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BLACK DIAMOND Bipod
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- Single-pole design sheds weight but maximizes headroom
- 1 shock-corded Easton pole over the head and shoulders
- Large zippered entry; net door
- Large mesh panel for bugs and ventilation
- ToddTex single-wall fabric and Taped seams
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Made from waterproof, seam-taped ToddTex material, the Black Diamond Bipod Bivy features a single-pole design for maximum headroom.
Color: Green | Size: One Size
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First, in winter: 5 nights with clear calm weather.
Second, in autumn: 2 nights with rain, 3 nights with clear windy weather, 1 night with snow.
I am 6'2", about 190lbs. All nights were with a -7C down mummy bag and a vapor barrier to reduce sweat condensing in the bag. Winter nights were with a Thermarest RidgeRest foam roll and a Thermarest NeoAir XTherm inflatable pad, both OUTSIDE the bivy. Autumn nights were with inflatable pad only INSIDE the bivy.
Generally I am satisfied with this product, but I do have some issues with it.
My complaints, in no particular order:
1. Pegging down the foot end of the bivy tends to reduce available vertical foot space.
2. Inflatable pad inside the bivy was too cramped for my sleeping bag to loft fully, and therefore I was a fair bit colder than I otherwise should have been. It is not reasonable to always have the pad on the outside when windy conditions may result in it being blown down a mountain/valley, and it is more difficult to stay on top of the pad.
3. On my 6th night I finally figured out what I BELIEVE is the intended placement of the pole. Because the pole only has end sockets and nothing in the middle, and the bivy fits so tightly over the pole, it is difficult to determine where exactly it is supposed to be placed. If not placed correctly the pole has a tendency to pop out of place.
4. If unzipped, the pole will fall down backwards unless the head end is pegged down, and the bivy stays pulled away. This can be annoying if you are getting in/out during rain/snow as it tends to let more precipitation into the bivy.
5. Bivy is not factory seam-sealed - you get a tube of goo to do it yourself, with no directions on which seams need treatment. I tried to just do all of them and ran out of goo, so I had to go buy more to finish the job.
6. On the nights with rain, my sleeping bag was quite damp in the morning, particularly the feet. I did not have any notable issues with condensation on other nights, other than a small amount of breath moisture around the opening of my bag. I am not sure whether this was due to interior condensation, fabric leaking, or seams leaking. One night I had a tarp under the bivy which held water, and a significant amount passed through the bivy floor (bad idea); the second night I camped directly on alpine shrubs/peat and the floor stayed dry.
7. The pole collapses in an irregular shape and length that is awkward to pack when the bivy is rolled tight. I have taken to packing it separately in a side pouch on my pack.
8. Shape of the opening and placement of the pole makes the zipper difficult to use while the pole is in place.
Changes I would like:
1. Overall, I would like to see the vertical height of the ENTIRE bivy increased at least 4" (eg, with a bucket style floor), with proportionally more room in the foot so that your feet can actually fit vertically without crushing your insulation, especially if being used with cold weather bags with more loft (like my -40). The peg loops should be attached at the bottom of the bucket floor so that they don't pull down the top of bivy.
2. The tent pole sockets should be placed and angled so that the pole is sloping slightly towards the feet at the top, making it tend to fall FORWARD instead of BACKWARD when the bivy is not fully zipped. This would help with keeping the insides dry during hasty ins-and-outs in rain or snow. There should be a center marker, or clip, or some indication of where the center of the pole is supposed to sit so that it doesn't pop out.
3. The zipper and pole should be more rounded to remove the harder corners on the zipper (at the pole peak and on the right side) which are difficult to get around when the pole is in place.
4. Factory seam-sealing would be nice.
It should be noted that I am 6'3" and 175lbs and chose to have my neolite thermarest inside the bivy with me. If more room was needed I definitely could have saved some without the large thermarest inside with me.
But it packs down to a small size and is lightweight. I don't really see use of it, if you plan not to bring the pole to save weight, as the fabrics will touch your sleeping back then, making it moist. Also if you keep it open with mosquito-net only there is almost not enough space between the mosquito-net and your skin and mosquitos can therefore bite you through! unless you are in your sleeping bag. But in warm night I start outside the sleeping bag. I would go for a 1-man tent where you can sit up! it is also annoying if you get stuck in the rain, and have to search shelter in your tent that you can only lie down. But it is super fast to set up and take down, and a tent often have to set up inner tent first which gets soaked through in the rain.
I have reordered and have received the heavier but far more spacious Tri-Pod Bivy. Its size is just right for me.
The quality of both models is excellent.
I have two complaints with both models. First, the zip-up opening is much too small. The opening should have at least one more foot to facilitate entry into the bivy. Second, I don't understand why the outer seams don't come pre-sealed from the factory. Instead you are sent a tube of sealer and a syringe and must seal it yourself.