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  1. Default Mylar bivy for a cheap sleeping bag

    On amazon I have found a S.O.L emergency bivy. It says itís reusable. I have a Sierra Design omega double wall tent and planning on a klymit insulated static v pad. My question is how much can I cheat with a low end sleeping bag. Planning on late season rifle hunts due to work restrictions. Just starting to buy collect and use gear. Going to do late season MN backpacking trips b4 heading out west so have plenty of time for failures just wondering where to get a start. Would rather spend money for pack, boots and clothes but looking to save/cheat on other gear.

  2. #2

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    I'd test the ivy before heading out. I bought the SOL lite bivy or something like that thinking it would add warmth. Turned out it didn't breathe at all and there was a ton of condensation on my bag in the morning. Didn't soak through but it definitely gave a clammy feeling.

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    Definitely planning on some cold weather backyard testing this winter. Not gonna be able to afford a western hunt for a year or so but definitely gonna start testing gear backpack camping with my wife and kids. Thinking of doing a backpack ice fishing adventure for an ultimate test of cold weather tenting.

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    Definitely planning on some cold weather backyard testing this winter. Not gonna be able to afford a western hunt for a year or so but definitely gonna start testing gear backpack camping with my wife and kids. Thinking of doing a backpack ice fishing adventure for an ultimate test of cold weather tenting.

  5. #5

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    Your idea sounds like a ticket to a very cold night. I’d take a good sleeping bag.

  6. #6

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    I think a good bivvy technically ads warmth but probably not the one you described as you lose the advantage with condensation for certain. Based on the setup you described I would buy a good bag and forget the bivvy. Spend the extra $30 on your bag.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by nrpate05 View Post
    I'd test the ivy before heading out. I bought the SOL lite bivy or something like that thinking it would add warmth. Turned out it didn't breathe at all and there was a ton of condensation on my bag in the morning. Didn't soak through but it definitely gave a clammy feeling.
    Take heed OP.
    If you need to add warmth but don't have the cash for a new bag a down quilt, bag liner, puffy down hat/hood, or down booties would be some small places to start. Eat some nuts, cheese, or other fatty food right before bed. Boil water, put in a nalgene, and keep in your bag. If you wake up cold, re-boil and repeat. It all adds up.

  8. #8

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    Bring a small closed cell sitting pad for general use, and at night put it under your hip area for added R. They're not that efficient in terms of weight, but a sticky sided hand warmer stuck to the back of your neck can keep the shivers at bay.

  9. #9

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    This sounds like a bad idea. Definitely try it out first and let us know how it goes.
    Old Milwaukee Pro Staff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Front Range of Colorado
    Posts
    322

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    A mylar bivy is going to get you at worst hypothermia and at best an uncomfortable damp night.

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    Get a real sleeping bag.

    Even a cheap Walmart special will be far better

  12. #12

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    Possibly look at a super light weight 2 man tent and a decent nearly new bag on Craigslist, Rokslide classifieds, Ebay, etc. You can pick up a quality 2 man tent for fairly cheap. Also possibly look at a tarptent. If I'm going super light weight during the early season I often use the fly off my Hilleberg 4 season tent plus painters plastic for a floor. I've been in fairly windy/nasty weather and the fly by itself works pretty well...and only weighs around 3 lbs. Gobs of room inside for me plus all my gear. There are lots of great deals available for nearly new items if you are willing to watch and wait!

  13. #13

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    I’d sleep under a tarp or the stars before I carried a sleeping bag not at the temp range I need.

  14. #14

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    Skip the sol bivy and just put that money towards a better sleeping bag. Bad boots make for an uncomfortable hunt, but an underrated sleeping bag can make for a dangerous situation. A good sleeping bag will be cheaper then any funeral.

    I'm sure you probably have some stuff in your garage you could sell to help get you closer to a good bag
    And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul" - John Muir

  15. #15

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    You can pick up used military 3 bag sleep systems for pretty reasonable prices if you spend some time on ebay/amazon/craigslist and aren't picky about having the latest cammo pattern. I got a full system on amazon for 80 bucks a couple years ago in the woodland bdu pattern. The gortex bivy layer is great about keeping moisture out. With both bags and the bivy, tents are unnecessary except in the absolute worst of conditions. The 3 bag system allows you a lot of flexibility in how you set it up for different weather conditions. That and a good inflatable pad that can be had for around 40 bucks will keep you comfortable.
    "The road goes ever on and on..."

  16. #16

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    The surplus is heavy and bulky as f but it works. Plus you have a green bag for mild black for cold or both for really cold.

  17. #17

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    +1 for the mil surp Gortex bivy. I've spent more nights in that then in a tent
    And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul" - John Muir

  18. #18

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    Having actually attempted to sleep in a mylar bivy in cold, wet conditions, I can say with 100% confidence that you DO NOT want to go that route. Unless you enjoy being cold, wet, and near hypothermic.... then by all means, proceed with your idea.

    The mylar bivy will trap all of your body's moisture inside and you will not enjoy it. You'll still be cold even if you put a sleeping bag inside it, especially if that bag isn't rated for the temps you're in. Just buy a sleeping bag for the temps you're expecting.
    "Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you." ~ Mike Rowe

  19. #19

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    Are you backpack camping or just camping at a trail head? You can get a 0 degree bag for pretty cheap it will just be really heavy. Marmot has 0 degree synthetic bags for $160, their 0 degree down bags are half the weight and a quarter the packed size but $500. Biggest killers of hunters are heart attack, hypothermia, and falling out of tree stands... plan accordingly.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Arimo, Idaho
    Posts
    150

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    I'm going to disagree with the negativity on this thread. While I don't use a mylar bivvy as an every night combo with a crappy bag, I've used it countless times when the weather turned out worse than expected. I've had great results. I take my best bag for the weather forecast, but in a 5 day fall backpacking trip there's often a night or two when I want something warmer than what I brought. Yes a mylar bivvy collects condensation, but the inside of my sleeping bag has always been dry. I would expect more problems if you're a restless sleeper or if you're freaking out about it and shaking it onto yourself, but the condensation is manageable. The condensation sticks to the inside top of the bivvy, it looks like more water than it is and it's not difficult to peel the bivvy off your bag without getting wet. Definitely don't pull it over your head and in the morning make sure to pull it off to dry. Let it and your bag air out during the day.
    One reason I don't usually have condensation is that once I get warmed up in my bag I usually end up pushing it down to just around my feet, but that still makes a huge difference.
    If you're really worried about a little water, mylar blankets work too, but probably provide about half as much heat retention and easily slide off in the night. If I go with blankets, I use one as the footprint under my tent as well as one loosely over the top with one end tucked under my feet.
    I do agree that you should buy the best bag you can justify for the conditions you expect the most, but having some mylar (blanket or bivvy) in your pack can make as big difference on a cold night without adding much to your cost or pack weight.

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