View Full Version : bivy tents

2007-01-04, 12:26

I will be working for long periods in tropical areas and I will need to buy myself a relatively stealthy (dark brown or camo) bivy tent.
My minimum requirements are as follow:

-Less than 400$

-less than 2kg of weight

-stealthy, not high or big, no flashy colors

-100% bug and mosquito proof

-I can cope with some condensation but not to the point of having inner lakes in my tent

-It shouldn`t break after two weeks of use

Browsing the web I`ve only stumbled across a few that could meet these criteria (and even then not always fully), here they are:

Mircofast KT2 bivi tent


Stealth instant bivy shelter


GI type camouflage bivouac shelter


camouflage bivouac shelter /gore tex


So I am wondering what do you think would be the best choice for me. I liked the GI one`s camouflage and then I realized that it was 39$ (the first site I saw it on was giving 136$), can`t expect much for that price. Otherwise I like the microfast one, the only problem is that the color is a little too flashy I think. The part gore tex one is probably the best but a little expensive, maybe the "stealth instant shelter" is better one?

If anybody knows other tents I could use or has a good idea of about which one of these is the best, please let me know. Thanks

2007-01-04, 13:51
Dude, you don't need any of those in the tropics, you need a henessey hammock. Your US cav links didn't work but I'm familiar with two of the shelters and own one (the GI gore tex). That "pop-up" thing is a piece of junk. The GI goretex thing will let a lot of water in if you try to exit or enter in the rain, then you are lying in a puddle, the army ants will get in either of them. If you are anticipating doing something "tactical", and need to hide, you can set up a hammock pretty low. Also, if you anticipate something along those lines in a shithole part of the world where everyone carries AK47's and hates America you should Google up "Ned Gillette" ( a formerly famous adventurer) and see what happened to him.

2007-01-04, 17:28
If you are short enough there are some awesome $20 tents at Walmart now and then. The one I found was supposedly 6' long, but you really need to be 5'6" or shorter to stretch out. You don't realize how badly you need to be able to stretch out now and then until you can't. Anyhow, I got my daughter one and there is room enough for the two of us if I open the door and stretch my feet out now and then. :)

2007-01-04, 18:07
I'll 2nd Take-a-knee's advice; a hammock is ideal for the tropics. After all, the hammock was invented in central America. As far as being "tactical", well, nothing that you have to get into, or more specifically "get out of" is going to be "Tactical".
I never could figure out how anyone could get into a bivy in the rain without getting wet. I thought they were for snow environments. OTOH, you could wait for it to stop raining before going to bed; it doesn't rain all the time in the tropics, just 5-6 times a day during the monsoon.

2007-01-04, 22:36
I'll 3rd the Hennessey and I think they have a Camo version now

2007-01-05, 14:32
Yes, I like the hammock idea alot my only problem is that I can just picture that big banana like thing levitating in the middle of the jungle and can`t imagine anyone whose eyes are not gonna pick on it from far away so the stealth requirement is flawed. Even if you pitch it close to the ground I`m afraid it will still be as high as those big civilian tents.
Another problem with haamocks (or tarp sleeping bag moozie combo) is that you need to have something to tie them to; they can+t or are difficult to use on the open or semi-open ground. Still the advantages of weight and ease of use are tempting so I don`t know...

2007-01-05, 17:19
Yer gonna be in the "tropics" right? Yer gonna be hiding out in the trees, right? I'm imagining: jungle. But I could be wrong too, so forgive me if I'm not clear about the terrain you'll be camping in.
The jungle I hammock camped in 36 years ago, 25 yards was a far piece to see until you tramped down the foliage a bit. Many places you could stand up and not be able to see 5 yards in any direction but your backtrail. Camping on open ground would be an issue if you aren't able to choose your camp spot, but the HH can be set up on the ground with a very low profile if you have tent or hiking poles along. (Or bamboo in the area.) It is completely bug proof.
Another pleasant benefit of hanging above the ground was it reduced the things that scampered into, onto and over your bed in the dark by about 80%.
I apologise for hi-jacking your thread if you are sure you want to sleep on the ground, I'm sure there are those here that can help you if you can get the thread back on track.:bandit:

2007-01-05, 20:21
I camped with a USGI bivy and GI poncho quite a bit. Youre going to be nasty and wet no matter what bivy you use down there. No way to get around it. Bivy by itself, unless its raining with a piece of that GI green bug netting tucked under you and suspended above your head will do fine. Low profile and dont have to worry, too much, about bugs.

When it rains, put up the GI poncho in the flying diamond configuration as shown on Rocks pages. Can suspend the netting under the poncho too.

2007-01-05, 21:39
Depends on what you mean by "semi-open" ground. You can use a hammock with only one tree to tie onto. See Risk's Web site for a means of doing so. You will still need something substantial on the ground on the other end, but a second tree isn't essential. As far as stealth - the HH isn't that deep and when hung so that the bottom is an inch or so from the ground, if there is any brush, you'll be the only one that knows of its presence even if you don't get the camo variey. You don't have to hang 5 feet from the ground. A lot of the pictures yiou see of hammocks on the net are done by people that want to be seen otherwise they wouldn't get their picture displayed. Also, Rock has pictures of using the HH when NO trees are availabe. It can be done.

2007-01-06, 07:52
I've used both bivy bags and hammocks. I used a bivy for years. I agree with everyone here, get a hammock.

But if your stuck on getting yourself a bivy, the most important thing I can tell you is to make sure it has vents at both the head and the foot or you'll be swimming in your own juices.
Without the vents you'd not only be hot in the heat but cold in the cold. It needs to be able to release your body moisture or you'll be miserable.

Also as your going for a tent instead of a bag look for a bathtub floor as this will somewhat limit both the bugs and moisture from entering.

Hint: If I had the time and was somewhere that I could, I would put up a small tarp over my bivy. The extra space provided makes getting in and out of a bivy easier and life overall much better.

2007-01-06, 10:14
I second what Dropkick said about needing a fly over your bivy, especially covering the entrance. I was issued the goretex bivy that Brigade sells, like Dropkick said, that thing ventilates poorly. One steamy night at Ft Benning I set mine up to get out of the mosquitos, it was so damned hot I crawled out of it and slathered myself with DEET. That thing would be unusable in the tropics, it is quite snug in a cedar thicket in the snow however.

I first saw a hennesey hammock in an article in Soldier of Fortune magazine, I knew it was da bomb when I saw it.

Ole, I don't know how much time you've spent in central and S. America, there ain't much "real" jungle left anywhere near any roads, unless it is in a park. It has all been cut over in the last hundred years and it is damned near impenetrable in places, thick as hell everywhere else. Anything short of a yellow Northface VE24 won't be seen if you exercise a little judgement in selecting a site. Just order a camo tarp for the hammock.

If you must have a bivy, I would go with something like a Shire's Tarptent with a floor. It won't be in a "tactical" cover however.

2007-01-07, 12:52
I have been convinced by you people and other reviews on the subject that the way to go for me is to buy a hammock.
The only annoying thing I can see with a hammockis is that (I imagine) you cannot store you rucksack or gear inside which means it will be lying on the floor while you sleep making it easy for monkeys or locals to snatch it from you while you rest or for snakes and other dirty animals to sneak in them. But I guess with a little creativity you can reduce the risk.

Now I am only wondering if I should buy a clark or a hennesy hammock?
The clark is a little heavier, does that mean it is more strongly built/durable?
The hennesy on the other hand is lower so it might be better for stealth.

Take-a-knee, I am planning on going to Sri lanka, the last time I was there was nearly ten years ago and I was a kid staying at a hotel with my family back then, So I didn`t see too much of the country but I remamber we did have sorts of jungles around the place I was staying. The lack of forest in most parts in the world was the main reason I was initially looking for a bivy rather than a hammock, but since you can also use your hammock as bivy if really have no choice there is no reason not to buy one.

2007-01-07, 13:27
Ole, Surinam is a really cool place, there are triple canopy jungle areas there. I was there training the Surinamise army in the nineties. When we landed at Paramaribo airport, the guy from the embassy informed us that if we would look over at the cargo handlers loading a 747, we could see most of western europe's cocaine supply for the next week going into the hold. I forget how many 10,000 ft runways they have, but it is way more than the country's population would demand. You should be able to figure out the rest.

Having said that, you run into groups of Dutch girls on vacation traipsing around the country without a problem. Go there and have a good time but be careful.

You'll need to be on antimalarials, that is a Mefloquine (Lariam) area, I remember. Go to WHO's (world health org) website and check it out. You'll also need to be Primaquine for two weeks after you get back to the states to kill the liver phase of any malarial organisms you may have been infected with, don't blow that off, it is important. Some people don't tolerate Lariam, Doxycycline is an alternative, check WHO's site. It can make you CRAZY. I would treat all of my clothing and the hammock body with permethrin also.

2007-01-07, 15:21
I have been convinced by you people and other reviews on the subject that the way to go for me is to buy a hammock.
The only annoying thing I can see with a hammockis is that (I imagine) you cannot store you rucksack or gear inside which means it will be lying on the floor while you sleep making it easy for monkeys or locals to snatch it from you while you rest or for snakes and other dirty animals to sneak in them. But I guess with a little creativity you can reduce the risk.

I've got the Hennessy, if you email them they will send you a list of Demos, Seconds or Miss-matches, I got a good deal on brand new Expedition just because the rain fly was a different color and from the Explorer model (ie larger, which is nice to have more room).

You can get a Gear hammock from JRB that also doubles as a pack cover and a few other uses.

2007-01-07, 21:11
Get the HH... and yes, there is camo, check the military tab on the HH site...

JRB JGH/PC comes in green... nice compliment to HH... especially in wet terrain... but then I'm biased.


2007-01-18, 15:32
it will take just one night in a hennessy,and you will never be the same. i got a hennessy safary two yrs ago best 200 bucks i ever spent.
i reserched for a year,and found sgt. rocks site,he sold me on their hammocks,best thing ever happened to a good night sleep.
had to get my wife one also,she loves it,as an avid backpacker for fourty+ yrs. this is the best thing to come on the market sence the ultra lite stove.
you can not go wrong a great product,and good people to do buisness with,they back up their products.

2007-01-18, 18:26
Roger that Shooter, you can't beat a Hennesey Hammock. I just ordered a Hyperlite Hennesey today.

2007-01-30, 18:06
ole go with the hammock,i wish i would have had my HH in the nam,the only way to go when dealing with hot humid nights.

Woods Walker
2007-02-07, 01:24
When not hanging in the trees I use a few bivys.

This is a very UL set up. A MLD DWR top sil bottom with mantis bug net. The whole thing is under an one pound.


Colder weather it is a Gortex bivy tent with poncho set up as a tarp. I have moved over to a Golite Poncho or my ID sil tarp.



I like my HH better than a Bivy or Bivy tent due to comfort and more places to set up camp. I just have more trees than flat rock free ground. I would only go Bivy tent if it is very cold (10 to sub zero). Once you go into the trees it is hard to come back down.

2007-02-07, 02:13
Woodswalker, curious about your winter gear. Do you get wind out your way (wherever the heck you are from) on your winter hikes. How does your winter bivy do with the wind...

Woods Walker
2007-02-08, 01:27
Yea I get some bad wind. Think the wind chill was below zero this week. Used that Bivy 3 years back when we had a cold snap and the temp as -11 with wind chill of -34. It did a real good job as wind break. US cav had a sale on my Bivy for 100 bucks as they are selling out on the old school camo for the new stuff. I think the sale is over. I got mine new on Ebay for 130 new. The Gortex bivy goes for about 270ish. Based on the Solo from ID and is sold now by this company.


I hike in CT and upstate NY. Looking to go out in a few weeks but the temps have been below zero. Going to pack a heated shelter and use the pulk sled as all the gear will not be UL. Heck the Downmat 9 DXL is more than most of the shelters I sleep in during the summer.


The following photo will shock some people but this tends to be the reality of some extended winter trips. The pack is about 100lbs


I like to just dump that massive beast inside a sled and take a load off my back. Just got my new homemade Pulk working. Had tons of cold and wind that week but just a little snow so had to pack the gear on my back. It was a short trip and without snow for my sled I over did it. Just let the gear get the better of me. Could have gotten away with 50lbs


That is one thing I miss about summer. Not the bugs but the UL gear. Hammock and other goodies. But once the temps fall into the negatives I just give up on some UL stuff. Will use the Hammock down to about 10ish. I hate to come down out of the trees. For winter I am Looking at about 70 lbs of gear for very cold weather. The Bivy is a UL solution however as it comes in at 2 lbs 14 oz. I have packed in with 35 lbs for winter and did ok. But found myself getting more beat up as the days passed. 50-60 lbs and I tend to be much better off. The bivy tent works so much better with a sil tarp in a grounded A frame set up as I can take off my boots etc with some shelter from the wind and snow.

2007-02-08, 01:56
Woodswalker, you can't scare me with a heavy load for winter camping. :biggrin: I am draggin gear for four! Besides, if I get tired I trick the kids into draggin them pulks a bit! We are looking forward to another trip next Saturday, maybe just one night in the snow, second night in a hotel. (Gotta keep momma happy!)

2007-02-08, 16:55
WoodsWalker, did your bivy come with those little POS fiberglass poles? I got tired of nearly losing mine and I had a guy that advertised in Backpacker make some easton AL shock-corded poles for mine, they are a vast improvement over the issue poles. If you want I'll post that guys' website this weekend when I get home, as I don't have access to it now. If I space it out PM or email me.

Woods Walker
2007-02-08, 22:59

Nice photo. Thanks I like to see stuff like that. My Pulk has poles connected to a vest with belt so it tends track very well. I would look at getting a cheap Paris expedition sled and add some poles to it. The Paris sled is about 20-30 bucks and is very long so the load can be placed lower in the sled. Less rolling etc.



No the bivy tent is first class. Came with Pre curved Easton Aluminum poles. Fiberglass poles are total POS. I will not buy a shelter that uses them as the whole shelter tends to be junk along with the poles.

2007-02-09, 00:20
WoodsWalker, thanks for the link. I had already checked his stuff out in the past. I have just recently found a souce for heavy fiberglass rod for the harness. Havent ordered the rods yet. I have wanted to laminate up my own pulk, my own design for a few years, just havent had the time.... I definitely need the pole type harness, I am very sick of getting run down by the gear on the down hill. Have been using a single pole without the x design, keeps the sled back, but not on track, sometimes get passed on the right...When we come down hill, we trail a lead behind both my wifes and my own sled, the kids simply hold the sled back a bit, works pretty good.

Woods Walker
2007-02-10, 22:45
Here is how I have my poles attached to the pulk.




I use a Molle 1 LBV with molded belt to attach the poles.

2007-02-11, 23:55
Very cool. 1/2" or 5/8" fiberglass rods? Nice PICs, thanks.

2007-02-12, 01:53

I've thought about getting one of those inexpensive plastic sleds and then making it into a cheap pulk by running cord through a couple lengths of pvc pipe.
Didn't think about crossing the poles though.

I believe Iceman got me thinking about it last winter. However didn't get around to doing anything about it yet.

Just looked to see if I'd ever made a pic with paint of my idea (I do that a lot).
I had. Not worth going to the bother of putting it up on a picture site so I can post it here, but I'll post it as an attachment instead.

2007-02-12, 10:11
DropKick, we have been using heavy plastic sleds for years. Haven't had time to laminate up a pair of good fiberglass one like planned. Also, the X design keeps the sled right behind you, reduces sliding out to the slide, not eliminates....

We have run rope around the perimeter, in order to provide tie down points all around, and as hand holds for sledding at camp.

Unfortunately, this last trip we took, I put the "hurt" big time on one of our sleds grabbing air on a jump near camp, had to limp out with a broken sled. Found a replacement sled for $29 at Kmart, the "Bigfoot!" Ugly color though.....

We leave Friday AM for another overnighter snow camp this weekend. Whoopee!

Woods Walker
2007-02-12, 23:45
I believe the poles are 1/2 inch. Crossing them allows for much better control in the woods. Not crossing them allow for better tracking on perfectly flat ground but when is the last time anyone had perfectly flat ground when sledding in for a winter camp. The Paris sled is very very strong and made right here is the good old USA. Something that I consider when buying gear if it does not hurt my pocket book too much. On the topic of this thread I stopped using a bivy tent for winter camping some time ago. I now use a UL heated shelter. Someone does not need to spend 1000 buck to get one. Just add a stove jack to most larger floorless shelters and you are good to go. The extra weight of the stove is made up by the total joy of a warm tent and range top cooking. Looking at a Nu-way wood stove for the sled. A bit more than my Back packable wood stoves at 8.5 lbs however thinking the extra burn time may be worth the room in the sled.


That stove and a roll up pipe would come in at 10 lbs. 12x7x15 for the firebox is not all that bad. The price is right too. Still I would be looking at a total weight of near 20 lbs for the stove and shelter (4-man tent). I have 6lbs-heated solutions that are backpackable but even then for someone looking at cutting every oz the Gortex bivy is hard to beat. I use to sleep in my USGI Gortex bivy under a sil tarp. It worked but if the weather turned I found my self using my pack as a shield for my face. Once had little wind swirls of snow flying around under my tarp. All I could do was crawl deeper into the Gortex bivy. The bivy tent was better in this respect as the snow would be stopped by the No-see-um netting. I can't zip the whole thing closed, as it would bug me out. I need some kinda small gap for air.

My Golite Hex is heaver than a full Gortex bivy tent if the bug nest is used. But the weight is well worth it and it may be one of the lightest 4-season shelters around.

My hex offers so much more room and comfort. The pack down size is good too. These are summer camping photos but the shelter did work ok for winter too.


I can just use the fly to drop even more Weight.


But to be honest the bug nest worked out well for winter as it trapped some heat and acted a bit like a liner to keep the drips off my bag. The bathtub floor kept the drafts out too.

2007-02-13, 00:16
I've wanted to go out west and hunt elk and/or mule deer. To afford it I'll have to go it alone, no guide. I'll have to backpack also. I had looked at that Golite Hex as a shelter. The teepees at Titanium Goat look way cool but they are pricey. TIgoat will install their stove jack in any shelter. I saw them for sale somewhere else on the net also. I have yet to see a cheaper alternative to the Ti goat or Kifaru stove for a backpackable version.

2007-02-13, 00:43
You look real happy in your hex! I have gathered the materials to take a try at a hex, but like with many of my projects, not enough time. Took me two years of hitting Wally's to get all the right parts.

Takeaknee, I have also toyed with the idea of adding a stove and roofjack to my hunting tent, but I figured if I add the stove and roof kit, then my hunting buddies will want to hang out in my tent, crapping up the floor with mud, spilling beer, etc...... Instead, I want to just bring a big ol' tarp shelter, and pop the stove in there, let all gather around, and then head for the tent at shut eye time... It rained so hard this year at our elk camp that we burned a whole bottle of propane drying gear out each night, would have been good to have the stove, if we could have found dry wood to fire it up...

Back on topic, Bivies give me the eebie jeebies! I can't sleep knowing something can pounce or trot across my face, I like a half second of warning....atleast six inches between my face and the tent wall, unless I have been drinking, then I can sleep face down in gravel along side a gametrail.

2007-02-13, 03:21
Just a side note, but somewhere out there is a picture of me taking a nap on top of a bed of Prickly Pear cactus (with a full beer in one hand).