not much else....

Maybe the problem is less the bag and more the sack? Maybe just try a different shaped sack for the sleeping bag so it will fit through the opening.

Ah I see GBH went there.

Speaking of pack interior access, it occurs to me there are pack designs that open more fully by having zippers down the back, like the Mystery Ranch. So I expect you could find a pack that wouldn't be oversize with a different closure setup for your load... The Snapdragon's bigger brother? http://www.mysteryranch.com/mountai....ky-pack

Perhaps pack it directly in one of the Osprey Kestrels sleeping bag compartment with the adjustable internal divider?

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/mens/kestrel_48?tab=features

My long route pack has a similar arrangement. The divider being adjustable with straps on the inside of the main compartment.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 3:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like the idea of a different compression sac and/or using additional straps to change the shape, but I don't think the 35l pack will work, I'd still be looking at something considerably larger.

I'm not going to be packing much more than what is shown in the pic.  Just the -20 bag, pad and a serious first aid kit plus a search and rescue beacon.  A little bit of water and food as well.

This isn't for overnight camping, but just to survive should the worst happen.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 3:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

True, that's what a bivy is really for isn't it? Survival not comfort...

How close are you to Bozeman? Maybe give them a call? I expect they're familiar with FF bags.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 9:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My concern is that I'll be injured and unable to mess with pegs or poles.  Most of the bigger bivy's I see require some degree of pitching to work.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 17 2013, 10:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

An OR Advanced bivy doesn't require "pitching". It is a two pole bivy. The poles are slid inside the sleeves. It lays on the ground with no staking required. There is enough room to pull inside most, if not all of your gear inside with you, including your pack (underneath for added insulation). I have slept inside of one with a hiking partner that was dealing with hypothermia if that gives you an idea of the amount of space.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 12:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That OR bivy looks nice...  i assume you can use it without the poles?

But I'm not seeing how it's going to provide protection against melting snow.  Unless it's taunt and doesn't touch the bag, how is it any better than the water proof bag by itself?  I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand.  I've never had a problem with my down coats getting wet when wearing a gore-tex shell over them.  The snow doesn't melt either.  Our snow is dry in winter and generally just falls or blows off.

I will also say, that I've never had a problem with my USGI gore tex bivy passing moisture to my Haven 20 down bag.  And the bivy touches the down bag in lots of places.

I'm in Colorado and we don't have much of a problem with wet snow in winter.  Especially at temps well below freezing.

I guess I can test out the bag sans bivy on my deck next time we have a storm pass though.  I could weigh the bag before and after to get an idea of how much moisture is trapped inside.  

The whole idea of getting this expensive bag with a waterproof breathable outer shell was to avoid having to use a bivy.  I have washed the bag in down Nikwax down wash and coated the exterior in Grangers XT waterproofer.

I guess if it doesn't work as I had hoped I will take a look at that OR bivy, but my rule is if I can't use it one handed, it doesn't go in my pack.

Anyway guys, in general do you think I can pack that -20 FF bag in a 55L pack or am I looking at a 75l pack.  I will of course take it to REI and see, but I'd like to narrow it down a little and do some research before hitting the store.

I really appreciate the help guys and I'm not trying to say you're wrong about the moisture penetration.  I'm just saying it may be different in our dry Colorado snow.  :)
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 1:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bikemountains @ Nov. 18 2013, 10:54 am)
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That OR bivy looks nice...  i assume you can use it without the poles?

But I'm not seeing how it's going to provide protection against melting snow.  Unless it's taunt and doesn't touch the bag, how is it any better than the water proof bag by itself?  

Those bivy sacks and even simpler ones are mainly for climbers staying on frozen mountains for the night, … not really camping.  Over time there can be condensation problems but they are designed for unplanned overnights.  The big thing is to make sure you have one doesn't restrict your bag's loft.  Of course the more complex bivy sacks weight as much as some single wall tents, .. so at a certain point just get an overnight ski-mountaineer type "approved" tent.  Personally I would want training in winter backcountry camping if potentially overnighting outside in the winter Rocky Mtns.  All the gear in the world may not help without the know-how in how to use it trapped in a serious environment like high altitude winter/spring Rockies.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 2:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(SW Mtn backpacker @ Nov. 18 2013, 1:04 pm)
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[quote=bikemountains,Nov. 18 2013, 10:54 am] 
QUOTE

Those bivy sacks and even simpler ones are mainly for climbers staying on frozen mountains for the night, … not really camping.  Over time there can be condensation problems but they are designed for unplanned overnights.  The big thing is to make sure you have one doesn't restrict your bag's loft.  Of course the more complex bivy sacks weight as much as some single wall tents, .. so at a certain point just get an overnight ski-mountaineer type "approved" tent.  Personally I would want training in winter backcountry camping if potentially overnighting outside in the winter Rocky Mtns.  All the gear in the world may not help without the know-how in how to use it trapped in a serious environment like high altitude winter/spring Rockies.


Yes, my application isn't for camping, but for emergency shelter.

I just need to say alive until search and rescue can get to me.  My ARC S&R beacon sends search and rescue my GPS co-ordinates.

Anything that requires staking and/or poles or rope is out of the question as shelter. So with that in mind, will an emergency style bivy really add any benefit over the water/wind proof shell on my FF bag?  I ride in goggles and will carry a serious balaclava so my face isn't too exposed.

I'm riding my dirt bike outfitted with studded tires, but it's no snowmobile.
I won't be going into any avalanche risk areas.  The bike won't make it up any kind of slope in deep snow.   I will be riding bare frozen ground, ice and packed powered.  I live on the south side of the mountain range and the snow tends to melt in the sun.

I live at 10,000ft at the base of the mountains so I know just how harsh the conditions can be.  It can go from pleasant to deadly in a matter of hours - any month of year.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 2:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bikemountains @ Nov. 18 2013, 12:13 pm)
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(SW Mtn backpacker @ Nov. 18 2013, 1:04 pm)
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[quote=bikemountains,Nov. 18 2013, 10:54 am] 
QUOTE

Those bivy sacks and even simpler ones are mainly for climbers staying on frozen mountains for the night, … not really camping.  Over time there can be condensation problems but they are designed for unplanned overnights.  The big thing is to make sure you have one doesn't restrict your bag's loft.  Of course the more complex bivy sacks weight as much as some single wall tents, .. so at a certain point just get an overnight ski-mountaineer type "approved" tent.  Personally I would want training in winter backcountry camping if potentially overnighting outside in the winter Rocky Mtns.  All the gear in the world may not help without the know-how in how to use it trapped in a serious environment like high altitude winter/spring Rockies.


Yes, my application isn't for camping, but for emergency shelter.

I just need to say alive until search and rescue can get to me.  My ARC S&R beacon sends search and rescue my GPS co-ordinates.

Anything that requires staking and/or poles or rope is out of the question as shelter. So with that in mind, will an emergency style bivy really add any benefit over the water/wind proof shell on my FF bag?  I ride in goggles and will carry a serious balaclava so my face isn't too exposed.

FF bag. Good stuff.  Why not one of those emergency skier shelters (bothies) that Rab etc.. produce?  I'd still get instruction but maybe more snowshoe/skier survival oriented

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 3:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I will check out the bothy options (never heard of them before).

Think I'll send an email to FF and ask them if the bag was designed to work without a tent or bivy.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 3:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I called FF and they confirmed what I've been told here.  The bag is intended to be used with a tent or bivy.

Bummer!!  Looks like I will be shopping for one of those OR bivy's.

FWIW they said the waterproof/windproof shell on the bag was for protection when setting up camp.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 3:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Heck there's always this:
http://www.rei.com/product/768984/coghlans-tube-tent

Worked just fine back in the day… for an emergency shelter why not? Subtlety isn't then an issue, just keeping the bag okay. In one early-ish Fall Sierra blizzard (above Mineral King) I just used it as a ground tarp and let the wind blow the extra over my (normal nylon shell) bag. Given the bag was a -35 Trailwise Chevron with a ton of loft (even today on my living room floor it's pushing ten inches, overtopping a Nalgene bottle..) I expect the outer surface was quite cold, so the bag stayed dry even with the occasional flakes landing on it.

Or a large area painters drop cloth? That's the plastic MLD sent with my Solomid.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 18 2013, 3:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

To be clear: that's a 43 year old (1968, I think the photo is about 2 years old) down bag in that photo, so down is a good investment IMHO. And yes I DO still have that ugly orange tube tent around somewhere, though relegated long ago to my "kneeling in the slush to put snow chains on" accessory. And for that, even with the athletic tape "patches" it works fine. :)

For that fifty mph and -20 what's needed is simple wind blockage and heavy plastic will do that just fine and I'd expect at that temp there's no real issue of melting and snow itself is quite dry….

ETA: To add a bit of warmth (but not much given that bag) there's also those mylar "emergency blankets" if you could find one large enough to give good coverage of your sleeping bag. Get some IR reflected back and the same windproofness. But again, the bag's insulation won't really (or shouldn't) allow much heat seepage to it's outer surface for the reflective mylar to bounce back to the bag.

I know I've woken up predawn with frost intact and fluffy on my bag's surface: a quick shake and it was all gone..
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 11:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yep, I've always been a fan of down.  That bag look's like it's lofting well for something that's older than me!

I measured up the OR bivy and it's a little small for my -20 bag.  The Peregrine EX -25 in long, is a HUGE bag.  To be honest I would have bought something else had I know it needed to be paired with a bivy.

Anyway, I came across a few other bivy options.

(1) Uber Bivy

(2) Bugaboo II

The uber is made out of polypropylene??  Never heard of this being used before, but the claim is that it's waterproof and breathable.

The Bugaboo II is constructed with event, but is a little smaller than the uber.

I'm kind of leaning towards the Uber as it's bigger,  cheaper and easier to get into.  The guy who makes them is a SAR's guy, so it would be good to support him.

Any thoughts guys?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 12:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

They say tyveck is breathable and I found instructions on the net for making a bivy so you could make it any size.  I would also consider panniers or saddlebags.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 12:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah it held up well. What finally got to it was UV brittling of the shell, too many high elevation sun drying sessions I'm afraid and the shell just got too brittle to be trusted.  My explanation for the loft (who knows?) comes from always having the luxury of storing it fully fluffed…

Polypropylene is usually solid sheeting or molded into containers and bins that are most certainly not breathable, I guess were it woven somehow... but it's so slick I don't see how it could be coated as is often the case with fabric that is water repellant.

Ah, a polypropylene "alloy" membrane..
http://www.google.com/patents/US5134174

Presuming the manufacturer is using a well thought out laminate to give it some strength it makes as much sense as GoreTex using teflon….
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 1:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It would be nice to have time to make a bivy - that would be a cool project.  But I've got too much going on right now for that.

Lots of dual sport adventure riders use panniers or saddlebags to store gear for camping on extended trips.  Their bikes are much heavier and not so good on steep technical off-road trails like we have here.

My KTM is a light weight racing two stroke that gets jumped, dumped and crashed into trees etc... don't worry the trees always come out better than me or the bike lol!  Adding any kind of weight or additional girth to the bike would cripple it's performance.  This stuff has to go on my back.

Gotta love Breckenridge - USFS approved single track!!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 2:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Were you to still be looking into packs, now that I've shaken off the notion you were human powered bike riding, I'd reinforce the notion of looking at the MR's: with their wide opening with that three zip system and what I find as a very stable waist belt and harness system, I'd expect there'd be close to zero pack shifting under the loads a bike at speed would impose on the load.

I know from skiing that's a must for being at speed, close to nothing messes more with enjoyment than a shifting pack.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 3:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yep, this is not a human powered bike.  Which is why I'm so concerned about gear that I can used when injured.  As they say, it's not "if" you fall, but "when".

Does MR = Mystery Ranch?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 3:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bikemountains @ Nov. 19 2013, 12:15 pm)
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Yep, this is not a human powered bike.  Which is why I'm so concerned about gear that I can used when injured.  As they say, it's not "if" you fall, but "when".

Does MR = Mystery Ranch?

Yes, Mystery Ranch, which I should have linked to above.
And yes, the higher speed does make your precautions look reasonable ( as is said in climbing, not the fall, it's that rapid stop at the end….), also from the standpoint that with a motorized bike I figure you can easily get WAY back there beyond easy self extraction should a moderate injury occur that simply makes you a bit immobile.

I've seen that some places I've been: back a couple days of hiking and passed by people on vehicles that are obviously out for just a short jaunt. Unless something breaks….

ETA: Buried in a paragraph:
http://www.mysteryranch.com/mountai....ky-pack

It also may be that if your kit is small enough the Snapdragon at 38L might do: given it's greater access via the 3-zipper system. As a thought anyway.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 3:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

1.  as a few people have noted above, get a stuff sack that will fit in a smaller backpack - something more narrow.  that will greatly increase your options.  the Boreas Lost Coast backpacks, particularly the 45 and 60 liter ones, have a wide top opening that could probably accommodate your bag if you get a narrower compression stuff sack.  

2.  the mystery ranch backpacks with the 3 zipper configuration could probably swallow your bag in its current stuff sack - particularly the big sky, a slightly larger version of the snapdragon.  [URL=Big Sky]null[/URL]

3.  as you already realized, you need a single person tent or bivy bag for your intended use.  if it's purely for survival, a military gore-tex bivy bag should be fine, or the non-military equivalent.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 5:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 19 2013, 3:25 pm)
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I've seen that some places I've been: back a couple days of hiking and passed by people on vehicles that are obviously out for just a short jaunt. Unless something breaks….

Exactly.  Doesn't take much to be stranded and subsequently die from hypothermia.  Even in the summer the night time lows are around freezing.

It's a good feeling knowing you're prepared and/or able to help out someone else who is unprepared.

I like the look of the MR packs.  Pity there's no retail stores in CO, but I guess I could order one and send it back if it doesn't fit.
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(leadbelly2550 @ Nov. 19 2013, 3:48 pm)
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1.  as a few people have noted above, get a stuff sack that will fit in a smaller backpack - something more narrow.  that will greatly increase your options.  the Boreas Lost Coast backpacks, particularly the 45 and 60 liter ones, have a wide top opening that could probably accommodate your bag if you get a narrower compression stuff sack.  

2.  the mystery ranch backpacks with the 3 zipper configuration could probably swallow your bag in its current stuff sack - particularly the big sky, a slightly larger version of the snapdragon.  [URL=Big Sky]null[/URL]

3.  as you already realized, you need a single person tent or bivy bag for your intended use.  if it's purely for survival, a military gore-tex bivy bag should be fine, or the non-military equivalent.

Any suggestions on a suitable compression sack?  I tried my USGI compression sack (compresses both height and girth) but it didn't work out very well.  The girth straps didn't do much to compress anything not directly under the straps.

I love the USGI Gortex Bivy and use one as part of my summer kit, along with a Haven 20 down bag.  That feathered friends bag is way to big to fit inside (without compromising the loft).  Uber Bivy should take care of that though.

Thanks for the tip on the Boreas Lost Coast backpacks, I'll check them out.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What about the gossamer gear siltarp? If you get the guide version it has Velcro on the sides that you can stick together to turn it into a bivy.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 8:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For "emergency" use you can't beat a bivvy.
You don't want to fuss with setting up a tarp when all you need is to survive the night.
Going back to the GBH bowling ball bit, you might be able to use the stuff sack you have IF you do not pull it that taut .
The idea is to squeeze in the SB into the pack and let it fill the space available . Then cram in the rest of your gear on top and use the pack straps to compress the lot.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2013, 10:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Even before compression the opening to my go-lite 35l pack is too small to accept the x-large eVent sack.  I'm not sure why they made it so small...

I've thought about using the whole back pack as bag as a stuff sack, but I fear ripping things to shreds, should I crash.

I would like to protect the sleeping bag a little with a sheet of tough, semi rigid plastic.  And that's easier to do when the SB's compacted.

Anyway I'm going to be out for the next few days.  I'm pretty set on the Uber for a bivy, but I'd like to do a little more research.

Thanks again for all the help guys and keep the bivy/backpack suggestions coming.  I'm learning lots here!
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