Where the hell has the time gone? Backpack season is here already and I missed the scouts first trip to Heather Lake, WA. Oh well. However, the next one is at Boulder River and apparently its even longer. Not much elevation gain but over 4.5 miles out. So in this down time I have continued my quest to go lighter as my old bones will complain even more. As I read various books about lightening my load I came across a curious concept. It’s not a new one but one that appeals to me on its surface. The Bivy Sack. These are literally waterproof bags, a shell really, that you put your sleeping bag into. You then close the opening around your face until just your nose or mouth is exposed and sleep. The primary advantage of these things is that they are very light and compact into a small space.
This original concept is not what appeals to me and apparently does not to many others when you look at advancements made. Some of the draw backs in the first generation were that your exposed skin could still get bit by bugs or you would still be exposed to the elements. The second generations were better in that you could completely enclose your face as well but this added another drawback: condensation. You would wake up with your back wet, if not soaked.
What I settled on was a hybrid model which has a pair of small poles that erect around the head to keep the fabric off my face and even has a bug screen which means that I can leave the main part open and prevent the accumulation of condensation. I settled on the SnugPak because it appears to have the featured I need which is lightweight and not too constrictive.
It is almost 2.5 pounds lighter than my North Face Flint 2 and takes up far less space in the pack. I also went with an inflatable sleeping pad from Klymit because the weight and space taken up by my old Thermarest Scout was getting to be too much.
When you look at the initial photos I took you can see the immediate savings in space with both the bivy sack and the pad over the tent by itself. Factor in the old pad and I am saving several liters of space in my pack in addition to the weight.