I'm pretty psyched about my new Superlight Bivy Bag from Mountain Laurel Designs (6.8 oz) and I'm looking forward to using it in Scotland next week in combination with my Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid pyramid tarp.
I got this bivy bag because conditions in Scotland are very wet in May and I want a little extra moisture protection for my down bag. I've also found it useful to have bivy when sleeping under a tarp to protect my bag from condensation in wet weather or rain-splatter. This isn't a life or death issue on shorter 3 season trips, but it really irritates me when I have to put a sleeping bag with a damp foot box into a waterproof sack in the morning before breaking camp. It's worth carrying the extra bivy weight to avoid the issue entirely.
The top of the Superlight bivy is made out of Momentum fabric with a DWR coating. The foot box is made out of eVent fabric to promote extra breathability and the bottom is made out of silnylon. I tried it on a section hike along the Connecticut Appalachian Trail recently and it worked fabulously during a rainy night under the Duomid, preventing condensation transfer between the inside of the tarp wall and the outside of my sleeping bag.
I ordered the Superlight Bivy with a couple of the special options offered by Mountain Laurel Designs, getting the bag in an extra long size (to enable use with my -25 winter bag) and optional bug netting around the head. The bug netting will limit condensation from my breath, especially in the winter, and keep time bugs at bay. Having a bivy bag with this much bug netting does limit the bivy's utility as a standalone shelter in foul weather, but I don't use a bivy as my sole shelter, so that's not an issue for me.
There is a bungee cord attached to the top of the Superlight's netting which can be attached to an interior tarp hook or to a bunk bed frame in a trail shelter. Though delicate, the zipper around the netting works fine as long as you remember that this is fragile, ultralight piece of gear.
This particular bivy bag is designed to fit a Thermarest NeoAir inside it with a 3 season sleeping bag. It works fine with a full length 72" pad, but for my upcoming trip to Scotland, I've switched over to a 47" NeoAir which weighs just 9 oz, 5.4 oz less than the full length NeoAir pad. I store the pad, deflated inside the bivy, making it a lot easier to set up in the dark.
Honestly, after I ordered the Superlight bivy with all of these special features, I wondered if I had made a mistake. But after field testing, I'm confident that it's exactly what I need.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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