[Cdt-l] Tarp and Bivy in the San Juans Northbound

Sam Ward samward36 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 17 16:44:12 CDT 2015

Hello CDT-l members!

Curious if anyone has feedback on using a tarp and ultralight bivy combo
along the CDT, particularly the higher, colder, and more volatile sections
like the San Juans in early June. I have a catenary-cut tarp I will be
using by itself most of the trip with a 20-degree homemade quilt (18 oz of
900-fill down) and plan on adding a bivy for the below-freezing with wind
and freezing rain sections.

My dilemma is to go with the more alpine style fully-enclosed and
waterproof bivys like the Sierra Designs, MSR, REI, bivys that are between
12.5 and 16 ozs and will obviously be more weatherproof:



Go with the 4 to 7 oz ultralight water- and windproof bivys which have
waterproof floors but more breathable tops halves:


Is the weather proofing on the ultralights enough to block wind in my
open-ended tarp? Will the added breathability not negate weatherproofing?
Do the alpine-style bivys provide significant temperature additions to my
sleep system over the ultralight style?

And for those wondering why I don't get a fully enclosed cuben tent or
something like that, I already have the tarp and the added weather-proofing
with a bivy I think will beat a tarp tent in a wind and rain scenario. The
lightweight tarp tents will get breeze coming through the bottom so I think
overall I will be more cozy with a bivy in a bad situation. Just trying to
figure out, from the experience of others, if the ultralight bivys are
"stupid light" and how much protection they really provide. Thanks for

Sam (AT 08, PCT 2011)
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