User Review: REI Minimalist
Ease of Setup: very easy, plop it on the ground and get in
Weight: 17 oz.
Price Paid: $89
I have been using a TarpTent Virga (2nd gen floorless) and was interested in augmenting my system with a bivy (i.e. extra warmth and moisture protection for my down bag under the tarp tent). However, I was also interested in getting a bivy to be used on its own (i.e. no additional overhead cover).
The REI product is relatively light (but not even close to the lightest out there), is waterproof, but does not provide a "full envelope" coverage as the face area is mesh only (no fabric). The zippers offer lots of versatility, but also add weight. The opening has no drawstring to tighten around your face. So far I am very pleased with ease of entry/ease of use. I find it plenty stuffy enough with the mesh closed, so I can see why REI didn't go the full closure route.
I have used it in moderate weather with a 30 deg down bag. Slight condensation in the foot area, but not much elsewhere (I could have avoided this by changing socks before bed). Quality is good. I have been in it without overhead cover in a light rain. In this scenario, I just chose to stay out in the rain as the bivy kept my bag dry and the rain on my face didn't bother me that much. In fact the mesh actually caught some of it. I didn't even mind the mesh directly on my face.
I can see a lot of use of this product for fall camping without other shelter. If push comes to shove, I plan to put my breathable rain jacket over the top of the bivy for full weather protection (not the most elegant solution, but it should work).