Tents are for Sissies


Last night was clear and cold, and I wanted to test the limits of my summertime camping gear.

So, I met up with Klinutus and his jolly band of miscreants in the middle of the woods.

Soon, we had a roaring fire, some festive beverage, and all was right with the world.

The stars were out, there was no real chance of rain, so we camped manly style. No tents, just an emergency blanket, a therm-a-rest, and a sleeping bag.

Sleeping Pods
Sleeping pods

In my case, I was rocking the Ridgerest and a 40° North Face Allegheny.

This is the gear I normally use in the middle of July, but the bag says 40°, so I gave it a go.

It got down to just a hair above freezing, and I was friggan cold. A couple of times I was woken up by coyotes making noise, and I was damn near frozen.

I probably would have been OK, but I’m 6’5″, and I just can’t get my shoulders all the way into the bag.

I have a 20° bag and a -15° bag, and I don’t want any more bags, so I think I may buy a bivy sack to upgrade the Allegheny for colder weather.

Klinutus has made this system work with his quilt.
Klinutus’ bivy system

I think something like the Hilleberg Bivanorak would probably make it possible to sleep out under the stars down to maybe 25°.

Hilleberg Bivanorka

After that I could switch to my 20° bag, and I wouldn’t need a tent until the snow flies.

The Bivanorak is cool because there are sleeves, so you can stick your arms out to hold your beer. Plus it’s a nice shade of green to make it easy to hide from the authorities.

4 thoughts on “Tents are for Sissies

  1. FM

    Ever get the Bivanorak? I was wondering how much thermal performance you got out of it if you did. You said you imagined you could take a 40F bag down to 25F. How’d that work out?

    • Yeah, I have one. Going from 40 to 25, might have been a bit of an over statement. It is very warm, though. Too warm for me to really hike in, unless it’s below 20 degrees or colder. So, it’s not very useful as an anorak (for my climate, at least), and it’s kind of heavy for a bivy, so I don’t carry it very often.

  2. FM

    They really need to put pit zips on that thing. So where is this wonderfully warm place that makes wearing it too warm to hike in?

    I used a Golite poncho on the AT in the summer. It was too hot to wear as well, so I would just naturally expect the same from any garment like this, though it’s much lighter. What was also annoying was having to robe and disrobe for intermittent rain, which is common in the summer. Thus, I’m exploring the instantaneous gratification of an ultralight pack umbrella.

    Have you ever endured a rainy night sleeping in the Bivanorak, and if so, how did that work out for you?

    • Central Pennsylvania. I’ve never slept in it in anything more than a drizzle. I don’t think it would do well in a downpour. The hood just has a drawcord closure, so at least your nose would get wet.

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