Mountain Laurel Designs: Bug Bivy

Bug Bivy

This past weekend I finally got to try the Mountain Laurel Design’s Bug Bivy on a 3-day backpacking trip in Vermont. At 5.7 oz, including a small stuff sack, this is a very nice addition to a tarp setup, but it can also be used standalone inside a shelter.

The bug bivy is made using very fine netting which prevents gnats, ticks, black flies, and mosquitoes from reaching you. It has a full length, sewn-in silnylon floor which can also be used standalone as a ground sheet if the ground is wet. Entry is via a zipper which runs along the top of the bivy, making it easy to get into at night and easy to open and sit up in the morning if you want to stay in your sleeping bag. If you wanted to, you could easily write in your journal, or read a map or a book, in complete comfort in this bivy, making it the ultimate multi-purpose refuge even when you are not asleep.

Bug Bivy

There are stake loops at each of the four corners of the bivy, but technically there really isn’t a need for them, since your sleeping pad and bag will keep the the bivy aligned and prevent it from moving around, and vice versa.

In addition, there are also loops at the top and bottom of the zipper to hang the bivy from your tarp’s ridgeline. Using the bottom loop is optional, but I’ve found that it reduces the amount of condensation that forms at the foot of your sleeping bag if it’s tied up. It’s not a lot of condensation, but any condensation is always a concern for me, particularly on multi-day trips in cooler weather.

It’s not clear if the condensation I experienced is normal or if it was due to the weather and light winds at night. Time will tell. The condensation occurs at the point where my sleeping bag touches the silnylon at the foot end of the bivy just below where is is attached to the netting. One way to reduce the condensation might be to add a few inches to the bivy length, which is cut at 6’4″, so that the end of a 6′ sleeping bag does not touch the silnylon or the netting. The next person who orders one from MLD might ask for this modification to see if it has any impact.

Except for this minor condensation issue, the MLD big bivy is a high utility, multi-purpose piece of ultralight gear and I prefer it over the other ultralight bug net solutions I already own because it provides whole body coverage and takes seconds to set up. Like all MLD gear, it is a bit on the expensive side at $125, but it’s yet another example of why I keep going to Mountain Laurel Designs for some of my best, ultralight gear.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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7 Responses to Mountain Laurel Designs: Bug Bivy

  1. Robin May 20, 2009 at 6:25 am #

    This bug net bivy looks like the perfect solution for those of use that want to use a tarp but have a low tolerance for bugs.

    Thanks for the review.

    Robin

  2. Dave Hanlon May 20, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    I think your right on the money. I experience condensation on the foot end of my bag where it contacts the silny groundsheet of my MLD Alpine bivvy. You realy have to keep your bag isolated from any silny. I have to use a section of foam mat under my feet when using a short (self)inflatable.

  3. Deb Lauman May 20, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    I may pick up one (or two) of these for our summer trip to the Boundary Waters. Last time I went canoe-camping up there, I came home a bleeding mess of bumps. Which I probably will this time too, but the bug bivvy would definitely make sitting around camp more comfortable. We're taking a tent, but we won't want to have to take refuge in it too early. This bivvy would be a good, lightweight solution, I think.

  4. Earlylite May 20, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    That makes sense. I was thinking about cutting a very thin piece of foam and placing it between the end of my bag and the silnylon at the end of the bivy. I can always use it as a sit pad or something. I'll try it on my next big trip next month and report back.

  5. Bryce July 14, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    I like the lightness here and coverage, but the price is too much for me. I think I'll experiment with one of these and cut the floor out (to save on weight as I'll have ground cloth with me already): Mosquito Net Single Md: 705<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=ultrarevie-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001E1JKFU&quot; width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

    We shall see! :p

  6. Bryce August 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    My how times chance since my last post, haha.

    I just purchased once of these MLD bivys used.

    Some questions…

    – How has the bug bivy worn over time? Is it still your favorite bug bivy/shelter?

    – If one does not have tieouts underneath their tarp, and you tie the bivy up to your trekking poles, does rain drip down the line and into the bivy? Would drip sticks stop this or do tieouts underneath the tarp really help?

    Thanks!

  7. Earlylite August 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Yep – still an indispensable piece of my gear list and cool enough to use in summer. On my last trip I didn't have a good loop in my tarp to hang the cord that lifts the netting off your face. I didn't attach it to my poles since I'm a thrasher in my sleep and it would have brought down the whole tarp. Instead, I bunched up a thin insulated coat I carry into a pillow and wore a billed hat to sleep. The hat keeps the mesh off my face. Then I pull some of the jacket over the hat to give the net a little more height off the hat. This worked fine. In the future, I'm probably going to have a new flat tarp made out of cuben and I'll add a few tie outs to it in the right places for the bivy cord so it works better with some of the bizarre pitches I've been using lately. Enjoy!

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